But for years Tutsi-led Rwanda has tried to carve out a zone of influence in eastern Congo, using ethnic Tutsi militias and Tutsi businessmen inside Congo to do its bidding. Rwanda has a very disciplined, patriotic army that punches above its weight -- the Israel of Africa. It was Rwanda’s invasion in 1996 that sent Congo into a tailspin it has yet to recover from.
For years, the United States and Rwanda’s other Western friends turned a blind eye to this meddling. Again, like Israel, Rwanda has succeeded in leveraging the guilt that other countries feel for not intervening in its genocide -- in which almost a million people were killed when Hutu militias targeted Tutsis in 1994 -- to blunt criticism of itself. But recently the United States and Britain have been presented with such a mountain of allegations about how Rwanda funneled arms into Congo and even directed the recent capture of Goma that they had no choice but to change tack. So the Western powers recently slashed aid to Rwanda because of Congo, sending a simple but forceful message: Get out.
Would even the Times’ often hostile-to-Israel editorial page make a statement as sweeping as Israel has “succeeded in leveraging guilt” from the Holocaust to “blunt criticism of itself” without any specific context? But buried in a news piece about the causes of the horrors in Congo, it is that much more insidious. Then piece together the comparisons to a nation inflicting immeasurable pain on its neighbor supported by “western friends” who turn a “blind eye” as it seeks to “blunt criticism” by “leveraging guilt” and you have one of the most unfair and biased comparisons one can imagine.