If the US wants to make a meaningful contribution to de-escalation of hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC, it must first seek full understanding of the root causes of conflict in the vast, yet completely failed state. The US must first have a good understanding that the government in the Congo has completely failed at its responsibilities of governing; of unifying its people, and of maintaining law and order throughout the country.
By simplistically asking Rwanda to “facilitate de-escalation”, the US demonstrates worrying ignorance of the situation in the Eastern DRC and its root causes.
Congolese president Tshisekedi’s, throughout the ongoing conflict in his country has showed no inclination to peace, despite calls to cessation of hostilities (as part of mechanisms to finding sustainable peace, arrived at by different stakeholders). Rather Tshisekedi’s military (FARDC) working together with the FDLR terrorists (a group founded by perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda), are busy waging a campaign of genocide against Congolese Tutsi citizens.
The M23 movement, a Congolese group which fights for the rights of Congo’s Kinyarwanda-speaking citizens), cannot sit still and accept genocide. That is clear even to a child.
Can the US, or the international community, take Tshisekedi to task to ask him why his regime is carrying out a campaign of genocide against Congolese citizens, just because of their ethnicity?
Secondly, DRC has maintained a hostile attitude against Rwanda and Tshisekedi has made it clear that they don’t want Rwanda to be part of any peace process. How then does US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expect Rwanda to “facilitate de-escalation”? Rwanda has graciously accepted to participate at the Luanda and Nairobi peace talks, despite hostile utterances and baseless accusations from the Congolese regime. Rwanda is already participating, against countless odd. The onus is on the Congolese regime to play its role if a peace is to be given a chance.
The US should stop listening naively to Congolese regime rhetoric, because they are misleading everyone into believing that the M23 are “supported by Rwanda”. They work with FDLR, and together their position is to deprive Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese of their right to their nationality.
Rather, the US needs to facilitate de-escalation by asking Tshisekedi to stop his genocidal policy against a section of his own citizens, and negotiate with the M23, with all sincerity, to stop trying to deprive them of their constitutional rights as Congolese nationals.
Only then will eastern DRC, and the Great Lakes region at large experience sustainable peace.