"Angola is angry about not being consulted over the move against Kabila," explains TIME correspondent Marguerite Michaels. "When the Rwandan-backed rebels suddenly flew over and started capturing territory the southwest of the country -- Angola's back yard -- Angola immediately challenged Rwanda and began sending Kabila logistical support, which has helped him slow the rebel advance." With Kabila having failed to stop UNITA rebels attacking Angola from his territory, the Angolans can't be too happy with his performance -- they're more likely to be backing him in order to thwart a Rwandan plan to break up the Congo and take control of its eastern provinces. Either way, the fate of the Congo once again looks likely to be settled far beyond its borders.
The regional coalition that swept Laurent Kabila to power now appears badly divided over his future -- and that division may bring protracted turmoil in the long-suffering Congo. While Rwanda and Uganda are squarely behind the rebellion to oust Kabila, the guerrilla-turned-president appears to still have the active backing of Angola, Congo's southwestern neighbor and perhaps the region's leading military power.