Media Review for November 20, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 11/20/2012

Please note: The following news items are presented here for informational purposes. The views expressed within them are those of the authors and/or individuals quoted, not those of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, the National Defense University, or the Department of Defense.

Today’s News

Congo rebels claim control of Goma, firing ceases
Congo rebels have taken control of the eastern city of Goma after days of clashes with U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers, a spokesman for the M23 rebel group said on Tuesday. Reuters

Rwanda and DRC trade accusations of shelling as tensions mount
Rwanda last night accused neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo of firing shells into its territory as a fifth day of fighting brought rebels closer to capturing the city of Goma. The Telegraph

Uganda blames leaked U.N. report for escalation in Congo conflict
Uganda on Tuesday blamed the escalation of fighting in eastern Congo on a leaked U.N. report that accused it and Rwanda of supporting Congolese rebels, a document Kampala said damaged its mediation efforts. Reuters

Violence In Congo Is The Worst In Four Years
As all eyes turn to the fighting between Israel and fighters in Hamas-controlled Gaza, another long-simmering conflict has reemerged with full force. Bloodshed has once again come to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Congolese forces and U.N. peacekeepers, equipped with attack helicopters, battle the supposedly Rwandan-backed M23 militant group. The rebels have given the Congolese government 24 hours to begin truce talks or face a continuation of violence that is some of the worst in four years. NPR

Intervening in Northern Mali: Don’t Forget the Ethnic Dimension
While ethnicity is not a key driver of the current conflict in northern Mali, there is a real danger violence could become organised along ethnic lines. Think Africa Press

Military Intervention in Mali: Military Logistics and Human Costs
[...] Aerial reconnaissance and targeted drone strikes might have been effective a year ago when Islamist fighters were holed up in the desert or camped in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains. But now they have moved into the villages, towns and cities across their region. And their number has reportedly been swelled due to the arrival of foreign fighters, recruitment of economically impoverished locals and the forced recruitment of children. The Huffington Post

Mission impossible in Mali
European foreign ministers have been discussing military intervention against Islamists in northern Mali. But religious extremism is just one of several problems in the country. Deutsche Welle

Islamists Take Northern Mali Town from Secular Rebels
Residents in northern Mali say Islamic rebels have taken the town of Menaca from secular Tuareg rebels. Witnesses in Menaca, as well as the town’s mayor (Baay Ag Muhammed) who is in exile in the capital, Bamako, tell VOA that rebels from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, are in control of the town. VOA

Malians listen for the sound of drones
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal argues that the fact Islamist extremists in northern Mali do not enjoy the support of the local population, combined with the area’s flat desert landscape, “suggest that an aggressive Pakistan-style drone campaign can have results”. With the French reported to be moving surveillance drones into the region, an intensive drone campaign supporting a relatively small number of ground troops may seem an attractive option for the intervention forces. But the reality is unlikely to be quite so simple. The Guardian

Egypt’s Sinai rife with crime and terrorism
Dire economic circumstances and decades of neglect under Mubarak have turned Egypt’s Sinai into a breeding ground for criminals and radical Islamists. So far, the authorities have failed to deal with the problem. Deutsche Welle

Top Qaeda commander reportedly killed in Algeria
The Algerian army has killed three Islamists in the restive Kabylie region, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s top military commander, several Algerian newspapers reported on Monday. Rabah Makhfi, 45, also known as Sheikh Nacer and considered AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droukdel’s right hand man, was among the three killed in Bejaia, 250 kilometres (155 miles) east of Algiers, on Friday, Arabic-language daily Ennahar reported. His death has not been officially confirmed. Middle East Online

Mauritania’s Uncertain Position in Face of President’s Extended Recuperation
One month ago, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz was shot and evacuated to Paris. He has not returned. At the best of times, the president’s absence is not good, but this timing is especially troublesome because of the uncertainty next door in Mali. Almost half the country is clumsily controlled by non-state actors, some of whom have links to al-Qaeda. Is Mauritania the next shoe to drop in the Sahara/Sahel crisis? Council on Foreign Relations

Kenyan soldiers ‘rampage’ after Garissa shooting
Scores of Kenyan troops have gone on the rampage, beating and detaining residents of the eastern town of Garissa, after three soldiers were shot dead by unknown gunmen. BBC

Religious violence feared after bus bombing in Kenya (+video)
Fears of religious violence in Kenya are on the rise today following a weekend bus bombing in Nairobi’s predominately Somali neighborhood, the third explosion there this month. Eyewitnesses said a male attacker, disguised in a Bui-Bui, a shawl often worn by Muslim women, threw an improvised explosive device into the minibus, tearing it apart and flattening its tires. “The terrorist’s intention is to cause friction between Christians and Muslims…. I urge for calm,” said Kenya’s Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. CS Monitor

The Mayor of Mogadishu
Andrew Harding meets the Mayor with the job of running Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Can the man nicknamed “Tarzan” tackle mass corruption and the physical and psychological impact of years of brutal warfare? Andrew joins Mohamed Ahmed Noor who, by request of the president, has returned with his wife and family from a life in London to try and clean up Mogadishu. BBC

Renamo threatens to destroy Mozambique
Renamo leader and commander-in chief Alfonso Dhlakama has said his army will return to war and destroy Mozambique unless the government of President Armando Guebuza meets several demands, key among them political reforms and a revision of the 1992 peace accord which ended the country’s civil war and led to the integration of former Renamo fighters into the army, police and state institutions. DefenceWeb

Mozambique war fears shakes Zimbabwe politicians
Political parties in Zimbabwe have expressed concern that threats by former Mozambique rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama to wage war in his country will spark fresh instability in the region. The Africa Report

Ambassador Rice at U.N. Debate on Combating Piracy
Remarks by Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At a Security Council Debate on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Piracy. State.gov

China and DR Congo reach communications satellite deal
China is to launch a communications satellite for the Democratic Republic of Congo within the next three years, Chinese state-owned media reports. DR Congo will be the second African country after Nigeria to have such technology. The satellite, known as CongoSat-01, will be launched from the Chinese province of Sichuan, Xinhua news agency reports. BBC

S.Leone braces for poll results amid fraud claims
Sierra Leone’s election received kudos from observers Monday for being peaceful and well-organised, but concerns spiked over potential violence around results as the opposition alleged poll fraud. AFP

Does South Africa really understand Africa?
South Africa has spent over a decade defining itself as different from the rest of Africa. Now, as its foreign policy pivots back to Africa and seeks to cash in on the continent’s growth, the country has sought to define itself as the leader of, and commercial gateway to, the continent. But the differences between South Africa and the rest of Africa are stark. If South Africa is nothing like the rest of Africa, what claim does it have to be its gateway, let alone its leader? Does South Africa even understand Africa? African Argument

Everything You Need to Know About Susan Rice
President Barack Obama buoyed Susan Rice’s hopes for becoming the next U.S. secretary of state last week, putting her Republican critics — including Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — on notice that he will not be deterred by their “outrageous” threats to block her nomination over controversial comments she gave on the Sunday morning talk shows following the Benghazi attack. “When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.” Foreign Policy

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