tv Inside Story LINKTV December 2, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PST
>> this is al jazeera. let's get a round above the top stories paired south african daily coronavirus cases have doubled to more than 8500. most of the infections are thought to be from the omicron variant should it has been recorded in at least 24 countries. alan fisher has more from washington. dr. this man arrived in the united states in california on the 22nd of november from california. that of course before the travel bans were put in place.
tested on the 29th of november. it was then he was positive. sent for further testing on the 30th. by 3:00 p.m., public health experts had the sample. 8:00 p.m., they confirmed it was the new variant. you remember when covid was found in the united states, it was first on the west coast. this man is in isolation. his close contacts have tested negative pin track and trace -- tested negative. track and trace is underway. >> women's tennis association have suspended tournaments in china and hong kong over concerns about the safety of former doubles were number one peng shuai. she has accused a former vice premier of coercing her into sex. in a statement, the w ta said players and staff could face risk in china. the european union has launched a $340 billion scheme to rival china's bill and road initiative.
the commission president calls it a true alternative. it involves investment in digital technology, transport and energy. at least three members of the taliban have been killed at iran's border with afghanistan. several iranian border guards were also injured during the confrontation. and i roddy and later his reporting -- an iranian leader is reporting it escalated after the taliban opened fire on iranian farmers. protests by women's rights activist earlier in the week. in poland, terminations are only allowed in cases of rape, incised or if the woman's life or health is in danger. those are the headlines. we are back in half an hour. right now, it is inside story.
♪ >> hunting down rebels. ugandan troops launch an operation in eastern democratic of -- eastern democratic republic of congo. willie military solution resolve the conflict and can the adf b deated? this is inside story. ♪ welcome to the program. uganda and democratic republic of congo are joining forces to
fight one of the most lethal armed groups in congo. ugandan soldiers have crossed into the drc to take on the allied democratic forces, also known as the adf. the offense began with airstrikes on tuesday. the group is blamed for violence that has led to hundreds being killed and thousands forced from their homes. with many taking refuge in neighboring countries. the violence is not just limited to congo. uganda says the adf is responsible for several attacks on its soil including three suicide bombings in camp all the last month. not everyone supports this mission. some in the democratic republic of congo don't trust uganda. they accuse camp allah and rwanda of crating instability in their country. this is the area in eastern democratic republic of congo
where much of the violence is taking place. the provinces have been under a state of siege since may. it is a forest area that is difficult to get through. this is where the adf has its bases and hideouts. malcolm webb explains why this will be a difficult operation for government forces. >> this is very difficult terrain to hunt down an armed group that is using guerrilla tactics and that is one of the reasons why previous attempts to flush out the adf have struggled. the most recent one on the part of the congolese military was called a state of siege. for the last six months, it has declared this form of martial law. it has been criticized for not being very effective. leaked documents showed that has been blighted by a military budget being stolen or that is one of the reasons that prompted
some people to call for the military to come in and pursue the adf. other people have great reservations about this. >> let's take a closer look. also known as the adf, the armed group has existed in central africa since 1995. ugandan forces drove it out of the country in the late 1990's and into democratic republic of congo. the fighters are blamed for killing thousands of civilians in eastern congo. while the group says it is aligned with iso-, the u.n. says there is little evidence of a direct relationship sh. let's praying in our panel of guests. -- let's ping -- let's bring in our panel of guests. the project director for the
great lakes region at the international crisis group. and a counterterrorism expert. thank you all three for joining this addition of inside story. i would like to turn to you first because with this situation, it is good to understand exactly who these countries are dealing with. who are the adf and what do they want? >> thank you pin the adf -- thank you. the adf for the allied democratic forces, this is a group that established itself in 1995. they seem to -- they came as a
group protecting the interest of muslims. since then, they have worked locally fruitlessly to establish an islamic kind of state within uganda. the uganda defense forces chased the adf out of the main cities. the northern part and they went and said the drc. most recently, they have aligned themselves with the so-called islamic state. according to them and one of their leaders, he is saying that they are in the central african region to they call themselves -- the central african region .
it is not just a centralized group. they have so many cells within that region. they are known to be aligned. they are known to have links with a new group that was formed in the northern part of mozambique. they have so many different affiliations. the truth is that they are much more of a criminal network. from the sources i have spoken to on the ground, the use of the islamic state logo or title is a way for them to continuously preach an ideological component to what most people have seen as a criminal network. this is a group i believe carries out attacks as we have seen in uganda but also within the northern part of drc congo. i believe a joint oppression
will be the right way to go about it. conventional tactics will be very challenging because most of this has to be paired with an intelligence point of view. >> we will get onto the chances of success of the mission in a moment but the fact that -- if i can bring you in, the fact we are getting national governments launching incursions into other territories to take them on seems to suggest this is a critical problem reaching a critical phase. what is your assessment of the impact that this group is having? it is quite a deadly effect they have had on civilian populations in the areas. >> thanks so much for having me. let me start by saying
characterization of the current situation where you say a number of countries have come together, it is immaculate. right from around 1995, 1996 when the first war broke out in drc, there were a number of countries involved. from that time, we have had multiple countries within the region trying to deal with the instability including dealing with the adf and other militia groups within the region. it is essentially a, tale of multiple militia groups. some of them sponsored by groups within the region. in 2003, the original countries
under the auspices of the united nations formed what is called the national conference of the great lakes region. this was supposed to be a platform around which all the countries within the region are mobilized to take a concerted effort to deal with stability out of -- all of these countries have failed. the reason i say this is as of now, uganda has moved to the drc. the adf is not the only militia group or terrorist group in the region. the narrative has its own flaws because it ignores the participation of all these countries. uganda and rwanda have been actively involved themselves.
there are these groups. i think the fact these countries are getting together, they are trying to deal with an old problem. uganda alone -- all the other countries involved on of the conflict, i doubt it is going to be a successful operation. i think we can disrupt the activities, but i don't think that will be the end of these kinds of incursions because the problem is a much bigger problem. >> let me turn tell you. -- turn to you. would you agree with that assessment? the adf is being point -- is being painted as the bogeyman there are several groups having
a destabilizing influence. >> it is the case there are more groups active in eastern drc. i think we have seen adf in particular has been making a lot of deadly victims in eastern drc. they killed over a thousand civilians since 2017. it is a group that needs to be targeted. whether that should be by military means remains the question. as already pointed out, adf has been active for the past almost three decades. they have been quite opportunistic in forging alliances with local networks, local businessmen, with the military and by forging these alliances, they have been able to persist for these years. we have seen previous military operations been quite ineffective. they managed to recapture camps that they previously lost to the
congolese army. what we have also seen as they always retaliate -- is they always retaliate against the congolese population. we have seen an uptick in human rights violations white after the authorities stepped up military operations. definitely a group to be reckoned with. >> that is a fairly pessimistic view across the board from all three of you. if i were to ask if this military operation is likely to work, i guess the answer would be no. so why do you think the governments of uganda has decided to go in if there's going to be a futile -- if this is going to be a futile exercise. >> if the only tool you have in your toolbox is a hammer, you have got to use it. when it comes to operations and of uganda when we have seen
suicide attack's being sent by a suspected adf members, the government has to develop some level of trust within the population but also internationally. the visible way of doing that is to say -- applying a preventive strike or deploying forces. that is one argument. whether this is going to be effective and most often, people would not look at the effectiveness. they are very expensive. as we have seen, it is very likely that it will have any impact at all. these are groups that have embedded themselves for decades within the local population. they have information about activities that will be carried out.
we see the government is deploying its forces. find good areas where they can hide. this is a show of force. the government needs that tobin back some level of trust from the local population but i don't know how long that is going to last. i think the curie -- the key here is how much collaboration and cooperation is going on and how much intelligence has been gone. and what sort of intelligence about the capacity of the group and the group's location. the kind of networks a group has established. this is the only way you can destabilize a movement. show that it does not have the big kind of capacity to go into more attacks. with a group like adf, it is going to be very challenging because this is about symmetric warfare.
>> i see you nodding along with that. you outlined and described how complex this original situation -- this regional situation is. do you think there is likely to be an element of intelligence gathering between," and between -- between," and between uganda yucca the fact that we are seeing this military operation happening is an admission the situation has changed and that the countries are now looking to work closer together in a bid to tackle this? how do you assess the situation ? >> i think for me the only thing that has changed is the bombings that happened in the last one month. in the sense that this is where bombings --
this was the first time we are having suicide bombers. that for me in terms of the groups that are posed to the second government or -- based on the characterization of the violence in the region. let me put it this way. the adf from 2014 in this country in uganda, they have been -- of muslim clerics to almost more than 10 of them -- there have been assassinations of higher ranking police officers. all off these have been blamed n the adf. the fact that now uganda is
moving into drc, i doubt that any situation has changed so far in terms of what the understanding of the adf is. other than the gentleman known to be the leader of the group, there is hardly any available information on the profile of who is adf, what is the structure, who are the active participants in the group and to the extent there is limited information available, my view is while there is an attempt to improve on the human intelligence that could to lead -- that could lead to these operations, i don't think they have cracked the real problem. i think to the extent the drc remains the epicenter of conflicts in the region. this region, the conflicts
region of africa is a conflict region. >> and why is that? i'm sorry but why is this region the scene of so many conflicts ? >> i think the problem stands from the government question that all the countries within the region right from the mid-1990's when there was fighting against a circle and there was a total breakdown of states in the region. from drc till uganda to rwanda to sudan and somalia. this is a breakdown of state institutions. when you have a breakdown, you have militia groups. that is the problem that needs
to be solved. i don't think even have one was able to do military strikes, you are dealing with the crux of the problem, which is the problem of state capacity and governance. >> let me turn to you. it is clear this is a complex background to the situation. a complex problem. are there any pluses we can take out of this? i know we keep returning to the fact that uganda has agreed with the president of drc for permission for this operation to go ahead. is there anything we can take from that? is there an inkling of greater cooperation between the states or is this something that should be disregarded yucca >> -- should be disregarded? >> i that is a fair question relates to your previous
question concerning intelligence sharing should what we have seen since the president assumed office in 2019 is he has been reaching out to the region to find solutions to find stability purity has been in touch with uganda. he has been talking to rwanda. he has also been an in touch with the president in burgundy. he put a welcome premium on regional diplomacy. there has been intelligence sharing between the various heads of intelligence of the respected countries in the region. that has been happening. i think what is also important to note is that the ugandan army already were present in eastern drc in small number together intelligence together with the congolese army. this has been ongoing for months. to prepare the ground for what is happening today. just add one more thing is that
in order for these military operations to effective because i think there can be semi-efficiency in what they are doing right now, is for both armies to consult the local communities because using in the knowledge of the local communities can help by clearly defining the targets both the armies would like to hit. that is necessary and on top of that, i think there also has to be some sort of structure in place that will allow the rank and file of the adf to demobilize. if there is a structure in place, we can welcome those that are willing to leave the armed group and find a solution to work with them. >> we only have a couple minutes left some going to ask the same question to all three of you should if you couldn't be brief with your answers, how does this end? how do you think this will turn out yucca -- turn out?
>> i think the way it is going to end is the way it should end. we have to bring the three dogs in the fight . somewhat effective in the strategy. what we should be looking at much more here is a huge element of coordination and collaboration between these countries. also to ensure we have enough capacity and remove the element that exists at the moment. >> how do you see this playing out? >> the conflict in drc is a regional conflict. there are vested interests right from individual presidents but also the countries. it cannot be handled as a regional conflict. you cannot deal with it as a bilateral matter between uganda
and drc. until i see the international conflicts of the great lakes region making a progress in terms of the actions they have discussed and agreed including sharing and action on intelligence, i can only predict this is going to be just a disruption of this group. we will be back here in another couple of years talking about the same problem. >> finally, how do you see this playing out? are you optimistic at all we will see this cooperation or will we be discussing the same thing two years from now? >> let's see about that but i think these military operations can only be effective if they are narrow focused. if there is a clear timeframe agreed upon. there has been an mou the two countries signed that details the operations.
i agree with the others that armed groups in eastern drc are a regional issue and with uganda and rwanda not talking to each other, that is the main thing that has to be resolved because both countries are accusing one another of supporting the adf so it can only be effective if the region comes together and if they find a solution together. >> a blueprint of sorts to deal with this conflict. thank you so much, all three of you, for your analysis and your insights. it has been great to have this discussion. and thank you for watching. you can see the program again any time by visiting our website, al jazeera.com. for further description, go to our facebook page. facebook.com/a.j. inside story. you can join the conversation on twitter. i am at how them aloud into for me and the whole team at inside
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