Access to Resources and Predictability in Armed Rebellion: The FAPC’s Short-lived “Monaco” in Eastern Congo

Kristof Titeca

Abstract


This article discusses the impact of economic resources on the behaviour of an armed group. The availability of resources, and the presence of “lootable” resources in particular, is presumed to have a negative impact on the way an armed group behaves toward the civilian population. The case of the Armed Forces of the Congolese People (Forces Armées du Peuple Congolais, FAPC) in eastern Congo strongly suggests that it is necessary to look beyond this monocausal argument so as to witness the range of other factors at work. In this vein, first, the article demonstrates how the political economy literature underestimates the ease of accessibility of lootable resources. The paper then shows how the behaviour of this armed group was tied to a particular economic interest: In order to access these lootable goods, the FAPC was dependent on pre-established trading networks, so it had to increase the predictability of economic interactions through the construction of a minimum of social and economic order. Second, the article reveals how the political economy literature can underestimate the specific conflict dynamics. Military security in particular has a strong impact in this context.

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