Flip-flop Rebel, Dollar Soldier: Demobilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have seen the recruitment of flip-flop clad rebels and instability arising because soldiers have not received their salary of a few dollars. Conversely, demobilisation programmes, which bring promises of reintegration grants, have not attracted people to disarm. This paper examines this conundrum alongside three features of the situation in Congo: the informalisation of politics and the economy, the exercise of power through violence, and the multiple crises in which people are living. Drawing on reports on demobilisation and interviews conducted in Congo, the paper investigates what implications these three aspects have for demobilisation, and what is achieved by the programmes as they stand. It argues that demobilisation programmes do not address fighters’ motivations, and outcomes are largely immaterial. Instead there is a political pillage—akin to the pillages that took place across Congo in the early 1990s—by which some parties make immediate gains, whilst shaping the conditions for longer term losses and destructive systems.

Harnessing Post-Conflict “Transitions”: A Conceptual Primer

This monograph addresses the topic of ‘transitions’ in complex stability operations and is intended to serve a wide audience that includes military and civilian policymakers, international development experts, and scholars in academe. It is a primer, systematic review and comprehensive assessment of the fields of research and practice on transitions. Transitions are conceived of through four lenses: as a process, authority transfer, phasing, and end state. Considering these perspectives, the authors provide a definition of ‘transition’ in the context of complex stability operations. The intellectual landscape on transitions is immense. From a sample of more than 170 sources, the monograph outlines a typology of six transitional categories while noting their embedded interdependencies: war-to-peace, power, societal, political-democratic, security, and economic. The state of practice reveals a variety of “approaches” and “tools” to address the challenges of post-conflict transitions, although these tend to be narrow and serve parochial interests. The authors conclude with recommendations that include a need for greater research emphasis on the following: testing underlying assumptions of current transition tools and indicators, understanding institutional resilience, identifying thresholds and tipping points between transition phases, and isolating interdependencies between institutions experiencing simultaneous transitions.