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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In October 2008, the forces of the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP), under the command of General Laurent Nkunda, launched a major offensive against the Democratic Republic of Congo Armed Forces (FARDC) in eastern Congo. Within days, the CNDP captured a number of small towns and Congolese forces retreated in large numbers.

Eastern Congo has been in a state of chaos for over a decade. The first rebellion to oust the late President Mobutu Sese Seko began in the city of Goma in the mid-1990s. The second rebellion in the late 1990s began also in eastern Congo. The root causes of the current crisis are the presence of over a dozen militia and extremist groups, both foreign and Congolese, in eastern Congo, and the failure to fully implement peace agreements signed by the parties. Over the past 14 years, the former Rwandese armed forces and the Interhamwe militia used eastern Congo as a safe haven and carried out many attacks inside Rwanda and against Congolese civilians. A Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), is also in Congo, despite an agreement reached between the LRA and the government of Uganda.

The crisis in eastern Congo has displaced an estimated 1.7 million Congolese, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Other regions of Congo have also been affected by sporadic violence. In 2012, UNHCR is expected to spend $12.4 million in support of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In late 2008, the governments of Rwanda and Congo agreed on a wide range of issues. The two governments agreed to launch a joint military offensive against the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). They also agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and to activate economic cooperation. In January 2009, Rwanda and Congo launched the joint military operation in eastern Congo. In late February Rwandese forces pulled out of Congo as part of an agreement reached with Congo.

The United States has been actively engaged in facilitating the Tripartite Plus talks among the four key players in the Great Lakes region: Rwanda, DRC, Burundi, and Uganda. The Tripartite Plus process has led to a number of agreements over the past several years, including the creation of a Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) to address cross-border issues. The DRC received a total of $296.5 million in FY2009, $282.6 million in FY2010, and $215.9 million in FY2011. The Obama Administration has requested $230.8 million for FY2012. In late July 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203). The 2,300-page legislation contains an amendment on Congo Conflict Minerals. The law requires that American companies disclose what kind of measures they have taken to ensure that minerals imported from Congo do not contain “conflict minerals.”


Date of Report: October
17, 2011
Number of Pages:
20
Order Number:
R40108
Price: $29.95

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Rwanda: Background and Current Developments


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In 2003, Rwanda held its first multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections in decades. President Paul Kagame of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) won 95% of the votes cast, while his nearest rival, Faustin Twagiramungu, received 3.6% of the votes cast. In the legislative elections, the ruling RPF won 73% in the 80-seat National Assembly, while the remaining seats went to RPF allies and former coalition partners. In September 2008, Rwanda held legislative elections, and the RPF won a majority of the seats. Rwandese women are now the majority in the National Assembly. In October 2008, the National Assembly elected Ms. Mukantabam Rose as the first female speaker of the Assembly. In August 2010, Rwanda held its general elections and President Kagame won 93% of the votes cast.

In Rwanda, events of a prior decade are still fresh in the minds of many survivors and perpetrators. In 1993, after several failed efforts, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the government of Rwanda reached an agreement in Tanzania, referred to as the Arusha Peace Accords. The RPF joined the Rwandan government as called for in the agreement. In April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, along with several senior government officials, were killed when their plane was shot down as it approached the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Shortly after, the Rwandan military and a Hutu militia known as the Interhamwe began to systematically massacre Tutsis and moderate Hutu opposition members. In the first 10 weeks of the Rwandan genocide, an estimated 1 million people, mostly Tutsis, were slaughtered by government forces and the Interhamwe militia. In July 1994, the RPF took over power and later formed a coalition government.

In late 2008, the governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) agreed on a wide range of issues. The two governments agreed to launch a joint military offensive against the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). They also agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and to activate economic cooperation. In January 2009, Rwanda and Congo launched a joint military operation in eastern Congo. In late February 2009, Rwandese troops pulled out of Congo as part of the agreement with the Kabila government. In October 2009, Ugandan authorities arrested a top genocide suspect, Idelphonse Nizeyimana. He was later transferred to Tanzania to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).



Date of Report: October 11, 2011
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: R40115
Price: $29.95

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Tanzania: Background and Current Conditions

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Tanzania, an important U.S. ally in Africa, is a stable and important regional actor. There has been a gradual increase in political pluralism, but Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the ruling party, remains dominant in government and parliament. Tanzania’s current president, Jakaya Kikwete, who previously served for 10 years as Tanzania’s foreign minister, won 80.3% of the votes cast in the December 2005 presidential election. In October 2010, President Kikwete was reelected for a second term with 61% of the votes cast. The ruling CCM won 70% of the seats in parliament. Tanzania continues its pattern of steady real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and has a low and stable inflation rate. The Economist Intelligence Unit predicts real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.3% in 2011 and 6.9% in 2012. Inflation is expected to reach 9.1% in 2011 and 8.2% in 2012.


Date of Report: October 1
1, 2011
Number of Pages:
8
Order Number: R
S22781
Price: $19.95

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy


Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

After more than 40 years of authoritarian repression and over seven months of armed conflict, fundamental political change has come to Libya. The Libyan people, their interim Transitional National Council (TNC), and the international community are now shifting their attention from their struggle with the remnants of Muammar al Qadhafi’s defeated regime to longer-term challenges posed by a planned transition to democratic governance. The rebel military victory over pro-Qadhafi forces signals the beginning of a period that may prove more complex and challenging for Libyans and their international supporters alike. Immediate tasks include establishing and maintaining security, preventing criminality and reprisals, restarting Libya’s economy, and taking the first steps toward defining a new political system. In the coming weeks and months, Libyans will face key questions about basic terms for transitional justice, a new constitutional order, political participation, and Libyan foreign policy. Security challenges, significant investment needs, and vigorous political debates are likely to emerge.

As of September 29, increasingly isolated areas in central and southern Libya remain contested. Muammar al Qadhafi has not been located or detained, and small groups of pro-Qadhafi forces are capable of armed resistance. The U.S. military continues to participate in Operation Unified Protector, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military operation to enforce United Nations (U.N.) Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. On September 21, NATO extended the military operation for a further 90 days, if necessary. U.S. officials express confidence that nuclear materials and chemical weapons components that are stored in Libya remain secure and state that remote monitoring will continue. The proliferation of military weaponry from unsecured Libyan stockpiles—including small arms, explosives, and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles—remains a serious concern. The Obama Administration has reiterated that it has no intention of deploying U.S. military forces on the ground in Libya. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli has reopened with a limited staff. Congress may consider proposals for assisting Libya’s transitional authorities or supporting security efforts.

The U.N. General Assembly has recognized the TNC as Libya’s U.N. representative, and the Security Council has adopted Resolution 2009, creating a three-month mandate for a U.N. Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to assist Libyans with public security and transition arrangements. The resolution also sets conditions for the sale of arms and training to the Libyan state and partially lifts the asset freeze for certain purposes. The TNC continues to call for the release of Libyan assets seized pursuant to Resolutions 1970 and 1973. Transfers have begun from multiple governments, including $1.5 billion in previously blocked assets that the U.S. government has arranged to support Libyan humanitarian, fuel, and salary needs. U.S. Treasury Department licenses now authorize the release of assets belonging to some Libyan entities and allow some transactions with Libyan financial institutions.

A TNC stabilization team is leading Libyan efforts to deliver services; assess reconstruction needs; and begin to reform ministries, public utilities, and security forces. The TNC has issued orders concerning security and established a high security council to coordinate volunteer forces. Initial reports from Libya suggest that local militias and some emergent political groups may oppose certain TNC policies and may seek to replace certain TNC personalities. Overall, TNC officials continue to express confidence in Libyan unity and plan changes to the membership of the interim government. As Libyans work to shape their future, Congress and the Administration will have the first opportunity to fully redefine U.S.-Libyan relations since the 1960s.



Date of Report: September 2
9, 2011
Number of Pages:
30
Order Number: RL3
3142
Price: $29.95

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Monday, October 3, 2011

The Republic of South Sudan: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa’s Newest Country

Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In January 2011, South Sudan held a referendum to decide between unity or independence from the central government of Sudan as called for by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the country’s decades-long civil war in 2005. According to the South Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC), 98.8% of the votes cast were in favor of separation. In February 2011, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir officially accepted the referendum result, as did the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the United States, and other countries. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan officially declared its independence.

The Obama Administration welcomed the outcome of the referendum and recognized South Sudan as an independent country on July 9, 2011. The Administration sent a high-level presidential delegation led by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to South Sudan’s independence celebration on July 9, 2011. In August 2011, President Obama nominated Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Susan Page as U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan.

South Sudan faces a number of challenges in the coming years. Relations between Juba, in South Sudan, and Khartoum are poor, and there are a number of unresolved issues between them. The crisis in the disputed area of Abyei remains a contentious issue, despite a temporary agreement reached in mid-June 2011. The ongoing conflict in the border state of Southern Kordofan could lead to a major crisis if left unresolved. The parties have yet to reach agreements on border demarcation, citizenship rights, security arrangements, and use of the Sudanese port and pipeline for oil exports. South Sudan also faces various economic, government capacity, and infrastructure challenges (see “Development Challenges”).

The United States maintains a number of sanctions on the government of Sudan. Most of these sanctions have been lifted from South Sudan and other marginalized areas. However, existing sanctions on the oil sector would require waivers by the executive branch. The U.S. Congress is likely to deal with these issues in the coming months.



Date of Report: September
16, 2011
Number of Pages:
28
Order Number: R
41900
Price: $29.95

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