These are the Wars that will Rage in Africa in 2016

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By Peter Dorrie

 

With the exception of Syria, African countries currently get the worst rep when it comes to violence and conflict. Virtually every story coming out of the continent seems to showcase one atrocity or another.

This narrative is both true and false. In 2014, Africa experienced more than half of worldwide conflict incidents, despite having only about 16 percent of the world population. This is a slightly larger share of the world’s conflicts than even during the chaotic years of the post-Cold War 1990s.

But there are two important caveats. One, the absolute number of conflicts worldwide has greatly decreased over the last two decades. So despite shouldering a larger share of the conflict burden, in absolute terms, Africa has become more peaceful as well. And secondly, the remaining conflicts seem to cluster in specific regions and involve only a few of Africa’s 54 nation-states.

According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, 12 African countries experienced armed conflict in 2014. Three additional countries — Burundi, Niger and Chad — will likely be added to the list for the 2015 data.

Geographically Africa’s conflicts are tightly clustered along an arc stretching from northern Mali through southern Algeria and Libya into Egypt, extending into the Sinai peninsula.

The Boko Haram conflict in northeastern Nigeria is another epicenter and situated in relative proximity to an area of conflict hot spots in the Central African Republic, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, South Sudan and Darfur.

On Africa’s eastern coast, the Somali civil war is still going strong in its third decade.

Modern conflicts in Africa are thus highly localized, and they defy simplistic explanations based on stereotypes. That being said, these are our predictions for Africa’s conflicts in 2016.

If you have not already watched it, Vice News has an excellent 30 minute Documentary on Boko Haram

Read the Remainder at War is Boring

6 Things You Need to Know About Piracy

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#1 THE PIRACY HIGH RISK AREA OFF SOMALIA HAS BEEN REDUCED

But don’t relax your security measures

As of October 2015, the High Risk Area (HRA) in East Africa has been reduced in size, with the Eastern limit shrinking from 078ºE to 065ºE. However, the old HRA zone is still a “voluntary reporting area” and vessels still need to proceed with caution.

The message from maritime security companies currently is: do not let your guard down if travelling in the famously dangerous waters off Somalia, because the risk of piracy hasn’t been stamped out.

“Although the reduction of the HRA should be welcomed, it is important not to over emphasise the significance of this event,” says Phil Cable, CEO of MAST, Maritime Asset Security and Training Ltd. “There is, of course, a clear link between these changes to the HRA and the reduction in threat in the Indian Ocean, but caution and a sense of perspective must be exercised before assuming that the area is free from risk.”

According to MAST, the current catchphrase among military circles is that ‘piracy is suppressed, not eradicated‘. “Somali piracy remains a possibility in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and southern Red Sea, and the indications are that given the right opportunity, they will return to the kidnap and ransom business model that served them so well from 2008 to 2012,” Cable says. “Fundamentally, as a yacht owner one should regard the high seas as an area where self-help and protection need to remain firmly in focus.”

What this means in practical terms is that you are likely to see a reduction in any additional war risk premium on your yacht insurance. But it’s important to note that insurance companies won’t give yachts this “war” coverage, as it’s known, unless a vessel has taken on security. We advise you speak to your insurance broker for specific advice on how this impacts your policy.

Read the Remainder at Boat International

Terror at the Mall: Why Civilian Operators Matter

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I just finished watching the HBO documentary “Terror at the Mall” about the Nairobi Kenya Westgate Mall Attack last year by Al-Shabaab Terrorist that left 67 dead and 155 wounded. Almost all of the documentary is CCTV footage from that day narrated by the actual survivors. There is also some awesome LIVE video and photographs taken that day by two combat correspondents (Tyler Hicks and Goran Tomasevic) who happened to be near the mall that day and after donning a kevlar vest and helmet, decided to jump right into the middle of the action. Because of these two journalist’ bravery and daring, you get a real sense of what was happening that day from a first person Point-of-View.

I must be honest with you, while watching this film, something in me clicked. When I started seeing all the wounded and dead, including women and young children, and nobody DOING ANYTHING,  I started to get really pissed off. All of the so-called “Police SWAT” and Military personnel (or what passes for Police SWAT and Military in Kenya I should say), were standing around outside, taking cover behind concrete walls and basically pissing themselves. The friggin’ Red Cross people had more balls than these guys! They went up on the top deck without any police protection, as they were told there were many wounded children up there.  After an hour had passed, The ONLY ACTION AND RESPONSE came from 5 plain clothed policeman with AK’s and 2 civilians armed with registered handguns...INITIALLY THESE WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO HAD THE BALLS TO GO IN AND TRY TO SAVE LIVES…the so-called Police SWAT and Military would not enter the mall until 3 Hours into the siege!

 Both of these civilians, Harish Patel, an Airport Worker and Abdul Haji, a Real Estate Executive, demonstrate the true spirit of what it is to be a Civilian Operator.

Here is a direct quote from Harish Patel from the HBO Documentary:

“Whoever has the balls, we go in, the rest, stay. If we have to die, we die.

Here in this quote, Abdul Haji reiterates why it is important to STAY ARMED!  Read what he told ABC News:

“Haji says he grew up around guns and lately had been carrying his pistol with him. “I left where I was and I headed straight to the Westgate,” Haji told ABC News. “Luckily on that particular day I had actually carried my licensed gun with me so I didn’t have to go back home to waste time and pick up a gun, I went straight to the mall.”

Here, in the same interview, Haji shows the Combative Mentality a CO has to have in a situation like this:

“I had 14 rounds (in my pistol)..it never crossed my mind that we (the civilians) only had handguns and the terrorist had assault rifles..A gun is a gun and at the end of the day it is how good you are with it that makes a difference….”

 

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Not mentioned in the Documentary, was another civilian who was just as key in helping to save lives that day. A nameless and anonymous (for obvious security reasons) Ex-British Royal Marine, who, with a pistol tucked in his waistband, led over a hundred people to safety out of the mall, despite the obvious danger from sporadic gunfire.

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So ultimately what can we take away from this senseless, awful, shitty mess?

First and foremost,as I have always said, the CO can never count for somebody to come and “rescue or save” them when an incident like this occurs. Now I understand our Police here in America are better trained and motivated for the most part, and a comparison to the Kenyan Forces may be unfair, but the message of self-reliance to the CO remains the same: Anytime you put your safety and the safety and security of your loved ones in another’s hands, you are rolling the “cosmic dice” with their lives.

What really gets me about this story  is the complete  lack of urgency by the so called Police “SWAT” and “Counter-Terrorist” units of the Military; both of them waiting THREE HOURS before entering the Mall, when they knew they had wounded, bleeding out civilians in there! And whats worse is when they did enter, according to hostage testimony, they FIRED INDISCRIMINATELY upon hostages several times who were trying to signal them for rescue! Luckily, no hostages were harmed by these idiots, but they did end up shooting and wounding three Policeman who were working with them, one of them, fatally. In the end, After 4 days of futility,  the Military and Police decided to do away with a ground assault (even though they had over 500 men at their disposal with Armored Personnel Carriers and Helicopter support against only FOUR Terrorist) and fired an Incendiary Artillery round into the supermarket area of the mall where the terrorist were hiding, burning the entire mall to the ground, causing massive property damage and killing all the terrorist along with it. Talk about using a Bazooka to kill a mouse.

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Bottom line guys, It was the bravery and fortitude of these 3 civilians and 5 plainclothes police officers that saved ALL of the people who survived that day in Nairobi. Believe me when I say this: In the world we currently live in, being a civilian operator WILL save lives one day, maybe, even including your own! Think about that every time you go out to train! Think about that the next time you question spending money on quality firearms and tactical training!

I know what a lot of you are saying: I Just don’t know if I could be as BRAVE as those 3 civilians were if something like that happened to me..to that I say this: “Doing alot of things can get you killed in this life, including in this case, doing nothing!

Stay Armed, Stay Alert and Stay Dangerous!