The globalization of terrorism over the last decade has created a situation in which the number one threat to international security is no longer strong, conquering states, but failing ones that provide safe havens for terrorist organizations. Drug trafficking in Africa reflects the heart of this concern. The illicit trade is both contributing to the deterioration of state institutions – which could result in state collapse – and financing terrorist groups like AQIM and Al-Shabaab. So far the international community has not treated the matter with the urgency it deserves. The consequences of inaction will be dire, as has already been seen in Central America. The region’s misfortune of being an important transit route between South American cocaine production centers and North American consumers has resulted in the highest murder rates in the world, fueled by transnational organized crime and drug trafficking. The statistics are astonishing: Among 20-year old men in some Central American countries, 1 in 50 will be murdered before they are 32. Africa, a region already replete with weak states, might be next if drug trafficking on the continent continues to grow.
UPDATE: The coup leaders have set up a transitional government and dissolved all state institutions.
The BBC reports:
Soldiers have taken control of much of the capital of the Guinea-Bissau in what appears to be a coup attempt.
Heavy gunfire was been heard in the city of Bissau and the residence of outgoing President Carlos Gomes was reportedly attacked.
Troops have also taken control of the national radio station and the ruling party’s headquarters.
I have a strong feeling that this latest coup attempt (just like the murder of President Vieira and Gen. Waie and last December’s coup attempt) is related to the drug trade. Since mid last year the country has witnessed multiple coup attempts, despite a brief flirtation with democratic rule under the late President Sanha.
Guinea-Bissau is among West Africa’s budding narco states which have, in the last decade or so, become a major transit point of drugs from Latin America destined for European markets.