Thousands of fighters from at least eight African states and several insurgent groups are involved in a war in Congo-Kinshasa since 1998. This article investigates the context and dynamics of the war to determine the reasons for the conflict. The outcome of the conflict is still unpredictable at the time of writing and the article tentatively explores the chance for stability in Africa's third largest country. The article begins with an analysis of the country's political order, the economic framework, regional dynamics, the impact of the rebellion of 1996-1997, Kabila's rule and the volatile security situation by 1998. The rebellions of 1996-1997 and 1998 are compared and the escalation of the 1998 rebellion into a regional war is traced. Finally, the article looks at the prospects for regional peace and stability in Congo-Kinshasa.