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Turning off the Taps: The Termination of State Sponsorship
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)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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
external support termination, state sponsorship, rebel patronage, third party interventions, international dimensions of civil war
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-317046DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2017.1282861OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-317046DiVA: diva2:1080305
Available from: 2017-03-09 Created: 2017-03-09 Last updated: 2017-11-29
In thesis
1. Sponsors of War: State Support for Rebel Groups in Civil Conflicts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sponsors of War: State Support for Rebel Groups in Civil Conflicts
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
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. 38 p.
Series
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 116
Keyword
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 Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331868 (URN)978-91-506-2662-9 (ISBN)
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: 2017-11-17

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