Sunday, July 11, 2010

Breaking News:

Three synchronized bombs exploded in Kampala today during the World Cup final, killing at least fifty (some reports range to over 60). While many will turn their eyes to the LRA and Kony, there is another, game-changing possibility.

D&D Snap Analysis:

Synchronized explosions in crowded soft targets are not typical for the LRA, they are more typical to traditional AQ actions. This possibility is further magnified by comments made tonight by Sheik Yousuf Sheik Issa (al Shabaab Commander) in Mogadishu to an AP reporter:

"Uganda is one of our enemies...whatever makes them cry makes us happy. May Allah's anger be upon those who are against us."
If this is an Al Shabaab operation, it will mark their first outside of Somalia, and a clear shifting in both their capabilities and aims within the region. It may also signal that they are seeking some form of horizontal escalation of their conflict inside of Somalia.

More on this soon, as more details emerge.

Louisa Seferis 
Demagogues and Dictators Central African Analyst      
On the 28th of May, the UN Security Council reached an acceptable compromise with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the future of its UN mission in the DRC. Kabila’s government, which had requested a complete withdrawal of UN troops for the 50th anniversary of DRC independence on June 30th, signed off on the following changes:

The resolution authorized the withdrawal of up to 2,000 UN military personnel by 30 June this year from areas where security has improved enough to allow their removal.
 [This, Alan Doss reported in May 2010, will mainly be from Western provinces to avoid troop withdrawal in the “volatile East.”]
The Council decided that MONUSCO shall comprise, in addition to the appropriate civilian, judiciary and correction components, a maximum of 19,815 military personnel, 760 military observers, 391 police personnel and 1,050 personnel of formed police units.(Source: UN Security Council)
MONUSCO, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly MONUC), now has a mandate until June 30, 2011. The new mandate prioritizes stability, as the name suggests, through the promotion of military and non-military solutions as well as the protection of civilians. Kabila would have liked to see MONUC depart this 30th of June, however, in time for his impressive display of development during the 50 years of Congolese independence. The main boulevard became a six lane highway, street lights were switched on with ceremonial fanfare, and the King of Belgium only waited for three hours for the parade to begin. But as one of my Congolese colleagues said to me, “We wait to see if the progress continues to be a reality. This is already better than Mobutu, but you can’t feed yourself on empty promises.”

The big problem with celebrating 50 years of independence and demonstrating development is the presence of severe pockets of violence throughout the DRC.

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