John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

Posts by Category

Showing posts for "Rwanda"

Africa on the UN Security Council

by John Campbell
The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters) The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York September 24, 2014. (Adrees Latif/Courtesy Reuters)

First, a primer. The UN Security Council consists of fifteen members. Five are permanent and have the power to veto all resolutions. These member states are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition, there are ten non-permanent members that are elected for two-year terms by the UN membership in the General Assembly. Read more »

Uganda and the African Standby Force

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier from the Somali National Army uses a belt acting as a weapon during a training exercise in Mogadishu, March 28, 2013. (Tobin Jones/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. Allen is currently an officer in the Army National Guard. His interests are in Africa, conflict, and conflict resolution.

Since 2003, The African Union Peace and Security Council has sought to establish an African Standby Force, whose purpose would be to rapidly respond to conflicts and emergency situations in Africa. Since then the Council has proposed several structural versions of a standby force to fill this rapid reaction role, none of which have yet yielded results. In the meantime it appears that the Ugandan government is using its own military to fill this role. Read more »

Dust Up Between Pretoria and Kigali

by John Campbell
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres) Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres)

South Africa on Monday expelled three Rwandan officials from its embassy in Pretoria. They are charged with complicity in an assassination attempt against a Rwandan dissident living in South Africa. In response, Kigali expelled six South African diplomats. Read more »

Rebels Surrender in Eastern Congo

by John Campbell
Congolese soldiers guard suspected M23 rebel fighters who surrendered in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory near the eastern town of Goma, November 5, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Congolese soldiers guard suspected M23 rebel fighters who surrendered in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory near the eastern town of Goma, November 5, 2013. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

For as long as a generation, parts of the eastern Congo have been hell on earth. The depredations of war lords, militias, and even the Congolese army itself, in a context of the breakdown of government and gangster-like intervention from abroad have made the region nearly unlivable. Eastern Congo has become notorious for the wholesale looting of its vast natural resources and the widespread use of rape for political ends. Under such circumstances, the announcement that a particularly vicious rebel group, M23, would end its rebellion and begin surrendering its weapons can only offer hope in what has long been a hopeless situation. Read more »

The Evolution from Heroes to Big Men

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) speaks to Finance Minister Tendai Biti before President Robert Mugabe opened the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) speaks to Finance Minister Tendai Biti before President Robert Mugabe opened the country's Parliament in Harare, October 30, 2012. (Philimon Bulawayo/Courtesy Reuters)

Friends of Africa often anoint “for the moment” selected leaders from that continent as heroes. Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, Congo’s Mobutu Sese-Seko, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame have all enjoyed that status at one time or another. Often the “hero” immediately follows a tyrant–or chaos. Obasanjo followed a generation of military rulers, and his immediate predecessor was the “tyrant” Sani Abacha who resorted to judicial murder; Mobutu emerged from Congo’s domestic chaos and civil war and promised inoculation against the Communists; Mugabe followed the racist regime of Ian Smith and promised racial reconciliation; and Paul Kagame “ended” the genocide in Rwanda. Read more »

A Way Forward for the Democratic Republic of Congo?

by John Campbell
A newly deployed police officer gestures as he walks in a line in Goma port December 2, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) A newly deployed police officer gestures as he walks in a line in Goma port December 2, 2012. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

Search for Common Ground, a distinguished Washington-based NGO devoted to international conflict resolution and peace building that has long focused on the Great Lakes Region, organized a special two-day meeting of the Great Lakes Policy Forum (GLPF) earlier this week–the 165th meeting of the Forum. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Nitze School of International Studies at Johns Hopkins hosted and participated, along with many other Congo-watchers from the executive and legislative branches, NGOs, and academia. Search for Common Ground arranged for the presence of experts from the Congo, and there were representatives of the Congolese diaspora in the United States. Read more »

What Will it Take for the United States and Others to Address the Crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo?

by John Campbell
Congolese children gather in front of a United Nations peacekeeping tank during the global rally "One Billion Rising" which is part of a V-Day event calling for an end to gender-based violence, in Bukavu February 14, 2013. (Jana Asenbrennerova/Courtesy Reuters) Congolese children gather in front of a United Nations peacekeeping tank during the global rally "One Billion Rising" which is part of a V-Day event calling for an end to gender-based violence, in Bukavu February 14, 2013. (Jana Asenbrennerova/Courtesy Reuters)

There is a useful new feature on cfr.org, the Council on Foreign Relations’ website. Ask a CFR Expert invites members of the public to submit questions on U.S. foreign policy, and CFR fellows respond to questions that pertain to their own areas of expertise and research. Read more »

The Geopolitical Quagmire of the Eastern Congo

by John Campbell
UN peacekeepers hold a position outside the eastern Congolese city of Goma 23/07/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) UN peacekeepers hold a position outside the eastern Congolese city of Goma 23/07/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

The situation in the eastern Congo is no less obscure than before the regional leaders met for negotiations over the weekend. M23 stated they would leave the city of Goma, captured on November 20, by November 27. They are still there. Now they claim they will hold a handover ceremony and pull back to Rutshuru, their original stronghold, on Friday, November 30; but only so long as M23 troops remain at the Goma airport. And possibly, that their political wing remain in Goma itself. Read more »

Goma Falls to Rebels in the Eastern Congo

by John Campbell
Congolese Revolution Army rebels drive in trucks as they patrol a street in Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, soon after the rebels captured the city from the government army 20/11/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Congolese Revolution Army rebels drive in trucks as they patrol a street in Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, soon after the rebels captured the city from the government army 20/11/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

Since I blogged yesterday about the fighting around the city of Goma between the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) supported by UN forces and the M23 rebels, the situation has deteriorated.

Yesterday, the rebels had pulled back to await a response from Kinshasa to its demands that Goma be de-militarized and that a border post with Uganda be reopened. Kinshasa did not accept the M23 ultimatum, and the rebels have now occupied the city and its international and military airports for the first time since 2003. In the general melee, DRC soldiers shelled a neighboring Rwanda district, killing two, according to Rwanda sources. That same Rwanda source says, however, that Kinshasa has apologized. If so, Kinshasa and Kigali may be trying to avoid any cross border escalation, a positive development. Read more »

International Hand-Wringing over the Eastern Congo

by John Campbell
Displaced families walk past M23 rebels at Rumangabo 28/07/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters) Displaced families walk past M23 rebels at Rumangabo 28/07/2012. (James Akena/Courtesy Reuters)

M23, a rebel group active in the eastern Congo, advanced on the provincial capital of Goma over the weekend, but has subsequently pulled back. Instead of an attack on Goma, the rebels presented a list of demands to the Kinshasa government that include de-militarization of the city and its airport. It is also demanding the opening of a border post with Uganda, in the town of Bunagana. Read more »