The M23 and Eastern D.R.Congo : An Intractable Problem or an Opportunity to Engage ?

20-11-2012

Renewed violence has caused the displacement of over 500 000 people since April. The creation of the M23 has re-engaged international actors in the conflict in the eastern DRC. The EU considered Joseph Kabila's 2011 re-election 'not credible'. In April, Kabila announced his intention to arrest Bosco Ntaganda. This precipitated events in the North Kivu region, causing a wave of defections and the creation of the M23. The M23 has been accused of war crimes. The deeper cause of the M23 rebellion is the failure of the 2009 peace agreement. The international community also share s responsibility for this failure. The rapid spread of the M23 highlighted the weakness of the DRC state and prompted accusations of external involvement. In June, an addendum to the interim report of the UN Group of Experts accused Rwanda of backstopping the rebels. Donors reacted by halting the disbursement of military and development aid. The final report accuses Rwanda of commanding the M23 and Uganda of supporting the rebels. The DRC army is also complicit in the violence. International pressure should be applied on all actors and should be complemented by a broader engagement strategy. A political compromis is needed to effectively address conflict in the shorter and longer terms. An informal ceasefire was broken as the M23 advanced on Goma and claimed to have taken the town on 20 November. The ICGLR has hosted regional summits and called for a neutral military force. The international community should search for a new, unequivocal political commitment from all actors to end the conflict.

Renewed violence has caused the displacement of over 500 000 people since April. The creation of the M23 has re-engaged international actors in the conflict in the eastern DRC. The EU considered Joseph Kabila's 2011 re-election 'not credible'. In April, Kabila announced his intention to arrest Bosco Ntaganda. This precipitated events in the North Kivu region, causing a wave of defections and the creation of the M23. The M23 has been accused of war crimes. The deeper cause of the M23 rebellion is the failure of the 2009 peace agreement. The international community also share s responsibility for this failure. The rapid spread of the M23 highlighted the weakness of the DRC state and prompted accusations of external involvement. In June, an addendum to the interim report of the UN Group of Experts accused Rwanda of backstopping the rebels. Donors reacted by halting the disbursement of military and development aid. The final report accuses Rwanda of commanding the M23 and Uganda of supporting the rebels. The DRC army is also complicit in the violence. International pressure should be applied on all actors and should be complemented by a broader engagement strategy. A political compromis is needed to effectively address conflict in the shorter and longer terms. An informal ceasefire was broken as the M23 advanced on Goma and claimed to have taken the town on 20 November. The ICGLR has hosted regional summits and called for a neutral military force. The international community should search for a new, unequivocal political commitment from all actors to end the conflict.