Friday, November 26, 2010

Obama Plotting to Bring Down the LRA?

Looks that way:

US President Barack Obama has outlined a plan to disarm one of Africa's most feared rebel militias, the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army.

It aims to defuse the spiralling bloodshed in central Africa by removing the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony.

LRA fighters will also be encouraged to defect or lay down their arms.

US ally Uganda has for more than 20 years failed to defeat the LRA, notorious for kidnapping children to serve as soldiers and sex slaves.

And Uganda doesn't even seem to mind.

"It's a good move. A welcome move," James Mugume, permament secretary at Uganda's ministry of foreign affairs, told AFP.

Mugume applauded the US for not solely focusing on the military aspect of the LRA rebellion.

"Dealing with demobilised combatants, post-war recovery in northern Uganda, these are key parts of the LRA conflict," he said.

Obama's plan, which followed a law on the LRA passed by the US Congress six months ago, focused on "the defection, disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters."

The plan, presented to Congress on Wednesday, also aims to "increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities."

Mugume said the African troops currently hunting the remnants of LRA can handle the military operation but would welcome increased logistical support.

"External support is always welcome, but we have the capacity to lead the military campaign," he said.

Of course, the masterplan is thin on detail. I'll have more to say when there's, well, more to say. For now, I suppose I'm just incredulous that the Ugandan government can be so sanguine about what ultimately is a dismissal of them. Much as I'd like to see the LRA gone, shouldn't the Ugandan government, not the United States, be leading the charge here?

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