The Start of Third Generation DDR Policy

Timothy Koch, graduate student of international affairs at The New School

The third generation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) has increasingly been framed within the rubric of the emergence of a “radical religious” aspect to conflict.  This concept is not foreign to conflict in general, however; as a misnomer it is a defining feature of today’s conflicts.  This notion has created a need for DDR practitioners to address the ideology of conflict in order to maximize success within the world of DDR.

            Groups such as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and the Islamic State hold their perverse interpretation of religious identity as an integral part to their group, and its ability to recruit and sustain violence.  In fact, these groups often cite religion as a prime mover for waging war.  While these groups would have people believe they are practitioners of religions, such as Islam, it is easy to see that any radical religious group with a zealous and misinterpreted ideology can take on this role.  We have seen examples in the past such as the Branch Davidians Waco, Texas who were stockpiling enormous amounts of weapons in preparation for a type of holy war or day of reckoning. 

            This aspect of conflict must be understood in order to DDR these groups.  DDR practitioners must attempt to reframe religious ideology and beliefs to their own advantage in attempts to dissuade ‘formers’ from these groups from committing acts. of violence as a means of political or social dissent.  It would be useful for DDR teams to integrate religious surrogates or experts in their practices in an attempt to produce material, and expand discourse around religious ideology and philosophies.  Formers and religious scholars acting as surrogates could gain more respect and hold much more weight in their conversation and negotiation skills in terms of discussing religion. 

            It is easy to see that DDR practitioners cannot treat these groups like the freedom fighters of generation one or the rebel groups of generation two.  These groups are of a different character, and because their religious ideology is such an important part to their personal and group identity it must be addressed.  These groups have a perverse and twisted idea regarding their religion and the rest of the world, and some moderately orientation surrogates cab assist in reform and ‘deradicalization’ efforts through a reorientation in their own religion.  These formally non-conventional groups are becoming the norm of today and we must take adequate steps to combat them and we must create relevant DDR policies and guidelines to provide a road map to DDR them.  The idea of a religious surrogate within the DDR team must be included in these policies and guidelines.

The Negative Consequence of Hyper-Political Integration in Bosnia & Herzegovina

By: Kaitlyn Lynes

Political reintegration is an integral component of a successful disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration program. Ex-combatants, associated peoples, and communities must participate in decision and policy-making processes at regional, national, and international levels in order to ensure local ownership. The ideal conclusion of a DDR program is when fair and free democratic elections occur, which should follow the occurrence of a political reintegration process. Ex-combatants often have legitimate grievances, which fuels the wars and conflicts they fight in. Providing political opportunities is often a productive way of compromising with illegally armed groups, ensuring remobilization and the continuation of violence will not occur. Therefore, it is crucial for communities to be involved and supportive so that political reintegration does not appear to be only a buyout or reward for “perceived” war criminals. The transfer of ownership of civic responsibilities to communities and new political parties also serves as a transformative and restorative process for all actors involved. Subsequently, political reintegration has become one of the few durable solution in conflicts where the illegally armed group can not be decisively beaten or allowed to create their own state.

Prior to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was no established Bosnian government, as the war caused the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Political reintegration, therefore, faced a particularly unique challenge in Bosnia. Unlike most conflicts, there was no single rebel group looking to be given political opportunities in a previously established governance structure. Instead, the international community had to create a government that provided opportunities to the various groups within Bosnia, including the Muslim Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats. This has led to a tripartite Presidency, directly elected, that consists of one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat at all times. Representatives can only claim one ethnic identity, and voters can only vote for one ethnic identity. Instead of creating an equal power-sharing government, the system has only served to institutionalize ethnic divisions from the war. Further segregating different ethnicities, politicians at the state level have little power over the entirety of the country. The defined territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is separated between the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, the self-autonomous district of Brcko, and ten self-governing cantons across the federation, all working at different levels of government. Superseding all of this, the internationally organized governance structure led by the United Nations still oversees much of the Bosnian state. While this highly structured and overlapping system of government was supposed to ensure equal access to political opportunity in the immediate post-war era for all ethnicities in Bosnia, it has instead allowed ethnic tensions and divisions to flourish while avoiding the reform it desperately needs.

 

Countering Violent Extremism

Sam Trudeau

Countering Violent Extremism

The radicalization of armed groups is one of the more pressing challenges facing third generation DDR. The shift in the character of conflicts since the early to mid-2000s has been marked by the growing presence of armed extremist groups operating in intra-state wars, a reality that has repeatedly challenged peacekeeping and peace building operations mandated by international bodies like the United Nations Security Council. Security Council members have usually sought to exclude radicalized groups from Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA) and participation in Council mandated DDR initiatives. Instead, these groups are usually dealt with through military means that aim to disrupt and degrade their capabilities in the hopes of ultimately ending their operations permanently. Yet armed extremist fighters have proven resilient and demonstrated a capacity to regroup after essentially waiting-out the military operations targeting them. The transnational nature of many of these groups and the porous borders in many conflict zones have facilitated these tactics.

 

Groups such as Al Shaabab in Somalia have been able to regroup and carry out operations in neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Mali-based groups such as Ansar al Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have been able to do the same in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. These armed extremists have consequently been able to repeatedly act as spoilers to state and peace building initiatives in both countries after having weathered military pushes to defeat and dislodge them. This game of cat and mouse between local and international military missions targeting armed extremist groups seems to highlight the fact that combatants attached to armed ideological movements are at times driven by political grievances that cannot simply be disappeared through the use of force. In many cases, the cycle of violence seems likely to continue and further perpetuate violent extremism if a political space to express legitimate grievances is not created in a manner that engages the individuals that make up these groups. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives have been identified as a tool that might help create an opening, at least in certain cases, to include individuals in these groups into the reintegration processes of DDR initiatives. The challenge seems to be identifying instances where military and counterterrorism operations can be coupled with DDR to defuse violent extremism and under what conditions creating a political space is appropriate.

 

In Somalia for instance, efforts have been made to engage with rank and file members of Al Shaabab who have disbanded from the group. In theory, allowing these individuals to participate in DDR reintegration processes with a CVE component focusing on de-radicalization, while at the same time affording them the opportunity to engage in a political process that2 addresses legitimate grievances, can be understood as promoting political agency to tackle radicalization.

In practice however, such initiatives have to be carefully calibrated to the political and social realities on the ground if they are expected to facilitate true social reintegration. In Mali, individuals and communities associated with radicalized groups were given the opportunity to disassociate themselves from Ansar al Dine and MUJAO and join the CPA under broad coalitions. Yet, this process was hampered by a lack of political will towards the CPA that left DDR processes stalled. These types of delays have proven detrimental DDR and led individuals and communities to return to radicalized armed groups. In this context, CVE might help prevent the slide back towards extremism, but ultimately the speed of implementation and political will of actors are crucial to a achieving long-lasting outcomes.

Sam Trudeau

 

Countering Violent Extremism

 

The radicalization of armed groups is one of the more pressing challenges facing third generation DDR. The shift in the character of conflicts since the early to mid-2000s has been marked by the growing presence of armed extremist groups operating in intra-state wars, a reality that has repeatedly challenged peacekeeping and peace building operations mandated by international bodies like the United Nations Security Council. Security Council members have usually sought to exclude radicalized groups from Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA) and participation in Council mandated DDR initiatives. Instead, these groups are usually dealt with through military means that aim to disrupt and degrade their capabilities in the hopes of ultimately ending their operations permanently. Yet armed extremist fighters have proven resilient and demonstrated a capacity to regroup after essentially waiting-out the military operations targeting them. The transnational nature of many of these groups and the porous borders in many conflict zones have facilitated these tactics.

 

Groups such as Al Shaabab in Somalia have been able to regroup and carry out operations in neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia. Mali-based groups such as Ansar al Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have been able to do the same in Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. These armed extremists have consequently been able to repeatedly act as spoilers to state and peace building initiatives in both countries after having weathered military pushes to defeat and dislodge them. This game of cat and mouse between local and international military missions targeting armed extremist groups seems to highlight the fact that combatants attached to armed ideological movements are at times driven by political grievances that cannot simply be disappeared through the use of force. In many cases, the cycle of violence seems likely to continue and further perpetuate violent extremism if a political space to express legitimate grievances is not created in a manner that engages the individuals that make up these groups. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiatives have been identified as a tool that might help create an opening, at least in certain cases, to include individuals in these groups into the reintegration processes of DDR initiatives. The challenge seems to be identifying instances where military and counterterrorism operations can be coupled with DDR to defuse violent extremism and under what conditions creating a political space is appropriate.

 

In Somalia for instance, efforts have been made to engage with rank and file members of Al Shaabab who have disbanded from the group. In theory, allowing these individuals to participate in DDR reintegration processes with a CVE component focusing on de-radicalization, while at the same time affording them the opportunity to engage in a political process that2 addresses legitimate grievances, can be understood as promoting political agency to tackle radicalization.

In practice however, such initiatives have to be carefully calibrated to the political and social realities on the ground if they are expected to facilitate true social reintegration. In Mali, individuals and communities associated with radicalized groups were given the opportunity to disassociate themselves from Ansar al Dine and MUJAO and join the CPA under broad coalitions. Yet, this process was hampered by a lack of political will towards the CPA that left DDR processes stalled. These types of delays have proven detrimental DDR and led individuals and communities to return to radicalized armed groups. In this context, CVE might help prevent the slide back towards extremism, but ultimately the speed of implementation and political will of actors are crucial to a achieving long-lasting outcomes.

Jail: Jihad’s New Recruitment Center

Jail: Jihad’s New Recruitment Center

By Tamara Dickey

Reintegration of ex-Violent Extremists (VE) rarely occurs without intervention programs, many of which include forms of deradicalization and/or disengagement from terrorist organizations.  Most often states’ primary engagement with VEs is when they are detained or in prison.  Unfortunately, a broad general analysis of prisons has shown that many lack policies, capacity, and intention in their role on Countering Violent Extremists (CVE).  Prisons, in both Western and non-Western states, have recently been identified as incubators for terrorist if detainees and prisoners are not handled tactically.  Detention centers, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, have also been coined terrorist universities (Thompson), pressure cookers for extremism, and centers for jailhouse Islam.

The structure and organization of prisons and detention centers has been identified as a key problem in Countering Violent Extremists (CVE), mainly the issue of consolidating large groups of offenders together.  By grouping vulnerable low level offenders with already radicalized VEs the manifestation of mass radicalization was allowed to transpire.  According to a prison guard who spoke to the New York Times, training and the capacity for controlling this particular environment of potential radicalization did not occur.  “We are not really trained or prepared in any way to deal with religious radicalism […]. If we have such a hard time regulating something as simple as cigarettes, how do you expect us to regulate something as abstract as ideas, as religion” (Thompson).

In the case of these detention centers, prison authorities were ill equipped to understand the radicalization process.  Guards lacked the training and expertise to control the radicalization efforts within the centers.  Prison infrastructure and the capacity to handle massive numbers of detainees was also a critical problem. Coalition prisons, as an example, soon became a free training ground for recruitment and radicalization.

Critics have pointed to high profile cases of terrorists who can be traced back to detention centers and prisons, as examples of failed CVE actions.  For example:

  • 9 members of the Islamic State’s top command were held at Camp Bucca, a detention center that struggled with rapid radicalization of detainees (Barrett 20).
  • Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, the brothers responsible for the violent assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo are suspected of being radicalized in a French prison (Temple-Raston).
  • Department of National Intelligence estimates that 30% of Guantanamo Bay detainees, both confirmed and suspected re-engagement, have “re-engaged” with terrorist groups (“Summery of the Reengagement of Detainees Formally Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba”).

Analysis of United States’ detention centers in the Middle East found gross overpopulation, as well as a lack of policy regarding detainee radicalization and reintegration as a leading problem in recidivism.  Andrew Thompson, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom wrote in a New York Times article “the United States must convince its regional partners to avoid mixing radicals and moderates, and provide alternatives to prison for small-scale criminals. If we continue to replay the history of mass incarceration in the Middle East, we will remain stuck in the current cycle where our counterterrorism efforts create more terrorists” (Thompson).

New ideas on prison organization and policy have refocused attention on reintegration and rehabilitation verses detention.   Since, most detained or imprisoned VEs and suspected VEs are released– which can be seen in the case of 626 Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been released, repatriated, or resettled (“Guantánamo by the Numbers”)– primary focus on preventing recidivism of terrorist depends on the efforts of disengagement from terror organizations and deradicalization programs.   Combating Violent Extremist (CVE) must therefore include best practices of engaging with VEs being and continue through the detention process, which include programs for disengagement and/or deradicalization.

 

Work Cited:

Barrett, Richard. “The Islamic State.” The Soufan Group, 2014. http://soufangroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TSG-The-Islamic-State-Nov14.pdf.

 

“Guantánamo by the Numbers.” Human Rights First. October 30, 2015. Accessed November 1, 2015. https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/sites/default/files/gtmo-by-the-numbers.pdf.

 

“Summery of the Reengagement of Detainees Formally Held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” Department of National Intelligence. July 15, 2015. http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/GTMO Sept_2015.pdf.

 

Temple-Raston, Diana. “French Prisons Prove To Be Effective Incubators For Islamic Extremism.” NPR. January 22, 2015. Accessed November 1, 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/01/22/379081047/french-prisons-prove-to-be-effective-incubators-for-islamic-extremism.

 

Thompson, Andrew, and Jeremi Suri. “How America Helped ISIS.” The New York Times. October 2, 2014.

VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND THE RE-SHAPING OF PEACE OPERATIONS: DDR, CVE AND THE NEED FOR NEW POLICY GUIDANCE.

By Georgina Vazquez

United Nations (UN) peace efforts, and particularly peace operations, are often reviewed according their ability to adapt to ever changing contexts. The latter is reflected in two particular aspects: how should the UN engage in a particular peace mission or operations; how should the UN guide its transition processes during peace operations and missions. Both these questions are linked to the aspects of planning and the tools and frameworks the UN’s Security Council is taking into account when developing peace missions mandates.

Considering the above mentioned, currently Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programming is facing the challenge of adapting to the context of combating and/or countering violent extremism. This is particularly challenging as DDR as a political strategy for post-conflict management is now being planned to start operating in contexts in which military operations are ongoing and the prospects for achieving peace remain unclear, signifying a complete change from traditional and second generation DDR approaches. In these sense, DDR is challenged by the question of whether it can help demobilize and disengage combatants. How DDR ought to be planned in such context, and how will this political strategy adapt for it to be able to still deliver to its objectives? Do DDR benchmarks also need to change?

I argue that DDR must consider the following in order to quickly adapt is role in peace operations and keep its effectiveness for contributing to conflict management: a) It needs to be both flexible in terms of adapting to local contexts but should not lack the consideration of reformed and updated peace frameworks; b) planning for DDR mandates by the Security Council must be done taking into account the current fragmented programming issues that the United Nations is facing; c) to ensure that the DDR strategy responds to local needs, as well as to reduce coordination and collaboration issues among implementing actors (UN actors, local governments, non-government organizations and communities) DDR planning should fundamentally be on-field focused and people-oriented.

Regarding how DDR will or should adapt to new contexts of violent extremism, I believe one key aspect is benchmarking. Benchmarking implies that DDR will be clearly planned, thus avoiding undertaking mandates that are loose in frameworks and policy guidance; benchmarking DDR would then respond to the particularities of the context and would help guide DDR when lacking a peace framework and pre-conditions.

Additionally, aspects related to sequencing and expansions of caseloads are two key elements to consider when trying to keep DDR as a strategy in contexts facing violent extremism. On the first hand, if DD is less possible, then focusing on reintegration of victims or vulnerable populations is one step to prevent mobilization or engagement as well as to advance on efforts regarding helping communities to develop absorption capabilities.  This is just one particular example.

DDR is a relevant tool for peace, thus starting to think how to reach a third generation DDR and combine it with all the UN peace transformations to make it context-responsive is an urgent and current step.

Strong Contribution of The “Weaker Sex” in DDR

By: Senani Dehigolla

The role of women in war and peace while being subjected to heated debates around the world also emphasises the significance that needs to be attributed to them as an integral part of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration. Being a major target of combatants women are undoubtedly the most affected during conflict or in circumstances of war owing to their physical vulnerability. Paradoxically, some instances of modern day war fare prove that the integration of women in to military either as combatants or as strategic approaches triggers the need of reconceptualising the requirement of the so called “weaker sex” in DDR. When Yazidi women’s armed struggle against ISIS takes the centre stage, going back in the historical time line it is possible to trace the active participation of extraordinary women such as Joan of Arc, Rani Lakshmi Bhai of Jansi against British India, the French women against the Nazis etc. who were in the limelight for their capacity for military prowess to engage in struggles for national liberation or struggles for their own safety.

Women’s participation is a key ingredient in achieving DDR goals as well as for sustainable societal balance in correcting the damage done to the social fabric of a country. Under the Security Council resolution 1325, measuring the advancement of women in all aspects of peace-building is crucial to DDR and other post conflict reconstruction activities. The caseload of Congo is a classic example where the role of women is instrumental in rebuilding the nation while serving as a real challenge. The degree of violation of women’s human rights is immense and ranges from physical abuse such as sexual harassment to contracting deadly diseases like HIV/ AIDS as a result where rebuilding their lives in a later achieved peace is also perplexing. The deep rooted family traditions and male dominated society hinders the possibility of addressing the special needs of women which prevents them from actively participating in DDR and other crisis prevention interventions. Therefore, moving the social lens from men towards women requires much effort on the ground.

UNDP’s survey in Congo to identify conflict affected women could be noteworthy as it has detected the subtle ways in which the issues can be solved. As an instance, the solidarity fund for agriculture to empower women was remarkable in combating unemployment due to lower skill level. The studies have shown that the women led families which are a result of losing their spouses in war were proven extremely weak in economic stability underlining that that women empowerment is decisive to DDR. Promotion of women’s rights by working to reconcile traditional values with progressive ideas will lead to improving the participation of women in society. Their vigorous involvement in early economic reconstruction activities also has the capacity to fight the social and economic marginalization of women. Local institutions and donors for Congo have experienced the creditable progress and the visibility of UNDP intervention. Increased economic and social opportunities while carefully considering local interpretations paves the way for a better future for women in confronting  social obstacles and fighting their own battles of a disturbed past. Their contribution to DDR matters in major and minor levels deciding its rate of success.

VIOLENT EXTREMISM AND THE RE-SHAPING OF PEACE OPERATIONS: DDR, CVE AND THE NEED FOR NEW POLICY GUIDANCE.

United Nations (UN) peace efforts, and particularly peace operations, are often reviewed according their ability to adapt to ever changing contexts. The latter is reflected in two particular aspects: how should the UN engage in a particular peace mission or operations; how should the UN guide its transition processes during peace operations and missions. Both these questions are linked to the aspects of planning and the tools and frameworks the UN’s Security Council is taking into account when developing peace missions mandates.
Considering the above mentioned, currently Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programming is facing the challenge of adapting to the context of combating and/or countering violent extremism. This is particularly challenging as DDR as a political strategy for post-conflict management is now being planned to start operating in contexts in which military operations are ongoing and the prospects for achieving peace remain unclear, signifying a complete change from traditional and second generation DDR approaches. In these sense, DDR is challenged by the question of whether it can help demobilize and disengage combatants. How DDR ought to be planned in such context, and how will this political strategy adapt for it to be able to still deliver to its objectives? Do DDR benchmarks also need to change?
I argue that DDR must consider the following in order to quickly adapt is role in peace operations and keep its effectiveness for contributing to conflict management: a) It needs to be both flexible in terms of adapting to local contexts but should not lack the consideration of reformed and updated peace frameworks; b) planning for DDR mandates by the Security Council must be done taking into account the current fragmented programming issues that the United Nations is facing; c) to ensure that the DDR strategy responds to local needs, as well as to reduce coordination and collaboration issues among implementing actors (UN actors, local governments, non-government organizations and communities) DDR planning should fundamentally be on-field focused and people-oriented.
Regarding how DDR will or should adapt to new contexts of violent extremism, I believe one key aspect is benchmarking. Benchmarking implies that DDR will be clearly planned, thus avoiding undertaking mandates that are loose in frameworks and policy guidance; benchmarking DDR would then respond to the particularities of the context and would help guide DDR when lacking a peace framework and pre-conditions.
Additionally, aspects related to sequencing and expansions of caseloads are two key elements to consider when trying to keep DDR as a strategy in contexts facing violent extremism. On the first hand, if DD is less possible, then focusing on reintegration of victims or vulnerable populations is one step to prevent mobilization or engagement as well as to advance on efforts regarding helping communities to develop absorption capabilities. This is just one particular example.
DDR is a relevant tool for peace, thus starting to think how to reach a third generation DDR and combine it with all the UN peace transformations to make it context-responsive is an urgent and current step.

The Economic Incentives of ISIS: A Roadblock for Future DDR Programs

The Economic Incentives of ISIS: A Roadblock for Future DDR Programs

By Colby Silver

The economic aspects of armed conflict and their relation to successful DDR should not, and cannot, be ignored. This issue has become particularly relevant with the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Atlantic recently quoted a man in southern Syria as saying, “ISIS controls every detail of the economy. Only their people or those who swear allegiance to them have a good life.”[1] The man goes on to tell how when ISIS arrived in his hometown the militants took complete control of the local economy, looted, confiscated property, and took over local business networks. In other parts of Syria ISIS controls trading routes, imposes heavy taxes on utilities like water and electricity, and controls the prices of consumer goods.[2] What ISIS has done is construct a lawless war economy, designed with the sole purpose of funding itself and providing economic incentives to its militants.

As the article points out, many of ISIS’s economic tactics are being used to compel locals to join the extremist group. Looking forward, there is the threat that this illicit economic system will become entrenched in the region, creating a system of profit for IS combatants that will make membership in the movement appealing, or even necessary out of economic necessity. This situation will provide a challenge to any future attempted DDR programs that will have to take into careful consideration the economic incentives of IS combatants. The destruction caused by the wars in Syria and Iraq and the spread of the Islamic State have decimated local economies, leaving the war economy as the only realistic source of livelihood.

Although it is difficult to envisage any form of DDR program targeting ISIS at this point in time, any potential program in the future will need to look carefully at the economic incentives of ISIS’s “Caliphate” and consider what needs to be undertaken to provide equal or greater economic incentives within a stable, licit economy.

It is interesting to consider foreign fighters in an economic context as well. It is widely agreed that foreign fighters have migrated in large numbers to join ISIS over the past two years due to a combination of radicalization perhaps catalyzed in part by disenfranchisement at home, leaving one to consider whether more economic opportunities at home would discourage any kind of susceptibility to ISIS’s propaganda. It is hard to say. Due to the violence of the Islamic State and the apparent power of its ideology and propaganda, undertaking DDR would be a daunting task and the program would no doubt have to occur on many different levels, tailored to the experiences and needs of various different groups of combatants and non-combatants involved with the group. However, one likely universal incentive for either sustained conflict or peace is which life offers better economic opportunities,  life as an IS member/combatant or a life as a civilian in a failed state. At the moment, the economic incentives of IS seem to be considerably stronger.

[1] Joanna Paraszcuk, “The ISIS Economy: Crushing Taxes and High Unemployment: how the Islamic State uses economic persecution as a recruitment tactic,” The Atlantic, September 2015. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/isis-territory-taxes-recruitment-syria/403426/.

[2] Ibid.

The History of DDR

By: Emil Ismayilov

Since the inception of the UN conflict has evolved in response to changing global situations. First generation DDR attempted to address the needs of the post-World War II world. The global political arena was one which was torn between both sides of the Cold War. This time period was also one in which colonial powers were stripped of their colonies and newly independent nations had to carve out governments from the remains that were left to them. The original DDR approach addressed conflict zones that had already begun the peace process. As stated in the IDDRS, “the objective of the DDR process is to contribute to security and stability in post-conflict environments so that recovery and development can begin,” (IDDRS, UN). The original mandate was designed in a framework identifying major actors. This approach utilized governmental structures and opposition groups as the main foundation for DDR processes. Although this approach addressed certain issues when there were two major actors to integrate, it ignored the issues facing the more local populations. After these initial conflicts were addressed or were handled independently, a new set of problems emerged.

The second generation DDR attempted to confront the new problems that arose from the previous conflicts. The focus became more on development as a basis for long term peace. This process looked more at institutions as a means for providing this basis. This approach still looked at larger actors ( governments, opposition forces, major powers). The furtherance of the DDR’s goals better addressed the needs of the countries in need of support, as opposed to addressing the interests of the global powers. Whereas the first generation DDR was simply a means of transitioning governments so as to better work with the global community, the second generation DDR concentrated more on development and long term stability for the country in need.

A newer form of DDR is slowly evolving, attempting to confront the issues from a more bottom-up approach. This is in response to the lack of success of engaging solely large-scale actors. The transitions to new governments did not challenge issues that faced the more local problems. These more localized issues created new areas of conflict that have been more pervasive in the last thirty years. One of the first major cases to display the inability of first generation DDR to address comprehensive peace building is in Somalia. Attempts at transitioning the government from Civil War failed drastically because of the frameworks focus on major actors. The transitional government that was established was incapable of representing the local populations concerns, and thus was not a good starting point for encouraging DDR. With the rise of al-Shabaab, the importance of engaging tribal leaders became clear. Second generation DDR attempts to evolve the functioning of DDR to adapt to the changing political climates seen around the world. Second generation DDR tries to move the focus from national actors to more localized communities. The bottom-up approach is beginning to address the concerns and struggles that are pertinent to long-term peace development. By tackling the problems that are facing local communities, second generation DDR is attempting to lay the framework for preventing the rise of future conflicts. Also, this focus provides local actors with agency over their futures, giving them all a stake in following through with various mandates and promises.

Mali & DDR

By: Sam Trudeau

The ongoing situation in Mali seems to encompass many of the most pressing challenges facing DDR programs around the world. The United Nations peacekeeping force deployed to help stabilize the country is still basically operating in a conflict zone, despite attempts to enforce a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. State-building and peace-building operations like DDR are therefore undertaken in extremely volatile environments prone to sporadic surges of violence that threaten reversing initial DDR initiatives like setting up cantonment sites for former fighters and training and supervising mixed-patrols. Mali’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) involves three main although relatively fragmented groups: the Malian government, the pro-Tuareg separatist Coordination of Azawad Movement (CMA), and the pro-Government “Platform” which consist of Tuareg and Arab militias. Although radicalized actors such as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, various local Al Qaeda offshoots such as the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, Ansar Al Dine as well as scores of foreign fighters were initially defeated and pushed out of Northern Mali by a French military operation, these armed actors have to some extent been able to regroup and resume operations. Criminal groups vying for smuggling routes have also participated in the violence. Favoring a military approach towards radical groups and excluding their combatants from DDR initiatives creates difficult dynamics on ground. Excluded from Mali’s CPA, they still retain the capability to act as spoilers to peace-building efforts. Besides the presence of radicalized fighters, the secessionist aspirations of the CMA and the central government’s apparent refusal to accept autonomous Tuareg governance in parts of the North have led to a political deadlock regarding the future of the CPA and efforts at reconciliation. The contested legitimacy of the political components of the peace plan seem to create real limitations to what DDR efforts might actually be able accomplish. From this perspective, the peace-building mandate enacted by the United Nations Security Council might to a certain extent be too ambitious given the realities on the ground and ultimately set DDR efforts up to fail. The United Nations Secretary General’s latest report on Mali already outlines some of the difficulties faced by DDR initiatives. Efforts to estimate the number of fighters on all sides eligible for demobilization into cantonment have been slowed down by a lack of cooperation as well as the large number of fighters. Although the number of belligerents designated for cantonment by all sides was initially expected to account for 6 000 combatants, the CMA has itself presented a list of more than 18 000 fighters. The pro-government Platform meanwhile had by the spring of 2016 still not provided its own list of fighters. Another important impediment to DDR efforts in Mali has been the state and international community’s inability to foster development in northern parts of the country. Economic disenfranchisement and a dire lack of basic services through Northern Mali is often identified in public opinion surveys as important driver of the conflict. The success DDR efforts, especially its longterm objectives, are therefore very much dependent on the state and international community’s ability to meet the needs of the populations in the North and create opportunities for sustainable development.