In This Review

The African Stakes of the Congo War
The African Stakes of the Congo War
Edited by John F. Clark
Palgrave, 2002, 264 pp.
The War Within the War: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo
The War Within the War: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo
By Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch, 2002, 114 pp.

Clark's collection is a good opening contribution to what in time should be a large literature on Africa's "first world war." Poorly covered in the American media, this complex conflict has directly or indirectly cost several million lives over the last seven years and has involved combatants from at least eight countries. Clark's helpful introduction lays out a spectrum of theoretical approaches to understanding the war: state collapse and state building, the rise of warlordism, the shifting normative and strategic global environment, and the politics of military interventions. His later chapter draws a stimulating parallel between Uganda's intervention and the American quagmire in Vietnam. Crawford Young sketches the historical context, and further country chapters analyze the roles of Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Other contributors examine the role of Congolese proxy rebel groups, the maladroit politics of Laurent Kabila, the impact of arms proliferation, the war's economic costs, and its consequences for refugees and internally displaced persons. The Human Rights Watch report, meanwhile, is a searing account of how rape has been used with impunity as a military tactic to subdue and control large swaths of eastern Congo.