Friday, November 21, 2008

Analysis: Conflict in Congo

The following is a translation from Arabic.

There is no doubt that the rebel leader in the Eastern Congo General Laurent Nkunda is backed by neighbouring Rwanda since he is a descendent of the same Tutsi tribe that rules over Rwanda. The British newspaper Guardian reports that Nkunda had joined Rwanda’s National Patriotic Front (RPF) led by the current president Paul Kagame during the 1994 war time massacres.

The visits of the British & French foreign ministers to Rwanda immediately after their Congo visits confirms Rwanda’s involvement in supporting Nkunda, though Rwanda still denies it.
It must be remembered that Rwanda is a pro-American state eversince the Tutsi tribe took over the reigns of power after having expelled the Hutu tribe which was previously supported by France.

The current president of Congo, Joseph Kabila hired the Hutu tribesmen to resist the Rwandan backed Tutsis and this provided Rwanda the justification to to intervene under the excuse that the Hutu tribe is attempting to strike from Eastern Congo to stage a comeback to power in Rwanda. This explains the statement of Nkunda who refused to send a European force to the Eastern Congo, he said: “When the aim of this force is to consolidate the hold of Rwabdab rebels of Hutu tribes, then we will not agree to it.” His statement decries the Europeans for their support to Congo and the tribe of Hutu against the Tutsis and Rwanda.

The British and French governments have hinted sending European troops to Congo to prevent Nkunda from sweeping over Congolese territories especially since he has threatened to march over the capital Kinshasa if the government of Joseph Kabila refused to negotiate with him.
Meanwhile Kabila still refuses to negotiate with Nkunda and insists upon implanting the peace accord which was signed in Nairobi last year between Congo and Rwanda. He does not want to bestow recognition on the rebels movement and insists on dealing with Rwanda itself. Therefore it is not strange that the British Foreign Minister states: “the European Union would send troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo as a last resort if there is a need to reinforce the UN (MONUC) troops presently deployed there and the peace initiatives fail.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his British counterpart David Miliband during their visit to Congo and Rwanda, focused on the need to implement the Nairobi Accord and sending armed forces in case of an attack by the rebels led by Nkunda on Congo.

All the statements from the Europeans on the current crisis were flavoured to reflect the worsening humanitarian crisis, in the joint statement issued by Miliband and Kouchner they spole of their conviction that the war must some to an end and the local residents’ living conditions must improve. This was a reference to the 1994 massacres which resulted in the death of 800,000 people belonging to the Tutsi & Hutu tribes of Rwanda.

As for the American policy, it clearly backs Rwanda in its stand on the Hutu rebels in the eastern Congo and does not necessarily support sending of European troops. The US is content with the helpless UN troops deployed in the region to protect the civilian residents. The American deputy secretary of state for African affairs Jendayi E. Frazer said that she favours the idea of “reinforcing the UN troops in Congo.”

Such quick moves by the British and French in dealing with this crisis and their foreign ministers calling for imedeate action indicates that the situation Congo has indeed become genuinely grim and dangerous for Europeeans to maintain their stronghold in the region and requires immediate action to defend their influence.

The eastern flank of Congo comprises three countries that are aligned to the US: Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi and are ruled by the Tutsi tribesmen backed by America since 1994 C.E. together these three states have built a formidable fortress of American influence in the heart of the African continent. Thus the rebels are able to launch their attacks on Congo from this region and uproot British and French influence there.

What has further aggravated the situation for the Europeans is that America is harnessing China
to resist European stronghold. It has observed that Chinese presence is evidently increasing in the areas where the US enjoys influence, especially like in Sudan etc.. including the areas east of Congo where the Rwandan backed rebels have their control. Tom Cargill, Director of the African Programmme at the Chatham House in England said: “Nkunda aides experienced in public relations are saying that the West is suspicious of the Chinese intentions. We can certainly thwart the efforts of our opponents by asserting that we deal with the Chinese on behalf of the Congolese people.” The Guardian newspaper reported that China largest deal in Africa is estimated at 5 billion dollars which is for mineral mining in exchange for infrastructure building projects.

To conclude, the central African nations are preparing opposition forces to overthrow Joseph Kabila in future and in turn bring Congo, the largest nation in Africa in terms of land area, under American influence with help of economic assistance from China. At the same time, Britain and France are doing whatever they, politically and militarily, can to prevent that. Meanwhile the conflict continues unabated between the two sides where Congo is seeking help from the southern African countries loyal to Britain such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa while Rwanda is being helped by the pro-US countries such as Uganda and Burundi in order to strengthen the Tutsi rebels.

6th Dhi Qaidah, 1429 A.H
4th November, 2009 C.E

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