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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Do no harm: assessing a military approach to the Lord's Resistance Army
Author:Atkinson, Ronald R.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1055)
Geographic terms:Uganda
United States
Subjects:military intervention
armed forces
human security
Lord's Resistance Army
Abstract:In October 2011 the US announced the deployment of 100 special force troops to assist the Ugandan army against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). For several years the originally northern Ugandan rebel group has been active in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. The announcement generated mixed responses, but has generally triggered a strong upsurge in support for an international military approach to deal with the LRA, almost invariably accompanied by a call for enhanced civilian protection. Among the strongest supporters of the deployment, and the military approach that this embodies, have been humanitarian groups who have advocated such a policy in the name of the humanitarian use of force. The present article points out that the promotion of this approach has occurred without a careful assessment of the military requirements necessary for its success, even against a weakened LRA. The article provides this military assessment and concludes, after examining the many challenges and limitations confronting the anti-LRA forces, that the necessary requirements for success are highly unlikely to be met. Given that unsuccessful military operations against the rebels have typically resulted in LRA retaliation against civilians, the paper urges caution in pursuing such options and awareness of likely civilian consequences. First, do no harm. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]