Friday, June 8, 2012

War Backgrounders

Several news outlets today provide backgrounders on military developments in eastern Congo. The excellent Jonny Hogg at Reuters focuses on the Rwandan connection to the rebel movement and emphasizes the possibility of a return to all-out war. He suggests the mutiny began after Kinshasa was prompted to arrest Ntaganda by the US and Britain as quid pro quo for their acquiescence to Kabila's contreversial re-election. Rwanda supports the rebels to keep a buffer between itself and the remaining FDLR, he says, and to maintain a stake in the Congo's mineral wealth. Gary Busch reviews the history of the Congo wars at and argues that the violence is an outcome of the continuing resource plunder by neighboring countries, sponsored by--you guessed it--England and the US. If you're keeping score, this means that the anglophone powers pushed Kabila to launch a war against their own surrogate regimes in central Africa in order to legitimize their support for him.

At, Jessica Hatcher deplores the outbreak of interethnic violence in North and South Kivu; according to an Oxfam policy advisor, the security situation in eastern DRC is "the worst it’s been for several years. Progress made is being lost as previously stable areas are becoming increasingly insecure.” Monusco's military spokesperson says that the "logic of reprisal" is fueling the killings in North Kivu, with the FDLR murdering civilians as revenge for the military's attacks on them.  FranceActualite reports that killings have also increased in South Kivu; it reports that the FDLR slaughtered 32 people in a village near Bunyakiri in mid-May.

PM Matata Mpoyo is reported to have ruled out negotiations with the rebels and is seeking a definitive military solution to the problem, reports Radio Okapi. Defense Minister Alexandre Luba Ntambo also promised to combat the rebels. Both men, interestingly, made their declarations in villages where fighting has recently taken place. I can't remember the Congolese government ever having promised to take the fight to the rebels so forcefully before. With the opposition in Kinshasa rallying around the flag, it may be just in time.

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