Monday, June 25, 2012
Rules of accommodation (Congo) vs. Negotiating for side effects (Rwanda): Comment on the Letter of DRC Foreign Minister to UNSG and UNSC Prez
wrote a whining letter addressed to both the UN Secretary General and
the President of the the Security Council.
The letter was in care of Zénon Mukongo Ngay, the Congolese UN Chargé
d'affaires in New York, who forwarded it to the addressees on June 19.
Its subject concerned the "deterioration of the security situation in
the Province of North Kivu, in the eastern part of the country."
(See full text of the letter below this comment.)
The letter shows that the DRC is dangerously on the brink: militarily
powerless and diplomatically irrelevant.
Africa's World War, the ongoing insurgencies, and various flashpoints
countrywide have thoroughly achieved the military objectives of DRC's
neighboring partners qua enemies--that is, quoting Clausewitz, "to
render the enemy [Congo] powerless."
Kinshasa media are relaying in their headlines of today glaring
examples of this military powerlessness:
1) While Congolese government officials were clamoring that the M23
insurgency had been almost squashed, it now transpires that this
"collection of notorious killers"--a description of M23 leaders
recently coined by Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High
Commission for Human Rights-- had in fact cut off drinking water
supply in Bunagana and 9 other surrounding hamlets of North Kivu since
June 11--causing dozens of thirst-related and water-borne diseases
death, according to the Kinshasa daily La Prosperité.
2) In northern DRC, armed militiamen have occupied the Okapi Preserve
of Epulu and are now carrying out wanton killings of okapis for game
Incapable of protecting its citizens and its resources, the government
is now resorting to whiners' diplomacy--diplomatic irrelevancy, as it
were--begging the UN on both knees: to deal with the country's
problems; and to please ward off a menace called Rwanda!
The letter makes clear that diplomacy has broken down between the DRC
and Rwanda; that the DRC has been diplomatically cheated by
Rwanda--and, incidentally in the past few days, by the US, which has
blocked the circulation and dissemination within the UNSC of the Annex
of a Report documentating Rwandan involvement in the recent deadly
destabilization of eastern Congo.
Some Congolese political pundits are even now calling this strange
episode at the UNSC the "Israelization of Rwanda by the US in the
African Great Lakes Region."
What is also clear in the letter is that the DRC can by no means wage
retributive war on its enemies. For the damning acts committed by
Rwanda against the DRC listed in the letter are grave enough to
warrant a casus belli from any state with a minimum of self-respect.
Reading Fred Ikle's "How Nations Negotiate" (1968) may give one an
inkling of the current diplomatic quandary of the DRC.
There's an essay by Angelo M. Codevilla--"Tools of Statecraft:
Diplomacy and War" published in 2008 on Foreign Policy Research
Institute (FPRI)--that provides in a nutshell Ikle's main insight in
I still have to read Ikle's book, but Codevilla's reading of it is
enough for my purpose here.
(Page Address: http://www.fpri.org/footnotes/1301.200801.codevilla.statecraftdiplomacywar.html)
The "available terms" or the stated objectives of the DRC and Rwanda
were incompabatible from the get go in the negotiations these two
countries have entered into for close to 4 years now--culminating in
the joint military operations against the FDLR.
Whereas the weakened DRC side was stating its objectives truthfully
like a hopeless sucker, Rwanda was dissembling.
Thus, Rwanda took the DRC on a fool's errand in those joint military
operations in pursuit of the ever elusive FDLR.
The question the DRC could have asked Rwanda then was the following:
You, guys, occupied the FDLR turf for 5 long years, how come you
didn't root them out?
At the time, the only Congolese official to see through the Rwandan
diplomatic farce was the then Speaker Vital Kamerhe. And the
objections he voiced cost him his Speakership job.
Absent this initial compatibility of "available terms," however, the
negotiations can't meaningfully proceed to the next step, that of the
"rules of accommodation" where parties, says Codevilla, make "sincere
proposals, honoring partial agreements, etc."
Rwanda: Negotiating for side effects
The letter of DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda below reads like
a chronicle of mischiefs perpetrated by Rwanda and its proxies in the
Congo caused by this lack of the initial frame of reference Ikle calls
In fact, what Rwanda was doing all along was, quoting Codevilla again,
"'to negotiate for side effects'— to use the negotiations to undermine
the other side's government, sow dissention among its allies, deceive
it, pocket partial agreements and renege on commitments, buy time,
gather intelligence, etc."
Codevilla's conclusion is ominous:
"Disaster looms when one side follows the rules of accommodation while
the other negotiates for side effects."
And what's happening now in eastern Congo is nothing short of a
catastrophic disaster. For the people in the area, the Congolese
nation, and the stated goal of the country's reconstruction.
In plain English: Congo and the Congolese are fucked for the forseeable future!
FROM UNSG DOCUMENTS:
[Identical letters dated 19 June 2012 from the Chargé d'affaires a.i.
of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to
the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and the
President of the Security Council]
On instructions from my Government, I have the honour to transmit
herewith a letter dated 14 June 2012 addressed to you by Raymond
Tshibanda N'tungamulongo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International
Cooperation and Francophone Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, concerning the deterioration of the security situation in the
Province of North Kivu, in the eastern part of the country (see
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its
annex circulated as a document of the Security Council.
( Signed ) Zénon Mukongo Ngay
Chargé d'affaires a.i.
[Annex to the identical letters dated 19 June 2012 from the Chargé
d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General and
the President of the Security Council]
I have the honour to inform you that the security situation in the
Province of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is
On 30 April 2012, a mutiny broke out in three units of the Armed
Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in North and
South Kivu. Led by their former commander, Bosco Ntaganda, a number of
former members of the armed group known as Congrès national pour la
défense du peuple (CNDP), who had been integrated into the army
following the peace agreements signed in Goma in 2009, had deserted in
an attempt to launch a fresh armed rebellion.
Upon being routed by FARDC, these elements, numbering no more than a
few hundred out of the 4,000-odd men who had been integrated into the
army, fled into Virunga National Park, where they retreated into an
area of at most four square kilometres abutting the border with
Rwanda, among the hills around Runyonyi, Mbuzi and Tshianzu.
In a vain attempt to give a political character to what is in reality
nothing but a desperate attempt to evade the clutches of the justice
system, which were beginning to close on Bosco Ntaganda for the crimes
he had committed under the Union of Congolese Patriots in Ituri, the
rebels are shrewdly seeking to give themselves a new identity by
renaming their movement M23.
Their real motives in so doing, however, are unrelated to the
commitments entered into in 2009, which they assert have not been
honoured by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Government is concerned at the turn the situation is taking,
especially as this mutiny has resulted in the displacement of
thousands of Congolese families, thereby creating a fresh humanitarian
The Government wishes to direct the attention of the Security Council
to the fact that, according to consistent information obtained from a
variety of sources, the rebels are receiving support from the
neighbouring country of Rwanda, and fighters are being systematically
recruited in that country. Both Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of
the Congo are members of the African Union, the Economic Community of
the Great Lakes Countries and the International Conference on the
Great Lakes Region, and such support and recruitment activities
constitute violations of all the legal instruments freely entered into
by both countries in the framework of those organizations and of the
relevant Security Council resolutions.
In view of the seriousness of these facts, the Government took the
time to confirm them with its own resources. An investigation was
carried out, while concurrently the joint mechanisms established
several years ago by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda
were activated with a view to determining the facts on the ground.
The findings of that investigation and the enquiries of the joint
mechanisms now enable us to formulate the following conclusions:
1. Among the rebels there are some 200 to 300 individuals who were
recruited in Rwandan territory through an active network operating in
that neighbouring country.
2. A number of the fighters so recruited are Rwandan nationals who
were infiltrated into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they
underwent a minimum of training and were then deployed at the front
3. Their numbers include minors and very young persons.
4. In their flight, the rebels abandoned all their armament, 38 tons
of it in all, which was recovered by FARDC. Yet it is noteworthy that
their firepower has greatly increased since their arrival in the
Runyonyi-Tshianzu-Mbuzi triangle, an area that abuts the boundary
between the Democratic Republic of the Congoand Rwanda.
5. Unnatural alliances have been formed. For example, members of the
Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR), some of whom had
been repatriated to Rwanda by the United Nations Organization
Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(MONUSCO), have joined the ranks of the rebels, as is clear from the
fact that a number of them have been captured at the front.
It appears from the foregoing that Rwandan territory has been used for
the preparation and perpetration of a plot which began as a mere
mutiny, but is evolving dangerously into an attempt to breach the
peace between two countries in the Great Lakes region, thereby
jeopardizing the progress that has been achieved in that connection
Accordingly, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
urgently requests the Security Council to:
(a) Condemn the fresh attempt at rebellion led by former members of
CNDP, now calling itself M23;
(b) Reaffirm the inviolability of the sovereignty, territorial
integrity and independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
(c) Condemn the abuses and violations of human rights and
international humanitarian law, including population displacement,
that have been inflicted upon the Congolese people of the Provinces of
North and South Kivu and identify the members of M23 as being
responsible for those acts;
(d) Condemn the foreign support that M23 is receiving, and hold those
providing it jointly responsible for all the reprehensible acts
committed by that movement;
(e) Remind Rwanda of its international obligations and demand the
immediate, unconditional withdrawal of any members of its armed forces
who may be serving in the ranks of the rebels;
(f) Assume its responsibilities with respect to the relevant
provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and Security Council
resolutions, in order to terminate any foreign support for the rebels;
(g) Take all appropriate measures to terminate the activities of all
negative forces, including FDLR, CNDP and M23.
I take this opportunity to reiterate, on behalf ofthe Government of
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that we very much appreciate the
effective partnership that has been established on the ground between
FARDC and MONUSCO. In particular, I should like to mention the
admirable role played by MONUSCO in protecting civilian populations
and supporting FARDC.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter circulated
as a document of the Security Council.
( Signed ) Raymond Tshibanda N'tungamulongo
Posted by Alex Engwete at 4:44 PM