Africa
Goma

DRC: Goma swells with displaced as M23 advance

Renewed fighting between the M23 armed group and pro-government forces in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has pushed thousands more people into Goma, the largest city in the east and a humanitarian aid hub that is now encircled by the Rwanda-backed rebels. Goma’s previous population was around 1.5 million, but an additional 700,000 people have arrived during the past two years of conflict, including more than 200,000 that have come in recent weeks as the M23 expands its control over an unprecedented amount of territory. The city is buckling under a huge strain, with overwhelmed displacement camps, food prices soaring, and fear of an M23 takeover looming large. (Photo: Arlette Bashizi/TNH)

Africa
DRC

DR Congo expels peacekeepers

The Congolese government has said a regional peacekeeping mission will have to leave the country by December. The force was deployed by the East African Community (EAC) bloc last year amid an insurgency by the M23 rebel group, which is backed by Rwanda. Kinshasa wanted the force to militarily engage the M23, but that proved tricky given that Rwanda is an EAC member state. Fighting between the M23 and pro-government militias has intensified, rupturing a shaky ceasefire. More than 50,000 people have been displaced from their homes by the renewed fighting. (Photo: MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
ICC

DRC files ICC complaint against Rwanda

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Minister of Justice Rose Mutombo filed an International Criminal Court (ICC) complaint against Rwanda over its alleged involvement in the theft of natural resources in the DRC. The minister charged that the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) have been collaborating with the M23 rebel group, which has taken control of areas in Northern Kivu province near the DRC’s border with Rwanda. The complaint accuses the “RDF-M23 coalition” of “systematic and large-scale plundering of…natural resources” in the rebels’ zone of control. There has been an open ICC investigation into eastern DRC since 2004. (Photo: OSeveno/WikiMedia)

Africa
DRC

Another intervention in eastern DR Congo?

Congolese President F√©lix Tshisekedi has threatened to terminate the mandate of an East African Community military force that deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year. The force was set up to contain an insurgency by the Rwanda-backed M23 rebel group, which has uprooted nearly a million people in the country’s¬†east. The EAC claims the rebels have pulled back from occupied areas thanks to their intervention, but Congolese officials say the group remains at large and accuse the EAC of inaction. The regional mission was unpopular from the outset among Congolese, who are mindful of the destructive role neighboring states have played in their country. Yet new military interventions are being prepared, with the Southern African Development Community (led by¬†South Africa¬†and Tanzania) announcing plans to deploy troops. (Photo:¬†MONUSCO via Defense Post)

Africa
DRC

Massacres mount in eastern DRC

Fighters from the ISIS-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the¬†CODECO¬†ethnic miitia¬†have¬†each carried out multiple massacres of villagers in Ituri and North Kivu provinces¬†of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the past weeks. The M23 rebel group, said to be backed by Rwanda, has meanwhile captured new territory in North Kivu, further closing the ring around¬†Goma, the largest city in the DRC’s east. Regional tensions rose after Rwanda fired on a Congolese fighter jet, claiming it had breached its airspace. Kinshasa denied the accusation and called the shooting “an act of war.” (Map: CIA)

Africa
DRC

Massacre claim overshadows DRC peace talks

A third round of peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo and rebel movements opened in Kenya. More than 50 armed and civil society groups are¬†present at the dialogue.¬†Rwanda, accused of backing the¬†M23 rebels, has also been invited to this round‚ÄĒbut not the M23 themselves. And the¬†talks are overshadowed by accusations of a massacre of 50 civilians by the M23 in the town of Kishishe, Noth Kivu province. In a statement, the M23 rejected the claims and accused the DRC government of preparing a “genocide” against Congolese Tutsi. The M23 meanwhile continue their advance on the provincial capital of Goma. (Map: CIA)

Africa
DRC

East African troops deploy against M23 in Congo

Kenya is set to deploy a battalion of soldiers to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a regional military response to advancing M23 rebels. Kenya will command the new East African force, which will include troops from Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda. A notable absentee from this intervention will be Rwanda: Congo accuses Kigali of supporting M23, and tensions are soaring. In the past weeks, M23 has dramatically expanded the territory it controls, forcing UN peacekeepers to abandon a strategic base at Rumangabo, and closing in on the key city of Goma. In a region with a history of foreign meddling‚ÄĒin which more than 120 rebel groups operate‚ÄĒthe East African deployment is distrusted. Both Burundi and Uganda already have troops inside Congo pursuing their own interests. (Map: CIA)

Africa
cabo delgado

Mozambique insurgency spreading ‚ÄĒagain

It’s been a year since forces from Rwanda and a southern African regional bloc deployed to Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province to battle a jihadist insurgency. Yet attacks are rising again, with more people displaced last month (over 60,000) than at anytime this year. Foreign troops helped capture major towns from the insurgents‚Äďknown locally as al-Shabab‚Äďallowing some displaced people to return home. But scattered fighters regrouped and are now spreading their attacks to southern parts of the province previously untouched by conflict. The new incursions have led to reports of beheadings and sparked security fears in Pemba, the provincial capital and a hub for aid operations. Humanitarian groups are calling for increased funds, with around 800,000 people uprooted since the start of the insurgency in late 2017. The militants are affiliated to the so-called Islamic State, but a mix of local issues is driving the war. (Map via¬†Moscow Times)

Africa
congo

Confused DRC peace dialogue in Kenya

The first round of talks between armed groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo concluded¬†in Nairobi. The Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wasn’t invited, however, while the Ituri-based CODECO was approached but didn’t attend. M23 representatives were meanwhile ordered out after their forces resumed clashes with the DRC military. The talks followed an East African Community summit in which heads of state agreed to set up a regional military force to fight rebels unwilling to lay down their arms. A UN peacekeeping mission operates in the DRC but is making drawdown plans. The Ugandan army is also intervening in the country, while martial law has been declared in the volatile eastern provinces for a year. Rebel attacks and abuses by soldiers continue, and nearly three million people were displaced last year alone.¬†(Image: Pixabay)

Watching the Shadows
anti-chomsky

Podcast: against Chomsky’s genocide complicity

In Episode 120 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg invites the enmity of his comrades on the left with a long-overdue deconstruction of the increasingly sinister, genocide-abetting politics of Noam Chomsky. In relentless sycophantic interviews, Chomsky inevitably opposes a no-fly zone for Ukraine, war crimes charges against Putin, or even sanctions against Russia, on the basis that such moves would lead to nuclear war. He offers no acknowledgment of how capitulating to Putin’s nuclear threats incentivizes such threats, and the stockpiling of missiles and warheads to back them up. This is part of a long pattern with Chomsky. He has repeatedly engaged in baseless “false flag” theorizing about the Syria chemical attacks, leading activists in the Arab world to accuse him of “regime whitewashing.” He similarly abetted Bosnia genocide revisionism, and denial of the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia. All this can be traced to the analytical and ultimately moral distortions of the so-called “Chomsky rule“‚ÄĒthe notion that we are only allowed to criticize crimes committed by “our” side. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Image via social media)

Africa
kivu

DR Congo: M23 rebels stage bloody comeback

Thousands have been displaced after new fighting broke out between M23 rebels and the army in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province. A UN helicopter was shot down¬†(for which both sides blamed each¬†other), and the fighting has sparked regional tensions as Kinshasa accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels (a charge Kigali denies). M23 was responsible for the last major rebellion in eastern DRC, seizing large chunks of territory 10 years ago before a joint UN-government offensive forced its fighters into Uganda and Rwanda. Efforts to demobilize the group stalled and a cluster of combatants have re-entered the DRC. The strength of the group remains unclear, as are its objectives. M23 is but one of over 100 armed groups active in eastern DRC. (Photo:¬†Guy Hubbard/UNICEF)

Oceania
Nauru

Pact indefinitely keeps open ‘Australia’s Gitmo’

A new memorandum of understanding was signed¬†allowing Australia to continue to indefinitely detain asylum seekers at a facility on the Pacific island of Nauru. Since 2012, asylum seekers arriving by boat have been barred from settlement in Australia and sent to offshore detention centers instead. The deal extending use of the Nauru facility comes just as the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) finally reached an agreement to close the contentious Manus Island Regional Processing Center, which¬†was found to be illegal by the PNG Supreme Court in 2016. Most of those held there are now to be transferred to Nauru.¬†Both the Manus Island and Nauru facilities have been criticized by rights groups as “Australia’s Guant√°namo.” (Photo of Nauru facility via Wikipedia)