5 Dec 2012

The Rice Question

Op-Ed Columnist

The Rice Question

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Susan Rice, United States ambassador to the United Nations and a leading candidate to become the next secretary of state.
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WHEN Thomas Pickering took up the No.3 position at the U.S. State Department in 1997, his attention turned to Sudan. The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum had been vacated the previous year after the C.I.A. reported threats, but Pickering wanted the mission reopened in a country that had harbored Osama bin Laden until May 1996 and had more experience than most with violent Islamist extremism.
"The intelligence reports that prompted the closure of the embassy were false and I felt strongly that the embassy should be reopened," Pickering, who has served as ambassador to Nigeria, Israel, India, Russia and the United Nations, told me. "But Susan Rice and Sandy Berger felt strongly it should remain closed and so it did not get reopened for a long while."
Rice, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a leading candidate along with Senator John Kerry to become the next secretary of state, was then assistant secretary for African affairs. She had strong views about Sudan and plenty of reasons to hold them: a terror-sponsoring Sudanese government playing host to anti-American Islamist radicals and engaged in a brutal war with its own citizens in the south.
But while under no illusions about the Sudanese government, Pickering, then under secretary of state for political affairs, saw an opportunity to probe possible shifts in Khartoum. "My view was that we needed to be in contact with governments around the world whatever their characters, and we might change Sudan's attitude through being there," he said. "Susan took a different view."
Today we are at a crucial juncture for American power. President Obama's priority in preserving U.S. influence in the world must be domestic: reviving the economy. He needs a secretary of state able to chart her or his own course at times, with a team-of-rivals independence, and the ability to talk to enemies — Iran being top of that list.
Susan Rice is certainly capable and tough. One person who has spent a lot of time with Rice is struck by her "bristling certitude." A former U.S. ambassador told me, "Rice does not know how to be unblunt." But it is her judgment at critical moments — as displayed on whether to reopen the Sudan embassy or in her handling of the talking points on the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans — that troubles me.
Of course, the ultimate decision on returning U.S. diplomats to Khartoum in 1997 did not lie with Rice. Samuel R. Berger, as national security adviser to President Clinton, had more clout. Still, as the State Department's point person on Africa, her opinion had weight.
Rice's thinking at the time, as described to me by several officials, ran like this: Reopening the U.S. Embassy would have been interpreted by the Sudanese as a reward for good behavior. The United States, she felt, could not send that signal to a country on the terrorist list and involved in the worst human rights abuses. Moreover, nothing she saw at the time suggested that the Sudanese offers of intelligence assistance were serious.
What difference a U.S. decision to engage with Khartoum would have made to intelligence gathering on Al Qaeda, preventing the August 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, averting the mistaken 1998 U.S. cruise-missile attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, and blocking the path to 9/11 is unclear.
On one particular issue — whether in 1996 (when Rice was a senior director for Africa at the National Security Council) Sudan offered to hand over Bin Laden — the 9/11 Commission Report "found no credible evidence that this was so."
"Ambassador Rice believes that it is far better to have a diplomatic presence than not," her spokeswoman, Erin Pelton, said in an e-mail message. "Thus her inherent predisposition is to try to reopen embassies as soon as possible. However, when the U.S. is dealing with countries that are state sponsors of terrorism, that decision cannot be made without regard to the policy signal it sends."
Tim Carney, the ambassador to Sudan at the time, had to leave the country in early 1996 when the embassy was vacated. He believes that the decision not to reopen the following year was disastrous.
"We took our eye off the ball," he told me. "We did not know what was happening in Khartoum, a center of extremist Islam. There was no logic to our policy beyond punishing Khartoum and supporting the rebellion in south Sudan. That the Sudanese could not ensure our security was complete and utter nonsense. In my experience, Rice failed in her judgment. Our interests suffered."
Pickering was in general impressed with Rice, a woman of strong ideas navigating an effective course in many areas of African policy, including Ethiopia and Eritrea. It was only on Sudan, he said, that "we disagreed, and I was not happy."
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Rice, as Sudan suggests, is decisive: She joined the Obama team early in his first campaign when other foreign policy heavyweights backed Hillary Clinton. She is known to be very close to the president. He has made clear that he is prepared to spend significant political capital to defend her if he nominates her for secretary of state. During the first term, foreign policy was very White House-centered. If Obama plans a similar second-term set-up, Rice would be a natural fit.
Over the years I have heard Rice, whom I once met briefly, described as smart, loyal, earnest, combative, certain of her views and not particularly worldly. Her convictions on human rights, shaped through the Rwandan genocide that in turn influenced her views on south Sudan, are passionate.
She famously clashed with the late Richard Holbrooke (and successfully helped keep him from Obama's inner circle); an attempt at a reconciliatory breakfast ended with him giving her his private cellphone number without the gesture being reciprocated.
One senior Obama administration official who was very close to Holbrooke and so, in her words, "got off on the wrong foot with Rice," has become a great admirer. Rice, she argues, has done great things at the United Nations.
"The notion that she is a walkover for Obama is just nonsense," she told me.
According to this official's account, Rice was the "only cabinet member arguing for what we ended up doing in Libya" — a military intervention, backed by a strong U.N. resolution Rice managed to secure, that saved Benghazi and ended with the ousting of Muammar el-Qaddafi.
"She knows how to transcend the limits of American power by knowing the limits of American power," the official said. "She uses all the tools in the toolbox. When the cry goes up in a crisis, 'Save the peacekeepers,' she says, 'No, save the people!"'
Rice has been the object of egregious Republican attacks over her now notorious Benghazi television interviews on Sept. 16. Their attempt to portray her covering up a supposedly premeditated terrorist attack that left four Americans dead does not hold up. My understanding is there is no evidence of premeditation — as in advance planning — or even that the attackers knew that Ambassador Chris Stevens, who happened to be visiting Benghazi, was there. The charged Al Qaeda epithet has been loosely thrown around for a local militant group called Ansar al-Shariah.
Still, Rice's performance raises questions. If the C.I.A. was the main editor of her talking points, and that editing involved the last-minute removal of references to Ansar al-Shariah for fear of tipping them off, would it not have been wise to avoid alluding to the killings as a "horrific incident where some mob was hijacked ultimately by a handful of extremists" — as she said on CNN? And if the C.I.A. knew that two of its own had been killed, why did Rice tell ABC News that "two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security"?
We now know, thanks to reporting by David Ignatius of The Washington Post among others, that the two C.I.A. agents, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed with mortar fire a full six hours after Stevens in a separate Benghazi location. By the time Rice went on TV, five days had elapsed since the killings, and the C.I.A. had done extensive debriefing.
Why then did Rice not step back, ask questions and hedge her talking points rather than plunge ahead with an account of a spontaneous reaction by "folks in Benghazi," like the one in Cairo, to the anti-Muhammad video? As is now clear, the demonstration never happened.
Stevens is mentioned just once in the various Rice interviews. The killing becomes an almost abstract "violence" committed by "extremists." The video is "hateful," "heinous," "disgusting," "offensive" and "reprehensible." The killing of four Americans is "condemnable," "unacceptable," "reprehensible" and "horrific."
Somewhere in all those adjectives the distinction on the scales of iniquity between mischief and murder is lost.
The U.S. secretary of state needs several skills: leadership, strategic vision, an inner compass, knowledge of the world and judgment. The most effective secretaries — Dean Acheson, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and James Baker come to mind — have served their presidents, of course, but were also shapers and clinchers of policy.
The recent precedent of Colin Powell's reluctant support for the Iraq war shows how important it can be for the secretary to stand up to the White House — even to the point of resignation, as Cyrus Vance did in 1980 over a disagreement with Jimmy Carter.
In diplomacy the core question is often this: What do I want to get and what do I have to give to get it? Certitudes and bluntness get you only so far. It is less a question of what you know than how curious you are about what you do not.
Susan Rice's story includes several significant achievements. But, from Khartoum to Benghazi, it has been more one of knowing than asking.
 

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SUMMARY : THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE BRITISH BUDGET SUPPORT AND GEO-STRATEGIC AMBITIONS

United Kingdom's Proxy Wars in Africa: The Case of Rwanda and DR Congo:

The Rwandan genocide and 6,000,000 Congolese and Hutu refugees killed are the culminating point of a long UK’s battle to expand their influence to the African Great Lakes Region. UK supported Kagame’s guerrilla war by providing military support and money. The UK refused to intervene in Rwanda during the genocide to allow Kagame to take power by military means that triggered the genocide. Kagame’s fighters and their families were on the Ugandan payroll paid by UK budget support.


· 4 Heads of State assassinated in the francophone African Great Lakes Region.
· 2,000,000 people died in Hutu and Tutsi genocides in Rwanda, Burundi and RD.Congo.
· 600,000 Hutu refugees killed in R.D.Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Rep of Congo.
· 6,000,000 Congolese dead.
· 8,000,000 internal displaced people in Rwanda, Burundi and DR. Congo.
· 500,000 permanent Rwandan and Burundian Hutu refugees, and Congolese refugees around the world.
· English language expansion to Rwanda to replace the French language.
· 20,000 Kagame’s fighters paid salaries from the British Budget Support from 1986 to present.
· £500,000 of British taxpayer’s money paid, so far, to Kagame and his cronies through the budget support, SWAPs, Tutsi-dominated parliament, consultancy, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs.
· Kagame has paid back the British aid received to invade Rwanda and to strengthen his political power by joining the East African Community together with Burundi, joining the Commonwealth, imposing the English Language to Rwandans to replace the French language; helping the British to establish businesses and to access to jobs in Rwanda, and to exploit minerals in D.R.Congo.



Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres

Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres
Kagame killed 200,000 Hutus from all regions of the country, the elderly and children who were left by their relatives, the disabled were burned alive. Other thousands of people were killed in several camps of displaced persons including Kibeho camp. All these war crimes remain unpunished.The British news reporters were accompanying Kagame’s fighters on day-by-day basis and witnessed these massacres, but they never reported on this.

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25,000 Hutu bodies floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.

25,000  Hutu bodies  floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.
The British irrational, extremist, partisan,biased, one-sided media and politicians have disregarded Kagame war crimes e.g. the Kibeho camp massacres, massacres of innocents Hutu refugees in DR. Congo. The British media have been supporting Kagame since he invaded Rwanda by organising the propaganda against the French over the Rwandan genocide, suppressing the truth about the genocide and promoting the impunity of Kagame and his cronies in the African Great Lakes Region. For the British, Rwanda does not need democracy, Rwanda is the African Israel; and Kagame and his guerilla fighters are heroes.The extremist British news reporters including Fergal Keane, Chris Simpson, Chris McGreal, Mark Doyle, etc. continue to hate the Hutus communities and to polarise the Rwandan society.

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Kagame political ambitions triggered the genocide.

Kagame  political  ambitions triggered the genocide.
Kagame’s guerrilla war was aimed at accessing to power at any cost. He rejected all attempts and advice that could stop his military adventures including the cease-fire, political negotiations and cohabitation, and UN peacekeeping interventions. He ignored all warnings that could have helped him to manage the war without tragic consequences. Either you supported Kagame’ s wars and you are now his friend, or you were against his wars and you are his enemy. Therefore, Kagame as the Rwandan strong man now, you have to apologise to him for having been against his war and condemned his war crimes, or accept to be labelled as having been involved in the genocide. All key Kagame’s fighters who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity are the ones who hold key positions in Rwandan army and government for the last 15 years. They continue to be supported and advised by the British including Tony Blair, Andrew Mitchell MP, and the British army senior officials.

Aid that kills: The British Budget Support financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.

Aid that kills: The British Budget Support  financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.
Genocide propaganda and fabrications are used by the so-called British scholars, news reporters and investigative journalists to promote their CVs and to get income out of the genocide through the selling of their books, providing testimonies against the French, access to consultancy contracts from the UN and Kagame, and participation in conferences and lectures in Rwanda, UK and internationally about genocide. Genocide propaganda has become a lucrative business for Kagame and the British. Anyone who condemned or did not support Kagame’s war is now in jail in Rwanda under the gacaca courts system suuported by British tax payer's money, or his/she is on arrest warrant if he/she managed to flee the Kagame’s regime. Others have fled the country and are still fleeing now. Many others Rwandans are being persecuted in their own country. Kagame is waiting indefinitely for the apologies from other players who warn him or who wanted to help to ensure that political negotiations take place between Kagame and the former government he was fighting against. Britain continues to supply foreign aid to Kagame and his cronies with media reports highlighting economic successes of Rwanda. Such reports are flawed and are aimed at misleading the British public to justify the use of British taxpayers’ money. Kagame and his cronies continue to milk British taxpayers’ money under the British budget support. This started from 1986 through the British budget support to Uganda until now.

Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the Rwandan genocide.

Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the  Rwandan genocide.
No apologies yet to the Rwandan people. The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana by Kagame was the only gateway for Kagame to access power in Rwanda. The British media, politicians, and the so-called British scholars took the role of obstructing the search for the truth and justice; and of denying this assassination on behalf of General Kagame. General Paul Kagame has been obliging the whole world to apologise for his mistakes and war crimes. The UK’s way to apologise has been pumping massive aid into Rwanda's crony government and parliement; and supporting Kagame though media campaigns.

Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame

Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame
Kagame receives the British massive aid through the budget support, British excessive consultancy, sector wide programmes, the Tutsi-dominated parliament, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs; for political, economic and English language expansion to Rwanda. The British aid to Rwanda is not for all Rwandans. It is for Kagame himself and his Tutsi cronies.

Paul Kagame' actvities as former rebel

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This blog reports the crimes that remain unpunished and the impunity that has generated a continuous cycle of massacres in many parts of Africa. In many cases, the perpetrators of the crimes seem to have acted in the knowledge that they would not be held to account for their actions.

The need to fight this impunity has become even clearer with the massacres and genocide in many parts of Africa and beyond.

The blog also addresses issues such as Rwanda War Crimes, Rwandan Refugee massacres in Dr Congo, genocide, African leaders’ war crimes and crimes against humanity, Africa war criminals, Africa crimes against humanity, Africa Justice.

Venerating Kagame: The UK celebrate the expansion of their influence to Rwanda

Venerating Kagame: The UK celebrate the expansion of their influence to Rwanda
As planned by Kagame before he took power, all French related institutions (businesses,NGOs, schools, RFI, cultural centres) are banned and expelled from Rwanda and replaced by the British ones.The French language is banned in education, administration and businesses, and is replaced by the English language. All public and private institutions have been renamed in English. The French language has been removed from the National ID cards. Rwanda unilaterally left the Communauté économiqe des états de l'Afrique centrale to join the East African Community controlled by the UK. Next: full and unconditional admission to Commonwealth.
-The British relentless and long running battle to become the sole player and gain new grounds of influence in the francophone African Great Lakes Region has led to the expulsion of other traditional players from the region, or strained diplomatic relations between the countries of the region and their traditional friends. These new tensions are even encouraged by the British using a variety of political and economic manoeuvres.

-General Kagame has been echoing the British advice that Rwanda does not need any loan or aid from Rwandan traditional development partners, meaning that British aid is enough to solve all Rwandan problems.

-The British obsession for the English Language expansion has become a tyranny that has led to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, dictatorial regimes, human rights violations, mass killings, destruction of families, communities and cultures, permanent refugees and displaced persons in the African Great Lakes region.


- Rwanda, a country that is run by a corrupt clique of minority-tutsi is governed with institutional discrmination, human rights violations, dictatorship, authoritarianism and autocracy, as everybody would expect.