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Old 10-24-2013   #781
jmm99
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Default Carl:

My quick search didn't turn up Tom's "ROE for Somalian pirates"; I'd be very interested in exactly what he said if someone can find it.

However, I did find Tom's post from this thread in 2007 (#101), which bears on the subject:

Quote:
Well they [the DRC Army] always made our job easier when it came to predicting what they would do:

Unarmed civilians as opposition: attack, rape, steal, kill

Armed opposition: remove mirror shades, look real mean, put shades back on, then run
Looks to me, from that comment, that a good argument can be made that a lot more armed common rabble, of the right character and attitude, would be a positive thing.

But, that is neither African elite nor UN-think; the common rabble must be unarmed - sound familiar ?

Regards

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Old 10-24-2013   #782
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Default Marc-Andre:

I'm sure that the "Congolese legal system is exotic enough to allow almost anything." I could also say that the US legal system is exotic enough to allow almost everything that Presidents Bush and Obama ordered since 9/11. Whether those orders were wise policies is another issue.

Personally, I've less objection than most to reliance on domestic law (including its Laws of War) over what passes for international law today. IHL and IHRL are anachronistic because they are based on a less complex context (a clear division between Peace and War; e.g., Lasse Oppenheim) than present-day reality (War in Peacetime; e.g., Andre Beaufre); and incorporate some of the worst Cold War innovations (e.g., "freedom fighters"). So, if the whole edifice is to scuppered, so be it.

But, that is certainly not the position taken by the UN-ICRC and the "international legal community", and generally supported by the international political elite; especially, where opportunity exists to bash the US. Of course, the UN is much more "flexible" when it comes to itself - it doesn't have to practice what it otherwise preaches.

Regards

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Old 10-24-2013   #783
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
My quick search didn't turn up Tom's "ROE for Somalian pirates"; I'd be very interested in exactly what he said if someone can find it.

However, I did find Tom's post from this thread in 2007 (#101), which bears on the subject:



Looks to me, from that comment, that a good argument can be made that a lot more armed common rabble, of the right character and attitude, would be a positive thing.

But, that is neither African elite nor UN-think; the common rabble must be unarmed - sound familiar ?

Regards

Mike
I think that comes from his book, Journey Into Darkness, I think. It had to do with our original effort in Somalia. The main point is if you are trying to restore some semblance of order in that part of the world by suppressing organized (sort of) armed groups, you don't fool around. You tell them they will die if they don't comply and then back it up.

Right on, arm the common rabble. But in the glorious DRC, the common rabble is pretty darn poor and a rifle, ammunition and things to keep it going aren't so cheap. You get a few guys together who can work a scam to pay for weapons or get somebody else to pay then, those guys have a huge advantage over the common rabble. So in this case, Tom's rules may be good.

Stan would know better than I if the right character and attitude is common in the DRC.
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Last edited by carl; 10-24-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 10-24-2013   #784
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Default Owens' ROE

The statement was actually made by a Lt. Gen. (relaying a remark he heard), with Tom affirmatively replying (from Journey into Darkness, p.52):

Quote:
LG Owens: If they have a gun, shoot 'em. If someone picks up the gun, shoot him too. Keep shooting until no one picks up the gun.

Tom: Sir, that is exactly what needs to happen.
So, let's adopt that ROE "exactly" (literally) for use worldwide. One result would be the likely deaths of Tom and me; each of us owns guns, and based on perceived character wouldn't comply with a mandate to give them up.

Or, are we "good guys", who for some reason are exempted from the literal rule ? Or, do we live in a "good" country, which for some reason is exempted from the rule ? Or, is there something missing from what should be called "Owens' Rule" ?

Regards

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Old 10-24-2013   #785
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Default

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Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
The statement was actually made by a Lt. Gen. (relaying a remark he heard), with Tom affirmatively replying (from Journey into Darkness, p.52):



So, let's adopt that ROE "exactly" (literally) for use worldwide. One result would be the likely deaths of Tom and me; each of us owns guns, and based on perceived character wouldn't comply with a mandate to give them up.

Or, are we "good guys", who for some reason are exempted from the literal rule ? Or, do we live in a "good" country, which for some reason is exempted from the rule ? Or, is there something missing from what should be called "Owens' Rule" ?

Regards

Mike
I'm glad you found the quote, and I'm glad I wasn't completely wrong about it, only mostly wrong.

As for the rest, different histories, different cultures, different religions, different climates, different diseases, different crops, different livestock, really bad snakes, different character of bodies of fresh water, different everything. Mostly though-TIA.

So let's not adopt that ROE exactly for use worldwide. Because, IAA, it ain't Africa. Now that is not to say that things can't get to a place where arming the flyover people isn't a very good thing, like it is here. But in the DRC, north of Goma (or if they ever decide to go where the FDLR is), right now, that particular rule of engagement is the best way to go about it.
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Last edited by carl; 10-24-2013 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 10-25-2013   #786
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Default Carl:

I'd say you got the quote mostly right.

My questions go to the reasoning behind the rule.

My first thought was that the rule ("shoot anyone with a gun") is a "status" rule, which follows this kind of sequence:

1. Define your enemy.

2. Identify your enemy.

3. Kill your enemy.

The US normally defines its enemies in terms of states or groups - in fact, I can't think of an example, as a matter of national policy, where the US has deviated from states or groups.

However, nothing in the logic of the status sequence requires using states or groups to define our enemies. It would be perfectly logical to define a killable enemy as anyone we see who is taller than the level of a truck axle. That in fact was a very common Mongol rule for prisoner "handling".

So, defining our enemy as "anyone with a gun" is perfectly logical as a status rule. The rules we have on the floor (the Cruz and Owens rules) are more restricted: Cruz "any Congolese with a gun"; Owens "any Somalian with a gun". Note that those rules combine statuses, a gun toter + an ethnic.

Again, there is nothing illogical in combining two statuses; but what is the general standard behind selecting one ethnic group to be killed if gun-toting and another ethnic group to be given a pass. Or, is the rule simply to be developed on the spot based on the best judgment of the unit commander (and, if so, at what level of command).

My second thought was to look at the rule as a conduct rule. In the US SROE, unit self-defense is always in effect; but that requires a threat to "life or limb". The arguments usually involve the degree of threat. The logical sequence is:

1. Identify threat.

2. Neutralize threat.

Neither the Cruz nor Owens rules, as stated, have a threat element; unless one contends that anyone having a gun, and by that alone, is a deadly threat worthy of killing. Perhaps, that was and is the case in the Congo and Somalia.

Apparently, everyone who's spoken here on the issue seems to think that Cruz and Owens have/had the right idea.

Regards

Mike
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Old 10-25-2013   #787
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Default may be too late for a legal debate on RoE

Since this morning FARDC and M23 resumed fightings. The FIB is stuck between its 2 mandates of Protection of Civilians and active force operations... So they do nothing for now.
Quote:
M23 rebels clash with army in eastern Congo

General Sultani Makenga, M23's military commander, told Reuters its forces were attacked at 4 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) at Kanyamohoro, around 15 km (10 miles) north of Goma, the largest city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They attacked us," Makenga told Reuters by telephone. "We are going to defend our positions."

An army spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

A Reuters reporter in Goma said the fighting was intense and on-going.

The resumption of hostilities comes days after peace negotiations broke down in the Ugandan capital Kampala, triggering a military build-up on both sides.
http://www.trust.org/item/20131025080636-8c4ty/
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Old 10-25-2013   #788
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Default It shouldn't be a "legal debate"; and ...

no, it's not too late to discuss the real issues - which are underlying policy issues, primarily driven by different a priori logics, for military and political strategies and their consequent "rules of engagement". The bases ("reasonings") for those a priori logics may be rational or irrational, but they do exist.

Briefly, on my two points above:

1. There can't be a legal debate because, in effect, there is no international law (simply a flock of legal opinions, many of which are totally or partially anachronistic); and there is no court to enforce whatever "international law" one may assert - unless you happen to be one of the strong, where "might makes right" will prevail. I'm not knocking the conviction of Chuckie Taylor Sr; but the same result was reached (and more quickly) against his son, Chuckie Jr, in a US District Court sitting in southern Florida.

2. It's not too late because the issue of who is killed, and for what, will keep on recurring in Africa and elsewhere. In fact, if Andy Basevich is correct in his article, Bashing ‘Isolationists’ While at War in the World (by Andrew J. Bacevich and Tom Engelhardt, October 25, 2013), we are about to see a movement to push a US pivot toward Africa:

Quote:
Hey, Private First Class Dorothy: when that next tornado hits Kansas, it’s slated to transport you not to Oz, but to somewhere in Africa, maybe Chad or Niger or Mauritania. And that’s war, American-style, for you, or so reports the New York Times’s Eric Schmitt from Fort Riley, Kansas, where an Army brigade is gearing up for a series of complex future deployments to Africa. Here is the money paragraph of his report, if you want to understand Washington’s present orientation toward perpetual war: “But with the United States military out of Iraq and pulling out of Afghanistan, the Army is looking for new missions around the world. ‘As we reduce the rotational requirement to combat areas, we can use these forces to great effect in Africa,’ Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the head of the Africa Command, told Congress this year.”

In the view of our leaders these days, having extra troops on hand and keeping them in cold storage in this country is like having extra money around and stuffing it under your mattress or parking it in a local bank at next to no interest. Why would you do that when you could go out and play the market – or, in the case of the U.S. military, pivot toward Africa? So many “partnerships” to forge as you lend a helping hand to the counterterrorism struggle on – and the destabilization of – that continent using that brigade in Kansas, Special Operations forces like the ones recently sent on raids into Libya and Somalia, and the drones whose bases are spreading in the region.

In Washington, war and preparations for war remain the options of choice, no matter the traffic jam of U.S. military disasters in this century. Despite all the recent talk about pivoting to Asia, preparations of every sort, not just at Ft. Riley, suggest that Africa may prove the actual pivot point for this country’s endless war policies in the coming decade, as TomDispatch has been reporting now for the last year or more. In the meantime, Andrew Bacevich, author most recently of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, offers a little primer on just how to cut any critics of the relentless American global mission impossible off at the knees. Just call them “isolationists” and go right on with your next operation. It works like a dream. ~ Tom ...
Of course, Roger Cohen of the NYT is calling for a re-pivot toward Europe in his op-ed, The Handyuberwachung Disaster (October 24, 2013).

So, with the pivot toward the Pacific, and the pivot toward Africa, and the re-pivot toward Europe, President Obama will have to learn some very fancy dance moves - on a limited budget to boot. But, wait; he also may have to learn how to say Handyuberwachung in 35 languages, if this Guardian article is accurate: NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts (by James Ball, 24 October 2013).

So, I think it's a fair inference that we are not going to see consensus within the "international community" in the near future; and that will be reflected in variations (and not some little hypocrisies) in respective "rules of engagement".

Let's contemplate the fun and games, if the US pivots toward Africa. The World could see forces operating under UN, US, Cruz, Owens, and exotic Congolese "rules of engagement", with a German court in Hamburg deciding whether extrajudicial executions occurred and who committed war crimes.

Regards

Mike

Last edited by jmm99; 10-25-2013 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 10-28-2013   #789
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Default You don't see that everyday

Third time in a row:
Quote:
DR Congo troops seize military base from M23 rebels

Kinshasa (AFP) - The army in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo gained ground from M23 rebels in fighting on Monday, seizing back control of a major military base as the UN Security Council prepared to hold emergency talks on the crisis.

"We have taken the military base at Rumangabo," which lies about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Goma, the strategic capital of embattled North Kivu province, Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Hamuli told AFP.

"We fought, but not for very long - the enemy is demoralised by the strength of (our) firepower," Hamuli said on the fourth day of an offensive against the M23, following the suspension of peace talks in Uganda.
http://news.yahoo.com/dr-congo-troop...104930595.html

A good old Mama giving a high 5 to a UN Force commander after FARDC + FIB entered her village:https://twitter.com/KoblerSrsg/statu...228608/photo/1

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-28-2013 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Fix photo link
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Old 10-29-2013   #790
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M23 rebels are trapped and they know it. So they make desperate moves:

Quote:
DRC's M23 call for Zuma's help

We're requesting Zuma to speak to Kabila to stop the fatalities," said M23 spokesperson Lawrence Kingston in an interview with the Mail & Guardian.

"South Africa should stop sending military to Congo. He's got to help the Congolese people live side by side in peace instead of helping Kabila kill them."

South Africa sent troops to the DRC earlier in the year as part of the United Nations mission to neutralise armed groups in the country.
http://mg.co.za/article/2013-10-29-d...or-zumas-help/

they accuse Zuma to have business perspectives and interests in DRC... But so do they, as well as in Rwanda, and so do a lot of Rwandan.

US also published a statement:
Quote:

Press Releases: Renewed Fighting in Eastern DRC

The United States is deeply concerned by reports of renewed fighting between the M23 armed group and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in eastern Congo, with reports of casualties and of hundreds of families forced to flee the area of the fighting. We are also troubled by reports that at least one round landed across the border in Rwanda. This fighting puts at risk the fragile peace negotiations in Kampala and risks undermining the concerted efforts earlier this week to reach a final agreement and peacefully resolve the conflict. We commend the actions of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to protect civilians and urgently call on all parties to exercise restraint to prevent military escalation of the conflict.

We specifically call on the M23 to commit to peacefully resolving the conflict by promptly signing a final agreement that provides for the disarmament and demobilization of the armed group and accountability for those responsible for the most serious human rights abuses. We commend the good faith efforts of the DRC government to negotiate a principled agreement and continue to call on all signatories of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework to support such an agreement and to end all support to armed groups.

We continue to believe that the best way forward for the Great Lakes region is to conclude the Kampala Talks in a manner that does not grant amnesty to the worst offenders and to utilize the Framework peace process to focus on the root causes of the crisis in the DRC, including through expanded dialogue among signatory states.
http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story...stern_drc.html

But this will not work neither because calling rebels to sit at negotiation table to surrender and be accountable for the war crimes (at best, possible crimes against humanity after 2 mass graves have been found) they committed is not really an exit door option.
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Old 10-29-2013   #791
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Hey M-A,
Indeed correct my friend. Without a means of escape and also save face, they will never reach the negotiation table. There is a reason that the DRC does not have a lot of prisoners. They generally don't make it (there)

Uncle Mo also tried to fly the 31st para from Goma to an unknown destination. They took over the aircraft and went directly to Kinshasa

Regards, Stan

Quote:
Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
But this will not work neither because calling rebels to sit at negotiation table to surrender and be accountable for the war crimes (at best, possible crimes against humanity after 2 mass graves have been found) they committed is not really an exit door option.
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Old 10-29-2013   #792
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Default Jen Peski's Vacuous Rubbish ...

was such a great example of our State Department learning to use UN speak - "deeply concerned", "also troubled by", "commend", "urgently call on", "specifically call on", "commend", "continue to believe" ...

and so much angst - that this "peacekeeping" mission (I thought it was now a Chapter VII mission) has been marred by this wretched excess:

Quote:
... at least one round landed across the border in Rwanda.
that I had to look up Jen Peski, who obviously has some sort of talent for this sort of thing.

Indeed:

Quote:
Her hiring at the Department of State has fueled speculation that she is likely to replace White House Press Secretary Jay Carney when he leaves the White House.
So, our little weasel may be replaced by our little chipmunk - perhaps, an improvement amongst the denizens of the Animal Kingdom.

To continue with our zoological excursion, I offer for your viewing enjoyment the adventures of Big Buck Bunny on Youtube:



which comes closest of all visuals in illustrating how JMM would handle foreign policy - best of friends, worst of enemies - and never "urgently calling" ...

... but finding retribution, expressing reprobation and specifically deterring (as at 9:40 in the video clip).





Regards

Mike

Last edited by jmm99; 10-29-2013 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 10-31-2013   #793
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Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
What has been lacking in DRC since ages is a will from peacekeepers to actually do the job. The FIB component came with the straight intention to use lethal force to impose the UNSC decisions to armed non state actors.
That is the interesting question. What was it that motivated the UN to make the decision actually really and truly use lethal in a serious way? For years and years they mostly hung around and occasionally got shot up. Why did they change their minds?

M-A or Stan or anybody, if you've heard any scuttlebutt about why it would be interesting to know.
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Old 10-31-2013   #794
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Default 11 plus 4

Carl,
Actually, although use of lethal force is very new to blue helmets, their mandate and a UN-brokered accord supported by 11 nations and 4 international organizations were key.
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Old 11-01-2013   #795
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Carl & Stan,

What is remarkable is that the UN has again used force in the Congo, as it did in the sixties (1960-64); when their enemies were a mix of Congo military, mercenaries, separatists - notably in Katanga - and others:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...n_in_the_Congo
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Old 11-01-2013   #796
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As Stan said, it is the 11+4 peace framework signed in Addis Abeba that facilitated the involvement of FIB.
But what Stan forgot is the nomination of a UN Special envoy for the Great Lakes + a US Special Envoy for the Great lakes, and the fact that Addis Abeba framework was signed with US, EU, Belgium and France as witness.

In addition, this has sparked a very interresting reorganisation of power in Central and Southern Africa between EAC and SADC.

I put here the link on an interesting article on the M23 ideology:
Quote:
M23's Congo Cadres: The Rebel Movement with a Taste for Local Politics

During the leadership portion of the training, examples of an eclectic mix of revolutionary heroes are taught. This includes figures ranging from Nelson Mandela to Abraham Lincoln to Che Guevara. (Che Guevara once fought in South Kivu for Laurent Kabila, the late father of the DRC’s current President Joseph Kabila, but this detail is apparently overlooked.)

Training also includes some religious elements, in particular an extensive course on ‘Christian leadership’. “Though M23 is a secular group, we hold up the example of Jesus as a model of leadership and service to a revolutionary cause,” explains one M23 cadre. The head of M23’s armed wing, General Sultani Makenga, is an avowed Seventh Day Adventist and the group’s former leader, Jean-Marie Runiga, styled himself as a bishop.

However, examples from other faith traditions are also drawn upon. Mahatma Gandhi’s Seven Blunders of the World is taught to all cadres, and the example of Gandhi has clearly rubbed off on some M23 members. Political chief Bisimwa currently uses an image of Ghandi on his Twitter profile.

Chris Shambala, a member of M23’s public works department, recalls his experience in the leadership courses. “My favourite figure they told us about in the trainings was Abraham Lincoln,” he says. “That man was a prophet. His vision of America was fulfilled when Obama became president. Like Lincoln, we know that sometimes to fix wrongs in your country, you need a civil war.
http://thinkafricapress.com/drc/m23-...key-grip-power

At the momment US and Eu are calling for a quick peace agreement in Kampala but I really doubt it will ever happen.

Quote:
DR Congo army in 'last phase' push against M23 rebels after seizing guerrilla stronghold

A source in the UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is helping the army, said the offensive against the M23 was in ‘the last phase’, after the army captured the main rebel base at Bunagana on Wednesday.

Diehard M23 fighters, estimated at just a few hundred men, were dug in on three hills in farming territory about 50 miles north of Goma, the capital of strife-torn North Kivu province
.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz2jOvQDez1

You need to be 2 to negotiate. And at least 1 is not really willing to talk.
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Old 11-03-2013   #797
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Negotiations with M23, sigh...

What's the point of negotiating with supposed M23 leaders, when the body actually controlling them is the Rwandan reg....ho-hum, 'government'?

http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/p...ngolese_mutiny

...and when they are supported by (US-trained) Rwandan special forces?
http://allafrica.com/stories/201209050850.html

One can only hope that Kigali was speaking truth at least that one time, when it announced these special forces were back inside Rwanda, last year:
http://allafrica.com/stories/201209031017.html

- Back in period 1998-2003 (and after), such announcements/promises were not worth the paper on which they were issued...

Even if, the 'core' of the M23 was initially of Rwandan origin too (of course, Kigali would say the people in question are all 'Congolese Tutsi/Banyamulenge', 'fighting against genocidary government and for their right to exist'), and I doubt this has changed very much ever since:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ongo-rebels-un
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Old 11-10-2013   #798
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Default End of the road for Congo's M23?

An assessment from an IISS analyst:
Quote:
A revolutionary new UN combat brigade may have helped the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) army to defeat a rebellion in the country’s troubled east. The rebel group M23 (March 23) declared this week that it was laying down its arms, bringing to an end an 18-month insurgency in which 80,000 have been displaced and thousands killed or injured.

However, there are dozens of armed groups in mineral-rich eastern DRC besides the Tutsi-led M23, and the Congolese government has now said that it will pursue others. A government spokesman pointed to the Rwandan-Hutu FDLR as a top priority.
Link:http://www.iiss.org/en/iiss%20voices...r-the-m23-447e

Sounds like a perpetual intervention, assuming the contributors remain committed, my emphasis:
Quote:
It consists of 3,069 personnel from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi, with two infantry battalions, one artillery company, and one special forces company. The brigade is also believed to have added two attack helicopters and four utility helicopters to MONUSCO’s existing aerial capabilities.
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Old 01-27-2014   #799
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Quote:
The death of Col. Mamadou Ndala comes barely two months after he led the Congolese army to a historic victory against the country's most serious rebels, with the help of a United Nations brigade. It is another blow to a devastated country where an untold number have died in nearly two decades of conflict. It also hurts efforts to make Congo responsible for its own security; the turbulent nation is now host to the largest United Nations peacekeeping mission in the world.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=261284780
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Old 01-27-2014   #800
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Adam G:

That is remarkable, a good Congolese officer who got something good out of his men. What isn't so remarkable is the suspicion that some on his own side killed him.
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