Media Review for November 30, 2012

By Africa Center Media Review
Updated: 11/30/2012

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

Rwandan Ghosts: Benghazi isn’t the biggest blight on Susan Rice’s record
[...] It’s also unfortunate that the “scandal” has crowded out a healthy discussion of her two-decade record as U.S. diplomat and policymaker prior to Sept. 2012 — and drawn attention away from actions for which she bears far greater responsibility than Benghazi. Her role in shaping U.S. policy toward Central Africa should feature high on this list. Between 1993 and 2001, she helped form U.S. responses to the Rwandan genocide, events in post-genocide Rwanda, mass violence in Burundi, and two ruinous wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Foreign Policy

The Controversial Africa Policy of Susan Rice
[...] As the conflict in the Eastern DRC escalated, and as two U.N. reports provided extensive evidence of official Rwandan and Ugandan support for the M23 rebel group, Rice’s delegation blocked any mention of the conflict’s most important state actors in a Security Council statement. And in June, the U.S. attempted to delay the release of a UN Group of Experts report alleging ties between Rwanda and M23. The Atlantic

Congo urgently needs U.S. help – Opinion, by Ben Affleck
[...] President Obama is well acquainted with this crisis. During his career in the Senate, he authored the Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act. The president should appoint a temporary envoy to signal clearly that finding a lasting solution is a priority for his administration. Past models for this approach — sending Sen. John Kerry to Sudan, veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke to the Balkans or Gen. Colin Powell to Haiti — demonstrate that high-level diplomatic intervention at the right moment can cut through deadly impasse and open the path toward lasting stability. The Washington Post

Rwanda ‘wanted new DR Congo rebel front’
Rwandan support for rebels in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo may be more widespread than previously believed, the BBC has found. Kigali has already rejected UN accusations that it is backing the M23 rebel group which recently captured the strategic eastern city of Goma. Two ex-rebel fighters told the BBC they were offered money from Rwanda to set up a new front further south. BBC

In DR Congo, Goma residents worry about life after rebels’ departure
Rebels who took Goma, DR Congo’s second-largest city, have sent mixed messages about withdrawal. Some residents say security improved after the rebels claimed the city. CS Monitor

Kabila looks into the abyss
After the eastern rebels trounce the national army and opposition movements step up the pressure, the President is fighting for his political life. Africa Confidential

DRC: Failed military deal scuppers Zimbabwe intervention
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is reported to be reluctant to send soldiers to back his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart Joseph Kabila because his government is owed $1 billion incurred during its previous deployment in 1998. The Africa Report

Mali crisis: UN’s Ban gives AU mission guarded support
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recommended conditional backing for a one-year African Union mission against Islamist militants in Mali. Mr Ban did not offer any financial support, and said African nations needed to answer basic questions about how the force would be run. BBC

AU chair disappointed in UN chief report on Mali force
The African Union’s chairman, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi, expressed disappointment Thursday at UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s lukewarm report on a proposed military force to reclaim Islamist-occupied northern Mali. AFP

Al-Qaeda urges Mali to reject foreign troops
A top al-Qaeda commander in North Africa has urged the people of Mali to reject foreign intervention as a way of solving the country’s conflict. “To the great and proud Muslim people of Mali we say, the problem in your country is an issue between Muslims,” said Abu Mosaab Abdulwadood in a videotaped message obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera

Mauritania President : We won’t take part in Mali war
Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz says his country will not take part in a planned military intervention in Mali because the operation will have “grave consequences.” Aziz said in an interview broadcast on state television that the intervention is bound to create more problems “because the terrorists have arms and when they leave the cities, they will go find refuge in the desert, and continue to carry out terrorist activities.” AP on Taiwan News

Ansar al-Din plays double game
Ansar al-Din has yet to deliver on its promise to reject extremism and terrorism, fight trans-border organised crime and engage in a dialogue with all parties to the Mali crisis, activists from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) told Magharebia. Ansar al-Din sent military reinforcements to Gao to back up MUJAO in its confrontation with the MNLA, al-Akhbar reported on November 21st. Magharebia

Egyptian Islamists Approve Draft Constitution Despite Objections
Racing against the threat of dissolution by judges appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak, and ignoring howls of protest from secular opponents, the Islamists drafting Egypt’s new constitution voted Friday to approve a charter that human rights groups and international experts said was full of holes and ambiguities. The New York Times

All eyes on Egypt’s military as Morsi, judges battle for power
There is only one intact Egyptian institution capable of stopping a constitutional crisis that threatens to drive the nation into legal limbo and force its citizens to vote on a rushed constitution, and so far, the Egyptian military is showing no signs of getting involved. Instead, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and the country’s judiciary are locked in a game of chicken: Either Morsi will back down from a controversial decree that exempted his decisions from judicial review, or the courts will let the decree, which nullifies their power, stand until the nation ratifies a hastily approved permanent constitution. McClatchy

Tunisian salafist discusses path to extremism
Dressed in shirt to mid-calf, baggy pants, a hat on his head and with a thick beard, Ali Azizi is a 28-year-old trader from Sidi Bouzid. Magharebia caught up with the young salafist as he was working in one of the poorer suburbs of Tunis. “Praise be to God, God finally guided me to the right track, and enlightened the darkness of my path after I had been immersed in the pleasures of life,” Azizi said as he began to discuss how he first became involved with salafism. Magharebia

Uganda Kill the Gays Bill: Everything You Need to Know about Anti Gay Bill
Ugandan legislators are poised to pass the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill as early as Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what you need to know about this bill. The bill increases criminal penalties on homosexual acts and excludes LGBT individuals from society. It has allegedly been subject to recent revision, but no copies of the revised bill have been made publicly available. Policymic

Tanzania’s CCM: Is the Benign Hegemony Crumbling?
Tanzania’s governing Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party held its 8th National Congress on 14 November 2012 at which President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was re-elected as the party’s national chairman. CCM, one of Africa’s longest-ruling parties, has not faced a serious threat to its rule in the two decades of the country’s multiparty dispensation. Once viewed as one of the strongest political parties south of the Sahara, the party has, however, in the recent past suffered mixed fortunes amid allegations of corruption and internal wrangling over the 2015 succession. ISS

Lack of trust slows Sudan-South Sudan deals: US envoy
A lack of trust between Sudan and South Sudan has prevented the implementation of crucial security and economic deals signed by the two countries two months ago, a senior US envoy said on Thursday. Princeton Lyman, US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, warned that obtaining that trust will be difficult unless an insurgency — allegedly backed by South Sudan — ends in Sudan’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. AFP

South African government ‘unlawfully’ delayed Dalai Lama visa decision, court rules
The South African government acted unlawfully by “deliberately delaying” a decision on whether to grant the Dalai Lama a visa last year, a court has ruled. South Africa had been accused of pandering to China by dragging its heels on a visa request from the Tibetan spiritual leader, leading to the cancelation of his planned trip to attend the Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday party in October 2011. Globalpost

Nigeria : Failure to prosecute
The major atrocities in northern Nigeria’s violent insurgency have been widely reported: church bombings, including an attack on Christmas Day; attacks on government buildings, newspaper offices, and the UN building in the capital, Abuja. But these reports hardly do justice to the relentless daily toll of violence over the past two years. IRIN

Botswana to ban wildlife hunting
Botswana, one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, said Thursday it will ban commercial hunting of wildlife because of a decline in animal populations. The government has decided to “indefinitely suspend commercial hunting of wildlife in public or controlled hunting areas” from January 1, 2014, the environment ministry said in a statement. AFP

Ethiopian PM Reshuffles Cabinet
Ethiopian lawmakers approved four new ministers on Thursday, including a new foreign minister, as Ethiopian leader Hailemariam Desalegn reshuffles his cabinet. Ethiopia now has three deputy prime ministers. Two months after Hailemariam Desalegn was named prime minister of Ethiopia, he made the first changes in his cabinet. VOA

Kenya Electoral Body to Decide Voting Status of Diaspora Citizens

Kenyan justice and constitution minister says the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will make an official decision Friday on the voting status of citizens living abroad. But Minister Eugene Wamalwa says the government stands by its decision that logistical challenges will make it impossible for Kenyans in the diaspora to register to vote in the March 4th poll. VOA

Guyana officials seize drugs destined for Nigeria
Authorities in Guyana say they have seized more than 350 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a shipment of soap destined for Nigeria. The South American country’s revenue authority says police and customs agents found the drugs Thursday in a shipping container filled with soap powder that was stored on a ship set to sail for the West African nation next week. AP on Kens5

Benin: ‘Voodoo link’ as graves desecrated in Porto-Novo
More than 100 graves have been desecrated in a cemetery near Benin’s capital, Porto-Novo, police say. The grave robbers cut the heads off the bodies and also stole some internal organs. The BBC’s Vincent Nnanna in Benin says there is a suspicion the crime is linked to extreme Voodoo practices of using body parts as lucky charms. It is the first such incident in the West African nation, where Voodoo is an official religion, he says. BBC

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