TITLE

ZAIRE: THE UNENDING CRISIS

AUTHOR(S)
Young, Crawford
PUB. DATE
September 1978
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;Fall1978, Vol. 57 Issue 1, p169
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article focuses on the Shaba uprising in Zaire in 1978. During the year, 4,500 Front National pour la Liberation du Congo (FNLC) irregulars seized Kolwezi in a well-executed operation and were driven out only by a Franco-Belgian military intervention with U.S. logistical support. This episode was in every respect a tragedy: thousands of Zairians perished, either in the short-lived FNLC occupation, the Foreign Legion reconquest or Zairian pacification operations. Nearly all the 2,000 European residents fled, and at least 130 were killed. The mining industry, accounting for 75 to 80 percent of copperbelt output, was crippled for months. In the short-to-middle run, full operations would only be possible under the protection of non-Zairian security forces, adding Zaire to the depressing list of African states whose survival depends on foreign troops. While Shaba I appeared only a short-lived episode, Shaba II laid bare the deeper aspects of what appears to be a permanent crisis confronting Zaire. What had once seemed a powerful and reasonably effective regime is overwhelmed by a deepening social crisis provoked by the pauperization of the mass of the populace, evaporating internal legitimacy and external credibility, a crushing debt burden and the transparent unreliability of its numerous armed forces. The complex impasse was made more intractable by its internationalization.
ACCESSION #
4853892

 

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