Friday, January 31, 2014

Rwanda: " Patterned frosty phrases rape your ears and sow the ice incision "

Voice of America reports

Congolese, Rwandan Envoys Trade Sharp Words at UN

                                                                 Rwandan UN Ambassador Eugene Gasana

UNITED NATIONS — The ambassadors of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo exchanged unusually sharp words Thursday during a U.N. Security Council meeting on their countries' alleged support for rebel groups.

I doubt that they ever trade words that couldn't be described as sharp so I am guessing that
"unusually sharp " means it has reached a whole new level of invective.

The 15-nation council unanimously renewed sanctions against individuals and armed groups accused of ignoring measures to ease violence in the eastern Congo. It also extended the mandate of the U.N. Group of Experts on the DRC.

I guess Rwanda was able to stomach that given the defeat of their own armed group causing havoc in the Eastern DR Congo, M23. However I suspect that it is a short term position and one that is unlikely to survive Rwanda's time on the UN Security Council.

The experts' report on eastern Congo led to Thursday's angry outburst between the envoys. Rwanda, a member of the Security Council, had objected to it and did not want it published.

The mandates extension is covered under section 5 although section 26 would have contributed to the bad day of Rwandan ambassador Eugene Gasana. The issue at stake is that Rwanda has been attempting to resuscitate M23  and the UN Experts Group for the DR Congo are well aware of it and have reported this to the Security Council. Clearly this is behaviour by the Rwandan Government that falls well below the standard that is expected by the UN General Assembly of nations who make up the UN Security Council.

5. Requests the Secretary-General to extend, for a period expiring on 1 February 2015, the Group of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) and renewed by subsequent resolutions and requests the Group of Experts to fulfil its mandate as set out in paragraph 18 of resolution 1807 (2008) and expanded by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1857 (2008), and to present to the Council, through the Committee, a written mid-term report by 28 June 2014, and a written final report before 16 January 2015, welcomes the practice of receiving additional updates from the Group of Experts as appropriate, and further requests that, after a discussion with the Committee, the Group of Experts submit to the Council its final report upon termination of the Group’s mandate;

Among its findings, the experts said they had “credible information” that leaders of Congo's M23 rebel group - despite its defeat at the end of 2013 - “were moving freely in Uganda and that M23 continued to recruit in Rwanda.”

The report also said the rebels received support from within Rwanda, including troops and ammunition.

Rwandan Ambassador Eugene Gasana denounced the report in his remarks to the council.

Yes, Gasana it would seem like most if not all constituent parts of the Government of Rwanda is a liar, fortunately none of them are very accomplished liars and the international community has shown on numerous occasions that they don't believe a word the Rwandan Government says.

“We rejected this report, which lacks objectivity, which lacks transparency, material evidence and credible sources," he said. "We deplore the flawed methodology used by an unaccountable and unprofessional Group of Experts, allowing itself the right to accuse the whole nation without any single evidence.”

The UN Security Council has a very different view to that of the Rwandan representative and finds the ".....without any single evidence.”  to be ludicrous. In effect the Security Council has made it clear they don't believe a word Rwanda has to say on the subject. 

" 26. Expresses its full support to the United Nations Group of Experts of the 1533 Committee and calls for enhanced cooperation between all States, particularly those in the region, MONUSCO and the Group of Experts, encourages further that all parties and all States ensure cooperation with the Group of Experts by individuals and entities within their jurisdiction or under their control and reiterates its demand that all parties and all States ensure the safety of its members and its support staff, and that all parties and all States, including the DRC and countries of the region, provide unhindered and immediate access, in particular to persons, documents and sites the Group of Experts deems relevant to the execution of its mandate; "

In his remarks, Congolese Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavita said the panel's report highlighted the patterns of Rwanda and Uganda, who he said persist in destabilizing the eastern part of the DRC.

He said the experts’ report also documented numerous Rwandan army incursions into the DRC, which he said constituted “an act of aggression.”

This isn't an issue for debate. The UN Security Council has accepted the UN Experts evidence and Rwanda can bitch all it wants but nothing will alter that.  It is worth noting the quality of the diplomatic personnel that Rwanda sends to the UN this as reported by Reuters was the Rwanda ambassadors response to being called out for his blatant lies to the Security Council.

" Rwanda's U.N. ambassador, Eugene Gasana - a temporary member of the 15-member Security Council - accused Congo of "crying like small babies," while his Congolese counterpart, Ignace Gata Mavita wa Lufuta, said Rwanda's "arrogant behavior must stop."
“This is a flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter; flouting the principles of peaceful co-existence, international humanitarian law, the rules for the protection of human rights and the imperative standards of international law,” said Mavita.

Rwanda's behaviour in the Eastern DR Congo has indeed been a flagrant violation of the UN Charter. Much of the blame for the tragedy that is the Eastern DR Congo can be laid directly at Rwanda's door, that includes over 6 million people killed.   

Yesterday I blogged about Ambassador ambassador Eugene Gasana words and said I didn't believe him, today less than 24 hours after doing that blog his comment to Reuters proves that he is another Rwandan liar who can not be trusted. His words yesterday:

"...but that Rwanda remained committed to finding a lasting solution to recurring crises in eastern DR Congo, bilaterally or through regional efforts."

The experts' report also said Congo's military had given some cooperation and weapons to a Congo-based Rwandan Hutu rebel group, the FDLR.

Congo's ambassador said his government would like specific information regarding this allegation but said Rwanda used the FDLR's existence as an excuse to interfere.

I have no doubt that there are some rogue elements within FARDC and that they have probably been co-operating with the FDLR, as I blogged yesterday that is treason and Congolese Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavita is correct to ask for details. I think that those treasonous elements of FARDC might well live just long enough to regret their stupidity and greed.

“My government is aware that the matter of the FDLR is one of the most frequently used pretexts by Rwanda to destabilize the DRC," he said. "We wish to reassure the Security Council that the settlement of this issue remains a priority, even after the defeat of the M23.”

This blog has pointed out on several occasions that the timetabling of action against the various rebel groups in the Eastern DR Congo is a matter for Kinshasa and MONUSCO it is not and never will be an issue for the Rwandan Government, it seems that basic international concepts such as sovereignty are beyond the comprehension of Kigali.

Things then got more heated, with the Rwandan ambassador scolding his Congolese counterpart, saying the DRC has had problems for decades and could not blame them on either Rwanda or Uganda.  He said the two countries had only tried to help Congo and that the envoy’s remarks showed a lack of gratitude.

".....showed a lack of gratitude."  I would not describe the massive theft of the DR Congo's mineral wealth and the killing of millions of Congolese citizens over just about two decades as something the international community would expect the Congolese to be grateful for.  That remark and not the Congolese ambassadors remarks tell the true story here.

DR Congo: " When your conscience whispered, the vein lines stiffened You were walking with the dead "

New Times Rwanda reports

UN tells DR Congo to end ties with FDLR

The United Nations Security Council has ordered Congolese armed forces (FARDC) to halt collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a blacklisted terrorist outfit with bases in that country’s eastern region.

I suspect this might actually be partially true, although the Security Council can't order any sovereign nation to do anything, it can request and if said nation chooses to ignore the suggestion it does so aware of the sanctions that the Security Council can impose upon it.

The problem here is that we can't at this stage check the New Times report as my screen shot shows quite clearly at 6.47 Friday January 31 2014 ( New Zealand Daylight Saving time ) the resolution referred to in this story was embargoed. That New Times has chosen to break that embargo is quite telling. 

There are three possible scenarios here, the first and most likely being New Times was given the embargoed press release and broke faith with the established journalistic practice of respecting embargoes. I say this is most likely because New Times is propaganda rag and not to be taken all that seriously.

The second and almost as likely is that New Times were leaked the information by the Government of Rwanda ( which has a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council ). If this is the case then it doesn't get New Times off the hook for unethical behaviour but it is an indictment upon Rwanda and shows that the Rwandan Government isn't a proper and fit representative of Africa to the Security Council, or for that matter a fit government to represent the World on the Council.

The third possibility is that some dickhead at the UN forgot to lift the embargo on website, I would be very surprised if that was the case.

This is contained in Security Council Resolution no. 2014/55 that was passed yesterday, which also demands FDLR, whose members are largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, to disarm and disband.

The Council noted with “deep concern reports indicating FARDC collaboration with the FDLR at a local level, recalling that the FDLR is a group under UN sanctions whose leaders and members include perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.”


The actual text is now available and it reflects very badly on New Times who you will note below make a big deal about the genocide being referred to as a genocide against Tutsi. The actual complete text is: ( Link at the end )

" Noting with deep concern reports indicating FARDC collaboration with the FDLR at a local level, recalling that the FDLR is a group under United Nations sanctions whose leaders and members include perpetrators of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, during which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were also killed, and have continued to promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC, and stressing the importance of permanently addressing this threat,..." 

OK regular readers of this blog know I despise the FDLR and I can't wait until the people of the Eastern DR Congo get to dance on their graves. I also think it unlikely that it is an unofficial position of either the leadership of FARDC or for that matter Kinshasa, it is possible even probable that there are some renegade officers within FARDC who are collaborating with the FDLR, the name for this is treason. The DR Congo regards treason as a crime punishable by death.

" Treason.
A variety of treasonous acts are punishable by death, including: treason; treason in time of war; assault on the Head of State; participating in an armed insurrection, including as a leader, organizer, or supplier of information or weapons;  committing acts of rebellion resulting in death;  and forging or using forged military documents if endangering national defense in time of war or resulting in destruction of troops."

It is also worth noting that “... noting with deep concern reports.. " is not " ordering " . I sometimes regret that acts of unethical and in New Times Rwanda's case also incompetent journalism aren't punishable by death. Fortunately that isn't the case or most of the world's courts would be tied up sentencing journalists to death.

The Security Council said FDLR continues to “promote and commit ethnically based and other killings in Rwanda and in the DRC”.

There is no doubt about it and the FDLR need to be eliminated. The UN Security Council can and have ordered MONUSCO and the Intervention ( Africa ) Brigade to eliminate the FDLR.

Kigali has repeatedly blamed FDLR and a network run by renegade former military officers for a spate of grenade attacks inside Rwanda over the last couple of years.

Former FDLR combatants and other sources have previously revealed how the Congolese army maintained close ties with the militia group, with some FDLR elements fighting alongside FARDC on different fronts in the country’s troubled east.

My last blog actually wasn't my blog at all but a translation of a real journalist's blog, one who I might further add would run no risk of being executed for incompetence should we ever decide that death is a suitable punishment for such a crime. Maybe the fools from New Times Rwanda could try some real journalism rather than repeating government propaganda line for line. From Charley Kaserekas blog: 

"The population is impoverished, the older residents have already moved more than eight times after multiple confrontations between the Congolese army FARDC and the FDLR ( Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda )."

That, New Times, is called reporting, maybe you have heard of it.

Last year, FDLR units made brief incursions on Rwanda on several occasions, causing some deaths in areas near the Congo border.

Yes lets remember these are Rwandans.

All armed groups to cease

The UN Resolution demands that all DR Congo-based armed groups, including FDLR, and Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels as well as various Mayi Mayi groups to “cease immediately all forms of violence and other destabilising activities and that their members immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms and demobiliSe children from their ranks.”

Lets also remember that the Rwandan proxy M23 has been defeated by FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade and they are now dealing with the ADF. The FDLR's appointment with them is not to far away.

The world body warned that the situation in eastern DR Congo, where a 20,000-plus UN peacekeeping mission is authorised to use force to disarm armed groups, “continues to constitute a threat to peace and security in the region”.

After the adoption of the UN Resolution, Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Eugène-Richard Gasana, said his government shared the same concerns with the Security Council’s over reports of the FARDC–FDLR collaboration, but that Rwanda remained committed to finding a lasting solution to recurring crises in eastern DR Congo, bilaterally or through regional efforts.

I don't believe a word Eugène-Richard Gasana says. I will however remember his words.

The FARDC–FDLR alliance is of particular concern because the militia is among those targeted by a 3,000-strong special intervention brigade, deployed last year to bolster the UN peacekeeping force, Monusco.

And now the New Times really lets rip with the half truths through to the out right lies, fortunately the world outside of Rwanda knows this is just a load of propaganda pretending to be news. There is no FDLR / FARDC alliance.

After the brigade helped defeat the M23 rebels in November last year, its leaders promised to go after the FDLR and other armed forces, but as of to date, nothing has been done.

The Brigade is under the command of MONUSCO and they with the Congolese Government decide the timetable not the idiotorial team at New Times. Currently FARDC, MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade are targeting the ADF. That New Time is unaware of this is just pathetic, if I was the proprietor, the editor would have been sacked along with all reporters tasked with collecting regional news. This is an unbelievable failure on the part of New Times.

Instead, reports from eastern DR Congo indicate that FDLR expanded its territory after moving into some of the areas previously occupied by the M23 rebels, and launched a fresh wave of deadly attacks against civilians. 

I haven't seen those reports, I think this might be called making it up as you go along or in journalistic speak " interviewing the typewriter ".

“The Security Council strongly condemns all armed groups operating in the region and their violations of international humanitarian law as well as other applicable international law, and abuses of human rights including attacks on the civilian population, Monusco peacekeepers and humanitarian actors, summary executions, sexual and gender based violence and large scale recruitment and use of children, and reiterates that those responsible will be held accountable,” the Resolution reads in part.

It Council called on “all States, especially those in the region, to take effective steps to ensure that there is no support, in and from their territories, for the armed groups in the eastern part of the DR Congo”.

Yes that last paragraph is aimed at Rwanda with regard to M23. These fools don't even really understand propaganda.

It also urged States to “take steps, where appropriate, against leaders of the FDLR and other armed groups residing in their countries.”

For some time now, top FDLR political and military leaders have been under travel and financial sanctions, and there is a US$5 million bounty for anyone with information that would lead to the capture of the group’s supreme commander, Sylvester Mudacumura.

The only thing I agree with the Rwandan Government about is the desirability of eliminating the FDLR. If Sylvester Mudacumura is worth 5 million US captured I would think his lifeless corpse would be worth at least twice that amount.

Meanwhile, 20 years after the Genocide, the UN for the first time yesterday used the phrase “genocide against the Tutsi” in reference to the 1994 killings that claimed the lives of one million people, instead of the “Rwandan genocide”.

That is a mistake. Many Hutu also died because they would not participate in the genocide. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten. Racism should be fought wherever it happens, the perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide like the Nazi's will face justice. The world owes the murdered nothing less, both Tutsi and Hutu

The label “Rwandan genocide” is mainly associated with groups and individuals who attempt to distort the history of the Genocide, including those who deny that Tutsis were the principal targets during the 100-day killing spree.

Bullshit. Again a lie covered with a truth. No one denies that Tutsi were the principal target I just refuse to see people in terms of racial identity. Will New Times next be asking for ethnicity to be included on identification documents ? That is the road of ethnic separation that idiotic statements such as " groups and individuals who attempt to distort the history of the 
Genocide"  will take Rwanda down, a road it should never travel again.

Rwanda is currently serving its second year as a non-permanent member of the 15-nation UN Security Council.

That surprisingly is a true statement.


1/2/2014,  2.15 pm ( NZDST ) The UN Security Council embargo has expired and the resolution text is available here.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DR Congo: Charly Kasereka - " On the ring road to somewhere "

Charly Kasereka blogs, I have translated this from French using Google Translate and as usual have cleaned up and attempted to make sense of the Google translation. I am responsible for any errors. 

I usually don't add any commentary to Charlys blogs however I suspect the attractive young women pictured holding an umbrella below is none other than Goma blogger Chantal Faida. I have become used to Charly's adventures  , things like getting himself embedded with the Congolese Army FARDC when they  were on the losing side in the battle for Goma 15 months ago. Chantal I was sure, was far to sensible to do this crazy stuff.  :-)

The Thousand Barriers on the bumpy road to Walikale

                                   Broken Bridges National Road N3108 km. Walikale-Hombo ( Photo Charly Kasereka )

The road is long! Not only long, it is also difficult to access. Mud and barriers are everywhere, not to mention snipers and broken bridges.

Walikale is one of the five areas that make up the province of North Kivu (the others are: Beni, Lubero Masisi, Rutshuru). The territory is located in the river valley of the Lowa 
river more than three hundred kilometers west of Goma which is the provincial capital.

Walikale  territory is divided into two communities: Bakano with 4238 square km and Wanianga 19,237 square km. This is the largest area in the province with 39% of the total area of 59 483 square km.

However, the roads are almost non existant, either never built or if built never maintained. To get there you improvise, and you will face many difficulties.

By plane? possible, but not certain. The aircraft will take off and land there on a bumpy track (the NR3 linking Kisangani in Walikale) the same asphalt has covered the surface for over thirty years.

Maybe helicopter? Hey! In DR Congo private helicopters are uncommon, there is an aviation company, but it does not have a helicopter.

By road a 4x4 can do the trick, but be prepared for the worst, mud and broken bridges. If you run into the bandits you may be killed. Therefore it is difficult to traverse the Goma-Walikale leg of the road without risking your life.

On the other side, at the Walikale-Hombo leg of the road to Bukavu it is a minimum of six hours journey by motorcycle, you will have less trouble if your rider is experienced and knows the environment. It is only 108 kilometers along this road (Hombo-Walikale).

                                            A young biker doing Walikale-Hombo on NR3 (Photo Charly Kasereka)

108 kilometers from hell

The 108 km of sheer hell. The cost is forty-five thousand francs Congolese (fifty U.S. Dollars) for this trip by motorcycle.

The number of times you get off and push the bike to facilitate its passage through the lakes of sludge are best not counted, but you will be tired. This is not the fault of the driver, a highway N3 (NR3) certainly is not!

Mud holes and broken bridges are main features on this stretch. The area is landlocked and the only way through is by the bike.

   A member of the Mai Mai Raia Mutomboki manning a toll " gate " in the Walikale-Hombo NR3 (Photo Charly Kasereka)

Who really controls the Zone?

For more than ten years now state authority has been absent in three-quarters of this territory. Armed groups formed by the village youth control everything that can be found in their area.

On the road, there are more than thirty barriers installed by two armed groups who make the " law ". The Raia Mutomboki  and Mai Mai Kifua Fua groups''. They charge a self-defense tax of Fifteen thousand Congolese franc (U.S. $ 15) for each household per month. Passersby on motorcycles are taxed a thousand Congolese franc per head to pass through a village, bridge, house or even a hole. There is no mercy you do not have the money, you stay there! 

You sure are lucky if the boy with no principles or even manners armed with a AK47 and with a large knife hanging from his hip does not rob you of everything taking even the your hat and leaving you with nothing to even cover your head. 

Taxes are what  keeps these movements alive and the main beneficiaries are the leaders. Subordinates receive only crumbs and live on small scale extortions and plunder here and there. 

The population is impoverished, the older residents have already moved more than eight times after multiple confrontations between the Congolese army FARDC and the FDLR ( Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda ).

We come across some other young men, unarmed this time, barring the passage of the road with a tree trunk, they are pretending to maintain the road by filling the multiple holes with stones.

Walikale is a large area and it is not only big, but rich in minerals, with cassiterite in abundance. Because of that Walikale and neighboring Masisi remains home to the largest of the armed self-defense groups. They all claim to protect the area against perpetrators of the various rebellions particularly the FDLR who fled to this territory in 1994. Rwanda fugitives and the perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rai Mutomboki , Mai Mai Kifua Fua and the Nduma Defence of Congo militias everyone makes their own law in the corner they occupy in this large and dense rain forest.
MONUSCO ( The United Nations Mission to the DR Congo ) forces have several bases in area, in particular Otobora. The commander of MONUSCO, General Santos Cruz, promised "serious action" against armed groups who do not surrender their weapons to the authorities of the DR Congo or MONUSCO.

                    Two young men pretending to repair a hole in the Walikale-Hombo NR3 road ( Photo Charly Kasereka )

CAR: " You've finished playing hangman, you've cast the fateful dice. "

The BBC reports

Central African Republic: UN 'may need 10,000 troops'

                                            Former rebels, mostly Muslims, are being evacuated from military camps

The UN believes at least 10,000 troops will be required in any force sent to end unrest in Central African Republic, the French UN envoy says.

Ambassador Gerard Araud described the situation in CAR as "very, very dire".

The Seleka rebels are being escorted from Bangui by Chadian peacekeepers but there departure will not calm the situation All Africa reports:

" Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, said in a post on Twitter that he saw 25 vehicles with 500 heavily armed men driving through central Bangui. According to Bouckaert, Seleka leaders left the camp on Sunday, escorted by Chadian troops with the African Union peacekeeping force."

There is also carnage and looting in Muslim neighbourhoods in the capital as the local flee what have effectively become Christian death squads and property is being looted.

His comment comes after the UN Security Council approved a resolution allowing European troops to use force in CAR.

I am glad that the authorisation comes from the UN Security Council however I am strongly of the opinion that this should be a UN operation. I covered the political aspects of this earlier in the week and I think the use of troops under there respective national armies is problematic. That said it is far better to have the boots on the ground.

About a million people - 20% of the population - have fled their homes during months of religious violence, after rebels seized power last March.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Araud said the African Union force in the country, intending to reach 6,000 troops, "is considered now too low because frankly the situation is very, very dire and the country is huge".

I think the AU force should be just about at 6000. New Times ( Rwanda ) has reported that all the Rwandan troops are now there and they were the last African troops to deploy. All the news to date has been from Bangui there will probably be a bigger humanitarian catastrophe in the regions.  

" Rwanda successfully deployed all its planned 850 peacekeepers to the volatile Central African Republic (CAR), an exercise that began on January 16 and involved 38 airlifts.

The group which jetted out yesterday will immediately join other peacekeepers already in CAR as part of the Rwandan contingent supporting the African Union International Support Mission to CAR (Misca), which seeks to pacify the war-torn country."

Threat of sanctions

The UN Security Council resolution, which was passed unanimously, allows reinforcements to use "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in the country, which has been in near anarchy since its president was overthrown 10 months ago.

In addition to the use of force, the resolution allows for sanctions against the ringleaders of groups blamed for massacres and human rights abuses.

The Seleka rebels started the bloodbath and it would seem that they are being removed to Chad, I would suggest they will not face any punishment the vast majority of the violence at the moment is Christian militias taking revenge the lack of personnel available to the peacekeeping forces suggests that it is unlikely that there will be much in the way of punishment for them either.

Security Council members have been alarmed by the vicious cycle of vengeance between Muslim and Christian militias in the Central African Republic, says the BBC's Nada Tawfik in New York.

There is concern that without a stronger international response - the situation will degenerate into a countrywide religious divide and spiral out of control, she adds.

I think that we have already reached the out of control point. Three weeks ago I blogged about the situation:  

" It is improving insomuch as we have taken a step forward, the two steps backwards have yet to come. Unless the international community can get its shit together very fast then those backwards steps are days if not hours away."

Clearly the international community has failed to get its act together and we are well past two steps backwards.
The EU has agreed to send up to 600 troops to help African and French troops already deployed in the country to prevent further bloodshed.

But the first question is how long will it take for them to deploy ? I suspect they will arrive in March and the second is will 600 make any real difference ? I doubt it. 

France, the former colonial power, has 1,600 troops in CAR, working with some 4,000 from African countries.

I think that with the additional African Union deployments the figure is now about 7600 troops the extra 500-600 isn't going to make a big difference.

On Monday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said the situation was getting even worse despite the inauguration of a new leader last week.

The appointment of Catherine Samba-Panza to the Presidency it was hoped would provide a breaking effect on the violence it hasn't. 

She called for more international help, saying Muslim civilians were being targeted.

Many Christian communities set up vigilante groups, accusing the mainly Muslim rebels of attacking them.

The boot is now clearly on the Christian foot it may well be that the surviving Muslim community will be exiled if they are not killed. This was always going to be the outcome and to some degree it is understandable. The Muslim community allowed the Seleka rebels to massacre the Christians now the situation has been reversed the most that the peacekeepers can hope to do is provide safe zones while a solution is arrived at. 
Also on Monday, Christian and Muslims leaders asked UK Prime Minister David Cameron for more assistance.

That isn't going to make much difference. 

" Britain, along with Germany, has offered logistical support but has repeatedly made it clear that it will not send soldiers."

Germany has however agreed to send troops.

CAR is rich in gold and diamonds but years of unrest and poor governance have left most of its 4.6 million people in poverty.

And now facing the very real possibility of a genocide.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rwanda: " But to stand up and fight I know we have six million reasons "

The Washington Post opines

Another Rwandan dissident assassinated

By Lara SantoroPublished: January 25

Patrick Karegeya’s murder did not come as a surprise. The former Rwandan spymaster, whose network of spooks at one point spanned half a continent, had fallen foul of President Paul Kagame in 2007 and went on to help found the opposition, headquartered in South Africa. But as human rights organizations keep noting, the survival rate among Rwanda’s dissidents is not high .

Kagame will not tolerate any opposition. Victoire Ingabire is in effect the leader of the opposition currently she is serving 15 years in gaol, in her situation she made the ill advised move of returning to Rwanda to contest the  the presidential elections in 2010, she was barred from running then gaoled for 8 years increased to 15 on appeal.

The country that many in the West associate with brave recovery from genocide in the 1990s has, in the years since, turned into an autocratic state with zero tolerance for dissent. Filip Reynt­jens, a leading academic authority on Rwanda, says the central African country is no longer “a state with an army but an army with a state.” It’s a depressing transformation, although true plurality was unlikely to blossom in that country, with a 15 percent ethnic minority effectively in charge.

".....but an army with a state.” Says it all really. The problem is that Kagame knows no restraint. His crime of killing opposition politicians pales into relative insignificance when his crimes against the people of the Eastern DR Congo are considered. Six million dead and climbing. 

What did come as a surprise was the way Karegeya was murdered. His strangled body was found in a Johannesburg hotel room Jan. 1. The killers didn’t even bother to tidy up: They left the rope and a bloodied towel behind, as well as a “do not disturb” sign on the door. “It’s Kagame’s impunity,”Theogene Rudasingwa, a former Rwandan ambassador to the United States and one of the leaders of the Rwandan opposition in exile, said in an interview. “He doesn’t care anymore, no one has ever held him accountable, so why should he care?”

That is starting to change. The eyes of the world are starting to watch Rwanda. The Eastern DR Congo is slowly being turned around and should Rwanda intervene either directly or indirectly via proxies such as M23 it is going to become increasingly difficult to ignore from the perspective of the west. Already America has been forced to cut aid and impose sanctions.

Kagame has denied involvement in the murder, but at a recent prayer meeting in the Rwandan capital he said, “You cannot expect to betray your country and get away with it.” Aside from a brief statement by the South African police mentioning strangulation, the circumstances of Karegeya’s death remain mysterious. What is clear, however, is that no one had greater interest in seeing Karegeya dead than Kagame. Experts on the region say that Karegeya’s job description under Kagame included eliminating enemies — potential and actual — which left Karegeya with a lot of sensitive information. “It was pretty clear to everyone what Karegeya’s job was,” professor Brian Endless of Loyola University said in an interview just after the murder. “Even he wasn’t terribly shy about it. He took care of dissidents, in however distasteful a fashion was required.”

Kagame has become delusional, his inability separate his administration from the the nation state that is Rwanda. He assures all that he will not alter the constitution to extend his tenure as Rwanda's President but the reality is that he has created a situation where he will be forced to remain in office. Expect an African version of the Putin / Medvedev  tandemocracy . There is very little available in the way of attractive retirement options available for autocratic dictators after they lose power. Ask Gaddafi.    

When someone was deemed a problem outside Rwanda — be it in Kenya, Congo or other countries — it was Karegeya’s job to get rid of them. (Internally, the job fell to Jack Nziza, whom Rudasingwa called “the most feared man in Rwanda”).

What is strange is that Karegeya must have been aware that he was in Kagame's sights yet he dispensed with his South African security detail. 

" It was reported in the South African press that Karegeya had agreed to dispense with his South African security detail in 2012. The government of South Africa had provided the protection since Karegeya’s arrival in South Africa in 2007. The decision to provide protection was reportedly influenced by assassination attempts against former army chief of staff Kayumba Nyamwasa, another Rwandan exile in South Africa. "

Whatever “problems” Karegeya allegedly eliminated at Kagame’s behest is unknown, but Endless and others have estimated that the number is in the double digits and includes former interior minister Seth Sendashonga, who was gunned down in traffic in Nairobi in 1998.

Such information is public knowledge in Rwanda. When Nziza walks into a room, Rudasingwa told me, people start to shake. The murder of Karegeya does more than silence a potential squealer. It sends a message to the Rwandan opposition and to ordinary citizens: If someone as powerful, rich, competent and cunning as Karegeya can be dispatched, what can be done to the average citizen? Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch attest that the levels of fear in Rwanda are pathologically high: Too many people have vanished and later turned up dead. Karegeya’s death is certain to make the situation worse.

By the same token there is a growing awareness in the West about the realities of Kagame's regime. The European Parliament has made its opinion on the Victoire Ingabire situation fairly clear.

Despite a clear pattern of stifled dissent during his tenure, Kagame is about to receive his latest installment of U.S. bilateral aid. Overall foreign aid to Rwanda — estimated to be about $800 million a year — is roughly 40 percent of its government expenditure, keeping the country afloat. Karegeya’s murder ought to open a debate on whether Rwanda should receive any aid at all.

Cutting aid is problematic and probably would have the effect of increasing the levels of oppression in Rwanda whilst not hurting the country's political elite in any real way, it also puts the most vulnerable Rwandans at risk. Targeted sanctions aimed at the Rwandan civilian and military leadership would make a lot more sense.

Hat Tip: Charly Kasereka 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Africa, Germany & the UN: " From the dream on the barbed wire at Flanders and Bilston Glen "

Al Jazeera reports

Germany sees bigger military role in Africa
                                         Ursula von der Leyen said she foresaw boosting the training mission in Mali 

New defence minister talks about Mali and CAR and says Germany cannot stand by in the face of "murder and rape".

Germany's new defence minister said Sunday her country should engage more strongly in Africa by sending additional military trainers to Mali and supporting the French intervention in Central African Republic.

It is easy to forget that pre WW1 Germany had fairly extensive colonial acquisitions in Africa. The Treaty of Versailles extinguished Germanies African possessions. German East Africa  included what are now Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania , Kenya and Mozambique. German South West Africa Namibia and Botswana. German West Africa included bits of Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and  Togo.  

Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday Germany that "cannot look the other way when murder and rape are a daily occurrence, if only for humanitarian reasons."

She is of course correct and what is frustrating is that dealing with the situation in the Central African Republic ( CAR ) seems to be a step too far for the UN Security Council. Ideally the troops on the ground would be wearing blue helmets and under a unified command rather than French and African Union troops. The failure of the UN to get its shit together has left a gap that it seem the EU nations are now moving to fill. That is a good and the forces in the CAR are UN mandated but they represent a failure of the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council needs to be reformed.  

The first female defence minister said she foresaw boosting the training mission in Mali from its current mandate of 180 personnel, with 99 now on the ground, to up to 250, and deploying a medical services airbus to back up the French mission in CAR.

"In Central Africa, a bloody war is unfolding between Christians and Muslims. We cannot allow this conflict to set the entire region ablaze," she added.

I think it would be fair to say that Muslim terror groups are eyeing up opportunities in sub Saharan Africa, the last thing the world needs is another Afghanistan. In the neighbouring DR Congo the government is fighting the Ugandan Muslim terrorist group the ADF, interestingly the UN Experts Group for the DR Congo noted:

The Group determined that during 2013, foreign, Arabic-speaking men have conducted military training courses and operations with ADF; however, the Group was not able to firmly establish the nationalities of these foreigners or their organizational affiliation(s)."

In the long term European national armies should be merged into a European military because "unified armed forces are a logical consequence of an ever-increasing military cooperation in Europe," said the minister who has been in her post for about one month.

It would be a logical development for the EU and it might well come to pass but where does that leave the UN Security Council ? When the UN acts it does so with the authority of the world, a rival EU Security Council would damage the authority of the UN, it also might prove a damn sight more efficient which is why we need to reform the UN Security Council.   

Development Minister Gerd Mueller meanwhile said Germany also planned to expand its aid activities in Africa, especially in Mali, speaking to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

This reads very like a German vote of no confidence in the UN Security Council and who could blame them, New Zealand has long desired UN Security Council reform. 

At the height of the Rwanda killings, New Zealand and others pushed for the Council to act; but, under pressure from the US, France and UK – all with a veto – its response was watered down, the UN peacekeeping force was downsized, and the genocide continued, unabated.

As recounted by the Czech Ambassador (on the Council at that time ), our Ambassador “drew his final trump”, and turned a draft presidential statement into a draft Council resolution - “an absolutely brilliant manoeuvre” because, “unlike a presidential statement, a resolution didn’t need unanimity”; and any debate would highlight the veto possibility and expose the opponents in “their real colours”. "

New Zealand for all its brilliance at the Security Council couldn't stop the Rwandan genocide. The CAR is fast becoming a genocide situation, a student of history might see many ironies in the German intentions, the less obvious one being that the Security Council was set up to ensure that never again would the world witness a holocaust.

The chairman of the German Armed Forces Association, Andre Wuestner, told the same newspaper that the Mali mission would likely take more than a decade, citing the "disastrous" state of the armed forces there and the goal of "a stable and functioning state".

The West African nation of Mali was hit by a coup in 2012 when its northern half was occupied by Al-Qaeda-linked armed fighters before being liberated by a French-led military intervention.

French forces also intervened last month in CAR to try to stem violence between mainly Muslim Seleka fighters who had staged the coup last year and rebels from the country's Christian majority.

If the UN Security Council will not reform it will become redundant and kudos to Germany for making it so obvious.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rwanda: " Who as you crawled out of the alleys of obscurity ."

New Times Rwanda reports

Kagame is a special ally – US senator

Oklahoma Senator, James Inhofe, has hailed President Paul Kagame for “incredibly” transforming Rwanda and massively contributing to regional peace through peacekeeping missions.

Oklahoma Senator, James Inhofe who I know nothing about other than he must be a complete idiot.  For Senator Inhofe's information M23 was not a peacekeeping force, they were a Rwandan raised militia that has raped, robbed and killed in the Eastern DR Congo. Kagame sum total contribution to regional peace is significantly less than zero. 

This, Inhofe said, was the reason the United States of America considers the President as a special ally of the American people.

No actually Jim that was never the case, America does consider Kagame a special ally because he has destabilised the Eastern DR Congo and allowed for the theft of billions of dollars worth of minerals to feed the American military / industrial juggernaut.

“I speak on behalf of many Senators back home and I assure you that USA doesn’t have a better friend than Paul Kagame,” he said yesterday after a delegation of US Senators House Representatives met the President.

A Senator who represents Senators, that might cause a few eyes to open in Oklahoma, as I said I know nothing really of James Inhofe but Google is as always my friend. From the Boring Old White Guy Blog. 

" Sen. James Inhofe voted no in January on a bill to provide $50 billion in disaster funding for states hit by Hurricane Sandy.

But yesterday, Inhofe seemed open to supporting a bill to provide extra funding for Oklahoma after a deadly tornado swept through the town of Moore on Monday afternoon.

Why the change of heart? “That was totally different,” Inhofe said on MSNBC, referring to the Sandy bill."

In other words Inhofe is a hypocrite, birds of a feather and all that I guess. Oh and no surprises he is also a Republican.

Inhofe was accompanied by his counterpart, Senator John Boozman of Arizona, alongside their spouses and five House Representatives.

Inhofe told the media that Rwanda’s commitment to development and contribution to regional peace makes it a valuable ally to the American government.

So much so in fact that America last year cut military aid and imposed sanctions. You sort of think an American Senator with an interest in Rwanda might have been aware of that.

" KIGALI - Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Friday angrily condemned a US decision to impose sanctions against his country for allegedly backing rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo who recruit child soldiers."

“I first came to Rwanda 17 years ago, and since then, I have come here each year. The country has progressed so much and you don’t see this in many countries – and we credit President Kagame for this transformation,” Inhofe said.

That probably says more about the Senators ability to be corrupted than anything else. I can't think of any issue his constituents in Oklahoma might have that require him to travel on I assume the American taxpayers dime to Central Africa.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Baine, said the delegation was impressed with Rwanda’s role in fostering regional peace by sending its troops to peacekeeping missions, most recently being the 850 RDF soldiers taking part in the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic.

If the American delegation were that gullible and I suspect they were, that is a massive indictment upon the US government.

Rwanda also contributed peacekeepers to volatile regions of Sudan and South Sudan.

It deployed its first peacekeepers to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in 2004 and since then, has emerged as one of the largest contributors of troops to peacekeeping missions.

I am guessing they didn't discuss the planned redeployment of Kagame's thugs, M23 to the Eastern DR Congo. 

“The delegation had fruitful discussions with the President on issues concerning regional peace and also talked extensively on how to bolster economic and political ties with both countries,” Baine said.

In their three-day visit that kicked-off on Thursday last week, the senators were briefed by the Minister of Defence, James Kabarebe, on peace and security in the Great Lakes.

Maybe the delegation could have read this before they discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes with Kabarebe out of whose office the orders of M23 were generated. 

They also met the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, and officials from the Prime Minister’s Office to discuss prospects on increasing trade between Rwanda and the USA.

I think this was more about damage limitation, the Obama administration is clearly not impressed by the Rwandan regime.

Rwanda is one of the African countries allowed duty and quota-free access to the US market under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act initiated by former president Bill Clinton to encourage Africa export more to the US.

For now.

Rwanda also signed the US-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty in 2012 and is part of the US-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership announced by President Barack Obama in 2013 as an important component of the US strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa.

And Rwanda joined the Commonwealth ......yawn.

America: " In the gulags and internment camps frozen faces in nameless ranks "

AEI Ideas ( American Enterprise Institute ) blogs

Chart of the greatest and most remarkable achievement in human history, and one you probably never heard about

Everybody’s featuring their “graphs and charts of the year,” like The Atlantic and the Washington Post (be sure to see Vice-President Joe Biden’s “Graph of the Year” on Amtrak ridership). Well, the chart above could perhaps qualify as the “chart of the century” because it illustrates one of the most remarkable achievements in human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years, from 26.8% of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4% in 2006. (Source: The 2009 NBER working paper “Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income,” by economists Maxim Pinkovskiy (MIT) and Xavier Sala-i-Martin (Columbia University).
WTF. " ..from 26.8% of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4% in 2006." That has got to be the most convoluted comparison I have ever come across. Actually I suspect that this is more about Chinese and Indian economic progress than some fantastic achievement on the part of humanity.
What accounts for this great achievement that you never hear about?
It turns out that between 1970 and 2010 the worst poverty in the world – people who live on one dollar a day or less – that has decreased by 80 percent (see chart above). You never hear about that.
Yes there is a lot to be said for living on $2 or $3 per day. This is bloody meaningless bullshit. According to this shit only 5% of the world's population now live in poverty. 
Map of world poverty by country, showing percentage of population living on less than $2 per day. Based on the 2009 UN Human Development Report.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo,  2006  figures, 87.72 earning less than $1.25 per day,   95.15 earning less than $2.00 per day.  

It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.
80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated in less than 40 years. That has never, ever happened before.
Not only has it never happened before it hasn't bloody happened.

So what did that? What accounts for that? United Nations? US foreign aid? The International Monetary Fund? Central planning? No.
At this point you should be expecting things to take a large turn for the worse.
It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.
This clown has clearly never read Nickel and Dimed. On (Not) Getting By in America. Nore would it appear has the author of this drivel any concept of the history of free enterprise. As for America standing for free trade I have never heard anything so laughable in my life.  

I will state, assert and defend the statement that if you love the poor, if you are a good Samaritan, you must stand for the free enterprise system, and you must defend it, not just for ourselves but for people around the world. It is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented.
Just fuck off right now Dr. Mark J. Perry ( author )  who clearly is the mouthpiece of the AEI.

" The rich get richer, the poor get the pictureThe bombs never hit you when you're down so low " Midnight Oil

Hat Tip: DPF at Kiwiblog