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HOW THE US MASTERMINDED THE FALL OF M23 REBELS

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HOW THE US MASTERMINDED THE FALL OF M23 REBELS

Post by sol_drethedon on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:44 pm

M23 Sultani Makenga, the commander of the M23 rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday surrendered in Uganda alongside hundreds of M23 fighters in the Mgahinga National Park.

This came after an offensive last week by the Democratic Republic of Congo soldiers backed by UN troops defeated the M23 rebels, who launched an uprising in the mineral-rich east of the country in early 2012.

Details have now emerged about the key role the United States played that finally brought down the curtains on the activities of the M23.

US ROLE

The United States exerted key pressure on Rwanda to halt its support for M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, seeking to end the latest conflict in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Washington had already put its ally Rwanda on notice in July 2012, freezing annual military assistance of $200,000.

Then, a month ago, Washington announced sanctions concerning the training of Rwandan officers.

The goal was to get the government of President Paul Kagame to break completely with the Tutsi mutineers of the M23.

“It is clear that the US has been behind the scene putting more pressure on Rwanda,” said Richard Downie of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

He cited as evidence “the assistance over the border from Rwanda which was pretty significant until farly recently has trickled down to virtually nothing in the past few weeks.”

Kagame took power after the 1994 genocide committed by Hutu extremists, and the United States has supported his Tutsi-led government for nearly 20 years.

But now, Downie said, Washington has “very slowly, but increasingly come around to the view that Rwanda is the critical piece of trying to resolve this chronic conflict and that Rwanda’s role has been frankly very unhelpful.”

After long keeping quiet, in recent months Washington embraced reports from the United Nations and claims from DR Congo accusing Rwanda and Uganda of providing military support to the M23 in the North Kivu region. Both countries deny this.

The US special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Russ Feingold, a former senator and expert in the region, recalled Wednesday that the sanctions imposed last month were motivated by “the recruitment or assistance in terms of children soldiers for the M23 and involvement of Rwanda in that.”











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