Sunday, November 16, 2008


from Tony Karon

clipped from:

For the warlord commanders, control of land means ownership of its resources – the gold, diamonds, coltan and other minerals for which mining companies are willing to pay anyone capable of delivering security.

The Congo’s borders were drawn by Europeans at the Berlin Conference of 1884
The Congo was the personal fiefdom of the venal King Leopold II of Belgium, whose system of forced labour and savagery halved the population from 20 million to 10 million in 40 years

In the early 1960s, then Colonel Joseph Mobutu overthrew the popular independence leader Patrice Lumumba with the support of the CIA,


Mobutu ruled for more than three decades, but his regime collapsed spectacularly in 1996, as rebel forces swept from the eastern border to the capital.

(photo: Laurent Kabila, Joseph Mobutu, Patrice Lumumba)

The rebels, led by Laurent Kabila, were backed by Rwanda and by Mobutu’s enemies in Uganda and Angola.

The rebel movement that ousted Mobutu quickly devolved into competing fiefdoms, and the rebel leader Kabila, with the support of Angola and Zimbabwe, turned on Rwanda and Uganda

(photo: Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Joseph Kabila (DR Congo)

Those countries accused by the UN of plundering mineral resources and timber
a charge underscored by a notorious firefight that broke out among their forces at Kisangani, over the control of the local diamond trade.

A 2003 truce and elections held in 2006,

Like his father, the election winner Joseph Kabila reneged on his promise to eliminate the FDLR, the Hutu nationalist force that had killed nearly a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in neighboring Rwanda in 1994.

Congolese government forces collaborate with the Hutu FDLR, and also with a pro-government ethnic militia known as the Mai Mai, against which are ranged the rebel General Laurent Nkunda’s better trained and more disciplined Tutsi CNDP.

European analogy

brutal Thirty Year War in Germany that ended in 1648, fought largely by mercenary armies commissioned by foreign powers killing 20 per cent of Germany’s population and devastating its economy.

the post-colonial African state has collapsed, and amid the global economic slowdown
versions of its grotesque experience will be repeated in other fraying polities at the margins of a faltering globalisation.


from Race and History. Com

1994 - Mobutu agrees to the appointment of Kengo Wa Dondo, an advocate of austerity and free-market reforms, as prime minister.

1996-97 - Tutsi rebels capture much of eastern Zaire while Mobutu is abroad for medical treatment.

Aftermath of Mobutu

1997 May - Tutsi and other anti-Mobutu rebels, aided principally by Rwanda, capture the capital, Kinshasa; Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo; Laurent-Desire Kabila installed as president.

1998 August - Rebel forces, backed by Rwandan and Ugandan troops, advance towards the capital, Kinshasa; the intervention of troops from Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola turns the tide and the rebels are pushed back.

1998 September - Kinshasa, comes close to running out of food, while rebels face defeat in the west and thousands of the rebels who narrowly failed to reach Kinshasa are captured. Despite this, rebels in the east continue fighting.

1998 October - Rebels capture the government stronghold of Kindu in the east as more peace talks break down, this time in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

1999 February - Rebels say they have launched a major new offensive on three fronts in the north and the southeast as refugees flee the fighting.

1999 August - All rebel groups sign a peace agreement in the Zambian capital, Lusaka.

1999 October - Amid allegations of ceasefire violations, rebel groups turn down an invitation from President Laurent Kabila to take part in a national dialogue on reconciliation.

2000 February - Ethnic fighting erupts between communities in the rebel-held east. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council authorises a 5,500-strong UN force to monitor the ceasefire.

2000 August - Leaders of the countries involved in the Congolese civil war - Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe - as well as President Kabila meet in Lusaka to assess implementation of the previous year's peace agreement.

2001 January - Some three thousand Congolese soldiers held in camps in Zambia are sent back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The troops fled into Zambia following an upsurge of fighting with Rwandan-backed rebels in the border area in December.

2001 January 17 - Congo president Laurent Kabila is killed by one of his bodyguards. The assassination came at a time of mounting discontent in the army, which had recently suffered setbacks in the civil war. Three generals were arrested the previous week. The Belgian Foreign Ministry was the first to claim that they had been reliably informed of the president's death while Congo officials were reporting he was alive. Congo officials confirmed his death on January 18.

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