Somalia has until August to complete political reform, inaugurate a new constitution and hold national elections before the end of the transitional period. It must also capitalise on the Kenyan incursion to rout Al-Shabaab and establish security in this enduring weak state, making 2012 a make-or-break year for Somalia.
UK naval forces have stepped up anti-piracy operations and the use of force in the Indian Ocean. This could, however, signal an escalation and lead to a more dangerous phase in the battle against Somali pirates.
In the last few weeks, gangs based in Somalia kidnapped tourists visiting Kenya. Just a few days later, a massive suicide bomb ripped through Mogadishu, claiming dozens of lives and shattering the relative peace that had followed Shabaab's withdrawal. The events pose a fresh challenge to the Somali government's road map for security and development.
By Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African SocietyParts of Africa have become zones of interest for the US, but its focus on military operations might be counter-productive. Instead the decision by China to focus on resources and commerce could prove far greater in significance.
While the recent terrorist attack in Algeria shone the spotlight on threats from North Africa, this is not a new phenomenon. Terrorist threats to UK citizens at home and abroad will continue to arise...