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STRATEGY PAPER: An Uneasy Alliance in Eastern Congo
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The human cost of Operation Kimia II—the ongoing joint military offensive by the Congolese army and United Nations peacekeepers against Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo—outweighs its benefits, argues a new strategy paper from Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for American Progress.
Although Kimia II has led to gains in the fight against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, by forcing the rebels to abandon a number of the lucrative mining areas that help sustain their insurgency, efforts to protect civilians during this offensive have been woefully inadequate. Since military operations against the FDLR began in January 2009, 800,000 people have fled their homes—the highest number of newly displaced in any African conflict.
Enough’s strategy paper, “An Uneasy Alliance in Eastern Congo,” calls on the Congolese government to take two immediate steps. First, it should suspend new offensive operations and focus on consolidating control over those areas that have already been cleared of the FDLR. Second, it should work vigorously with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, or MONUC, and international donors to put in place a more effective counterinsurgency approach that combines military pressure on FDLR leadership with greater incentives for FDLR rank-and-file militia members to lay down their arms and repatriate to Rwanda.
“Kimia II has been the worst of both worlds for civilians: They face predatory behavior from Congo’s abusive and haphazardly integrated national army, yet are not protected from predictable and devastating reprisal attacks from the FDLR,” says Enough Policy Advisor and report co-author Colin Thomas-Jensen. “Reducing and ultimately ending crimes against humanity demands a revamped counterinsurgency approach and the resources to carry it out effectively.”
Congo-based field researchers Noel Atama and Olivia Caeymaex co-authored the strategy paper.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, contact Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005-4707 United States.
The human cost of an ongoing military offensive against Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo outweighs its benefits. Although Operation Kimia II – a joint offensive by the Congolese army and United Nations peacekeepers – has led to gains in the fight against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, or FDLR, efforts to protect civilians during this offensive have been woefully inadequate. Read More »
How do you defeat a dangerous insurgent group that has embedded itself within a civilian population? This vexing question is at the center of the ongoing debate over the counterinsurgency approach in Afghanistan--a conversation that plays itself out at the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department, on Capital Hill, and through a seemingly endless herd of pundits on cable news shows, op-ed pages, and in the blogosphere. And there is a good reason for such a considered and public discussion. Beyond the direct involvement of U.S. forces, success in Afghanistan, however that is ultimately defined, has clear implications for international peace and security. Failure, says the cliché, is not an option.
While we discuss the way forward in Afghanistan, a calamitous counterinsurgency operation is unfolding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo without the benefit of the same kind of thoughtful debate. Read More »
The human cost of Operation Kimia II—the ongoing joint offensive by the Congolese army and United Nations peacekeepers against Rwandan rebels in eastern Congo—outweighs its benefits. To prevent this crisis from deteriorating further, and to ensure that those military gains that have been achieved can be secured, the Congolese government should suspend new offensive operations and work vigorously with the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, or MONUC, and international donors to put in place a more effective counterinsurgency approach.
By Colin Thomas-Jensen, Noel Atama and Olivia Caeymaex | Sep 28, 2009
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