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Posted: 6/6/2003 5:43:17 PM EDT
Enough peacekeeping; it's time for war ROSIE DIMANNO The United Nations Security Council didn't have the nerve or cohesion to deal forcibly with Iraq. Now it has neither the will nor the capacity to stop a catastrophe-in-progress in Congo. It can't make peace and it won't wage war. What does that leave? Well, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it's left an estimated 2.5 million dead in the past five years — mostly displaced victims of internecine rebel combat, killed by famine and disease — alongside a negotiated peace agreement that none of its signatories are actually observing, and a pitifully small U.N. troop deployment on the ground denied the mandate that might render it even marginally effective. It's fallen to France, of all nations, to try to impose some order on chaos by sending in a 1,000-strong battalion of professional soldiers unencumbered by the U.N.'s nostalgic attachment to "peacekeeping'' principles — directives that long ago ceased to have any relevance in a real world where despotic thugs and wild militias determine the nature of fighting. The French, who had no stomach for a United States-led war in Iraq, are this week sending their combat-trained, rapid-reaction battalion into the rebel-held northeastern province of Ituri, where at least 352 civilians were massacred in recent days, reportedly at the hands of Lendu fighters backed by Congolese government troops. The victims were drawn from the Hema community, ethnic rivals to the Lendu. And the carnage, which could have been predicted — if any lessons were drawn from the genocidal Rwandan disaster in 1998 — followed immediately upon the withdrawal of 10,000 heavy-armed Ugandan troops from Ituri, as per the aforementioned peace deal. Naturally, the ethnic paramilitaries flooded in to fill the military void. More gushing of blood, which further mocked the declaration made last July when Congo's youthful President Joseph Kabila inked his name to the agreement: "No more blood must run.'' But nothing stanched the bleeding, the machete killings, the children dragooned into combat, the plundering of Congo's vast mineral resources, gold deposits, diamond mines, with nine greedy neighbouring countries, a dozen rebel army factions and rival warlords sticking their fingers into the offal. Summoned by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the French forces — as professional soldiers who take no prisoners on those occasions when they're unleashed by their political masters — might make a measurable difference in the mess that Congo has become, thereby allowing the U.N.-brokered peace plan to gain some traction. They're not blue-beret troops, unarmed, unable to safeguard their own security, much less protect the Congolese — witness two more U.N. peacekeepers executed last month, one body gleefully tossed into the barricaded compound established by 300 blue-helmeted troops from Uruguay dispatched to Congo by the U.N. They're fighters, well-armed, with a robust mandate that permits them to, in a word, kill, when killing is necessary. Kill the enemy. No bargaining, no discussion, no turning heel and fleeing. Because what is the point of peacekeepers when there's no peace to keep? And what country, in these deranged times, can justify imperiling the lives of their soldiers in a distant land where personal sacrifice can achieve no purpose? In truth, Canada might do that. Because it's terribly easy for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to commit Canadian troops when the electorate is not bestirred to protest, specifically when the Americans aren't involved in the assignment. Indeed, Chrétien has indicated Canada will send a small force to Congo (or at least the region; thus far it appears 30 to 50 troops plus two Hercules transport aircraft might only be deployed to the Ugandan side of the border), even as military leaders in this country complained that our diminished army is already over-tasked and stretched thin, with significant commitments in Bosnia and, this summer, 1,800 heading to Afghanistan. The U.S., with 150,000 troops in Iraq already and no hope of extracting itself from that fragile situation anytime soon, can hardly be expected to assume a military role in Congo as well. They're also still held accountable for straightening out Afghanistan in advance of promised national elections, even as that country reverts to warlord fiefdoms. At the moment, further, President George Bush is preoccupied with advancing a conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians. CONTINUED
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 5:55:30 PM EDT
Even if American strategic interests were threatened in Central Africa, which they're not, their plate is full. Ditto for the British, who managed to unilaterally bring Sierra Leone's barbaric rebels to heel two years ago, where the U.N. had failed so spectacularly. The U.N.'s few successes, or at least those successes achieved on the backs of professional armies loaned for the objective, are not difficult to comprehend. What the U.N. needs are commandos trained to do the job, operating under rules of engagement that allow them to do the job. Commandos, not peacekeepers who become brutalized victims themselves — as was the case when 10 Belgian peacekeepers were murdered in Rwanda on the very day Hutu tribesmen began their genocidal assault against Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Much of the world opposed the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and refused to support it in any way, even symbolically. Many world leaders were appalled by the unilateralism of that military campaign and its snubbing of the U.N., particularly the Security Council. These leaders fear being marginalized — a legitimate dread — within a new political equation dictated by the ambitions of the world's lone superpower, America. Chrétien is among those who most forcefully still cling to the conventions of multilateralism as enshrined in the U.N. It's a quaint if antiquated notion. But those, such as Chrétien, who yet put their faith in the U.N. as the primary instrument responsible for international peace and security should also put their money and their professional troops into the peacemaking, or war-making, responsibilities of that institution. The U.N. pines for a significant role, a meaty role, in making the world safer and more just. But the U.N. is no more than the sum of its parts — its member nations. Few of those nations, however, even as they continue grumbling about being sidelined in world affairs, have responded to Annan's pleas for military assistance in the Congo. They talk the rhetoric but won't hump the march. At the moment, the U.N. has but 7,000 troops in all of Congo, a country the size of Ontario and Quebec combined, and most of those are not qualified to wage effective combat against the opposing rebel factions. As long as the U.N. continues to fancy itself a peacekeeping institution, without embracing the ugly realities of peacemaking, it will condemn itself to irrelevancy and member nations will be justified in withholding troops. The U.N. needs commandos, not peacekeepers. And Congo needs snarly, vigorous intervention. Make righteous war, not la-la peace.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 6:04:32 PM EDT
It is my honest opinion that if the UN wants to wage war, after what happened in Iraq, they can feel free to do so- [b]WITHOUT ANY U.S. SUPPORT[/b]
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 6:33:49 PM EDT
much of the world did not support the anglo-American invasion og IRAQ??????? It was only the second largest coalition of nations ever, second only to Iraq War 1 Fucking morons TXL
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 7:57:05 PM EDT
In fairness to the Africans generally, a lot of the crap happening there now was sowed by the Soviets and especially the Cubans in the 1960s and 1970s. Cuba was beind Mozambique's tremendous support for the rebel groups which in the end gave Rhodesia to Mugabe, for example. GunLvr
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 8:05:51 PM EDT
Rosie is not a liberal in any way shape or form.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 8:09:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GunLvrPHD: In fairness to the Africans generally, a lot of the crap happening there now was sowed by the Soviets and especially the Cubans in the 1960s and 1970s. Cuba was beind Mozambique's tremendous support for the rebel groups which in the end gave Rhodesia to Mugabe, for example. GunLvr
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Don't forget to blame the British and other colonian powers. [rolleyes] I respectfully call bullshit. Africa is a huge fucking mess because of tribal conflict - and while the soviets helped destabilize it, it would be just as fucked up if no soviet or cuban "advisors" had ever set foot on the continent.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 9:01:10 PM EDT
Does this answer your question? [url]http://www.brazzaville-report.com/word/ReportFev-Mars/France-Congoeng(24.5ko).doc [/url] FRANCE IS BY FAR THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ECONOMIC PARTNER . The French economic presence in Congo is very marked because of history that binds the destinies of the two countries together. The economic relations change exponentially in view of the socio-political unrest often experienced in Congo. In 2002, France represents about a 30% part of the market. The mass of imports into Congo of French products and exports of Congo towards France further reinforce the traditionally close relations between the two states. In spite of the war in Congo, a synergism is created between the two states that increased the part of exports and imports appreciably on all sides. - snippage - The following is a sample of French enterprises present in Congo: For petrol: Elf, Zetha, Maurel and Prom, for sugar:Saris - Congo, Brasco for the beer and SIAT for the cigarette. Sheet metal: Alu - Congo , SDV and Saga for the transport and aconite, Socofran in the construction of roads and oilrigs. Recognize any of those names? Does'nt matter. The French would scream bloody murder if we tried to send troops there to settle things down anyways. After all, it is a defacto French colony.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 9:10:13 PM EDT
Let them kill themselves but it is a mistake to go into another French colony and fix their problems. I could care less how many of them die in the jungle. I DO care if our boys die there.
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 9:41:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/6/2003 10:30:26 PM EDT
The real point here is how hypocritical the French are... France to US: 'Iraq was all about oil and money... You went to war to make a buck'... US to France: 'Yeah, Iraq was all about money... Money Saddam owes YOU... And if you're so opposed to war for money, WTF are you doing in the Congo, taking a safari???'
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