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New army could threaten Haitian political stability

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Subject

Military prospects.

Significance

Haiti ended on July 25 a week-long drive for 500 recruits to fill the ranks of its newly resurrected military. The revival of the country’s army, the functions of which will largely relate to anti-smuggling and disaster relief operations, comes in the context of the withdrawal of a long-standing UN peacekeeping force in October. The government argues that the new force will be necessary to provide security in the UN’s absence. However, weak oversight mechanisms, widespread corruption and a long history of military intervention in Haitian politics, mean that the force is more likely to disrupt than improve the domestic security environment.

Impacts

  • The force’s size and lack of experience will limit its effectiveness in dealing with smuggling and disaster relief operations.
  • Haitian army patrols along the Dominican border will increase the risk of perceived smugglers and migrants being shot.
  • The creation of an army will divert funds and personnel away from the country’s already underperforming police force.
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