Weekly Links

By Danny Hirschel-Burns

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Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, “The Night Patrol at Smyrna,” 1831. Via Thomas Hawk.

For Somali refugees in Kenya’s Dabaab camp, ‘winning the lottery’ and resettling in a Western country is everyone’s dream. But countries like Sweden are hesitant about allowing whole families to move, leaving lottery-winners with a stark choice: is the risk of never seeing your family again worth an inflated income? Writing in the Guardian, Ben Rawlence’s story of Somali refugee Amin is exceptionally poignant. Speaking of Dabaab, John Campbell writes that closing the camp in the wake of the Garissa attacks would be a disaster.

The Intercept has a long-form article looking at what the Mexican government actually knows about the 43 students that disappeared in Ayotzinapa.

Saddam Hussein’s birthplace Tikrit managed to escape much of the worst of Iraq’s violence since 2003. However, the Islamic State slowly destroyed the community, beginning long before thirty of its fighters managed to run off all of its governmental defenders.

Burundi is in crisis mode right now after President Nkurunziza declared his intention to stand for a probably-unconstitutional third term. Protests are about to enter their third week and show no signs of abating. Yolande Bouka reminds us that the roots of this crisis go back many years. On the same topic, Jesper Bjarnesen writes on the identity of those protesting in Bujumbura.

Does ideology affect how insurgents respond to coercive counterinsurgent violence? In the case of Islamists, Monica Duffy Toft and Yuri Zhukov think so.

There are always ways to improve forecasting, but as Jay Ulfelder argues, the problem isn’t with the forecasters, it’s with the data. Until there’s better constantly updated micro-level data, forecasting certain rare political events will remain extremely difficult.

Though Muhammadu Buhari’s government seems better equipped to deal with Boko Haram than Goodluck Jonathan’s, the solution still lies beyond military means.

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