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Dear Olivier

The book looks fascinating. I'd be curious to know whether your social networks analysis includes an analysis of the role of external actors in funding and training armed insurgents on the continent?

Here are some examples. The worst killers in Algeria during the "dark decade" of the 1990s were known as "Afghans" for their experience as foreign fighters in the anti-Soviet "jihad" in Afghanistan funded by the US and Britain. Guns and equipment used during the Tuareg uprising in Mali in 2012 were likely sourced from mercenaries in Libya, who had been funded and armed by Nato forces as part of their regime change efforts. (As an aside, Amazigh uprisings occur frequently across North and West Africa as a consequence of colonial borders that sought to deny them a homeland on the grounds that this would unify the Maghreb and make colonial rule more difficult). France armed, trained and in some cases protected Habyarimana's youth militias during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

In my own country, South Africa, the apartheid regime attempted to ferment civil war in South Africa in the late 1980s/early 1990s, with backing from US and European banks, and stoked "civil war" in Mozambique and Angola with the backing of the CIA. In response, Cuba helped Angola to defend themselves from the invasion by the apartheid government, which in turn helped to pave the way for not only Angola's independence, but also that of Namibia. As an aside, you might be interested to know that the network of US and European banks financing and profiting from apartheid is currently the subject of increasing research and legal action from two South African organisations - Open Secrets and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University. The UN Independent Expert on foreign debt also just submitted two days ago an amicus curiae on behalf of these organisations to the OECD in relation to the conduct of KBL European Private Bankers & KBC Group Belgium.

Since you make a special case study of Boko Haram, I'm also curious as to whether you've looked at the impact of externally imposed structural adjustment on northern Nigeria. Raufu Mustapha began studying Boko Haram before they came to international prominence, and made the study of ethno-religious conflict in the region his life's work. Put very crudely, he argued that the conditions for the conflict were largely put in place by the impacts of structural adjustment, which were regionally differentiated given Nigeria's federal structure, which was in turn an outcome of colonial rule. You can find one of the books he edited on the topic here, and you can find an introduction to his work here.


On 30 May 2018 at 15:58, Walther, Olivier <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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Dear SOCNETers,


Our new book African Border Disorders applies SNA to shed light on conflict in Africa.


We hope it may be of interest to some on the group.




African Border Disorders

Addressing Transnational Extremist Organizations


Edited by Olivier J. Walther (University of Florida) and William F.S. Miles (Northeastern University). 2018 – Routledge Studies in African Politics and International Relations


Since the end of the Cold War, the monopoly of legitimate organized force of many African states has been eroded by a mix of rebel groups, violent extremist organizations, and self-defence militias created in response to the rise in organized violence on the continent.


African Border Disorders explores the complex relationships that bind states, transnational rebels and extremist organizations, and borders on the African continent. Combining cutting edge network science with geographical analysis, the first part of the book highlights how the fluid alliances and conflicts between rebels, violent extremist organizations and states shape in large measure regional patterns of violence in Africa. The second part of the book examines the spread of Islamist violence around Lake Chad through the lens of the violent Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, which has evolved from a nationally-oriented militia group, to an internationally networked organization. The third part of the book explores how violent extremist organizations conceptualize state boundaries and territory and, reciprocally, how do the civil society and the state respond to the rise of transnational organizations.


The book will be essential reading for all students and specialists of African politics and security studies, particularly those specializing on fragile states, sovereignty, new wars, and borders as well as governments and international organizations involved in conflict prevention and early intervention in the region.


More information about the book is available at: https://www.routledge.com/African-Border-Disorders-Addressing-Transnational-Extremist-Organizations/Walther-Miles/p/book/9781138054684


Best wishes,





Olivier J. Walther, Ph.D.

Visiting Associate Professor

Center for African Studies

University of Florida

425 Grinter Hall

Gainesville, FL 32611

+1 (352) 273-4739




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_____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.