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Congo Civil War

ADFAllied Democratic ForcesJamil Mukulu
APCLSAlliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign CongoJanvier Buingo Karairi
BDKBundu dia KongoNe Muanda Nsemi
CNDPNational Congress for the Defense of the PeopleLaurent Nkunda
Bosco Ntaganda
FAPCPeople's Armed Forces of Congo...
FDLRForces Democratiques de Liberation du RwandaSylvestre Mudacumura
FLOTFront contre l'occupation tutsie
FNIFront for National IntegrationPeter Karim
FRPIPatriotic Force of Resistance in Ituri...
M23 March 23 MovementBosco Ntaganda
Sultani Makenga
Mai-Mai / Mayi-Mayi [ various ]
MLCMouvement de liberation congolaisJean-Pierre Bemba
MRCCongolese Revolutionary MovementMathieu Ngudjolo
RCDRassemblement congolais pour la democratieAzarias Rubwerwa
UPCUnion of Patriotic Congolese Thomas Lubanga
Bosco Ntaganda

Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills wrote in Foreign Policy magazine "The Congo Doesn't Exist," and that foreign governments and aid agencies should bypass the purported central government, and instead deal with whatever exerts control on the ground - a confusing and ever shifting array of governors, traditional leaders, warlords, and others. Absent a hegemon the Congo provides endless opportunities for plunder. Congolese suspect that US assistance (and all international aid) is provided to weaken the country and advance private business interests. The US is thought to support Rwanda's alleged efforts to annex the Kivus and monopolize the region's resources.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) information minister said 10 April 2014 that joint military offensives launched by the national army (FARDC) and the United Nations Mission to the country (MONUSC) to protect unarmed civilians had sharply reduced the number of rebel groups from 55 to about 20. Lambert Mende also said another round of military offensives have been launched against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to defeat the armed group in a bid to ensure security and peace in parts of the country the rebels operate. “Thanks to the combination of the FARDC and the assistance of MONUSCO, we managed now to reduce from 55 armed groups to 21 or less, and we hope that this phenomenon will end very soon in our country,” said Mende.

Mende said the military campaign against the FDLR has been a success. “When we started the fight against the FDLR their number was something amounting to 7,000 to 8,000. Now, they are less than 1,000. So we can say that a lot has been done in crushing those [rebels], forcing them back to their country or neutralizing them,” said Mende. “That is what we are doing now and with less than 1,000 they will soon disappear. We need them to disappear from our country or be neutralized and disarmed.”

In November 2013, the Congolese army, with the help of United Nations peacekeepers, crushed the M23 rebel group that had terrorized the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for 20 months. Over a two-week period the newly bolstered army began retaking rebel strongholds, finally crushing the rebellion. Support from a specially created UN “intervention brigade” helped change the military dynamic and push rebels into peace talks they had resisted. The government put pressure on Rwanda and Uganda, who were secretly backstopping M23. The UN brigade are 3,000 well-armed South African, Tanzanian and Malawian peacekeepers, backed by attack helicopters and empowered by the UN Security Council to neutralize the dozens of armed groups that threaten civilians in eastern Congo. The brigade started deploying in July 2013, beefing up the 17,000 UN peacekeepers already there.

The apparent demise in November 2013 of the 18-month-old M23 rebellion is unlikely, on its own, to deliver peace to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where, in the absence of a significant presence of the state, at least 40 armed groups operate, and a chronic humanitarian crisis persists.

The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC; formerly called Zaire under President Mobutu Sese Seko) was the widest interstate war in modern African history. The DRC became an environment in which numerous foreign players were involved, some within the immediate sub-region, and some from much further afield. That only served to complicate the situation and to make peaceful resolution of the conflict that much more complex. The war, centered mainly in eastern Congo, had involved 9 African nations and directly affected the lives of 50 million Congolese.

The conflicts in the East have aggravated a worrying trend towards the collapse of state authority throughout the country. While this phenomenon receives international scrutiny in the East, most parts of the state have ceased to function normally throughout the country. The education, judiciary, and health systems have collapsed, with services dependent on under the table payments. Corruption is pervasive, following decades of state sanction and the government's inability to provide basic services. Without regular salaries, the security forces have turned to small- (and large-scale) extortion. In a situation where society is "broken," many donors have targeted security sector reform (SSR --military, justice, and police) as the most pressing area in need of assistance.

Despite enormous natural resource wealth, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with an annual GDP per capita of only $171. Following decades of economic mismanagement under the Mobutu regime, the GDRC initiated a series of economic reforms in 2001 that aimed to stabilize the macroeconomic environment and promote economic growth. The DRC's economic environment changed dramatically beginning in late 2008 and throughout 2009 as the country was significantly and negatively impacted by the global financial crisis. The once robust mining sector significantly contracted during late 2008 and early 2009 due to falling international commodities prices, a tightening of international credit and dampened investor confidence in the sector.

The International Rescue Committee said that between August 1998 and April 2004 (when a bulk of the fighting occurred) some 3.8 million people died in the DRC. Most of these deaths were due to starvation or disease that resulted from the war, not from actual fighting. Millions more had become internally displaced or had sought asylum in neighboring countries.

United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO)

The United Nations is present throughout the DRC through the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Congo (MONUSCO). Following the signing of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in July 1999 between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and five regional States (Angola, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe) in July 1999, the Security Council established the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC - "Mission de l'Organisation des Nations Unies en Republique Democratique du Congo") by its resolution 1279 of 30 November 1999. On 1 July 2010, the Security Council, by its resolution 1925, renamed MONUC the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to reflect the new phase reached in the country.

MONUSCO is the 20,000-strong peacekeeping operation (PKO) with military contingents in all provinces and major cities. Much more than a simple PKO, MONUC was in fact the only institution in the DRC with nationwide military, transportation, communications, and administrative capabilities. In the absence of a meaningful Government of the DR Congo [GDRC] presence outside Kinshasa and some provincial cities, it provides services that usually are the domain of a national government. MONUC's Radio Okapi, for example, is the only FM radio station broadcasting throughout the DRC in the country's five official languages; MONUC also maintains regular flights to all major DRC airports. MONUC has succeeded in preventing a return to the civil and international wars that prevailed in the DRC prior to its creation in 1999. Its record in other areas, however, is mixed.

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