A little reminder of what we're
The bottom line? My best guess is that this is as good a moment as any for the Congolese government to reassert its authority over its eastern provinces, particularly North Kivu, and that Kabila knows it. If he succeeds, this period will in retrospect most resemble the period from 1965-67, when Mobutu put paid to the various break-away movements that were plaguing Congo and consolidated his regime. We all know how that ended, of course, but there was a period until about 1974 or so when Mobutu was genuinely popular. Whether Kabila similarly succeeds depends, I think, on how history answers three questions:
1) Will international pressure force Rwanda to stop supporting M23? By naming several of Rwanda's top officials as responsible for Rwanda's involvement in DRC, this latest UN GoE report puts the legitimacy of Kagame's regime under question as never before. It may have been easier for Kagame to stage a strategic retreat from Congo if his top officials weren't put in the crosshairs. How he will respond is anyone's guess, but to judge from his recent, surprisingly intemperate remarks, he is definitely feeling the heat.
2) Can M23 survive without Rwandan support? Make no mistake: M23 is an effective, determined militia, and it is fighting for its life. The units sent to combat it are said to be among the Congolese army's most elite, but that is an unfortunately relative term. M23 could hold out for a very long time, even if they receive little support from a chastened and internationally sanctioned Rwanda.