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Stearns on today´s events

January 20, 2009

“This marks a major turning point in Kinshasa’s attitude toward the conflict in the east. It appears (President Joseph) Kabila’s government has decided to turn on what has been an ally, the FDLR.”

“This marks a serious change in Rwanda’s policy as well. For the first time since 2002, Rwandan troops are on Congolese soil.”

“They will now be working together against the FDLR, while the CNDP (Tutsi rebel group), which in the past has received support from Rwanda, will now join ranks with the Congolese army.

“This strategy hinges on the success of the military operations against the FDLR. These kinds of counter-insurgency operations are very difficult and always carry with them the risk of serious harm to the civilian population.”

“The other risk is that these operations could be protracted and Kinshasa has already gone out on a limb inviting back in what has been traditionally perceived as its biggest enemy.”

Not to miss the following Reuter´s dispatch.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Virgil permalink
    January 21, 2009 11:03 am

    Am loving all of your updates/commentaries. Very useful stuff. If you have a chance, would like to hear your thoughts on the following: 1) Does all this mean that Kabila is caving in to US pressure (via Rwanda via the CNDP) and will be backing away from its deals with China? 2) Is the timing of the entry of Rwanda on the day of the Obama inauguration just a coincidence, or is this a way of ensuring that no one notices these new developments?

  2. Blog admin permalink*
    January 24, 2009 2:27 pm

    Hi Virgil,
    thanks a lot for your comment.
    1) Difficult to say. What I know is that Kabila´s credibility is down. There was a lot of hope when he arrived, but now there is a feeling of dissapointment about how things are going. If things continue the way they are, his possibilities in the next presidential election are few. However, if this works out he could present himself as the man who ended war in the DRC. It is very risky though because, considering past experiences with Rwanda in the country, many believe that the Rwandan army is here to stay, whether with Rwandan uniforms or a different one.
    On the US-China issue, I think more about a general agreement among all actors involved in order to finish the issue. Maybe that´s also what I would like to think.
    2) Timing in this region is never a coincidence. There have been other examples, I do not remember a particular one but I remember being in this situation (coincidence of big international event and regional event) before.

  3. Virgil permalink
    January 25, 2009 5:15 am

    Thanks for the thoughts. Interesting indeed. The fact that MONUC and humanitarian workers are being shut out is making things look very suspicious…
    By the way, did you see the journalistic gem by VOA on Nkunda’s arrest? This article(http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-24-voa23.cfm) and the expert consulted tell us that the arrest of Nkunda proves that Rwanda was not supporting the violence, because it was helping Congo to look for him, and they arrested him together… Incredible…

  4. Blog admin permalink*
    January 25, 2009 9:38 am

    It´s quite funny 🙂 An example of ignorance as much as a piece of propaganda

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