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The Lawfare Podcast: Much Ado About Coups with Naunihal Singh

Tyler McBrien, Naunihal Singh, Jen Patja
Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 8:00 AM
Last month's coup in Gabon was just one of nine in the last three years in West and Central Africa, including one in Niger earlier this summer.  

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On August 30, soldiers and high-ranking officers of the Armed Forces of Gabon seized control of government buildings and communication channels in the capital city of Libreville, detaining Gabon’s President Ali Bongo in his residence and declaring an end to the Bongo family’s 56-year rule. It was a coup—one of nine in the last three years in West and Central Africa, including in Niger just one month prior.  

Lawfare Managing Editor Tyler McBrien spoke with Naunihal Singh, author of the book Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups, to discuss the spate of coups in the region, the origins of coups, what makes certain countries more coup-prone than others, and the rise and fall of anti-coup norms during and after the Cold War. They also dispelled several coup myths, including the myth of the coup contagion.  

Tyler McBrien is the managing editor of Lawfare. He previously worked as an editor with the Council on Foreign Relations and a Princeton in Africa Fellow with Equal Education in South Africa, and holds an MA in international relations from the University of Chicago.
Naunihal Singh is an associate professor at the Naval War College and director of the Africa Regional Studies Group.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of the Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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