from The Great Debate:

To beat Islamic State, Obama needs Iran

By William B. Quandt
September 11, 2014

Masked Sunni gunmen pray during a patrol outside the city of Falluja

President Barack Obama delivered a speech Wednesday night designed for an American public that has been losing confidence in its commander in chief.  Much of his address was about attitude -- we are tough, we will act, we will prevail, but we will do all this with airpower, not boots on the ground (or not many) and in cooperation with friends and allies. This mission will not be a repeat of Afghanistan or Iraq (President George W. Bush’s wars), Obama promised, but will be more like Obama’s campaigns against al Qaeda -- don’t forget he killed Osama bin Laden! -- and the continuing strikes against radical Islamists in Somalia and Yemen.

from Photographers' Blog:

Somalia’s gradual healing

October 17, 2013

Mogadishu, Somalia

By Feisal Omar

After 22 years, Somalia clearly shows signs of recuperating from the deep wounds of civil-war and insurgency.

from John Lloyd:

Maybe don’t give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses

By John Lloyd
October 8, 2013

As we saw last week, Africans are desperately risking, and losing, their lives in the struggle to get into Europe. They come above all from the war-afflicted states of Eritrea, Somalia and Syria. They trek to Libya (itself now increasingly in bloody turmoil, a Spring long gone) or Tunisia, and from there seek a boat to the island of Lampedusa, the southernmost piece of Italian soil, nearer to the north African coast than it is to Sicily.

from The Great Debate:

Civil wars and Syria: lessons from history

By Michael O'Hanlon and Sean Zeigler
May 22, 2013

A man at a site recently hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo's Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

from Photographers' Blog:

“Are you al-Shabaab or soldiers?”

April 16, 2013

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Mogadishu, Somalia

By Feisal Omar

At 11:30 on Sunday morning I was sipping a cup of coffee at the Village restaurant near the palace when I heard a blast followed by gunshots.

from Full Focus:

Somalia Now

March 6, 2013

A look inside the African nation in images taken over the past three months.

from Photographers' Blog:

One month in Somalia

April 23, 2012

By Feisal Omar

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

April 5 - I was in my car and was not far from the theater when I heard a big explosion. I stood up and immediately saw a local journalist covered with blood and running. I asked him about the explosion and he told me it was inside the theater. I went towards it but security was tightened after the blast as the government feared other blasts would follow. By then, government soldiers were firing on anyone rushing to the scene.

from The Human Impact:

Invest in women in conflict zones to promote change

April 3, 2012

Where would you put your money as an investor? A leading campaigner against gender-based violence says there is only one answer - invest it in women in conflict zones.

from The Human Impact:

A refugee, an amputee, a marathon runner: Abdifatah’s story

March 5, 2012

Abdifatah Dhuhulow takes a break from some training in London’s Hyde Park, February 17, 2012. ALERTNET/Shanshan Chen

from Bernd Debusmann:

To curb piracy, bring on hired guns

By Bernd Debusmann
November 18, 2011

By Bernd Debusmann

The views expressed are his own.

Better late than never. After years of debate, there is growing consensus among governments, major shipping companies and maritime organizations that armed private security guards are a potent deterrent to high-seas pirates. That view is certain to crimp a criminal business already showing signs of decline.