Date of Degree
Thomas G. Weiss
Comparative Politics | International Relations
DDR, Peacebuilding, Demobilization and Reintegration, Colombia, FARC, Civil War
Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) is the largest intervention in nearly all the United Nation ongoing large-scale peacekeeping missions and is tasked with restoring public security, law, and order after conflict. A well-planned and flexible reintegration process is known to restore social capital and promote the viability of long-term peace locally, nationally, and internationally. War-torn countries run the risk of returning to war if former combatants are not provided with vocational skills, placed into employment, and reintegrated successfully. Through analyzing DDR programs on the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels, this dissertation is an attempt at finding determinants for a successful DDR program nationally, subnationally, and individually. On the macro-level, it compares the 73 DDR programs (1980-2018) that have existed since DDR’s inception. On the meso-level, it focuses on the DDR program in Colombia (2016-current) to analyze the 24 demobilization and reintegration camps built following the Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Finally, on the micro-level, it compares the political attitudes of 121 FARC ex-combatants, asking how differences in the demobilization and reintegration camps have caused different attitudes and preferences towards the government, the DDR program, and rearmament. I found that DDR is a highly political process, and its success is interwoven within post-conflict politics. While this finding might sound banal, it highlights the deficiencies in taking an instrumental approach to DDR: disarming the rebels, demobilizing them, and following set standards for reintegrating them into society, if such a thing is at all possible. Comparing DDR programs cross-nationally, I found that on the macro-level implementing the terms of a peace agreement in the post-conflict state is the most important determinant of DDR success. On the meso-level I found that maintaining the command-and-control structure of rebel groups after war ensures success in demobilization and collective reintegration of ex-combatants. On the micro-level, I argue that ex-combatants that have been able to maintain their primary group cohesion in the post-conflict era have stronger secondary group cohesion, more favorable attitudes towards reintegration, and less enthusiasm towards reignited conflict. However, they have less trust in the government.
Sharif, Sally, "Demobilizing and Reintegrating Ex-Combatants: Explaining Success and Failure on the National and Subnational Levels" (2021). CUNY Academic Works.
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