Rwanda

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Rwanda In the spring of 1994, more than three-quarters of a million Rwandans were massacred by their own government. A breakdown in state authority and a foundering peace process had resulted in the extreme government of the country taking drastic measures, eliminating every person of rival ethnicity or those who sympathized with them. Knowing that after Somalia, the United States and the United Nations would not commit troops or money when a significant threat existed, they orchestrated an attack on UN forces that convinced the international community to pack up and go home. Yet members of both the U.S. embassy and the UN peacekeeping force recognized that a genocide was occurring, and pressured the agencies to act quickly. Instead, the United Nations quickly withdrew, and the government officials who had pushed for intervention were relegated to back offices in the State Department. I Rwanda is a nation made up of two culturally and ethnically distinct groups, the Tutsis and the Hutus, who live among each other in all parts of the country. Until the push for independence in 1959, the Tutsis largely controlled local Rwandan politics. After freedom from Belgium in 1962, however, Hutus assumed power, and held on to that power successfully throughout several coup attempts over the next two decades by Tutsis who had fled to neighboring regions as well as those within the country who were continually discriminated against. By 1975, the Hutu essentially ran the country, and the Tutsis’ original 17 percent of the population had been significantly reduced, both by emigration, forced exiling, and periodic “ethnic cleansing.” Until 1990, the country was largely peaceful, though it was largely because of the iron fist by which the... ... middle of paper ... ...” International Studies Review, Fall 2001, pp. 75–99. Documents from the National Security Archive: Facsimile from Maj. Gen. Roméo Dallaire, Force Commander, UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda, to Maj. Gen. Maurice Baril, UN Dept. of Peacekeeping Operations, “Request for Protection for Informant,” Jan. 11, 1994. Memorandum from Deputy Asst. Sec. of Defense for Middle East/Africa, through Asst. Sec. of Defense for International Security Affairs, to Undersec. of Defense for Policy, “Talking Points on Rwanda/Burundi,” Apr. 11, 1994. Discussion Paper, Office of the Deputy Asst. Sec. of Defense for Middle East/Africa Region, Dept. of Defense, “Rwanda,” May 1, 1994. Memorandum of Conversation, Office of the Deputy Asst. Sec. of Defense for Middle East/Africa, Dept. of Defense, “Rwanda Interagency Telecon,” drafted by Lt. Col. Michael Harvin, May 11, 1994.

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