Category: Africa

Hydroelectric Headwaters

New York- I have a new piece out for New Africa Daily on the dispute over the fate of the Blue Nile. As the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, GERD, for short, is over 70% complete, upstream Ethiopia and downstream Egypt…

Iran’s Footprint in Africa

New York- With the extrajudicial assassination of Iran’s Major-General Qassem Soleimani outside Baghdad International Airport last month, I wanted to look at his strategic legacy a bit beyond the obvious headlines in Iraq and Syria. I decided to do a…

Shelter from the Swarm

New York- I’ve authored a recent article in the March edition of IHS Jane’s Intelligence Review in the United Kingdom on the sprawling French-orchestrated counter terror operation called Barkane in Africa’s greater Sahara-Sahel region. The French effort has been met with mixed…

Terminal 2 Blues

This is a rambling story I began nearly seven years ago on one of the most singularly interesting days of travel I’ve ever experienced. I just now stumbled upon it and felt like putting it up. Kabul/Dubai/Sharjah-At exactly 9am I…

A Photographer Gone

New York- After what media attention was paid to the disgusting al-Mourabitoun attack on the Cappuccino Café and the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, a story seeped out that I found disturbingly relatable. Among those killed…

Babylon Papers

New York- A quick street story… Sometimes late at night, I like to talk to people about where they’re from. If I were an economist, statistician, or think tank wonk I suppose I’d refer to them as ‘economic migrants.’ But in…

Twenty Years

New York- It’s such an obvious thing to say but it’s really hard to believe it’s been two solid decades since the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. I viscerally remember sitting in the dormitory at San Diego State…

Renewed Conflict in Libya

New York- With Khalifa Haftar suddenly very relevant again after his initially notable reappearance in Libya in March 2011,  Libya’s littoral is once against thrust into turmoil in both Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. Haftar is leading a fight against Ansar al-Sharia and Derna-based…

The African Union at 50

New York- While it’s memorial day here in the United States, this past Saturday it was the 50th anniversary of the African Union [formerly the Organization of African Unity until 2001]. I visited the AU/OAU’s original headquarters in 2011in Addis Ababa,…

Guinea to Gambia the Hard Way

Guest blogger: Jason Florio Follow Jason on Twitter at @floriophotoNYC See Jason’s online portfolio here New York- I’ve known photographer Jason Florio for nearly a dozen years now. Our paths have had this dramatic before-and-after symmetry. Jason shot in northern Afghanistan just…

TWD Mali Media Offensive

New York- In the wake of the French military intervention in Mali late last week, I felt like it was time for TWD to kick into high gear. On Monday, I appeared on BBC Arabic’s News Hour programme from the beeb’s…

Mali in Chaos

New York- Although interest in Mali has been partly piqued in the American polity from facile, puppet-like foreign policy comments by Mitt Romney in a recent debate with President Obama, for genuine students and scholars of foreign policy Mali has been…

A Decade of War and Peace

Barcelona- Partly out of boredom and partly out of the itch to simply create something new out of old, I threw together this photo montage over the weekend. In this era of digital photography where one shoots thousands of frames…

Bamian Redux?

Barcelona- We awake today to more news that Ansar Eddine is bashing more Sufi Islamic sites in Timbuktu, this time the mosque of Sidi Yahia. Sanda Ould Bamana, Ansar Eddine’s ‘spokesman,’ has pledged that his Salafi-jihadi militia will smash every last historical…

Midnight City

Barcelona- In finishing up my tome on Mali for Jane’s it is almost preposterous how fast that story keeps progressing along an entirely negative trend line. I was knocking around google this morning as I like to do from time to time…

Djenné’s Grand Mosque

Barcelona- I threw together a short clip of my brisk tour of Djenné on the way from Sévaré back to Bamako. Djenné is one of the twin centers of medieval Islamic learning in Mail-the other being cut-off Timbuktu. I’d always…

Mali Malaise

Barcelona- Wanted to post some more images from my two weeks in the broken, beautiful Malian republic. I’ve noticed that there seem to be two black-or-white schools of thought on Mali: it is painted as either not nearly as bad as…

From Sévaré With No Love

Bamako- Back in the steaming hot Malian capital after a semi-disastrous northern excursion which resulted in me being made persona non grata in Servaré and Mopti when my fixer and I ran afoul of a rage-aholic gendarme commander. Officialdom up…

Where Do We Go From Here?

Bamako- Got my first dispatch out from from here today and trying to work on a couple of other projects concomitantly. Had a great interview today with the man above in one of the buildings of the sprawling air conditioned…

Between Histories in Bamako

Bamako- Had an overall fantastic day here yesterday. Woke up to a cool, quenching rain that felt like it brought the temperature down about 30 degrees ºF. Had a morning meeting with a local journalist who was originally from the…

Heat

Bamako- Between a Lisbon airport strike, a Tunis one, and other obstacles, I finally reached the Malian capital a few nights ago. It’s hot as blazes here and quite friendly overall. A low lying city of red, dusty sprawl, I…

In Flux

Barcelona- I’ve arrived in my beloved capital of the autonomous Generalitat de Catalunya on a cool rainy Sunday night after a few hours sleep at the circus that is London Heathrow en route. I’m here to rest up and prepare…