In May 1997 Kabila came to power in the former Zaire (which he renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo), ousting dictator Mobutu. The US diplomacy was euphoric. They now had a string of "client" regimes which included Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, the DR of Congo and also a great deal of South Africa's foreign policy in the region was dictated by Washington. But many things have happened since. At least nine African countries have become involved in the Congo conflict which broke out on August 2. What is the meaning of the conflict in the DR of Congo?

This article, by Ted Grant, deals with the refugee crisis in Central Africa at the end of 1996, when Belgium and French imperialists were demanding military intervention in the area for 'humanitarian purposes'.

On October 16, 1997, the troops of the former president of Congo Brazzaville, M. Sassou Nguesso, took control of the capital Brazzaville, thus ousting the current president Pascal Lissouba, after a five month long civil war. It would be very difficult to understand the reasons for this conflict without taking into account the background struggle for influence between French and US imperialism in Africa, and the interests of the different oil companies in the rich oil fields in Congo Brazzaville's Atlantic coast.

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