Voice of America reports
African Leaders Grapple with Fighting in Eastern Congo
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said rebels in Eastern Congo are carrying out "appalling" attacks against civilians. African heads of state met at the United Nations to discuss the conflict, which the United States said Rwanda is fueling by backing those rebels.
Which is a vastly different take on the events in the DR Congo from the reports being put out by Congo DRC News ( A M23 / Rwandan propaganda site ).
Fighters from Congo's M23 rebellion are the biggest challenge to government troops and U.N. peacekeepers in the eastern Kivu provinces.
Ban Ki-moon said earlier this week that rebel attacks include violence against women and children.
"The extent of violence and human suffering in eastern DRC is overwhelming. I deplore the recent military activities of the M23 and the other armed groups in eastern DRC," he said.
If ever there was ever a time for MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade to keep up the pressure on M23 it is now. They have an international mandate to resolve the rebel issue and M23 may have the honour of being the first group to be resolved.
African leaders meeting at the United Nations are backing peace talks in Uganda.
But the talks are complicated by persistent reports of Rwandan support for the rebels.
"We reiterate our call for Rwanda to cease any and all support to the M23 and to respect DRC’s territorial integrity, consistent with U.N. Security Council resolutions," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The peace talks are cover and neither side is taking them seriously however this is a major movement in policy from the US. Rwanda is being further isolated. I would expect a Rwandan reaction soon.
Publicly accusing a U.S. ally of backing M23 rebels is a bold move for the Obama administration, said Sarah Margon at Human Rights Watch.
"They've told the Rwandans we're putting you on notice," she said. "But what next? And so if the Rwandans don't stop, what will the U.S. be willing to do?"
Rwanda won't stop that is a given. The US needs to give effective support to MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade because along with the Congolese army FARDC this issue is going to come to a head soon. The US must prevent a Rwandan invasion of the Eastern DR Congo. The consequences of such an invasion must be the inditing of the administration of Kagame and the military leadership of the country with charges of Crimes Against Humanity.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame denies involvement and says the international community shouldn't focus on M23 rebels when there are so many other groups contributing to instability in Eastern Congo.
Kagame is a liar. Fortunately the international community has grown sick of his lies and are now focusing their attention not only on his murderous thugs M23 but they have started to look at the Rwandan regime.
The peace talks in Kampala have focused on other armed groups as well.
What ? My understanding is the " talks " are between M23 and the Congolese government. One of the M23 demands is that the Congolese government disarm the Rwandan rebels FDLR but that is really a bit of a side issue to the side issue that the talks have already become. The FDLR's turn will come and that is a legitimate concern of Rwanda's but it is an issue for them and the Congolese government to thrash out.
In an interview with VOA, U.S. Special Envoy Russ Feingold said that is the only way forward.
"Whatever happens with the Kampala talks, the framework and the peace process involving the countries in the region goes on and will deal with the root and fundamental problems, not just the issue of M23," he said.
I suspect that is an admission by Envoy Feingold that the Kampala talks are degenerating into a farce.
But the immediate goal of stopping the fighting is still about M23, says Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa.
"M23 should put an end to all military activities and stop war and threats of overthrowing the lawful government of the DRC," he said.
Uganda seems to be distancing itself from M23 infact they have often seemed to have been ambivalent at best when it comes to M23. I suspect they are rather better than Rwanda at judging the mood of the international community.
President Joseph Kabila's troops are moving to re-establish central authority over eastern Congo. But Margon says it's a challenge.
"Without Rwanda ceasing to provide support for the M23, many of the other elements whether it be the upcoming elections in Congo, Congo's extension of governing authority in the east, regional development are not going to be able to happen," said Margon.
As Rwanda continues to support M23 there are very few options available and that has been obvious for some time. The solution is the destruction of M23 and the most effect way to achieve that is not finding a political solution but pursuing the military solution to its conclusion and that is the unconditional surrender of M23 or the unconditional surrender of any surviving members of M23 after they lose on the battlefield. I suspect that that is starting to dawn on them.
Rebels were integrated into Congo's military under an earlier attempt at reconciliation. This time around, Congolese officials say the worst of the M23 leaders will not be granted amnesty in a new peace deal.
I doubt that the government will allow integration this time. It was a failure last time and there is clear evidence that the government of the DR Congo is attempting to sort out the indiscipline of FARDC and professionalise the force, there is no way they want the armed forces saddled with former rebels who at any time may defect and cause another insurrection on the orders of President Kagame.