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The Great African War

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521111287)

The Great African War
Cambridge University Press
9780521111287 - The Great African War - Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006 - By Filip Reyntjens
Frontmatter/Prelims

The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006

This book examines a decade-long period of instability, violence and state decay in Central Africa from 1996, when the war started, to 2006, when elections formally ended the political transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A unique combination of circumstances explain the unravelling of the conflicts: the collapsed Zairian/Congolese state; the continuation of the Rwandan civil war across borders; the shifting alliances in the region; the politics of identity in Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC; the ineptitude of the international community; and the emergence of privatised and criminalised public spaces and economies, linked to the global economy, but largely disconnected from the state on whose territory the ‘entrepreneurs of insecurity’ function. As a complement to the existing literature, this book seeks to provide an in-depth analysis of concurrent developments in Zaire/DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in African and international contexts. By adopting a non-chronological approach, it attempts to show the dynamics of the inter-relationships between these realms and offers a toolkit for understanding the past and future of Central Africa.

Filip Reyntjens is Professor of Law and Politics at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp. He has worked in and on the Great Lakes Region of Africa for more than thirty years. Professor Reyntjens’s main research interests are contemporary history, legal anthropology, political transitions and human rights, and he has published several books and numerous articles on these subjects. He co-edits a yearbook on current affairs in Central Africa, L’Afrique des grands lacs, which is a major reference work on the region. In addition to his academic work, Reyntjens serves as a consultant for governments, international organizations and NGOs, and as an expert witness before courts in several countries, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court.


The Great African War

Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006

Filip Reyntjens

University of Antwerp


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
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Cambridge University Press
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www.cambridge.org
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521111287

© Filip Reyntjens 2009

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2009

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data

Reyntjens, Filip.
The great African war: Congo and regional geopolitics, 1996–2006/Filip Reyntjens.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-11128-7 (hardback)
1. Congo (Democratic Republic) – Politics and government – 1997– 2. Congo
(Democratic Republic) – Foreign relations – 1997– 3. Civil war – Great Lakes Region
(Africa) I. Title.DT658.26.R489 2009
967.5103∙4–dc22  2009004017

ISBN 9780-521-11128-7 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLS for external or third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. Information regarding prices, travel timetables and other factual information given in this work are correct at the time of first printing, but Cambridge University Press does not guarantee the accuracy of such information thereafter.


Contents

Acknowledgements page
ix
List of Maps
xi
Introduction
1
1             A Region in Turmoil
10
1.1           Kivu: Land of confrontation
10
National context
10
Crises of identity, of land and of politics
13
The new given: Influx of Hutu refugees
16
South Kivu: The Banyamulenge
21
1.2           Rwanda: From genocide to dictatorship
23
The power base
24
The drift
25
‘Burundisation’ of Rwanda
29
Militarisation of the political landscape
31
Continuity in managing the state
32
1.3           Burundi: From putsch to civil war
34
Creeping coup
34
Extension of the civil war
39
Coup of 25 July 1996 and its aftermath
41
1.4           Regional junctions
42
2             The ‘War of Liberation’
45
2.1           The ‘Banyamulenge Rebellion’ and the Rwandan operation
45
2.2           The other eastern neighbours: Uganda and Burundi
58
2.3           Angola enters the fray: Kinshasa in 100 days
61
2.4           Other regional allies
65
2.5           U.S. involvement
66
Logistical and political support
66
Supply of material and personnel
70
Incoherence
74
Degree of involvement
77
3             Massacre of the Rwandan Refugees
80
3.1           Aborted international intervention
80
3.2           Crimes against humanity: Genocide?
87
Attacks against refugee camps and concentrations
93
Humanitarian assistance withheld or used as bait
96
Separation of men from women and children
97
Involvement of the RPA
98
Massacres of other groups
99
3.3           The force of manipulation
99
4             The Fall of the Mobutist State
102
4.1           The players
102
Laurent-Désiré Kabila and the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo-Zaïre (AFDL)
102
The Forces Armées Zaïroises (FAZ) and their allies
108
4.2           The diplomatic ballet
118
4.3           Meanwhile, in Kinshasa, the orchestra on the TITANIC
131
4.4           The new geopolitical situation
140
5             Congo: Waiting for Another War
144
5.1           The ‘liberated territories’ in the East
144
Two problems worse than before
144
Massive human rights violations
152
Practices of governance
153
5.2           The end of an alliance and the prelude to a new war
155
The regime adrift
155
The art of making enemies
164
Towards a new war
166
6             Impasse in Rwanda and Burundi
170
6.1           The civil wars
170
6.2           Political or military outcomes?
179
6.3           Justice in deadlock
181
6.4           Institutional developments and practice of governance
184
7             ‘The First African World War’
194
7.1           From Goma to Kitona, and to military stalemate
194
7.2           Shifting alliances
201
7.3           Wars within the war
207
The Kivus
207
Ituri
215
7.4           Privatisation and criminalisation
221
State collapse and the privatisation of public space
221
Criminalisation of states and economies
224
8             Negotiating the Transition
232
8.1           The political landscape
232
The regime in Kinshasa
232
The rebel movements
238
8.2           The false start of negotiations: From Victoria Falls to the death of Laurent Kabila
244
Many cooks in the same kitchen
244
The Lusaka process
247
From Lusaka to the assassination of Laurent Kabila
250
8.3           Towards an imposed settlement: From the accession of Joseph Kabila to Sun City
252
A dynastic succession
252
From Sun City to Pretoria, and back to Sun City
256
8.4           Political transition in conflict
261
The bumpy road towards elections
261
The 2006 elections
271
Conclusion
279
Appendix 1:   Sources on the killings of Rwandan refugees in early 1997
287
Appendix 2:   Chronology
291
Appendix 3:   List of abbreviations
297
References
303
Index
319

Acknowledgements

Writing a book like this is essentially a lonely business that can, however, be conducted only with the support and assistance of many people. After I served for seven years as Chair of the Institute of Development Policy and Management, the University of Antwerp offered me a sabbatical year. Without my employer’s generosity, it would have been impossible to conduct the research that has led to this book and to another, smaller, one. During this period, my colleagues at the Institute have taken over some of my tasks, in addition to their already busy schedules. I thank them sincerely for their support.

After having worked for more than thirty years on the Great Lakes region, I have developed extensive networks of friends, colleagues and political and social actors. They have been a rich source of information, a sounding board for ideas and a platform for sharing analysis. I cannot thank them individually. However, it is my pleasure to express the debt I owe to those who have generously given their precious time to comment on draft chapters, including an earlier version in French: Alison Des Forges, Gauthier de Villers, Erik Kennes, René Lemarchand, Emmanuel Lubala and three readers who will remain anonymous, either because that is their wish or because they reviewed the manuscript for Cambridge University Press. I wish to specially mention the help of René Lemarchand, who has gone well beyond what colleagues routinely do for each other in terms of help and advice. Without his careful reading of successive drafts and his insightful and detailed suggestions, this book would probably not have been published. Of course, the usual disclaimer applies.

The maps have been drawn by the University of Antwerp media service. Craig Rollo and Stephanie Hughes, colleagues from the University of Antwerp, have revised the language and style. Frank Smith, Jeanie Lee and Cathy Felgar of Cambridge University Press and Kavitha Lawrence of Newgen Imaging Systems have turned this manuscript into a book. I sincerely thank them all.

For many years now, my companion Greet has suffered considerably due to my passion for Africa, and I am sorry to say that she will probably suffer more in the future. I thank her for her patience; unfortunately, I cannot promise that I will find more time for her.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Alison Des Forges (1942–2009), for her friendship and her unremitting struggle for the cause of human rights in Central Africa.

Filip Reyntjens




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