Congolese women who fled from rebel group attacks, stand in a field farmed with the help of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations in Congo's Kasai Region. Photo: JUNIOR D. KANNAH/AFP/Getty Images

A president with no mandate, an army without enough to eat or a will to fight, dozens of armed rebel groups divided on ethnic lines and competing for mineral wealth. These factors sparked the world’s deadliest war since WWII in Congo from 1998-2003, and they could do so again according to a deep dive from the Economist.

Why it matters: Seven years into a five year term, President Joseph Kabila is weak and deeply unpopular. “His authority is disintegrating. And with it, central Africa faces once again the possibility of a slide into war,” per the report.

The background

A country of about 80 million people in the heart of Africa, desperately poor despite vast natural resources, Congo is already plagued by violence:

  • “More than 70 rebel groups trade bullets with the army or, more commonly, prey on civilians. The security forces are equally vicious .... At least 10 of Congo’s 26 provinces are in the grip of armed conflict.”
  • “Some 2m people fled their homes in 2017, bringing the total internally displaced to 4.3m. The UN predicts that an army offensive launched last month against Islamist guerrillas near the border with Uganda will drive another 370,000 from their homes.”
  • “The world’s largest UN peacekeeping force, numbering 18,000 blue helmets, tries to enforce a measure of calm in the east of the country.”

The bottom line: The current situation looks worryingly similar to the conditions before the last war, and one jolt could be enough to see the country descend into full-scale civil war.

Go deeper: Read the full Economist report.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 32,949,407 — Total deaths: 995,658 — Total recoveries: 22,787,799Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 7,107,673 — Total deaths: 204,738 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

NYT: Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The New York Times has obtained more than two decades' worth of tax-return data from Trump and the companies that make up his business, writing in an explosive report that the documents "tell a story fundamentally different from the one [the president] has sold to the American public."

Why it matters: The Times' bombshell report, published less than seven weeks before the presidential election, lays bare much of the financial information Trump has long sought to keep secret — including allegations that he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and has over $300 million in personal debt obligations coming due in the next four years.

How Trump, Biden plan to score at Tuesday's debate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump has been practicing with flashcards and prepping with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before Tuesday's presidential debate.

Behind the scenes: Top aides tell Axios he's been testing his attacks on the campaign trail for weeks, seeing what ignites his crowds or falls flat. One of the biggest themes Trump plans to drive home is his "tough guy" persona, which advisers see as an advantage with voters in key states.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!