"Conventional wisdom would have Rwanda be a story of the failure to take action; it is in fact a story about the failure of actions taken."
Bruce Jones1

Media coverage of the Duclert report reveals many perception disparities between actors. In particular between Vincent Duclert and Hubert Védrine: while Vincent Duclert insists on French support, in particular military, for the government of Juvénal Habyarimana, Hubert Védrine recalls that French policy in Rwanda had two components. A military component was intended to counter the RPF military offensive and to enable a political component which was to ensure the right of Tutsi refugees to return to Rwanda through the Arusha negotiation process

These two pillars of the French policy can be described by second-order cindynic models, using several concepts: the notion of antagonistic transformations. Power in the cindynical sense, i.e. the relative ability of each actor to enforce its prospective. And the prospective divergences, conflictuality factors which will play a crucial role in the failure of the Arusha Accords.

A first strategic transformation is that led by the RPF, which launched a military offensive against Rwanda to allow the Tutsis who had fled to Uganda from 1959 to return to Rwanda. Another disparity appears in this case: the Duclert report criticises the French authorities for having considered this offensive as an "Ugandan-Tutsi offensive". Vincent Duclert considers that this was intended to demonise the RPF.

In fact: the RPF was created in Uganda by Tutsis, descendants of the "59ers". These 59ers were refugees, overwhelmingly Tutsi2 , who had fled Rwanda during the 1959-1962 revolution. Many second-generation 59ers first joined Yoweri Museveni's guerrillas. They were then incorporated into the Ugandan army when Yoweri Museveni overthrew Milton Obote. Among them, Fred Rwigyema was then appointed Ugandan Deputy Minister of Defense, and Paul Kagame was appointed Deputy Director of Ugandan Military Intelligence. Rwigyema was at the head of the RPF when the offensive against Rwanda was launched, and after his death in troubled circumstances Paul Kagame interrupted a military training he was undergoing in the United States to succeed him.

Under these conditions, it seems doubtful that Yoweri Museveni was not at least aware of the RPF offensive. Bruce Jones also mentions that US intelligence later confirmed that he provided logistical support3 to the RPF. And when Herman Cohen questioned Yoweri Museveni on October 3, 1990 about the RPF offensive, the Ugandan President replied that it was a big surprise to him. But the same day, the Belgian ambassador Herman Dehennin informed Cohen that he received a call from Yoweri Museveni asking that Belgium does not help Rwanda4 to counter the RPF invasion. Moreover, the presence of Tutsi refugees in Uganda was becoming politically embarrassing for Yoweri Museveni, which encouraged him to facilitate the armed repatriation5 of Tutsi refugees to Rwanda.

Another testimony: during an interview with François Soudan, Paul Kagame declared first that he had indeed created a guerilla army within the Ugandan army6 , and second that only an armed action could allow the RPF to seize power in Kigali and that it could not have obtained it by vote, even after a 22-month transition period. The French military intervention in Rwanda therefore aimed to countering the RPF offensive.

At the same time, François Mitterrand considered Tutsi refugees to be Rwandans7 who should thus have the right to return home. France supported the Arusha negotiation process which should allow Tutsi refugees to return to Rwanda: this second transformation receives less media coverage than the RPF offensive that triggered Operation Noroît, while it played a crucial role in the outcome of the situation.

The situation therefore developed globally according to two sets of transformations made up of antagonistic transformations: on the one hand France tried to hinder the RPF military offensive, and on the other hand supported the Arusha negotiations in order to provide a political solution to the return of the 59ers. However, during these negotiations the RPF set conditions that were unacceptable to the Rwandan government.

Two RPF demands were unacceptable in Kigali8 : politically, the MRND would become a minority, and militarily, the Rwandan armed forces (FAR) and those of the RPF should merge, granting 40% of the troops and 50% of the command posts to the RPF. Moreover, the army would have to be reduced to 20,000 men, which imposed a demobilisation supported mainly by the FAR, and thus a loss of employment and means of subsistence for a large part of the FAR. All of these demands go far beyond simply gaining the right of return for refugees.

Bruce Jones underlines the lack of neutrality of Tanzania, which supported these RPF's demands. But it is the military advantage obtained by the RPF which progressed within 23 km from Kigali during its offensive of February 8, 1993, which empowered it to be uncompromising9 and to obtain that  accords be signed while these conditions were unacceptable  to the Rwandan government. In the diplomatic confrontation, the RPF's cindynical power was greater than that of the Rwandan government: this power was based in this case essentially on the military advantage that the RPF obtained on the ground despite the French support. The insufficiency of this military support combined with the reluctance of the southern Hutus to confront the RPF (or, alternatively, the absence of an ad hoc UN mission) will cause the failure of the Arusha process.

From a cindynical point of view, what second-order models highlight is that despite the apparent success of the negotiation process and the signing of the accords on August 4, 1993, their content exacerbated the divergences between the RPF on the one hand, and the Rwandan government and the Hutu majority on the other. Yet these prospective divergences are conflictuality factors: the accords have not settled anything in practice, on the contrary they have increased the conflictuality of the situation. It turns out that the Arusha Accords had the ambivalence of a pharmakon: purported to be a remedy for the conflict, they only poisoned the situation.

A second-order cindynical analysis would therefore have suggested banning the signing of these accords as they were. Or in the worst case massively increasing the resources of UNAMIR to contain the outbreak of violence that the increase in divergences would provoke. History shows that the exact opposite has happened. Under political pressure from the United States, the UN reduced the personnel of UNAMIR, which enabled an oubreak of violence which was ineluctable since the accords had reinforced the divergences: resumption of the war between Rwandan armed forces and RPF, genocide against Tutsis, and revenge killings of Hutu civilians.

Paradoxically, in the absence of intervention from the international community, while Opération Noroît has often been criticised, on the contrary it should have had more resources so that the Arusha process could lead to accords that both parties could have peacefully respected. An alternative would have been for the Security Council to vote for a UN intervention force in February 1993. But the reorientation of US post-Cold War peacekeeping policy and the PDD 25 confidential directive prevented it10 . The outcome is that the UN, which was dreamed of as a League of Nations "with teeth", was no more effective in Rwanda than the League of Nations was when Mussolini invaded Abyssinia.

1 JONES, Bruce D. Peacemaking in Rwanda: the dynamics of failure. Boulder, Colo. London : Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001. ISBN 978-1-55587-994-5
2 "...the 'fifty-niners', so-called beacause they fled Rwanda during the revoultion of 1959-62, were overwhelmingly Tutsi;"
LEMARCHAND, René. The dynamics of violence in central Africa. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009. National and ethnic conflict in the twenty-first century. ISBN 978-0-8122-4120-4.
3 Bruce Jones interview with Herman Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Access to CIA documents was refused.
JONES, Bruce D. , Ibid. p29. (erratum: 'Kigali' → 'Kampala')
4 COHEN, Herman J. Intervening in Africa: superpower peacemaking in a troubled continent. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York : Macmillan ; St. Martin’s, 2000. ISBN 978-0-333-97745-3.
5 JONES, Bruce D. , Ibid. p24.
6 F. Soudan: "The reality is that you built a guerilla army within the army of..."
P. Kagame: "...another country. Yes we did, that is absolutely true."
F. Soudan: "It's unique in African history. It's unheard of."
P. Kagame: "Possibly..."
F. Soudan: "Whose idea was it -- Fred's and yours?"
P. Kagame: "Mainly. The idea started with us and grew from there."
SOUDAN, François. Kagame: conversations with the president of Rwanda. New York : Enigma Books, 2015. ISBN 978-1-936274-80-2
7 " Mitterrand l'avait dit à Habyarimana: «ces gens-là (le FPR) sont aussi rwandais et c'est normal qu'ils veuillent rentrer chez eux» "
https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/patrick-robert-la-france-n-a-pas-de-responsabilite-dans-le-genocide-rwandais-20210608
8 JONES, Bruce D. , Ibid. p93.
9 JONES, Bruce D. , Ibid. p94.
10 The confidential work on the Presidential Decision Directive on Multilateral Peacekeeping Operations, known as PDD 25, began precisely in February 1993. An unclassified version was realesed in early May 1994.
SCHEFFER, David. Lessons from the Rwandan Genocide. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. Georgetown University Press, 2004, Vol. 5, nᵒ 2, p. 125‑132
The PDD 25 directive was declassified in 2009:
https://web.archive.org/web/20210701143547/http://www.lawandfreedom.com/wordpress/michael-g-new-v-united-states/
https://web.archive.org/save/www.lawandfreedom.com/site/constitutional/New_CN_AppC.pdf