Human Rights Watch warns that a three-way war between Hutus, Tutsis, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo forces will erupt soon, unless the UN intervenes to avoid the catastrophe. Unfortunately for the people of the DRC, the UN has already intervened:
All sides in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo are guilty of murder, rape and forcing children to fight, Human Rights Watch says.
The New York-based human rights group says the UN has been slow to react to the worsening crisis in the east which is developing into a Hutu-Tutsi war.
The Congolese army has threatened an all-out offensive against both Tutsi and Hutu militias in the region.
This conflict follows directly from the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Hutus fled into the DRC after the massacres, and have tried to establish ties with the government for their own protection. The Hutus, authors of the Rwandan genocide and who fled the revenge of the Tutsis, have come into conflict with the Tutsis again. The Tutsis and accuse the DRC of being the paid agents of the Hutus. The Tutsis want to tangle again, and the DRC apparently wants all of them to leave.
It sounds like another great opportunity for the international community to intervene. In fact, the opportunity arrived eight years ago. The UN established the MONUC mission in 1999, which has had its mandate extended several times, including at least once this year. As far back as 2004, MONUC had a mandate to disarm foreign militias, but that has obviously not been done. The 11,000-member MONUC force has done little but act as observers as the situation has deteriorated.
Sound familiar? It is exactly what happened with the UNIFIL force in Lebanon — twice. Even after the UNIFIL forces showed how inept they had been in keeping heavy munitions out of the hands of Hezbollah in the 2006 war, the UN decided to go back to the UNIFIL model — and Hezbollah rearmed itself within months under the UN’s collective nose.
The UN has proven it intervention valueless. The UN will not engage in the kind of action that would result in disarming combatants, which means that their only value lies in acting as sitting ducks, whose deaths might — might — provoke a reaction from a nation with the will to actually conduct military operations. Unfortunately, these sitting ducks have a terrible track record for abusing the local populace, especially in Africa, which makes them almost as unpopular as those who they supposedly must disarm, if not more so.
It comes as no surprise that another UN intervention will soon collapse. When will we finally note the successive failures and realize that putting blue helmets on a group of men who will take no action does nothing to advance the cause of peace?
UPDATE: I had the Hutus and Tutsis reversed in the Rwandan genocide. Thanks to the several commenters who noted this, and I apologize for the error.
16 thoughts on “DR Congo About To Erupt”
The UN is utterly useless; but about the only thing I think would be worse is a UN that actually did have some muscle & the will to use it.
The UN have been slow to “intervene” due to not wanting to undermine the newly elected government.
Their job here has not been without its flaws, but the security situation here would most certainly have been a lot worse if it was not for their presence.
I think you’ve got an error in your description of the genocide of 1994. The Tutsis were the victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Hutus. The Hutus did flee after the genocide to avoid retribution (as the RPF advanced from Uganda) and they formed the bulk of the folks in the refugee camps in the vicinity of Goma. The “genocidairres” tried to blend in and control the camps. It’s been a mess ever since.
According to many, you have your Hutus and Tutsis backwards. It was the Hutus who led the 1994 massacres of the Tutsis as payback.
Didn’t you mean that the Hutus were responsible for the massace of the minority Tutsis and some sympathetic Hutus? The Hutus in the Congo are there now as the result of being on the losing side of the civil war and understandably assumed that they would be treated the same way the Tutsis had been treated.
Oops, sorry I posted before the other comments, pointing out the same error, were visible.
“Their job here has not been without its flaws, but the security situation here would most certainly have been a lot worse if it was not for their presence.”
I am having trouble seeing how things in that region could be much worse, but I find it interesting that you used the word “here” instead of “there”. Does that mean you are currently located in the area being discussed? If so I’d love to hear more about what you see as the real problems and the real potential solutions.
Since Human Rights Watch knows the UN’s history in the region and its institutional failure to be much more than curious and opportunistic onlookers, what would HRW suggest be done? Cue the bleat for US intervention, right? If the US did force the issue and actually relieve the UN of its mission, would HRW support the US military once it arrived? Or would it criticize, demonize, and obstruct?
I think we all know that answer which is why I’m reticent to say, “yes, let’s go in and exert our ‘hegemony’ on yet another culture.” We have to be more selective in what we will and will not do since the rest of the world has an ethic to be humane and commit their own resources to see that right be done. I’ve not yet read official demands that the US specifically intervene, so I’ve not presented a strawman yet, but I can just feel it coming… not the strawman, the request for US forces to intercede.
It kinda makes the point here that the very complexity of the situation makes UN action difficult. I think that, to call the Tutsis “authors of the genocide” is quite incorrect.
Now, the following is from Wikipedia, so, take that into account, but it is in fact basically correct, and certainly how I recall it at the time:
“The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War. This genocide was mostly carried out by two extremist Hutu militia groups, the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi, during about 100 days from April 6 through mid-July, 1994. At least 500,000 Tutsis and thousands of moderate Hutus died in the genocide. Some estimates put the death toll between 800,000 and 1,000,000.”
“The victory of the RPF (Tutsi) rebels and overthrow of the Hutu regime ended the genocide in July 1994, 100 days after it started. Approximately two million Hutu refugees, most of whom participated in the genocide and feared Tutsi retribution, fled to neighbouring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC]). Thousands of them died in epidemics of cholera and dysentery that swept the refugee camps.”
Africa is essentially a lost cause. the tribes that control it are decades away from any kind of cultural leap that will permit anything remotely approaching western values of modernity.
And, in areas unfamiliar with UN performance, their presence will create the false impression of being safe.
Someday, someone will decide that the UN “peace keepers” are in fact a hostile force, in collusion with their enemies, and treat them as such.
In Darkest Africa
The Congo continues its slide toward catastrophe while the UN looks on. Captain Ed has thoughts.
Confusing the Hutus and Tutsis is the least of the mistakes you make in this post. Even the most cursory research would have revealed that UN workers in this incredibly complex conflict zone have been far more than “observers.” In fact, 81 UN peacekeepers have been killed as part of the mission in the DRC. You are not only being disrespectful to those who gave their lives to the mission but insulting those who continue to put themselves in harm’s way as they try to pull the war-torn country together. I’ve got more commentary on this post up at UN Dispatch.
this is another of those situations of what the hell more can they do to each other.
remember this is the part of the world where the “locals” threw out the hated european “colonists” and allowed the politically correct “clients” to take over.
well the liberals have what they wanted. several thousands of square miles where the locals torture each other in the most barbaric ways imanigable and then murder the vitims. thats done at night and during the day they put on their suits and ties and flim flam the liberal doogooder organizations into sending money to them for “aid”. however send the money to the country treasurer so that he can skim (if you call 90% diversion a skim) to “reserve accounts” in switzerland, the islands etc.
what the hell, go in with warthogs and shoot anybody on a camel or riding in a white pickup truck and for GP pop anyone wearing green.
That’s sad. My connection with the Congo is beyond miniscule as you’ll see in a second, I was chatting with a woman from the Congo on the internet a couple days ago. She didn’t ask me for money or help out of the country (or even express any desire to go, she seemed to be both committed and resigned to staying) so I suspect she was legit. She seemed very worried about the security situation, described her country as hell on Earth or something like it, and also mentioned that it is no fun.
It’s hard not to think her complaints are warranted. Whatever happens, I hope she makes it through the Congo’s troubles.
Hutus and Tutsis, Sunnis and Shiites… Every time I read about people like that, it makes me even more grateful that I had the good fortune to be born an American.
Comments are closed.