In 1994 Rwanda, a small central African country was put into international limelight. In a span of 100 days almost half a million of its citizens were killed, a concentrated slaughter of the Tutsi by the Hutu, a modern genocide that overwhelm anyone that bothered to care. As horrific events unfold everyday and cries for help bellow in Rwanda the international community took the back seat. We are living in an era that already witness appalling massacres beforehand but still the world stood still and left Rwanda to tend to its own woes.
After the crisis in Rwanda was over the international community then took notice. Questions on how and why the killings happen arise but most importantly what could have been done to prevent it. Together with the United Nations many developed countries faced scrutiny about polices created during this crisis. This paper will look into the non-intervention policy of the Unites States during the genocide using rational actor model. The aim is to understand why the United States vehemently stood by the policy even after repeated call to intervene.
Using the rational actor model this paper will try to answer the questions: What was the goal of the government about peacekeeping missions in Africa? What are the alternative responses considered and why it was abandoned? Lastly what other actions could the administration take to be able to improve the decision making during such crisis. Background of the Rwanda Crisis The Original Hutus and Tutsis Ancestors of the modern Hutus and Tutsis initially lived in symbiosis throughout the region. Some are herders of cattle while others are croppers.
They form the beliefs, culture and one of the official languages, Kinya-rwanda that is still being shared by both groups until today. Before colonizers arrived society is structured based on ancestry or on allegiance to a chief (Leave none to tell). Majority of the early Rwandans are croppers who are short and broad other are herders who are tall and thin then a small number of them are foragers who are smaller that the croppers. As Rwanda emerges as a nation, power and wealth is shaped by the size of followers and count of herds respectively (Leave none to tell). Both the croppers and herders held power and wealth.
In the 19th century Rwabugiri came into power and stirred Rwanda to opulence. He was an expansionist and started conquering lands with disregard whether they are croppers or herders. (Des Forges). Under his rule anyone that was conquered was labeled as Hutu meaning follower. While territories expand and wealth is accumulated the wealthier ones started to view those with lesser assets as an inferior race. Eventually the word Tutsi which formerly means cattle owner is associated with the elites and the word Hutu evolve to pertain to anyone belonging to the masses (Leave none to tell).
Majority of the population during this period are Hutus while the Tutsis occupy the small nobility. However distinction between the two is flexible thus they cannot be differentiated into an ethnic group and hostility is scarce (Jones). Marriage between Hutus and Tutsis was not unheard of as well. Both the Hutus and Tutsis mold the complex hierarchy within the country. Although the Tutsis are the elites some Hutus still hold significant power over some parts of the land. Transformation of the Hutus and Tutsis By the 20th century the Germans and the Belgians arrived and colonized the land.
The Germans first arrived then after the World War I the Belgians settled in Rwanda. The actions and racial assumptions of these colonizers will set ground for repressed hatred of the Hutus that will fuel the genocide. When the Belgians arrived the complex hierarchy that is pre-existing in Rwanda was viewed as troublesome to understand so they decided to change the current political structure. Based on the racial assumptions that Europeans are the superior race they decide to rule over the Rwandans and divide the nation based of assumptions common to early Europeans.
Using physical features as guide they believed that the Tutsis, who are mostly tall and thin, are closely related to them in the evolution ladder therefore they are superior like Europeans. The Hutus, who are smaller and bulkier, and who look less like the colonizers are uncivilized (Jones). The Belgians then practice this bias view to withdraw power and authority to any Hutus and give preferential advantages to Tutsis in terms of politics, education, and wealth (Unit Four). To ease identification the Belgians launched a policy for Rwandans to carry identification cards that state whether they are Tutsis or Hutus.
This permanent record of membership was fully accepted by the Tutsis and for years they enjoy affluences. Conversely, the Hutus collectively feel the domination and their years of oppression will swell into violence to recapture lost authority Habyarimana Regime In September 1959 the Union Nationale Rwandaise or UNAR was formed, a political party mostly comprised of the ruling Tutsi elite, to put pressure on Belgians to relinquish power to them. In response the Belgians started to support the Hutu party called Parti du Mouvement de l’Emancipation Hutu or PARMEHUTU (History of a People).
PARMEHUTU aim to end the monarchy rule of the Tutsi. Series of vicious killings followed where thousand of Tutsi were killed and others fled to various countries like Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda (Rwanda: How). At first the PARMEHUTU mostly targeted Tutsi officials and supporters while ordinary Tutsi are still spared. To restore order the Belgians then assimilate more Hutu in the local government (Leave none to tell). Then in 1961 with the help of local Hutu officials the PARMEHUTU won the first election with 77. 7% of the votes (Rwanda Political).
From then on the PARMEHUTU hold the majority in the government they ended the monarchy by the Tutsi and establish the Hutu-led republic. On July 1, 1962 the Belgians eventually relinquish the power and awarded sovereignty to Rwandans. The PARMAHETU retained the discriminatory identity cards even after independence (Leave none to tell). However, the tables are turned; the once advantageous card for the Tutsi became their ticket to prejudice or worst death. Tutsi refugees continued to make efforts to return to Rwanda through guerilla attacks at the border they were considered by the government as rebels.
The PARMAHETU then used these attacks as propaganda to promote unity among Hutus. Tutsis that are still in the country were targeted and accused of accommodating the rebels. Hostility towards the Tutsis perpetuated for years. They were subjected in constant fear for just being a Tutsi (Leave none to tell). President Gregoire Kayibanda of the First Republic even used the killings of Tutsi to keep the Hutu in the majority (History of a People). After a coup d’etat by President Kayibanda’s army chief, General Juvenal Habyarimana, the Second Republic was established (Leave none to tell).
Habyarimana then institute the Mouvement Revolutionnaire Nationale pour le Developpement or MRND in 1975. Rwanda then was transformed into a single-party state were all citizens are automatic members. Habyarimana manage to remain in power until his death in 1994 through manipulation of the elections where he is the sole candidate (Rwanda Political). For years President Habyarimana and his cronies reap the reward of being the only one in power. Inevitably a call for change among opposition Hutu compels President Habyarimana to let opposition parties to organize.
In 1991 several parties emerge, the significant parties are: Mouvement Democratique Republicain/ Democratic Republican Movement/MDR, Parti Liberal/Liberal Party/PL, Parti Social Democrate/Democratic and Socialist Party/PSD, Parti Democrate Chretien/ Democratic Christian Party/PDC, and the Coalition pour la Defense de la Republique/ Coalition for the Defense of the Republic/CDR (Leave none to tell). These parties will vital roles during and after the genocide. The RPF From President Gregoire Kayibanda of the First Republic to President Major General Juvenal Habyarimana of the Second Republic the Tutsi continued to suffer from bigotry.
Both these presidents even used the killing of Tutsis as a mean to promote solidarity among Hutus (Leave none to tell). Amidst all of the aggression towards the Tutsi the Tutsi refugees in Uganda formed the Rwandese Patriotic Front or RPF, a guerrilla organization aimed to return the refugees to Rwanda. It was initially a peaceful movement seeking diplomatic resolution to the refugee problem (History of a People). The RPF made some promising advancement in resolving the problem. Three joint meetings with Uganda and the commission created by President Habyarimana transpired from 1989 to July1990 (Leave none to tell).
However, negotiations ended when the RPF decided to invade Rwanda on October 1990 not only to re-establish the refugees but to overthrow the dictatorship of Habyarimana. The initial attack of the RPF was used by the radical Hutus to incite disdain towards Tutsis. President Habyarimana also used the invasion as a black propaganda to rebuild his waning reputation. (Rwanda: How). To win back support he promulgated the RPF as the common adversary of the nation (Unit Four). Retaliations between Hutu and the RPF shaped the civil war that lasted for three years.
Pressure from the international community prompted Habyarimana in agreeing to a mediated peace talk. And on August 4th, 1993 the Arusha Peace Agreement was signed in Arusha, Tanzania. The agreement aim to end the civil war and it stipulates the following accords: formation of the rule of law, power-sharing, repatriation of refugees, and the merging of MDR and RPF armies. (History of a People). The Arusha Peace Agreement and the UNAMIR The Arusha Peace Agreement sought to end the civil war in Rwanda. Its protocols are essential in achieving lasting peace in Rwanda.
It was also agreed that within 37 days after the signing of the agreement a broad-based transitional government or BBTG and national assembly will be established. The transition period was expected to last up to 22 months after which elections will take place (History of a People; Dallaire & Poulin 66). To help in the implementation of the agreement on October 1993 the Security Council of the United Nations invokes resolution 872 (1993) and organized the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda or UNAMIR.
It authorized 2,500 peacekeeping forces (Dallaire & Poulin 66) to preserve the fragile cease-fire between the MRND and RPF after the agreement. The UNAMIR was initially headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Rwanda Jacques-Roger Booh-Booh of Cameroon then succeeded by Shaharyar M. Khan of Pakistan. Two Canadian military officers served as Force Commander: Major-General Romeo A. Dallaire 1993-1994 followed by Major-General Guy Tousignant after them Brigadier-General Shiva Kumar of Pakistan took over the post until 1996 (United Nations Assist; Unamir).
Initial directives of the UNAMIR are: securing the capital city of Kigali; uphold the cease-fire treaty; observe activities during the BBTG until the elections; help in clearing mines; and assist in synchronization of humanitarian assistance activities together with relief operations (Unasog). To start off the mission the UN then call for volunteers but only Belgium and Bangladesh heeded the call. The combine force was about 800 troops (Unamir:Background) it was deployed and it arrived in Kigali on December 1993 (United Nations Assist).
However, it took another five months before the 2,500 authorized forced was reached (Unamir:Background). In the report of the Secretary-General by the end of December he stated that most parts of phase 1 are already fulfilled. Despite some uncompromising standpoint between parties the cease fire holds and MRND and RPF continued to be amiable towards one another. Major-General Dallaire then wanted to proceed with plans in phase 2 (United Nations Assist). On January 1994 the BBTG and the National Assembly was expected to be put into place but it never materialize.
The failure of the MRND, RPF and other political parties to agree on some issues as well as selection of their respective members belated further implementation of the Arusha Agreement. Due to this the phase 1 of the mission was not completed and UNAMIR cannot proceed into phase 2 (United Nations Assist). The UNAMIR continued to face setback in completing its mandate. As the situation in Rwanda continued to intensify it will go through numerous adjustments in its mandate from the time of the genocide until the withdrawal of the mission in 1996 (United Nations Assist).
Genocide Many Hutu radicals do not accept the Arusha Agreement since they do not want to share power with the Tutsi. Also the military was alarmed of the provision to merge the MRND and RPF forces. Many of them fear the merger will discharge them from the military service. Since a military career entails power and privilege many of the high-level officials and military personnel are not willing to give it up (Leave none to tell). As early as 1992 the radicals have already premeditated the eradication of the Tutsi to resolve the growing political problem in Rwanda (Jones).
The catalyst for the genocide happened on April 1994 when the plane carrying President Habyarimana and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi was shot down while trying to land in Kigali. Perpetrators of the assassination are still unknown until today. But ensuing chaos that followed tattooed into the mind of hearts of the international community. Due to the demise of the President Habyarimana, Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, became the head of state (Power). Major-General Dallaire was alarmed about the news since Prime Minister Uwilingiyimana is a representative from the opposition party MDR (Leave none to tell).
A known moderate Hutu that opposed President Habyarimana. Since the general knew beforehand, that plans to exterminate Tutsi and moderate Hutu are happening in the background, he feared for Uwilingiyimana life (Power). Dallaire send 10 Belgian UNAMIR peacekeepers to protect her but within day they were all killed by the radical Hutu. These initials events escalate to the systematic killings of over a million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. No one was spared woman, men, and even children were mercilessly hacked by machetes.
It was coordinate by the top Hutu authorities in the country (Rwanda: How). But most of the killings were executed by the ordinary people. The killing spree will continue for days thousands of terrified Tutsi call for help but none arrive. Individual countries did send out missions to Rwanda but only to extract their own citizens. The UNAMIR was not able to offer much help as well since engaging the radical Hutu is not part of its mandate (Power). With no help in sight the Tutsi are left like sitting ducks to the Hutus who hunted them to extinction.
The Hutus almost succeeded but on July 1994 the RPF was able to capture Kigali and drove the radical elements to either Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, or Tanzania. The genocide finally ended but it leaves a lasting impression to every Hutu and Tutsi alike. Analysis It was March 1998, four years after the genocide, when President Bill Clinton issued the so called Clinton Apology. He addressed the survivors of the genocide and express regret that the United States was not able to do more to help Rwanda.
Upon hearing the emotional apology anyone without background knowledge of events could construed that the United States did help but it was just not enough (Power). However policies of the United States towards the incident were no help to Rwandans. The primary policy of no intervention may have caused thousands of lives that could have been saved if only help was sent. Another Somalia Before the wake of the Rwanda genocide the United States was traumatized by the events the happen in the intervention in Somalia. The humanitarian mission seemed to be uncomplicated: to restore peace and bring food to the famine stricken country.
But as the mission progress it became clear that dealing with the warlords could eventually bring the peace in the land. When the American forces confronted Mohammed Farah Aideed, the most powerful warlord, the result was the death of 18 soldiers. The price to pay for the intervention was crystal clear and the troops were summoned back home (Utley). From then on the United States is not willing to pay that price again (Rwanda: the Preventable). When the news of the genocide hit the international community many countries feel that an action should be taken as early as possible but the Unites States was not ecstatic to help right away.
The US also did not persuade the UN to take action. Two things came in mind: the need for the UN to sanction another humanitarian force and the foreseeable failure of that mission which will eventually be withdrawn. This is Somalia all over again (Ferroggiaro). The goal of the Clinton administration is to avoid another Somalia and staying away from the Rwanda crisis was the clear choice to achieve this goal. Observers argued that the oblivious attitude of the US toward the genocide was due to the fact that Rwanda holds no economic or strategic interest to the US (Caroll).
In defense the administration dismissed this notion. They believe the UN will lose more once another humanitarian mission fail than not doing any action (Power). Alternative actions Although the policy to shun away from the Rwanda crisis was the surmounting choice other alternatives was presented on how to deal with the crisis. One proposed alternative that is in line with the goal of no military intervention is the prevention of arms importation to Rwanda. The proposal came from senator Paul Simon and senator James Jeffords (Ferroggiaro).
However this proposal is ineffective since majority of the weapons used in the genocide are ordinary farming tools already available to the Hutu, one good example is the machete (Power). Another option is to thwart the operation of the Radio-Television libre des mille collines. It is a government owned radio station infamous for its anti-Tutsi propaganda (Rwanda: The Preventable). The radio station assisted the genocide by continuing to broadcast hate towards the Tutsi even letting the mob know where Tutsis could be found and encourage the mob to pursue and kill the Tutsi.
Since the radio station was owned by the Hutu dominated government it is easy to instill a good image for the Hutus. The lack of other forms of media, mainly because the government has monopoly of everything, made the broadcast of the radio as the ultimate truth (Braunshweig). Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley, the U. S. military liaison to the Arusha Agreement, proposed three courses of action: demolish the radio’s antenna, contradict the hate campaign by broadcasting a call to stop the killing, and just distort the radio’s broadcast.
But this alternative was again deemed as ineffective and costly to implement. According to the Pentagon the terrain in Rwanda will diminish the capability of the jamming device. Also the total cost to transport and setup the device will be excessive (Power). Although all of these directives are indirect intervention and still in line with the goal none were considered as a course of action. The arms restriction does seem to be ineffective since as shown by the media most of the killers are carrying machetes. However the attempt to stop hate broadcast could have made a difference in the death toll.
It might not stop the war but it could help in saving lives of specially those specifically targeted by the Hutu. It was clear however that to stop the war the military will be needed. This action would be a direct contradiction to the goal of not repeating the failure of Somalia. The other alternatives on the other hand are inefficient and ineffective to help alleviate the situation. In the end the United State made a choice not to intervene with the internal affair of Rwanda. As presented the choice was the most rational to be able to keep the national interest of the country.
The model used was able to answer the question why did the United States choose this policy and was able to give an insight to events that lead to that decision. In one perspective this decision was the better option. Since this crisis do not have any effect to national security. It is best that resources are allocated to more pressing matters. As callous as it might sound if ever the Hutus were successful in wiping out the Tutsi it will have no effect to the national interest of the United States. But on the other hand, using moral judgment, one is compelled to help those who are in need.
However one must take into consideration on how far should we help. Sending military forces to intervene might be able to help put the radical elements at bay but this will not fully achieve the peace that Rwanda direly need. It can only be resolved by Rwandans themselves. The main reason for the violence was the deeply rooted hatred towards one another. With no distinct features to separate the Tutsi from a Hutu anymore, the realization that they are one will be the first step of the Rwandans to progress. References Carroll, Rory. “US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide”. The Guardian. 31 Mar 2004.
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