Wed, 7 August 2013
Rwandan Warlord Kagame Threatens Neighbors and UN Force
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“Kagame must give up his delusional dreams of invading Tanzania.”
Paul Kagame, the minority Tutsi warlord of Rwanda, is in a dangerous mood. For 17 years, the United States armed Kagame’s military to the teeth as Rwanda and another U.S. ally, Uganda, plundered and destabilized the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing millions in the process. However, in the face of mounting international outcry, the U.S. reluctantly agreed to rein in its Rwandan warlord, first with a nominal cutback in military aid, and then late last month demanding that Rwanda halt its support for the Congolese Tutsi rebel group M23. It is no secret that M23 is an annex of the Rwandan military, an extension of Paul Kagame’s bloody hand in the Congo. M23 seized the Congolese city of Goma, on the Rwandan border, for two weeks last year, to show that Kagame’s military remains the strongest in the region. The United Nations, whose peacekeepers were chased away from Goma last year, responded by assembling a 3,000-man so-called “Intervention Brigade” with a mandate to use force against Rwanda’s rebel proxies. On August 1, the UN gave M23 an ultimatum to disarm. In defiance, the Tutsi guerillas are instead threatening to once gain capture Goma and its one million people, in a showdown with the United Nations combat brigade.
Such a conflict would constitute an escalation in the central African war. The UN brigade is made up of soldiers from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania. Back in April, the M23 rebels issued a warning to Tanzania to withdraw its forces from the Intervention Brigade, or face unspecified consequences. No one doubted that the rebels were speaking for their boss, Rwandan President Kagame. Then, on June 30, just before President Obama touched down in Tanzania as part of his tour of Africa, Kagame issued an unmistakable threat against Tanzania and its president, Jakaya Kitwete. Kagame said that President Kitwete had “crossed a line that you should never cross…because I will wait for you at the right place and I will hit you!” When spoken by a warlord who has already killed millions, those are fighting words.
“Kagame’s regime is inherently warlike and unstable.”
Tanzanian President Kitwete did not respond in kind, but one of his foreign ministry officials did, on July 12, saying Kagame “must give up his delusional dreams of invading Tanzania.” If Kagame persists, said the Tanzanian official, he “will be whipped like a small boy.”
Tanzania, like the Democratic Republic of Congo, shares a border with Rwanda and with Washington’s other mercenary client state, Uganda. The threat of invasion must be taken seriously. However, it is more like that Kagame will be tempted to take out his aggressions on the United Nations combat brigade – one-third of which is Tanzanian.
The United States believes it can control the little African Frankensteins it has created, like Paul Kagame. But Kagame’s regime is inherently warlike and unstable, because it is a dictatorship of an ethnic minority, the Tutsis, who make up no more than 15 percent of Rwanda’s population. It remains in power through sheer force and terror, a lawless regime that fears its own people and covets its neighbors’ resources. The U.S. may soon decide that Kagame is more trouble to the imperial enterprise than he’s worth. One thing is sure: Kagame is one criminal who won’t go out quietly.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.