The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) seems closer to undertake a military offensive against the Rwandan rebel group Democratic Force for the Liberation of Rwanda (french acronym FDLR), after the mission’s commander, the Brazilian Lieutenant-General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, told the UN Security Council that “proactive” actions are needed if the civilians are to be protected.
The FDLR has failed to abide by United Nation’s resolution calling for the group’s disarmament, prompting renewed calls for international military action against it. Rwanda, who has been fighting the mostly-Hutu FDLR rebels since the end of the genocide, is the leading voice behind such calls, while the United States has also been expressing the need for the group’s destruction.
A UN-led offensive against the FDLR will certainly raise some questions about the possibility of future similar missions:
- In attacking the Hutu rebels, won’t the international community be dismissing its unbiased position (if there was ever any sort) by – to put it bluntly – support one side, thus be further split into increasingly stiffened opposing blocs? In becoming stiffened, will it become harder to approve vital resolution concerning the country? Russia has already expressed some reservations towards the UN mission in the DRC, and in particular against the use of drones, hence portraying how easy it may be for an UNSC permanent member to block major decisions.
- Won’t continued international intervention against rebel groups in the DRC further legitimize pleas by other countries for the UN to act within their own borders in order to tackle national insurgencies? Can the UN afford to expand its offensive missions Africa-wide, or even world-wide, and if so create damaging deadlocks on ongoing missions?
- How likely is it that international governments are willing to make finance and supplies available to a UN-based world police agency?
- On the other hand, in case MONUSCO does not launch an operation against the FDLR, how likely is it that Rwanda and neighboring countries will continue to fund and support armed groups to guarantee their national defense, integrity and interests? My guess: almost certainly they will! And the result will be continued bloodshed and violence across eastern Congo.
The future is uncertain. Any solutions on sight?