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From Soldiers to Politicians. Transforming Rebel Movements After Civil War

Time (GMT +01) 11:00 12:15


Jeroen de Zeeuw - Editor and Senior Research Associate in the Conflict Research Unit, Clingendael Institute of International Relations, Netherlands


Chris Smith - Research Associate, Chatham House.

Timothy Othieno - Research Fellow, Poverty and Public Policy Group (PPPG), ODI


Alina Rocha Menocal - Research Fellow, Poverty and Public Policy Group (PPPG), ODI


In the transition from war-torn society to stable multiparty democracy, what is the role of former rebel leaders? Can rebel movements effectively transform themselves from military into political organizations? What lessons can be learned from past transformation processes? From Soldiers to Politicians explores how militias succeed or fail in reorienting their goals and practices toward legitimate political activities, and how external actors can support the rebel-to-party transformation.

The authors of this book present studies on the FMLN (El Salvador), RENAMO (Mozambique), RUF (Sierra Leone), CNDD-FDD (Burundi), Hamas (Palestine), SPLM/A (Sudan), various warlord militias in Afghanistan and the LTTE (Sri Lanka). Each study focuses on a rebel movement's historical background, its attempted transformation into a political party, and the factors explaining its success or failure. Bridging the academic-policy divide, the country studies identify concrete lessons from past transformation processes, as well as options for future international involvement.

Edited by Jeroen de Zeeuw, the book includes contributions from a variety of renowned country and thematic experts, including Antonio Giustozzi, Carrie Manning, Willy Nindorera, Paul Richards, Pamela Scholey, Chris Smith, James Vincent, Christine Wade, and John Young.

The lessons learned and the questions posed in this study are of great importance. The waves of rebellion are not yet behind us. Studying and learning from the underlying reasons for rebellion is a matter of high relevance for governance, national as well as international.

- Jan Pronk, former UN Special Representative for Sudan

At this ODI event, Jeroen de Zeeuw, the book's editor will present the main findings which will be discussed by Chris Smith, Author of chapter 'Sri Lanka: The Continued Armed Struggle of the LTTE' and Timothy Othieno of ODI. Jeroen de Zeeuw is senior research associate in the Conflict Research Unit at Clingendael Institute of International Relations in the Netherlands. He is co-editor, with Krishna Kumar, of Promoting Democracy in Postconflict Societies.