Will the US help stop the LRA?

by Scott A Morgan

Ever since Operation Lightning Thunder was launched by the combined forces of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Government of Southern Sudan, there has been ample criticism about how this plan was conceived and carried out. Now there is a call for the operation to resume.

lra_activity

The operation was launched back in December 2008 when Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), did not show up to sign an Accord that would have brought an insurgency that traces its roots back to 1986 to an amicable end. A fortnight later the allied effort was launched with the goal of bringing Kony to justice. Later on, it morphed into eradicating the LRA.

Around Christmas time, the LRA launched a “counteroffensive” that could best be described as a reprisal. In a region that was sparsely monitored by the Congolese military and UN Peacekeepers, the LRA struck. The attack in the Dorouma area killed hundreds in an effort that sowed terror in the Eastern Congo. Thousands fled their homes to flee the onslaught from LRA fighters.

In an action that was meant to placate a restless parliament in Kinshasa, the Joseph Kabila administration placed a limit on how long the Ugandan led forces could operate within the borders of the DRC. This meant that the Ugandans would have to leave the DRC by the end of March 2009. This in effect placed limits on how effective the allied offensive against the LRA could be. In recent weeks there have been several raids by the LRA along the Sudanese-Congo Border.

Now a call has been made for a new actor to join the effort to defeat this insurgent group. The group ENOUGH! has issued a paper that calls for the United States to take an increased role in bringing the LRA leadership to Justice and to defeat the organization. Earlier this year, there was criticism of the US after it was revealed that the Bush Administration had ordered the US African Command (AFRICOM) to support Operation Lightning Thunder.

Just exactly what did the Pentagon or, more specifically, AFRICOM do to support this effort? After the formal request was made, the US helped plan this mission. The US provided soldiers on the scene to assist with tactics, satellite photos and communications gear while providing $1 Million in fuel. Some analysts view the failure of the anti LRA operation as a failure of AFRICOM.

What actions is ENOUGH! recommending that the US take? First of all it has been suggested that the US back a proposed new offensive with solid intelligence, planning and logistical support. It also calls for the US to take responsibility for the execution and the outcome of the operation. It is felt that if this mission is abandoned, then the population of central Africa will face disastrous consequences.

Those are chilling words and a scenario that is frightening.

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The author comments on US policy towards Africa and publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at morganrights.tripod.com

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