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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
November 21, 2012

Top of the Agenda

Top of the Agenda: DR Congo's Rebels Threaten To March To Kinsasha

Editor's note: There will be no Daily Brief Nov. 22-23 because of the Thanksgiving holiday. The brief will resume Nov. 26.

M23 rebel fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo said they were prepared to march to the capital city of Kinshasa and take control (Guardian) of the country after having captured the main eastern city of Goma. Thousands of Congolese troops defected to the rebels at a gathering of civilians, police and government soldiers at a football stadium in Goma, as the M23 military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Vianney Kazarama issued a message to the president, Joseph Kabila, and promised to "liberate" the country. The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned (BBC) Goma's seizure and called for sanctions against the rebels.


"Analysts say it is in Rwanda's interest to exert influence over areas of eastern Congo, where a million Hutu refugees fled after perpetrating the genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. This enables Rwanda to maintain a buffer zone and exploit the trade and trafficking of minerals. For its part, M23 may push on to another provincial capital, Bukavu, and seek an improved version of the 2009 peace deal," writes David Smith for The Guardian.

"[The Congolese armed forces are] being weakened by the periodic defection of the disloyal, and the demoralisation of loyal soldiers. But this vicious circle has the effect of encouraging the DRC government to consider reintergration as an option for rebels, since the army has less and less capacity to defeat them," writes Mélanie Gouby for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

"Kinshasa refused to see that they were playing a game of Russian roulette, banging the war drums, refusing to talk to M23 and attempting to play amateurish international politics, by blaming Rwanda and Uganda for M23. Well, it has seen the result of that; a hard slap in the face and the loss of one of DRC's biggest cities to a force no larger than 3,000 lightly armed mutineers. So, what's next?" writes Sunny Ntyombya for The New Times.



China Promotes Hu Ally to Propaganda Minister

China appointed on Wednesday Liu Qibao, the former party boss of Sichuan province and an ally of President Hu Jintao, as propaganda minister (Reuters) after its incumbent minister was promoted to the Standing Committee in the country's power transition. Liu is said to be unlikely to loosen China's censorship policies as the country's leaders continue to keep a close eye on domestic media.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea will likely pick its liberal presidential candidate (Yonhap), who will compete in the country's December 19 elections, by a nationwide survey.



Gunman from Mumbai Attacks Executed

Pakistan-born Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was hanged (AFP) in India on Wednesday nearly four years after 166 people were killed in a three-day rampage through India's financial capital.

AFGHANISTAN: Three Afghan security guards were killed in a suicide attack (NYT) in a heavily-guarded area of Kabul home to foreign embassies and NATO headquarters. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.



Diplomats Continue To Seek Peace Efforts in Gaza

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the West Bank on Wednesday to negotiate a truce between Israel and Hamas as violence continued in Gaza (WashPost), where at least twenty-six more Palestinians have been killed in the latest Israeli raids, raising the toll to 139. Meanwhile, a bomb that ripped through an Israeli bus near the nation's military headquarters in Tel Aviv wounded at least ten people.

In this CFR Media Conference Call, Mideast expert Robert Danin discusses the crisis in Gaza.

LIBYA: The head Benghazi's police was assassinated (TripoliPost) in front of his home, marking the eighteenth such killing in the eastern Libyan city where the uprising against the late Muammar Gaddafi began.



Violence Rises in Kenya

More than a dozen people were shot in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa, days after three Kenyan soldiers were killed in the town that borders Somalia (ANGOP), where al-Shabaab militants are based.

This CFR Backgrounder discusses the organization of al-Shabaab.



Eurozone Delays Decision on Greece

Eurozone finance ministers failed to agree (FT) on an extended aid program and payment of up to $40 billion in long-overdue aid to Athens, prompting harsh criticism from Greek political leaders. After almost 12 hours of talks, eurozone governments called a further meeting for next week to finally settle their differences with International Monetary Fund.

CFR's Sebastian Mallaby discusses the EU's budget debate in this interview.

BRITAIN: UK Prime Minister David Cameron promised to veto any new European Union budget that reduces Britain's annual rebate (Telegraph), which adjusts Britain's EU contributions to reflect the country's lower farm subsidies.



U.S., Mexico Reach Pact on Colorado River Water

U.S. and Mexican officials signed a five-year agreement aimed at boosting binational cooperation over the Colorado River (WashPost). The accord is an amendment of a 1944 U.S.-Mexico treaty that governs the allocation of resources from the river, which supplies seven U.S. and two Mexican states.

ARGENTINA: Argentinian opposition trade unions organized a general strike (MercoPress) in protest of the government's economic policies, paralyzing the country on Tuesday.



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