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The Democratic Republic of Congo has become one of the world's bloodiest hot spots. 2003 saw the end of a five-year war in which millions lost their lives - one of the deadliest conflicts since World War II. Despite recent peace agreements and democratic elections, the country is still plagued by army and militia violence. Congo remains deeply troubled, since the deep-rooted causes of conflict have not been adequately addressed. The conflict in the DRC has divided opinion; some call it a civil war, or a war of aggression by the country's neighbours; others a continuation of Rwanda's Hutu-Tutsi conflict on Congolose soil, and a war of partition and pillage. The prevalence of rape and sexual violence has led some analysts to mark it out as a hidden ;war against women'. Tom Turner's insightful book reveals how each of these descriptions accurately captures the separate elements of this complex and multidimensional political conflict. In exploring each of these contributory factors, he shows how current attempts to rebuild the shattered state and society of DRC are doomed to fail. So long as the full complexity of the Congo crisis is not taken into account and a clear consensus as to its precise dimensions reached, the future looks bleak. The DRC, he argues, will likely remain a global hot spot for some time to come.
Thomas Turner is Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, a DRC country specialist for Amnesty International USA, and author of The Congo Wars.