The R1 – South African Bush Rifle

Reading time: 9 minutes
In the wake of the rise of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 and the USA’s litany of rifles during the Cold War, South Africa needed a modern automatic service rifle. After trialling several different guns, the South African government settled on the Belgian FN FAL battle rifle. As a result, the “Rifle R1” was born – the bush gun of Southern Africa.

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What lies behind the war in Tigray?

Reading time: 7 minutes
At the core of the current war between the Ethiopian central government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front is the realignment of politics and the contest for political hegemony. In my view, it is about Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed allying with the Amhara to destroy Tigrayan power. This is an attempt to consolidate his position and that of his Amhara supporters.

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Under what conditions are international sanctions effective?

Reading time: 7 minutes
According to US government data, 32 sanctions regimes are currently in effect. Canada, for its part, currently imposes sanctions on 20 different states and on terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. The EU is currently implementing sanctions against some 30 countries and international actors. As for the United Nations, since 1966, the Security Council has put in place 30 sanctions regimes, from apartheid South Africa to Gaddafi’s (and according to him) Libya, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

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1742 map of Berbice River with plantations.

Reckoning with slavery: What a revolt’s archives tell us about who owns the past

Reading time: 6 minutes
During the revolt, former slaves organized a government and controlled most of the colony for almost a year. The Dutch either fled altogether or holed up on a well-fortified sugar plantation near the coast. A regiment of European soldiers sent from neighboring Suriname mutinied and joined the rebels they had come to defeat. But obligated by treaties, indigenous peoples such as Carib and Arawak fought on the side of the Dutch. The revolt ended when the rebels, out of food and arms, were overpowered by enemies who had received an infusion of men and supplies from the Dutch Republic.

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The Anglo-Zanzibar War: The Shortest War in History

The story of the shortest war in history begins with a treaty between colonial powers. In 1890, Britain and Germany signed the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty which secured spheres of influence in East Africa. Germany was given control of mainland Tanzania, while Zanzibar fell under British control. 

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Africa’s World War: The Congo War

Reading time: 5 minutes
5.4 million people died in the deadliest war in modern African history. Yet, the event remains overlooked and understudied. A spill over war resulting from the Rwandan Genocide, fighting continued between the Hutu and Tutsi people, backed by Uganda. The First and Second Congo Wars caused the largest loss of life that has occurred since World War 2.

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