Peacekeeping by proxy in Uganda

The ever-insightful Ken Opalo had a great post last week about why the US has been putting so much military aid towards the hunt for Joseph Kony in Uganda, even as it’s tried to avoid getting involved in the much more pressing humanitarian emergency in the CAR.  Key point:

The US recently announced new military aid to Uganda, including four CV-22 Ospreys and an additional 150 Special Operation troops (to join the 100 deployed in 2011) in an effort to step up the hunt for Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony is suspected to be in hiding in the border regions CAR, the DRC, Sudan and South Sudan. Of course this rather bizarre decision (is Kony really that much of a priority right now in the Great Lakes Region?) is motivated by the need to keep the Ugandan military in top shape and ready to fight in places the US doesn’t want to set foot.

I tend to assume that US aid to other countries’ militaries is always driven by foreign policy concerns.  In this light, assisting in the hunt for Kony doesn’t make much sense.  But it’s quite interesting to consider that the Defense Department might be concerned about stability in Africa more broadly, beyond the immediate threat they see (xenophobically) from Muslim armed groups.

(Thank you to Scott for pointing out that I forgot to link to Ken’s post!)

 

6 thoughts on “Peacekeeping by proxy in Uganda

  1. It become clear over time that the number one sustained military priority for the Defense Department in Africa is the training and deployment of Ugandan army battalions to Somalia. Every US asset allocated to battle the LRA is one less Ugandan unit diverted from Somalia. The US can get away with putting troops on the ground to fight the LRA. They can’t do the same on the ground in Somalia, thus the priority.

    After nearly a decade of US training and battle experience in Somalia, I think the Ugandans have arguably one of the best equipped/experienced armies in Africa. If not in the world. The problem with this is it then gives Museveni a tool with which to do other things with his army, like South Sudan, that have nothing to do with the original AMISOM/UN mandate with which his folks were trained.

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    1. On South Sudan, Uganda is actually justified to use whatever resources it has to ensure South Sudan’s stability. This is so because instability in South Sudan means recreating a stronghold for Joseph Kony. Remember, Southern Sudan was Kony’s operations headquarters during the Sudanese war, with Bashir supporting him. Therefore, it is incoherent to suggest that Uganda isn’t appropriately using the US military support.

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      1. Understand & agree in terms of past LRA operations. But I don’t think the Ugandan army is there just for stability, or at least that’s not what they’re going to get. They’ve actively chosen a side in a civil war. So while other countries, including the US, are try to get the parties to sit down and talk, the Ugandan army is in the mix. So an AU/UN mandate trains & equips a Ugandan battalion for Somalia, which is then used against the UN desire for a peaceful resolution in South Sudan. And around & around we go. I don’t think there’s an answer here, as nobody else is lining up to provide troops to Somalia, but it’s quite a frustrating situation.

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