Our friends in Bahrain are truly running with us.
Appetite for Discovery helped organize whistleblowers in the Middle East to take the Bahrain International Marathon.
LAST WEEK: NEW FIGHT OVER WALIKALE GOLD MINE
Thousands of Congolese people and 11 Doctors Without Borders employees fled into the forest last week to escape clashes between 2 rebel groups fighting for control of Pinga town in Walikale District.
The prize in this fight is the Omate gold mine, which has lined the pockets of General Gabriel Amissi, the Congolese army’s former Chief of Staff. Amissi controlled Omate for years, maintaining his power by providing ammunition and weapons to the Raia Mutomboki (a local armed group). Amissi’s illegal control of Omate was revealed by the UN Group of Experts last year, which led to his dismissal from his post.
According to a new report from Global Witness, Amissi’s deputy, Col. Mundos (a member of Joseph Kabila’s Presidential Guard), continues managing production at the mine on his behalf and sending the profits to his boss who now lives comfortably in Kinshasa and has yet to face justice for his crimes.
NEW US ENVOY: RUSS FEINGOLD?
DC is abuzz with rumors that former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is preparing to return to the city to serve as the new U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region. Secretary of State John Kerry supported the creation of this position while in the Senate and is making good on his proposal now that he’s in charge.
According to John Nichols at Wisconsin’s Capital Times: “While Feingold is best known in the U.S. as a political reformer and defender of basic liberties, in Africa he was broadly recognized as the steadiest advocate in the Senate for democracy, sustainable development and conflict resolution. So it was that stories in newspapers from Addis Ababa to Nairobi to Harare made frequent reference to the Wisconsin Senate race [where Feingold lost his re-election bid] and ‘Africa’s loss.’”
Feingold was a champion for peace in Congo in the Senate, but it’s still unclear whether he’ll be fully empowered in this new role. For 2 decades, Foggy Bottom has dictated an unchanging policy towards the Great Lakes Region, with devastating results. Slotting Feingold within the State Department hierarchy doesn’t fully indicate the radical departure from the last 2 decades that’s needed. He’ll need strong support from Kerry and the White House to make a genuine push towards lasting peace.