uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Sponsors of War: State Support for Rebel Groups in Civil Conflicts
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8428-4861
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

Many civil wars are illustrative of wider international tensions and connections that transcend state borders. States often intervene to influence the trajectory and outcome of civil conflicts by providing external support to warring parties. This assistance ranges from direct military intervention to the provision of weapons, training, funds, safe havens, intelligence, logistics and other critical resources. This dissertation contains four individual essays that each seeks to advance our knowledge of state support to rebel movements. The first essays (I and II) add to our understanding of how external state support influences conflict dynamics while the latter (III and IV) begin to unpack the political decision-making process behind decisions that alter the original support commitment. Essay I evaluates whether state support to rebels increases the probability of civil war negotiations being initiated. The findings question a widespread belief among policymakers that support can foster negotiations. Essay II explores if external support influences the risk of conflict recurrence. It finds that state support to rebels can increase the risk of conflict recurrence in the short-term while there is no equivalent effect of support provided to governments. Essay III is the first global analysis of support termination and it thereby opens up an entirely new research field. The results suggest that the causes related to the initiation of support and its termination are largely distinct while the transition from the Cold War and the absence of ethnic kinship ties offer some insights into when states are more likely to terminate support. Essay IV unpacks the political decision-making process of the United States’ support to the armed opposition in Nicaragua in the 1980s and in Syria in the 2010s. The results indicate that adverse feedback functions as a trigger for increasing previous commitments as long as policy failure can be attributed to external actors, while reduced support is often a result of attributing failure to the state sponsor’s own actions. Taken together, the essays make significant contributions to advance our understanding of biased third-party interventions, conflict recurrence, civil war negotiations, foreign policy decision-making and state sponsorship of terrorism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning, Uppsala universitet , 2017. , p. 38
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 116
Keywords [en]
external support, intervention, civil war, state sponsorship, conflict delegation, proxy war, internationalized conflict, negotiations, conflict recurrence, US foreign policy, Nicaragua, Syria
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331868ISBN: 978-91-506-2662-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331868DiVA, id: diva2:1150424
Public defence
2017-12-08, Brusewitz-salen, Gamla torget 2, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-11-17 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2018-01-13
List of papers
1. Escalate to De-Escalate? External State Support and Governments’ Willingness to Negotiate
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Escalate to De-Escalate? External State Support and Governments’ Willingness to Negotiate
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Policymakers frequently claim that military assistance to rebels can force governments into negotiations. Many seem convinced that providing material assistance to rebels involved in a civil war can create a ‘ripe moment’ that is favorable for negotiations and thus offer an attractive path towards a negotiated settlement. However, this widespread belief has never been systematically assessed. This article evaluates this claim using global data on negotiations in all intrastate armed conflicts from 1975 to 2009. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the article demonstrates that external state support to rebel groups does not increase the prospect of negotiations. Neither sustained pressure, support provided by great powers, nor direct military intervention increases the probability of negotiations being initiated. Instead, the results suggest that external support is likely to reduce the likelihood of negotiations between the warring parties, especially if the state sponsor is a great power. The study contributes to our understanding of civil war processes by demonstrating that military assistance hinders rather than promotes the onset of negotiations.

Keywords
Interventions, external support, negotiations, civil war, military pressure
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331866 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-19 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2018-01-13
2. The legacy of foreign patrons: External state support and conflict recurrence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The legacy of foreign patrons: External state support and conflict recurrence
2017 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 54, no 4, p. 499-512Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Why do some armed conflicts that have ended experience renewed fighting while others do not? Previous research onconflict recurrence has approached this question by looking at domestic factors such as how the war was fought, howit ended or factors associated with its aftermath. With the exception of the literature on third-party securityguarantees, the influence of outside actors has often been overlooked. This article explores the role of external statesand suggests when and how their involvement is likely to affect the probability of renewed warfare. The mainargument is that the legacy of outside support creates an external support structure that affects the previouscombatants’ willingness as well as their opportunities to remobilize. This means that armed conflicts with externalstate support will experience a greater likelihood of recurrence compared to other conflicts which did not see externalsupport. The theory is tested using Cox proportional hazards models on global data of intrastate armed conflicts1975–2009. The findings suggest that external support to rebels increases the risk of conflict recurrence in the shortterm as groups receive or anticipate renewed assistance. The results also indicate that it is more important for rebelgroups to have had enduring support over the years in the previous conflict rather than access to multiple statesponsors. External support provided to governments is not associated with conflict recurrence.

Keywords
civil war, conflict recurrence, external support, third party interventions, state sponsorship, external state support
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-323527 (URN)10.1177/0022343317700465 (DOI)000405510800004 ()
Available from: 2017-06-07 Created: 2017-06-07 Last updated: 2018-09-03Bibliographically approved
3. Turning off the Taps: The Termination of State Sponsorship
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Turning off the Taps: The Termination of State Sponsorship
2017 (English)In: Terrorism and Political Violence, ISSN 0954-6553, E-ISSN 1556-1836Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Why do some states terminate their sponsorship of rebel movements while others are persistent in their provision of support? In the past, most research on external support to insurgents has focused on why states choose to sponsor rebel groups and particularly how this affects conflict duration. However, we know little about the termination of such support. This is surprising given that support has been shown to make armed conflicts more intractable and tremendous efforts are made in condemning and sanctioning such behavior. This study constitutes the first large-N analysis of support termination, employing survival analysis on global data of state support to rebel movements between 1975–2009. Surprisingly, the findings indicate that only some of the factors that explain support provision can offer insights into its termination. In particular, support is more likely to be terminated when no ethnic kinship bonds exist between the rebel movement and the government of the supporting state. Many decisions to withdraw support also seem to coincide with the transition from the Cold War. Threats and sanctions from other states appear largely ineffective. The study contributes to our understanding of the international dimensions of civil war and the role and motives of third parties.

Keywords
external support termination, state sponsorship, rebel patronage, third party interventions, international dimensions of civil war
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-317046 (URN)10.1080/09546553.2017.1282861 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-03-09 Created: 2017-03-09 Last updated: 2018-01-13
4. Changing Commitments: US Support to Rebels in Syria and Nicaragua
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing Commitments: US Support to Rebels in Syria and Nicaragua
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The provision of external state support to non-state actors in civil wars is a dynamic process. The calculus of state sponsors varies over time, which means that assistance provided to the armed opposition fluctuates. This is rarely recognized in existing research, which has focused more on the initiation of support and its subsequent effects on conflict dynamics. While we know many of the motives behind decisions to provide support, we know less about why state sponsorship of rebels changes over time. To address this, I propose a theoretical argument that is able to account for policy adjustments over time. The theory builds on the notion that leaders change their support commitment when there is adverse feedback and that support increases as long as the causes of policy failure can be attributed to external actors, while cutbacks occur when failure is attributed to the state sponsor’s own actions. The latter prompts domestic audiences to act in order to force leaders to back down. Process tracing is used to explore the value of this framework in within-case analyses of the United States’ support commitments to insurgent groups in Nicaragua during the 1980s and in Syria during the 2010s. The study demonstrates the utility of focusing on shifts in leaders’ perceptions rather than structural features of the international system or rebel behavior to understand temporal variation in external support.

Keywords
external support, state sponsorship, civil war, US foreign policy, Syria, Nicaragua
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331867 (URN)
Available from: 2017-10-19 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2018-01-13

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(528 kB)630 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 528 kBChecksum SHA-512
541a7d274207319eb35cdcae56689ab53ac148b85fdc7a4cd85a656ba55592664db08cfe5779366cf9708198949f6589947b6974246358c4a9441bf6f83f767b
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Authority records BETA

Karlén, Niklas

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Karlén, Niklas
By organisation
Department of Peace and Conflict Research
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 630 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 3737 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf