Competing Imperatives: Post-Conflict Military Integration and Demobilization in South Sudan
Last week, I did a webinar for the Cultural Knowledge Symposium‘s Speaker Series based on the research I have done thus far on South Sudan. You can see the video from the webinar below:
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, the government of South Sudan has sought to neutralize the threat non-statutory armed forces pose to peace and stability. Often, the government’s preferred approach has been not coercion, but rather accommodation, which entails negotiating amnesty for armed groups and integrating them into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). While contributing to short-term stability, this approach competes with a simultaneous imperative to “rightsize” or reduce the parade of the SPLA from 210,000 to 120,000 over the next five years and transform the SPLA into a conventional, professional military. With the country’s economy unable to provide 90,000 non-essential SPLA personnel with alternative livelihoods, the government seeks to prevent unemployed ex-combatants from becoming spoilers during the country’s post-conflict reconstruction process. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the government will continue to balance the imperatives of integrating non-statutory armed forces into the SPLA whilst undertaking a sizeable reduction of the country’s statutory armed forces.
This presentation in the video above provides:
- a historical context of armed groups in the South during Sudan’s second civil war (1983-2005);
- an analysis of the government’s postwar approach to armed groups;
- an analysis of the challenges inherent in post-conflict military integration and demobilization in South Sudan; and
- an assessment of the potential trigger points for future armed group mobilization.
I hope you find the presentation useful, but if you can’t sit through it, I hope to put much of this in writing in the coming months.