In the wake of recent revelations by the United Nations Group of Experts that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is supporting the disruption of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we bring to our readers a recent radio interview that TRNN, a global online video news network held with a representative of the Friends of Congo representative in Washington DC who explains why the United States is turning a blind eye to Kagame’s actions. Paul Jay, TRNN’s CEO, host and senior editor conducted the interview:
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Baltimore. In the Congo, a report says there is a mutiny going on amongst the Congolese army. This is a report from the United Nations. An interim report or a version of that report was released on Friday, but some of the people that were involved in the committee of experts that wrote that report have leaked that there’s more to it, and it has to do with Rwandan interference in the Congo. And if so, that wouldn’t be something new. Now joining us to talk about all of this is Maurice Carney. He’s the executive director and co-founder of Friends of the Congo, and he joins us now from our D.C. office. Thanks for joining us, Maurice.
MAURICE CARNEY: Hi. It’s a pleasure to be with you today.
JAY: So, first of all, what do we know of the facts of the situation?
CARNEY: Well, the facts as reported by the United Nations and by Human Rights Watch basically state that the mutinous group in the east of the Congo, the rebels that have been destabilizing the country since early spring, where over 200,000 Congolese have been displaced, are being supported by the Rwandan government in terms of training, arming, logistical support. And this is consistent with a pattern over the past 15 years where Rwanda has either invaded the Congo or rebel groups inside the Congo have destabilized the country. In addition to this consistent support over the last 15 years, another staple of over the last 15 years has been the United States covering for Rwanda whenever it has gotten involved in the Congo.
JAY: And why do they?
CARNEY: Well, you know, nations function on interests. Some people say, well, the U.S. is guilty because it did not do enough during the genocide in ’94. But the U.S. has strategic and economic interests in central African region, and Rwanda, among a number of other nations in that part of the world, protect and carry out U.S. interests in the region. So whenever Rwanda is called to account by the international community, the United States usually runs interference so that there are no sanctions brought against the Rwandan government.
JAY: And what are the effects on the people living there in terms of what you describe as destabilization?
CARNEY: The effects are devastating. As I shared with you, 200,000 people have been displaced. Really, since Rwanda invaded Congo in 1996, millions of Congolese have perished, hundreds of thousands of women have been systematically raped and Congo’s wealth has been looted. So the impact of Rwanda’s role in destabilizing the Congo has been tragic for the people of the region and especially the Congolese people.
And this is really the sad part about the whole situation, because it’s within the means of the United States to hold its ally accountable, but it has not done so to date. We’ve had countries like Sweden and Netherlands who have withheld aid from Rwanda because of Rwanda’s activities inside Congo. But the United States has yet to hold to account Rwanda.