Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Regional Conflict A Distinct Possibility

On yesterday the United Nations clearly and unequivocally implicated Rwanda in the latest conflict in the Congo. The Associated Press noted that U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg reported "that Uruguayan peacekeepers saw Rwandan tanks and other heavy artillery fire into Congo on Wednesday as Nkunda's forces advanced toward the regional capital, Goma." Alan Doss, the top U.N. envoy in Congo, said in a videoconference Monday that the "fire had come across the border from Rwanda near the Kibumba (displaced) camp where hostilities were under way." Read entire article here>>

Today the Rwandan backed rebels of the Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) accused both Angola and Zimbabwe of mobilizing troops for entry into the Congo. Congo is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In the last major war in the Congo in 1998, Laurent Desire Kabila the father of current leader Joseph Kabila called on SADC to confront the invasion of Rwanda and Uganda.

Congo has appealed to Angola for help but there is not yet any evidence that Angola has responded positively to the request. Last week SADC did issue a statement condemning the latest bout of fighting but did not go beyond statements of concern and condemnation.

The regional dimension combined with the great power interests ought to be closely watched as Congo becomes the pawn yet again in a regional and global competition for precious and strategic resources. The weakness of the Congo state and Congolese leadership is a prerequisite for Congo's neighbors and global powers to have their way in the Congo.

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