Congo makes a lot of people feel like the hapless Mr. Jones in Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man:
“You know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is.”
The news today out of Congo is that the Rwandan-backed rebels — known either as M23 or the Congolese Revolutionary Army, who have been fighting with the official (non-revolutionary) Congolese Army and against other militias made up of Rwandans who years ago fled to Congo during the genocide — have decided not to withdraw from the city of Goma. As the AP reports:
The delay raises the possibility that the M23 rebels don’t intend to leave the city they seized last week, giving credence to a U.N. expert report that says neighboring Rwanda is using the rebels as a proxy to annex territory in mineral-rich eastern Congo.
One thing that’s fairly safe to predict when it comes to these chronic conflicts in the eastern provinces of DR Congo (the ‘DR’ now perhaps standing for Destructively Repetitious as opposed to Democratic Republic) is that the players there almost never do what they say they’re going to do and whatever they report to outsiders is such a house-of-mirrors they could work for Congress.
So, I have decided to prepare a list of key points to keep in mind when reading about conflict in the Congo. Continue reading