Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Secret Deal with Kagame?

According to La Lettre du Continent, France's President Sarkozy is going to propose that the Congo permit Rwanda to police the eastern Congo and eliminate the FDLR and CNDP threats. In return, the mineral wealth of the eastern Congo will be put in a "common pot" under the auspices of one or another of the regional economic hubs--either the CEEAC or the CEPLG. The Congo would then issue licenses and garner royalties from the countries or companies exploiting the minerals.

Sarkozy is said to be keen to make this deal happen on his trip to Africa in late March, and Kagame is also said to be enthusiastic about it. France and Rwanda have been on a slow-motion diplomatic game of chicken for some time now, with each country accusing the other's government of either initiating or actively supporting the 1994 genocide. This rapprochement could enable both countries to avert what appeared to be an oncoming train wreck.

The Lettre says that the seed of the proposal was first planted by Herman Cohen in his op-ed in the New York Times. Cohen, the Lettre says, is now a lobbyist for French interests in Africa. As has been well-documented elsewhere, Cohen is one of those frighteningly amoral people, a man who turned his State Department connections into high-paying gigs lobbying for some of Africa's ugliest dictators, including Laurent Kabila. But when his op-ed came out, I couldn't tell what angle he was working, and criticized his proposal merely for being unworkable.

The Congolese newspapers have been in an uproar about Sarkozy's plan since they got wind of it a couple of days ago (here, and here). They believe the ground is being laid, internationally, to trade off Congolese patrimony to appease their invaders. And they see further evidence of that possibility in their own government's decision last week to allow Rwandan troops directly onto Congolese soil, ostensibly to round-up the ex-genocidaires still at large in eastern Congo.

To be honest, I thought the Kinshasa rumor mill was just operating in overdrive, and even thought about writing a piece making fun of their "Grand Unified Theory." Not all dots necessarily connect, as I keep reminding Congolese friends. But Congolese history is just too replete with the most brazen sort of opportunism to dismiss all of this as a mere conspiracy. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Congolese people need to remove Kabila ASAP and stand up against the invaders. Just my 2 Cents. Sarkozy can take his plan and shove it up where the sun doesn't shine. He makes bush look like Mother Teresa.