Is Africa’s World War about to restart?

We don’t hear much about this one in the US, but only in the last 5 years, ‘Africa’s World War’ has left approximately 7 times the number dead that the US has been responsible for killing in Iraq in the same time frame. As one commentary put it, it is as if the National Republic of Congo (Zaire) has suffered a 9/11 sized disaster everyday of the last 5 years.

Actually that would only be about 1 and 1/2 million deaths, but I see that most estimates are that 5-8 million have died since Mobutu fell in 1997. Another statistic I have also seen, is that Africa as a whole has suffered 90% of the world’s victims lost through world warfare since the fall of the exSoviet Union. And the National Republic of the Congo has been the centerpiece of all this carnage. Why the warfare here?

In short, it is a continuation of the colonial destruction done to the Congo by Belgium, which slaughtered off upwards of 25,000,000 a century ago when it ruled this area, and by the US Cold War supported dictator Mobutu, who ruled for 32 years until overthrown by Kabila-led forces in 1997. The income of the 45,000,000 inhabitants of this Western Europe sized country dropped to 1/10 of what it was within the first 2 decades of his reign. His wealth held in Swiss banks was at an estimated $5 billion at his fall! Multiple US presidents gave him his needed support in American efforts to prop up ‘friendly’ regimes in Africa against the Soviet Union.

Cut to the recent cease fire. This was brokered in 2003 under an arrangement to hold ‘free elections’ in 2006, and put a temporary halt to the conflict. The elections just finished, and despite a certain US peanut farmer saying that all was done Southrern Baptist fair, the most popular candidate never was allowed to participate and the vote between Kabila and Bemba is now being contested by Bemba’s forces, who just burned down the Supreme Court building alleging that the whole election was a fraudulent farce. The final judicial decision is to be made within days, but the result is already in as far as the US and Europeans are concerned. They’re sticking with Kabila to say in power.

THe UN has 17,000 troops in place. Not even enough to begin to stop renewed warfare. Bush is now spending about $5 billion per year in US aid sent to the country. Contrast that to the trillion plus spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. Probably all it would take to stop the renewal of bloodshed would be a fair distribution of some billions or so to the respective sides of this civil war in the years ahead. But where is the US war industries profits in doing that? So the likelihood is that this horrible war will crank up full speed within weeks once again.

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