Is an abundance of resources the primary source of Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? "In some ways [resource exploitation] has become the means and the ends of the conflict," said Jennifer Cooke, the director of the Africa program in Congo at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in New York. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the most resource-rich countries in the world; however, these natural resources have perpetuated existing political, social and ethnic issues and led to the “War of Resources” (Nzongala, 2004). This essay will argue that while the abundance of resources in the DRC has contributed to conflict, the response of international powers to these resources has caused this conflict to persist. Furthermore, I will argue that international influences are more to blame than local governments due to early colonization, political interference (especially with regard to Patrice Lumumba and Mobutu Seko) and the occupation of Kivu by Uganda and Rwanda. The greed/grievance theory and resource curse thesis will be utilized throughout this essay to analyse the sources of conflict in Congo. I will firstly use the resource curse thesis to introduce the issue of resource related conflict in the DRC. Furthermore, I will use focus on the greed/grievance theory to critically discuss the contribution of international influences to the ongoing conflict in Congo. Additionally, I will use the examples of political leaders such as Lumumba and Mobutu to demonstrate how foreign influences can impact upon the domestic government, and their control over resources in Congo. I will also illustrate how the illegal occupation of land by neighbouring states such as Uganda and Rwanda has been central to conflict in the DRC. International pressures have played a key role in stunting the Congo’s' ability to profit from their vast resource wealth. left2921000
Source: Phillipe Rekacewicz, in Atlas du Monde diplomatique, 2003< HYPERLINK...
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