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Prepared Statement of Ellen Ray
Balkanization of Africa; Destruction of Congo
In the last decade, an ancient tool of foreign policy has been raised by the United States to new heights. The Romans called it "divide and conquer"; since the late Nineteenth Century it has been called Balkanization.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Balkanization became a common occurrence, as former "enemy" states were pursued- attacked and occupied-by the only remaining superpower-sometimes alone, sometimes with one or another of America's allies. The U.S.S.R. was quickly divided into a dozen new nations; Czechoslovakia was halved; and then Yugoslavia was shattered, piece by piece. And now there is a serious effort under way by the western powers to Balkanize and further plunder Africa. Indeed, three of the largest nations on the continent, Congo, Angola, and Sudan, for many years have faced violent struggles to divide their territories. Some geo-strategists suggest that Balkanization is not necessary when large targeted nations are led by strong, generally repressive, governments, installed by, or at least indebted to, the West, especially the U.S. This may explain why, during most of the Mobutu regime, there were no serious efforts to destabilize his government, a U.S. client state for all its three decades. The ultimate departure of Mobutu was effected by his own greed, and perhaps a philosophical tilt towards France. Zaire outlived its usefulness to the U.S. The nation, now Congo, has ended up on the chopping block, its sovereign territory divided and subdivided by invaders, the prize offered by what the Clinton administration cheerfully dubbed "Africa's First World War."
When a nation is targeted for Balkanization, the justification for the overt and covert operations such a campaign entails is almost always a "humanitarian" effort to control inter-ethnic strife. The media generate public confusion by fabricating, or exaggerating, ethnic, tribal, mini-wars, often stirred up and paid for by the agents of the would-be Balkanizers.
For example, nearly every article about the invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the U.S.-supplied and trained armies of Uganda and Rwanda referred to the invaders' local paid agents as oppressed Congolese ethnic groups or former members of Mobutu's army rebelling against the Kinshasa government. The articles often described "tribal warfare" in breathless detail, citing mini-wars like those being fostered by outsiders between the Hema and the Lentu.
The severe destabilization of a targeted nation or area of the world is a logical and necessary prerequisite to Balkanization. The media help to promote that destabilization by their demonization of targeted leaders. Such campaigns often carry overtones of ethnic persecution, along with accusations of corruption, communism, terrorism, or (but only when it suits the U.S.) fundamentalism.
Even though the western press could not, in the end, continue to boost Mobutu, their grudging recognition of Kabila was at best cautious, suspicious, and extremely short-lived. After Kabila threw out the Tutsi officers (Rwandan and Ugandan) who had been installed in most key military and intelligence posts, usually over the strong objections of the local people, the press's honeymoon with Kabila was over. As Kabila heard the complaints of the Congolese people about Tutsi-led terror against Hutu refugees, as he traveled to independent nations like China, Libya, and Cuba, he began to be vilified as "corrupt," as a "thug."
Something should be said about the way in which a very shady peace process has furthered African Balkanization, just as it did in Yugoslavia. The Lusaka accord was not a good deal for the Congo government; Kabila was forced to accede by implicit and explicit threats of even greater assistance to the rebels, and an endless war. And in consequence, a divided Congo became an accepted, institutionalized reality, a solid line drawn through the country in every map that accompanies every news story. The negotiations, stage-managed by the U.S., intensified the demands for the pullout of all foreign troops from Congo, neatly equating the Ugandan and Rwandan invaders with the troops from Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, invited by the invaded country to assist in repelling the invasion. There is no moral equivalency here. As President Dos Santos of Angola pointed out during the U.N. debate, the accord did not even recognize the legitimacy of the Kabila government.
A year later, Kabila has been murdered, the very first peacekeeping forces are arriving and setting up camp in Goma, while the de facto division of Congo has become conventional wisdom. The outsiders ensconced in the east, now behind the cease-fire line and protected by the peacekeepers, control some of the most valuable natural resources in the world, while the Congolese people suffer.
The western wire service headlines in the aftermath of the murder of Laurent Kabila hint candidly at Congo's future.
Reuters, January 17: "Copper, cobalt markets little moved by Congo news."
Reuters, January 19: "Kabila killing not seen hurting diamond industry."
Laurent Kabila's place in the spectrum of African politics, continues to be abraded, his death seen only as one less deterrent to ramming through the peace plan:
Reuters, January 18: "Kabila failed to live up to great expectations."
Reuters, January 18: "Holbrooke suggests Africans break from Non-Aligned." Holbrooke, the reporter admitted, "startled his listeners" with this one.
Reuters, January 19: "Congo rebels say young Kabila 'unacceptable.'"
And finally, the future of the current cease-fire remains in doubt:
Associated Press, March 21: "U.N. Says Congo Foes Pulling Back."
But, Reuters, March 28: "U.N. Says Congo armies delaying disengagement."
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