These are commentaries and analyses on African and Mid-East affairs by Arezki Daoud of MEA Risk LLC
Can foreign and regional powers give Libya a break?
Foreign meddling may have been even more troubling than any other source of instability. Governments in Russia, the UAE, France, Turkey, etc.. have been central in preventing the Libyans from negotiating a future that works for them. But Arezki Daoud argues that the shifting global geopolitics over the recent months may provide an opportunity for the Libyans to begin the real negotiations and step away from violence.
North Africa and the Sahel week-in-review | 20 May 2023
Welcome to this episode of North Africa and the Sahel week-in-review, for the period ending Saturday, 20th of May. Today is the 22nd of May and greetings to all. So the week in the northern half of Africa ended with a lot of political tension in the Maghreb region, consisting of countries located along the southern Mediterranean coastline, and both political stress and physical violence in the Sahel region. In this podcast, Arezki Daoud goes through the major events affecting the northern half of Africa during the week ending 20 May 2023.
The Fleecing of Libya: Billions of Dollars Missing and Everyone is at Fault
In the post-Gaddafi era, Corruption in Libya is endemic and metastasized. The culture of corruption is so ubiquitous and widespread that Transparency International ranks Libya third before last in the MENA region, doing only better than Syria and Yemen. In this podcast, Arezki looks at how the Gaddafi clan has siphoned off billions of dollars and that the current governments may have made corruption even worse.
A world turned on its head: Egypt's loyalty to the US in question
In Egypt, a country that gets substantial military and economic aid from the United States, General Abdelfattah el-Sissi has allegedly ordered the manufacture of 40,000 rockets for the benefit of Russia, in the midst of the war in Ukraine. Leaked documents apparently say Egypt would deliver artillery shells and gunpowder, in what was referred to as a “top secret” deal.
A close look at South Africa today: achievements and challenges
In this podcast, Arezki Daoud of MEA Risk and of The North Africa Journal, reports on his thoughts on South Africa, after a 10-day visit in April 2023.
Mali’s painful post-colonial transition.
The nation of Mali in the Sahel is headed toward an even more painful period. Bad governance, catastrophic environment, deadly terrorism, and a war between the west and Russia starting on its territory are conspiring to make Mali of the most unstable nations in the world. In this episode, Arezki Daoud looks at how France has played a negative role in perpetuating the state of misery Mali has found itself.
Audio podcast: Sahel collapsing with the Jihadists, Russia and France in a bitter fight over control
In this audio podcast, Arezki Daoud is sharing an update on the situation in the Sahel, specifically in Mali and Burkina Faso, two countries that have been torn apart by outside forces, be they the Jihadists, or some western powers, and now by the Wagner Group, a mercenary group that represents Russia. Arezki addresses the two most visible issues the Sahel faces on the security front and concludes with a third wildcard factor.
North Africa / Sahel Week in Review: Mali and Tunisia remain center stage
Welcome to this week-in-review episode where we look at some of the key events affecting the geopolitics of North Africa and the Sahel. Your host in Arezki Daoud, principal analyst at MEA Risk LLC and editor of The North Africa Journal. In the Sahel, the general state of insecurity, as well as the atmosphere of transition due to the take over of power by military juntas, have had a dominant play in the Sahelian context. In North Africa, the dominant story may very well be Tunisia, with the president there increasing his control of the government, expanding assaults on human rights and making mistakes that could cost Tunisia billions in lost loan opportunities.
Instability and Coups in Sahel Nations
In this brief episode, Arezki Daoud reports on the latest attempts to topple regimes in the Sahel and that more of there are expected.
Sahel and North Africa week in review 7 Jan 2023
Greetings to our second episode of Week in Review and a quick summary of what we are tracking in the Sahel and in North Africa. Today is Saturday, the 7th of January 2023. This past week was somewhat subdued in the region largely due to the year-end holiday season and the shift to 2023. But events don’t stop simply because it is new year. Arezki Daoud of MEA RIsk LLC presents to you the big stories of the week, which include that of an unfolding emigration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Sahel and North Africa this week: Mali-Ivory Coast crisis, Burkina vs. the UN, terrorism in Egypt, rivalry in Libya and more. Week ended 30 Dec. 2022
In this week's review of events in the Sahel and North Africa, Arezki Daoud addresses the major factors affecting the region as the year draws to an end.
North Africa - Sahel week in review 1 - Week ending 23 December 2022
This podcast hosted by Arezki Daoud of MEA Risk LLC focuses on some of the most important events in North Africa and the Sahel that we are monitoring as of Friday, 23rd of December 2022. So this is a sort of week in review. This week was dominated by a couple of big events, the first is the political stalemate in Tunisia, and the second is about the collapse of the peace deal that was signed some 7 years ago by the government of Mali and rebel groups in the north. Each of these events are harbingers of more problems ahead.
Can Algeria and Africa deliver more natural gas to Europe
Winter is near and Europe is facing an energy crisis after Russian attacked Ukraine. The EU and its member-countries have been looking for natural gas everywhere they can but the prospect of replacing Russian gas supplies on short notice will be difficult. Can Algeria and Africa fill the gap? In this podcast, Arezki Daoud argues that a short contribution from Africa will not be possible, but the longer term feels more optimistic.
Food shortages in Tunisia: brief explainer.
Arezki Daoud of MEA Risk and The North Africa Journal visits Tunisia this November and is bringing better understanding on the challenges facing the Tunisians in their day-to-day living.
Russia's War on Ukraine: North African Nations' Positions
The Maghreb’s biggest nations and regional rivals, Algeria, and Morocco, so far have refrained from choosing a side in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. For its part, Tunisia has had ambivalent positions due to a number of factors, which we will cover in a moment. In general, though, these nations have had no intention on openly support one or the other party in the conflict and have assumed some neutrality based on multiple geopolitical factors. Broadly speaking and setting aside Ukraine as a sovereign nation, North African states see this conflict as one that opposes Russia, an extension of what used to be the Soviet Union, against the West, a group of nations that encompasses Western Europe and the United States. In some way, they see the conflict as the continuation of the cold war that pitted the USSR to the USA. Other major factors, such as North Africa’s proximity to and neighborhood with western Europe, the developing gas market, Russia’s military weight and its growing economic influence on the region are among the many factors that have been weighing on decision makers in North Africa on how to deal with this thorny conflict.
Algeria-Russia: Deconstructing Algeria’s relationship with Russia: Not as rosy as you think
The visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Algiers at the end of August shook up and challenged the Algerian authorities in their once again excellent relations with Russia. The French security and ministerial deployment that accompanied the trip of the French president and the most recent visit of a delegation of 16 French ministers to Algiers, was intended to solicit Algerian help to stop the Russian advance in the Sahel and West Africa and its deployment in Mali. And that’s how competition between Paris and Moscow on the heart and soul of Algeria has been intensifying.
Podcast: Lebanon Falling
The past months have been particularly horrendous for Lebanon, a country that used to be called the Switzerland of the Arab World. The demise of Lebanon is not only a reflection of a deeply corrupt regime and a divided nation, but it is also synonymous of an Arab world where its leaders have no concept of solidarity. In this 8-minute podcast, Arezki shares his views on the current turmoil facing Lebanon.
Sahel: Burkina Faso’s security environment to worsen as Jihadi attacks likely to intensify
The Sahelian nation of Burkina Faso has been a powder keg for some time and this weekend, the coup leader that toppled the previous government has been himself toppled by another coup. The situation in Burkina’s capital, Ouagadougou, has been extremely tense lately, with protesters attempting to raid the French embassy there, as France remains highly unpopular due to its policies in its former colonies. On Friday, 30th of September 2022, the security crisis in Burkina Faso spiraled out of control when low-ranking military officers announced their toppling of the junta leader, Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba. In this brief podcast, MEA Risk and The North Africa Journal's Arezki Daoud analyzes the current situation in Burkina and provides a brief outlook.
The escalating rivalry between Algeria and Morocco
The escalating rivalry between Algeria and Morocco has had a destabilizing effect on the Maghreb region of North Africa. In fact, the entire western Mediterranean region is feeling the impact of the two countries’ strange competitive postures. Instead of cooperating to improve the living standards of their populations, the two countries have created a toxic environment in the Mediterranean allowing human smuggling, illegal emigration and drug trafficking to overwhelm parts of southern Europe, to say the least. In this podcast, Arezki Daoud, principal analyst at MEA Risk LLC and Editor of The North Africa Journal unpacks some of the realities surrounding the competition between Algeria and Morocco for the influence of the Maghreb region.
The Sahel in turmoil: How Bamako and Paris lost most of Mali's territory
The year 2021 was a horrendous period for the region. All the problems that one can imagine were there, from the massacre of civilians to two military coups in Mali and of course, an aggressive expansion of the jihadist groups. Early last year saw the massacre of more than 100 people in two villages of northwestern Niger, in an area bordering Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The targeting of civilians is now so intense that more civilians were killed than soldiers. Between January and November 2021, no fewer than 600 civilians in Niger were slaughtered in terrorist attacks, mainly conducted by an Islamic State offshoot. The figures of this year's killings are shilling: 200 people were killed in March in a single operation in the Tahoua region, in northwestern Niger. Another 160 civilians were killed in June in the village of Solhan, northeastern Burkina Faso. In this podcast, MEA Risk analyst and editor of The North Africa Journal, Arezki Daoud, address the Sahel's descent to chaos as we start the year 2022.