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Author Topic: Liberia, Congo Wars Hit Turning Points  (Read 8767 times)
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« on: August 04, 2003, 10:56:16 PM »

 Huh  Angry What will AFRIKA be like, after these senseless gangs' fights? We are all of the same Blood, of the same RACE; we must LEARN to live together! WAR IS COUNTER PRODUCTIVE! Lets put our HUMANITY together to create and build Kongo, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, AFRIKA!!



Liberia, Congo Wars Hit Turning Points

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - Prevailing wisdom pins the world's civil wars on two causes: Greed and grievances. Both are fueling Africa's two most dangerous conflicts, in Liberia and in Congo.

Both conflicts have hit turning points, with nations and tens of millions of lives in the balance in west and central Africa.

In Liberia, President Charles Taylor - longtime regional gun trafficker and diamond smuggler newly indicted by a U.N. war-crimes tribunal - threatens to take much of West Africa down with him as rebels near their goal of toppling him.

In Congo, the struggle over lodes of diamonds, gold and other resources is blocking efforts to end a war that already has killed up to 9 percent of the vast Central African nation's population.

Refugee George Williams called on the international community, ``especially America'' to help.

``Someone's got to do something to stop this foolish war here,'' Williams said last week as he fled Liberia's besieged capital, Monrovia.

A government comptroller, Williams cradled a wounded 13-year-old daughter deliberately shot by Taylor's looting troops.

``Otherwise, it's going to be completely destroyed,'' he said.

Conflict in Liberia reached a dramatic peak last week when French military helicopters swooped in to ferry out 500 foreigners.

Pentagon spokesman Jim Turner said Sunday that the U.S. military has ordered the Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge to Liberia in case an evacuation of remaining Americans is need. No decision on an evacuation has been made yet, he said.

In Congo, French soldiers flew in to stop fighting that has newly claimed hundreds of lives around the northeastern provincial capital of Bunia.

In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe's forces used clubs, rifle butts and live fire to put down opposition protests. In Togo, rival presidential candidates went into hiding after an internationally dismissed election victory by Africa's longest-ruling leader, Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema.

And Mauritania, an African anomaly as an Arab-led, Arab-majority sub-Saharan state with ties to Israel, saw a bloody coup attempt by forces believed angered over a government crackdown on Islamic activists.

Africa since the 1990s has seen leading states - South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal - move into multiparty democracy, and warring nations - Mozambique, Angola, Sierra Leone, and others - move to peace.

In a world that tends to see 53-nation, 900 million-resident Africa as one country, however, turmoil like last week's is enough to revive international despair.

In fact, recent World Bank studies by economist Paul Collier and others conclude, Africa does have a higher outbreak of civil wars than the rest of the world.

But not much higher - 9 percent, compared with 7 percent elsewhere.

Ethnic factionalism, often assumed the flashpoint of Africa's wars, actually mitigates against them - making it harder for any one ethnic group to gather force, Collier says.

Many of Africa's nation-states, however, are immature - with fewer than 50 years of independence, and are still sorting themselves out within colonially drawn borders.

Many were abruptly dumped by Eastern or Western blocs when the end of the Cold War killed the market for satellite states.

In Liberia, Congo, and elsewhere, the Cold War contests set the stage for today's.

In Liberia, the CIA in the 1980s made the American-founded country its staging ground for anti-Libya activities. Liberia became Africa's largest per capita recipient of U.S. aid.

Libya countered by backing the overthrow of Liberia's U.S.-supported government, training and arming the guerrilla leader who launched Liberia into war in 1989: Charles Taylor.

In Congo, the West dropped despot Mobutu Sese Seko, ending a corrupt reign that had imposed stability.

Post-Cold War, Africa has less aid and patchy development. Of all risk factors for war, the World Bank study says, it has one in abundance: poverty.

Pennilessness prevails, often in the midst of great natural resources - frequently cornered by a corrupt few, with no public benefit.

In Congo and Liberia, legitimate economic output has fallen. AK-47s and sports utility vehicles, the wheels of choice for fighters, are virtually the only technology in sight.

The world gun trade, licit and illicit, has made conflicts infinitely more deadly.

Taylor has been at its center in West Africa, pumping AK-47s and other arms into the region and drawing out the region's diamonds.

Taylor's trafficking supported Sierra Leone rebels in their vicious 10-year terror campaign in Liberia's diamond-rich neighbor, which drew his war-crimes indictment, announced June 4.

Taylor's dealings helped undermine the stability of his other neighbors, Guinea and Ivory Coast, as well. Today, both are backing rebels in trying to topple him.

Halfway across the continent in Central Africa, armies of six nations have pulled out of Congo's nearly 5-year-old war. Aid groups estimate the conflict has killed 3.3 million people, most through war-induced famine and disease.

But around Bunia, Ugandan commanders and others accused of plundering Ituri province's wealth during the war have been reluctant to give up the business.

The competing business interests are alleged to have armed, and incited, rival ethnic groups in the surging tribal fighting. At stake: A December power-share meant to end Congo's war.

It took warnings of another Rwanda - the 1994 genocide when world powers steadily stalled intervention - to prod deployment of an international peace force.

Some international groups appeal for the same in Liberia.

They point to Sierra Leone, where British troops, U.N. peacekeepers and helicopter gunship attacks by Guinea in 2002 finally crushed a rebel group that had lacked all national support, reason or mercy.

The message: Against determined killers, sometimes only massive force can end wars.

Taylor's indictment ``propels the Liberian conflict into a new situation,'' the respected International Crisis Group says.

``Handled correctly, it (the indictment) can provide an opportunity to purge the region of one of the most serious threats to regional stability and usher in a new era of peace, stability, and democracy,'' ICG said.

``Mishandled, the indictment can spark a new spiral of violence of catastrophic proportions not only for the Liberian people but also for the citizens of Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast,'' the group warned.


We should first show solidarity with each other. We are Africans. We are black. Our first priority is ourselves.
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