You won't find the oxymoron "war-making-peacekeeping" in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2098's published text; the oxymoron's truth is much too blunt for gun-shy diplomats. Careful euphemisms like "neutralize" and "disarm" camouflage the order to rid poor and suffering Congo of paramilitary gangsters. The resolution avoids edgy but much more on-the-ground honest verbs like decimate, destroy and eliminate.
But the word games end and the commitment to openly wage war as an ally of the shaky national government in Kinshasa begins when 2098 authorizes the Intervention Brigade to conduct mobile and versatile "targeted offensive operations ... unilaterally or jointly" with the Congolese Army. Of course, offensive attacks will be conducted "in strict compliance with international law."
Resolution 2098 attempts to blunt criticism by declaring that the Intervention Brigade's Congo war does not set a precedent for any future operations. But this is at best a statement reflecting wish and hope. The "no precedent" Intervention Brigade is a profound precedent.
Two gangs 2098 targets for neutralization are utterly loathsome. Uganda's Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) have raped, murdered and tortured tens of thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands more. War criminal Joseph Kony, of KONY 2012 video infamy, commands the LRA. Extremist Hutus who committed the 1994 Rwandan genocide organized the FDLR. Their "no precedent' destruction is overdue.
The rogue militia that directly led to 2098's creation, the March 23 Movement (M23), has more complicated origins, however. M23 ostensibly sprang from a Congolese Tutsi tribal militia raised to combat the FDLR. The Tutsi force allied with the Rwandan government when it went to war with the Congolese national government in Kinshasa. In 2012, M23 established in North Kivu what 2098 calls "an illegitimate parallel administration." That is diplo-speak for a rebel government. In some circumstances, it is a step toward political legitimacy.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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