Recent reports shed light on Al-Shabaab’s evolving financing model. While charcoal remains key, sugar smuggling is playing an increasing role. Funding from illegal ivory, a focus of much distracting debate, is noticeable only in its absence.
The attacks on Algerian gas installations and the Mali insurgency has led the UK Prime Minister to describe this as a 'generational struggle'. However, what is happening across the Sahel region is a different terrorist challenge altogether, requiring a reappraisal in strategy.
As French troops continue to engage Islamist rebels in Mali, questions are being raised over how long they will stay, and the real commitment of the president to ending France's long history of interventionism on the continent.
The French assault on militant jihadists in Mali reflects a recognition in Paris that the long-brewing Islamist trouble in North Africa is something that has started to spiral out of control, and has potential to have a direct impact within France.
With the northern part of Mali now under militant hands, regional countries are being left with no option but to provide a credible threat to intervene militarily. But will neighbouring states be able to sustain their intervention?
After nearly a year in Somalia, Kenya is preparing to commence its assault on Kismaayo, Al-Shabaab’s strategic and financial outpost, and the current front line of the concerted counter-insurgency campaign in southern Somalia. With Merca just fallen, could this prove the boon to the KDF’s expeditionary gamble?