Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

Bourne’s Nigeria: A History of Big Men

Posted in African Politics, Nigeria, Reviews by ruben eberlein on February 10, 2016

bournenigeriaMy review of Richard Bourne’s book on the history of Nigeria was published by Welt-Sichten (pdf here). It offers a firm introduction into the politics and society in the West African state from Lugard’s establishment of the colony till the election victory of Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Bourne’s book is, however, a story of “big men”. Readers looking for an account of everyday life in Nigeria, be it in the Niger Delta or during the Biafra war, will probably be disapppointed.


Somalia: A Profitable War

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Kenya, Somalia by ruben eberlein on February 1, 2016

The Somali terror group al-Shabaab strikes soft targets in Mogadishu and attacks troops of the African Union. Meanwhile, severe allegations are raised against the Kenyan contingent of the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom). (more…)

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War in South Sudan: No End in Sight

Posted in African Politics, South Sudan by ruben eberlein on December 22, 2015

This week, the International Crisis Group alerted to the possibility of a renewed war in South Sudan. Many low-intensity conflicts and the non-implementation of the August peace agreement support this view. Here is my interview with Alex de Waal about the agreement and the situation in the country. (more…)

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Terror Without Borders

Posted in African Politics, Cameroon, Chad, Global Africa, Niger, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on December 15, 2015

boko-600x338Here is my latest piece on Boko Haram and its operations in the border region between Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon for Jungle World. The sect is the most deadliest terrorist organisation ahead of the Islamic State. The recent successes of the Nigerian and Cameroon armies in the fight against the jihadists are welcome news, but it takes a decisive shift in development policies vis-à-vis this neglected region in order to defeat Boko Haram.

Burkina Faso: The Last Dance of the Ancien Regime

Posted in African Politics, Burkina Faso by ruben eberlein on November 9, 2015

Read my article about the counter coup in Burkina Faso in September that appeared in the latest issue of Konkret. I was lucky to take part in a symposium on the situation in the country here in Berlin, organised by Afrique Avenir. Smockey and Sams K Le Jah, popular musicians who started the civic movement Le Balai Citoyen, and others discussed the immediate past, present and future of Burkina Faso. They sent a strong message of courageousness that the days of repression and persecution of dissent are over in the “country of upright citizens”.

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Para Todos Todo – The New Politics of Distribution

Posted in African Politics, Reviews by ruben eberlein on October 27, 2015

$_35My review of James Ferguson’s new book, Give a Man a Fish, has been published by Blätter des Informationszentrum Dritte Welt (iz3w). This interesting collection of essays describes the rise of new welfarism in the Global South, especially in Southern Africa. Contrary to the talk about the demise of state intervention in times of neo-liberalism, more and more people receive cash payments by their governments in countries such as Namibia, Zambia, South Africa or Brazil and Mexico. Ferguson discusses this development and its consequences for progressive scholarship and activism. Read the review here (German).

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South Sudan: A Conflict Among Racketeers That Killed Thousands

Posted in African Politics, South Sudan by ruben eberlein on September 18, 2015

Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan, made it explicitly clear: He only signed the peace accord with his opponent Riek Machar late in August because of international diplomatic pressure. Not exactly bright prospects for an end of warfare among the two fractions of the ruling SPLM. As the finances to get dissenters into an elite compact are vanishing, we are likely to see the war to proceed. Here is my text that appeared in the latest issue of Jungle World.

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Hospitality à la Germany: A Compact With Rogue African Rulers

Posted in African Politics, Eritrea, Global Africa, South Sudan, Sudan by ruben eberlein on August 31, 2015

titel_09-932f1118The new issue of Konkret is dedicated to the German and European debate about immigrants. Several articles focus on how the German government tries to limit the possibilities of refugees to ask for asylum. My own text (pdf here) reports about the so-called Khartoum process. The European Union – and especially Germany as a member of the steering committee – plans to cooperate and close a deal with several rogue states in East Africa including Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea. These contracts aim to block refugees in their countries by way of training of the police, a “strengthening of government institutions” and the establishment of training centres for migration control.

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CAR: UN Soldiers Implicated in Rape and Violence Against Civilians

Posted in African Politics, Central African Republic by ruben eberlein on August 31, 2015

uW7YdmDCAccording to Amnesty International, soldiers of the UN mission Minusca in the Central African Republic (CAR) are implicated in several cases of sexual violence and violence against civilians. Meanwhile, the conflict in the CAR has disappeared from the radar of the international community. Elections are planned for October this year, but hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced, and those responsible for human rights abuses are still at large. I wrote a text for Jungle World about these issues. Find it here as pdf.

Boko Haram: Our Job is to Shoot, Slaughter and Kill

Posted in African Politics, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on August 31, 2015

Read my text about the fight against the terrorists of Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Many Nigerians have high hopes that the country’s new president, Mohammadu Buhari, is better prepared to defeat the Islamists than his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan. But while Buhari seeks military aid in the US, there are new damaging allegations by Amnesty International (AI) against the army. According to a report by AI, 7.000 men and boys died in custody between 2010 and 2014. 1.200 people are said to be killed unlawfully by the soldiers. The article was published by Blätter des Informationszentrums 3. Welt. You can download it here as pdf.

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