Hearts of Darkness: A TLIAW


The spark sailed from the faulty wiring onto the barrel, onto a tiny patch of spilled oil. And so the fire started. Soon, the oil in the barrel started to burn, the barrel promptly exploded, sending flames across the storage room. The flames really stated jumping then, barrel after barrel fell to the fiery beast, burning the black gold into char. As hard as the airmen tried, nothing could stop the fiery blaze. Soon the entire building was ablaze. No planes took off that day, it shouldn't have mattered, there was plenty of oil elsewhere in Zimbabwe.

So to the average Zimbabwean it didn't matter. But it did matter hundreds of miles away, in a place called the Congo, in a city called Kinshasa. There, for the want of an Air force, a continent was changed.

The fall of Kinshasa was inevitable, rebels had controlled the main power source for some time as well a local mines. Without any outside support the Government troops soon collapsed. By mid-September RCD forces controlled the city. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was captured while attempting to flee the capital after he had an outburst at a stubborn guard, blowing his cover in seconds. He was brought before a Kangaroo court made up of RCD soldiers under orders to vote guilty for everything. He was unanimously convicted of charges including, but not limited to, corruption, genocide, treason, racketeering, murder, rape and kidnapping. To be fair, his troops did commit atrocities as much as the rebels, especially rape and he urged for a genocide against Tutsis. He was executed by firing squad the next day, it is said that his last words were a "presidential death sentence" on the soldiers making up the firing squad. His last screams were in vain, as the RCD began a looting spree, raping and pika ting the city. But the Democratic Republic of the Congo lived on in two men, Joseph Kabila and Vital Kamerhe. The war was not over by a long shot. In fact it was just starting.
What is this?

A Timline in a Week. It's like a TLIAD for lazy people who know they can't finish a TL in a day.

So it'll be finished in a Week then?

No where did you get that idea?

The Title

It's perfectly well known the titles of TLIAD/TLIAW/TLIAF/TLIAM's never actually finish in the time. It's the least I can do to uphold tradition, especially since it isn't about British politics.

Then what is it about? France?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, more specifically the Second Congo War or as it is more well known ITTL the Great African War.

Ohh Bugger.


Your going to try to write a dystopia, you've been reading 1984 too much, you'll just plagiarize evrey dystopia you've read!

No I won't.


Well…well your just a PLOT POINT!

I'm a way to give exposition, get it right

Shut up.
I haven't seen many TLIAWs about Africa so this will be interesting, will be reading. Nice intro bit, following true TLIAD tradition. :p
I've become inspired by the "State what you honestly think etc..." thread to read some of your posts, and your shameless plug in the Social Thread led me here! Subscribed, and looking forward to the TLIA?
Update later today. Rather short in afraid. But the later chapters are longer I promise. Until then here's a graphic, not Polibrit levels but it'll due.


In Which things Get Bad

The fall of Kinshasa and Kabila seemed to herald the end of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Soon, it seemed, the RCD would control all of the Congo. But it wasn't true, the DRC would live on, in two ways. In the North and the South. After the fall of Kinshasa and the subsequent purge of the government only two men with any influence escaped the violence. The first, Vital Kamerhe was Director of the Service National (a quasi-military service). He fled to the major southern city of Katanga, and commanded many of the lower ranking soldiers, who saw him as an experienced leader away from Kabila's corrupt government, even as he was the head of a quasi-military organization. Former Mobutuists praised him as an ex-member of the government of the dictator, even as he had abandoned him in a heartbeat. In short, support for Kamerhe was a lesson in contradictions, but he had the support of the populace, whatever the problems with arguments in his favor. His exact opposite was Joseph Kabila, the 28 year old son of the former president. He was more open to new ideas then his father, and is generally said to he a better person. However he was indisputably tied with the old government, and was inexperienced at leadership. He did command the loyalty of most generals, who owed their position to their favor with the elder Kabila. He lacked the support of many lower ranking soldiers though. Joseph Kabila had fled to the city of Bumba on the Congo River and quickly established power there and in some of the North West. Then came the DRC split, Kabila demanded that Kamerhe submit to his rule and surrender control of his army. In response Kamerhe ordered Kabila to stand down, offering him the Vice Presidential position. Kabila refused, declaring that he was his fathers successor with the lack of a credible election. Kamerhe responded by having the few parliamentary remnants in Katanga "elect" him President. On September 29th Kabila declared Kamerhe an outlaw and 3 days later the later responded in kind. Soon the DRC had split into the Democratic Republic of the Congo-Katanga and the Democratic Republic of the Congo-Bumba. It is after the split Nelson Mandela made the infamous quote "Everyone is a Rebel, no one is the government", reflecting the lawlessness of the situation. In the North East the Ugandan backed MLC gained ground against their former RCD allies. The war had fractured the nation beyond belief, it was bleeding and there were sharks in the water.

Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe had all been planning on intervening in favor of the government before Kinshasa fell. However the prompt fracturing of the remaining government forces threw a wrench in the works for plans of intervention. The pro-DRC collation fractured alongside the DRC itself. Angola had only one goal, preventing UNITA from gaining a foothold in the Congo, therefore it felt the need to preserve a central and strong government, something it saw in Vital Kamerhe's faction. By early October Angola had thrown its support behind the DRC-K, with a flow of arms steadily streaming into Katanga, as well as support in the form of "volunteers". Namibia also threw its support behind Kamerhe, though more reluctantly and with less vigor. Zimbabwe did the exact opposite, President Mugabe gave his nation's full support behind Kabila, including the most modern Air Force in Africa, which had been ready to defend Kinshasa had it not been for an untimely fire. Zimbabwean forces were crucial in halting further advances into DRC-B territory. Meanwhile Rwanda supported their RCD allied in hopes of influencing a nation many times larger then its own. Uganda did the same with the MCD. No one had friends, everyone had enemies.

In Which Dreams are Burned

The Stage was set for the Greatest War Africa had ever seen. The prize for your factions victory was a great one, power and influence in one of the most resource rich nations on earth, not to mention possibly coming the biggest power in Central Africa. With stakes as high as these everyone had a side. In the last chapter the Sides of Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. But as the fighting raged on more nations joined in diplomatically, for now.

The Government of the Republic of the Congo owed its current existence to Angolan military intervention in the 1997 Civil War, it thus diplomatically supported the DRC-K and turned a blind eye to Angolan arms smuggling towards anti-Kabila guerrillas just south of the border. The semi-democratic of the Central African Republic offered diplomatic support to the RCD. Sudan backed Kabila largely to spite the Ugandans, who harbored elements of the South Sudanese rebels. Though to be fair to the Ugandans the Sudanese harbored the Lord's Resistance Army in their territories. Gaddafi in Libya casually supported the Kabila "government" as did Zambia. The Burundians backed their "Racial Brethren" the Rwandans in quite openly backing the RCD. That was all for the time regarding foreign support, now back to the war.

After the fall of Kinshasa and the split of the DRC, the RCD seemed poised to win. However the MLC soon began fighting their former allies drawing forces away from the anti-DRC fronts. Not to mention a grand "March on Bumba" to destroy the Kabila clan was halted in its tracks as the sudden arrival of the Zimbabwean Air-Force. The subsequent rout of the RCD forced secured Kabila's place as a contender in the war. The 1998 Air Campaign launched the first official foreign intervention outside of volunteers and advisors. However it was only air intervention and boots on the ground would not come until later. Meanwhile the DRC-K launched an offensive towards Kinshasa, driving the RCD troops to the outskirts of the city. While it wasn't true urban warfare there were significant civilian casualties as the fighting drew out for a matter of weeks not days. In the north Kabila took the initiative and assaulted the MCD who were still finding there footing in their nook in the north east. It was here that the horrifying realities of prolonged jungle warfare began to set in. Soldiers might enter the Jungle on a practically uncharted river, not face any opposition and wind up on a city in enemy hands. Troops were sent by local commanders into the Jungle with limited rations and told not to come back until they had proof of ten dead enemies, often times the said solders just went to a nearby village, shot ten men and returned. But Women had the most to fear. And not just from the frighteningly large number of rape cases, many women commuted suicide to avoid the seemingly never ending series of raping. Both sides took a page from WWII Japan and took in "comfort women" who often were forced to fight as well, but revived no compensation for their military or "other" services. Also, Female Gentile Mutilation, already common in some tribal cultures occurred often as soldiers wanted to keep women for themselves and not let other men have children by them. While all of these horrible things started in the north they soon spread to anywhere where there was jungle warfare. The respective "governments" knew of the crimes, while they did not encourage them they did not attempt to stop them for fear of mutiny. Neither did the foreign players, who began sending in increasing number of discreet boots on the ground to attempt a breakthrough on the stagnating front lines. But when an anonymous but hotheaded RCD artillery commander bombarded an Angolan border post in Cabinda things started getting less discrete.

In Which the Gloves come off

The RCD attack on Cabinda was the apex of the growing tension as Angola kept sending arms towards anti-RCD forces. The West was always more urbanized then the east and had much more foreign influence, it had been Mobutu's realism in the days of Zaire and Kabila had ruled it the most during his short reign. Many prominent people in the area owed their jobs and livelihood to Kabila. While Angola nominally supported Vital Kamerhe in Katanga they were more focused on rooting out possible havens for the right wing rebel group UNITA then idealism and so provided a steady flow of arms to fighters who were more likely to support Joseph Kabila. Most of these arms flowed through the Cabinda, the Angolan enclave to the north if the Congo. It had been separated from the rest of then Portuguese Angola when King Leopold of Belgium had gotten the coastline of the Congo to enable easier trade for his Free State. Angola saw Cabinda as exposed and was paranoid about its safety. Likewise the RCD was paranoid about their tenuous hold on the sea. The local commanders were de facto independent from the RCD in the East. They were paranoid and isolated. Never a good combination. So it is hardly surprising that a jumpy artillery commander whose name is lost to history started firing on the enclave. But this was a direct assault on foreign territory, not proxy fighting in the jungles, it would change the war for better or worse. Soon Angola had responded. The government announced it was intervening to "protect the legitimate government". It then launched the first real premeditated foreign ground operation of the War, Funcionamento: Peixeiro, in English, Operation: Fishmonger. Peixeiro was a lightning strike to cut the RCD off from the coast. It was a quick jab south from Cabinda and north from Angola proper. They quickly seized Matadi, the main Congolese port and the River up to the impassable rapids. Whole the area was now nominally under DRC-K control it was in reality Angolan occupied, all non DRC-K factions condemned Kamerhe as a traitor and a sell out. Even he was concerned about the invasion and wether the Angolans would give the coastline back. But he could do nothing about it now.

With Peixeiro and the fall of the coast the gloves went off for the foreign players. Proxy gives or Air support was no longer going to happen. The unprofessional Congolese couldn't be trusted to win the war so they went in themselves. Soon Rwandan forces arrived to relive front line RCD troops and the Burundian volunteers started having much better uniforms then volunteers should. The superior Zimbabwean Air Force started ferrying in volunteers. These ones were still volunteers but they'd been trained by the army before they arrived. The Ugandans jumped in to try to crush Kabila.

And so the war went international, but the bulk of the fighting kept inside the DRC itself. And, as is seemingly inevitable with wars in Africa, the blood Diamonds began to flow. All of the sides mined various valuable metals and gems to buy the arms they needed, civilians and the rare soldier captured alive were forced to work in horrible conditions to mine them. In the western nations boycotts were formed against blood Diamonds and tellurium, which is used to make electronics. But the arms dealers didn't care there was always a market somewhere. The Wildlife was also hurt, chimps were slaughtered for meat and the mighty Gorillas were downed easily with a good gun. Burning the forests was a popular tactic to flush out enemy soldiers and clear the way for trucks. Environmentalists cried for something to be done, but war is hell, and what place do the creatures of Eden have there?

The first major offensive of the war began with Funcionamento: Peixeiro, as Angolan and DRC-K fought to take back the eastern Congo. The RCD forces in the area were demoralized and isolated, without Rwandan forces to hell them they quickly began losing ground. Kinshasa fell as soon as the Angolans showed up. But the DRC-B snatched up land too and both sides fought for power in the east. Then the RCD, bolstered by Rwandan veterans of their own civil war, began a painstakingly slow attack on the DRC-K, slowly, but violently gaining ground. In the North the MLD lost ground to both the DRC-B and the RCD. Ugandan forces seemed unable to stop the tide as the MLD stood out as brutal even by the standards of war and so was unpopular with its "citizens". So President Museveni of Uganda made a decision to save his puppet rebels. One that men from Kinshasa to Juba would damn for years to come.