In the balance: external troop support and rebel fragmentation in the Second Congo War

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Abstract

The two main rebel groups in the Second Congo War (1998–2003) evolved in remarkably different ways. While the MLC maintained organisational cohesion throughout the war, the RCD split into two rival groups within less than a year. The larger of these rivals then remained cohesive, whereas the smaller group experienced further fragmentation. This article draws on interviews with key protagonists to show that these cross-group differences resulted from different patterns of state sponsorship. Fragmentation occurred when the intra-group distribution of power between a rebel leader and an internal rival hung in the balance because external troops supported both sides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-664
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Volume45
Issue number4
Early online date16 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • External support
  • Rebel groups
  • Fragmentation
  • Cohesion
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo

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