A confidential report by a United Nations group of experts that was leaked to the media has led to rising tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. The report follows recent allegations of Rwandan backing for a mutiny by elements of the Congolese army in April, when soldiers in eastern Congo defected and formed the March 23 Movement rebel group. The U.N. group of experts found that Rwanda has played a pivotal role by providing direct support not only to M23, but also to other armed groups in the area. “Apparently Rwanda has been involved in […]

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South Africa’s economy is still in the apartheid era and blacks must wrest control of the continent’s financial and mining powerhouse from the white minority, President Jacob Zuma says at the start of the ANC’s policy conference. World News Videos by NewsLook

Suicide car bombers attacked three churches in northern Nigeria over the weekend, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens more. The attacks, for which Boko Haram has claimed responsibility, sparked reprisal killings, while also focusing international attention on the religious tensions in the West African country split between a Muslim-majority north and a Christian-majority south. Zachary Warner, a research analyst in Africana Studies at Bowdoin College, told Trend Lines that it is important to understand these attacks as part of a broader battle for control of the public space, which includes social practices, morality and governance, in northern Nigeria […]

The United States military is expanding its secret intelligence operations across the African continent, according to an article in the Washington Post. The article explains that close to a dozen air bases have been set up over the past five years. The aircraft that fly in and out of these air bases are equipped with surveillance equipment and disguised as private planes. These operations will only intensify as the U.S. continues to fight a “growing shadow war” against militants in the region. Describing how the United States Africa Command, or Africom, has grown in size and scope in recent years, […]

Mauritania, and its periodic bouts of political instability, has important implications for the trajectory of secret U.S. military operations in Africa, as a recent article by Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post shows. American spy planes have flown out of Mauritania on and off for several years, but politics has sometimes constrained America’s role there. In 2008, for instance, a coup in Mauritania “forced Washington to suspend relations and end the surveillance,” Whitlock writes. Today, Mauritania’s potential significance to the U.S. military is increasing. In neighboring Mali, torn apart by a civil war since January, the Islamist group Ansar al […]

Since April, when two Tuareg rebel groups drove government forces out of northern Mali, the situation in the sparsely populated region has steadily worsened. The lightning advance of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), which seeks independence for the Tuareg homeland, and Ansar Dine, which has an Islamist agenda, triggered a coup of disgruntled junior officers against President Amadou Toumai Touré, with the resulting political instability in Bamako leaving the army incapacitated and the rebels the effective rulers of roughly half the country’s territory. Though the two groups worked together to launch the rebellion, Ansar Dine […]

With budgetary constraints looming and global priorities shifting, the U.S. military is in the process of pursuing leaner and more adaptive ways to achieve U.S. national security objectives around the globe. This effort is in accordance with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (.pdf), which recognizes the need for the military to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region and sustain its focus on the Middle East, while maintaining current defense commitments in other parts of the world. One of the new approaches being developed is the Regionally Aligned Brigade concept, through which each regional combatant command (COCOM) would […]