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« Never leave the game! | Main | Time's Battleland: Globalization at the barrel of a gun »
10:04AM

Time's Battleland: An explosive glimpse of the future of the long war in Africa

The militant Islamic group of north Nigeria, known as Boko Harum, takes credit for the deadly car-bomb attack on a police station in the capital city of Abuja yesterday.

You might not think of West Africa as a likely site for radical Muslim violence, but the map on the left, which I use in my current "global futures" brief, may clear things up a bit when you hear about this, the recent north-south election standoff in Ivory Coast, or al-Shabaab violence extending over to Uganda.

Read more at Time's Battleland blog.

Reader Comments (4)

This article is not only grossly oversimplified and incorrect (for example, in numerous nations that you designate "Christian/Animist South" there are Muslims and Christians living peacefully together), but it's also a disservice to those who are actually interested in understanding the complex issues behind the development and security challenges in this part of the world.

Have you ever actually been to this region? I feel Wikipedia could have done better. All this is is political sensationalism, not at all real news or even informative.

If this is your best, please find a new day job. Also, might want to review your African capitals -- the capital of Nigeria is ABUJA; you should get an editor/spellchecker as well.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Victoria,

Thanks for the spell check.

Point of article is to highly the fault line, and yes, that is a simplification but it's hardly an abstraction in Ivory Coast or Nigeria or a host of other countries that lie along it. There, when north-south violence erupts, there is typically a strong component of us-v-them that falls along religious lines. Point of drawing the line is to note where predominantly Muslim populations bump up against predominantly Christian/animist. No, that doesn't mean there are no Muslims below the line and no Christians above. But if you've ever lived as a religious minority in a society predominantly something else, that's not insignificantly compared to the opposite - where you're part of the clear majority.

Yes, I have been to and worked professionally throughout Africa and spent a few years consulting with USAID's Africa Bureau.

As ad hominen attacks go, yours was decent, but you don't contradict my point except to note that there are many places where Christians and Muslims live together peacefully. That's true everywhere where overlapping groups live - until it isn't and the fight begins. Was true in Iraq. Was true in the Balkans. True everywhere throughout history - until the fight begins and then it isn't.

But I'll skip any insinuations about your professional background, knowledge base, etc.

August 27, 2011 | Registered CommenterThomas P.M. Barnett

I like the idea that these kind of abstractive delineations are more a reflection of natural trading areas .So the North just reflects a trading bloc with Arabs , just like Protestantism reflects the North Sea trading area.Different geography equals different group dynamics which require separate political lineages ( religion) .Religion is like the coloured dye and shows up readily and looks like a causitive and not the correlation that it really is.
If this line becomes violently charged through the medium of the 'dye' ...then I think its just the Gulf middle classes trying to park their 'angry' dollars outside of the AfPak playground.
The attack on the UN comes across as a local outfit bidding for/ or validating its share of that largesse.

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJavaid Akhtar

That´s the point: If a conflict erupts, you will have this lines. In Europe we always thought that in Yugoslawia the Croats, Bosnians, Slovenians and Serbs would live peacefully together forever.Yugoslawia was long time the role model of multhiethnicism and we were totally caught by surprise when the war started. We never thought that this old conflict lines would be restored so rapidly.However, maybe the tribal and ethnic fragmentation of Africa could make religion a driver of imaginmed unity.Islam united under Mohammed the different Arab tribes under one religion.Therefore the Muslim religion as the Christian religion could be instrumantilized to overcome this tribal structures.I know an Ethiopian citizen and was asthonished when we discussed the Ethopian-Solamlian conflict. He also said that this would be a Christian/Muslim issue.However,this polarization is not only supported by Muslim fundamentalist, but also by Christian Evangelicals which have massive support of the US religious right.Therefore Tom Barnett should also include a criticism of his Evangelical fellows and not only bash the Muslims.

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

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