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    The UN may seed more troops to Cougo. Would they do auy good?



        WHEN elephants fight, goes a Swahiliz sayingj, it's the grass that suffers.  And  so it is in eastern Congo, where civilians are being trampled in a terrible way in fighting involving Congolese troops, followers of the rebe leader, Laurent Nkunda, and an assortment' of nasty` militias. Some 250,000 people have been displaced. Reports of massacres, rape, cholera and hunger are multiplying'. Aid-workers say some 100,000 refugees are cut off from any help. Worse may come if the instability turns once again into a wider war.



        The cane-wielding Mr Nkunda, a dissident" Tutsi general with ties to Rwanda, has led his rebels against the weak Congolese government for years. He declined to take part in the political process that led to the election of Joseph Kabila as president in 2006. He says he is defending fellow Tutsis against murderous Hutu militias who, he says, are being supported by the government in Kinshasa''.



        His soldiers have been poised" to take the lakeside town of Goma, the provincial capital and once a tourist destination. Congo's army, backed by a thin blue line of UN peacekeepers, is *in no shape" to resist him. It was supposed to be reconstituted"' from the various units, militias and rebels that fought in the civil war between 1998 and 2003. But poorly paid government soldiers have scattered" as rebels advanced, killing and looting the very people they were supposed to be protecting.



        General Nkunda has threatened to march across Congo to Kinshasa to overthrow Mr Kabila if he refuses to start formal talks with the rebels. That sounds fanciful': Congo, nearly the size of western Europe, is covered in thick jungle and has almost no roads. But Rwandan-backed rebels did take Kinshasa once before, in 1997, sweeping away the old dictator, Mobutu Sese  Seko,  and installing Mr Kabila's elephantine; father, Laurent. Rwandan-and Ugandan-backed forces came close to repeating the upheaval a year later, provoking the awful civil war that *sucked in forces from several nearby countries including Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.



        General Nkunda knows that merely threatening such an assault will spread dismay and *play on popular dissatisfaction with Mr Kabila's government. "Kinshasa may be a dream but Nkunda seems intent on causing more trouble if he doesn't get what he wants," says a diplomat.



         Outsiders have so far done little to help. United Nations officials have asked the Security Council to approve the deployment of 3,000 more peacekeepers to*bulk up'' the 17,000-strong; force already spread across Congo. But it could take months to raise the extra troops and deploy  them. It is unclear, moreover, how far  UN soldiers are really able or willing to protect  civilians.  Peacekeepers  in Kiwanja did not prevent a massacre of dozens last week.



        The European Union, which has two 1,500-strong battlegroups ready to deploy within days, has been *deaf to appeals for intervention. Neighbours may yet act; Angola has some troops in  Congo, training the army; the regional body, the Southern African Development Community,  said it was ready to send troops.



        A useful idea might be to get Rwanda to *hold back General Nkunda. This is not easy, not  least because its relations with some European countries have taken a bad turn. Diplomatic  pressure, especially from Rwanda's close friends, Britain and America, may be having some  effect: General Nkunda has not yet mounted his attack on Goma. But for how long will the   elephant be restrained.讓盧達阻比恩孔達將軍或許足個有用的主意這小太容易,主要足因為盧達與一些歐洲國家的關系己然交惡外交壓力,尤其足來自盧達的親密伙伴英國和美國的壓力可能會有一些效果所以恩孔達將軍至今還沒有對戈馬發動進攻但足這頭大象還能被約束多久?

        建正譯注自The Economist

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