Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Does Africa Really Need Nation Builders?

Severine Autesserre's article in African Affairs "dangerous tales: dominant narratives and their unintended consequences" describes the three main narratives that dominate wel-meaning international efforts in Congo:
  • primary cause of violence: illegal exploitation of mineral resources
  • primary consequence: sexual abuse of women and girls
  • central solution: extending state authority
Good observation:
"Interestingly, nobody I met challenged the emphasis on state building as the indispensable response to the ongoing conflict. There was no narrative emphasizing other modes of social organization beyond the state."
This state-building narrative was promoted by Michael Gerson (communitarian and speechwriter for Bush) after his visit to Kivu. It's also promoted by blogger Pascal Zachary in his recent article "Africa's Amazing rise and what it can teach the world".
Johnnie Carson links to this article by Pascal Zachary on his facebook page in which this former Wallstreet journal journalist claims that strong nation-states should be the next talk of the village among those who discuss Africa and development:
"In the next wave of creative thinking about development, the nation-state must return as a subject of conversation. African states need to take a stronger role in promoting general welfare even as they cannot return to the practices of the past that stifled individual initiative, robbed "surplus capital" from the enterprising, and reinforced social inequality, consigning women and children to the worst forms of abuse. Only strong nation-states, committed to fairness, can manage the new tensions brought on by wealth and insure that the old risk-averse agenda of African development -- obsessing over preventing further slippage into poverty rather than nakedly pursuing legitimate achievable gains -- becomes an artifact of history."
Amazing how he portrays this dominant state-building narrative that has been around for over a decade as some kind of creative new idea. As so often the proposed solution is more government and more social engineering while the more pressing question remains unanswered: "Can the African nation have peace and prosperity without freedom?" The short history of African states, the accidental borders and tribal diversity have contributed to a weak and superficial national identity and nation-state.

However, this perceived weakness of the African state could easily be seen as an advantage to work towards strong and peacefull crossborder cooperation and instead de-emphasize the nation-state. It's precisely the utopian nation-building projects by visionary liberators that have led to tensions in Africa (as Pascal Zachary himself claimed in his article on Sudan's split and Congo's Kivu).

The tribal tensions and the emergence of all kinds of rebel groups which in turn are used as pretext to perpetuate dictatorial rule, should instead be tackled through regional cooperation and free movement, not by further increasing the role of the state. Let's not reinvent the wheel. The history of Europe is an example, albeit imperfect, of why nation-building should not be high on Africa's priority list.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, let me ask you as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the narrative of state- and nationbuilding of today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

U.S. in Congo: Kabila's still their man

Congolese Police rounded up young men near opposition candidate
Étienne Tshisekedi's party headquarters on December 12, 2011,
two weeks after the polls.

The United States gives more money than any single nation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, almost a billion dollars this year, primarily in military and security aid. Last fall, just before the October 28th election, the U.S. Embassy in the country's capital, Kinshasa, announced a $500,000 contribution of police equipment. On Thursday, the Carter Center, which monitored the election, released its second report on the election, which said that it had not established the legitimate authority of incumbent President Joseph Kabila and his party majority, both of which claimed victory

Africom's Buzzword Dictionary, LRA & Acholi

Africom commanders (&State Department officials) love using fashionable and smart sounding buzzwords and buzzphrases when they explain their involvement in fighting indegenous insurgencies in Africa:
  • country ownership
  • the United States is engaged to support, not lead, the effort.
  • it is Africans who are best-suited to address African security matter
  • Military efforts to capture the LRA constitute only one part of a broader strategy, and must be nested within a program of civilian programmatic efforts
To keep it simple, let's start with the basics:
"Researchers who have studied the LRA say the group’s ideology remains based on revenge against Uganda’s government for past abuses on northern ethnic Acholi people."
Both Phil Lancaster (who headed predecessor of MONUC in Congo) and Joel Barkan from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington are very sceptical for several reasons:
  • A main partner of the U.S. mission is long-time and increasingly autocratic Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. (This worries Joel Barkan.)
  • “Unless there is a healthy relationship and particularly long-term peace, security and development in Uganda, it seems that the pursuit of the LRA will ultimately fail,” (said Barkan).
  • "He [State Department official Karl Wycoff ] doesn't know any more than anyone else what is going on inside the LRA... The important thing now is what Kony is actually doing and as far as anyone can tell, he is still in control and calling the tune the rest of us dance to."(Phil Lancaster:").
Dwyer Gunn, in an article dated 8 march 2009, adds some numbers to grasp the Acholi grudge and the emergence of the LRA:
"In 1983, 123,375 head of cattle resided in the Gulu and Amaru districts. By 2003, that number was down to 3,000. Amidst these abuses and the widespread looting of cattle and crops, opposition to the Museveni government eventually coalesced in the north in the form of the Lord’s Resistance Army."
In his article (22 december 2010) Todd David Whitmore describes Yoweri Museveni's strategy to topple Kampala January 1986. First of all we should note how it is identical to Paul Kagame's strategy toppling Kigali in 1994:
"if Museveni's objective was a united Uganda, he had the opportunity to realize the objective before he seized Kampala. Museveni did not overthrow Obote; rather Tito Lutwa Okello and his brother Bazilio Olara-Okello—both Acholis—did. After the coup, Tito became President, and it was he who tried to unify the country by extending offers of peace to the remaining rebel groups. The efforts led to the Nairobi Agreement between the Tito Okello government and the NRA in December 2005. Elijah Dickens Mushemeza writes, On assuming power in 1985, General Tito Okello Lutwa invited all fighting groups, including the NRA, to join together and form a united government in the spirit of reconciliation and nation building. The NRA did not respond, and this led to Tito Okello's Government seeking a negotiated political settlement with the NRA. This resulted in the Nairobi Peace Agreement (17 December 1985), detailing power sharing arrangements and the composition of the Military Council. All parties also agreed to a ceasefire within forty-eight hours including the UNLA and the NRA.2
Instead of pursuing a united Uganda, Museveni used the time granted by the Agreement to build up his own army, and a month later he seized the capitol. These are not the actions of a leader seeking to unite a country."
Todd David Whitmore adds three valuable observations concerning Museveni and the Acholis:
  • Museveni, as we will see, is a theorist of social evolution and an advocate of modernization.
  • The Acholi would be a drag on his new industrializing economy. As it turns out, he has developed that economy while leaving out northern Uganda—the poorest region in the country, with 42.6% of the population living on less than $1 a day
  •  the contradictions built into Museveni's presumed nationalism are not dissimilar to the contradiction in earlier stages of United States political history between the claim that "all men are created equal" and the reality of the exclusion of African-Americans from participation in governance
Interesting definition of the term modernisation.

Further reading: february 26 2012 In northern Uganda, a difficult peace by Michael Deibert and february 28 2012 Uganda: Acholi people face second genocide with U.S. troops in country by Ann Garrison. An older article may 15 2009 Uganda's Genocidal President Eyes Kenya by Milton Allimadi gives background and some idea of the regional implications.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Unified French-US Sub-Saharan Strategy

In 2006 we read:
"The Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies (GLCSS) believes the French and US military build-up may be part of a unified Sub-Saharan strategy. Both countries currently cooperate in Djibouti in a resource sharing arrangement. In the last two years, the United States has aided the French-backed Chad government in the fight against Algerian Salafist guerrillas operating in Chad."
Chad and Libya are also related argues Bernard Lugand in his "Libyan insurection anniversary blogpost". In his last post Africom watcher Roger Pociask asks the question "Why does Africom minimize contact with South Africa?" with a nice map. Also noteworthy, as posted by Rorger february 22, to fight the LRA Africom troops now in four countries.  Yesterday Johnnie Carson posted another LRA Africom story on his website, apparently he thinks it's great.

Has Rwanda Restored An Independent Judiciary?

Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome  wrote february 24:
"Rwanda’s contributions to UN peace-keeping missions in Darfur and the long-term deployment of police contingents in Haiti have earned Rwanda the respect of fellow AU member countries. Rwanda was given provisional clearance to step into a two-year term, from January 2013 onwards, of the UN Security Council."
In a blogpost about this diplomatic success,  he writes:
 "Rwanda has restored an independent judiciary" 
Let's examine how true this statement really is. In july 2008 Alison des Forges wrote:
“We identified serious problems in such areas as judicial independence, the right to present a defense, and the right to equal access to justice for all. It’s still the case that defendants in Rwanda may be denied their right to a fair trial.”
July 27 2010 the Dutch representative at the ECHR writes (posted on RNW website september 27 2011):
"Rwanda has, “over the years (made) substantial and fundamental progress in furthering the rule of law’’. Since the mass killings of 1994, Rwanda has – through Dutch financial support – built new court houses and the “state-of-the-art-prison “Mpanga”, and has trained judges. Among the “most relevant developments’’ are the abolition of the death penalty and of life imprisonment in isolation." 
The judgment by the ECHR october 27 2011 in the extradition case case of Ahorugeze v Sweden  (reported on RNW website  november 7 2011) is noteworthy and a milestone in this regard. An ECHR press release, october 27 2011, reads :
 "Finally, the ICTR had decided, for the first time in June 2011, to transfer an indicted genocide suspect - Uwinkindi - for trial in Rwanda. It had found that the issues, on the basis of which it had refused to transfer genocide suspects to Rwanda in 2008, had been resolved to a degree which made it confident that the accused would receive a fair trial in Rwanda in line with internatonal human rights standards."
However, the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) has, in two rulings last week, delayed the transfer of Genocide suspect Jean Uwinkindi to Rwanda, citing outstanding monitoring and logistical issues. As The New Times writes:
The ICTR Appeals Chamber on Thursday (february 23 2012) and yesterday (february 24 2012) made two separate rulings putting on hold the transfer of Uwinkindi to Rwanda until it was satisfied the monitoring mechanism the government has to put in place to ensure that he receives a fair trial.
According to the Tribunal's spokesman, Rolland Amoussouga, the Appeals chamber had made two decisions; one being not to consider the ICTR Prosecution's request to dismiss Uwinkindi's application to review the December 16 decision to refer him to Rwanda.
And the second was to look into the issues of the monitoring of the case as well as the availability of the resources required to effect the referral.
"In light of the precedence of the case and the competence of the Tribunal, it was decided that the transfer be suspended until such a time when the president of the tribunal is satisfied with the monitoring mechanisms in place," Amoussouga told The New Times by phone from Arusha. 
"Uwinkindi will be transferred to Rwanda but not before all these processes are reviewed and a monitoring committee is established".
These two rulings will no doubt impact future extradition to Rwanda from Europe, keep in mind what  Jurgen Schurr, legal officer with REDRESS, reports in his november 7 2011 article on the ECHR ruling in the Ahorugeze case:
"It is therefore important to bear in mind that the ECHR has decided solely on the case of Ahorugeze. Future cases, where suspects request the ECHR to review a positive extradition request may have a different outcome, including where judges are not convinced that Rwandan authorities have the capacity to bring extradited suspects to trial within a reasonable time."
The Rwandan prosecutor Martin Ngoga, who played an important role in spearheading the character-assassination campaign against Lazare Kobagaya and others, states in a reaction to being dismayed by further delay of the transfer:
"Rwanda feels as if it is being used as an "experimental piece" by the ICTR."We are uncomfortable with this development; the over-emphasis of monitoring and issues about funding. It calls for so much resilience for us to entertain it as a country.It is as if we are a piece of experimental sample. Nevertheless, we have come a long way and have braved much more than this. We remain ready until they are. He doesn't think that the ICTR is backtracking on its decision to transfer Uwinkindi to Rwanda, but the Prosecution is not aware of what is going on, specifically about budgetary issues. "
Rwanda has in the past, helped by Pierre Prosper and others, played games with the ICTR, are the tables turning? Is the outcome of the Lazare Kobagaya case, may  31 2011, finally sinking in? A case which has put the spotlight on how Rwanda's current RPF regime uses false allegations against Rwandans abroad for propaganda- and intimidation purposes. As Kandy Kobagaya said August 28 2011:
"This begs a question of how such a tiny country of Rwanda can have so much influence to such as large country as the United States ... that the U.S. government can drag an innocent man through that kind of mud,”
The Lazare Kobagaya case was a crucial test of Rwanda's judicial independence at which it failed miserably. In the words ofRwanda's prosecutor general Martin Ngoga: "it was a huge setback". The implications of the outcome for evaluation of Rwanda's judicial independence are quite straightforward as  one of Kobagaya's Lawyers, Kurt Kerns, succinctly summarized in August 2011:
 "So often now, at least right now in Rwanda, so many of the accusations coming out of that country are sadly, politically based."
The outcome of the Kobagaya case was indeed a huge setback in a propaganda and intimidation effort of Rwandans abroad orchestrated by Rwanda's prosecutor general. The case played a central role in Rwanda's propaganda campaing inside the US during the election rigging process. If such a thing would have occured in the Netherlands, Martin Ngoga would have been asked to reconsider his position or step down either immediately or temporarily pending a thorough investigation. Also,  the Dutch parliament would have probably started a parliamentary inquiry. In light of these developments claiming that "Rwanda has restored an independent judiciary" is either setting the bar too low or simply ignoring major cases and rulings.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dieudonné Bakungu Mitondeke Convicted

Congolese Supreme Court has convicted Dieudonné Bakungu Mitondeke, a member of Vital Kamerhe's UNC in Goma, for "organising an armed rebellion of his Bahunde tribe" and "hatred against Rwandans" writes Pole Institute's Dominic Johnson february 25th.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beatrice Munyenyezi's Trial In Proper Context

On tuesday April 12th 2010 Paul Kagame in a speech in the Rwandan parliament, called those officials (ex-army chiefs Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Col. Patrick Karegeya) who fled the country:  “[the waste] being excreted, it means the country has sieved.” April 21 2010 Victoire Ingabire was arrested and presented to the prosecutor to let her know she was charged with genocide ideology, divisionism and collaboration with a terrorist group, the FDLR. Jared Cohen, member of Clinton's policy planning staff starts #rememberrwanda campaign on twitter on day of Victoire Ingabire's arrest. April 22 2010 Victoire Ingabire was placed under house arrest in Kigali.
April 25th 2010 in a speech in Rwanda's Parliament Paul Kagame stated he "would crush opponents like flies with a hammer,” which, was a direct threat to critics and dissidents abroad and at home.

April 27th 2010, a week after his #rememberrwanda campaign on twitter, Jared Cohen, member of Clinton's policy planning staff, met Paul Kagame in New York at the Tribeca festival. One day later, April 28th we could read in The New Times, Kagame's propaganda newspaper, the following headline "First Genocide Trial Underway in the U.S.". This first genocide trial, the case against Lazare Kobagaya, turned out (over a year later) to be part of Paul Kagame's propaganda campaign against critics. Lazare Kobagaya's name was cleared. Paul Kagame's regime had manipulated the US justice system for propaganda purposes.
Prosecutor John Capin in the case against Beatrice Munyenyezi claimed this week:
"the evidence would leave the jury with no doubt that Munyenyezi "acted enthusiastically" in the events of the genocide and lied about it to obtain citizenship."
Capin also claimed yesterday that Esperance Kayenge was a major witness.The first time Esperance Kayenge, the first witness, mentioned Munyenyezi's name was in March 2011 when questioned by US investigators. However, Esperance contradicted herself several times and reading Lynn Tuchy's report on Kayenge's testimony you can allmost hear the smacking sound. Not a testimony which justifies the above ridiculously "enthusiastic" statement by prosecutor Capin. So, based on what evidence was Beatrice Munyenyezi arrested in june 2010?

Defense attorney Howard focused most of his attention less on Kayenge and more on those who are serving life sentences for killing during the genocide and can have their sentences reduced to 20 years if they identify other participants: "Do the math, the genocide took place 17 years ago. Their motive to identify someone is they get out in just three more years".
June 25 2010 Munyenyezi was arrested:
"There were tons of cruisers, lots of unmarked cars lining the driveway," said neighbor Robin Leonard. "It was kind of crazy. They were banging on the door next door trying to get in."
The events surrounding Munyenyezi's arrest are in chronological order:
[Munyenyezi's arrest june 25 2010]
The day of the funeral of Andre Kagwa Rwisereka Paul Kagame makes the following statement:
"My job has not been to create an opposition, my job is to create the environment where legitimate things can happen."
That statement sums up Paul Kagame's election campaign. The timing of the events are clearly linked to a strategy of propaganda (false accusations abroad), intimidation (use assassinations to intimidate population ahead of polls) and justifying killings after the fact (by claiming the right to assassinate those branded terrorists). 

The central question in the Munyenyezi case is why she was arrested june 25 2010, a date that helped Paul Kagame divert attention from RPF assasinations of journalist Rugambage and failed assassination attempt on Nyamwasa in South Africa. What information triggered her arrest , when and how did the prosecutor get this information?

If Munyenyezi's defense can establish that Kigali triggered Munyenyezi's arrest around 24/25 june, it would directly link Paul Kagame to the murder of  Jean-Leonard Rugambage.

Refugee resettlement watch follows this trial as well.

@bradycarlson and @dgorensteinnhpr discussed the case on radio several days ago.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hester van Bruggen Framing Yvonne Basebya

De zaak Lazare Kobagaya heeft ons getoond hoe gemakkelijk het huidige regime in Kigali officieren van justitie in de VS voor haar karretje wist te spannen. Valse getuigen en propaganda werden ingezet om Lazare Kobagaya maar als bloeddorstig extremistisch hutu neer te kunnen zetten. Onder het motto: "als we maar voldoende modder smijten, blijft er altijd wel wat plakken". En die tactiek bleek vrij goed te werken. Zowel officieren van justitie als State Department's War Crimes chief Stephen Rapp speelden maar wat graag hun partijtje mee in deze comedie. Gelukkig was het de jury van Amerikaanse burgers allemaal een brug te ver.
De vraag in de zaak Yvonne Basebya is natuurlijk of de Nederlandse officieren van justitie en de Nederlandse overheid iets leren van fouten die door justitie en State Department in de zaak Lazare Kobagaya gemaakt zijn. De tekenen wijzen in de richting van het tegendeel. In het belang van het veel geprezen ontwikkelingsmodel "Rwanda" en om de "beijing consensus" niet te schaden zorgde onze Nederlandse Ambassadeur Frans Makken er immers voor dat Paul Kagame's "verkiezingsoverwinning" toch nog enige glans kreeg. Het Rwandese justitiesysteem is een succes zo beweert Nederland. En dus stelde Nederlandse vertegenwoordiger bij het Europese Hof in oktober 2011:
" Rwanda has over the years made substantial and fundamental progress in furthering the rule of law"
De verdediging van Yvonne Basebya heeft op 9 maart 2011 ter zitting verklaart dat ze er van overtuigd zijn dat officieren van justities in deze zaak in strijd met wet en geest van ons Nederlands systeem van strafvordering" Yvonne Basebya ten koste van alles voor het leven achter de tralies willen hebben. 
In het interview van 8 januari 2012 prijst Officier van justitie Hester van Bruggen de Rwandese overheid voor de goede medewerking en benadrukt het belang van onderzoek ter plaatse in Rwanda voor het beoordelen van de geloofwaardigheid van haar getuigen. Ongetwijfeld twee centrale elementen van haar strategie om de zaak te winnen. Ze stelt bijvoorbeeld in dat interview:
"Het lijkt me heel zinnig dat rechters zelf gaan kijken. Voor ons geldt dat eens te meer. Neem Rwanda: je moet op de heuvels hebben gestaan om te bepalen wat je vanaf heuvel A op heuvel B kunt zien. Dat helpt bij het beoordelen van de geloofwaardigheid van getuigenverklaringen. En het verklaart voor een groot deel het plezier van Van Bruggen in haar werk. Hoe meer obstakels, hoe uitdagender de taak."
Een opvallende uitspraak gezien het feit dat zij en haar collega's zich hebben verzet tegen zelfs maar beperkt budget voor eigen onderzoek van de verdediging van Yvonne Basebya (zoals haar advocaat Victor Koppe aangaf op de pro-forma zitting van 9 maart 2011. Ook de advocaat Kurt Kerns heeft lokaal onderzoek in verschillende Afrikaanse landen moeten doen om uiteindelijk zijn client Lazare Kobagaya volledig vrijgepleit te krijgen. Het is dan ook verbazingwekkend hoe Hester van Bruggen hier onderzoek ter plaatse inzet om de geloofwaardigheid van haar eigen beoordelingsvermogen op te krikken en tegelijkertijd onderzoek door de tegenpartij dwarsboomt.
Uit de manier waarop Hester van Bruggen spreekt over Rwanda blijkt niet dat zij lering heeft getrokken uit de zaak Lazare Kobagaya. Kort nadat Kobagaya was vrijgesproken vroeg Ann Garrison, journalist uit San Francisco, aan Kurt Kerns, de advocaat in die zaak: "What do you think the international implications of this case are?". Waarop hij antwoorde:
Well, I think maybe before you spend a couple of million dollars trying to prosecute someone, you really need to do a factual investigation. If the allegations are coming out of a country that has so many lies being perpetrated out of it, like Rwanda, you really need to do an independent investigation to see if you're really getting a true and accurate investigation or if you're really just getting a politically motivated accusation. So often now, at least right now in Rwanda, so many of the accusations coming out of that country are sadly, politically based. 
Negeren van de specifieke Rwandese context zoals we die maar al te goed kennen uit de Lazare Kobagaya zaak staat gelijk aan het verspillen van belastinggeld en het framen van Yvonne Basebya.

Halsema's Pelgrimsreis Naar Kigali: "O Schone Stede, Die Wij Groeten"

Bij Femke Halsema's tweets vanuit Kigali moest ik denken aan psalm 122: "Hoe sprong mijn hart hoog op in mij, toen men mij zeide: "Gord u aan om naar des Heren huis te gaan!

Samen met Tineke Ceelen vertrok ze naar Congo op 17 februari om hulpprojecten van stichting vluchtelingen te bezoeken. Ze liep daar ergens 40 kilometer van A naar B. Onderweg tweet ze over de verkrachting van vrouwen in Kivu, doffe ellende, hutu extremisten, armoede in de omtrek van Bukavu. De projecten en van Stichting Vluchteling en de dankbaarheid van de Congolezen steken daar natuurlijk gunstig bij af.

Wanneer ze vanuit donker Congo in Kigali arriveert wordt het contrast zo mogelijk nog sterker aangezet: vanuit het chaotisch Congo aankomst in het aangeharkte Kigali. Tussen de bedrijven door wordt nog wat gebabbeld met Rosemuller die vanuit Libie de zegeningen van de NAVO interventie bezingt.

Femke heeft haar twitter volgers meegenomen op een religieuze pelgrimstocht. Ze trekt door het "dorre land" (Congo) waar een "milde regen" van lachende Congolese kindertjes haar begroeten. Om vervolgens "de donor darling te mogen ontmoeten!". Kigali, "van ver aanschouwd,wel saamgevoegd en welgebouwd. Schone stede, die wij groeten". En als slotakkoord knielt Femke als het ware nederig in het genocidememorial neer. Alvorens terug te keren naar Nederland sluit ze af met de pakkende tweet:
'If you really knew me and knew yourself, you would not have killed me'. Herinneringsgedicht Genocide-memorial
"Zo kan het ook" zou je haast tegen Victoire Ingabire willen zeggen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lazare Kobagaya Verdict Massacred By AP Writer

Today we read in a AP press release several (incorrect) statements concerning the outcome of the Lazare Kobagaya case:
"the jury deadlocked on whether he played a role in the genocide"
This statement is pure slander and Lazare Kobagaya's family should demand AP to try again and send out a new press release which makes clear that the jury rejected claims by the prosecution:
"Three jurors told The Associated Press after the verdict that they unanimously rejected allegation Kobagaya participated in the genocide"
Concerning the second count, yesterday's AP writer claims:
"Although the jury did convict 84-year-old Lazare Kobagaya of making false statements on immigration forms about dates and places he lived"
This is incorrect, as the three jurors told AP 's Roxanne Hegeman in August:
"They said they deadlocked 10-2 to convict on the count related to his immigration paperwork."
The jury would certainly have acquitted Lazare Kobagay on both counts if prosecution had not withheld essential information:
“Had this information been timely disclosed so that it could have been presented to the jury, we have no doubt the jury would have acquitted Mr. Kobagaya on both counts”.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bavinck, Kuyper, Hoekema & Liberating Black Theology

Anthony Bradley, King's College Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, tweets today:
"Really wish there existed a celebrity pastor who got Bavinck, Kuyper, & Hoekema. Would make life easier for reaching blacks & Latinos."
Makes me curious as to what he writes in his book "Black and Tired & Liberating Black Theology." Personally I would add Dr. Klaas Schilder to that list. Anthony's blogpost Ghetto thugs and hoochies are the image of God, quoting Bavinck, might be a first trail to understanding his reasoning. The Bavinck quote:
"Not the man alone, not the man and woman together, but the whole of humanity is the fully developed image of God, his children, his offspring. The image of God is much too rich for it to be fully realized in a single human being, however richly gifted that individual may be. It can only be somewhat unfolded in its depth and riches in a humanity whose members exist both successively one after the other contemporaneously side by side...[H]umanity is the image and likeness of God. Belonging to that humanity is also its development, its history, its ever-expanding dominion over the earth, its progress in science and art, its subjugation of all creatures. (God and Creation, 577)"
Which Anthony Bradley translates as:
"If you have individualistic conception of the image of God you will be tempted to try to make God into your image and proceed with the retarded notion that a redeemed person is someone who embraces your cultural and social preferences "
Could this be the proverbial egg of Columbus in the eternal discussion on Kuyper's concept of common grace, Bavinck's embrace of modernism and  Schilder's avant-garde positions.
In this interview Bavinck is mentioned again and also a sermon by Pastor Nabors from Chattanooga which he recommends. For those who want to read Bavinck, a link to his reformed dogmatics (Dutch).
The title of one of his papers mentioned on Brian J. Auten's blog: “Puritanism: A Theological Tradition of Anti-Blackness, Racism and Social Injustice”.

Will Kenneth Mubu Become South Africa's Donald Tusk?

In January the Zulu king made comments that could possibly increase anti-homosexual sentiment. Now, a month later, he is accused by Congolese of fanning the fires of xenophobic attacks against immigrants. I fail to see how this helps the ANC. Maybe the King is testing the limits of ANC's goodwill or exploring a divide and rule strategy. Who knows. For a King who is supposedly a mere figurehead, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has a history of deep involvement in South Africa's politics. Let's see how all players will react to his latest adventure into world politics.

Kenneth Mubu, DA's shadow minister of international relations and cooperation, on democracy in Africa, wrote january 26th 2012:
"For South Africa to maintain credibility as a principled voice in international debate, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane needs to speak out against the flawed electoral process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)."
A statement that was, surprise surprise, ignored by the current ANC government. Martin Luther King's phrase "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" comes to mind when you think of ANC's foreign policy of supporting undemocratic "liberators" across Africa. However, Congolese protests against ANC's decision to rubber stamp rigged elections in Congo has finally hit a nerve in South Africa's political landscape:
"Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini on Monday criticised Congolese expatriates for their protest march to the National Assembly last week, saying their actions undermined the South African government."
Legitimate questioning of South Africa's foreign policy by Congolese protestors is met with depressing xenophobic ignorance in the comment section of the Sowetan. Anyone who has ever read a Dutch forum on politics will have experienced the deja-vu. While most politicians in Europe seem to follow the logic that immigrant bashing helps their careers (Balkenende, Sarkozy, Cameron), one man has followed the opposite path, Polish prime-minister Donald Tusk.
Donald Tusk, the robin hood of migrant workers in Europe, has demonstrated how a politician can win elections by agressively and consistently striking back hard against xenophobic empty rhetoric. Kenneth Mubu and his DA should carefully study Donald Tusk's strategy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Foreign Interventions: Time, Money & Lives Wasted While Freedoms Dwindle

Journalist dailycaller asks veteran: "Why do you support a non-interventionist foreign policy?". He responds:
"I have been to war and....pause. I have seen a lot of unnecessary actions and you know,,, it's hard to stomach. When I signed up I thought I was signing up for something good. And like you know I watched time money and lives been wasted and for what? Our freedoms in this country have done nothing but dwindle more and more. And It's just. It's time to take a step back and focus on America and the people in America and just stop getting in everybody else's business."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s war on journalists

Rwandan journalists Saidati Mukakabibi, left, and Agnes
Uwimana, right, have now served the first of 7 and 17 years in
prison, respectively, since being sentenced in February last year, for
inciting civil disobedience, defaming Rwandan President Paul Kagame,
and "genocide ideology," a.k.a., disagreeing with the official,
Constitutionally codified history of the Rwanda Genocide. They are
only two of many Rwandan journalists targeted by the Kagame regime.

To read the full story, click: Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s war on journalists.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is Neocalvinism A Form Of Civil Societarianism?

Acton Institute's Jordan Ballor describes himself as a civil-societarian: "Too communitarian for the libertarians, too libertarian for the communitarians.". Among Christians and Christian democrats in the Netherlands this same school of civil-societarianism  is popular. However, to someone who fell into the neocalvinism potion at a young age, it comes across as a technocratic wetdream that essentially cuts the heart out of neocalvinism. How can I explain this?

To get an idea of how we should understand civil societarianism "Small is Beautiful" is a good start in which Jordan Ballor writes:
"As social conservatives remind us, institutions like the family and church play critical roles in forming a virtuous citizenry. As Elias Boudinot, a delegate to the Continental Congress and one of the founders of the American Bible Society, once observed, "Good government generally begins in the family, and if the moral character of a people degenerates, their political character must soon follow."
A quote that reminds me of sunday 39 of the Heidelberger Catechism in which the fifth commandment "honor thy father and thy mother" is understood in its broadest implications:
"That I show all honour, love and fidelity, to my father and mother, and all in authority over me, and submit myself to their good instruction and correction, with due obedience;  and also patiently bear with their weaknesses and infirmities,  since it pleases God to govern us by their hand."
In other words, when civil-societarians focus on the family or on the Church to distinguish themselves from "secularist libertarians particularly the atomic individualists" this moves the questions related to Christian political engagement to a micro level, but still doesn't offer a clear understanding of the role of a Christian citizen in regard to authority and a clear understanding of authority and liberty.

To compare neocalvinism and civil-societarianism, let's take a look at the sermon by Dr. Klaas Schilder on sunday 39 "Het gezag, dat God onder de mensen stelt" which could be translated as "The authority that God provides among men". This sermon ends with the phrase: "And that Saviour who bought me with His blood, Who made me his subject with His own service, thus illustrates how freedom and authority go together." Not exactedly an endorsement of a slave mentality.

The essence of neocalvinism and the political movement that comes with it called "Antirevolutionary" positioned itself, through Abraham Kuyper's antithese, as an alternative to both conservatism and socialism for precisely the ability to challenge authority through it's sharp definition of freedom and authority. As Kuyper writes in hist stone lectures:
"in the sphere of the State I do not yield or bow down to anyone, who is man, as I am."
Read Kuyper's speech "Maranatha" to get an idea of how the ARP won elections and forged it's alliance against conservatives and socialists. At the beginning of the 20th century these  William Penn's of Dutch politics challenged authority while offering a strong alternative to socialist revolution. During the thirties of the 20th century former governor of the Dutch Indies Alexander Willem Frederik Idenburg demonstrated in a speech for ARP members some good insight into political incorrect ARP methods comparing the elections in 1933 with old testament battles against the ennemies of the Lord.

In stark contrast to Abraham Kuyper, Klaas Schilder (who ,with a play on words, once compared the significance of neocalvism in politics to children shouting "Hosanna, Son of David") and other early leaders of the peculiar antirevolutionary political movement civil societarians paint a rosy picture of families and churches while failing to answer the central question in politics, which is how to deal with authority at all levels.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hugh Evans Flying Over My Blogging Niche

Wouldn't you sometimes wish you were the sparrow of psalm 84 who found a nest near His Altar? To find that small niche in blogging that is exactedly right for you in that big universe of world politics, Republican primaries, life near the Congo river or any other topic that passionates you.

But blogging is also a day to day following of what happens around you, in your blogging habitat. And today I noticed the feathers of a new bird flying by: Hugh Evans.

Hugh Evans is apparently also on board with the propaganda team of the current regime in Kigali. Maybe he should thank Phil Quin for the encouragement and inspiration for the idea?

His article makes the case Rwanda is the only country where aid works because "the political will exists". In other words, thanks to the (RPF) regime aid works in Rwanda.

As usual with such articles, it gets eagerly retweeted by @UNDP, by @joric_m (Jose Eric Maclangue KM Coordinator for UNDP) , by @JudithMadigan from Amsterdam "This story of Rwanda needs to be heard" ), @j_stratmann OneBrussels , @JoshRuxin).

Aid in Rwanda apparently only works when a RPF regime remains in power. Apparently people love to fall for such fairy tales.
And let's not forget these folks are doing PR for a regime responsable for multiple assassinations in the last couple of years, consistent intimidation of dissident journalists and members of the diaspora, false charges against members of the diaspora and the rigging of the 2010 elections by banning all opposition parties, killing the vice-president of the green party. None of that is off course mentioned by fly-by Hugh.

If the future of Africa, development aid or Rwanda depends on propaganda (or on a specific regime), aid specialists would be, to paraphrase Apostle Paul from 1. Corinthians 15 verse 17, "the most miserable people on earth".

The propaganda war against dissidents of the regime is continuing. People like Lazare Kobagaya and Victoire Ingabire deserve our moral support, our prayers and good blogposts. I confess I haven't lived up to expectations in excellence and quality. We should do more and better.

Let's hope and pray more great lakes specialists, especially the wittty, the smart and the connected will find a place in their hearts to write about real people and move above and beyond those utopian projects which we all cherish.

But even you, whomever you are, that small sparrow sitting on the threshold of the impressive great lakes blogging temple choir, can add your twittering distinctive voice!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Was Augustin Katumba Mwanke Great Lakes Grey Eminence?

Augustin Katumbwa Mwanke, chief bribing officer in Congo politics, died in the Bukavu crash while visiting a member of the old and powerfull Bisengimana clan. The impact of Augustin Katumba Mwanke's crash is being discussed on Afrikarabia, Jason Stearns and dizolele's blogs and no doubt by many others off and online through radio trottoire, the internet and in bars across Brussels. We will probably only find out in the future how he fits into the "African liberators", dead aid and war on terror narratives. We should however be carefull to turn this man into some fictional character that makes good headlines. I'm convinced "Grey Eminince" does not correctly characterizes the role Katumbwa Mwanke played in Congo's politics.

Comparing Mwanke to Richelieu as does Colette Braeckman doesn't seem helpfull to me either. His lavish lifestyle and personal pet projects don't make him a Grey Eminence reminscent of Aldous Huxley's famous book.  CENI President Pastor Mulunda's name would probably be more fitting for a superficial comparison to French cardinal Richelieu. Grey Eminince, the austere monk that did some of Richelieu's dirty work, as described by Huxley, has more characteristics of a Paul Kagame heading the military intelligence inside Uganda during the ninenties.  And that brings us to the Richelieu of our times: Yoweri Museveni, the guardian of Africa's liberation narrative.

As Kambale noted in his first reaction to the death of Augustin Katumba Mwanke, this briber-in-chief actually left a fortune. How ironic, like a Jacob he sold his birthright and soul for a bowl of soup. This gives me the impression he was mostly after money and no ideologue. Which brings us to his role as chief-negotiator for a chinese-congolese deal as described by Howard French in the article Next Empire in may 2010:
"In Congo it was commonly said that President Kabila had bet his presidency on relations with China; for an official to say anything critical could be career-ending, or worse." 
Dambisa Moyo is quoted in that article saying "China offers a way out of the mess the west has created", "western obsession with democracy has been harmfull" and "sustainable democracy is only possible after a strong middle class has emerged".
Allthough the press in Europe and the US reported Dambisa Moyo book "dead aid" as if it  was revolutionary, in reality her comments above make clear that her views are in fact a description of the status quo of both European and American consensus on aid, foreign policy and democratic development. Both US foreign policy and the aid specialist community see the development of civil society as a prerequisit for democracy.

In my opinion a strong middle class or civil society is not a guarantee for, nor a sure road to democracy. Politics is about narratives like the "liberation struggle against colonialism" the "aid miracle", the "war on terror", "struggle for civil rights", "Ich bin ein Berliner". Just developing civil society is not a story that can move people. And to think democracy can only deepen is just naive. The aid communities irritation and fascination with Nicholas Kristof proves my point that narratives do count.

ICG Senior Congo Analyst: Any Logic In US Foreign Policies?

Marc-André Lagrange, Senior Congo Analyst of the International Crisis Group in Brussels said this week:
"Quickly, I would like to share a feeling of non comprehension and astonishment about US policy in the Great Lakes. Somehow, I feel lost about what the US are trying to do in the Kivu. On one side we have Washington screaming that elections were flawed, non credible and must be, at least, recounted. On the other hand we have US diplomats shouting to who wants to hear it that they are 100% with DRC government to increase military cooperation to fight FDLR and other peace spoilers.

I mean, is there any logic in the US foreign policies?"
Those who still believe the US stands up for democracy in Africa should read Congressman Donald Payne, an African-American long seen as sympathetic to opponents of autocratic rule in Africa,  recent declaration:

 "the future of Congo is not with Tshisekedi. His time has come and passed."

Ever since Susan Rice claimed to stand up for democracy one week ahead of Congo's elections I have argued that this was pure tactics. The speech in Kigali was meant to create a smokescreen of supposed sincere support for democratic development in the great lakes region.

The liberation narrative pushed by Museveni and Zuma has essentially not been challenged by US foreign policy makers. Instead it has been integrated in the larger "war on terror" narrative. The question is off course who is taking who for a ride in Africa?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Aid Specialists & Nation Builders Hate Ron Paul

The last two decades have seen an unprecedented effort to rebrand the term "conservatism". A Plato interpretation by Andreas Kinnegin has focused on virtues to rebrand the word "conservatism" in the Netherlands. Among Christian Democrats Roel Kuiper and Jan-Peter Balkenende have been spreading this "virtues gospel" (liberal conservatives have an army of believers as well). However, when you take a closer look you notice how this approach could be summed up by paraphrasing Plato:
 "the man that feels just is happier than the man who feels unjust" 
Institutionalized arrogance if you ask me. In 2008 Lew Rockwell at Ron Paul's rally for the Republic might have called it an infection: it spreads.

Ron Paul's campaign should push back against communitarians and Obama supporters among self-proclaimed aid specialists who have staked their reputation on Rwanda as aid model. People Like Hugh Evans:

Ron Paul is ignorant, ill-informed and/or morally bankrupt when it comes to

Gerard van Mourik, a development consultant who has worked in Rwanda from 1994-1995 claimed in a tweet to former Dutch member of parliament for the conservative liberal peoples party, Arend-Jan Boekestijn:
Meer economische ontwikkeling in Afrika betekent minder genocide.
Which translates as "More economic development in Africa means less genocide." He, as many other development consultants, politicians and journalist just can't seem to fit Victoire Ingabire into their development model. The easiest solution is off course to just ignore her story or paint her as a naive, incompetent or crazy individual.
Victoire Ingabire's invaluable contribution to great lakes politics is the fact that she has forced politicians in Rwanda, but also in Europe and the US to show their real colors. She has thrown on the table the question everyone should ask: Can the African nation have peace and prosperity without freedom?

Off course Museveni, Kagame, Zuma and others would argue that the war against Mobutu was part of the liberation of Africa and that critics are in fact the metastase of the former colonizers.

This liberation narrative has not been challenged by US politicians. Instead US foreign policy consensus has been to integrate it into the larger "war on terror" narrative. Paul Kagame comments supporting the war against Ghadaffi and his comments on the Burundian FNL illustrate this. 

Donald Tusk did not support the war against Ghadaffi! However, the platonic happy crowd of European politicians jumped on this bandwagon in the name of universal human rights or the notion of a boring and predictable cosmopolitan village.

 Leading up to the 2008 presidential elections Cindy McCain led a bipartisan visit to Rwanda that was supposed to showcase how well-intentioned, caring and good people Americans are when helping, through organisations such as the ONE campaign, the poor in Africa.

It's in Ron Paul's campaign's interest to broaden the scope and move away from the unhealthy focus on the middle east.

The last election cycle both democrats and republicans visited Rwanda to show how much they cared for development (make them feel just and they will be happy). It played an important role in the campaign, I remember. And it symbolized the consensus on foreign policy in the US. A superficial feel good message in a country ruled by a ruthless dictator. This bipartisan foreign policy consensus came together with Rick Warren at the swearing in of Obama.

To just ignore debates on development and nation building in Africa isn't an option. As I mentioned above, Ron Paul's ennemies/adversaries ( the likes of Romney advisor Pierre Prosper and Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson and Hugh Evans) are bringing them up.

To broaden the appeal to compassionate conservatives or evangelicals it's important to counter the superficial perception that somehow Ron Paul's campaign doesn't care about development in Africa.

The war on terror in Africa has ugly consequences and US citizens would do well to find out what these consequences are for citizens of regimes that have these cozy ties with US administrations. So if people don't know about Sudan, Rwanda and Congo, it's time they get educated. I support Ron!

GOP Delegate Allocation Rules

The total number of delegates at stake in all GOP caucus states this year is 462.

Some clame the Ohio race will be key:
"analyst Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics identified Ohio as the key state between a Romney runaway and the possibility of a brokered convention."
To become a delegate for Ron Paul, visit the RonPauldelegates blog for instructions. One wonderfull blunt phrase on that blog:
"Remember, our system of government is a republic and not a democracy. Now you can understand why it’s so important to become a delegate because delegates determine who the GOP nominee is" 
December 23 the RNC released it's final piece of the puzzle in terms of how delegates will be allocated.  Thanks to Frontloading HQ for helping me find it.

Several questions are off course on all our minds:
How many Republican caucuses are there?
Who can participate in these caucuses?
How many Republican Primaries are there?
How many winner-take-all primaries are there?
Who can participate in the winner-take-all primaries?
Who can participate in the not winner-take-all primaries?
Who qualified for these primaries?
To calculate or predict the potential outcome of this complicated chess game there is more to it then just following the partisan pundits.

To become a delegate for Ron Paul, visit the RonPauldelegates blog for instructions. For any and all who want to be a delegate please get familiar with Robert's Rules of Order. This is essential in the delegate process!

Jason Linkins points to another source to understand what is going on. In the meantime, as MATTHEW GAGNON reports, mainstream media is smelling the proverbial rat in Maine:
"Indeed, intrepid gumshoes from the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, Politico and a whole host of other news gatherers are descending upon the Pine Tree State over the next few days, hoping to cover a shockingly interesting race.
So what are these folks from away so excited about? They think Ron Paul might win the Maine caucus. And, it is true, he might. If he does, they’ll have a political story to really spill some ink on."
Columbia's Jo Ann Cavallo 's excellent article puts to bed the easy slogans and myths about Ron and his crew, read it to wash away the tidal wave of propaganda we have been exposed to by folks from all sides of the political spectrum:
“We’ve Been Neo-Conned”: “Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it’s realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy.”
Just make sure you show up on time for your caucus, watch the mess Caucus in Nevada in this video.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ron Paul & War On Terror In Africa

Sofar the debate on US foreign policy and the War on terror has been limited mostly to Iran. However two subplots have been proposed by Romney's foreign policy advisor Pierre Prosper and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson.
Ron Paul's campaign could improve it's reach if it engaged it's critics on current hot issues like Congo and Sudan. Weeks ago former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, in a washington post article, had the nerve to claim that eastern Congo shows us why we need big government. An obvious attempt at smearing Ron Paul's small government agenda. A claim that should not have been left unanswered! Propping up dictators in the region, especially through public relations, has a lot to do with the situation in Congo. The war in Congo is not just caused by hutu rebels as many mainstream journalists and policymakers would love us to believe, but has strong correlation with US cozy relationships with unsavoury dictators like Meles Zenawi, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni. This can all be trackt back to a strategic calculation that focuses on Sudan and the war on terror. 

The consequence has been that critics of Zenawi, Kagame and Museveni  have been consistently ignored, ridiculed (For example: Ward Brehm had the despicable courage  to attack Victoire Ingabire's lawyer Peter Erlinder while he was jailed in Kigali) or even demonized by US and UK foreign policy "experts" and journalists. Romney's foreign policy advisor Pierre Prosper has consistently helped Kagame's RPF avoid persecution at the ICTR and the mapping report (how many Americans know what is in it?) has been ignored. Republicans Pierre Prosper and Jendayi Frazer have both used the "local ownership" and "racism against Africa" argument to attack the ICC and shield these new Africa leaders from prosecution. Consistent obstruction by the US State Department of procedures against RPF officers for massive scale crimes stands in stark contrast to the resources and effort invested in prosecuting the innocent hutu immigrant Lazare Kobagaya from Kansas.
Recent comments by Romney's campaign days ahead of the Florida pirmary concerning a slow genocide in Sudan were obviously cooked up in close consultation with Pierre Prosper. Ron Paul's campaign should have hit back hard and point to the disaster in Congo that has been fueled by Pierre Prosper's friends in the region.

US foreign policy has consequences for real people in Congo, Ethiopia and Rwanda where opposition leaders are jailed on trumped up charges, politicians and journalists are being assassinated by these regimes. Pierre Prosper, a friend to a regime that has a trackrecord of numerous assassinations in Europe and Africa. If you want to know what Pierre Prosper's African friends are about (it's not about economic freedom) read this recent statement:
"Organising communities and pushing for development is not an organic phenomenon. It is the duty of a responsible government."
Do we still remember the warning by John F. Kennedy when he said in his Berlin speech:
There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.
Cleary the communitarian bejing consensus is not what America and it's foreign policy should be about.

As Jim DeMint reiterated this week:  we need radical spending cuts, including putting defense spending on the table. A debate between conservatives and libertarians should also include a critical evaluation of failed US Africa policy which contributed to the suffering of millions in the great lakes region. No more Utopian Nation Building projects. No more cozy receptions of bloodsoaked killers and their sycophantic PR crowd of socalled experts. No more demonizing one-sided propaganda against criticis of totatalitarian regimes,  "what would be wrong with swearing of aid to all dictators?".

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jim DeMint: Debate Between Conservatives & Libertarians Necessary

Jim DeMint has a background in marketing, as he explains in this recent interview, which clearly influences his approach to Republican politics.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Romney's Foreign Policy Ahitophels

Ahitophel is the proverbial cynical advisor who comes to mind every time I see all these campaign advisors swarm around the candidates. Milwaukee Journal, a blog on US politics has written several excellent blogposts on the Republican nominating process. For example the article on Iran and the Pentagon. January 30th Shaun Booth puts the spotlight on Romney's foreign policy team which is composed of 23 people that served under Bush. Sofar during this nominating process, the focus has been entirely on Ron Paul's Iran comments. Have Ron Paul's advisors, people like Trygve Olson, been sleeping?
ouldn't it be fair at some point to focus on Mitt Romney's foreign policy and these Ahitophels? Do we really want US foreign policy decided by people like Pierre Prosper? An individual who has troubling close ties to the controversial Rwandan President. It's clear Pierre Prosper is a key player in US foreign policy when we consider that he was recently hired by Amir Mirzaei Hekmati's family. Prosper was Romney's advisor in 2008. 

For obvious reasons Prosper was hired by Kagame in the high profile case against him by the widows of former Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda.  Florence Hartmann, former spokesperson for Carla del Ponte, former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, has explained how on pressure from the United States (read: Pierre Prosper) the special investigations targeting suspects from the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) were buried forever, sullying the legacy of the ICTR. This controversial cozy relationship between US high-level politicians, like Senator Inhofe, officials at State Department, Jonnie Carson, and Pentagon, like Tom Odom with Paul Kagame's RPF has not gone unnoticed. It was mentioned in an article about Stephen Rapp's visit to Sri Lanka this week. For obvious reaons: the nephew of Sri Lanka's President, Shyamlal Rajapaksa, died in 2009 under suspicious circumstances while investigating RPF crimes. That's why I like Tony Gambino's quote that sums it all up: "During the Cold War, US foreign policy globally had clear priorities. That clear lens, however, disappeared with the end of the Cold War in 1990".

Elizabeth Blackney (@richardgrenell & Elizabeth push #romney on twitter), a (past?) communication strategist for Pierre Prosper, has allready "dropped" Prosper's name as potential Secretary of State on twitter, january 24th:
Mitt's foreign policy team is very, very impressive. My 1st choice for SecState is on that team.
I prefer former War Crimes Ambassador Pierre Prosper off Romney's team. Dear friend, great man, favorite client EVER.
Awww, shucks. Thank you. And Pierre is an amazing man, great diplomat, strategic thinker. Romney was smart to bring aboard.
 She wrote on politico january 24th:
"Romney's foreign policy team includes Rich Williamson and Pierre Prosper, both with tangible records of delivering positive results in America's policy towards Sudan."
And as clockwork Romney attacked Sudan on january 31th, as tweeted by @medializzy and reported by global post:
" Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today condemned the "slow motion genocide" in Sudan and pledged, if he becomes president, to "protect innocents" in Sudan"
Which she used as a tweet aimed at Florida voters:
 #Romney commits to civilian protection in . When will act to protect "innocents" there?
January 31th Josh Rogin essentially republished this Romney press release on the Foreign Policy website.
Richard Grenell tweeted february second:
just words MT : Outraged that bombed a school run by I condemn this heinous attack
Jon Hutson tweeted:
Must-read in today's : and are being savaged as world shrugs:
Richard Grennell:
US Ambassador Susan Rice did nothing about Rwanda in the 90's while Assistant SecState & now Sudan
January 27th Elizabeth Blackney retweeted Michael Gerson's article advocating Ugandan military adventures inside Congo:
"An American combat mission in this conflict is not contemplated. But the U.S. government should press Congo to readmit Ugandan troops pursuing the LRA. And the U.S. military could aid the UPDF with more advanced air and communications capabilities. A small, final push might remove the LRA’s most capable leaders from the field"
The "Gerson" interventionist narrative leaves out essential parts of the great lakes political puzzle. Note for example that he did not interview Rwanda's opposition party leaders like UDF-Inkingi Alice Muhirwa or mentions Victoire Ingabire in Rwanda. Not once election rigging, the mapping report and assassinations by Rwanda's RPF were mentioned. Is it part of the urban bias in Research on civil wars described by Kalyvas ? It's a fallacy to claim, as Pierre Prosper and Jendayi Frazer do, that supporting strongmen in Africa is in the long term US interest or advances sustainable peace. Their hostility towards Occampo's indictments of Kenyan politicians is part of their strategic foreign policy towards Africa and should be part of any real debate inside the Republican party.

For those who want an alternative and superb read of events in eastern Congo, read  (google translate will help) the article "Killer King of North-Kivu" by Stefano Valentino, John Vandaele en Anneke Verbraeken !

Will Minnesota's caucus and the thriving blogging avant-garde in that part of the US provide an opportunity for a real debate on foreign policy inside the Republican party to finally take off. When endorsing Ron Paul former Minnesota GOP State Chair Chris Georgacas said "he is the only real advocate for freedom, peace, and prosperity". Does this include denouncing the above mentioned cozy relationships with bloodsoaked and undemocratic "leaders" in Ethiopia and Rwanda? I would hope so.