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Path to Dominance - Disaggregating Intra-rebel Conflict between Parent and Splinter Group in Separatist Insurgency: Case Study of Moro National Liberation Front - Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, and Karen National Union - Democratic Karen Buddhist Army in Burma
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Common beliefs posit that rebel fragmentation and the emergence of splinter groups are often associated with intra-rebel violence. However, empirical evidence suggests that it is not always the case: there are cases of non-lethal competition between parent and splinter groups across time and terrain. This study explores the cause of lethal and non-lethal conflict between parent and splinter group that represent ethno-nationalist identity. By using theories of rational choice and outbidding strategy, I argue that lethal intra-rebel conflict are less likely when there is a balanced distribution of power between parent and splinter groups, subsequent to organizational fragmentation. This is because intra-rebel conflict against formidable opponents is costly. Further, it presents an existential threat in the event of counterinsurgency or retaliation. Thus, it is expected that rebel groups are more likely to employ non-lethal outbidding strategy in order to become the sole representation of their ethnic group. Using the method of structured focused comparison, this hypothesis is tested by comparing Moro insurgencies in Philippines and Karen insurgencies in Burma. The main finding demonstrates partial support to the causality of distribution power to the lethality of outbidding strategies. In addition, the empirical analysis also shows state intervention and social ties as influencing lethal intra-rebel conflict.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 80 p.
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303345OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303345DiVA: diva2:971593
Subject / course
Peace and Conflict Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies
Available from: 2016-09-20 Created: 2016-09-16 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved

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