The recent Civil War in Congo has been a bloody flight, causing more then 3. 3 million deaths in just 4 short years. 1 Various rebel and ethnic groups have have been involved in the violence, fighting over Congo’s rich natural resources or engaged in a bitter ethnic war. With so many opposing factions, it has made reaching a solution difficult. While a rough peace treaty has been established, sporadic fighting pops up in the country everyday. The people of Congo are being pushed farther into poverty and starvation can’t handle the fighting for very much longer.
I propose that the solution to the post-Civil War violence in Congo is to rid the country of all foreign nations and their problems, namely the Rwandans, and to get combatants inside of the country to hold a summit and find a peaceful and fair resolution to the problem, with a superpower like the United States acting as host and mediator. Once all quarrels are amended, the Congolese can start to focus on a economic strategy for rebuilding the country. Congo’s Civil War began on November 2 nd, 1998 when Laurent Kabila tried to drive out Rwandan militants who helped him overthrow Mobutu Sese Seko. 2 Sese Seko came into power in 1966 when he led a rebellion to overthrow the government of Patrice Lumumba. Sese Seko led to Africanizing of the country by requiring that all citizens drop their Christan names, and by renaming all the geographical locations with more African names. 3 During the 1980’s Sese Seko’s government received support from the United States, in response to communism’s rising popularity in Africa.
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Because of the misuse of the funds and wealth generated by natural resources, the rich got richer and the poor fell farther into poverty. Sese Seko abused Congo’s natural resources and eventually helped lead the country into a state of economic ruin. In 1997 Sese Seko was overthrown by Laurent Kabila. When Kabila took over the country it was in terrible condition but he did nothing to try and improve the state of the nation. When he tried to expel the same Rwandan rebels that helped him come to power, he started a war that eventually led to his death.
Many various ethnic and rebel groups inside of Congo who relied on the Rwandans for protection joined the uprising. 4 Africans inside and around Congo chose sides, in fact there were more ten different rebel groups fighting to chose from. 5 Almost all were backed by a neighboring country or a wealthy businessman, and they wanted the removal of Kabila for their own reasons. 6 One of Kabila’s bodyguards, who sided with the Rwandans, shot and killed Kabila in the Presidential Palace. Shortly thereafter, Kabila’s son Joseph was sworn in as the temporary President of Congo. Joseph, in contrast to his father, is working hard to successfully achieve peace in Congo.
He has already taken a first step by assembling series of peace agreements, including the Lusaka Peace Agreement and the Pretoria Accord. The only problem with these agreements is that not everyone is following them. Today, with the signing of the Sun City agreement a more permanent government has been set up. Joseph Kabila has remained the President, while 4 new vice presidents have been instated, two of which tried to overthrow Kabila during the war. Rebel groups have been integrated into the country’s police force and army, and the state of affairs appears to have improved. However there are still some other rebels who have not signed or followed the agreements.
These rebels are mostly based in the east on the border of Rwanda, and have a bad history with the Rwandans. The smallest event could trigger a full out war between Rwandans and rebels on Congo’s soil. Furthermore, Rwanda is aggravating the situation by threatening to go into Congo and hunt down the Hutu Rebels based there. 7 Along with the Rwandan crisis, another problem concerning the ethnic Tutsis looms over Congo’s shaky peace. Ethnic Tutsis who live all over the country are a target for attacks by many different groups.
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8 This also means the Tutsis are liable to attack anyone they believe is a threat to them. A majority of Congo’s problems exist today because of Congo’s diverse population. Many of the groups do not get along well and it is the responsibility of the Congolese Government to diffuse this tension. Other countries problems are spilling into Congo, and while even though the Congolese have formed several peace agreements for themselves, they need to enforce them.
Now that large amounts of fighting have stopped inside the country, the Congolese need to worry about rebuilding and getting foreign problems out of their country. There are two main components to the conflict in Congo. The Rwandan crisis pouring over Congo’s boarders into the country, and the sate that a combination of war and previous rulers have left the country in. My solution to the problem is to focus first on getting Rwanda out of the country.
The Tutsi controlled Rwandan government is the cause of hostility all along the eastern boarders of Congo. Rwanda wants the Hutu rebel refugees in the east of Congo to be neutralized disarmed. 9 Congo either needs to use its newly reformed military to either disarm rebels, meeting the Rwandas’ demands or if the ask for diplomatic help from the UN and large countries such as France and The United States to pressure Rwanda to stop sending threats of sending troops into Congo. These larger countries hold a great amount of power and influence in the world today and can turn many counties against the Rwandans.
If the Rwandans did not want to damage their political reputation in the world, they would comply with the requests of the Congolese who would be supported by a sizable nation. Economic measures would be taken, should the Rwandans not follow the demands of the Congolese. Sanctions should be placed on the Rwandans, and counties providing financial aid to Rwanda, should warn that if they don’t stop terrorizing Congo, their aid will be removed. Poverty ravished countries, such as Rwanda, rely on aid and trade from outside powers to keep their government and country afloat. If Rwandans are faced with the threat of the removal of this money, it would seem only logical to forgo threatening Congo, for the stability of their own county.
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Once Rwanda has been taken out of the picture, the Congolese can begin to focus on the internal problems facing their country. The warring rebel and ethnic groups should figure out some way to defuse the tension between them. The leaders should be brought together at a general assembly to try agree on some priorities such as, how they can be united with the Congolese government and what they can do to stop the fighting and diffuse the tension between them. 10 They need to understand that they are holding the country from moving forward and need to be pressured into reaching an understanding. A superpower country should be the host and mediator because the Congolese do not have the resources and political and economic clout to do it themselves. When the rebels can settle down and stop fighting, Congo can then start to worry about reconstruction.
The state that war has left Congo in economically is terrible. Hyper inflation, corruption, and the killing of almost 3. 3 million members of the work force, are all effects directly stemming from the Civil War. Now that the solutions to the war have been laid out, the Congolese must figure out how to get their country “back on its feet” economically. More aid must be provided to the country from sources such as the U.
N and other various organizations. However the money must not be simply given to the county. It should rather be invested into the people Congo so that these organizations have a long term investment in the country. By investing the money in the people, the Congolese can start to generate their own sources of income. 11 In return some of this money will then be paid back into the government in the form of taxes.
Therefore, instead of just “throwing money” at the problem, when you invest it in the people, you are giving the economy a jump start, and allowing the country to produce its own revenue. Eventually, by stimulating the economy with outside investments, the Congolese will be relying on themselves to keep their country alive and not the aid of the world. By ridding themselves of their problems with their neighbors, settling conflicts with rebels inside of their own country, and re-establishing themselves as a financially sound country, the Congolese can finally settle down and get past their brutal Civil War that will haunt them forever. Works Cited “Congo Civil War,” Global Security. Org. Updated Feb.
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11 2005. Global Security. org, Accessed 06 March 2005 “Congo, The Democratic Republic of,” The CIA World Factbook. Updated Feb. 10 2005. Central Intelligence Agency, Accessed 07 March 2005 “Quick Guide: DR Congo,” BBC News.
Updated Mar. 07 2005. BBC News, Accessed 06 March 2005, Turner, Thomas “War in the Congo,” Foreign Policy in Focus. Updated April 2000.
Foreign Policy in Focus, Accessed 06 March 2005, “Mubutu Sese Seko,” Encyclopedia. Updated 2005. Infoplease, Accessed 06 March 2005, “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” Conflict in Congo, PBS, October 22, 1998. Transcript.
Accessed 06 March 2005 Garten, Jeffrey E, “Don’t Just Throw Money At The World’s Poor” Business Week, March 7, 2005. 12. Farah, Global Insights. New York: Macmillan McGraw-Hill School Publishing Company, 1994. Endnotes 1 “Quick Guide: DR Congo,” BBC News. Updated Mar.
07 2005. BBC News, Accessed 06 March 2005, 2 “Congo Civil War,” Global Security. Org. Updated Feb.
11 2005. Global Security. org, Accessed 06 March 2005 3 “Mubutu Sese Seko,” Encyclopedia. Updated 2005. Infoplease, Accessed 06 March 2005, 4 “Congo Civil War,” Global Security.
Org. Updated Feb. 11 2005. Global Security. org, Accessed 06 March 2005 5 Ibid 6 Ibid 7 Ibid 8 Ibid 9 Ibid 10 “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” Conflict in Congo, PBS, October 22, 1998.
Transcript. Accessed 06 March 2005 11 Garten, Jeffrey E, “Don’t Just Throw Money At The World’s Poor” Business Week, March 7, 2005. 12.