The many faces of a rebel group : the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo
This paper discusses the case of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It shows how a variety of actors that have opposed the ADF rebel group have framed the rebels to achieve a range of political and economic objectives, or in response to organizational and individual limitations. The DRC and Ugandan governments have each framed ADF in pursuit of regional, international and national goals separate from their stated desires to eliminate the armed group. The UN stabilization mission in Congo (MONUSCO)s understanding of the ADF was influenced by organizational limitations and the shortcomings of individual analysts, producing flawed assessments and ineffective policy decisions. Indeed, the many faces of ADF tell us more about the ADFs adversaries than they do about the rebels themselves. The article shows how the policies towards the ADF may not be directly related with defeating a rebel threat, but rather enable the framers (e.g. DRC and Ugandan governments) to pursue various political and economic objectives, or lead the framers to pursue misguided operational plans (e.g. MONUSCO). In doing so, the article highlights more broadly the importance of the production of knowledge on conflicts and rebel groups: the way in which a rebel group is instrumentalised, or in which organizational structure impact on the understanding of the rebel group, are crucial not only in understanding the context, but also in understanding the interventions on the ground.
Source (journal)
International affairs / Royal Institute of International Affairs [London] - London, 1944, currens
London : Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2016
0020-5850 [print]
1468-2346 [online]
92:5(2016), p. 1189-1206
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Full text (open access)
The author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version Available from 31.08.2018
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Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 20.09.2016
Last edited 03.01.2018
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