Containing spoilers: Civil-military relations and third parties in the post-Suharto Aceh peace initiatives
This paper seeks to explain why and how the Humanitarian Pause and the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and the Government of Indonesia (GoI) broke down, while the Helsinki rounds succeeded in bringing about a permanent negotiated peace in Indonesia.
It develops a theoretical model based on the presence of peace spoilers and their ability to derail the process, and submits that discordant civil-military relations and a weak third party incapable of resolving credible commitment problems increase the probability of the government’s armed forces emerging as a peace spoiler.
On applying the model while examining the post-Suharto peace initiatives in Aceh, it demonstrates how the weakness of the Henry Dunant Centre (HDC) and the discordant state of civil-military relations under Presidents Habibie, Wahid and Sukarnoputri led to the failure of the Humanitarian Pause and COHA while the strength and credibility of the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and the concordant state of civil-military relations under President Yudhoyono accounted for the success of the Helsinki rounds.
Evan A. Laksmana is an non-resident fellow on security and defense at The German Marshall Fund.
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