So, the leaders of the east African states of Uganda, Rwanda, and the DRC came together just yesterday and signed a peace deal- this makes the 7,000 one since the beginning of the war of 1996. Okay, 7,000 is a bit of an over exaggeration, but not by much. There was the peace deal that ended the 1996 conflict that saw Mobutu fall, there was a peace deal in 1998 that was suppose to see Rwanda GTFO of the DRC, there was the peace deal in 1999 that said the same thing. Then there were a few in the aughts- the most famous being the March 23, 2009 agreement between the DRC and the now defunct rebel movement the CNDP which recently fell apart leading the new M23 to take Goma and most of the Kivu region, before backing down just because they are such nice guys.
So, Kagame, the dictator (I mean president) of Rwanda once again agrees to stop interfering in the affairs of its much larger neighbor. The only problem is that this peace deal does nothing about the alphabet soup of rebel movements in the region, and does less than nothing to address the underlying causes of the conflict, which have everything to do with land rights, citizenship, and legitimate government.
What does this have to do with the US? Well, the DRC is the sight of the largest, most expensive peacekeeping mission on the planet- MONUSCO. And since the US pays a large part of the UN budget, US money is going to support the mission. However, the US also has a long history of protecting Rwanda and turning a blind eye to the illegitimate occupation of the DRC by Rwandan troops. The US on the Security Council, lead by Susan Rice, also blocks any and all attempts to hold Rwanda accountable for the crimes against humanity that Rwandan troops and Rwandan supported rebel movements commit in the Kivu regions.
This ‘peace deal’ won’t bring peace. Which is a shame. Seventeen years of war has taken its toll on the region. It will take pressure on Rwanda, and a push by MONUSCO to flush the rebel groups out of the jungles. It will also take the DRC government of Kabila to address the many issues that have been tearing the region apart. None of those are likely.