n Institute for Security Studies Papers - Hawks, doves or penguins? A critical review of the SADC military intervention in the DRC

Volume 2004, Issue 88
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



The military intervention by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following a Funder by the DRC regime led to much 'confusion' as the debate raged as to whether the intervention was sanctioned by SADC or whether in fact it represented the action of militaristic states with their own agendas. The debate also appeared to indicate that, as a result of this intervention, cohesion in the sub-regional grouping had been seriously compromised, with Zimbabwe leading one faction while South Africa led another. This paper re-examines these debates with a view to determining the extent to which the intervention has affected sub-regional cohesion. To this end, the paper argues that, in the main, the major rifts that have generally been described were more mythical than a reflection of reality. While disagreements over approaches towards the conflict existed, the sub-region managed to resolve them in a manner that displayed a level of maturity rarely credited to SADC. The paper also argues that, despite the end of the intervention, challenges over possible future interventions by the sub-region loom as the situation in the DRC worsens in the sense of a lack of agreement by the various stake holders in the country on the establishment of a government acceptable to everyone and the United Nations is confronted with severe difficulties which may require a more concerted effort from the subregional group to stabilise the situation. Also covered in the paper is the challenge posed by the continued pressure from the international community, especially the United States of America and Britain, which has emerged as a 'fall-out' of the intervention.

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