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Geography Archives: West Africa

US Special Forces soldier trains Niger troops. (photo Credit: Reuters)

Why is the U.S. at war in West Africa?

Between 2006 and 2010 the deployment of U.S. special forces troops in Africa increased by 300 percent. From 2010 to 2017 the numbers of deployed troops exploded by nearly 2000 percent, occupying more than 60 outposts tasked with carrying out over 100 missions at any given moment across the continent.

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The Light Brigade: Cuban Doctors Fight Ebola

The Ebola epidemic . . . whereas most of the world tightens frontier control and essentially flees from the problem, Cuba opens a new chapter of solidarity and faces the danger.  By sending 255 doctors and nurses to West Africa to deal with the latest Ebola outbreak, the heroic island — with few resources except […]

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U.S. Hands Off Mali! An Analysis of the Recent Events in the Republic of Mali

Recent developments in the West African Republic of Mali are raising serious concerns about the possibility of yet another U.S. intervention.  On March 22, one month before a scheduled presidential election, a military coup toppled the government of President Amadou Toumani Touré.  Quickly taking sides, the regional 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) […]

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The New Scramble for Africa

  Is current U.S. foreign policy in Africa following a blueprint drawn up almost eight years ago by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative think tanks in the world?  Although it seems odd that a Democratic administration would have anything in common with the extremists at Heritage, the convergence in policy and […]

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The State in Africa

Vernacular Politics in Africa

  1 The republication of Jean-François Bayart’s classic book-length essay, The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, is an opportunity to reflect on the hypotheses he raises and their application to Sudan and especially Darfur.  Bayart’s book mentions Sudan only in passing but the scope of his ambition is certainly relevant to Sudan […]

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Nation-States as Building Blocks

  Paul Nugent.  Africa since Independence: A Comparative History. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.  xix + 620 pp.  $99.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-333-68272-2; $35.95 (paper), ISBN 978-0-333-68273-9. This is a masterful work of usable academic history.  By sharply delineating diverse trends in scores of countries, it applies expert analysis to sub-Saharan Africa, “the continent which has been […]

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Do Darfur’s IDPs Have an Urban Future?

Most of Darfur’s internally-displaced camps are urban settlements in all but name.  In geographical terms the most striking impact of the last seven years has been to change Darfur from being overwhelmingly scattered rural villages and hamlets to huge extended cities.  In the wake of the abrupt expulsion of the international NGOs which provided a […]

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Africom: From Bush to Obama

“Our community is expanding: MRZine viewers have increased in number, as have the readers of our editions published outside the United States and in languages other than English.  We sense a sharp increase in interest in our perspective and its history.   Many in our community have made use of the MR archive we put […]

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Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks

  Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Colonial Africa.  Madison University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.  342 pp.  $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-299-21950-5. In the 1970s and 1980s, an edited volume focused entirely on African colonial intermediaries such as interpreters, translators, clerks, and secretaries would not have aroused much interest from historians of […]

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How Europe Underdevelops Africa and How Some Fight Back

  In even the most exploitative African sites of repression and capital accumulation, sometimes corporations take a hit, and victims sometimes unite on continental lines instead of being divided-and-conquered.  Turns in the class struggle might have surprised Walter Rodney, the political economist whose 1972 classic How Europe Underdeveloped Africa provided detailed critiques of corporate looting. […]

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