Socialist Worker

Is Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army the world's most evil man?

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2293

A viral web campaign Kony 2012 is publicising Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in east Africa, as the world's worst war criminal.

The campaign is run by Invisible Children, a US charity which is supporting US military intervention in the region.

President Barack Obama sent 100 “military advisers” to the region last year. They were sent to Uganda and across central Africa to assist in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Invisible Children is demanding 'that the US military advisers support the Ugandan army until Kony has been captured and the LRA has been completely disarmed. They need to follow through all the way and finish what they have started.'

The LRA has fought a brutal, atrocity-laden guerrilla campaign across Uganda for 26 years. It terrorised parts of northern Uganda, often relying on kidnapped children to bolster its forces. But the Ugandan government has long since defeated its main organisation.

Only around 300 fighters remain, and they have been pushed out of Uganda into the bush region on the borders of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Yet the US government passed the “LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act” in 2010 specifically to support intervention. Why did the US send troops so long after the LRA ceased to be a real threat?

Increased US interest in Africa, partly due to competition with China, saw the creation of the US African military command (Africom) in 2008. But it has floundered. So far it hasn't found anywhere in Africa that will allow it to establish its headquarters—so it is based in Germany.

Last year’s air attacks on Libya were Africom’s first major operation.

It is not a coincidence that these latest moves came after the Nato victory in Libya—and the partial rehabilitation of the idea of “humanitarian intervention”.

This is what Invisible Children is supporting—and it will not help the people of Uganda any more than the disastrous US invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan or Iraq have helped the people there.

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Thu 8 Mar 2012, 15:42 GMT
Issue No. 2293
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