Thursday, June 7, 2012

The End of Counterinsurgency In Congo

In retrospect we might soon say that the article 'Bosco 2012: While We Hunt Kony, Another Indicted War Criminal Lives a Life of Leisure' by Tony Gambino and Lisa Shannon published in the New York Times march 14 signaled the beginning of the end of counterinsurgency operations that have been going on in Congo for over a decade.

Offcourse, it's still too soon to declare victory, at the same time it's just as premature to declare 'the end of counterinsurgency' as George Friedman did this week. While largely ignored in this debate on the effectiveness of 'counterinsurgency', the Congolese army and United Nations peacekeeping forces have been waging one of the largest and longest counterinsurgency operations in the world.

The support for Bosco Ntaganda & the M23 mutinee, both in actions AND rhetoric (often overlooked!), by Rwanda's current regime reveals the weak relationship between these insurgents and the Congolese people in Kivu which is counterinsurgency’s Achillies’ heel. Supposed lack of political integration as driver for this insurgency only surfaced the day Congo wanted to take criminal Ntaganda to justice, as Muanacongo summarizes succinctly here:
'We have never heard of grievances or (so called March 23 agreements) when Ntanganda and Makenga were the heads of “Amani leo”.'
What do the Presidents of Congo and Rwanda want? Simon Allison does a good job answering the first half (I disagree with Philippe Biyoya), Séni Dabo struggles with the second half of this puzzle.
To understand what Paul Kagame wants we should listen to what he says, starting with his speech in West Point march 2010 in which he contrasted the response to the 9/11 attacks in New York and the genocide in Rwanda and pointed to the 'need to enhance international response, solidarity and cooperation, so that international threats carry the same weight and meaning to all countries irrespective of which interests are at stake and not only when the interests of powerful nations are threatened.'

The true meaning of these words became clear when in april he declared 'Rwandan exiled officials are like excreted human waste' and April 25th 2010 in a speech in Rwanda's Parliament he stated he "would crush opponents like flies with a hammer,” which, was a direct threat to critics and dissidents abroad and at home. In june exiled general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa survived an assassination attempt by RPF operatives.  Charles Onyango-Obbo further explained Paul Kagame's West Point speech july 8th 2010:

'the government in Kigali would not need to deny or apologise for trying to kill a terrorist.'
In may 2011 Joseph Rwagatare confirmed this reading of Paul Kagame's West Point speech in an article in The New Times claiming:
"The criminal quartet and other unsavoury characters to whom they are allied in a terrorist enterprise will soon find out that the jungles of foreign countries and villas in upmarket areas of foreign capitals are not very safe. They can run and hide, but will run out of options and then their actions will catch up with them. If Osama bin Laden could speak now, he would tell them that."
 A cynical and expedient application of James Madison's universal truth:
'that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger real or pretended from abroad'
Paul Kagame used the visit by United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jonnie Carson  october 22 to reaffirm his commitment to the stated principles in his West Point speech and at the same time correcting Jendayi Frazer who had claimed just a month earlier:
"that the problems in eastern Congo today are not Rwandan, they’re Congolese"  
The calculated assassination of Charles Ingabire a few days before Paul Kagame arrived in Kampala in december 2011 to receive the 'Life Achievement Award' for his contribution towards “the empowerment of youth in Africa” was meant to send a message to Rwandans abroad, as explained by Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa.

When Mitt Romney's current human rights advisor Pierre Prosper, who until recently represented the US in the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination, invited Paul Kagame to speak at Boston College in 2005 he claimed:
'Paul Kagame is a man who has confronted evil . . . and made a difference. The lesson of Rwanda is that we all have a responsibility to one another: to speak out, to condemn, and to act where we can and as we can. And to take inspiration from Kagame's example.'
And..... to spread propagandahide evidence when it doesnt fit the narrative!
(see on Pierre Prosper's image laundering efforts also page 138 of 'The UN Security Council Ad Hoc Rwanda Tribunal: international justice or juridicially-constructed "victor's impunity"?' by Prof. Peter Erlinder).

To summarize what Paul Kagame wants one example sums it up best. On the day (words gain their specific meaning through context and timing) that the assassinated vice-president of Rwandan Green Party, André Kagwa Rwisereka, was burried, Paul Kagame did not express his regret or extended his condolences as did Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. No, he made this widely published and ambiguous statement:
"My job has not been to create an opposition, my job is to create the environment where legitimate things can happen."

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