First Congo War

First Congo War

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First Congo War

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The First Congo War (November 1996 to May 1997) was a revolution in Zaire that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko, a decades-long dictator, with rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors to align against the corrupt and inept government in Kinshasa. The new government renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although it brought little true change. Kabila alienated his allies and failed to address the issues that had led to the war, ultimately allowing the Second Congo War to begin in 1998, mere months after coming to power. In fact, some experts prefer to view the two conflicts as one war.e.g.: Reyntjens, Filip. The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996-2006. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009. p. 194

Background

Failing state

Mobutu came to power in Kinshasa in 1965 and enjoyed support from the United States during the Cold War. However, his authoritarian rule and policies allowed the Zairian state to decay, evidenced by a 65 percent decrease in Zairian GDP between independence in 1960 and the end of Mobutu's rule in 1997. Following the end of the Cold War, the United States stopped supporting Mobutu in favor of what it called a "new generation of African...
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