Reintegrating Armed Groups After Conflict:
Politics, Violence and Transition
Mats Berdal, David H. Ucko (eds)
Abingdon: Routledge, 2009
Reintegrating Armed Groups After Conflict looks at the challenges of transforming ‘rebel’, ‘insurgent’ or other non-state armed groups into viable political entities. Drawing on eight case studies, the definition of ‘armed groups’ here ranges from militias, paramilitary forces, police units of various kinds to intelligence outfits. Likewise, the definition of ‘political integration’ or ‘re-integration’ has not been restricted to the formation of political parties, but is understood broadly as active participation in politics, policy-making or public debate through parties, newspapers, social organisations, think-tanks, NGOs or public service.
The book seeks to locate or contextualise individual cases within their distinctive social, cultural and historical settings. As such it differs from much of the donor-driven literature that has tended to abstract the challenge of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) from their political and historical context, focusing instead on technical or bureaucratic issues raised by the DDR process. Among the issues covered by the volume as a whole, three stand out: first, the role of political settlements in creating legitimate opportunities for erstwhile leaders of armed factions; second, the ability of reintegration programmes to create genuine socio-economic opportunities that can absorb former fighters as functional members of their communities; and third, the processes involved in transforming an entire rebel movement into a viable political party, movement or, more generally, allowing it to participate in political life.
This book will be of great interest to students of security and development, peace and conflict studies, and IR in general, as well as practitioners and policymakers.
“This is an important book that should be at the top of the reading lists of practitioners and policymakers involved in peacekeeping, counter-insurgency, post-conflict stability and DDR efforts.”
H.R. McMaster, in Survival, 51:5 (2009), 219-221
“The editors deserve praise for bringing together eight thoroughly researched and insightful as well as highly readable articles. Berdal’s and Ucko’s book furthermore merits attention because it highlights that political reintegration is, above all, ‘political’…. The book is particularly recommended to students and scholars researching post-conflict reconstruction, peace-building and structural conflict prevention as well as to practitioners active in these fields.”
Florian Otto, in Journal of Strategic Studies, 33:3 (2010), 458-459