Rwanda's mischief: Pressure might force it to leave Congo alone
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The decision by the Obama administration to suspend some military aid to Rwanda due to its support for Tutsi rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is correct and timely.
Rwanda has done what it likes in eastern Congo since 1994, when Rwanda's Hutu government carried out a genocidal assault on Congo's minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus that killed 800,000. Another result was the flight of up to a million of Rwanda's majority Hutus into Congo. The Tutsis seized control in Rwanda by military force and have retained power ever since.
The Tutsis overthrew Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko; installed in power Laurent Kabila, the father of President Joseph Kabila; and threw their weight around through militias in eastern Congo. They have paid for their activities by exploiting the region's mineral resources.
The Rwandans' surrogates in eastern Congo are the M23 militia. Largely Tutsi, its forces include Rwandans and its arms either come from Rwanda or are purchased elsewhere.
A United Nations peacekeeping force of 20,000 sits in Congo, along with a 150,000-man Congolese army that is badly armed, led and paid. Neither is a match for the M23 militia. The U.N. forces are stretched thin and not motivated. The Congolese army is known for incompetence and haplessness.
The United States, which stood by while Rwandans were slaughtered in 1994, has provided the Tutsi-dominated government of President Paul Kagame with development and military aid. Driven by the Rwandans' unhelpful acts in eastern Congo, which have produced countless refugees and human misery and prevented economic development, the United States has finally taken an important step to disassociate itself from Mr. Kagame's government.
Carnegie Mellon University, which is in the process of establishing a collaborative relationship with the Rwandan government, should follow suit and freeze its ties until Rwanda ceases playing a destructive role in the region.
First Published July 25, 2012 12:00 am