Quick Hits

Haiti wants to join the African Union 

Partisan stats: Of red-state moochers and blue state makers 

Romney’s elusive tax plan (funny)

Zuma’s failed presidency and South Africa’s labor unrest

Mo Ibrahim Prize goes unclaimed, again

Kenya might be seeing the origins of insurgency (More details on this soon)

where is Nkunda?

Laurent Nkunda remains imprisoned in Rwanda – at least as far as a google search can tell. This even as his minions – or have they taken over already, given the fractious nature of rebel movements on the Continent? – who have been integrated into the Congolese army issued a warning that they are going to resume fighting if Kinshasa does not control its “indisciplined” soldiers.

I keep thinking that the arrest of Nkunda might have done what taking out the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia did – it spawned a variety of splinter rebel groups each with its own litany of grievances, which continue bargaining with them even harder.

This may be counter-intuitive, but in the fight against rebel movements may be the protagonists – in this case Kinshasa, Kigali and other concerned parties – might find it more useful to strengthen the stronger movements and use them to take out the weaker ones with the guarantee that once they do this they will be given better terms at the negotiating table. This approach would eliminate “security dilemma” concerns since the governments would be supplying the strong rebel group with arms.

There are of course a ton of commitment problems that arise out of this approach. For one the government would not want the rebel group to get too strong. How to guarantee this is not very clear. Secondly, it would be hard to get guarantees from governments that they will not take out the rebel movement militarily in a more conventional attack after the latter take out the splinter groups who thrive on asymmetric warfare. May be a guarantee of integration afterwards? A cabinet job?

- if you think this is nuts, look at Iraq and possibly Afghanistan.