The volatility of a half-cooked bouillabaisse: Rebel–military integration and conflict dynamics in the eastern DRC

Abstract

In early 2012, Congolese army deserters formed the M23 rebel movement. This article analyses the insurgency and other armed group activity in the eastern DRC in the light of the politics of rebel-military integration. It argues that military integration processes have fuelled militarization in three main ways. First, by creating incentive structures promoting army desertion and insurgent violence; second, by fuelling inter- and intra-community conflicts; and third, by the further unmaking of an already unmade army. We argue that this is not merely the product of a ‘lack of political will’ on behalf of the DRC government, but must be understood in the light of the intricacies of Big Man politics and Kinshasa's weak grip over both the fragmented political-military landscape in the east and its own coercive arm. Demonstrating the link between military integration and militarization, the article concludes that these problems arise from the context and implementation of integration, rather than from the principle of military power sharing itself. It thus highlights the crucial agency of political-military entrepreneurs, as shaped by national-level policies, in the production of ‘local violence’.

Citation

Baaz, M.E.; Verweijen, J. The volatility of a half-cooked bouillabaisse: Rebel-military integration and conflict dynamics in the eastern DRC. African Affairs (2013) 112 (449) 563-582. [DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adt044]

The volatility of a half-cooked bouillabaisse: Rebel–military integration and conflict dynamics in the eastern DRC

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