Destabilization and Disintegration
Wed Apr 13 20:13:16 2005
There is much talk about an obligation to intervene to stop genocide, and Rwanda is the example most often cited. Specificly, the Darfur propaganda campaign against Sudan makes use of the term genocide to construct justification for foreign intervention to advance the wicked schemes of division and recolonization of Sudan. The term genocide is so arbitrarily applied theses days that it became more a political instead of a descriptive term. With regards to the Rwandan genocide, there is a massive propaganda effort going on to rewrite history and hide the simple fact that it was Western (US, British, France, Belgium and Germany) and UN/NGO intervention, and not the lack of it, which helped provoke the Rwandan war and further escalation into genocide.
Whatever story is being told always depends on the position of the one who tells it. But no one can honestly deny that without foreign intervention in the form of financial and military aid, as well as political and propaganda manipulation of the conflict, the Rwandan war and genocide would not have developed the way it did. Talking about 'what would have happened if' is always speculative, but more likely than not, without war-promoting policies of foreign Great Powers and the UN/OAU 'peace process', the genocide would not have happened.
It is also important to note, that many more people than in the Rwandan genocide itself died as a consequence of war in the DRCongo, which is related to the Rwandan genocide through refugees, and sparked by the invasion of Rwandan and Ugandan forces into the Congo. The enormous wealth of the Congo makes it a prime target of expansionist interests and efforts of recolonization. And we should not forget to mention, that the conflict of Rwanda was also spread into neighboring Burundi.
The following short summary is written from an anti-interventionist perspective arguing against any foreign and 'international community' intervention. Any moral or legal construct of an obligation to intervene into the affairs of other peoples can best be understood as an effort to justify and legitimize more aggression and plunder.
In many ways, the colonial rule and post-colonial arrangements are the roots from which division and conflict are nurtured and grow. The failure of African liberation struggles to dissolve the political-economic structures and institutions imposed on them by their colonial masters meant that the colonial legacies and dependencies continued to weight heavily on their post-colonial histories.
Uganda a Proxy to Spread Violence
After the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/A), led by Yoweri Museveni, seized power in Uganda January 1986, Uganda became the central component of British and American foreign policy in the region. This policy aims at deliberate destabilization and disintegration of states through the spreading of warlord politics and ethnic strife. The strategy aims to weaken and make African states fail in order to again put them under more direct foreign control. There are three regions which became primarily targeted: the Great Lakes region and Congo, the Greater Horn of Africa region, and the West Africa region.
Since 1986 Ugandan troops have been constantly engaged in offensive military actions that include invasions of neighbouring states and war crimes. Uganda has been involved in aggressive military and political manipulation of ALL of the states that share frontiers with Uganda.
The policies of Museveni have precipitated the worst violence in Africa's history and jeopardised the lives of several dozen millions of Africans who face hunger, disease and violent deaths as a consequence.
The NRA [National Resistance Army] was constituted mainly by soldiers from Museveni's home area of Ankole in south-western Uganda, but was supported by ethnic Tutsi soldiers from Rwanda. The Rwandan connection emerged from the close ethnic ties between the two groups along the Rwanda/Uganda border, and also from the fact that Museveni had developed a strong friendship with Paul Kagame, a Rwandan Tutsi, while the two had been resident in Dar es Salaam. ...
War against Rwanda
After the Rwandese had helped the NRM to take over power in Uganda, it was now time to help them do the same in Rwanda. President Museveni and Kagame, supported by and acting as proxy of the Americans and British, began to build up and prepare the Rwandan Patriotic Front/Army (RPF/A) for war against Rwanda. The RPF recruited its troops from the community of exiled Rwandan Tutsis, mostly second generation refugees living in exile after their families had fled from Rwanda to escape persecution.
Rwandans serving in the Ugandan military received training from British forces at their base in Jinja, Uganda, while the Americans began schooling the RPF leadership. RPF leader, and current president of Rwanda Paul Kagame, had previously been Museveni's director of military intelligence. He had received training in a Command and Staff course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, just prior to his forces' invasion of Rwanda. ...
By mid-1990, Uganda was preparing the invasion of Rwanda and on October 1, 1990 the RPF, supported by Ugandan troops, began the war, claiming that it was about the right of exiled Rwandan Tutsis to return home, and to ensure that persecution of Tutsis in Rwanda would end. Unlike many national liberation armies, the RPF strategy was not designed to win any support of the people in 'liberated areas'. Instead, whole areas were depopulated and people displaced in masses with each new RPF offensive.
The Habyarimana government in Rwanda, supported by France and initially Belgium, which switched sides during the war, was militarily on the defensive, tried to regain initiative with a program of political liberalisation,
which resulted in a democratic constitution being written into law in June 1991. Rwanda now had a multi-party system with scheduled elections. All exiled Rwandans had the right of return.
The RPF, counting on their ability to take over Rwanda militarily and advantage in the area of propaganda to win the 'international community' opinion, refused to even test the offer to return and participate in a political process. Participating would have made them just a political grouping among others, and so they preferred to continue unabated with their quest to seize power in Rwanda by military means.
HRW and other NGOs put out human rights reports to mobilize 'international community' opinion against the Rwandan government and provide justification for the RPF to continue the war. The international donor nations, threatening to cut off aid monies, pressured the Rwandan goverment into the 'peace process' conducted under the auspices of the OAU. President Habyarimana was forced to sign the Arusha Peace Agreement on 3 August 1993, which effectively initiated the count-down to the genocide April-July 1994 and ended with the seizing of power in Rwanda by the RPF.
Today, many blame insufficient troop strength of the UNAMIR 'peace-keeping' operation for the failure of the 'Peace Agreement'. But this idea is based on the false assumption that the involved DTS on both sides were interested in peace, or maybe that they care enough about deaths of Rwandans. UN troops are never impartial but mercenaries representing the interests of the DTS, which in the case of Rwanda were devided among themselves. The RPF was out to seize complete control and the Hutu extremists were not willing to accept that.
Into the Congo
The UN and humanitarian NGOs continued to contribute to destablization of the region by helping to provide safe havens in the Congo for over a million refugees from Rwanda, among them numerous of the killers of the Rwandan genocide, politicians and organizers, like members of the defeated Rwandan army and Interahamwe. The refugees were held up from returning to Rwanda by both the militia controlling the camps and fear of massacre by the RPF. Killing of Tutsis continued in the refugees camps and thousands died from a cholera epidemic. These 'refugees with big guns' were repeatedly used by Rwanda as legitimization to invade the neighbor country.
The RPF, after taking power in Rwanda, did not focus on defending themselves against attacks from militia in the Congo. Instead they moved on to expand into the Congo, allying themselves with the Banyamulenge peoples in the Congo and began to provide them with arms and training.
The history of these Banyamulenges starts in the late 20's, Belgian colonial authority imported labor Rwandan into the plantation of Kivu and the mines in Katanga. The purposes were: I) high demographic rates in the high plan of Rwanda, which was overpopulated, and II) to have easy controlled labor because expatiated. This new group was composed hutus as well as tutsis. With the other Rwanda population who were immigrates here before colonial era, the rwandophones became a important ethnic composition of this region. Earlier before the independence, all of the rwandophones know now as Banyamulenges received the Congolese nationality.
Making a Weak State Fail
During the Cold War, President Mobutu of Zaire was a valued ally of the US and as such enjoyed privileged treatment from western donors and the IMF/WB and Paris Club alike. His alliance with the UNITA rebels in Angola provided him with another important patronage resource. All this changed with the end of the Cold War. The Troika of former backers (United States, Belgium, France) reversed their support and instead began to put pressure on Mobutu. The WB broke its ties and the IMF announced that Zaire would receive no more loans. Relations to donor governments and creditors deteriorated, foreign firms left the country, banking services and the formal economic activity collapsed.
Most Zairians faced the harsh consequences of an economy that had shrunk 40 percent between 1988 and 1995 and of inflation that had risen to 23,000 percent in 1995.
Mobutu, faced with shrinking revenues to control his patron-client network and reward associates for their loyalty, cut social services and public infrastructure expenditures, effectively privatizing government revenues for himself. The radical privatization of the state meant that those government functions and agencies not generating any benefit in terms of control over resources and profit were abandoned.
Mobutu, who exercised private control over many of Zaire's resources with foreign help, safely abandoned expensive health care facilities, schools and public works - all of which served citizens but contributed little to his stock of political resources.
Mobutu's long-run problem lay in reasserting his political authority amid declining resources. His patronage network fragmented as he lost his capacity to match the old rate of payouts. Much of the (unpaid) army had disappeared by the early 1990s, for example, declining from a peak of 70,000 troops in the mid-1980s to close to 20,000. Mobutu's first step was to give new roles to specialized security forces. He gave six distinct military units substantial new latitude of action to profit from clandestine trade. ... Each unit jealously watched the other while struggling to control its own wealth.
The strategy aimed to encourage violence and ethnic strife to create a climate of distrust and fear, disorganize and prevent any opposition groups from building political authority, and encourage those no longer useful to warlord politics to give up. This was cheap enough to finance and kept Mobutu in power as long as he could balance contending forces. As part of this strategy, Mobutu supported the Hutu militia in the refugee camps along the border with Rwanda.
... Even the Kinshasa government joined the looting in 1996, supporting a decree that stripped Zairian citizenship from people of Rwandan-Tutsi ancestry [the above mentioned Banyamulenges] and directed them to give up their property. ...
Rwandan Troops Invade
In October 1996, Rwandan troops entered Zaire in a vast military operation of "cleaning", and further in support of the Banyamulenges, which they had provided training and arms since taking power in Rwanda, as part of an armed coalition named Alliance des Forces Democratiques pour la Liberation du Congo-Zaire (AFDL) led by Laurent-Desire Kabila to overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko.
In September 1997, the prestigious Jane's Foreign Report reported that German intelligence sources were aware that the DIA trained young men and teens from Rwanda, Uganda, and eastern Zaire for periods of up to two years and longer for the RPF/AFDL-CZ campaign against Mobutu. The recruits were offered pay of between $450 and $1000 upon their successful capture of Kinshasa.
Toward the end of 1996, US spy satellites were attempting to ascertain how many refugees escaped into the jungle by locating fires at night and canvas tarpaulins during the day. Strangely, every time an encampment was discovered by the space-based imagery, Rwandan and Zaire rebel forces attacked the sites. This was the case in late February 1997, when 160,000, mainly Hutu refugees, were spotted and then attacked in a swampy area known as Tingi Tingi. There was never an adequate accounting by the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies of the scope of intelligence provided to the RPF/AFDL-CZ.
When the AFDL-CZ and their Rwandan allies reached Kinshasa in 1996, it was largely due to the help of the United States. One reason why Kabila's men advanced into the city so quickly was the technical assistance provided by the DIA and other intelligence agencies. According to informed sources in Paris, US Special Forces actually accompanied ADFL-CZ forces into Kinshasa. The Americans also reportedly provided Kabila's rebels and Rwandan troops with high definition spy satellite photographs that permitted them to order their troops to plot courses into Kinshasa that avoided encounters with Mobutu's forces. During the rebel advance toward Kinshasa, Bechtel provided Kabila, at no cost, high technology intelligence, including National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite data.
In May 1997, they took over Kinshasa and Kabila declared himself President of the now renamed Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). After Kabila had ordered his former Rwandan allies to withdraw from the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda again invaded the DRCongo in August 1998, which prompted SADC to rush to the defense of their member state (troops from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia).
I don't know much about all the different warlords and rebel groups supported by whom or masquerading as others and fighting on which side or independently and who did what in the war which officially ended in April 2003. But very clear is, that the UN and its agencies are now all over the DRCongo and in particular its Northeastern part, which is possibly the richest part of the country both in terms of mineral and agricultural resources, with officially more than 10,000 UN troops currently deployed. The DRCongo, one of the most important exporters of strategic minerals worldwide, is being put under International Community Control and Occupation.