Tuesday, 4 December 2012

DR-CONGO: Should the UN use ''drones'' to take down M23 rebels?

The UN has called for the use of drones to conduct “surveillance” over the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. Ineffective Dr-Congo's army and unreliable UN peacekeepers in Drc, the largest in the world, would justify the use of '' drones'' to take down Rwanda backed M23, however this proposal begs the question of the accuracy of the drones.

If the UN peacekeepers could not take down M23 on the ground, why on earth are they still in mineral-rich areas in eastern Dr-Congo?
If UN peacekeepers could not protect the civilians in Goma, how could the drones, pilotless aircraft spare the civilians?

From Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, CIA controlled pilotless aircraft ran down hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit lists of ''bad guys'', mainly terrorists suspects, but they have already killed thousands of civilians in the process.

It has been proven last week that Rwanda backed M23 rebels are not militarily powerful than the UN peacekeepers that it suffices to twist the arms of their backers, Rwanda and Uganda to force them out of Goma. Last week temporary peace deal, which details are not so clear, was pushed by the Ugandan president, Yuri Museveni. And guess what? the M23 rebels had listened to him.

This unconventional proposal by the UN to use drones, CIA pilotless aircraft, in eastren Dr-Congo blood- mineral conflict would not be the deterrent to this chaotic situation but it will undoubtedly cause more civilians death than grounds operations.

Enthusiasts of ''drones'' boast of their surgical accuracy and exhaustive surveillance, operated by all-seeing technicians from thousands of miles away in Nevada. But ''drones'' killing are in reality summary executions and widely regarded as potential war crimes by the International lawyers, including the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston.

Since 2004, 825 civilians are reported to have been wrongly killed by the US drones in Pakistan alone, ( 535 under Obama) and 175 children. The Dr-Congo blood- mineral conflict has caused many civilians death so far, more than 100, 000 people displaced, more than 800 women are reportedly ''gang-raped'' by the different rebels groups, on daily basis, according to the UN report.

The end of this cycle of violence, rape, extrajudicial killing by the rebels, is the prayer of every Congolese national across the country and abroad. UN diplomats must have at their hearts the concerns of the civilians safety in every proposal they might put forward to end this everlasting conflict. Using ''drones'' might be just the solution needed but at which cost for the civilians...?

Some analysts believe that UN's use of 'drones'' proposal in Dr-Congo mineral-rich areas is ''farcical'', it is not intended to end the conflict. It aims to cement '' UN lands grapping plan'' across the African Continent to acquire minerals.

Nations like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone in Africa have “voluntarily” signed agreements with multi-national corporations and foreign investors, allowing them to control agricultural land. The nation’s leaders believe that giving access to their resources will benefit their people; however, this is just another manipulative ploy to coercively acquire control over land, food production and securitization.

Kieran Dwyer, UN peacekeeping spokesperson  asserts that the UN’s consideration of drones would only be used “for monitoring the movements of armed groups, [and] one tool we are considering.”

Dwyer goes on to say: ''
Of course, we would do this carefully, in full cooperation with the government of the DR Congo, and trialing their most effective uses for information gathering to help implement our mandate to protect civilians. Ultimately, to introduce these, we would need the support of member states to equip the mission''.

The UN has been speaking with the US and France, courting them to gain access to their drone technology for use on international missions.

In March of this year, in a closed conference, Herve Ladsous, top official for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, proposed
that drones be used to spy on civilians as well as “intercept communications” in the South Sudan area. Information collected by those drones would be utilized at the UN’s discretion.

As far as congolese people are concerned, any means to end this blood-mineral conflict is welcomed, however they are quite uneasy of this ''unconventional proposal'' of ''drones'' use in eastern Dr-Congo. For many of them, ''drones'' use will be more of the problem than the solution. They believe that Rwandan president, Paul Kagame and Ugandan president, Yuri Museveni, who back the M23 rebels, are encouraged by the US and UK to annex the eastern Dr-Congo mineral rich areas to Rwanda.

The solution to this conflict will not be kicked off by the use of ''drones''. It will stop as soon as the US and UK legitimately abandon caressing the idea of annexing eastern Dr-Congo mineral rich areas to Rwanda.

By Guylain Gustave Moke
Political Analyst/Writer
Investigative Journalist
Founder of '' The Congolese thinker''

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