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The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006

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This book examines a decade-long period of instability, violence and state decay in Central Africa from 1996, when the war started, to 2006, when elections formally ended the political transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A unique combination of circumstances explain the unravelling of the conflicts: the collapsed Zairian/Congolese state; the continuation of the Rwandan civil war across borders; the shifting alliances in the region; the politics of identity in Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC; the ineptitude of the international community; and the emergence of privatized and criminalized public spaces and economies, linked to the global economy, but largely disconnected from the state – on whose territory the “entrepreneurs of insecurity” function. As a complement to the existing literature, this book seeks to provide an in-depth analysis of concurrent developments in Zaire/DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda in African and international contexts. By adopting a non-chronological approach, it attempts to show the dynamics of the inter-relationships between these realms and offers a toolkit for understanding the past and future of Central Africa.

ISBN-13: 9780521111287

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Publication Date: 08-24-2009

Pages: 340

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Filip Reyntjens is Professor of Law and Politics at the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp. He has worked in and on the Great Lakes region of Africa for more than thirty years. Professor Reyntjens's main research interests are contemporary history, legal anthropology, political transitions and human rights, and he has published several books and numerous articles on these subjects. He co-edits a yearbook on current affairs in Central Africa, L'Afrique des grands lacs, which is a major reference work on the region. In addition to his academic work, Reyntjens serves as a consultant for governments, international organizations and NGOs, and as an expert witness before courts in several countries, including the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. A region in turmoil; 2. 'The war of liberation'; 3. The massacre of the Rwandan refugees; 4. The fall of the Mobutist state; 5. The Congo, waiting for another war; 6. Impasse in Rwanda and Burundi; 7. 'The first African world war'; 8. Negotiating the transition; Conclusion.