From the New York Times:
The Democratic Republic of Congo, equal in size to the United States east of the Mississippi, is home to vast expanses of pristine rain forest, rare animal species and a large potential for wealth in the form of highly valuable minerals and natural resources. Yet Congo is also one of the poorest, most chaotic nations on the planet, ruined by unrest that is estimated to have claimed millions of lives in the past 10 years. In many corners of the country, law, order, electricity and medicine are virtually nonexistent.
In the late 19th century, Congo’s disparate tribes were drawn together into the private fiefdom of King Leopold II of Belgium, whose exploitation was notorious for its brutality. An ensuing period of official Belgian rule left the country unprepared for its sudden independence in 1960, when it became a pawn in the superpowers’ Cold War struggle. After its early leader, Patrice Lumumba was assassinated, Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in 1965. Mobutu, whose 30 years of dictatorial rule spawned the term “kleptocracy,” renamed the nation Zaire and presided over an increasingly unstable nation rotted through by corruption.
Mobutu was overthrown during a civil war unleashed by the Rwandan massacres of 1994, during which Rwanda’s Hutu majority slaughtered hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi tribe. After the killing, many Hutu militia fled into refugee camps in Congo. They used the camps as bases to launch attacks on Rwanda, and in 1996, Rwanda’s Tutsi-led Government backed a rebellion led by rebel leader Laurent D. Kabila hoping it would empty the camps.
In 1997 Mr. Mobutu was forced into exile, and Mr. Kabila became president. A year later, though, Kabila split with his Rwandan backers, who then sponsored another rebellion. It would set off a second civil war, throwing the region into turmoil as neighboring countries backed different sides of what would become known as “Africa’s first world war.”
The promise of stability reappeared in 2003 with the signing of peace accords; in 2006, efforts by the United Nations peacekeeping mission bore fruit the form of the nation’s first free elections. But despite years of military and diplomatic intervention by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States the underlying problems fueling the conflict remain unresolved. In all, four million or more people have died as a result of the conflict since 1998, almost half of them children under the age of 5, according to the International Rescue Committee.
Fighting on the Rwandan border of eastern Congo flared throughout 2008, as a rebel movement led by General Laurent Nkunda routed Congolese government forces in a self-proclaimed effort to protect the home territory of ethnic Tutsis in Congo. The world’s largest U.N. peacekeeping operation, armed with a mandate to protect civilians with force if necessary, failed to end a steady stream of atrocities reportedly perpetrated against the population by rebels, government troops and homegrown militias known as the Mai Mai. Hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes into refugee camps.
Recent events may presage a shift in Congo’s fortunes. In January 2009, General Nkunda was arrested. Many of his rebel followers agreed to join government forces. Congo and Rwanda embarked on an unprecedented joint military operation to clear the eastern region of long entrenched fighters. But experienced observers note that all the years of cross-border meddling and intrigue make it extremely difficult to tell whether the new Rwanda-Congo relationship is a genuine and lasting change, or simply more maneuvering.
Amazing. The New York Times wrote this extensive country description without mentioning the role of the US or the CIA in this nation. No mention of Bill Clinton and his willful turn of the face away from genocide. No mention of Lawrence Devlin or Clare Timberlake or Frank Carlucci or even the specific minerals and resources that are so valuable. Those kids at the Times can really write. No one hides complicity like the Times. Kudos to those with their hands on the keyboards of obfuscation.
Whenever you read that paper (or any other mainstream media source), read between the lies and between the lines. Smoke and mirrors.