Will the NDP/Liberal Coalition's Foreign Policy have Canadian Troop deployed to the Congo?

113 posts / 0 new
Last post
Webgear
Will the NDP/Liberal Coalition's Foreign Policy have Canadian Troop deployed to the Congo?

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2008/02/c5714.html

 

"A delegation of Congolese Catholic church leaders will call on Canada to take a more active role in promoting an end to the conflict in the Congo and to contribute to reinforcement of the UN Peacekeeping Mission."

"Paul Dewar, MP (NDP Critic Foreign Affairs and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity) and Keith Martin, MP (Liberal) will also speak at the press conference. Members of the Congolese delegation will speak in French, and the two MPs will speak in English." 

 

http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/coalition-12-3-2008

 

"In interviews with Embassy Tuesday morning, both Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Bryon Wilfert and NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar signalled the coalition's foreign policy would emphasize multilateralism, human security and Africa. "

 

"We are the party of peacekeeping, [the ban on] landmines and the International Criminal Court," Mr. Wilfert said. "I think there is certainly a willingness to do more of that."

 

"The continent of Africa has been forgotten recently, and that's something that is a focus of the new government for sure," said Mr. Dewar."   

 

 

Recently policy statements from both parties have stated Canada will return back to peacekeeping, will the focus of this will be the Congo or perhaps Sudan?

Should Canada take an active role in Africa?

Will Canada take part under the UN Chapter 7 mandate mission?

Will the Canada be involved in two missions at the same time? 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________There's another old saying, Senator: Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.

Unionist

Webgear wrote:

Recently policy statements from both parties have stated Canada will return back to peacekeeping, will the focus of this will be the Congo or perhaps Sudan? ... Will the Canada be involved in two missions at the same time?

 

Wow, Webgear, way to mix apples, oranges, and kumquats.

There is no U.N. "peacekeeping" mission in Afghanistan or Sudan.

Canada must get out of Afghanistan and stop committing war crimes and crimes against humanity there.

Canada must stay out of Sudan, where it has no business whatsoever (except maybe helping the U.S. expand its sphere of influence in north-east Africa).

Canada should indeed consider participating in MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), if invited to do so by the U.N.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Actually, unionist, I'm going to disagree with you about Canada 'getting out' of Afghanistan. Canada, having entered on false pretext, has an created an obligation for ourselves there.

That obligation has nothing to do with our current role, conducting search-and-destroy missions for the American-supported side in a civil war. That must end. But if we can rebuild infrastructure in stable regions, and protect civilians in less stable ones, we should. 

Unionist

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

Actually, unionist, I'm going to disagree with you about Canada 'getting out' of Afghanistan. Canada, having entered on false pretext, has an created an obligation for ourselves there.

I understand your point. Since I first started posting here (3 years ago) - when I still had to argue that we weren't there saving women and children - I said Canada must get out, pay reparations for the damage and crimes we have committed, and return if and when invited to do so by some recognized government of the Afghan people which is not the creation of foreign occupiers.

I have no problem with helping a neighbour. The first step, however, should be to stop the home invasion and then see if the neighbour wants our help.

In any event, this thread is about potential participation in U.N. peacekeeping in Africa. You will agree with me that  whatever we are doing in Afghanistan, it is not U.N.peacekeeping, right?

Webgear

There is a UN mission in Sudan.

http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmis/

 

"The Security Council, by its resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005, decided to establish the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army on 9 January 2005; and to perform certain functions relating to humanitarian assistance, and protection and promotion of human rights."

 

Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-7LKR5C?OpenDocument

 

"The Council had before it a letter dated 31 October 2008 from the Secretary-General to the President of the Security Council (document S/2008/703), the annex of which -- from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations -- discusses reinforcements requested for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in light of the persistent crisis in the eastern part of that country. The requested surge reinforcements total 2,785 military personnel and 300 in additional formed police unit strength."

"In order for MONUC to fulfil its mandate in those conditions for the coming months, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations requests the following additional capabilities:

-- Two infantry battalions of 850 troops each to help stabilize the situation in North Kivu province, along with two special forces companies of 150 each to allow the Mission to rapidly respond to crises;

-- Additional air assets, including 18 utility helicopters with 260 personnel, two C-130 Hercules aircraft with 50 personnel, to be based in North and South Kivu;

-- A rapid/reaction force providing the surge needed by the Mission until the first phase of the disengagement plan is completed;
-- Additional information analysis capability based in Goma, including external imagery/electronic equipment and associated analysis structure, requiring approximately 50 personnel;

-- One engineering company of 175 personnel, to provide support to the above surge assets;

-- A total of 200 military training instructors/advisers, to enhance Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) effectiveness; and

-- Two additional formed police units of 150 each to be deployed in North Kivu.


If the armed groups and the FARDC comply with the disengagement plan and return to the implementation of peace agreements in good faith, it is envisaged that the above surge capacity would be required for approximately nine months."

 

Unionist

Webgear wrote:
There is a UN mission in Sudan.

My mistake, I misspoke, of course you're right. I was thinking of the role played by the OAU in peacekeeping on the ground

In any event, to return to your own topic question: Do you see a problem with Canada deploying troops to Congo if invited to do by the U.N.?

 

Webgear

My initial concern is that the current MONUC is under a chapter 7 mandate, which has a lot of interesting issues such as detainees, rule of engagements, command and control.

Other areas of concern are:

a. Can Canada support two missions at once?
b. Can we stop a civil war?
c. Will the mandate allow action outside the DRC political boundaries?
d. Will CIDA be able to an effective organization?

Webgear

http://www.ndp.ca/platform/otherpriorities/canada

"Canada's Role in the World

Jack Layton and the New Democrats will:

Provide robust support to the United Nations and its work in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and global co-operation.

Participate in international efforts to bring peace, justice and stability to the Darfur region of Sudan and to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Re-establish Canada as a leader for global peace and disarmament by renewing efforts to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, ban cluster bombs, and control trade in small arms and light weapons.

Work with partners for peace and justice in Israel and Palestine, within a framework of respect for UN resolutions and international law. This means recognition of the right of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peaceful co-existence in viable, independent states with negotiated, agreed-upon borders; no settlements remaining in the Palestinian state; an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land; an end to loss of life of innocent civilians; and an international peacekeeping presence."

 


Well it appears that we could end up in the Sudan and Congo regions of Africa according to this NDP policy statement.

 

 

Sunday Hat

I appreciate the sentiment behind Dewar and Wilfert's plans but I'm wary about sending in troops to enforce a "peace agreement" that is essentially wallpaper - and designed to fail.

The UN mission in Rwanda in the 90s was doomed from the start, trying to enforce a "peace accord" that was viewed by at least one faction as a stalling measure to allow forces to regroup.

Once again we have a nominal "power sharing" agreement that has lead to dysfunctional government. The "rebels" (ie. the Rwanda governments invading forces) use this dysfunction as an excuse to resume conflict.

I think the Congo conflict has to end, and I think Canada should play a role. But sending Canadian troops to enforce an absoluetly unworkable settlement is a recipe for disaster all around.  

sniper

As someone who has Serviced in many UN Shitholes we are doing better work helping kill the Taliban in Afghanistan then we would ever do in Congo or any of those other African Sewers...better to leave them alone and sort thier own problems out....think of it as Population Control!

 

Sniper

One Shot One Kill!

SRB

Could a moderator please delete sniper's vile and offensive post?

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:

Webgear wrote:
There is a UN mission in Sudan.

My mistake, I misspoke, of course you're right. I was thinking of the role played by the OAU in peacekeeping on the ground

In any event, to return to your own topic question: Do you see a problem with Canada deploying troops to Congo if invited to do by the U.N.?

 

 

Unionist, I am curious about your position on international intervention by Canada. Why do you all of a sudden support Canada's involvement in Sudan if the UN is involved there? Sudan has stated many times that they don't support or welcome the UN's involvement - so isn't this also like a home invasion? There are many countries with a say on UN deployments with atrocious governments - why do their decisions somehow make an intervention into a country that does not want it valid?

The Bish

Obviously there would have to be considerable planning, and there would need to be solid rules as to the conditions, but I completely support a role for the Canadian military in the Congo.  "Peacekeeping" isn't really the right word for it, since peacekeeping is basically just enforcing a cease-fire agreement between two warring sides.  It would have to be a humanitarian mission to protect civilians.  The atrocities that have gone on in the Congo over the past 10-12 years are apalling, and I find it quite sad that the West hasn't made a serious effort to help out.

Webgear

http://standcanada.blogspot.com/2008/10/ndp-on-darfur.html

"Jack Layton and Canada’s New Democrats are united in their support for all efforts to end the violence against civilians in the Darfur region. We continue to support the work of STAND and the Sudanese Diaspora to keep the Sudan crisis on the Canadian government’s agenda. New Democrat MPs, including Alexa McDonough, Paul Dewar, Tony Martin and Bill Siksay, have consistently spoken out about the need for the Canadian government to do much more for the people of Darfur.

Paul Dewar (MP for Ottawa-Centre) is the NDP foreign affairs critic and has been our lead on Darfur. As you may know, he has been instrumental in moving the issue forward in the House of Commons by initiating a study at the Foreign Affairs committee. Paul is also vice-chair of the parliamentary group against genocide and has been active on Darfur in that capacity as well.

There is a growing concern among everyday Canadians that their public and private investments may be directly or indirectly contributing to the crisis in Darfur. NDP Foreign Affairs critic, Paul Dewar noted, "Knowing what we know about Darfur, business as usual is unconscionable." Despite opposition from Conservatives, the Foreign Affairs committee last year adopted an NDP motion to undertake a study of Canadian funds invested in Sudan and explore legislative initiatives to regulate such investments in light of the worsening crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

In May of this year, we have called on the Harper Conservative’s take leadership. Jack stated that "this is exactly the kind of peacekeeping role that Canadians have always supported. Canadians would want us to be in Darfur. That sentiment is found right across the country."

Our Party wants Canada to take a lead role in any UN mission to stop the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur province. Canada could and should commit immediately to the following measures:

  • a.  support the United Nations Mission to Sudan (UNMIS)
  • b.  offer Canadian troops to complement the advance party requested by the UN
  • c.  push for a stronger UN resolution on Sudan
  • d.  offer logistical support to the United Nations-African Union hybrid force carrying out its mandate to protect the population in Darfur.

New Democrats will continue to speak out on both Canadian and international inaction on Darfur and will lend our support to all efforts to bring peace to this tragically, neglected region."

 

Sunday Hat

I certainly wouldn't object to well-armed UN forces protecting civilian refugee camps but even that would cause problems. The Rwandan-backed forces have repeatedly attacked UN refugee camps, claiming that interwahame militias were hiding within. I don't think sending UN forces into the midst of an ongoing conflict without any way to end their mission is a viable solution.

 What the Congo needs is a stable government with the international support to protect its boundaries. Kagame's Rwandan government should be put on notice that the international community won't tolerate Rwanda's ongoing and illegal invasions of DRC.

 Of course, that would never happen.

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:

Unionist, I am curious about your position on international intervention by Canada. Why do you all of a sudden support Canada's involvement in Sudan if the UN is involved there?

Ghislaine, I want to be polite to you, so I'll ask you this: Where - ever - any time - even once - even 1/2 a time - ever - anywhere - any time - did you see me "support Canada's involvement in Sudan if the UN is involved there"???????

I do not support Canada going anywhere near Sudan, whether the UN invites us or not.

But from a communications viewpoint, I'm extremely curious how you could have formed a contrary opinion about my views.

Please quote my exact words - EXACT WORDS - where I said I might maybe for one second support Canadian involvement in Sudan under any circumstances whatsoever.

Thanks for listening. Apologies are always graciously accepted in advance.

Slumberjack

sniper wrote:

As someone who has Serviced in many UN Shitholes...

Serviced you say. 

Webgear

It will interesting to see where this leads in the new year. I suppose much of this depends on the actions of the coalition.

 

 

The Bish

In response to Spector: while the presence of major corporations, including Canadian mining interests in the Congo, is a source of serious concern, I find the idea that we should just sit back and watch the people of the Congo get decimated, just sit back while women are brutally assaulted, to be appalling.  Certainly any further intervention or increase in UN forces would need to be carefully planned and cautiously measured, but there are people who badly need protection, and they aren't currently getting it, and I think it's horrible that our governments are doing next to nothing about it.

Ghislaine

Unionist wrote:
Ghislaine wrote:

Unionist, I am curious about your position on international intervention by Canada. Why do you all of a sudden support Canada's involvement in Sudan if the UN is involved there?

Ghislaine, I want to be polite to you, so I'll ask you this: Where - ever - any time - even once - even 1/2 a time - ever - anywhere - any time - did you see me "support Canada's involvement in Sudan if the UN is involved there"???????

I do not support Canada going anywhere near Sudan, whether the UN invites us or not.

But from a communications viewpoint, I'm extremely curious how you could have formed a contrary opinion about my views.

Please quote my exact words - EXACT WORDS - where I said I might maybe for one second support Canadian involvement in Sudan under any circumstances whatsoever.

Thanks for listening. Apologies are always graciously accepted in advance.

My apologies unionist, this is what I read:

"

Canada must stay out of Sudan, where it has no business whatsoever (except maybe helping the U.S. expand its sphere of influence in north-east Africa).

Canada should indeed consider participating in MONUC (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), if invited to do so by the U.N. "

 

I then saw you acknowledge that there is a UN mission in the Sudan and I interpreted the two statements as meaning you would support Canada's involvement in Sudan, if invited to do so by the U.N.

No where did you say you supported involvment in Sudan. I will phrase my question more accurately then, if Canada were invited to help UN missions in the Congo and Sudan would you support both or only in the Congo? If so, why?

V. Jara

Lard Tunderin' Jeezus wrote:

Actually, unionist, I'm going to disagree with you about Canada 'getting out' of Afghanistan. Canada, having entered on false pretext, has an created an obligation for ourselves there.

That obligation has nothing to do with our current role, conducting search-and-destroy missions for the American-supported side in a civil war. That must end. But if we can rebuild infrastructure in stable regions, and protect civilians in less stable ones, we should. 

 I used to agree somewhat with you. That was in 2004. Canada has now been in Afghanistan longer than any war since the Battle of the Fields of Abraham. Things are getting worse not better, and I have no faith in the government of Afghanistan as an effective partner. There is talk they may decide not to hold elections anymore. How many more Canadian soldiers should die, in your opinion, to prop up that corrupt loser government?

Unionist

Ghislaine wrote:
No where did you say you supported involvment in Sudan. I will phrase my question more accurately then, if Canada were invited to help UN missions in the Congo and Sudan would you support both or only in the Congo? If so, why?

Thanks for the apology, Ghislaine, it is accepted of course.

Sudan has been suffering from civil war since 2003, with unknown numbers of people dead and displaced. The U.S. and some of its lackeys have screamed "genocide" about this conflict, where clearly no reputable scholar nor international body shares that self-serving assertion by George W. Bush. It seems obvious to me that Bush's aim (and that of some pro-U.S. lackeys of his) is to get a toehold in that country for strategic and economic reasons. Sudan has clearly said that they don't want this kind of "help", but will accept OAU peacekeepers (if and where there is peace to keep). Under the circumstances, even if the U.N. asked us to participate, my vote is "no way".

As for Congo, I have no detailed knowledge to indicate that U.N. peacekeeping would be a ruse to serve some foreign interests, although I'm open to learning more about this. Millions have died in recent years as a result of civil conflict and invasion. If Canada can play a role to help mediate the conflict, at U.N. request, I'm for it.

The Bish

To Unionist:

Do you believe the people of Sudan are against peacekeepers in their country?  Does the government actually represent the people?  And if not, why does it matter whether or not they're in favour of it?

Fidel

The Bish wrote:
Does the government actually represent the people? 

Yes, as a matter of fact. Sudanese government members today represent all sides of that country's conflicting interests over the years. They've laid their down weapons and joined this government to make it work. They've had problems with terrorist factions marauding over the borders from neighboring Chad and surrounding countries ever since oil was discovered in large amounts.

 

Unionist

The Bish wrote:
To Unionist:

Do you believe the people of Sudan are against peacekeepers in their country?  Does the government actually represent the people?  And if not, why does it matter whether or not they're in favour of it?

I believe George W. Bush, Stephen Harper, Gordon Brown/Blair and others spend a lot of time sending troops and bombers to other countries because they know best what the "people want".

International law says that we keep our filthy mitts off other countries. If the people don't like their governments, they get rid of them. We don't.

Examples: Iraq. Afghanistan. Viet Nam. Etc.

Ratbert

I'm opposed to the premise that the 'international community' can protect the human rights of displaced peoples by abusing the human rights of the remainder, effectively choosing winners and losers.

The geopolitical intricacies of competing first world colonialist priorities and the machinations of third world hellholes at the UN conclude with ethnic cleansing winners prosecuting ethnic cleansing losers for 'war crimes' at the International Court of Kangaroo Justice when the lot of them are equally guilty. 

The Bish

Unionist wrote:
International law says that we keep our filthy mitts off other countries. If the people don't like their governments, they get rid of them. We don't.

What if people would like to get rid of their government but are unable to because the government has too much military might?  What if there are rebel groups terrorising the people and the government is not strong enough to protect them?  And what about intervention that does not attempt to topple the government?

I don't support the idea of the West going into a country, eliminating their head of state, and imposing one who will be compliant to the West a la Afghanistan.  But I also don't support the idea that we should just sit around while people are being slaughtered and brutalised and pretend it's not our problem.

outwest

 

Nato's illegal, bloody, colonial occupation of Afghanistan has little to do with terrorism or teaching little girls how to read. It's about Peak Oil: an invasion led by the US in the primary goal of building oil pipelines from the Caspian Basin. Remember Greenspan's (or was it Kissinger's?) recent words about Iraq: "Of course, it's all about oil." So it this.

Global Research has some excellent articles about this.

Unionist

The Bish wrote:

What if people would like to get rid of their government but are unable to because the government has too much military might?

You mean, like the Canadian people who hate Harper but can't unseat him because of his draconian government? Yes, of course, I support a China-Iran-North Korean-Taliban expeditionary force coming in and liberating us.

Oh, you say that's not the same? Whereas Afghanistan and Iraq and Viet Nam and Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama and Iran and Kosovo and ... really really really did want to be "liberated"?

Whom will you put in charge of deciding when to invade and when not to invade?

Oh, wait, it's the United Nations. And the United Nations and international law say, "don't invade unless they're attacking you". Darn. We have to keep suffering under Harper.

Quote:
What if there are rebel groups terrorising the people and the government is not strong enough to protect them?

Then when the government requests assistance, we consider when and how we should or should not assist.

When the government does not request assistance, we return to square one (keep your filthy mitts off).

Quote:
And what about intervention that does not attempt to topple the government?

Like, when the Taliban and Chinese and Revolutionary Guard come here uninvited, set up military strongholds in PEI and Red Deer, but don't do an all-out attack on Ottawa? Yeah, I'm cool with that.

Quote:
But I also don't support the idea that we should just sit around while people are being slaughtered and brutalised and pretend it's not our problem.

So when will you be invading Iraq and Afghanistan to help expel the U.S., NATO, etc.? Or are you pretending that the brutalization and slaughter of those people at the hands of the West are not our problem?

The Bish

Unionist wrote:

You mean, like the Canadian people who hate Harper but can't unseat him because of his draconian government? Yes, of course, I support a China-Iran-North Korean-Taliban expeditionary force coming in and liberating us.

Oh, you say that's not the same? Whereas Afghanistan and Iraq and Viet Nam and Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama and Iran and Kosovo and ... really really really did want to be "liberated"?

Assuming that there was a situation in Canada as dire as the one in Sudan or the DRC, I would absolutely support a non-aggressive military intervention (as in an intervention which was intended to protect civilians and not topple the government) from another country to help us out, regardless of the government's stance.

Quote:

Then when the government requests assistance, we consider when and how we should or should not assist.

When the government does not request assistance, we return to square one (keep your filthy mitts off).

Apparently you consider state sovereignty to be much more inviolable than I do.  As far as I'm concerned, so long as the people being brutalised would like protection, it isn't really relevant what the host government wants.  Human rights trump state's rights, period.

Quote:
So when will you be invading Iraq and Afghanistan to help expel the
U.S., NATO, etc.? Or are you pretending that the brutalization and
slaughter of those people at the hands of the West are not our problem?

I've never advocated "expelling" anyone.  My focus has clearly and consistently been on protecting civilians.  Protecting civilians should be a starting point to bring about a negotiated, lasting solution to the conflict.  The key difference in this case is not that it's "not our problem", but that I can't envision a scenario under which a foreign army or armies went into those countries to fight the U.S. and produced anything other than a significant increase in bloodshed.  Certainly even if something is in principle a good idea, if it's not going to produce a positive result than it's not something we should follow through on.

Unionist

The Bish wrote:

As far as I'm concerned, so long as the people being brutalised would like protection, it isn't really relevant what the host government wants.

To repeat - who decides what the people want? You? Would they request help through an email, or maybe via Facebook?

 

Quote:
I can't envision a scenario under which a foreign army or armies went into those countries to fight the U.S. and produced anything other than a significant increase in bloodshed. 

Ah, so because those invaders and occupiers are too strong militarily, we should leave them alone and not increase the bloodshed.

Your formula seems pretty neat. It has the U.S. and NATO going places to help people, but no one helping the people against the U.S. and NATO. At least it's easy to remember.

The Bish

Unionist wrote:
To repeat - who decides what the people want? You? Would they request help through an email, or maybe via Facebook?

Well, in a case like what's going on in the Congo right now we could have people like Stephen Lewis and Eve Ensler, who have visited the country and spoken with the victims ask them.  In cases where that's not possible, it should still be pretty easy sometimes to determine.  I mean, do you really think the people in Sudan who are being slaughtered would rather continue to be slaughtered than protected by the international community?  Doubtful.  But you know what, if we get there, and they say to us "We would rather die than be protected by you" then fine, we admit that we've overstepped our bounds and leave.  But I think such a scenario is pretty unlikely.

Quote:
Ah, so because those invaders and occupiers are too strong
militarily, we should leave them alone and not increase the bloodshed.

Your formula seems pretty neat. It has the U.S. and NATO going
places to help people, but no one helping the people against the U.S.
and NATO. At least it's easy to remember.

I think military force is very rarely the most useful response to conflict.  In many situations, like what's going on in Iraq, sending in more competing armies would do nothing but increase the bloodshed.   However, there are situations where military force - in a defensive role -  would be useful.  And in those situations, yes, I do think we should help out; and I think that to not do so out of some sense of misplaced anti-imperialism is needlessly cruel to the people who continue to suffer.

Webgear

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1054758&p=1

 

Whatever happened to 'responsibility to protect'?

Michael Ignatieff, National Post 

Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"In the grim present, humanitarian intervention feels like an idea whose time has come and gone. The reasons for this are worth exploring. For 10 years after the end of the Cold War, stopping ethnic cleansing and massacre became the cause celebres of every liberal internationalist. By early 2000, the idea that all states have a "responsibility to protect" civilians at risk in other states became something approaching a principle of international law.

In this moment of apparent triumph, it was easy to forget that this idea became possible simply because intervention ceased to carry the risk of armaggedon. The interventions in Kosovo and Bosnia were possible for the West because the Russians, however much they backed the losing Serbs, were unable and unwilling to stop NATO and the Americans. The East Timor intervention was possible because Indonesia lacked a protector powerful enough to forbid the creation of a free Timor.

The crisis in Georgia reminds us that we are no longer living in an era of Russian strategic weakness. The parenthesis that allowed humanitarian interventions to occur has come to an end. In the case of Georgia, the humanitarian impulse has collided with raw and unyielding power. Russia has gone ahead and declared the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is an obvious riposte to Kosovo's independence, and therefore a warning that further humanitarian interventions of that type will not be tolerated in Russia's zone of influence."

 

 

Ratbert

Let the Africans sort it out themselves.

 European, especially French benevolence, in Africa consists of backing the tyrants that will allow French companies to prosper without any consideration of how many Africans suffer. The French pick winners and losers in the national interests of France without a care for local consequences. 

The French are no better or worse than other colonialists, including China and Russia - just callously open about it - turning their guns on any interference.

African countries will never accept responsibility for their own continent if they cannot build their own capacity for conflict resolution.

The Bish

Ratbert wrote:

Let the Africans sort it out themselves.

Racism and indifference - solving mankind's problems since the dawn of civilization.

Sunday Hat

The Bish wrote:

Well, in a case like what's going on in the Congo right now we could have people like Stephen Lewis and Eve Ensler, who have visited the country and spoken with the victims ask them

Sorry, but this is odious. Who made Stephen Lewis God? I'm sure he wouldn't reject the title but he's not as infallible as he thinks he is.

Let's think this through. If we start saying it's okay for one country to invade another as long as an Important Person reports that that's what "the people" want then the US invasion of Iraq was perfectly moral, the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was perfectly moral, Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland was perfectly moral. In each of these cases the invading nation produced "really smart people" who claimed that the citizens longed for "liberation".

Unionist

It's the White Man's Burden. The Holy Crusade. The War on Terror.

Even if it bears Stephen Lewis's face, it doesn't change its essence.

 

==========================
Join M. Spector's tagline [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha]Satyagraha[/url]!

The Bish

Sunday Hat wrote:

Sorry, but this is odious. Who made Stephen Lewis God? I'm sure he wouldn't reject the title but he's not as infallible as he thinks he is.

Lewis and Ensler just came to mind as people who have visited the country and spoken with the victims.  I was not suggesting that we should specifically grant that power to Stephen Lewis, just that there have been a number of people who have gone to the Congo and spoken with the victims and it wouldn't be difficult for them to go around the refugee camps, the women at the Panzi hospital, etc. and ask them how they would feel about it.

Quote:
Let's think this through. If we start saying it's okay for one country
to invade another as long as an Important Person reports that that's
what "the people" want then the US invasion of Iraq was perfectly
moral, the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan was perfectly moral, Nazi
Germany's invasion of Poland was perfectly moral. In each of these
cases the invading nation produced "really smart people" who claimed
that the citizens longed for "liberation".

That's not what I'm saying at all.  I'm saying that in situations where there is a humanitarian catastrophe, sometimes military support is necessary for humanitarian aid to have a chance at success.  I've repeatedly said that I don't think it's a valid excuse for an aggressive invasion, especially one that seeks to topple a government and install a compliant regime, so neither of your examples are relevant. 

I also don't think that just because an idea has been misused means we have to throw out the entire idea.  Virtually every idea can be used to justify horrific things, that doesn't mean we should abandon them, it means we need to be careful and judicious about the ways in which we use them.

 

Webgear

"Rape is currently being used not only as a consequential act of war - which would be bad enough - but as the very instrument for the waging of war itself, and where up to 70 per cent of women in targeted villages have been the victims of indiscriminate sexual violence. In a prescient statement of a crime foretold, even before this renewed violence Lewis described what is currently happening in the Congo as an act of "criminal international misogyny, sustained by the indifference of nation states and by the delinquency of the United Nations."

If Canada's leadership in the responsibility to protect doctrine, affirmed by the UN Security Council, is to find expression - and if the recent commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is to be acted upon - it is imperative that Canada, in concert with the international community, address and act upon the worst ongoing humanitarian catastrophe since World War II.

Regrettably, Canada, together with the international community, continues to ignore the compelling lessons of history - in the Congo as well as in Darfur - that genocide occurs not only because of the machinery of death but also because of crimes of indifference, because of conspiracies of silence - because of bystanders facilitating the perpetrators.

Indeed, what made the genocide in Rwanda so unspeakable was not only the horror of the genocide itself, but that it was preventable. No one can say that we did not know. We knew, but did not act. Just as no one can say today that we do not know what is happening in Darfur - or in the Congo. We know but we are not acting."

 

http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/554265

 

Slumberjack

@ Webgear

African issues cannot be solved by non-African states.  No amount of 'international community' involvement will resolve anything.  The white colonial cavalry rode through there in the past, and undertaking more of the same sort of intervention isn't the answer.  I'm not sure what the solution is to be honest.  The AU might be better positioned to respond to crisis areas if they had a robust, superbly trained and equipped standing peacekeeping force, or peacemaking force if necessary, which is backed up by an AU security treaty and a permanent war crimes tribunal comprised of legal authorities from AU countries.  This is not to say that support cannot come from outside the AU AOR in the form of funding or technical assistance.  Direct military intervention by western nations in African affairs, either by colonial powers or through UN authority has been a failure and will continue to be.

Webgear

Slumberjack, I agree with some of your points.

I am only providing statements from the Liberals and NDP members on the topic.

I have stated before that Canada should not become involved in Africa especially the conflict in Sudan.

The Bish

Slumberjack wrote:

African issues cannot be solved by non-African states.  No amount of 'international community' involvement will resolve anything.

I was unaware that the people of Africa were of a different breed.  I was under the apparently mistaken impression that people everywhere were roughly the same.  Since I'm apparently uneducated on the matter, perhaps you could describe for me exactly what an "African" problem is and how it differs from the problems that white people are able to cope with.

Sunday Hat

I actually agree with The Bish that simply saying "let them sort their own shit out" isn't a real answer. I don't think people in the West (who've grown rich from colonialism) can simply walk away now and say, 'not my problem'.

More importantly, these comments fail to recognize that the "international community" is involved. Rwanda recieves extensive US aid and political support (a US "client state" in Cold War terms) which has continued to flow while they have invaded and sponsored terrorism against Congo. As a recent piece in Foreign Policy in Focus noted: "Bush knows that Rwanda’s involvement in the armed conflict in the DRC delays peace in eastern Congo, but he continues to authorize military aid to Rwanda. In 2007, the United States armed and trained Rwandan soldiers with $7.2 million from the U.S. defense program Africa Contingent Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) and $260,000 from the International Military and Education (IMET) program. At the same time, the United States is involved in facilitating peace talks between Rwanda and the DRC and the various rebel groups operating in eastern Congo."

So, "non-African states" are involved and, if one were cynical, one might think that they have an agenda - namely aiding Rwanda's bid for regional domination. It's worth remembering that the US (under Clinton) enthusiastically backed Rwanda's bid to install Laurent Kabila as President of Congo and backed him gladly when they thought he'd toe the line. As the New York Times reported at the time: "IT was a high-powered team that President Clinton sent to meet with the new Government here: the United States representative to the United Nations, Bill Richardson; an assistant secretary of State; an admiral; a senior member of the National Security Council; a senior spy, a member of Congress. But ''the center of attraction,'' as Mr. Richardson said in introducing the delegation to Congolese officials, was the man from the Agency for International Development, Richard McCall. ''He has the money,'' Mr. Richardson said of Mr. McCall, third in command at the agency that doles out American largesse. All the new Congolese President, Laurent Kabila, has to do to get the money is become a democrat and free-market capitalist. Reinforcing that message, Commerce and Treasury officials were along, dangling financial lures. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were close behind."

Of course, Kabila ultimately decided he didn't want to be a proxy and when he asked Rwandan troops to withdraw the war started again (with Rwandans fighting the President they helped install) and the US decided Kabila was a bad President.

The bottom-line: while the "international community" has wrung their hands, cried crocodile tears and supported peace talks, they've continued to fund Rwanda and (perhaps indirectly but probably not) Rwanda's ongoing efforts to conquer the DR of Congo.

The concern for "human rights" expressed by Irwin Cotler sounds admirable but is, ultimately an empty PR gesture. Cotler certainly hasn't expressed much desire to prosecute human rights violations in Israel's occupied territories (much less those committed by US adminitration).

And while there's something to be said for cracking down on the mining companies that seek to profit off the conflict Canada can't talk out of both sides of their mouth. When we encourage (or sit quiet while the US encourages) these countries to embrace globalization and capitalism we can't feign surprise when unscrupulous operators swoop in to make a profit.

If a peace process is going to work it has to be genuine and it has to be real. The US has to stop the two-faced routine where Rwanda gets harsh words in public but the money continues to flow. If - and it's a big if - the US is sincere about ending this conflict that needs to happen. And any Canadian government that's sincere about ending the war needs to be able to say that. Knowing the Liberal party, I don't have a lot of hope that a Coalition government (should it happen) would be willing to do so.

Sunday Hat

I'll note that Sweden and the Netherlands have suspended some aid to Rwanda following the release of a report linking the Rwandan government to Laurent Nkunda's "rebels".

Maybe the NDP and/or Liberals could be encouraged to do the same.

Ze

Is "the international community" synonymous with the West? Sounds like it, to hear people like Ignatieff talk. 

 Anyways, for sure the West is involved. How many Canadian mining companies are in the Congo already, causing the problems that intervention-boosters want to then "solve"?  

Quote:
In 2001, SOMIKA, a processor of heterogenite (copper and cobalt), set up operations in the Katanga region of the DRC. The company processes ore from various neighboring sites where extraction is contracted out to artisanal miners. SOMIKA’s installations are located on a major water table that supplies drinking water to 70% of the population of Lubumbashi. There is a risk that the water could potentially be contaminated by SOMIKA’s operations. In addition, there are persistent concerns about discriminatory hiring procedures and working conditions including health and safety risks that have not been adequately addressed.

This case study remains incomplete. A number of difficulties were experienced during the research process and therefore it is not possible to present definitive conclusions of the impact assessment here. Nevertheless, preliminary results indicate that there is reason for concern that violations of labour rights and the rights to water and health may have occurred as a result of the investment.

 http://www.dd-rd.ca/site/what_we_do/index.php?id=1489&page=7&subsection=...

Sunday Hat

This article provides some insight into the depth to which Canadian mining companies (and the Canadian government) are involved in the Congo conflict. The Canadian companies of note are Barrick Gold and Banro though the article also notes that the TSX is where most of the speculative actibity in the mining sector happens:


"Most of this speculative activity is carried out on the Toronto stock exchange. About 60% of the world’s mining companies – not all necessarily Canadian – are quoted there. Canadian law affords the industry significant tax breaks, incentives for investors in the mining sector, lax controls on insider trading, and no serious requirement for companies to explain how they came by their profits. Between 2001 and September 2004, the Toronto stock exchange’s TSX Venture index – which favours mineral prospecting companies – showed that the value of share transactions rose from $800m to $4.4bn (6).

The government is prepared to support the Canadian mining industry’s foreign activities at any cost. It claims to be protecting the public interest on the grounds that the nation’s savings (pension and growth funds) are pegged to the industry. Despite many serious allegations of crimes and abuses in the Great Lakes region, Canada has conducted no recent political or legal investigation into the activities of any mining company. The country has turned itself into a legal haven for the industry."


Barrick Gold's Chairman, Peter Munk is, of course, the man who UofT obsequiously named their Centre for International Studies after (and who infamously praised Augusto Pinochet for "transforming Chile"). The Liberals, when they mattered, benefited from his largesse. So, ironically enough, Cotler's re-election efforts have been paid for, in part, with the blood of the Congolese. Of course, Munk is now directing his energy towards supporting Stephen Harper (as the article notes).

Webgear

http://www.thestar.com/article/570442

 

"The largest UN peacekeeping mission in the world today is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The force has been expanded from an initial 5,000 troops to 17,000 today. It is a complex mission operating in a violent and unstable environment, involving a multitude of factions and states. Scores of UN peacekeepers have been killed since the operation began in 1999. Today the Congo is falling apart. This mission is anything but peaceful and non-violent.

 

We hear a lot in Canada about the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur. Some 200,000 civilians have been killed in Darfur since 2003 at the hands of a Sudanese government allied militia known as the Janjaweed. The Bush administration called the Darfur crisis genocide. The atrocities have continued virtually unabated, notwithstanding the presence of a significant African Union force, which has now morphed into this much larger combined AU-UN operation. Darfur is a war zone - there is little peace to keep.

 

In 2005, then prime minister Paul Martin wanted to deploy the Canadian Forces to Darfur if the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing a mission. Canada's military leadership assessed the situation on the ground at that time and advised the prime minister that it could be more dangerous for Canadian troops in Darfur than in Kandahar."

 

Fidel

Webgear wrote:
  Some 200,000 civilians have been killed in Darfur since 2003 at the hands of a Sudanese government allied militia known as the Janjaweed. The Bush administration called the Darfur crisis genocide.

Why should we be quoting known war criminals and mass murderers on a country which the US has admitted to forging intelligence ties with since 2005? We know about the oil discovery in Sudan - and that China now has business interests in 47 African countries - and we know the US and friends have worked to destabilize Sudan and surrounding nations since the 1970's.

Webgear

 http://cpcml.ca/Tmld2009/D39015.htm#1

 "On January 16, Israeli Foreign Minister of Israel Tzipi Livni signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the "ending of Gaza arms-smuggling" with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. This was Ms. Rice's last working day in office but her signature on behalf of the U.S. government binds the incoming administration. It should be noted that as a member of NATO, Canada is also bound to be dragooned into future U.S.-led aggression undertaken in the name of "stopping weapons flows to Hamas in Gaza."

According to the second specific undertaking of this MOU:

"2. The United States will work with regional and NATO partners to address the problem of the supply of arms and related materiel and weapons transfers and shipments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including through the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea and eastern Africa, through improvements in existing arrangements or the launching of new initiatives to increase the effectiveness of those arrangements as they relate to the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza. Among the tools that will be pursued are:

"Enhanced U.S. security and intelligence cooperation with regional governments on actions to prevent weapons and explosives flows to Gaza that originate in or transit their territories; including through the involvement of relevant components of the U.S. Government, such as U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Special Operations Command.

"* Enhanced intelligence fusion with key international and coalition naval forces and other appropriate entities to address weapons supply to Gaza;

"* Enhancement of the existing international sanctions and enforcement mechanisms against provision of material support to Hamas and other terrorist organizations, including through an international response to those states, such as Iran, who are determined to be sources of weapons and explosives supply to Gaza."

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

Webgear

 

"Would you like to commend or criticize any particular Canadian politicians and/or political parties with respect to Darfur?

Darfur is a cross-party issue. In our campaign "Speak the Name," which we ran during the last federal election, we offered to any candidate that if they spoke about Darfur, that we would speak about them. We had ninety-two supporters, of which fifty-one were elected. We need to see that support turn into action. In particular, I travelled to Sudan with [Liberal MPs] Carolyn Bennett and Glen Pearson, who are phenomenal advocates for Darfur; [Liberal MP] Irwin Cotler and [NDP MP] Paul Dewar are other particularly strong allies.

Your literature refers to "advocacy" toward Canadian politicians. What exactly are you advocating them to do?

The Canadian government needs to lead the world in response to genocide, and particularly Darfur. Canadians wrote the Responsibility to Protect [R2P] doctrine, which posits that the international community needs to help protect the citizens of a country from persecution if their government does not, and we need to uphold this. We need to pressure the United Nations [UN] to fully deploy peacekeepers, to help facilitate peace talks with tribal leaders, and to divest Canadian institutions from holdings in the worst offender companies doing business in Sudan.

So would your support for foreign intervention in Darfur extend to support for military intervention? Can the genocide be stopped without military intervention? By whom?

We want to see the UN mission be effective-and for this to happen, the full deployment of peacekeepers needs to occur, and we cannot kowtow to the desires of the Sudanese government. "

Ryerson Meets Darfur

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

Webgear

CONGO WOMEN

A panel discussion on the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo takes place March 20 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC. It's organized by the Africa Canada Accountability Coalition. Speakers include NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar and Major General (Retired) Philip Lancaster, a senior official to peacekeeping operations.

http://www2.canada.com/vancouvercourier/news/communitybriefs/story.html?id=ab815f62-8cf6-41e3-9a8b-fee6af0db47e 

______________________________________________________________________________________________ We are like cloaks, one thinks of us only when it rains.

Pages

Topic locked