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Published: Saturday, 7/28/2012


Rwanda's mischief

The decision by the Obama Administration to suspend some military aid to the African nation of Rwanda because of its support for Tutsi rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is correct and timely.

Rwanda has done what it likes in eastern Congo since 1994, when its Hutu government carried out a genocidal assault on Congo's minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus that killed 800,000 people. As many as a million of Rwanda's majority Hutus fled to Congo. The Tutsis seized control in Rwanda by military force and have retained power ever since.

The Tutsis overthrew Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko; installed Laurent Kabila, the father of President Joseph Kabila, and threw their weight around using militias in eastern Congo. They have paid for their activities by exploiting the region's mineral resources. Rwandans' surrogates in eastern Congo are the M23 militia; largely Tutsi, its forces include Rwandans and its arms come from Rwanda or are bought elsewhere.

A United Nations peacekeeping force of 20,000 sits in Congo, along with a 150,000-man Congolese army that is badly armed, led, and paid. Neither is a match for the M23 militia. The U.N. forces are stretched thin and not motivated. The Congolese army is incompetent and hapless.

The United States, which stood by while Rwandans were slaughtered in 1994, has given military and development aid to the Tutsi-dominated government of President Paul Kagame. Driven by Rwandans' acts in eastern Congo, which have produced countless refugees and human misery and prevented economic development, the United States has finally taken an important step to separate itself from Mr. Kagame's government. It should freeze its ties until Rwanda ceases playing a destructive role in the region.

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