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Escalate to De-Escalate? External State Support and Governments’ Willingness to Negotiate
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
(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.

Keyword [en]
Interventions, external support, negotiations, civil war, military pressure
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331866OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331866DiVA: diva2:1150422
Available from: 2017-10-19 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2017-10-19
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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