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Congo

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4843-9
240 pages
May 2013, Polity
Congo (0745648436) cover image
The Democratic Republic of Congo has become one of the world's bloodiest hot spots. 2003 saw the end of a five-year war in which millions lost their lives - one of the deadliest conflicts since World War II. Despite recent peace agreements and democratic elections, the country is still plagued by army and militia violence. Congo remains deeply troubled, since the deep-rooted causes of conflict have not been adequately addressed.

The conflict in the DRC has divided opinion; some call it a civil war, or a war of aggression by the country's neighbours; others a continuation of Rwanda's Hutu-Tutsi conflict on Congolose soil, and a war of partition and pillage. The prevalence of rape and sexual violence has led some analysts to mark it out as a hidden ‘war against women'. Tom Turner's insightful book reveals how each of these descriptions accurately captures the separate elements of this complex and multidimensional political conflict. In exploring each of these contributory factors, he shows how current attempts to rebuild the shattered state and society of DRC are doomed to fail. So long as the full complexity of the Congo crisis is not taken into account and a clear consensus as to its precise dimensions reached, the future looks bleak. The DRC, he argues, will likely remain a global hot spot for some time to come.

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Maps vi

Abbreviations vii

Preface xii

Author’s Note xvi

Introduction: Congo, a Perennial Hot Spot 1

1 Congo as a Playing Field 15

2 African Players on the Congo Field 46

3 Identity as a Driver of Conflict 74

4 Congo's War Against Women 120

5 Congo's "Resource Curse" 147

6 The Responsibility to Protect 179

Notes 205

Bibliography 226

Index 230

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Thomas Turner is a DRC country specialist for Amnesty International USA and author of The Congo Wars.
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  • The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most troubled and violent regions in the world today.
  • This is a new contribution to Polity's pioneering ‘Hotspots in Global Politics' series, written by a leading expert on the region
  • Tom Turner's engaging analysis expertly guides readers through the ethnic, territorial and gendered dimensions of this complex conflict.
  • This book is acccessible enough to appeal to anyone with an interest in African politics and in the politics of conflict more generally
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"This study is a remarkably compact and honest summary of incredibly complex events in Congo since 1998. Turner is among a handful of Congo observers with the breadth of knowledge and confidence to distill the country’s recent history in such an excellent manner.  His digest of both the causes and consequences of Congo's recent tragedies will stimulate the thinking of laymen, students, and scholars alike."
John F. Clark, Florida International University

"The book on Congo that I have been waiting for: compact, powerful, and judicious. It is clear without oversimplifying the complexity. It provides an important historical perspective, and makes sexual violence central to the set of problems that need to be explained. Perfect for classroom use, and an excellent primer on the central issues for experts and readers of all hues."
Nancy Rose Hunt, University of Michigan

"With keen attention to historical detail, Turner offers a wide-ranging analysis of the political and humanitarian challenges posed by the Congo's agonies; no one seriously interested in taking the measure of the unfolding crisis can afford to ignore this compelling effort to make intelligible its never-ending quest for peace and stability."
René Lemarchand, University of Florida
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