This paper argues that both socio-economic disadvantage and political factors, such as the West's foreign policy with regard to the Muslim world, along with historical grievances, play a part in the development of Islamic radicalized collective action in Western Europe. We emphasise the role of group identity based individual behaviour in organising collective action within radicalized Muslim groups. Inasmuch as culture plays any role at all in radicalization, it is because individuals feel an imperative to act on the basis of their Muslim identity, something to which different individuals will attach varying degrees of salience, depending on how they place their Muslim identity based actions in the scheme of their multiple identities. We also emphasize the role of the opportunistic politician, from the majority European community, in fomenting hatred for Muslims, which also produces a backlash from radicalized political Islam. We present comparative evidence on socio-economic, political and cultural disadvantage faced by Muslim minorities in five West European countries: Germany, the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands.
This article adopts a perspective that emphasises direct and structural prevention of conflict. The empirical analysis focuses on the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) and elaborates on various strategies to prevent conflict escalation. It argues that there is an inherent tension between TIPH's operational activities and its mandate. The agreement stipulates ambitious long-term goals for the mission while limiting its activities to observing and monitoring without any power of enforcement. Still, an international presence has a restraining effect and lowers the level of violence. It is also crucial for the success of an observer force such as TIPH to gain the disputing parties' confidence and to enjoy credibility as a third party.
Civil wars have long been an enduring theme in human history but with the end of the Cold War, they have now become the dominant form of conflict around the globe. The dispute however over what constitutes a civil war' and what characteristics define the aims and objectives of the protagonists have been the subject of considerable debate throughout the academic community. By examining past manifestations of internecine conflict, not least among Israelis and Palestinians between 194748 with more contemporary examples of internal conflict, this introduction posits a series of conceptual questions that explore hitherto neglected aspects of the Al-Aqsa intifada, and the extent to which it could, and should be understood in terms of civil violence.
We employ a two‐tier spatiotemporal analysis to investigate whether uranium operations cause armed conflict in Africa. The macrolevel analysis suggests that – compared to the baseline conflict risk – uranium ventures increase the risk of intrastate conflict by 10 percent. However, we find ethnic exclusion to be a much better predictor of armed conflict than uranium. The microlevel analysis reveals that uranium‐spurred conflicts are spatiotemporally feasible in four countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Niger and South Africa. We find strong evidence in the case of Niger, and partial evidence in the case of the DRC. Namibia and South Africa do not yield substantial evidence of uranium-induced conflicts. We conclude that uranium may theoretically be a conflict inducing resource, but to the present day empirical evidence has been sparse as most countries are still in the exploration phase. Considering that the coming years will see 25 African countries transition from uranium explorers into producers, we strongly suggest that our analysis be revisited in the coming years.
This article argues that the Aden Insurgency was a pivotal moment in the history of British counter-insurgency. We argue that it was in Aden where the newfound strength of human rights discourse, embodied in Amnesty International, and of anti-colonial sentiment, expressed by the UN General Assembly, forced the British government to pay attention to public perceptions of colonial brutality. Using archival sources, we foreground three episodes in the history of the insurgency to support our argument and to illustrate that the changes witnessed were not the result of ‘learning’ but of a fundamental shift in the international environment.
Local communities such as villages are commonly assumed to be vital partners in counterinsurgency and post-conflict reconstruction. However, the success of this strategy depends on the level of social cohesion at the community level -- communities with internal cleavages and fissures will be less effective in making external efforts a success. In this paper, we study how exposure to civil war violence affects internal cohesion of communities. On the one hand, we could assume that exposure to a common threat strengthens social ties. On the other hand, shifting power structures in conflict regions could introduce new loyalties and cleavages at the village level, thus eroding the social glue. We use data from a survey conducted in Northern Afghanistan, and combine it with data on violent events from military records. Our results provide evidence for the second mechanism: Exposure to violence makes villagers diverge more in their support for the conflict parties. We estimate a spatial-temporal gravity model, which demonstrates that the proximity of an event matters, where spatially and temporally proximate events have the highest impact on the polarization at the village level.
This article explains why contemporary African regimes choose different counter-insurgency strategies and why they tend not to be population-centric. We argue that strategies correspond to the ways in which incumbent regimes in Africa deal with different segments of political society through patronage. Incumbents seek varying levels of accommodation with rebel leaders, or try to eliminate them, according to rebels' historical position within the state. This variation reflects differences in perceived political threats posed to incumbents. We classify these threats as high, moderate or low, which are associated with counter-insurgency strategies of group control, insurgent control and insurgent elimination, respectively.
This article proposes a general analytical framework for how we might better understand intrastate war and related forms of organised political violence. It begins by setting out our understanding of agency and structure, before outlining the key structures and agents central to the social construction of political violence. This is followed by a discussion of some of the common discursive practices frequently observed in the lead-up to the outbreak of organised violence, such as the widespread articulation of threat and victimhood narratives, the demonisation and dehumanisation of an enemy other, the renegotiation of norms of violence and the suppression of counter-hegemonic and anti-violence voices. The article argues that organised and sustained political violence is contingent on two key facilitating conditions. First, the presence of a particular set of material and discursive structures, including the military instruments for sustained violence, an economic basis for prosecuting war and a set of society-wide military norms, values and practices; and second, willing and capable agents who can transform the structural potential of the society or group into active participants in violence. The interaction of structures, agents and discursive practices can, in particular historical and spatial contexts, create the specific conditions which make organised violence possible. The discussion is illustrated by reference to a number of recent and historical wars, including the war on terror.
The aim of this paper is to investigate why some internal conflicts are terminated quickly, while others linger for several decades without a looming resolution in the horizon. In an attempt to achieve this objective, the role played by geopolitical factors in the Arab world's internal conflicts was investigated. More specifically, we used Kohonen self-organizing maps, an artificial intelligence-based neural network technique, along with event duration models to investigate the role played by distance from the capital, access to international borders, terrain, valuable natural resources such as oil, and rebels fighting capability in civil wars in the Arab world. Using recently validated data spanning more than 50 years of Arab civil wars (1948–2003), our findings indicate that previously ignored geopolitical factors seem to play an important role in the duration of internal conflicts in the Arab World.
The study presents an integrated model which places the link between the competing state-centric and sub-state explanations of civil strife. As state's capacity and communal fractionalization are typically tested in separate models, the combined framework aims to examine the premise of this article, that communal attributes affect the extent to which state capacity matters in preserving peace and security. The empirical analysis includes 1,385 instances of intrastate conflicts that occurred in 116 countries between 1995 and 2006, drawn from the Major Episodes of Political Violence and the Intra-State War datasets. The results of the study indicate that indeed the weakness of the body is substituted by the strength of the soul: the decline in state authority makes a larger room to sub-state groups, which shape internal dynamics. The second goal of the study is focused on the multifaceted nature of communal traits. Accordingly, the latter part the article offers an actor-oriented analysis, observing the relations between different ethnopolitical groups and violent strife. Based on the qualitative group assessment of the Minorities at Risk project, the study puts to test the argument that not all ethnic groups are alike in their potential to fracture communal solidarity and ignite civil war.
An integral part of state formation processes is identity-building: ‘making one out of many’ as Walzer puts it. This is also true in terms of contemporary, internationally led statebuilding projects. This dimension of international statebuilding is important, as fundamental questions pertaining to belonging are as important to successful post-conflict process as institutional arrangements; in fact, assumptions about identities and group boundaries guide the technical decisions on institutional and governance structures. The central aim of this paper is to reflect upon identity-construction as a part of post-conflict statebuilding through exploring how historical and more recently invented symbols are deployed to construct a specific sense of belonging. The analysis finds a multiplicity of identity-building projects that advance different visions of community and belonging. The outcome is politicised and contentious visual, everyday landscape that legitimises competing local statebuilding projects (grounded in the distinctions between Bosnian peoples), while undermining peacebuilding and reconciliation. Yet, rather than indicating a primordial antagonisms or incompatible ‘liberal’ and ‘local’ norms, the conflicts over symbols (and ultimately, identities) between international and local agents are indicative of wider disagreements over how the Bosnian state ought to be organised and are fuelled by the institutional structures of the country and the weaknesses in the international statebuilding mission.
This article considers whether NATO won the war in Kosovo by spin, tricking Milosevic into believing that a ground invasion was imminent. It argues that during the conflict over Kosovo the propaganda war for public opinion was perceived by British and US governments as vitally important. NATO elites attempted to address (at least) eleven different audiences with a message appropriate to each. The two key audiences were, first, NATO public opinion which had to be reassured of the legitimacy of NATO's war against Kosovo and was also unsettled about the prospect of deploying ground troops. Simultaneously, NATO attempted to communicate to the second audience, Milosevic and the Serb elite, a more aggressive message that it would take whatever steps were needed to prevail. Using various ‘political skills’ NATO escalated the propaganda war against Milosevic while attempting to pacify domestic opinion and this may well have played an important role in the capitulation of the Serb leader.
The conflict in Chechnya is one of the most protracted of all the post-Soviet conflicts and is the only violent secessionist conflict to have occurred within the Russia Federation. The article evaluates the main explanations for the conflict and challenges historicist and ‘ethnic’ war accounts. It presents an alternative analysis which focuses on the interrelationship and combined effect of history, contingency, the instrumentalization of conflict by political leaderships, intra-Chechen cleavages, political economy, sectional interests and international factors. The article views the 1994-6 and 1991-present wars as part of a continuum, and discusses how the dynamics of the conflict have changed over time, as new radicalising elements such as Islamic fundamentalism and Russian nationalism under Putin have become more salient.
The article examines the role of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in civil wars and the consequences of their presence for the dynamics of these conflicts. It argues that although NGOs can affect the dynamics of civil wars, their influence only partly derives from their non-state character. More important for their influence is the financial resources that they can command, which to a large extent derive from their close association with donor governments, as their implementing partners. This complex relationship between donor governments and NGOs has contributed to an increasingly political role of NGOs, and has undermined some of the benefits resulting from their non-state character.
This article revisits the security dilemma theory and its application to civil conflict. Based on a careful reading of existing studies, it exposes the deviations from the original theory developed in the 1950s and more recent amendments, which have substantially reduced the explanatory value of the theory. The article shows that when the original and the amended versions of the theory are applied to civil conflict, neither can explain the outbreak of armed conflict. While anarchy might be present as a precondition for the dilemma to operate, a previous history of violent interaction often leaves little room for misperception of intentions. Absent uncertainty about malign intentions toward the other group, the security dilemma theory loses relevance to explain the outbreak of civil conflict.
There is a puzzle yet unanswered by theorists of civil war – why are the longest insurgencies low levels of violence? I argue that medium capacity states with multiple insurgencies tend to choose a counter insurgency strategy of containment vis-à-vis peripheral sons of the soil insurgencies, causing them to become stalemated low scale conflicts. While the current literature focuses on commitment problems, or low state capacity to explain such persistent low intensity insurgencies, my theory suggests that central politicians of these medium capacity states try to follow a policy of containment, particularly vis-à-vis the peripheral ethnic ‘sons of the soil’ insurgencies which are of low priority in terms of threat to political survival of these central politicians. The theory is tested on the Fearon (2004) data-set, and shows that those medium capacity states with multiple conflicts and sons of the soil insurgencies tend to have these low intensity long lasting insurgencies. This paper contributes to the literature on civil war duration, and also to the literature on sons of the soil conflicts. It investigates the different conditions under which state elites do not have sufficient incentives to try and eliminate rebels, because it is unacceptably costly to do so.
This article explores the 2001 violence in Macedonia. It begins by explaining the ‘four wolves’ thesis that has dominated the way that Westerners have thought about Macedonia in the 1990s before addressing alternative approaches to understanding ethnic war. The article argues that the vilence was caused by a combination of transnational criminal activity and processes of social transformation. The article moves on to account for the upsurge in violence and asks why Macedonia avoided a descent into general war unlike so many of its neighbours. It concludes by arguing that three factors prevented the slide into war: a benign international and regional environment, the absence of ‘ethnic etrepreneurs’, and the complex relationship between criminality and social transformation.
How do rebel groups determine their targets during intrastate conflict? We build upon two competing theories in conflict studies that emphasize either the social or economic determinants of violence during war and use geographic information systems (GIS) analysis to explore these competing theories. To do this, we utilize a subnational analysis of the most likely case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to understand whether ethnicity or natural resources motivates the location of conflict events. Accounting for geography, we find that economic endowments in the form of natural resources are highly related with the number of violent attacks, while the presence of competing ethnic groups does not offer much help in understanding the location of conflict events.
This article examines the escalation of protest mobilization into armed conflict in the Republic of Macedonia (2001). The analysis argues that violence occurred because of a timely collusion between proximate causes and permissive conditions (causes). The state's inherent fragility and the perpetuation of unresolved grievances provided ground for the utilization of opportunity structures by dissident contestants. The study looks into the influence of spillover effects through the lens of contagion and diffusion effects including political radicalization, disputed borderlands refugee flows, and rebel capacity, and provides an assessment of the conditions shaping the decision of the Albanian rebels to use violence. Drawing from a series of elite interviews and documents, the article offers a critical insight into how ethno-regional interdependencies render a largely non-violent conflict susceptible to escalation. The study finds that contagion, disputed borderlands, and the availability of existing operational networks have played a crucial, if not decisive, role in the decision of politically active Albanians in the Republic of Macedonia to use violence.
Contemporary war has been described as conflict between ethnic groups or concerned with control over resources and personal wealth. Although useful, the labels of ethnic war and resource conflict tend to bypass some important features of today's conflicts. This article will argue that war as an instrument of politics, as originally formulated by Clausewitz, is still applicable to conflicts today. With the aid of empirical material from the conflicts in Liberia (1989–97) and Somalia (1988–95), it will be argued that, even when formal state structures have broken down, war can be a political instrument in the hands of warring factions.
The idea that conflicts cannot be resolved until they are 'ripe' has been influential in conflict resolution literature in recent years. This article critiques the theoretical underpinnings of ripeness using the Northern Ireland peace process as a case study. It highlights the problems that results from the subjectiveness of both the theory itself and the information needed to apply it. By critically examining William Zartman's six 'propositions' of ripeness, the inadequacy of the approach is highlighted and claims that the theory can help predict when conflicts are ripe for resolution are shown to be unsustainable. It advocates a more dynamic approach to conflict resolution than ripeness suggests that parties and mediators adopt. (Informaworld)
This article argues for the usefulness of the concept of ‘police intervention’ in evaluating ethical and political issues arising out of development of more forceful and frequent international intervention since the end of the Cold War. the idea of policing enables connections to be made with the history and experience of the domestic police function, and responds to the alleged merging of crime and insurrection as threats to international order. The article considers the case of the establishment and consolidation of the police institution in Britain, and uses this as a basis for ethical‐political commentary on the intensification of international policing.
Mainstream views maintain that liberal democracy mitigates recourse to political violence. 'The ballot replaces the bullet' is a belief informed by the Democratic Peace Thesis, which not only posits that peace will pervade between democracies but, by way of a 'domestic analogy', within. How then do we explain cases of entrenched political violence within established liberal democracies, such as ETA in Spain? As the world experiments increasingly with liberal democratic forms of governance, too much is taken for granted about the relationships between liberal democracy and recourse to political violence. Hence, this article aims to add understanding on this important contemporary issue from an identity perspective by adapting the Copenhagen School's concept of 'societal identity security'. Using two case studies wherein the relationships between the liberal democratic framework encounters 'Other' group identity notions of how to live together, the article concludes that, on the one hand, liberal democracy can mitigate recourse to political violence for those groups with compatible identities. On the other hand and in opposition to mainstream opinions, liberal democracy can facilitate recourse for those groups which construct their identities in ways incompatible with its core principles (e.g., individual egoism or free market economics). This paradox stems from an internal contradiction of orthodox liberal democracy: specifically, that while claiming to accommodate and hence provide security for diverse groups, this accommodation does not extend to its core principles about 'the good life'.
This article assesses the potential for evidence-informed policymaking in the field of mediation. It argues that one of the key barriers to evidence-informed policymaking in this area is the disjointed character of the existing literature and finds that methodological and theoretical tensions lie at the heart of policy debates around mediation. While differences in theoretical, epistemological and normative perspectives of the existing research have made it difficult for policymakers to draw clear conclusions from the available evidence, the article nevertheless identifies a degree of convergence around certain key themes such as the importance of legitimacy in determining conflict outcomes and the benefits of combining quantitative and qualitative methods. It concludes by highlighting the importance of policy experimentation, evaluation and building capacity for policy learning in mediation policymaking.
In the face of the current focus on climate change, the question whether climate variations have effects on ethnic violence is addressed. This article shows the results of an empirical study on the relationship between violent livestock raiding and climatic conditions. The practice of livestock raiding causes large numbers of casualties in northern Kenya. While conflicts over scarce resources may be largely explained by drought conditions, population pressure, and access problems, livestock raiding is more violent during wet seasons, when pasture and water are abundant and when the livestock is in good health. The higher incidence of violent deaths during wet times hints at opportunistic behaviour of raiders.
Afghanistan has provided NATO with its severest test of the post-Cold War period. The Alliance has set the end of 2014 as the target date for a withdrawal from combat operations and the consolidation of an Afghan lead in security provision throughout the country. It is an open question as to what the security situation will be once that crossroad is reached, but observation of progress since 2001 suggests that a lingering military stalemate is likely to persist unless and until a comprehensive political settlement is reached. NATO's ISAF operation has not, itself, had a mandate to affect a political solution, although its multiple efforts clearly impinge upon that goal. Meanwhile, NATO's operational mandate has proven extremely difficult to discharge. The Alliance has demonstrated a degree of flexibility in pursuing its mission, but has encountered a range of insurmountable obstacles – local, national and regional in origin.
Violent conflict causes millions of people to flee their homes every year. The resulting displacement crises not only create logistical and humanitarian nightmares, these crises threaten international security and risk the lives of displaced people, aid workers, and peacekeepers. Despite the dangers posed by conflict-induced displacement, scholars, policy makers and international organizations usually have only a partial understanding of these crises. Conflict-induced displacement consists of two main factors: 1) The violence that caused the displacement and 2) The characteristics of the resulting displacement crisis. Many observers fail to disaggregate each factor; rather lumping all types of violence together or viewing displaced people as an undifferentiated mass. This paper demonstrates that disaggregation of both concepts-causes of conflict-induced displacement and characteristics of a crisis - is necessary to understand fully the importance of displacement in international politics. The paper develops typologies to analyze those concepts and discusses the implications for future research on conflict-induced displacement.
Which counterinsurgency approaches are most effective in defeating insurgencies? Counterinsurgency advocates and critics have debated the effectiveness of winning hearts and minds as well as using brute force against ordinary civilians. But little scholarship has sought to systemically compare these counterinsurgency approaches among a broad range of cases. This paper seeks to remedy this gap in the literature with an empirical analysis of 47 counterinsurgency wars from 1945–2000 to evaluate the effectiveness of coercive and persuasive approaches to counterinsurgency. To do so, I use crisp-set qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), or Boolean analysis, to identify the presence or absence of six coercive and persuasive counterinsurgency practices across all cases. This method enables me to highlight how counterinsurgency victory can be produced by combinations of practices rather than a single set of practices that might be expected to be useful across cases. The results demonstrate that many combinations of coercive, persuasive, and mixed counterinsurgency practices can lead to victory. However, more persuasive combinations of practices consistently lead to counterinsurgent victory compared to others, although limited coercion against civilians is constant in all cases of counterinsurgency. These findings cast doubt on the ability of counterinsurgents to refrain from harming civilians and suggest that victory requires a mix of both positive and negative incentives for cooperation.
This study examines how well five theories explain the extent of religious domestic conflict using data from 1960 to 2009 from the Political Instability Taskforce dataset. The results show that secularization theory's prediction of a decline in conflict and Samuel Huntington's predictions of a post-Cold War rise in religious identity conflict are inconsistent with actual conflict patterns. Predictions that religious conflicts will remain present are confirmed but this type of theory does not account for changes over time. David Rapoport's wave theory and Mark Juergensmeyer's religious resurgence theory provide the best explanation for a rise in religious conflict as a proportion of all domestic conflict that began in 1977. The results also show that Muslims have been increasingly and disproportionally involved in religious conflict, but not in a manner consistent with Huntington's predictions.
Whether urbanisation promotes or inhibits the risk of civil war is disputed: while case studies usually support the former, quantitative investigations have found either the latter or no significant correlation at all. I argue that this contradiction is due to a conceptual and operational over-aggregation of urbanisation, ignoring its intrastate variation. I claim that a high relative concentration of the urban population and political, economic and social institutions in the largest city – so-called metropolisation – can increase both the motivation for and the feasibility of rebellion in a country. Triangulating case study evidence with a quantitative cross-national time series design, I show that metropolisation significantly and robustly increases the risk of governmental conflict in particular and hence civil war in general.
Focusing on Biafra’s calculus of war to shed new light on the rebel-side debate, this article revisits the Civil War of Nigeria (1967–1970) to extract campaign lessons for the Nigerian Army (NA) in its fight against Boko Haram (BH). The paper uses Nassim Taleb’s ‘antifragility’ theory to explain why Biafra rebels crumbled under traditional military campaign stressors imposed on them. By contrast, Boko Haram’s ‘antifragile’ threat has grown, even as campaign stressors imposed by the NA increased. Embracing the differences in operational environment within both conflicts, this article reflects on the implications of BH’s antifragility for the NA’s counter-insurgency (COIN).
Critics of globalisation suggest that growing free-market conditions generate anomie, leading ultimately to what some term ‘new wars’ and new insecurities. Others argue that liberal economies dissuade violence since people gain from peace. This study argues for a micro perspective that views predatory economic policies driving higher investment in rebellion-specific capital, such as shadow economic activity that easily translates into insurgency in weak-state settings. Investment in the shadows determines survivability against superior state forces, and survivability determines rebellion, by definition. Using civil war onset data from 1970 to 2013, as well as the Global Peace Index (GPI) and several of its individual components, which capture societal insecurity above and beyond the absence of armed violence, this study finds that countries that are more capitalistic have a lower risk of civil war and societal insecurity. The results are robust to alternative models, testing methods, and uphold when examining several relevant subcomponents of the index, such as internal conflict, violent crime, homicides, ease of access to small arms, and political instability. Surprisingly, democracy tends not to be associated with peace but associates with increased criminality whereas strong autocracy reduces it, suggesting that capitalism, more than democracy, associates with conditions favourable to societal security, independently of a country’s level of development.
In their text published in May 2012, Bruno Reis and Pedro Oliveira proposed six theses on the massacre at Wiriyamu. They claim or imply that as a location of well-developed villages Wiriyamu did not exist; the massacre as reported might not have happened; although an atrocity may have occurred, the events are too complex to accurately unravel even today; lack of an independent or official inquiry makes the numbers of the dead as reported inaccurate; and that the exigencies of the counterinsurgency determined its context and magnitude within the framework of a civil war. This response examines these six theses, and concludes that Reis and Oliveira fail to advance the narrative. They accept at face value the Portuguese propaganda denying the existence of Wiriyamu as a place, rather than consider data that incontrovertibly proved the existence of Wiriyamu, the massacre, its context, and the overall integrity of the narrative. Finally this text sends a mixed message to its readers by contextualizing it as a case study in civil war.
For the ten years prior to the Turkish partition of Cyprus into Greek and Turkish Cypriot zones, the Turkish Cypriot community lived in distinct ethnic enclaves governed by a parallel Turkish Cypriot administration. I argue that Turkish Cypriot elites formed a system of reciprocal relations with their community by acting as ethnic protection racketeers. With few material resources, but a demand for protection during intercommunal fighting, Turkish Cypriot leaders monopolised protection over and within enclaves, while also deterring co-ethnics from leaving their protection despite poor conditions. Ultimately, this influenced Turkish Cypriot preferences in UN-led talks, demanding to retain autonomy over specific territories they controlled, especially in providing security.
Most studies on internal armed conflict focus on the dyadic interaction between the state and a rebel group, leaving less attention to inter-group fighting. Addressing this gap in the literature, this study argues that the interplay between economic and political inequality and weak state capacity increases the risk of non-state conflict. An empirical analysis of 178 non-state conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa between 1989 and 2011 provides support for the theorized conditional effect, but only for the role of economic inequality. The effect of political exclusion in the context of a weak state is not confirmed, suggesting that such conditions may be more prone to violence of another kind (i.e., mobilization against the state). Overall, these findings highlight the importance of a functioning state for maintaining peaceful inter-group relations, while they also lend support to earlier research that reports divergent effects of economic and political inequalities on civil conflict risk.
This data study provides the first comprehensive empirical overview of organised violence across the Shia and Sunni Muslim divide, 1989–2017. We present a conceptual framework of sectarian dimensions of armed conflicts: sectarian identities; sectarian ideologies; and sectarian alliances. Our analysis demonstrates the extent to which organised violence has been fought across the Shia-Sunni divide. We also explore the sectarian identity dimension in non-state armed conflicts and one-sided violence. Overall, our study shows that most of the organised violence across the Shia-Sunni divide is driven by states, rebel groups, and militias, rather than communities.
Civil wars have become common and widespread, particularly in Africa. Civil war negatively affects rural livelihoods and contributes to increased vulnerability. Yet, there is limited understanding of how people survive in such circumstances. This article attempts to offer a nuanced understanding of the level of resilience and vulnerability during Sudan's civil war in the 1990s. The main thesis of this article is that households exposed to prolonged conflict undertake livelihood strategies that are effective under certain conditions and less effective in other settings. The households exposed to exogenous counter-insurgency warfare are found to be more resilient than those exposed to endogenous counter-insurgency warfare. Also, a negative relationship between wealth and vulnerability is found in the context of exogenous counter-insurgency warfare, while a positive relationship between wealth and vulnerability is observed in the context of endogenous counter-insurgency warfare, with the non-poor becoming more vulnerable than the poor. The findings of this paper may have some value for informing policy decisions and practical humanitarian approaches during civil war.
Typically, when analysing contemporary Russian–Chechen conflicts, the relegation of the nationalist struggle to a secondary role by the religious battle waged by the North Caucasus insurgency is pinpointed as one of the fundamental differences between the First and Second War in Chechnya. This article discusses how it was reflected in one of the most important media of the Chechen Islamist insurgency: the Kavkaz Center. To this end, 2859 English language news items posted on the website during 2001–04 were reviewed using media frame analysis.
Inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) have vastly different capacities for intervening in conflicts in their member states. The Organization of American States (OAS), a regional IGO in Latin America, has the capacity to intervene diplomatically to defend democracy in the hemisphere. This article examines how well the OAS applied these diplomatic tools in defense of democracy in Haiti following the 2000 political crisis. I argue that the OAS achieved some success in Haiti, particularly the Electoral Technical Program. However, the bulk of the evidence suggests that the OAS missed key opportunities to invoke their strongest diplomatic tools in defense of democracy in Haiti.
Scholars have begun to show how variations in the organization of rebellion in war can impact outcomes related to the violence used against civilians, military effectiveness of armed groups and the post-conflict transitions. This article suggests that existing approaches in this literature overlook sub-group variations in relationships between national-level leaders of armed movements and local commanders. Exogenous factors that explain organizational variation and organizational effects are generally argued to be group wide. By focusing on the local level, I argue that many of the presumed downstream effects of variation in rebel organization can also contribute to the organizational choices leaders make for controlling local actors. This article demonstrates this argument through the case of Bouna in north-eastern Côte d'Ivoire, where a tax revolt against the local Forces Nouvelles (FN) administration, led by local Lobi youth, forced a restructuring in the relationship between Soro and the local FN commander, Morou Ouattara.
Did US drone strikes cause the unravelling of the Pakistani conflict settlement process between the government and the TTP in 2013-14? In answering this question, we present strong, fieldwork-based evidence that the effects of leadership decapitation, civilian casualties, and loss of legitimacy and credibility as a negotiation partner by both the government and the TTP interacted in the context of specific social, political and cultural characteristics of a tribal society. We find that drone strikes ‘produced’ some of these factors, but not all, which allows us to conclude with four concrete policy recommendations for rethinking the use of drones.