By Milton Allimadi
As we head into the new year 2015 the drum beats are once again sounding in the Congo — the U.S. must oppose not join this drum beat.
Launching a New War In the Congo is not the best way to neutralize threats from the FDLR.
Former Senator Russ Feingold, now the U.S.’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes believes the best way to disarm the FDLR, the Rwanda militia accused of human rights abuses in Rwanda and in Congo is through armed intervention.
This is wrong. This approach could escalate the conflict in Central and East Africa and fighting could spiral out of control into genocidal killings.
War is also a gift for the military rulers of Rwanda and Uganda, who have on numerous occasions used troop deployments and regional fighting to deflect attention and focus away from domestic political repression and denial of democracy to the citizens of these two countries.
The proposed Feingold-intervention, whether with MONUSCO, the UN force in Congo, or would the East African Standby force that includes the militaries of Rwanda under brutal dictator Gen. Paul Kagame and Uganda’s under ruthless dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni, spells grave disaster. Congo conflict will surely invite Rwanda and Uganda destructive mischief.
Rwanda’s and Uganda’s army have already caused genocidal killings inside Congo through their multiple invasions of Congo, during which these armies and the political leadership also plundered billions of dollars of Congo’s resources. In 2005 Uganda was found liable for what amounts to war crimes in the Congo and Congo was awarded $6 billion to $10 billion — Uganda has not paid a dime.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006, the International Criminal Court (ICC) also launched a criminal investigation and Gen. Museveni, possibly fearing indictment, urged then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to block the investigation.
A United Nations investigation known as “The Mapping Report” also found that Rwanda’s army under Gen. Kagame committed genocide against Hutu refugees inside Congo.
Most recently a documentary by the BBC “Rwanda’s Untold Story” tied Gen. Kagame to the assassination of then Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994 by ordering his plan shot down, also killing the president of Burundi who was on the same plane.
A Spanish and French court is also investigating Rwanda’s top military and political leadership, including Gen. Kagame, on the Habyarimana assassination, which sparked the genocide in Rwanda.
In essence, Gen. Museveni and Gen. Kagame are unindicted war criminals who are provided political and diplomatic cover by the U.S. and by the U.K. administrations.
They must not be allowed to launch new wars of aggression against Congo under the guise of disarming the FDLR, which indeed must be disarmed — but not by belligerent countries, Rwanda and Uganda, whose armies have caused untold misery in Congo with an estimated 7 million to 10 million deaths of Congolese.
President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, East Africa’s most stable and politically tolerant democracy –whose presidency has term limits– has called for dialogue between the Kagame regime and the FDLR, to accompany the disarmament. Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa, Rwanda’s former ambassador to the United States, who was once Gen. Kagame’s chief of staff, also argues for such an approach to resolve the conflict.
With his ugly human rights record and ties to the Habyarimana assassination, and his past support of the M23 terrorist army, which had to be defeated by a Special UN Force –and forced President Obama to personally telephone him in Kigali– Gen. Kagame does not have the moral authority to reject negotiations for peace and reconciliation.
U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Feingold, must back down from war-mongering as the first option to resolve the crisis. He could help trigger a new round of genocide in the region.
Say “NO” to War In the Congo.