Thursday, December 5, 2013

DR Congo: "The butcher, the baker, the munitions maker and the armistice breaker"

Chimp Reports reports

DRC Parliament Declares Uganda, Rwanda "Enemy States"

The DRC Parliament has declared Uganda and Rwanda as “enemy/aggressor” states, raising fears of worsening relations between Kinshasa and neighbours.

                    Presidents Kabila, Kagame, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and Museveni at a recent function  
                                                 ( The butcher, the baker, the munitions maker and the armistice breaker )

In a heated plenary session, the MPs also directed the DRC peace team in Kampala not to sign any a agreement with the defeated M23 rebels apart from a declaration by the rebels renouncing rebellion and committing its fighters to a disarmament and demobilisation process. 

That is quite reasonable. This blog has consistently taken the position that signing a peace deal with M23 is utterly ridiculous. M23 needs to sign an instrument of surrender, it is usual that declarations of surrender are unconditional and the final and decisive interpretation of the documents meaning is the victors interpretation, in this case the government of the DR Congo.     

Sources in the diplomatic community say United States and other western countries have lately appreciated the growing animosity between DRC and her two neighbours that could lead to a confrontation. 

Yes that rather ignores M23's whole raison d'être. If the United States and the West has just awoken to this realisation then it speaks volumes for just how useless our diplomatic and intelligence operations are. M23 were a Rwandan sponsored organisation and there is no doubt they also received Ugandan support. With M23's defeat one hopes that this situation would be now be resolved. 

We now have the situation where the Congolese Parliament has inflamed a rather delicate situation with the declaration that both Rwanda and Uganda are enemy states. That is just bloody stupid stuff from the Congolese parliamentarians. Grandstanding over M23 is understandable. 

Highly placed sources say following the defeat of the M23 rebels, it was understood and agreed that DRC would immediately take on the FDLR and ADF militia. However, a month down the road, there are little signs to show DRC’s determination to fulfill its obligations.

When the Congolese Army ( FARDC ), MONUSCO and the Intervention ( African ) Brigade were preparing to take on M23 there was considerable consternation on the part of the Congolese community about the amount of time it was taking. I translated Charley Kasereka's blog reporting this at the time. I also blogged the need for FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade's  to be prepared  before going after M23.

I agree but it would be sensible to secure your rear and your supply lines before engaging the armed rebels. Time spent in preparation is not wasted time. That is why soldiers in professional armies train." 

Given the success of the operations against M23 I think that the time spent preparing to take them on was time well spent. The FDLR and ADF deserve to suffer the same fate as M23 but necessarily before taking them on some preparation is required.   

Last weekend, Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala travelled to Goma to get acquainted with DRC’s plans to attack ADF bases. 

Intelligence officials say the more DRC and Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) delays to raid ADF hideouts, the more they intensify recruitment and mobilisation of arms in preparation for the onslaught. 

That is unadulterated bullshit. Only yesterday MONUSCO received its first drone a crucial asset one would think in the upcoming operations against both the FDLR and the ADF. Uganda needs to STFU on the timing of these operations.

Uganda also might want to think about how much more enthusiastic the Congolese might have been had they handed over the M23 leadership to the Congolese government  or the ICC to face the war crimes and crimes against humanity allegations against them rather than providing them with sanctuary in Uganda. 

Uganda has also made it clear to DRC that it wants to see a peace deal concluded and refugees returned to their homes as soon as possible. 

Uganda has been both a positive and negative actor with regard to the refugee situation in the Eastern DR Congo, there can be no doubt Uganda has provided sanctuary to Congolese refugees but they have also helped create the circumstances that gave rise to the refugee problem. A " peace " agreement with M23 would do absolutely nothing with regard to the situation on the ground something the UNHCR has been reminding the world about for quite some time.

" While expressing caution about the current situation, and an eventual return from other countries, UNHCR Regional Representative Stefano Severe, said: "UNHCR is indeed ready to receive and accompany returnees once the situation has stabilized."
He and other UNHCR staff warned against premature returns until the situation is safe."

According to MP Vital Budu, the recommendations adopted by the DRC government would work as guiding principles for Kinshasa in finding a lasting solution to the humanitarian crisis in DRC relations with neighbours. 

I am unaware of the recommendations but I am guessing they don't mean declaring Uganda and Rwanda as 'enemy / aggressor' states. 

The DRC has for long maintained the narrative that Uganda and DRC ( I think we can assume it is meant to read Rwanda ) are to blame for the crisis in Eastern Congo through support of the M23 rebels. The two countries deny the allegations. 

They certainly share some of the blame for the situation in the DR Congo however it is far more complex than just the activities of M23.

The DRC National Assembly also decided on Wednesday that government immediately provides ample resources and logistics to the army “to properly defend the country and also expedite reforms in security institutions.”

Actually I am starting to think the DR Congo Parliament should also STFU. FARDC has been a bloody shambles forever had the Congolese Government spent more time training and doing simple shit like actually paying their soldiers and providing them with food and ammunition the situation in the DR Congo might not have developed into quite the shambles it is today. Jason Stearns at Congo Siasa blogs. 

"This time, the logistics are much better," a UN official who works closely with the army told me. "The salaries are being paid, the supplies are getting to the front line. They still overreact and waste too much ammo, but there are a much better fighting force." When I asked a senior Congolese intelligence officer, he confirmed this, saying that General Francois Olenga had been making an effort to make sure supply chains actually function."


The MPs further agreed to pile pressure on Uganda and Rwanda to negotiate with the ADF and FDLR terrorist militia as suggested by Tanzanian leader, Jakaya Kikwete a few months ago on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Ethiopia. “Why should the international community press DRC to talk to M23 yet Uganda and Rwanda don’t want to discuss with their rebel groups? We want to see more dialogue taking place. That’s how the Great Lakes region will realise peace,” said Emery Okundji, a radical legislator in the DRC National Assembly. 

Yes pressure did go on the Congolese to negotiate with M23 and they pretended to very successfully.    In September I blogged.

" I am of the opinion that Kinshasa are just going through the motions at the Kampala peace talks and so it would now seem are M23. The real issue is that there is nothing for either side to talk about. This much vaunted political solution has failed yet again, neither side is participating in good faith that leaves a military solution on the table. "

Emery Okundji is talking crap. You don't negotiate with terrorists be they M23, ADF or the genocidal FDLR. They surrender or they pay the price of their continuing defiance. Both the FDLR and the ADF have committed atrocities against civilians the sooner they face justice the better, but the timetable for that is not in the hands of Uganda. 

Uganda and Rwanda maintain FDLR and ADF are terrorist organisations. Kampala and Kigali are yet to respond to the DRC legislative body's resolutions. 

The best solution would be to ignore it as I would suggest the executive branch of the government in Kinshasa does as well. MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade have a mandate to rid the area of armed groups, Kinshasa has an obligation to assist with FARDC let them get on with it.

MPs thanked the national armed forces (FARDC) for “bravely defending” the country’s territorial integrity and that they should remain “vigilant so that the enemy does not return to haunt us.” 

Yes well unilateral declarations of almost but not quite war are not very helpful something that I would have thought might have dawned on them. I guess one should never underestimate the stupidity factor of politicians.

The latest political developments in DRC have since worried officials in western countries, with United States sending the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Russell D. Feingold to Kigali. 

It may not have occurred to the geographically challenged folk at Chimp Report that Rwanda is in the Great Lakes Region and Feingold is the US Envoy to the Great Lakes Region so going to Kigali is part of the job description. 

The State Department said in a statement today that Feingold would travel to Kigali and Paris to meet with government representatives and Great Lakes heads of state this week. “He intends to discuss next steps in the implementation of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework, including the possibility of a regional mediated dialogue aimed at resolving the root causes of conflict in the region,” the statement reads in part. 

Or in other words he is doing exactly what he has always been doing.

“The United States stands ready to support the region in launching such a dialogue and advancing the Framework peace process.”

What ever would the world do without the United States ? Probably digest a lot less stupid platitudes that would have been better left unsaid.

No comments:

Post a Comment