The Mail & Guardian takes a look at the continent's new and not-so-new leaders who were elected into office this year.
United States forces were drawn deeper into Iraq's four day-old crackdown on Shi'ite militants on Friday, launching air strikes in Basra for the first time and battling militants in Baghdad. The fighting has exposed a rift within the majority Shi'ite community and put pressure on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Militants loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with Iraqi security forces throughout Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra for a second day on Wednesday. A health official said 40 people had been killed and 200 wounded in the first day of the clashes, including civilians, gunmen and Iraqi security forces.