The story of the Congo wars is one of state weakness and failure – the weakness and failure of Congo to defend its borders, impose law and order in its eastern provinces, and build the institutions of state necessary to improve the impoverished conditions in which the Congolese population live.
The weakness of the Congolese state explains why the Congo wars have no simple narrative. In the absence of a strong power in Kinshasa, rival factions have been able to proliferate, adding a layer of confusion to an already complex picture. At various times in the conflict, there have been up to forty different armed groups in Eastern Congo alone. Continue reading
This is the second post in a series of three. Read the first post here.
The Second Congo War
President Laurent Kabila would only preside over the Congo for fifteen months before war began again. The trigger this time was Kabila’s decision to turn on the Rwandans who had put him in power.
In early 1998, Kabila began to recruit Rwanda Hutu – many of whom had been responsible for the Rwandan genocide – into the Congolese army. He sacked the Rwandan officer who had been the commander of the Congolese military and asked all Rwandan troops to leave the country. Continue reading
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a vast country with a population of sixty million people. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world. The wars that have ravaged the country since 1996 have so far cost the lives of over five million people. Almost three million of the victims have been children. This and subsequent posts aim to explain the tragedy of Africa’s largest war. Continue reading
In 2014 a United Nations Commission reported its findings on the human rights situation in North Korea. The Commission concluded that the gravity, scale and nature of human rights violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world. In a world where vicious tyrants are still, tragically, not uncommon, North Korea stands out as the world’s vilest regime. Continue reading
The narcissistic boss can damage the mental health of their employees, undermine the effectiveness of their organisations, and, collectively, threaten the well-being of society. At a moment in history when sane leadership is needed to overcome the daunting challenges we face, it is a measure of the gullibility of the rest of us that we continue to believe that we need mentally disordered individuals to run our most important organisations. Continue reading
“The real drama since 1776 has been the relentless attack of the prosperous few upon the rights of the restless many.” Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is a political activist whose criticisms of U.S. foreign policy are often controversial. An advocate for popular struggle to achieve real democracy, he is also scathing in his critique of what passes for democracy in the U.S.
In this post I outline three of the key positions that Chomsky has held for decades and invite you to comment on these controversial but crucial issues. Do you agree with Chomsky that this really is how the world works?
The practice of violence changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world’. Hannah Arendt
For decades now sectarian violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims has engulfed the Middle East and central Asia. The conflict has spilled over into the West, most notably in the 9/11 attacks, while the ensuing ‘War on Terror’ has further poisoned relations between the West and the Muslim world. Today sectarian violence is spreading to North and East Africa, creating an arc of instability across the African continent. Three decades of brutal Sunni-Shia conflict tragically illustrates the intractable nature of sectarian violence. It also demonstrates how religious fundamentalism can too often give those with dangerous personality disorders an easy path to power. Continue reading