While the strength of the M23 rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is largely due to its foreign backers, blaming Rwanda for the conflict ignores another key factor in the crisis: the gaping leadership void in Kinshasa. Congolese President Joseph Kabila is weak and vulnerable, unable to control a corrupt army and under fire from both allies and opponents for his loosening grip on the country.

In Eastern DRC, Kabila's Weakness Fuels M23, Rwanda Crisis

By , , Briefing

As much as any country, the Democratic Republic of Congo has reason to blame its woes on outsiders. From the plunder of its rubber and ivory by Belgium’s King Leopold II to the West’s Cold War coziness with the notorious dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, the history of sub-Saharan Africa’s third-most-populous state is largely a tale of abuse by foreign powers.

Today, the most relevant outside actor is arguably neighboring Rwanda, which has sponsored several rebellions on Congolese soil since it engineered Mobutu’s overthrow in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It’s no surprise, then, that after the M23 rebel group allegedly backed by Rwanda captured the eastern DRC city of Goma last month, diplomatic attention has focused on Kigali. ...

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