"When they get upset about any form of politics that leaches at all into ethnic rallying cries, it's for a reason,"The two main theories in explaning the great lakes wars are either "genocide" or "minerals". Both camps have digged in pretty deep and have been waging allmost religious wars in western newspapers and new media.
In my opinion both views are insufficient to explain the dynamics of the conflict.
Those who, like Tony Blair, focus just on the genocide, tend to ignore the fact that the RPF and it's Ugandan commander Paul Kagame, invaded Rwanda in 1990. In an interview with Wouter Bos, former leader of the Dutch Labour Party, Tony quoted a passage of his recent book which also centered on his very limited interpretation of great lakes history.
On the other hand, those who focus on minerals tend to ignore the fact that the US did not need Mobutu See See Seko anymore when the cold war ended (his strategic importance was lost). They also ignore the fact that Mobutu See See Seko had made himself a lot of ennemies in Africa during the cold war, especially the South African ANC and Dos Santos of Angola.
Let me give Tony Blair a piece of advice in order to start engaging the believers from the other side. He should work on two main aspects of his recurrent theme:
First of all, the fact that Tony Blair stays silent on the mapping report shows that he is unwilling to search for common ground with his critics. The mapping report is not some controversial document. It's facts. Paul Kagame is a war criminal and possible guilty of genocide on hundreds of thousands of unarmed refugees in Zaïre. Tony Blair should include the mapping report in his next article.
Secondly, Tony Blair (by stressing his admiration for the new African leaders) shows no respect whatsoever for previous African leaders like Mobutu See See Seko who was a faithfull ally of the west and it's cold war interests in Africa. Mobutu did not deserve a knife in the back when they suddenly no longer needed his service. Both the US and the UK have some serious selfreflection to do concerning this lack of policy consistency. Tony Blair should make clear African leaders of the past deserve respect.