Military and Corporate Recolonization of the Congo
by Ellen Ray
The United States’ involvement in Congo since before independence from
Belgium in June 1960 has been steady, sinister, and penetrating. Most notable
was the CIA’s role in the overthrow (September 1960) and later assassination
(January 1961) of Congo’s first Prime Minister, the charismatic (and
socialist) Patrice Lumumba. The full extent of U.S. machinations was not known
for years,1 but the failure at the time of the United Nations to protect Lumumba
was patent. And questions continue to linger over the mysterious plane crash in
September 1961 that killed U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold as he was
flying to the border town of Ndola to meet with Moise Tshombe, president of the
breakaway Katanga Province. The plane fell from the sky, killing all aboard.2 Is
it any wonder that in Congo today there is little trust of Washington or respect
for the United Nations?
In October 1996, the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of
Congo-Zaire (ADFL), commanded by and composed mainly of Tutsi military forces
from Paul Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA), along with Tutsi refugees from
Zaire and some Congolese patriots,3 all under the titular leadership of
Congolese exile Laurent Kabila, crossed into Zaire from Rwanda and Burundi. In
May 1997, after only seven months of fighting, they had overthrown the 30-year
dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.4 While marching west across the vast expanse
of the country, divisions of this army had wreaked terrible vengeance on the
Rwandan Hutu exiles encamped since 1994 in eastern Zaire, where they had been
driven from Rwanda by the RPA on the heels of the horrendous massacre of
hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsis, encouraged and supervised by extremists
in the Hutu-dominated government.
In Kinshasa, with Kabila named President, key cabinet posts and the new Congo
army and security forces were immediately staffed at the highest levels by
By July 1998, Kabila realized that the Congolese people would not support the
excesses of the Rwandan "foreigners" throughout their government. He
also recognized the extent to which he had become a puppet of his Tutsi
"allies," and after confirmed reports of atrocities by Tutsi military
against Hutu exiles in the east, and later in the west of the country, had
become too prevalent to ignore, and after he had uncovered an apparent Rwandan
plot to assassinate him and stage a coup in Congo, Kabila ordered the Rwandans
Less than a week later, on August 2, 1998, Ugandan and Rwandan regular troops
invaded Congo with regrouped, well-trained rebel forces, and began the war to
overthrow Kabila that goes on to this day, despite a shaky, much-violated,
U.S.-supported cease-fire. Rwandans and Ugandans control most of the east of the
country, and there has been a de facto partition, a gross violation of Congolese
Yet Rwanda is a tiny, impoverished nation, and Uganda is not much larger or
richer, while Congo is one of the largest, richest, and most populous nations in
Africa, which at one time had its most powerful army. How did this happen? Could
impoverished Rwanda and Uganda have orchestrated, armed, and financed such
operations on their own?
Is it a coincidence that Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame was trained in the
United States?5 That the Rwandan army received, and continues to receive,
training in the U.S.? That the Pentagon has had Special Forces military training
missions in Rwanda and Uganda for more than five years? That vast segments of
the Congolese infrastructure, particularly the mining companies,6 have been
taken over by U.S.- and western-linked multinationals, working with the Rwandan
and Ugandan rebels and governments?
The U.S. Role
The Mobutu era began with ardent U.S. support, financial and military. From
1965 to 1991, Zaire received more than $1.5 billion in U.S. economic and
military aid.7 In return, U.S. multinationals increased their share of the
ownership of Zaire’s fabulous mineral wealth.8 On the foreign policy front,
Zaire was a bastion of anti-communism during the Cold War, in the center of a
continent Washington saw as perilously close to Moscow’s influence. As the
State Department put it, "Zaire has been a stabilizing force and a staunch
supporter of U.S. and western policies...."9 Mobutu’s corruption and
brutality were ignored for thirty years. It was only when the plunder of
western-owned assets and the ruination of the country were nearly complete, when
Mobutu’s stolen billions had become a world-wide embarrassment, that the U.S.
began to seek an acceptable change.
By this time, the U.S. was deeply involved in both Uganda and Rwanda, and
very close to Paul Kagame. In 1990, Kagame, a Rwandan exile serving as a colonel
in the Ugandan army,10 was training at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff
College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, when he dropped out of the program and
rushed back to Uganda to take command of the rebel army that invaded Rwanda.11
After three years of civil war in Rwanda, a power-sharing peace accord was
negotiated, only to collapse in 1994, when an airplane carrying Rwanda’s Hutu
president, Juvenal Habyarimana, was shot down, with all aboard, including
President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, killed. A still secret 1997 U.N.
investigation implicates Kagame in the assassinations. Warnings of a coming
bloodbath, set off by the attack, were ignored, and a horrendous 89-day massacre
of 500,000 Tutsis—and 50,000 Hutus—followed.12 Kagame’s movement then
turned on the Hutu-dominated government, and took power. The massacres began
again, this time of Hutus. More than a million Rwandan Hutus, both militia and
civilians, who escaped the killing, fled to eastern Zaire.
U.S. officials, according to the Washington Post, were pleased with Kagame
and "deeply relieved that the rebels had halted the massacres, thus ending
pressure for a U.S.-led intervention."13 As one writer observed,
"America’s unease about its own attitude to the massacres in the spring
of 1994 was one reason why it later sided with the triumphant victims."14
The U.S. "became increasingly close to the Rwandan government and the army
that backed it.... Washington pumped military aid into Kagame’s army and U.S.
Army Special Forces and other military personnel trained hundreds of Rwandan
At the same time, the U.S. kept tabs on the refugees in eastern Zaire, while
mounting what was called a "humanitarian operation" in Rwanda, but
which also included training of the Rwandan military in combat,
counterinsurgency, psychological operations, etc. (see sidebar). One U.S.
official interviewed by the Washington Post contended that "the United
States is focusing disproportionate military assistance on Rwanda as part of the
creation of a ‘zone of influence’ in East Africa...."16 An African
writer has referred to this zone of influence as a confederation of
"military princedoms [which] have appeared in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and,
to a lesser extent, in Ethiopia and Eritrea."17 These U.S.-supported
military regimes are characterized by "the repeated use of force in putting
their internal and external policy strategies into effect." They are
"obsessed with security" and they "clone themselves" by
joining forces "with their own diasporas...whose citizenship is disputed
.... [They] attract the services of ‘rebels,’ dissidents, and others, who
serve as a screen for their intervention" in fragile and unstable
neighboring countries.18 The role of the Rwandan and Ugandan princelings, Kagame
and Museveni, in neighboring Congo is a classic example of U.S. meddling.19
The Fall of Mobutu, The Rise of Kabila
Still unclear is the full extent of U.S. military support for Kagame’s
move, via Kabila, against Mobutu and Zaire (and their bloody retribution against
both Hutu militia and Hutu civilian refugees in the camps). "Many
Africans," the Wall Street Journal noted, concluded that "the Zairean
rebellion was the brainchild of Washington from the very start."20 In
August 1996, six weeks before the RPA and Kabila’s forces moved into Zaire,
Kagame had visited Washington to discuss with Clinton administration officials
the dangerous threat to his regime in Rwanda from the Hutu refugee camps in
eastern Zaire, harboring militia among the civilians.21 Both Kagame and U.S.
officials later claimed unconvincingly that he left "disappointed" in
not having instigated direct U.S. action. It was clear to the U.S., in any case,
that Kagame was prepared to act,22 and that this was certainly in the U.S.
Kagame acted quickly after his visit to Washington.
Kabila, a former Marxist
exile, who had been recruited by the Tutsis, had been brought to Goma some time
earlier, to be the national Congolese figurehead of an "insurgency"
against Mobutu’s army. And in October 1996, when the full-scale incursion
began, much of eastern Zaire was immediately taken. The camps were attacked, and
many of the refugees were driven back to Rwanda or killed. It is unlikely that
Kabila himself took part in the actions against the refugees, but there is no
question that he had made a deal with the Devil: "Kabila’s army is
closely controlled by Rwandan officers who dominate its upper echelons. Kabila
relied heavily on the well-trained Rwandan officers, along with Rwandan,
Angolan, and Ugandan troops, to push Mobutu’s army aside. But in so doing, he
made a deal with people intent on bringing the 1994 ethnic war in Rwanda onto
Kabila maintained his headquarters in Goma, in eastern Zaire, near the site
of many of the camps. In the first months of the fighting, the U.S. denied any
ties to Kabila and also denied that any foreign forces were fighting with him.24
Diplomatic signals, however, got crossed: At the start of the rebellion, in
October, "U.S. ambassador to Rwanda, Robert Gribbin, denied in the face of
mounting evidence that the Rwandan army had any role in the action in eastern
Zaire. But at the same time, in Mobutu’s capital, Kinshasa, American envoy to
Zaire, Dan Simpson, was denouncing the uprising as a Rwandan and Ugandan ‘invasion.’
"25 The London Guardian noted, "U.S. policy initially was divided
between offering active support for Rwandan intervention and looking the other
way.... In practice, it did both: the Pentagon helped out while the State
Department pretended it wasn’t happening."26 That the U.S. "helped
out" is unquestionable; the motive for doing so is what we must address.
• A South African pilot in September 1996, "flew a planeload of
assault rifles from Pretoria to...Burundi, where he was met by... an official
from the U.S. Embassy there. The weapons...were destined for Uvira...in Zaire,
the birthplace of Mr. Kabila’s revolt."27
• In November, "senior officers from the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda were
seen leaving Mr. Kabila’s residence in Goma."28
• By spring, a State Department official, Dennis Hankins, was ensconced in
a local hotel in Goma "as the first full-time American diplomat posted to
the capital of the rebel alliance...."29
• In April, the House passed a resolution calling on Mobutu to step down.30
Despite U.S. approval of and involvement in the overthrow of Mobutu, U.S.
support for Kabila from the beginning was mixed at best, and hostility later
intensified, as he became increasingly estranged from his Rwandan and Ugandan
Tutsi mentors. After arriving in Kinshasa on May 19, 1997, Kabila’s new
government and teams of ecstatic Congolese began to clean up the capital and
restore the country’s infrastructure, bringing a semblance of normalcy to
their lives, despite armed confrontations between newly appointed local police
and rapid deployment squads. According to UNICEF, 15,000 young soldiers
patrolling Kinshasa did not speak the language and were strangers to the city.
Locals refused to have anything to do with them.31
These "faceless" army and security forces, being reorganized under
instructions from Rwanda and including many unidentified soldiers working for
state security services, were regarded as "foreigners" by the people
and viewed with distrust. Lt. Col. James Kabarebe, who became Army Chief of
Staff, had been head of the Rwandan Republican Guard before he led the forces
that overthrew Mobutu.32 Many other key figures had similar backgrounds. Jackson
Nzinza, a Ugandan Tutsi who became Congo’s Chief of National Security, had
been the head of Rwanda’s Internal Security Organization, allegedly
responsible for numerous political murders, an activity he continued to practice
in Congo. Bizima Karaha, Kabila’s Foreign Minister, was another Rwandan Tutsi,
whose uncle is a member of the Rwandan Parliament.33 Col. Ibingira, who later
became Commander of North Kivu, was deeply involved in massacres of Hutu
During the 15 months between the May 1997 entry into Kinshasa and the August
1998 start of the current war, the U.S. became openly critical of the Kabila
government. Most complaints voiced were related to ongoing murderous assaults on
the Hutu refugees, who were not being protected properly in the U.N.-run camps
or by Doctors Without Borders, who were also present. But there were other
undercurrents, related to Realpolitik.
In April and May of 1997, as the downfall of Mobutu was imminent, reports of
massacres which had occurred during the march to Kinshasa began to appear with
regularity, although it was often unclear just who the perpetrators had been.
The AP reported on May 22 that "one of Kabila’s soldiers" had shown
a reporter a mass grave. The June 1 Boston Globe reported massacres of refugees
who had "tried to flee troops led by then-rebel leader Laurent Kabila."
On May 28, 1997, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said "Kabila
lacks democratic credentials." The AP report noted that "skepticism is
strong among U.S. officials about the willingness of Kabila, once associated
with leftist causes, to lead Zaire to democracy."35 At the same time, other
Clintonites appeared optimistic. "U.S. officials are generally pleased with
Kabila’s actions since his forces deposed Mobutu two weeks ago. He has
included opposition elements in his government and has promised free elections
within two years."36 There were reports of mass graves in Kisangani, and
U.N. efforts to investigate "have been blocked by forces affiliated with
Kabila’s Rebel Alliance." Still, some U.S. officials continued to believe
that "alliance forces involved in wrongdoing were acting independently of
Kabila." On June 3, a USAID team arrived in Congo to assess its assistance
needs, particularly "funds to help Congo meet the challenge of holding
national elections in April 1999, the target date set by President Kabila."37
The next month Kabila’s Foreign Minister, Bizima
Karaha, visited Washington
and, as evidenced by a lengthy interview he gave to UPI,38 did little to enhance
U.S.-Congolese relations.39 He was in Washington to ask the Clinton
administration for help in reconstructing the country. But, as UPI noted, he was
"not bringing a message the Clinton administration wants to hear."
For one thing, the U.S., with its typical monomania for "free and fair
elections," even in the wake of the overthrow of thirty years of relentless
dictatorship, was insisting that elections take place within two years, which,
admittedly, Kabila had announced when he took over. Karaha referred to the
pledge as merely "a goal," one which he doubted could be reached,
given the continuing instability in the country.
Karaha was also vehement in ruling out any participation in the new
government by opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, Mobutu’s last prime
minister.40 "The United States," UPI noted, "one of the few
nations to recognize Tshisekedi’s brief appointment to head Mobutu’s
government during some of the fiercest fighting, has pointed to the opposition
leader as exactly the type of figure that should be included in Kabila’s
administration." Karaha, with perhaps less diplomacy than might be expected
from a foreign minister, called Tshisekedi a "provocateur" who
"wants to create anarchy and chaos...an enemy of the people and of the
The handwriting was on the wall. A senior official told the UPI reporter
"that Kabila can ‘kiss goodbye’ any hopes of American help if the
positions taken by Karaha on elections and on Tshisekedi prove accurate
reflections of the policies Kabila plans to pursue."
War Crime Allegations
The demand that the massacres committed during the overthrow of Mobutu be
fully investigated and that the perpetrators be identified and punished was
raised, but the U.N. and the Clinton administration never revealed what they
knew—that these were Tutsi revenge killings. A few reports conceded that the
atrocities were committed by troops beyond Kabila’s control.42 The media
attacks against Kabila were relentless, always ignoring the astonishing degree
to which foreign nations, Rwanda and Uganda, exercised absolute control over the
Congolese military and security services.43
Kabila responded cryptically to calls from human rights organizations
demanding investigation into the massacres, claiming that countries and
international groups must assume some of the responsibility. "All the
forces...including in the name of sending humanitarian assistance, are [also]
responsible...for these great violations." He stopped short of conceding
that Rwandan troops, in fact, committed mass killings in their sweep across the
country. But he hinted at complicity by both the U.S. government and certain
human rights groups.44
An October 1997 Human Rights Watch report with the International Federation
of Human Rights Leagues stated, "Kabila’s troops, particularly Rwandan
allies, segregated and executed young men, former Hutu government officials and
Hutu intellectuals." They accused the U.S. of ignoring the massacres to
"hasten a conclusion to the region’s three-year refugee crisis."45
An exception to most media coverage was a revealing Washington Post
investigation by Scott Campbell, placing much of the blame on Paul Kagame’s
Rwandans, and noting that, while the Defense Department admitted training RPA
troops inside Rwanda, "knowledgeable witnesses told me they had seen U.S.
soldiers in the company of RPA troops on Congolese territory on various dates
including July 23rd and 24th of this year... Massacre sites continue to be
cleaned up and potential witnesses intimidated... Rwandan officers and troops
remain in the Congo in the same areas where they participated in massacres,
representing a lethal threat to any who would dare collaborate with the U.N.
Campbell concluded by urging that "Kabila and the international
community... insist that Kagame withdraw his troops from Congolese territory and
investigate anyone suspected of killing civilians. Armed Hutu soldiers and
militia must also finally be disarmed and brought to justice."47
It became apparent that the Clinton administration would welcome Kabila’s
overthrow, and perhaps had always envisioned such an outcome. The desired
scenario was floated in World Policy Review, where, in the summer of 1998, just
before the second Congo invasion, Frank Smythe savaged Kabila, calling him a
"thug," and stating that "Voices from all quarters say that the
Kabila regime is corrupt. Even his former allies in Rwanda, Uganda, and Eritrea
have begun asking whether they should have recruited another Zairean to lead
operations in eastern Zaire."48 The notion that Paul Kagame was sensitive
to charges of official corruption is laughable, but Smythe’s article confirmed
that the die was cast.
At the same time, much "shiny new military hardware was appearing at
Kigali airport in Rwanda."49 It was not long before what the western press
would dub "Africa’s First World War" began.50
Ouster, Attempted Coup, and Invasion
Only four months after President Clinton’s March 1998 trip to Africa,51
Kabila ordered all Rwandan and Ugandan Tutsi troops and military instructors out
of the country. On July 28, 1998, they began to leave, taking much of what was
left of the DRC treasury with them.
Kabila later described a foiled assassination attempt against him as the
factor that precipitated the ouster, as well as the Tutsi killings of Hutu
refugees, which had spread to the central Equatorial region.52
On August 2, only four days later, Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo from the
east with ground troops from their regular armies. And just two days after that,
in what must have involved months of forward planning, there were two airborne
invasions by Rwanda in the west, and Ugandan troops simultaneously landed in the
south and occupied the ports.
An attempted coup was under way.
While some "rebels" were involved in the invasion (mostly former
Mobutu officers), "Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers...constitute the major
portion of those troops which are combating Kabila’s government,"
according to a statement at the time by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.53
Nevertheless, it was months before Uganda and Rwanda admitted that their
soldiers were involved in the invasion. (The U.S. has yet to confirm its
The early fighting in western Congo almost reached Kinshasa. For nearly a
month, Rwandan troops controlled Kitona airport, and Ugandans in the southwest
held the Inga dam, cutting electricity and water into the capital.55 In
mid-August, when the invaders totally defied a demand from the Organization of
African Unity to lay down their arms, Zimbabwe and Angola, and later Namibia,
decided to send troops to Congo to assist the government in beating back the
assault. It was only after fierce fighting, with vital military support from the
Angolans and Zimbabweans, along with spirited defense from the local populace in
Kinshasa, that the rebels were repulsed at the gates of the capital. Ultimately,
by the end of August, they were driven back to the eastern regions.56
Life in the Occupied Zone
The battle in eastern Congo is another story, one that still rages, despite
more than a year of cease-fire efforts. In North Kivu, South Kivu, and
Haut-Congo provinces the invaders have been able to occupy vast reaches of
territory, at present more than half of the entire country. (Congo is more than
one-fourth the size of the U.S.) The isolated infrastructure of this area,
encompassing most of the mineral wealth of Congo, has remained under the
effective control of rebel groups, as proxies for the Ugandans, the Rwandans,
and the various mining firms and their private security forces.
Since the invasion, for almost two years, the fortunes of the
"rebel" groups, themselves riven with splits and recriminations, have
been inextricably tied to the mercurial and deteriorating relations between
Uganda and Rwanda, all competing for Congo’s fabulous mineral wealth. Personal
relations between the Ugandan and Rwandan leaders were close for many years,
ever since Kagame, as an exile in Uganda, was a rising star in its army. He
helped Museveni come to power. By the summer of 1999, however, relations were so
strained between the two countries that their troops fought a bloody three-day
battle in Kisangani. Rwanda had attempted, unsuccessfully, to take control of
the Haut-Congo capital, where the Ugandan army and rebels have their
The Rebel Surrogates
One branch of the Congolese Union for Democracy (RCD), based on the border
with Uganda, is headed by Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, a former university professor
who was brought from exile in Tanzania and appeared in public three weeks after
the attempted coup. By all reports, he is a Congolese nationalist who is in
favor of a non-military solution, but whose ambition to be the leader of Congo
has him, in some analysts’ opinion, in "over his head." Wamba dia
Wamba first operated out of Goma with the protection of Rwandan Tutsi and former
Mobutu troops. When political-military differences became severe, in April 1999,
ousted by the military faction and in fear for his life, he moved the
headquarters of his group to Kisangani and renamed his operation RCD-ML. He is
now under the protection of the Ugandan army.
Rwanda backs the military branch of Wamba’s former group, still in Goma and
now led by Dr. Emile Ilunga, from Katanga, Kabila’s home province. Ilunga’s
faction is now called RCD-Goma. The security chief for this branch is Bizima
Karaha, Kabila’s former foreign minister.58
Yet another group, the Movement for Congolese Liberation
(MLC), in the north
central region, is also backed by Uganda, led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, a young
businessman during the Mobutu era. His group is composed of some former Mobutu
officers and soldiers. Curiously, his father, Saolona Bemba, a very wealthy
former close associate of Mobutu, was put in jail in Kinshasa when Kabila took
power. The elder Bemba somehow transformed himself into Kabila’s political
ally and is now the DRC Minister of Economy and Industry (even as his son plots
the overthrow of the Kabila government).59
The rebels are definitely not welcome in most of the northeast half of the
country they control. "[T]he men seeking to overthrow the President of
Congo, Laurent Kabila, have been decidedly unpopular even as they conquered
nearly half this huge country. They are linked too closely with Rwanda, which
provides the rebels with troops and arms but is despised by many ordinary
Congolese."60 The London Economist had earlier acknowledged that "The
second rebellion in two years is unpopular with most Congolese. In 1996, the
rebels [here meaning Kabila’s forces] held crowded rallies at which they
recruited young fighters. In the eastern Kivu province which the rebels [here
meaning Kabila’s opponents] still hold, and in the towns outside Kivu which
they have captured...rallies have been...sparsely attended...rebel leaders have
been booed, and there have been no lines of young men eager to join."61
Abuses, indeed atrocities, by the RCD and other rebel groups in North and
South Kivu have been well-documented. "Reports from South Kivu strongly
suggest the danger of large-scale violence among different ethnic groups there.
Among several alleged massacres and atrocities is the burial alive of 15 women
in Kivu province by rebels, apparently in suspicion of contacts with Mayi-Mayi
forces."62 Mayi-Mayi are a local tribe that supports Kabila because of
their antipathy for the Tutsi aggressors.
Another conflict—this one in the rebel-controlled area bordering on Uganda—is
a Ugandan-instigated war between the Hema and the Lendu tribes. Long at peace,
albeit tensely, they began battling fiercely when Ugandan forces took control of
the region and paid the Hema to step up the level of warfare.63 The fighting has
been described as "massacres on a chilling scale."64 The Ugandans have
used the fighting as an excuse to send more regular army troops into the area.65
Many other examples of infighting among rebel groups and their sponsors are
Although it is "generally agreed that the rebels are thoroughly detested
in the areas they have now occupied for more than a year,"66 the Congolese
army has been unable to dislodge them.
So, "de facto partition" has come to Congo.67 Money is a major
factor. As Le Monde Diplomatique noted, "the well-equipped Rwandan and
Ugandan troops [with the rebels] are paid in dollars."68
And the dollars are flowing. Eastern Congo, virtually annexed by Uganda and
Rwanda, is one of the most mineral-rich areas in the world. (See sidebar, pp.
8-9.) Gold and diamonds and rare strategic minerals are flowing into the two
countries, earning vast sums for their treasuries.
The border between Congo and Rwanda is "a mere formality."69 The
international mining companies that operate in Kivu protect the Rwandans, who
"have a monopoly on the mining and marketing of those minerals."70
The West has ignored the blatant theft of Congo’s sovereign natural
resources. Some believe this is because its bona fides were so shattered by its
apparent indifference to the 1994 atrocities. Paul Kagame was politically
sophisticated enough, some analysts noted, that, since 1994, he has "played
on Washington’s sense of guilt about the genocide."71 Le Monde
Diplomatique agreed: "The genocide of the Tutsis is now invoked to play on
the international community’s sense of guilt and persuade the United States to
look with a kindly eye on what is nothing less than a plan to conquer and
control the resources of the Congo."72 Others believe, instead, there is an
overwhelming coincidence of interests for all of the parties involved—greed.
The Lusaka Accord
Less than two months after rebels had taken control of eastern Congo and were
moving toward the diamond mines in the southwest near Angola, Susan Rice began
to press for a cease-fire. After two days of discussion with Kabila in
Kinshasa,73 on November 1, Rice went to Zambia for talks with President
Frederick Chiluba, the anointed mediator. In Lusaka, Rice pressed her point.
"There is absolutely no military solution which is viable."74 Given
the unending U.S. military support for Rwanda and Uganda, Rice knew well why a
military solution was impossible for the Congolese, half of whose country was
under foreign occupation.
But more than eight months were to elapse before any agreement was reached.
With the crucial support of Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, Congo was able to
halt any further rebel advances and to protect the vital southeast, Katanga,
with its diamond mines. (Rebel groups and their Ugandan and Rwandan sponsors
were constantly squabbling, having splits, and moving headquarters, and the
Rwandans and Ugandans were fighting each other.)
Moreover, the Americans’ hand-picked peace broker,
Chiluba, was hardly
neutral. Frederick Chiluba, president of Zambia, was known to allow UNITA to
transit through Zambian territory in their constant forays against Angola.
Chiluba was also discovered to have extensive interests in the internationally
outlawed UNITA diamond trade, the main source of financing for the rebel group.
UNITA was not only wreaking havoc, as it has for 25 years, in Angola, Congo’s
close and critical ally, its troops were now fighting the DRC in Congo as well,
alongside the Rwandan rebels.
By the end of the year, pressures on Kabila to enter talks were overpowering,
even though it had become clear to the world that Congo had been invaded and
occupied by foreign powers and was not in the throes of a civil war.75
In January 1999, Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola agreed
to an African-sponsored cease-fire framework, but since the rebel groups had not
been invited to the meetings, nothing would be meaningful until they agreed.
The wheeling and dealing intensified through the spring of 1999. Numerous
meetings were held under the auspices of the Organization for African Unity and
the Southern African Development Community.76 Nevertheless, it took U.S.
pressure on the participants—including Nelson Mandela’s good offices
(splitting still further what were once the united frontline states)—to forge
an agreement that would satisfy the rebels. This was not difficult, given the
impressive level of U.S. military and economic support for Rwanda and Uganda, as
well as for the South African government.
In June, foreign and defense ministers gathered in Lusaka, later joined by
their nations’ leaders, and by July 7 new terms of the cease-fire accord had
been announced. Clinton’s special envoy for Africa, Howard Wolpe, who was in
Lusaka for the duration, noted, somewhat ominously, "Our sense is that the
key players have come to comprehend how enormously costly this is not only to
the people of the Congo but to the entire region."77
Of all Congo’s allies, Angola has the most serious stake in the outcome of
the war. UNITA forces have been using southern Congo to attack Luanda’s troops
since Mobutu’s time and had long before joined with Rwandan Tutsi fighters. In
late August 1998, only weeks after the war began, UNITA representatives met with
Kagame. Some UNITA fighters were also captured in "rebel"
skirmishes.78 Further complicating the situation, "UNITA has reportedly
received South African arms, shipped to Mozambique and flown on South African
aircraft to Angola by way of Zambia."79 After decades of support for UNITA,
the U.S., according to U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, now proposed to
"throw its weight behind" efforts to "tighten and enforce
sanctions" against them.80
The effect on Namibia has also been significant. In August, a separatist
group in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, previously inactive, launched a series of
military attacks made possible by supplies and other assistance from UNITA.
Their "suspected motive," the New York Times noted, "is to punish
Namibia for its role in the Congo war."81 As recently as February 2000,
UNITA troops were attacking Namibian border villages.82 Namibia has "a
growing problem with UNITA along its border with Angola and in the breakaway
Caprivi Strip.... Caprivi separatists reportedly receive aid not only from UNITA,
but also from Botswana and Zambia."83 In addition, Zimbabwe’s
contributions to the Congo war effort played a major role in the devastation of
its economy and the likely ouster of President Robert Mugabe.
When everyone sat down in Lusaka, the rebels dampened U.S. enthusiasm by
refusing to sign the accord (unable to agree on who would sign it on their
behalf).84 It would take another month and a half before the RCD rivals agreed
that both factions would sign.85
It was just at this moment that Richard Holbrooke began to take center stage.
In August, Clinton administration horse-trading with Senate Republicans had
abandoned funding for U.N. projects overseas that supported abortion programs in
exchange for confirmation of Holbrooke as U.N. ambassador. In the meantime, his
Africa staff had been shepherding the accords to their signing, maintaining a
constant pressure on Kabila to accede.86
The agreement called for a step-by-step withdrawal of foreign troops,
including the rebels, within 180 days, rather than immediately, as the
African-sponsored version had required. This meant that the rebels would stay in
Congo. In any case, that deadline was never met. The foreign troops never
Cease-fire violations since then have become rampant. By mid-November each
side accused the other of violations. Susan Rice continued to insist,
"Lusaka is the only viable way. It can and must be implemented."88 She
then announced that Richard Holbrooke would travel to the region in December.
When he did, he "acknowledged that unlike the Balkans, where military might
and billions of dollars have been devoted to peacemaking, NATO was not available
to impose a settlement."89 Nevertheless, he was both threatening and
patronizing. The OAU, he insisted, must "get its act together," or the
U.S. would not support a peacekeeping operation at all.90
This was a reference to another critical provision of the accords, calling
for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force within 120 days,
another unmet deadline. The U.N. force has only just been authorized, after a
special session of the Security Council in January.91 Albright, Holbrooke, and
company, had learned to be less publicly ham-handed since their manipulations of
the Rambouillet meetings on Yugoslavia had been widely exposed, and the Security
Council sessions were relatively open and smooth, paving the way for U.N.
Nevertheless, the U.S. role continues to grow, even as the U.N. prepares to
deploy a woefully inadequate 5,000-man peacekeeping force.93 The Pentagon is
already giving military advice to the U.N. on that force. It is, in the words of
Holbrooke, giving "the United Nations the benefit of U.S. experience in
such matters."94 Direct participation of U.S. personnel remains a touchy
subject, after the debacle in Somalia, also under Clinton’s watch.
Unfortunately, former South African President Nelson Mandela has not only
offered to send South African troops to Congo, but has also publicly urged the
participation of U.S. forces there, a certain recipe for disaster.95
What It Really Means: Balkanization
The U.S. shaping of, and insistent support for, the Lusaka accords only
highlights what has been clear for some time. The agreement was not a good deal
for the Congo government, and Kabila was forced to accede only because of the
implicit threat that refusal would be met by even greater assistance to the
rebels and the potential dismantling of the entire country.96 In stark contrast
to the resolutions of the OAU and the SADC, and to the earlier draft agreement
before the last gathering in Lusaka, the final accord did not even recognize the
legitimacy of the DRC government or President Kabila.97
When the agreement was signed, U.S. envoy Howard Wolpe noted, "it’s a
very important beginning to have all the parties together, collectively laying
out a road map."98 But the map is of a partitioned, divided Congo, contrary
to the OAU Charter and a throw-back to the Berlin Conference of 1885, when the
western powers drew the boundaries of African nations with impunity.
More than a year ago, the New York Times launched what can now be identified
as a major propaganda campaign to legitimize the Balkanization of Africa, much
as the re-Balkanization of Yugoslavia was promoted in the West during the
1990s.99 On January 12, 1999, when the Lusaka accord lay well in the future, a
front-page article by Ian Fisher with Norimitsu Onishi entitled "Congo’s
Struggle May Unleash Broad Strife to Redraw Africa," appeared. Its
rhetorical trick was to lay the responsibility for the current borders on
meddling European colonialists, implying, despite OAU recognition of those
borders as inviolate, that the redrawing of those boundaries by African
combatants might be more legitimate: "The borders of African nations, set
up arbitrarily by the Europeans who colonized the continent a century ago, are
supposed to be inviolate. Yet Congo is now split in two, perhaps for good."
While the article paid lip service to the "stability" lent to the
continent by respect for those boundaries, it planted the seeds of doubt:
"The borders established [at the Berlin Conference] had little to do with
geography or the lines that separated ethnic groups."
A few days later, the Times campaign continued, more directly. A long article
on January 16 by Howard W. French was entitled "The African Question: Who
Is to Blame? The Finger Points to the West, and Congo Is a Harsh Example."
While some recognition was given to the generally exploitative legacy of
"European subjugation and rule," the imposition of boundaries was
stressed: "colonial subjugation brutally ended Africa’s sovereign
evolution toward modern nation-states." An African scholar at the State
University of New York at Buffalo was quoted: "The example I like to think
of is if an African imperial army had marched into Europe in the Middle Ages and
required Germany, France, and England to live together by force of arms. It
would have unleashed untold mayhem...." "Almost every time the
Europeans created a state," French wrote, "ethnic groups or previously
existing African polities were split by the new borders, undermining the new
states’ claims to legitimacy in the eyes of their inhabitants."
Most recently, the Times, while never openly endorsing partition, has lauded
the "relative stability" of the current division of Congo100 and has
opined that the main mission of the U.N. peacekeeping force will be to
"provide security in relatively stable zones."101
It is not unlikely that the boundaries of a two-Congo Africa have already
been set—imposed yet again by the western powers.
See Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With
Respect to Intelligence Activities, Alleged Assassination Plots
Involving Foreign Leaders (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 1975). The CIA had elaborate plans for the assassination of
Lumumba. Deputy Director Richard Bissell sent Joseph Scheider, a CIA
scientist, to Congo, having chosen from an astonishing array of
biological weapons available at Ft. Detrick, Maryland, which would
“either seriously incapacitate or eliminate Lumumba.” The available
toxic substances, according to Scheider’s testimony before the Senate
committee, included tularemia (“rabbit fever”), brucellosis (undulent
fever), tuberculosis, anthrax, smallpox, and Venezuelan equine
encephalitis (“sleeping sickness”), p. 21, n. 3. Though the toxins were
never used to kill Lumumba, not for lack of trying (Mobutu and his
goons beat him to death), this writer wonders what happened to these
toxins, since Scheider testified that they were left in Congo with the
CIA station chief, Lawrence Devlin. See n. 92. And see generally John
Stockwell, In Search of Enemies (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978).
See Lisa Pease, “Midnight in the Congo,” Probe, Vol. 6, No. 3
(Mar.-Apr. 1999); Jim DiEugenio, “Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in
Africa,” Probe, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Jan.-Feb. 1999); Probe can be found at
www.webcom.com/ctka; and see Arthur Gavshon, The Mysterious Death of
Dag Hammarskjold (New York: Walker, 1962).
3. And forces from Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Angola. Lynne Duke,
“U.S. Military Role in Rwanda Greater Than Disclosed,” Washington Post,
Aug. 16, 1997.
4. And restored the country’s former name, Democratic Republic of Congo.
5. Maj. Gen. Kagame is now Acting President of Rwanda and Defense
Minister, and unquestionably runs the country as a military
6. Congo has about 80% of the world’s cobalt reserves and vast, mostly untouched reserves of diamonds, gold, and copper.
7. Robert Block, “Lost In Africa: How the U.S. Landed on Sidelines in Zaire,” Wall Street Journal, Apr. 22, 1997.
8. See discussion below and sidebar on the current role of the mining companies, including the Bush interests.
9. 1991 Congressional Presentation, quoted in William D. Hartung and
Bridget Moix, “Deadly Legacy: U.S. Arms to Africa and the Congo War,”
WorldPolicy Institute Arms Control Report, Jan. 2000.
10. The leaders of the Tutsi minority had dominated Rwanda for
centuries, most recently in the service of the Belgian colonial
masters. When Rwanda became independent in 1962, the leadership of the
long-oppressed Hutu majority took power, and the Tutsi lite fled to
eastern Congo and to Uganda. The Tutsi nursed their grievances and
trained for an invasion that was 30 years in coming. Kagame and many of
his “rebel” troops had served for years in the Ugandan army; the force
that invaded Rwanda was composed, in large part, of a foreign armed
11. Lynne Duke, “Africans Use Training in Unexpected Ways,” Washington Post, July 14, 1998.
12. The accusation is backed by 1997 testimony of three Tutsi informants
then still with the current regime who were part of a covert lite
strike team. They said they used surface-to-air missiles that had been
confiscated in Iraq by the U.S. military during the Persian Gulf war.
The information was presented in August 1997 to then chief U.N. war
crimes prosecutor, Louise Arbour, who later suppressed it and
classified the report. See Steven Edwards, “ ‘Explosive’ Leak on Rwanda
Genocide,” National Post (Canada), Mar. 1, 2000. The U.N. investigation
revealed “that Paul Kagame, a Tutsi, had ordered the shooting down of
the...plane....” Barbara Crossette, “Rwanda: Kagame Implicated,” New
York Times, World Briefing, Mar. 24, 2000. A Belgian attorney has filed
suit against Kagame related to the assassinations. Marlise Simons,
“Rwanda: Acting President Sued,” New York Times, World Briefing, Apr.
1, 2000. And a group of Canadian lawyers representing Hutu defendants
in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda are attempting to
force the release of the U.N. report.
13. Op. cit., n. 11. According to a U.S. military officer who knew him
in the early 1990s, they found Kagame “a brilliant commander...more
than a military man...politically attuned....” Ibid.
14. Grard Prunier, “Uganda, Nearly a Miracle,” Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris), Feb. 1998.
16. Op. cit., n. 3. Despite lip service paid to the importance of
humanitarian assistance, most U.S. actions were military. “U.S.
officials...discussed options with Kagame, including air strikes to hit
at extremist bases.... Information about the camps was exchanged....”
Ibid. One U.S. response to the 1994 massacres was the African Crisis
Response Initiative (ACRI) by Susan E. Rice, when she was director of
“peacekeeping” for the National Security Council. The objective of ACRI
“is to help African countries develop a joint ‘military capability that
would be able to rapidly assemble and deploy in order to prevent
another descent into anarchy and the needless loss of life.’ ” Frank
Smythe, “A New Game: The Clinton Administration on Africa,” World
Policy Journal, Summer 1998, quoting Vincent D. Kern, II, then Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs. Considering the
subsequent actions of the Rwandan and Ugandan troops in Congo, these
words were hardly prophetic. Rice is now Assistant Secretary of State
for Africa, technically reporting to the sinister international gadfly,
Thomas Pickering; but she is also a close family friend and confidant
of Madeleine Albright.
17. Achille Mbembe, “Africa’s Frontiers in Flux,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Nov. 1999.
19. “Rice is optimistic about a new generation of independent,
nationalist-minded leaders like...Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s
Paul Kagame, who have recently come of age.” Smythe, op. cit., n. 16.
20. Op. cit., n. 7. One writer has suggested that the U.S. was involved
in diplomatic arrangements with Uganda and Rwanda for the operation as
early as the beginning of 1995. “With consummate skill..., Museveni and
his ally, Paul Kagame, were able to exploit the disgust felt by many
Africans at the corrupt dictatorship in Kinshasa and create a disparate
but powerful alliance, openly backed by America.” Op. cit., n. 14.
“U.S. officials deny that there were any U.S. military personnel with
Rwandan troops in Zaire during the war, although unconfirmed reports of
a U.S. advisory presence have circulated in the region since the war’s
earliest days.” Op. cit., n. 11.
21. “Their U.N.-operated camps were largely controlled by Hutu militiamen posing as refugees....” Op. cit., n. 3.
22. According to an unnamed Pentagon official, “we counseled him several times not to do that.” Ibid.
23. John Pomfret, “Massacres Were Weapon in War of Liberation,”
Washington Post, June 11, 1997. Kabila admitted his own military
weakness in a 1999 CovertAction interview, CovertAction Quarterly, No.
66 (Winter 1999), p. 31: “One of the things that was agreed between me
and Kagame...was that the revolutionary people of the Congo would split
up and expel from power the Mobutu regime and also deny any base of
activities by which the Interahambe [the Rwandan Hutu militias] might
attack Rwanda. On the other hand, Rwanda had agreed to give free
passage to the Congolese Liberation Movement for our activities in our
own country to overthrow the Mobutu regime. That is what we did.”
24. Although Uganda and Rwanda ultimately admitted that they had invaded
Zaire, initially there had been significant efforts to camouflage the
invasion to make it look like an internal uprising against Mobutu. The
“rebels” called themselves Banyamulenge, claiming they were Tutsis who
had lived in Congo for centuries. In fact, the Banyamulenge (people
living in Mulenge, an area in eastern Zaire) were known as Banyarwanda
(people from Rwanda), Rwandan Tutsi exiles from the 1959 expulsion,
living mostly in Congo’s Kiva province, which borders on Rwanda. Many
did join the invading forces, but the vast majority of those forces
were from the Rwanda Patriotic Army. See “An Interview with President
Laurent Kabila,” CovertAction, op. cit., n. 23. As early as 1961, the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees distributed leaflets in
eastern Congo among these people, addressing them as “Refugies Rwandais
de Lemera, Mulenga, et Katobo,” and reminding them of their obligation
to remain neutral and to completely abstain from politics.” Reproduced
in Remigius Kintu, “Tutsi Invasion of Congo,” Uganda Democratic
Coalition, September 1998. On the Banyarwanda, see also Israel
Ntaganzwa-Rugamba, “Rwanda’s Batutsi,” privately published, 1994.
25. Op. cit., n. 7.
26. Quoted in Joseph Farah, “Did U.S. Help Zaire’s Rebels?” WorldNet Daily, May 5, 1997.
27. Op. cit., n. 7.
31. See Colette Braeckman, “Pragmatic Rule in Congo-Kinshasa,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Dec. 1997.
32. Paul Kagame admitted that Kabarebe, “had been given the task of
organizing the future Congolese army.” Ibid. In July 1998, Kabarebe was
implicated in a plot to assassinate Kabila. After he and other Tutsi
officials were expelled, Kabarebe then led the 1998 invasion against
Kabila. See Kintu, op. cit., n. 24, and CovertAction, op. cit., n. 23.
33. He is now security minister for one branch of the RDC rebel group fighting Kabila, which has split. See below.
34. After the expulsion, he became head of military security in Rwanda. Kintu, op. cit., n. 24.
35. AP, June 1, 1997.
36. AP, June 3, 1997.
38. Sid Baltman, Jr., “Kabila Backtracking on Democracy Pledge,” July 8, 1997.
39. Karaha was one of the July 1998 plotters, now working with the
rebels in the east; whether he was out to destabilize President Kabila
as early as July 1997 is unclear.
40. Ironically, the wing of the rebel group for which Karaha now serves
as security minister, RCD-Goma, is calling for Kabila’s replacement by
41. The American penchant for insisting that other governments offer
positions of power to their bitterest enemies is even more bizarre than
their love for instant post-revolution elections. No one ever suggested
that Bill Clinton offer George Bush or Bob Dole a cabinet post. Why
should it be more reasonable to do so in Congo after a thirty-year
dictatorship and a bitter war?
42. John Pomfret of the Washington Post interviewed Congolese soldiers
fighting for Kabila. They admitted that the Congolese commander in the
area, Gen. Gaston Muyango, “had no real power.” Atrocities were
“ordered by the Rwandan army officers who dominated Kabila’s officer
corps,” including two who had ordered the slaughter of unarmed men,
identified only as Col. Wilson and Col. Richard. Pomfret, op. cit., n.
43. “U.S. Moves to Resume Congo Assistance,” AP, June 3, 1997.
44. AP, Oct. 13, 1997; and see CovertAction, op. cit., n. 23. In July
1997, Rwanda ordered the U.N. human rights office there closed. Barbara
Crossette, “The Congo Massacres: The U.N. Steps Aside,” New York Times,
July 24, 1997. See also, Mwayila Tshiyembe, “Africa’s New Players
Jostle for Power,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Jan. 1999: “In an escalating
dereliction of duty, the United Nations, the International Red Cross,
the humanitarian NGOs, and the states themselves have abandoned
hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees to their fate in the forests and
savannah of eastern Congo-Kinshasa.”
45. October 1997 Electronic Telegraph from Johannesburg.
46. Washington Post, Sep. 22, 1997.
48. Smythe, op. cit., n. 16. Sourcing as provocative a proposition as
this to “voices from all quarters” is also shabby journalism.
49. “Hands Off the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Lalkar (Southall, U.K.), Sep.-Oct. 1998.
50. This prescient military slogan has been alternately attributed to Madeleine Albright and to Susan Rice.
51. Clinton visited South Africa, Rwanda, and Uganda, among other
countries, but bypassed Congo. Secretary of State Albright had visited
Congo in December 1997. The World Policy Journal report by Frank Smythe
announced her displeasure: “Albright held a joint press conference with
[Kabila] [who] embarrassed her by railing against a local journalist
who dared to ask about an imprisoned opposition leader.” Smythe, op.
cit., n. 16.
52. CovertAction, op. cit., n. 23.
53. Solidaire (Brussels), Sep. 8, 1998. And according to Colette
Braeckman, writing in the Belgian daily, Le Soir, U.S. naval ships off
the coast were directing the invasion in the west. Quoted and
translated from the French in Vision, Sep. 29, 1998. Among prisoners
taken by the Congo army on the west coast were both Rwandan and Ugandan
troops; the Ugandans belonged to an lite unit that had been trained by
the Americans. Solidaire.
54. Norimitsu Onishi, “Long War Saps Spirit and Money in Congo,” New
York Times, Dec. 30, 1998. When the Rwandans finally admitted their
involvement, they recited a mantra of the Hutu refugees being an
ever-present threat to their security. But according to Le Monde
Diplomatique, “Kigali’s security is nothing but a pretext for a plan to
conquer and control the resources of the country.” Colette Braeckman,
“Carve-Up in the Congo,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 1999.
55. Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54.
56. See the Chronologies of the Current Crisis, published by the
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) of the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; home page:
57.“Rwanda and Uganda Battling to Control Key City in Congo,” New York
Times, Aug. 16, 1999; Ian Fisher and Norimitsu Onishi, “Many Armies
Ravage a Rich Land in the ‘First World War’ of Africa,” New York Times,
Feb. 6, 2000.
58.Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54; Fisher and Onishi, op. cit., n. 57; see also op. cit., n. 56.
59. Norimitsu Onishi, “Papa and a Rebel Son Ask: Who’s the Betrayer?” New York Times, July 29, 1999.
60. Ian Fisher, “Rebels Can’t Conquer the Hearts of the Congolese,” New York Times, Aug. 13, 1999.
61. Economist (London), Sept. 5, 1998.
62. U.N. Press Release, Jan. 24, 2000.
63. Ian Fisher, “Congo’s War Overshadows Tribal Fight,” New York Times,
Feb. 10, 2000; Simon Denyer, “Aid Body Warns of ‘Looming Rwanda’ in
Congo,” Reuters, Jan. 29, 2000. “Wamba admits there has been some
Ugandan involvement in the fighting between Lendu and Hema...blames a
lack of state authority...in the region. NCN 2000, South African Center
for American Studies, (Johannesburg) Feb. 10, 2000. But the New York
Times, on the same day, observed: “ ‘Rogue’ soldiers from Uganda...have
not only sided with the Hema...but have killed Lendu for hire...another
way that Ugandan soldiers have profited from the war in Congo.... So
far, they have been accused of smuggling out diamonds, gold, coffee,
and ivory.” Fisher, supra.
64. Simon Denyer, “Greed Fans Ethnic Flames in Congo War,” Reuters, Feb. 7, 2000.
65. “Uganda Sending More Troops to Congo,” Reuters, Feb. 18, 2000.
66. Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54.
67. Op. cit., n. 17.
68. Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54.
69. Ibid. Neither Uganda nor Rwanda have any mineral resources of their
own to speak of. Mwayila Tshiyembe, “Africa’s New Players Jostle for
Power,” Le Monde Diplomatique, Jan. 1999.
70. Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54. Kagame, Kabarebe, and even former
President George Bush, have interests in mining companies. Ibid.
71. Op. cit., n. 11.
72. Braeckman, op. cit., n. 54.
73. Ian Fisher, “Disunited Rebels Share One Goal: Ousting Kabila,” New York Times, Nov. 2, 1998.
74. Agence France-Presse, “U.S. Discusses War in Congo With Zambia,” New
York Times, Nov. 3, 1998. Two weeks later, she used the same rhetoric:
“You cannot walk away from it. There is no other viable vehicle for
peace.” Hrvoje Hranjski, “Congo Deal Said Only Path to Peace,” AP, Nov.
75. Onishi, op. cit., n. 54. On November 6, in the wake of the Rice
visits, Kagame “acceded to a request by South African President Nelson
Mandela to admit involvement in a bid to advance peace talks.” IRIN
Chronology. See also, Ian Fisher, “U.S. Diplomat Pleads for Political
Solution to Civil War [sic] in Congo,” New York Times, Nov. 6, 1998.
76. The two African organizations had early on recognized the legitimacy
both of the Kabila government and of the interventions on its behalf by
Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.
77. Norimitsu Onishi, “Pacts Reached on Congo and Sierra Leone,” New York Times, July 8, 1999.
78. “Africa: More of the Same, and Worse,” Global Intelligence Update, Stratfor, Dec. 31, 1999; Solidaire, Sep. 8, 1998.
79. Stratfor, op. cit., n. 78.
80. Barbara Crossette, “Holbrooke to Draw Outline of New U.S. Plans in
Africa,” New York Times, Dec. 6, 1999. According to Angolan newspaper
reports in July, the U.S. had “agreed to resume military cooperation
with Angola....” “U.S. Attempts to Contain and Segment African
Conflicts,” Global Intelligence Update, Stratfor, July 27, 1999. The
Clinton administration was also “considering” efforts to curb UNITA’s
illegal traffic in diamonds. Raymond Bonner, “U.S. May Try to Curb
Diamond Trade That Fuels Africa Wars,” New York Times, Aug. 8, 1999.
Critics note tersely that “UNITA has outlived its usefulness for U.S.
imperialism.” Johnnie Stevens, “U.S. Role in Angola: Washington Tries
to Pose as an ‘Honest Broker,’ ” Workers World News, Dec. 23, 1999.
81. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., “Tangled War in Congo Now Snares Namibians,” Aug. 6, 1999.
82. “Suspected UNITA Rebels Attack Namibian Village,” Reuters, Feb. 17, 2000.
83. Stratfor, op. cit., n. 80.
84. There was only one seat for the RCD, and when Ernest Wamba dia Wamba
of RCD-ML sat down in it, neither Emile Inlunga nor Bizima Karaha of
RCD-Goma would enter the room. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., “Not Quite a
Triumph in Congo,” New York Times, July 12, 1999.
85. Jean-Baptiste Kayigamba, “Congo Rebels Agree to Sign Peace Accord,” Reuters, Aug. 24, 1999.
86. In Congo, just as a year before with the criminal KLA in Kosovo,
Holbrooke was the first U.S. official to meet publicly with the rebel
groups. Rosalind Russell, “U.S. Envoy Holds Talks With Congo Rebels,”
Reuters, Dec. 10, 1999.
87. As late as December 1999, Zimbabwe stated that American mercenaries
had been seen fighting with the rebels. Cris Chinaka, “Zimbabwe Says
U.S. Mercenaries in Congo Rebel Ranks,” Reuters, Dec. 1, 1999.
88. Hranjski, op. cit., n. 74.
89. Daniel J. Wakin, “Holbrooke Demands Congo Compliance,” AP, Dec. 6, 1999.
90. Crossette, op. cit., n. 80.
91. Holbrooke had announced in December that January would be “the month
of Africa,” the month in which the U.S. was to assume the Security
Council presidency. Ibid.
92. Tensions were softened by wining and dining in New York City, some
of it hosted by billionaire mining entrepreneur Maurice Templesman,
chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa, who took everyone to a
white-glove dinner at the Metropolitan Club. Nicole Winfield, “Talks
Continue on Congo Peace,” AP, Jan. 25, 2000. In 1974, Templesman had
hired Lawrence Devlin, the former CIA Chief of Station in Kinshasa,
upon his retirement from the Agency, to exploit his connections with
Mobutu. Devlin had tried hard to assassinate Patrice Lumumba. He
testified before the Senate under the pseudonym Victor Hedgeman. Ellen
Ray, et al., Dirty Work: The CIA in Africa (Secaucus: Lyle Stuart,
1979), p. 350. It was Devlin with whom the CIA’s scientist left the
biological toxins he had brought to Congo. Senate Select Committee, op.
cit., n. 1.
93. The violence has become almost endemic. “We are seeing the growth of
social groupings where war, and organizing for war, are tending to
become everyday activities.” Op. cit., n. 17.
94. Ben Barber, “Pentagon Advises U.N. on Congo,” Washington Times, Feb.
9, 2000. Of course, the U.S. feels entitled to “advise”; it is paying
“at least a fourth of the $160 million start-up costs.” “U.N. Council
Close to Approving Small Force for Congo,” Reuters, Feb. 24, 2000.
95. “South Africa Aims High, Budget Lags Behind,” Global Intelligence
Update, Stratfor, Jan. 12, 2000; Kominform, Feb. 16, 2000. Mandela, who
had condemned the foreign invasion of Congo, has become a critic of the
Kabila government and has met with leaders of the rebels, including
Etienne Tshisekedi. Buchizya Mseteka, “Mandela Says U.N. Must Go to
Congo, Hits Kabila,” Reuters, Jan. 28, 2000.
96. “When Kabila signed the Lusaka agreement, the rebellion achieved its
most important objective in forcing the Kabila government to agree to
an inclusive political process.” Horace G. Campbell, “From War to Peace
in the Congo or Devastation and Militarism,” private paper, Syracuse,
New York, Aug. 19, 1999.
97. President Jos Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola said in his presentation
to the Security Council, “The omission of the principle that the
legitimacy and authority of the present government and the president of
the Democratic Republic of Congo should be recognized, leaves room for
some confusion and uncertainty. A government that has not been
militarily defeated cannot accept capitulating at the negotiation
table.” Permanent Mission of the Republic of Angola to the United
Nations, Press Release, Jan. 24, 2000.
98. Op. cit., n. 77.
99. See Ellen Ray and Bill Schaap, “NATO and Beyond: The Wars of the Future,” CovertAction Quarterly, No. 66 (Winter 1999).
100. “Risks and Realities in Congo,” editorial, Feb. 29, 2000.
101. “A Peace Strategy for Congo,” editorial, Jan. 31, 2000.