Tuesday, August 04, 2009

International Disruptions

The international community has played a negative role in Angola. The southwestern African nation endured war for four decades ending in 2002, experiencing only brief interludes of peace during that span. Initially, a number of countries impacted the war by physically intervening in the conflict or providing direct military assistance to either side. In recent years, the international community has simply turned a blind eye to abuses.

This is not to suggest that Angolans, particularly the top brass of the government and the leader of UNITA, the former rebel group, Jonas Savimbi, have not played an active role in determining their country's fate. Both sides have taken advantage of the population.

Despite the role these selfish leaders have played in destroying their own land, international factors have had a comparably negative impact. South Africa and the U.S. backed UNITA while the Soviet Union and Cuba took the side of the government. Regional nations also took sides.

By the time of the 1991-1992 Bicesse Accords, direct intervention was a tactic of the past. Instead, governments turned a blind eye to the conflict when purchasing Angola's diamonds (largely controlled by UNITA) and oil (controlled by the government). No conditions were enforced accompanying these items and the funds poured into continuing the war. Following Bicesse, the UN failed to ensure the demilitarization of both sides before the 1992 election. Once Savimbi realized he had lost the first round, the war resumed. During the Lusaka Protocol, 1994-1998, the UN actually argued that it was a better strategy to keep human rights violations committed by either side quiet, so as to further the peace process. Human Rights Watch asserts that exposing human rights violations leads to accountability, a condition of creating lasting peace.

Even after the war has ended, Angola's oil is still in demand. The profits are enjoyed by the leadership at the expense of the regular population. At every turn, the people of Angola have suffered at the hands of their leaders and the international community. (More at International Edition)

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