Stephen Rakowski is a Sub-Saharan Africa Analyst at Stratfor, where he monitors political, security and economic trends unfolding across the continent. Mr. Rakowski holds a master's in government with a focus on diplomacy and conflict studies from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel. He also holds a bachelor's in international relations from Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland. In addition to his studies, Mr. Rakowski has traveled and lived throughout Madagascar, Morocco and Kyrgyzstan.
Since a failed attempt to overthrow it nearly 40 years ago, the Saudi royal family has acted to prove its Islamic legitimacy. Some fundamentalists will never be convinced.
Europe will be watching the presidential race carefully. But it won't be the only continent with its eye on Paris.
Any place elite barons of authority convene can, at least temporarily, join the ranks of the world's important spaces. In countries where power is contested, a hotel's neutral space might be the only option for political or military rivals to engage in talks or to trade information, though this can also attract intelligence agency surveillance.
A series of mutinies could undermine Ivorian stability ahead of the country's next presidential race.
For countries without colonial interests in Africa, the wave of independence movements offered an opportunity to make inroads in nations outside their traditional spheres of influence. Providing physical security for a leader and his or her family is a particularly useful tool for a country that wants to assert its influence without committing extensive resources.