Thursday, October 20, 2011

US troops to Uganda: backstory

strategypage summarizes who is the LRA and who is supporting them. LINK

Some of this I didn't know (e.g. Sudan's use of them to stop Uganda from helping Southern Sudan).

In 1999, Sudan and Uganda agreed to end support for rebel organizations (ie, the LRA in Sudan's case, the southern Sudanese rebels in Uganda's case). Khartoum let Ugandan forces pursue the LRA into its territory.

Since 2003, the LRA has diminished in size, shrinking from several thousand fighters to a remnant band of some 200. Its ferocity, however, has not diminished, nor its capacity for bloodshed, nor its potential usefulness to Khartoum.

The Ugandan government has accused Khartoum of continuing to secretly provide support for Kony, though no one has publicly produced hard evidence of Sudanese complicity. Yet Kony has shown an uncanny ability to evade capture. That suggests he has high-level intelligence sources. Khartoum is a terrorist facilitator waging a genocidal war in its own Darfur region. South Sudan has repeatedly accused Sudan of inciting tribal wars with the goal of making South Sudan a failed state. The LRA's continuing existence contributes to South Sudan's instability.

Uganda may possibly have new intelligence regarding Kony's precise whereabouts. This would make an American-supported effort to end Kony's career quite timely. Removing the LRA scourge will improve security conditions in Congo's northeastern provinces and South Sudan. It will also remind Khartoum's leaders that fomenting chaos has consequences. Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, faces International Criminal Court war crimes charges for atrocities committed in Darfur. Kony's arrest might provide Bashir with a sudden dose of sobriety.

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