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Strategic Insights 51 - Long-term engagement: The future of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands

By Matthew Allen

This report, authored by Dr Matthew Allen, argues that the country is entering into a high risk period for conflict; an external security guarantee will need to be maintained. RAMSI provides a useful vehicle.

The expected collapse of the logging industry by 2015 will present a set of severe economic challenges and exacerbate existing socioeconomic grievances. The advent of large scale mining will likely spawn local-level resource conflict.

The costs of maintaining a small ongoing security presence must be weighed against the potentially much greater cost of having to redeploy a larger contingent if lawlessness returns following a precipitate withdrawal of the RAMSI security guarantee.

An external security guarantee will need to be maintained for at least the next ten to fifteen years. A complete dismantling of RAMSI’s enabling architecture would make it difficult to provide a credible deterrent effect and rapid response capability.