Monday, June 23, 2014

We Believe In Redemption. We Believe In A Second Chance

"It is something that is consistent with my religious beliefs as well as my lawmaking that you should get a second chance." Rand Paul reiterated today.  Sofar the implications of Rand Paul's words at a Republican convention in Iowa for the ongoing debate concerning immigration reform, his outreach to evangelicals and his effort to repair his alleged Southern racist/ civil rights act 'problem' have been overlooked.

Most commentators have focused on the effort to reach out to minorities. And that is certainly part of it. The need for change in this regard is central to his campaign as his friend and seasoned fundraiser Nate Morris said in an interview last week 'the GOP needs to change in order to succeed'. But there is more.

Rand speaks the language of Evangelical republicans while staying true to himself. Something similar happened at the faith and freedom Coalition Conference when he quoted Os Guinness: 'America's problem is not wolves at the door but termites at the floor'. His message on talkradio “I think that our country needs a spiritual cleansing, I really think we need a revival in this country — and I do need your prayers and I do need the strength to go on with this, because this isn’t always easy.” obviously resonates with anyone familar with early US history and the history of the Republican party. Folks that think they can take Rand Paul down in Iowa like they did with Ron Paul a few years ago, will have a rude awakening. But there is more.

Rand's words also draw a sharp contrast with the tea party rhetoric against illegal immigrants 'breaking the law'. He makes clear he isn't part of this 'novationist' faction inside the republican party that thinks illegal immigrants that 'broke the law' should not have a second chance. Novatianists were early Christians that followed Antipope Novatian, who refused readmission to communion of those baptized Christians who had denied their faith or performed the formalities of a ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods. The novatianists were declared heretic by Rome.

The 'we believe in redemption' approach strikes at the heart of the 'rule of law' argument used by the anti-illegal immigrant crowd (and Ted Cruz), it firmly establishes Paul's thoughtleadership among the different subgroups of the Republican big tent coalition and it adresses his own weakness.

And this last point is precisely why the 'we believe in redemption. We believe in a second chance' approach is a brilliant strategy to break away from the tea party and the libertarian groups and break in to larger segments of the Republican base and beyond.  But it is even more brilliant because it adresses his own baggage and history, his own weaknesses and shortcomings as potential candidate for President of the United States. 'We believe in Redemption. We believe in a second chance' is in the first place good news for Rand Paul himself.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Surrendering FDLR & Their Congolese Families

Lambert Mende on the Congolese family of surrendering FDRL rebels:
“Some of them are genociders really, but others are not because I visited the camp the MONUSCO set up in Kanyabayonga, 200 kilometers from Goma, and I witnessed that a majority of them are less than 20 years.  These young men of 15 years, 16, 17 you can’t call them genociders ... there is a lot of Congolese women who are linked with them, fiancé or wives and we have to take care of these compatriots.”
 Lambert Mende on the nonsense pushed by Congolese opposition and civil society concerning this process:
'On ne voit très pas bien par quelle alchimie ces actions préalables pourraient être utilement conduites d’un coup de baguette magique en quelques heures pour satisfaire ceux qui prétendent que la RDC ne devrait plus tolérer même un mois de plus des gens désarmés et en attente de départ sous le contrôle de nos forces de sécurité alors qu’elle les avait subi armés et offensifs pendant ces 20 dernières années. C’est tout simplement insensé'
On Congo - Rwanda border tensions concerning an Eucalyptus tree:

'Les Rwandais se déploient comme s'ils allaient attaquer. Ils avancent jusqu'à quelques mètres de nos positions, nous disent que cet arbre leur appartient et que nous devons le couper de gré ou de force'

Saturday, June 14, 2014

La 'Société Civile' Congolaise & Le FDLR

Le succes du désarmement du FDLR dépend des assurance du gouvernement de leur sécurité après leur reddition. Meme les théoriciens conspirationalistes les plus tetus devraient le reconnaitre. Si le gouvernement ne peut pas garantir leur sécurité après cette reddition qu'est-ce-qu'il leur poussera a rendre leur armes.

Hier la dite 'société civile' en equateur s'est ajouté à cette cacophonie:
'Le gouvernement congolais planifie de regrouper les ex-FDLR qui ne désirent pas rentrer dans leurs pays dans un camp militaire à Irebu avant leur transfert dans le centre d’instruction des Forces armées de la RDC à Irebu, dans le Territoire de Bikoro (Equateur).'
Et pendant ce temps les théoriciens de conspiration continuent de promulger leurs théses, par example:
'Joseph Kabila » est juste un pion entre les mains de l’élite anglo-saxonne et alliés.'
Voilà l'approche populistes qui n'apportera aucune stabilité au pays. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why Are Rwanda And Congo Fighting?

Yesterday Martin Kobler called for 'restoration of calm on the border between the DRC and Rwanda'. In reaction to the @Monusco tweet Sheikh Habimana Saleh, 'head of political parties, nongovernmental organizations, and faith-based organizations for the Rwanda Governance Board', tweeted:

SheikhHABIMANA Saleh @SheikhSalehh 22h
very simple engage the hall world against FDLR the same style used against M23,

When asked, Sheikh Habimana Saleh refused to clarify the meaning of this statement. See below:

I replied:

in other words: Rwanda attacks Congo because it disagrees with 's approach


in your view , 's approach against M23 was just because of the Language


so you agree with my interpretation of your words


, l wish you know where BUSASAMANA is then you interpret, sorry

you don't want to confirm or deny my interpretation. Trademark of dishonesty

interpretation with hate or ignorance is indeed trademark of dishonest

as long as you don't clarify your statement my interpretation remains entirely plausible

follow our Hon Minister for clarification, the State of Law&Order

Note that he did not contradict my interpretation but claimed instead that I was ignorant (not knowing where BUSASAMANA is, implying the problem at the border started with Congo entering Rwandan territory) and hatred (implying I have sympathy for FDLR).

Today's account in JeuneAfrique of what happened does not exclude my interpretation. Note that these incidents take place at a crucial phase of the FDLR surrender process. This process gives FDLR the option to lay down their arms. Something that was proposed to m23 as well. If FDLR decides to not surrender, it will be rooted out.  In both cases military action is the ultimate solution.

Why is the RPF unwilling or unable to defend the solution to the FDLR problem? Is it a smart strategy or just a sign of weakness?

The former(?) Mufti quoted above was also involed in the ouster by the Rwandan Governance Board(!!) of the head of the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What The FDLR Surrender Debate Tells Us About 2016

In today's aljazeera's blogpost on the ongoing FDLR surrender process Catherine Wambua-Soi  writes:
'I asked their executive secretary Colonel Wilson Irategeka why so few fighters came. He said it was a process and more would leave the forest soon.'
Sunday's FDLR press release, visible online at least yesterday morning, makes clear it's leadership is closely following the debate on their relocalization among politicians from different parties and régions and 'civil society' in the DRC:

It's no rocket science to understand why 'the FDLR wants their safety guaranteed'. Yesterday's critical comments by UK's foreign office concerning the succession of acts of violence and violent rhetoric against the Rwandan opposition can be seen as a contribution to the ongoing FDLR surrender process as well.

In this sensetive context last week's words by Rwanda's president Paul Kagame
  'We will arrest or shoot anyone posing a security threat'
were clearly meant to discourage FDLR to consider surrender. The strong symbolism, Kagamé loves sublimation, wasn't missed by the opposition.

But the FDLR surrender process is also separating sheep from goats of the Congolese political class leading up to the 2016 elections. Knowingly or not, political parties and politicians that oppose a pragmatic solution to the FDLR problem are inflicting immense damage on their brand. I'm convinced the statement
 'Nord kivu : la population est contre le cantonnement des FDLR dans sa veulent qu'il rentrent chez eux au Rwanda' 
(obtained through redactrice en chef  at OASIS CONGO FM TV inNord-Kivu  @TynaDolce , Follow her!!!) by the president of North Kivu's opposition party coalition, Lumbu-Lumbu will do lasting damage to national parties like Vital Kamerhe's UNC and to the credibility of Vital Kamerhe himself.

If Congo ends up in 2016 without even a serious alternative to Joseph Kabila, it will be just as much the fault of populist politicians that didn't do their job. Now is not the time for counterproductive nonsense. It's time to build a serious political party and I would think Goma to be the ideal place for such a new force to emerge. This is a huge opportunity for any political party to break free from this North-Kivu alliance by making clear it supports a pragmatic solution to the FDLR problem. Goma's location reminds me of Cincinnati where the Republican party was born. A party that similarly emerged from a split in the Whig coalition.

UPDATE: Lambert Mende responds today:

« Il s’agit d’une opération militaire. Je n’ai pas souvenir que dans notre pays ou d’ailleurs dans quel qu’autre pays, les opérations militaires se discutent avec la société civile ou les notables »

Monday, June 9, 2014

Do We Really Need Liberal Foreign Policy Wonks?

As neither a conservative nor a progressive (or neoconservative, whatever that may be) I still think it's pretty unhealthy when folks outside of electoral politics form a network, any network, in an attempt to take over US foreign Policy. Read this piece in the National Journal and chiver.