September 21, 2011

ForesightNews world briefing: UN General Assembly’s General Debate

By Jasper Smith, senior international and security affairs reporter, ForesightNews USA Once a year, the world’s leaders descend on New York for the UN’s blue ribbon event, the cumbersomely-titled UN General Assembly’s General Debate. This year, the build-up has been dominated by the Palestinian Authority’s planned bid to become the 194th member of the UN, […]

September 1, 2011

ForesightNews world briefing: upcoming events 5-11 September

A weekly round up of world events from Monday, 5 September to Sunday, 11September from ForesightNews By Nicole Hunt This week is filled with high-profile trials and judgements around the world, kicking off on Monday with six big-name hearings, including several former world leaders: ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, his sons and former Interior Minister […]

March 31, 2011

Egypt’s digital revolutionaries: It’s not about the technology

The special joint event organised by the Frontline Club and the BBC Arabic Service brought together some of the key players, journalists and experts to discuss what has taken place in Egypt over the last few months. The first half of the evening at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, considered the role of technology […]

February 16, 2011

Vaughan Smith’s new film ‘Blood and Dust’ broadcasting on Al Jazeera

Above is a preview of Vaughan Smith’s dramatic new film BLOOD AND DUST recording life and death with an American helicopter medevac unit in Southern Afghanistan. ‘These Medivac teams, US military air ambulances, are amoungst the only soldiers that go to war to save lives and they are very good at it.’ See BLOOD AND […]

February 14, 2011

Exploring the role of Twitter and social media in revolutions

I’m afraid I haven’t been able to follow events in Tunisia and Egypt as closely as I would have liked as I was determined to enjoy an overdue holiday and a break from computer screens. And my mission was largely accomplished. As part of an attempt to catch up, I’ve just been reading Jeff Jarvis, […]

October 29, 2010

Axe in Congo: Giving It Away

by DAVID AXE U.S. Army and Congolese army doctors render free medical care at a clinic in Kinshasa, as part of the Medflag ’10 exercise.

October 28, 2010

Axe in Congo: Litter Training

by DAVID AXE Kinshasa — Corrupt and impoverished, Congo doesn’t have much in the way of emergency services. Wrecked cars become semi-permanent urban art installations on the side of the road. When fires break out, it can take hours for anyone to respond. MONUSCO, the U.N. peacekeeping force, has been forced to put out some […]

October 27, 2010

Axe in Congo: Can’t Please Everyone

by DAVID AXE Kinshasa — A free health clinic was one of the culminating events of the U.S. Army-led "Medflag ’10" training exercise in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While American instructors trained up Congolese medics, U.S. and Congolese officials oversaw registration of civilians to attend the clinic. The civilians lined up before a board […]

October 26, 2010

Axe in Congo: Training the Congolese Army

by DAVID AXE Kinshasa — Soft power can be tedious, exhausting, frustrating. A hundred U.S. Army doctors and medics are in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, to train several hundred medics from the Congolese Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo. The Americans’ idea: to leave the Congolese more capable and more professional than […]

October 25, 2010

Axe in Congo: The Army’s Training Dilemma

by DAVID AXE Kinshasa — Colonel Gilbert Kabanda, the surgeon general of the Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo — the Congolese army — is a tiny man, barely more than five feet tall. But he has a big speaking voice. On September 6, he took the stage at the opening ceremony for […]

September 17, 2010

Afghanistan: the brittle compact between military and media

Vaughan Smith argues that news management by the military is a risky business. Smith founded the Frontline Club in London in 2003 and during the 1990s he ran Frontline Television News. He filmed the only uncontrolled footage of the Gulf War in 1991 after bluffing his way into an active-duty unit while disguised as a […]

May 18, 2010

Somali Officials Resign as Fighting Escalates

by DAVID AXE Sheikh Adan Madobe, speaker of the U.S.-and U.N.-backed Somali parliament, resigned today after his support in the weak governing body collapsed. Prime minister Abdirashid has also resigned after seeing his own influence wane amid continuing violence in the East African country. "The president is going to appoint a new prime minster and […]

May 12, 2010

Somali Islamists = Environmentalists?

Guardian photo. by DAVID AXE Just two weeks ago Somali Islamic group Al Shabab advanced on a Harardere, a pirate stronghold in central Somalia. "The pirates began retreating with the hijacked vessels and crew to Hobyo, another pirate stronghold about 108 kilometers to the north," Voice of America reported. This after years of inaction by […]

April 22, 2010

World Politics Review: Disputes Threaten Chad-Sudan Peace Deal

Crashed Chadian helicopter. David Axe photo. by DAVID AXE On April 16, a Chadian helicopter with at least three people aboard crashed in Adre, a town abutting the border with Sudan in the desert region shared by the two countries. One person died in the crash, while two were injured. The incident was an unwelcome […]

February 25, 2010

Foreign Fishermen Still Plundering Somali Waters

Kenyan fisherman. Photo by David Axe. by DAVID AXE When the Somali government collapsed in 1991, so too did Somalia’s ability to police its waters and regulate foreign vessels. For corporate fishing fleets from Asia and Europe, that meant rich shark and tuna fisheries suddenly wide open for exploitation. And boy did they exploit. Tales […]

February 17, 2010

Al Shabab Rallies Troops for Mogadishu Defense

Al Shabab. AP photo. by DAVID AXE On Friday Sheikh Moqtar Robow Abumansor, a top military leader in Somali Islamic group Al Shabab, declared war against the U.S.- and U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government and the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu. This at a time when the TFG and peacekeepers are clearly planning for a […]

February 12, 2010

World Politics Review: Somali Forces Prepare Counter-Islamist Offensive

  AMISOM peacekeepers. U.S. Army photo. by DAVID AXE Forces belonging to the U.S.- and U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia have mobilized for a major offensive against Islamic militants who control much of southern and central Somalia. On Friday, a local journalist who spoke with World Politics Review reported seeing government forces, as […]

January 25, 2010

Somali Insurgents Claim Yemen Boost

A.U. tanks in Somalia. Photo via Somali Weyn. by DAVID AXE A spokesman for the Somali Islamic group Al Shabab told reporters his forces have been bolstered by fighters from Yemen. “We have received fighters from the Arabian Peninsula — I mean in Yemen — to bolster our fighters on the ground,” Sheikh Ali Mohamoud […]

October 3, 2009

The 9,000-Ton Littoral Warship

A year after Somali piracy peaked with more than 100 ships attacked, the world’s navies have assembled dozens of warships to combat the threat. David Axe joins the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook in Djibouti, to observe firsthand this “global war on piracy.” by DAVID AXE The Navy’s shipbuilding strategy hinges on buying at […]

October 2, 2009

The Near-Shore Strategy

A year after Somali piracy peaked with more than 100 ships attacked, the world’s navies have assembled dozens of warships to combat the threat. David Axe joins the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook in Djibouti, to observe firsthand this “global war on piracy.” by DAVID AXE A year into the “global war on piracy,” […]

September 29, 2009

Behind the Piracy Decline

A year after Somali piracy peaked with more than 100 ships attacked, the world’s navies have assembled dozens of warships to combat the threat. David Axe joins the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook in Djibouti, to observe firsthand this “global war on piracy.” by DAVID AXE In three months there’s been just one successful […]

September 20, 2009

The Baddest, Holiest Gang, Part Three

How young Somali immigrants searched for belonging, and found jihad. Last of a three-part series. Part I can be found here. Part II can be found here. by DAVID AXE and JOHN MASATO ULMER Somali-American terror recruits have common roots in an impoverished, neglected and sometime oppressed immigrant community. Their feelings of impotence and isolation […]

September 17, 2009

The Baddest, Holiest Gang, Part Two

How young Somali immigrants to the U.S. searched for belonging, and found jihad. Second of a three-part series. by DAVID AXE and JOHN MASATO ULMER When 26-year-old Shirwa Ahmed, a Somali-born immigrant living in Minnesota, blew himself up in Puntland, Somalia, on Oct. 29 last year, he became the very first American suicide bomber, and […]

September 16, 2009

The Baddest, Holiest Gang

How young Somali immigrants to the U.S. searched for belonging, and found jihad. First of a three-part series. by DAVID AXE and JOHN MASATO ULMER On Oct. 29 last year, Shirwa Ahmed drove a car full of explosives up to a government compound in Puntland, a region of northern Somalia, and blew himself up. The […]

September 13, 2009

Better Naval Coordination Suppresses Pirate Attacks

by DAVID AXE After a year of rapid growth, the international naval force assembled to combat Somali piracy has stabilized at what will probably be its permanent level. There are around 20 vessels and a handful of land-based aircraft from some dozen navies, organized into three major flotillas plus independent patrols. The U.S.-led Task Force […]

August 30, 2009

After 40 Years of Dictatorship, Gabon Votes

Gabon is headed to the polls for the West African country’s first real election since the rise of Omar Bongo as president some four decades ago. Bongo died in June, as one of the world’s longest-serving heads of state, and now will be replaced. Gabon, a major oil producer and one of the wealthiest and […]

August 5, 2009

No End in Sight to South Sudan’s Violence over Land

By DAVID AXE Tribal fighting in South Sudan killed nearly 200 people on Sunday. Murle tribesmen reportedly attacked an encampment of refugees from the Lou Nuer tribe, killing 185, mostly women and children, but also including soldiers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the U.S.-backed armed force of the breakaway Government of South Sudan. The […]

August 3, 2009

Somaliland Hires Freelance Diplomats

by DAVID AXE Somaliland, population 1 million, is a fully autonomous — but unrecognized, internationally — region of the Republic of Somalia, with its own laws, courts, currency and army. It’s also one of the handful of “unofficial” countries in the world that has few full-time diplomats, and so hires freelancers to sit at the […]

July 28, 2009

U.S. Trains South Sudan Air Experts?

by DAVID AXE The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School in Hurlburt, Florida, last week launched its inaugural "Building Partner Aviation Capacity Course." The training course in basic aviation planning "included representatives from the U.S., Costa Rica and Sudan," the Air Force reported. Costa Rica, sure. But Sudan? Since Washington does not have formal military […]

July 26, 2009

Things I’ll Miss

As I pack up ready to leave Nairobi, these are the things I’ll remember fondly "How are you?" – it only takes a few seconds, but how much nicer to preface each encounter with a friend or stranger with a short enquiry into their wellbeing or news Monkeys – they may have nicked bananas and […]