Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DR Congo: Criminal minds in Kigali and Kampala: Kagame and Museveni in their Criminal World

New Times ( Rwanda ) reports

Kampala to host crisis summit over DR Congo

Jubilant FARDC soldiers, after their victory over M23 in Kibati, North of Goma, with the assistance of MONUSCO Intervention Brigade, 30 August 2013 

An emergency regional Heads of State and Government summit on the latest flare up of hostilities in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is scheduled on Thursday in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

The summit was called by the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in his capacity as the Chairman of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a grouping of 12 countries.

What crisis ? Everything is going to plan. A plan I might further add that was initiated by the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region. 

" A neutral international force will be set up to hunt down armed groups in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), regional leaders agreed yesterday.

The Heads of State and Government summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) held in Kampala from August 7-8 established a subcommittee composed of defence ministers from seven member states tasked to provide details on the operationalization of the force.

The subcommittee was mandated to propose “urgent actionable steps to ensure that fighting stops completely to allow for consolidation of peace, security and stability,” reads part of a statement issued at the end of the two-day summit."

So I am left second guessing Museveni motivation. Actually I am not, the Intervention Brigade was never meant to get off the ground. It was a resolution to make it look like the ICGLR was actually doing something while attempting to maintain the status quo. The problem of course was that M23 Rwanda's proxy  rebel group in the Eastern DRC Congo did something no one predicted when they marched into Goma unopposed by a routed Congolese Army ( FARDC ) and watched by an impotent, incompetent and for the most part useless 20,000 UN Peacekeepers. The world scrambled for a script and the one the ICGLR had written could with a few adaptations work rather nicely. Uganda and Rwanda hoisted by their own petard as it was. 

Both the ICGLR Secretariat in Bujumbura and Uganda’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs confirmed the extraordinary meeting, which will be preceded by the joint meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence due tomorrow.

The extraordinary summit, the seventh such gathering of IGCLR leaders in a space of just over a year, is expected to provide a “lasting solution” to the ongoing conflict, which last month threatened to spill over to Rwanda, after 36 mortar bombs landed into the border district of Rubavu.

It is not meeting to provide a lasting solution. It is an attempt to reduce the operational capacity of the International Brigade ( African Brigade ). This will not happen though, the UN will by now have realised it has finally after 14 years of failure made a difference. A report from the last ICGLR summit held August 4th 2013 however details the Ugandan and Rwandan agenda as detailed by the African Review and blogged by me. 

But beneath the surface of the summit, held under the umbrella of the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), was a concerted effort by the major players, especially Rwanda and Uganda, to shift the focus of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) back to a negotiated deal, even as consensus around an exceptional United Nations military-backed intervention deepens.
Unanimously backed by the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2098, the new 3,000-strong force crafted from the existing Monusco is in the strife-torn eastern Congo to aggressively neutralise various armed rebel groups and is seen as a game changer.
But analysts say its would leave Rwanda and Uganda, which have been variously accused of fomenting the unrest in the Kivu regions, shorn of major influence in the region, hence their preference for a “regional solution.”
However, careful not to be seen to be going against the growing international consensus around the conflict that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions of people, Kampala and Kigali, which vigorously deny having a hand in it, grudgingly accepted the UN force.
However, they have continued to lobby, behind the scenes, for a non-military settlement, in part informing the recent push for the ICGLR to reclaim its space.
So we turn to the bombs that FARDC fired at Rwanda. Once again we are faced with yet another Rwandan lie. 

" We are also concerned by reports of shelling across the Rwandan border, including credible UN reports that the M23 has fired into Rwandan territory. We call on the M23 to immediately end the hostilities, lay down their arms, and disband, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions."

This time from Rwanda's long time allie and strongest supporter in the West the USA. The world has in short run out of patience with Rwanda. This effort to change the situation on the ground through the ICGLR is doomed before it even starts.  

In one of the bombs, which Kigali blamed on the Congolese army (FARDC) and FDLR, a militia largely responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, killed a woman and seriously injured her two-month baby when it landed in Mugangari market in Rubavu town last Thursday.

Rwanda responded by warning that the continued violation of its territorial integrity by the Congolese forces and the genocidal militia, which is said to be co-located with FARDC in several parts of eastern DRC, was no longer tolerable.

“The persistent shelling of Rwandan territory is unacceptable, as it would be to any sovereign nation. Rwandan civilians are being targeted by DRC forces. We have remained restrained for as long as we can but this provocation can no longer be tolerated,” Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo said in a statement.

Yes Louise Mushikiwabo.

The Rwanda Defence Forces then moved heavy arsenal and amassed troops in Rubavu, sparking fears for a possible all-out war between Rwanda and DRC.

It is a possibility and it may well be that is one of the objectives of this hastily convened meeting of the ICGLR. But does Rwanda really think it can tangle with the MONUSCO and the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade with impunity ? Does Rwanda believe that Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa will stand idly by as Rwanda attacks the Africa Brigade ? In Chess it is known as Checkmate. 

Congo’s M23 rebels have over the last one week engaged in a fierce battle against the FARDC and the UN peacekeepers in the Congo, particularly a newly deployed offensive brigade, known as the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).

In Kampala, Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said in a statement on Saturday that the upcoming summit was “very urgent” given the “deteriorating situation” in eastern DRC in recent days.

I doubt that many see this as urgent. I think most of the world is laughing at Rwanda and Uganda who have been given enough rope and done the predictable.

“This coming extra-ordinary summit should be seen as an effort by the Chair to bring all parties to the conflict and all regional leaders to help find a lasting solution to the conflict, aimed at creating stability in eastern DRC and the region as whole,” Minister Kutesa said in the statement.

The summit is also expected to be attended by the UN Special Representative to the Great Lakes Region, former Ireland president, Mary Robinson, who last week urged calm and reiterated the need for a political settlement of the crisis.

Robinson was yesterday in Kinshasa as part of a regional tour aimed at defusing tension.

Kinshasa should boycott the meeting as should Mary Robinson. The DR Congo is a sovereign state and both MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade are in the Congo as a result of an invitation issued by Kampala. In short it none of the ICGLR business now.  

Barrel of the gun

According to Aloys Mahwa, the Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Genocide Studies Centre, based in Kigali, the upcoming ICGLR summit is a litmus test for regional leaders and the western players with regard to their commitment to resolve the Congo issue once and for all.

He said the M23 grievances can only be resolved politically and not through the barrel of the gun.

What a fool. The barrel of the International Brigade gun has done more in the last week to solve the problem of M23 than all the talk fests aimed at a political solution. The solution Mahwa want is no solution, just more of the same. Congolese people being killed to satisfy the greed of the Rwandans.

“The people of this region are tired of wars. An escalation in the conflict in eastern DRC has great potential to roll back the impressive economic gains and stability the peoples of this region have enjoyed in the recent years,” he told The New Times.

Unfortunately the economic gains have been made by all but the rightful owners of the raw materials that produced them and for the Congolese there has been stability.

Talks between the Kinshasa government and M23 rebels which had been ongoing in Kampala have stalled for months, with the rebels accusing the government of acting contrary to its pledge during an ICGLR Heads of State summit that it would address the rebels’ grievances once the latter withdrew from Goma last November.

There is no reason any longer for Kinshasa to talk to M23. They are losing relevance everyday that passes until their final defeat. 

“There are no ‘mitigating circumstances’ when it comes to rebellion against a liege lord.”
“Unless you win.”

Previous rebel gains on the battlefield have fuelled accusations that they have the support of Rwanda, allegations Kigali has strenuously denied.

Instead, the Rwandan government has accused Congo of working closely with and in some cases embedding the FDLR fighters in FARDC units deployed close to the Rwandan border.

 M23 was created by mutinous Congolese soldiers, who broke ranks with the regular army in April 2012 accusing the government of President Joseph Kabila of breaching the terms of a March 2009 peace accord that had ended a previous rebellion.

Yawn. More Rwandan lies.I have covered them in depth before.

US diplomat visits

In a related development, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, yesterday concluded a two-day visit to Rwanda during which she discussed with Rwandan officials to deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC, according to a statement from the US embassy in Kigali.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield reiterated that the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework (for DRC and the region) and provides the best chance in decades to bring stability to the Great Lakes region through a comprehensive political and development process supported by the UN and the World Bank, the statement said in part.

Thomas-Greenfield urged the Framework signatories to “engage directly in a political process to diplomatically de-escalate the situation and address the underlying causes of conflict in the region and their legitimate security concerns”.

Rwanda is a signatory to the peace framework signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by 11 regional countries, with the UN, African Union, ICGLR and SADC signing as guarantors.
The US diplomat was expected to proceed to Kinshasa.

Thomas-Greenfield’s visit came before a visit scheduled for later this week by the United States’ newly-named Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Russell Feingold, the statement said.

Representatives of the European Union and African Union are visiting the region over the Congo crisis.

As I have said there is no crisis just the start of a solution. I wonder what the real message is ? I am sure it is sticking in the throats of Kagame and Museveni. I give them Bowie.

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