Missed a week again as I was away in the greatest city in the world. But have no fear, a double helping of news roundup is here for all to see.
Nigeria: In the most drastic measures taken since Boko Haram’s inception in 2009, President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northern provinces and launched a “massive” military campaign to drive out the Islamic terrorist group.
Turning to the other end of the country, Zainab’s Musings examines a recent USIP report on instability in the Niger Delta.
Mali: Things are getting dicey as the Malian military advances on Kidal, currently held by secular Tuareg rebels (MNLA) who refuse to give up the city. However, French forces have thus far encouraged the Malian military to hold back, instead favoring a political solution to resolve the dispute. If Malian forces enter Kidal, the result would very likely be a bloody battle.
Another MNLA spinoff emerged last week, as a group of Tuareg leaders around Kidal formed the “High Council for the Azawad.” They agreed to negotiate with the Malian government.
Hannah Armstrong has a fascinating report on the treatment of “light-skinned” populations in northern Mali.
DRC: Reuters takes a look at the M23 rebels as a UN intervention brigade, created to extinguish them, looms.
Jason Stearns examines competing peace proposals to stem violence in eastern Congo.
Chad: Reuters explores Chad’s role as an “African power broker” as French influence recedes.
Middle East and North Africa
Tunisia: Ansar al-Sharia is becoming quite the hot topic for North Africa/counterterrorism analysts. The Tunisian government is leading a significant offensive to expel the hardline Islamist group from its rural and urban strongholds. Ansar al-Sharia’s growing violence is already spoiling Tunisia’s post-Arab Spring promise. Andrew Lebovich has a good primer here.
Pakistan: Authorities arrested Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Karachi chief.
Thailand: The Atlantic reports on the ongoing Islamist rebellion in Pattani state.
Venezuela: New President Nicolas Maduro deployed the Venezuelan military into the streets of Caracas to quell crime.