This op-ed originally appeared on Politico.
Not all rebellions are born alike. Nowhere could the contrast between freedom fighters and occupiers be more evident than in traveling through rebel-controlled territories of Sudan and Congo, respectively. In the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, residents expressed a willingness to fight and die in support of the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North and its quest for political change. In eastern Congo, civilians described a predatory foreign-backed occupying rebel force, the M23, against which local armed groups are allying, leading to further rounds of devastating conflict. Understanding the differences provides insights into how peace might be more effectively pursued in both places, arguably the two deadliest wars globally since the 1940s.