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AND UK HEO, Editors

Santa Barbara, California Denver, Colorado Oxford, United Kingdom

Dedicated to our mentor, Alex Mintz
Copyright 2007 by ABC-CLIO, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,
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review, without prior permission in writing from the publishers.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Civil wars of the world : major conflicts since World War II / Karl DeRouen, Jr. and Uk
Heo, editors.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-1-85109-919-1 (hbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 1-85109-919-0 (hbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN-13: 978-1-85109-920-7 (ebook)
ISBN-10: 1-85109-920-4 (ebook)
1. Military history, Modern—20th century. 2. Civil war—History—20th century.
I. DeRouen, Karl R., 1962– II. Heo, Uk, 1962–

D431.C54 2007

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Preface, ix
Contributor Biographies, xi
Introduction, Paul Bellamy, 1

Regional Analyses, Paul Bellamy

Asian Conflicts, 27
European Conflicts, 39
Latin American Conflicts, 49
Middle Eastern and North African Conflicts, 59
Sub-Saharan African Conflicts, 69

Civil Wars of the World

Afghanistan (1978–1992), Kanishkan China (1946–1949), Min Ye, 249
Sathasivam, 83 Colombia (1978–Present), Joakim Kreutz, 267
Algeria (1992–Present), Jonah Schulhofer- Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Wohl, 103 (1996–1997 and 1998–Present), Kyle
Angola (1992–2002), Beth K. Dougherty, 125 Wilson, 291
Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh Croatia (1991–1992 and 1995), Candace
Republic (1992–1994), Jessica Atwood, Archer, 311
143 El Salvador (1979–1992), Marc R.
Bangladesh (1972–1997), Milica Begovich, Rosenblum, 329
161 Ethiopia (1976–1985), Raúl C. González, 351
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992–1995), Greece (1944–1949), Neal G. Jesse, 367
Steven Shewfelt, 181 Guatemala (1974–1994), Sharon Lunsford,
Burundi (1972), Chelsea Brown, 199 385
Cambodia (1970–1975 and 1979–1991), India (1946–1949), Eric Pullin, 403
Dong-Yoon Lee, 215 Indonesia (1975–1999), Kenneth Ray
Chad (1966–1979), David Cunningham, 235 Glaudell, 423

Index, I-1


Preface, vii
Contributor Biographies, ix

Iraq (1961–1975 and 1988–1994), Jason E. Rwanda (1990–1994), Genèvieve Asselin,

Strakes, 443 Kristine St-Pierre, and David Carment,
Korea (1950–1953), Jung-Yeop Woo, 459 655
Lebanon (1975–1978), Mehmet Gurses, 475 Somalia (1988–1991 and 1992–Present),
Liberia (1989–1997), Jun Wei, 489 Kyle Wilson, 675
Mozambique (1979–1992), J. Michael South Africa (1976–1994), Trevor Rubenzer,
Quinn, 509 695
Myanmar/Burma (1968–1995), Joakim Sri Lanka (1972–Present), Shale Horowitz
Kreutz, 527 and Buddhika Jayamaha, 715
Nicaragua (1978–1979 and 1980–1989), Sudan (1983–2005), Clayton Thyne, 735
Marc V. Simon, 551 Tajikistan (1992–1997), John Wilson, 753
Nigeria (1967–1970), Trevor Rubenzer, 567 Turkey (1984–1999 and 2004–Present),
Pakistan (1971), Sahar Shafqat, 585 Peter Finn, 773
Peru (1980–1996), Kathleen Gallagher Uganda (1986–Present), Michael Barutciski,
Cunningham, 601 791
The Philippines (1972–1996), Rodelio Cruz Yemen (1962–1970), Daniel Corstange,
Manacsa and Alexander Tan, 617 809
Russia (1994–1996), Tatyana A. Karaman, Zimbabwe (1972–1979), Cullen S. Hendrix
635 and Idean Salehyan, 829

Civil Wars Chronology, Paul Bellamy, 847

Index, I-1

ortunately, interstate war is becoming ever the opposite of development. A variety of factors

F more rare. Civil wars, however, linger on

in many parts of the world. Some lead to
few deaths (as in various regional wars in Burma
are thought to prolong war: contraband (e.g., di-
amonds, timber, drugs, gold), youth bulges, low
opportunity costs for rebels, and the presence of
and India), but others have high casualty counts. external intervention.
The latter are the focus of this work. The essays are concerned with the countries
The academic study of civil war onset, out- that have experienced the most severe civil
come, and duration has received great attention wars since World War II. Each essay follows a
of late. Our goal is to provide a useful resource similar format, making comparison across
for scholars and the general public alike. These cases easier.
volumes contain a wealth of information and Several individuals helped make this possible:
analysis. Scott Bennett, Ashley Leeds, Dave Mason, Terry
The academic community will benefit from Roehrig, and Mark Tessler helped us find some
our approach, for our essays are organized along of our excellent essayists. We are grateful to
lines followed in current research. The general Nicolas Sambanis, as we made extensive use of
audience will appreciate the historical overviews the online data set he provides to accompany his
we provide. The essays are written in a straight- 2000 American Political Science Review article
forward prose that does not sacrifice content. with Michael Doyle. Alex Mikaberidze of ABC-
The essays consider the onsets of the respec- CLIO was also a tremendous help in assembling
tive wars. Topics here range from the role of eth- the final product.
nicity to territoriality and economic grievances.
Duration is another important consideration. Karl DeRouen Jr
Why are some wars very long and others rela- Northport, Alabama
tively short? These are important questions be- Uk Heo
cause, as the World Bank observes, civil war is Milwaukee, Wisconsin

| IX

Candace Archer is an assistant professor in the publications have been cited in leading law and
political science department at Bowling Green international relations journals as well as in pe-
State University in Ohio. She received her MA in riodicals in geography and anthropology. In
international relations and PhD in political sci- April 2005, he accompanied a small group of
ence from the University of Delaware. Her re- York students to Rwanda, Congo, and Tanzania,
search is in international political economy and where they spent time with locals and visited
international organizations. Specifically, her work UN bodies (UNHCR, MONUC, International
focuses on global financial issues, global financial Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), humanitarian
crises, and international financial organizations. nongovernmental organizations, an orphanage,
Her recent work looks at multilateralism sur- and a refugee camp.
rounding the resolution of financial crisis and the
interactions between global credit rating agencies Milica Begovich graduated with a BA in public re-
and developing countries. With Glen Biglaiser lations, an MA in political science, and a PhD in
and Karl DeRouen, she has a forthcoming article political science from the University of Alabama
in International Organization titled “Democratic and currently works with the United Nations De-
Advantage: Does Regime Type Affect Credit Rat- velopment Programme.
ing Agency Ratings in the Developing World?”
Paul Bellamy is a former university lecturer who
Geneviève Asselin pursues her degree at the has worked for various international organiza-
Norman Paterson School of International Af- tions and has published in a wide range of areas.
fairs, Carleton University. Her research interests He is currently a research analyst at the New
include conflict prevention, human rights, gen- Zealand Parliamentary Library. The views ex-
der, and peacebuilding. Her present research fo- pressed are those of the author and not neces-
cuses on the role of women in peacebuilding ini- sarily those of his employer.
tiatives in Guatemala.
Chelsea Brown is a doctoral candidate at the
Jessica Atwood, a New Mexico native, is a senior University of North Texas. She was recently a
at the University of Alabama. She will graduate visiting lecturer at the University of Canterbury
with a BA in international relations and Russian in New Zealand. Her work concentrates on the
in May 2007. comparative political economy of financial mar-
kets and the effects of economic liberalization
Michael Barutciski, a former Oxford fellow and programs. Her articles have been accepted in
United Nations consultant, directed the diplo- Journal of Peace Research (with James Meernik)
macy program at the University of Canterbury and International Political Science Review.
in New Zealand prior to arriving at the Glendon
School of Public Affairs at York University. He David Carment is a full professor of interna-
has carried out research in conflict zones and tional affairs at the Norman Paterson School of
refugee camps in Asia, Africa, and Europe. His International Affairs, Carleton University, and

| XI

fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Af- Policy, African Studies Quarterly, Active Learning
fairs Institute (CDFAI). He is listed in Who’s in Higher Education, PS: Political Science, and In-
Who in International Affairs. In addition, Car- ternational Studies Perspectives. She and Ed-
ment is the principal investigator for the Coun- mund Ghareeb are the coauthors of A Historical
try Indicators for Foreign Policy project. He has Dictionary of Iraq, which was named a Best Ref-
served as director of the Centre for Security and erence Source in 2004 by Library Journal.
Defence Studies at Carleton University and is Dougherty is the recipient of the 1999 Under-
the recipient of a Carleton Graduate Student’s kofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate
teaching excellence award, Carleton University’s Teaching (Beloit College) and the corecipient of
research achievement award, and the Petro- the 2001 Rowman and Littlefield Award for In-
Canada Young Innovator Award. novative Teaching in Political Science.

Daniel Corstange is a PhD candidate in the po- Peter Finn is a lecturer in political science at the
litical science at the University of Michigan, Ann University of Wisconsin–Parkside. His research
Arbor. He specializes in the politics of the Mid- interests include classical, medieval, and modern
dle East and has conducted field research in sev- political thought, international theory, and the
eral Arab countries, including Yemen. concept of law. He is currently a graduate stu-
dent at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
David Cunningham is a fellow at the John M.
Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard Kenneth Ray Glaudell earned his BA in political
University. He received his PhD in political sci- science with a minor in Arabic at the University of
ence from the University of California, San Illinois (1982) and went on to receive his MA
Diego, in June 2006. (1987) and PhD (1996) in political science with a
minor in Urdu from the University of Wisconsin–
Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham is a PhD can- Madison, where he concentrated his research on
didate in the department of political science at Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, a major source of mod-
the University of California, San Diego. Her area ern Islamist political thought. He served as a lec-
of expertise is internal conflict, with a focus on turer in the University of Wisconsin system from
self-determination disputes. 1994 to 2004 and is currently an adjunct assistant
professor of political science and history at Cardi-
Karl DeRouen Jr is an associate professor of po- nal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
litical science at the University of Alabama.
Some of his recent work appears in the British Raúl C. González is currently a graduate student
Journal of Political Science, Journal of Peace Re- in the political science department at Rice Uni-
search, International Organization, and Latin versity. Although his interests include civil war
American Research Review. He is currently co- and other forms of domestic unrest, his present
authoring a book on foreign policy decision focus of study is the comparative impact of elec-
making for Cambridge University Press. toral institutions on legislative careers.

Beth K. Dougherty is Manger Professor of Inter- Mehmet Gurses is a PhD candidate at the Uni-
national Relations and associate professor of po- versity of North Texas’s department of political
litical science at Beloit College in Wisconsin. She science. His research interests include democrati-
received her MA and PhD in foreign affairs from zation, civil wars, post–civil war peace building,
the University of Virginia. Her current research political methodology, and Middle East politics.
focuses on transitional justice in Sierra Leone
and Iraq, and her articles have appeared in Inter- Cullen S. Hendrix is a PhD candidate at the Uni-
national Affairs, Security Studies, Middle East versity of California, San Diego. His research fo-

cuses on political economy, with specific inter- Transferable Vote, and The Internationalization of
ests in civil conflict and public finance in the de- Ethnic Conflict. He is also coauthor of Identity
veloping world. and Institutions: Conflict Reduction in Divided
Societies (State University of New York Press).
Uk Heo is a professor of political science at the
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the Tatyana A. Karaman is an assistant professor of
author, co-author, or coeditor of six books and political science at Samford University, Birming-
numerous articles on the political economy of ham, Alabama. She received her PhD in political
defense spending, international conflict, inter- science from the University of Wisconsin–Mil-
national political economy, and Asian politics in waukee. Her primary areas of research are com-
such journals as The Journal of Politics, The parative politics and international relations, with
British Journal of Political Science, Political Re- a regional concentration in post-Soviet politics.
search Quarterly, The Journal of Conflict Resolu-
tion, International Studies Quarterly, Compara- Joakim Kreutz works at the Uppsala Conflict
tive Politics, and Comparative Political Studies. Data Program, department of peace and conflict
research, Uppsala University, Sweden. His main
Shale Horowitz is an associate professor of po- responsibilities include the supervision and de-
litical science at the University of Wisconsin– livery of conflict data for the Human Security Re-
Milwaukee. His research focuses on ethnic con- port, especially concerning estimates of battle
flict and economic policy making. He is the au- deaths, nonstate conflict, and one-sided violence.
thor of From Ethnic Conflict to Stillborn Reform:
The Former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia (Texas Dong-Yoon Lee is a research fellow of the Institute
A&M University Press, 2005) and coeditor of for East Asian Studies at Sogang University in
four volumes, including Identity and Change in South Korea. He received his PhD in political sci-
East Asian Conflicts: China-Taiwan and the Ko- ence from Yonsei University, Korea, in 2002. The
reas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). He is the au- title of his dissertation was “Party Politics and
thor or co-author of articles in Communist and Democracy in Southeast Asia: A Comparative
Post-Communist Studies, Comparative Political Study of the Philippines, Thailand, and Indone-
Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and His- sia.” Currently his main research agenda includes
tory, East European Politics and Societies, Journal the political process of Southeast Asian countries
of Peace Research, International Interactions, In- and the international relations among those states.
ternational Studies Quarterly, and other journals.
Sharon Lunsford is a PhD candidate in political
Buddhika Jayamaha, a Sri Lankan native, has an science at the University of North Texas.
MA in international affairs from Marquette Uni-
versity. He is currently serving in Iraq with the Rodelio Cruz Manacsa is a PhD candidate in po-
U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. litical science at Vanderbilt University. He has ob-
tained masters’ degrees from the Amsterdam
Neal G. Jesse is an associate professor of political School of International Relations and from Van-
science at Bowling Green State University in derbilt University. He has received numerous
Ohio. His research on electoral systems, party scholarships, including those from Fulbright and
systems, and ethnic conflict has appeared in the European Union. He is also a faculty member
journals such as Electoral Studies, Political Re- of the department of political science at the Ate-
search Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, neo de Manila University in the Philippines.
Political Psychology, and Representation. He has
chapters in numerous books, including Elections Eric Pullin is a PhD candidate in the department
in Australia, Ireland and Malta under the Single of history at the University Wisconsin–Madison.

He is writing his dissertation on the role of prop- tional migration and refugee flows, and human
aganda in United States–India foreign relations. rights. Currently, he is working on a book proj-
He is currently working as a curriculum special- ect that examines the transnational organization
ist and adjunct faculty member at Cardinal of rebel groups. He has recently published arti-
Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. cles in the Journal of Peace Research and Interna-
tional Organization.
J. Michael Quinn is a PhD candidate in compar-
ative politics at the University of North Texas. Kanishkan Sathasivam received his PhD in politi-
His research interests include civil wars, peasant cal science from Texas A&M University. He also
political behavior, political development, and has an MS degree from the University of Ten-
the economics and politics of race and ethnicity. nessee and a BS degree from Saint Louis Univer-
sity. He is an assistant professor at Salem State
Marc R. Rosenblum received his PhD from the College, Salem, Massachusetts, where he teaches
University of California, San Diego, and is an as- several introductory and upper-level courses in
sociate professor of political science at the Uni- international and comparative politics. His re-
versity of New Orleans, where he teaches courses search interests include the enduring rivalry be-
on U.S.–Latin American relations, U.S. foreign tween India and Pakistan, security and conflict in
policy, the politics of economic development, the Middle East and Central Asia, the prolifera-
and political methodology. His research on the tion of weapons of mass destruction, and geopol-
politics of international migration and U.S. im- itics among the United States, China, and Russia.
migration policy making has appeared in the
journals Annual Review of Political Science, Com- Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl received his BA and MA
parative Political Studies, Human Rights Review, from Yale University in 2004. He is currently a
Journal of Peace Research, Latin American Politics PhD student in the department of political sci-
and Society, Migraciones Internacionales, and Po- ence and a student associate of the Program on
litical Power and Social Theory. His monograph, Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale. His re-
The Transnational Politics of US Immigration search focuses on the dynamics of political vio-
Policy, was published in 2004 by the Center for lence against noncombatants. Other areas of in-
Comparative Immigration Studies at the Uni- terest include economic development and
versity of California, San Diego. He is currently politics in the Middle East and North Africa.
writing a book based on research he completed
as a fellow on Senator Ted Kennedy’s Judiciary Sahar Shafqat is a specialist in comparative poli-
Committee staff. The book is about the U.S. na- tics. Her main areas of expertise are ethnic con-
tional interest in immigration reform and the flict, democratization, and gender and develop-
current debate over immigration. ment. She graduated from Mount Holyoke
College with a bachelor’s degree in international
Trevor Rubenzer is a PhD candidate at the Uni- relations and economics. She has a PhD in polit-
versity of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His interests ical science from Texas A&M University. She is
include the impact of ethnicity on U.S. foreign currently assistant professor of political science
policy, international conflict and security stud- at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
ies, and African studies. He has previously pub-
lished book chapters treating security policy in Steven Shewfelt is a PhD candidate in political
Nigeria and South Africa. science at Yale University. He received a BA in
political science from Northwestern University
Idean Salehyan is an assistant professor of polit- and an MA in international studies from DePaul
ical science at the University of North Texas. His University in Chicago. Before joining the pro-
research interests include civil conflict, interna- gram at Yale, he served in the U.S. military,

worked at The Carter Center, practiced as a pro- omy of the advanced industrial democracies and
fessional mediator, and directed his own conflict the nonindustrialized countries.
resolution consulting firm.
Clayton Thyne is a PhD candidate at the Univer-
Marc V. Simon is associate professor and chair of sity of Iowa. His research interests include civil
the department of political science at Bowling war, interstate war, and Latin American studies.
Green State University in Ohio. His research fo- His dissertation examines the effect of signals
cuses on international and domestic conflict from the international community on the onset,
processes and conflict resolution. He has pub- duration, and outcomes of civil wars.
lished articles in The Journal of Conflict Resolu-
tion, International Interactions, and Journal of Jun Wei studies international relations at the
Peace Research. University of Chicago. His research focuses on
the role of hegemonies in the evolution of inter-
Kristine St-Pierre studies at the Norman Pater- national systems and international conflict and
son School of International Affairs, Carleton explores conflict resolution in Southeast Asia.
University. Her research interests include con-
flict prevention, humanitarian intervention, and John Wilson is a visiting lecturer in the school of
the nexus between the natural environment and government at Victoria University of Wellington,
conflict. Her present research focuses on the role where his teaching interests include international
of natural resources in the outbreak of interstate environmental politics and international politi-
armed conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. cal economy. He is currently researching security
and conflict issues in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Jason E. Strakes is a PhD candidate in the de-
partment of politics and policy at the School Kyle Wilson received a BA in International Busi-
of Politics and Economics, Claremont Gradu- ness from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
ate University, Claremont, California. His pri- in 2001 and an MA in political science from the
mary research interests are foreign and defense University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 2004.
policy, international and intrastate conflict, Currently, he attends Thunderbird, the Garvin
and the politics of developing nations. Strakes School of International Management, in Ari-
recently published a coauthored article in Con- zona, where he is pursuing a global MBA.
flict Management and Peace Science that exam-
ines the impact of the 2003 Iraq war on the se- Jung-Yeop Woo is a PhD candidate in the politi-
curity perceptions of states in the Persian Gulf cal science department at the University of Wis-
region. consin–Milwaukee. He received a BA from Seoul
National University, Korea, and an MA from
Alexander Tan is associate professor/reader and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. His
head of the political science program at the research focuses on international conflict, East
School of Political Science and Communications Asian security, and Korean politics. His publica-
at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He tions include two book chapters, on South
is also a research associate with the John Tower Korea’s defense policy and on the Korean War.
Center for Political Studies, Southern Methodist
University, Dallas, Texas. He is editor of the Tai- Min Ye is a PhD candidate in the department of
wan Studies Working Paper Series and an editorial political science at the University of Wiscon-
board member of International Studies Quarterly, sin–Milwaukee. He expects to receive his PhD in
Electoral Studies, and Political Research Quarterly. political science in 2007. His research interests
He has written widely in the areas of comparative are international crises, Asian politics, and game
political parties and comparative political econ- theory.

The Format of the Series war. According to Sambanis, an armed conflict

This introduction leads the reader into the should be classified as a civil war if
country and regional essays contained in the
main body of this compendium. The introduc- The war takes place within the territory of a
tion first defines civil war and then provides a state that is a member of the international
rationale for the study of such conflict, includ- system (this includes states occupying foreign
ing such reasons as the devastating impact of territories that are claiming independence)
civil war on society and its international reper- with a population of 500,000 or greater. If a
cussions. A brief overview of civil wars since the civil war occurs in a country with a popula-
end of World War II follows, after which causes tion below this threshold, it can still be in-
of these wars are outlined. cluded and can be flagged as a marginal case.
As the country and regional essays examine The per capita death measure allows the pop-
the causes of specific wars, this introduction is ulation threshold to be relaxed.
limited to a brief overview of general factors that The parties are politically and militarily or-
can cause war, which range from limited eco- ganized, and they have publicly stated politi-
nomic development to divisions within society. cal objectives.
A chronology (following the entries) identifies The government (through its military or
important conflict- and security-related events militias) is a principal combatant. If there is
since World War II. Some of the information no functioning government, then the party
used in this introduction is derived from the representing the government internationally
country and regional essays; when this is the and/or claiming the state domestically must
case, the source of information is not cited or be involved as a combatant. Extensive indirect
listed in the references as it appears later in the support (such as monetary, organizational,
compendium. The essays themselves follow a and military) from the government to militias
common organizational structure, as do the five might also satisfy this criterion.
regional essays. The information in the regional The main insurgent organization(s) are lo-
essays is derived from the country-specific essays cally represented and recruit locally. Addi-
unless otherwise referenced. tional external involvement and recruitment
need not imply that the war is not intrastate.
Insurgent groups may operate from neigh-
The Definition of Civil War boring countries, but they must also have
There has been debate over what constitutes a some territorial control (bases) in the civil
civil war. Various definitions have been put for- war country, or the rebels must reside in the
ward and have been critiqued. There has also civil war country.
been much debate over defining civil wars in The start of the war is the first year in which
terms of fatalities. This compendium uses the the conflict causes at least 500 to 1,000 deaths.
work of Nicolas Sambanis (2004) to define civil This rule can be relaxed to a range of 100 to

| 1

1,000 because fighting might start late in the throughout most of the post–World War II pe-
year. If the conflict has not caused 500 deaths riod and certainly since the late 1950s (Gleditsch
or more in the first year, the war is coded as et al. 2002, 619, 620–23).
having started in that year only if cumulative Civil wars have occurred throughout the
deaths in the next three years reach 1,000. world but have been more common in some re-
Throughout its duration, the conflict is char- gions. From 1950 to 2001, developing Asia
acterized by sustained violence, at least at the (South and East Asia and Oceania) experienced
minor or intermediate level. There should be a persistently high incidence of war. Latin Amer-
no three-year period during which the con- ica experienced a severe bout of conflict in the
flict causes fewer than 500 deaths. 1980s, and the former Soviet bloc experienced a
Throughout the war, the weaker party is able severe bout in the 1990s, although most of these
to mount effective resistance. Effective resist- conflicts were short. The Middle East and North
ance is measured by at least 100 deaths in- Africa have had a stable and high incidence of
flicted on the stronger party. A substantial civil war since the late 1960s; moreover, the inci-
number of these deaths must occur in the dence of violent conflict in sub-Saharan Africa
first year of the war. has increased. Until the 1980s, Africa had a
A peace treaty that produces at least six below-average incidence, whereas now it is com-
months of peace marks an end to the war. parable to Asia and the Middle East and much
A decisive military victory for the rebels that higher than Latin America. It is the only region
produces a new regime marks the end of the that did not see a decrease in incidence over the
war. 1990s (World Bank 2003, 112–15).
Civil wars have occurred throughout the
This approach is useful because it takes into post–World War II period. In some countries,
account the difficulties of defining a civil war. civil strife that had been “interrupted” by World
These include the difficulty of distinguishing in- War II increased when the war ended in 1945.
terstate from intrastate wars; the lack of clarity India’s struggle for independence from Britain
surrounding the degree of organization required intensified as civil unrest, guerrilla warfare, and
of the parties to distinguish a civil war from mutinies by Indian troops occurred before inde-
one-sided, state-sponsored violence; the unreli- pendence was achieved in 1948 (Bercovitch and
able and incomplete collection of casualty fig- Fretter 2004, 207). Similarly, civil strife in China
ures; and the determination of the dates an old increased. During World War II, Chinese Com-
war stops and a new one starts (Sambanis 2004, munist Party forces joined the Nationalist gov-
816, 829–30). Furthermore, Sambanis’s pub- ernment forces to fight the Japanese, who in-
lished work is of a contemporary nature and vaded China in 1937. However, with Japan’s
takes past scholarly research into account. defeat, the Communist forces immediately
began operations against the Nationalist forces
for control of the country and ultimately
Post–World War II Civil War achieved victory in January 1949.
There have been numerous civil wars since Further conflict broke out after the immedi-
World War II. A total of 225 armed conflicts oc- ate post–World War II years and took place
curring from 1946 to 2001 have been identified. against the background of the Cold War. This
Of these, 163 were defined as internal conflicts meant that civil wars often involved fighting be-
(conflict that occurs between the government of tween forces identified as Communist or non-
a state and internal opposition groups without Communist. This, in turn, meant that the
intervention from other states). Internal conflict United States and the Soviet Union often be-
has been the dominant form of conflict came involved. Full-scale civil war started in

Costa Rica during March 1948, after President and Fretter 2004, 193). The crisis and separatist
Teodoro Picado Michalski delayed the transfer insurgency originated in landowner concerns
of power after losing the presidential elections. over the operation of the Panguna copper and
The war continued until the following month, gold mine, and drew on Bougainvillean views of
with an estimated 1,000 deaths. The Cuban their separateness from mainland Papua New
Communist revolution and civil war took place Guinea (New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Af-
from 1956 to 1959. During the war, at least 5,000 fairs and Trade 2005).
lives were lost. In 1958, war broke out in During the late twentieth century many
Lebanon, and fighting took place between sev- countries also moved toward democracy from
eral religious and political factions. The war authoritarian regimes, which led to a change in
ended in 1959 with more than 1,300 deaths, but the type of regime that battled the insurgencies.
it was a precursor to further war in 1975 For instance, conflict continued in Cambodia
(Bercovitch and Fretter 2004, 125, 131, 273). after the regime of the Khmer Rouge, an ex-
Wars continued to plague countries after the treme Communist group, was overthrown in
1950s. Tensions between the majority Greek 1979 by Vietnam. However, the nature of this
population and the Turkish minority increased conflict changed with the Vietnamese with-
in Cyprus after independence in 1960. Intercom- drawal in 1989 and a move toward democracy
munal violence and civil war took place from following elections in 1993. The Khmer Rouge
1963 to 1967, and approximately 1,000 people became increasingly isolated during this period,
died. Nigeria experienced much bloodshed in the as it was unwilling to give up its armed struggle,
late 1960s, and war returned to Lebanon in 1975 and Cambodian government forces eroded its
between Christian and Muslim factions. Approx- power base. The group ultimately disintegrated
imately 60,000 people lost their lives in the in the late 1990s (Bellamy 2005, 17–20).
1975–1976 war, and sporadic fighting continued Civil war continues to cause misery. Accord-
until 1992, with several serious outbreaks of vio- ing to the Stockholm International Peace Re-
lence. Uganda experienced civil war from 1981 to search Institute (SIPRI), there were nineteen
1994 as an insurgency grew against the govern- major armed conflicts in eighteen locations
ment established after the 1979 overthrow of worldwide in 2003, only two of which were
Major General Idi Amin by exiled opposition fought between states. The SIPRI further noted
groups. The war cost more than 500,000 lives the volatility of intrastate conflicts, as was shown
(Bercovitch and Fretter 2004, 86, 242, 284). in 2003 by the increased intensity of conflict in
Although major international changes oc- countries such as Burundi (SIPRI 2005). Al-
curred in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the though the immediate causes of this conflict re-
end of the Cold War, conflict remained a blight main unclear, they are rooted in Burundian so-
on many countries. Europe experienced the vio- ciety and history. The Tutsi tribe makes up only
lent disintegration of Yugoslavia, and Africa wit- 15 percent of the population, yet it has domi-
nessed genocide in Rwanda. Comparatively iso- nated the political, economic, and social institu-
lated countries have not been immune to war, tions. This has led to a bitter rivalry with the ma-
and Melanesia has increasingly emerged as the jority Hutu, and serious conflict (Bercovitch and
unstable and violent part of Oceania (Hender- Fretter 2004, 97). Burundi’s first democratically
son and Bellamy 2002b, 124–34). A separatist elected president was assassinated in October
and insurgency struggle against the Papua New 1993 after only 100 days in office. Since then,
Guinea government started on the island of some 200,000 Burundians have perished in
Bougainville during 1988. In addition to deaths widespread violence (CIA 2005).
caused by fighting, an economic and medical The current state of international conflict is
blockade claimed many more lives (Bercovitch reviewed in the Human Security Report 2005 of

the Human Security Centre at the University of conflict the deadliest conflict in Asia (Perry
British Columbia, Canada. According to this re- 2005). Likewise, the conflict in Iraq has cost
port, the number of armed conflicts around the many lives since U.S.-led coalition forces seized
world has declined by more than 40 percent Baghdad, the capital, and overthrew President
since the early 1990s. Between 1991 (the high Saddam Hussein in April 2003 (Saddam Hus-
point for the post–World War II period) and sein was later found guilty of crimes against hu-
2004, twenty-eight armed struggles for self-de- manity in November 2006 and hanged). Despite
termination started or restarted, whereas forty- coalition attempts to enforce their control and
three were contained or ended. There were to establish law and order, fighting continues,
twenty-five armed secessionist conflicts under with U.S. and Iraqi soldiers conducting an oper-
way in 2004, the lowest number since 1976 (Uni- ation against insurgents in Tal Afar, Northern
versity of British Columbia 2005, 1). Iraq, during September 2005. As of November
2006, the Iraq Body Count, a nongovernmental
Casualties organization, reported that the minimum num-
A common feature of civil wars is the wide- ber of civilian deaths resulting from the U.S.-led
spread loss of life. Casualties are particularly military intervention was 47,440 (Iraq Body
common among the civilian population and Count, 2006).
those most vulnerable, such as women, children, The devastating impact of civil war is magni-
and the elderly. This is because cities and urban fied by the indiscriminate use of modern
areas, which are likely to have large civilian pop- weapons. The firepower of weapons has in-
ulations, are strategically important, and hence creased significantly since World War II and can
control of such areas often is bitterly contested. be used to devastating effect by those involved in
Battle lines are also frequently nonexistent or conflict, particularly in urban areas, where many
poorly defined, with conflict occurring through- civilians live. Furthermore, the availability of
out the country, reducing the likelihood that such weapons has increased. In terms of value,
civilians can find safe havens. The horrific im- the production of military goods and services
pact of civil war provides a fundamental reason predominately occurs in the United States, Rus-
for their study: A better understanding should sia, China, and Europe. These weapons are then
contribute to more constructive and successful sold around the world. The United States is the
ways of ending such wars and, ideally, of pre- world’s leading supplier of arms and arms trans-
venting conflict from escalating into war. fer agreements, both in terms of total value and
The human cost of fighting is illustrated by as a percentage. The total value of arms transfers
conflicts that are currently taking place, two of in 2002 was $10.2 billion, and the total value of
which are in Nepal and Iraq. The war in Nepal arms transfer agreements in 2002 was $13.3 bil-
has developed since the Communist govern- lion (DeRouen Jr and Heo 2005, xvii).
ment was dissolved in 1995. The Nepal Com- The impact of modern weapons used near
munist Party, a radical Maoist group, began an civilians is illustrated by the war in the former
insurrection in rural areas to abolish the Yugoslavia during the 1990s and the continuing
monarchy (King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah conflict in Iraq. The Socialist Republic of Yu-
Dev took the throne in 2001) and to establish a goslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedo-
people’s republic. In one month alone in 2002, nia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia) was pro-
1,023 died, and in March 2005 it was estimated claimed in 1945 and held together by Josip Broz
that over 11,000 people had been killed since Tito’s Communist regime. However, Tito died in
the insurgency started (Reuters Foundation 1980, and tensions between the republics be-
2005). The following month, it was estimated came increasingly open in the late 1980s, as the
that there were ten killings a day, making the Communist regime’s grip on power was loos-

ened by the reforms sweeping the Soviet Union quently violated during conflicts as social mores
and the eastern bloc. Ultimately, the country dis- against such crimes are weakened and law and
integrated, and fighting broke out in September order break down. These developments provide
1990 between Orthodox Serbs and Bosnian fertile ground for historical animosities to sur-
Muslims in Bosnia, and between Serbs and face, for leaders to exploit tensions, and for fac-
Catholic Croats in Croatia. In June 1991, the re- tions to seek revenge for perceived past injus-
publics of Slovenia and Croatia declared inde- tices. This, in turn, can cause a cycle of violence
pendence, a development that provoked intense as factions commit acts of violence against each
fighting in both republics. By July 1991, Yu- other and are met by retaliatory violence. This
goslavia was in a state of complete civil war. ultimately increases the level of hatred and the
Much of the conflict occurred in towns and risk of war crimes. Human rights may also be
cities and involved heavy weaponry such as ar- systematically violated, as terror and brutality
tillery and tanks. Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, are used as another means to win dominance
was under siege from 1992 to 1995. On August and ensure the compliance of the population.
28, 1995, thirty-seven people alone were killed in Moreover, the breakdown in law and order can
the city’s main market by a mortar attack (LeBor provide the opportunity for widespread and sys-
2002, 238). According to Iraq Body Count, tematic violations to take place unhindered and
24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first without fear of punishment.
two years of the conflict in Iraq. It further esti- The violation of human rights is shown by
mated that 53 percent of all civilian deaths in- the war in the former Yugoslavia during the
volved explosive devices. Air strikes caused most 1990s. During this war, the various factions
(64 percent) of the explosives deaths (Iraq Body committed atrocities. The term ethnic cleansing
Count, n.d.). came into use in 1992 to describe the policy of
No less deadly are the lighter weapons that enforcing ethnically homogenous geographical
are readily available. Low-tech weapons con- zones by any means, but usually by extreme vio-
tinue to be used, with devastating consequences. lence. The atrocities associated with “ethnic
For instance, many of the Rwandan deaths dur- cleansing” are graphically shown by the July
ing the 1994 conflict were caused by machetes. 1995 massacre of Muslim civilians in Srebrenica,
More recently, rocket-propelled grenades and which the UN had designated a “safe area” after
improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have been its capture by the Bosnia Serbs. The bodies of
costly to U.S-led coalition forces in Iraq. Bombs 12,000 civilians and soldiers are believed to lie in
ranging in sophistication and type have been mass graves in the region (Bercovitch and Fret-
used to deadly effect in conflicts. Again, Iraq ter 2004, 247). According to the International
graphically illustrates the impact of such War Crimes Tribunal indictment of former Yu-
weapons. Here, there have been numerous car goslav President Slobodan Milosevic, “After the
bombings, bomb explosions, and shootings, fall of Srebrenica in July 1995, almost all cap-
which have killed many civilians and coalition tured Bosnian Muslim men and boys, altogether
personnel despite the efforts to counter such at- several thousands, were executed at the places
tacks. In January 2006, a suicide bombing that where they had been captured or at sites to
took place during a funeral service in Miq- which they had been transported for execution”
dadiya, Iraq, killed more than thirty people and (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
wounded many others. The bombing was con- Yugoslavia, n.d.).
demned by the United Nations (UN News Ser- The conflict in Rwanda during the 1990s pro-
vice 2006). vides further graphic evidence of the atrocities
Many deaths and injuries result from war that can occur. Historically, there had been in-
crimes. Fundamental human rights are fre- tense tribal animosities between the Tutsis, who

had held key positions before independence, and some moves by the international community to
the Hutu, who took over these positions when bring to justice those involved with past war
Rwanda was granted independence in 1962. In crimes, atrocities continue to be witnessed. Ten-
1990, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic sions have been increasing in the Gambella re-
Front (RPF) invaded Rwanda. President Juvenal gion of Ethiopia since the 1980s, when the gov-
Habyarimana signed a power-sharing agreement ernment forcibly resettled people from the
with the Tutsis in the Tanzanian town of Arusha central highlands there. This resettlement, and
during 1993, ostensibly signaling the end of civil an inflow of ethnic Nuer, have led many Anuak
war, and a UN mission was sent to monitor the people, the ethnic people of the region, to fear
peace agreement. However, in April 1994, the they are being displaced from their traditional
presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed lands. According to Human Rights Watch, a
in a suspicious plane crash. nongovernment organization, armed attacks di-
It was against this background that extremist rected against the Anuak community claimed as
Hutu militia and elements of the Rwandan mili- many as 424 lives in the last weeks of 2003 and
tary began the systematic massacre of Tutsis. Ap- the beginning of 2004. At least some soldiers and
proximately 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus policemen participated in the violence. The im-
were killed. The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu mediate trigger for the violence was a series of
regime and ended the killing in July 1994, but attacks by Anuak insurgents against civilians of
approximately 2 million Hutu refugees—many other ethnic groups in the area (Human Rights
fearing Tutsi retribution—fled to neighboring Watch 2005).
Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and the former Gender-based violence is common during
Zaire (CIA 2005). After the massacres, the UN war. The incidence of rape increases as law and
set up the International Criminal Tribunal for order breaks down and power is held by those
Rwanda (ICTR) for the prosecution of persons holding weapons, often young males with ready
responsible for genocide and other serious viola- access to alcohol. Violence can occur with poor
tions of international humanitarian law com- discipline but might also be used as another
mitted in the territory of Rwanda between Janu- way to gain the submission of the population.
ary 1, 1994, and December 31, 1994. The first It is not known whether the incidence of sexual
trial at the ICTR started in January 1997. As of violence in war is increasing or decreasing. De-
March 2005, the ICTR had handed down seven- spite the lack of reliable statistics, wartime sex-
teen judgments involving twenty-three accused. ual violence has received far more attention in
Twenty of them were convicted and three ac- recent years, and its widespread nature is evi-
quitted. The judgments delivered to date have dent. But it is unclear whether the incidence of
involved one prime minister, four ministers, one attacks is increasing or simply that more are
prefect, five bourgmestres, and several others being reported (University of British Columbia
who held leadership positions during the 1994 2005, 108).
genocide (International Criminal Tribunal for The incidence of such violence is shown by
Rwanda, n.d.). the recent history of the Democratic Republic of
Notwithstanding the horrors of Rwanda, Sre- Congo. Ethnic strife and civil war occurred with
brenica, and elsewhere, the number of genocides a massive inflow of refugees in 1994 from fight-
and politicides (this term has been used to de- ing in Rwanda and Burundi. A brief civil war in
scribe policies that seek to destroy groups be- 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis
cause of their political beliefs rather than their Sassou-Nguesso but ushered in a period of eth-
religion or ethnicity) fell by 80 percent between nic unrest. An estimated 3.3 million people are
the 1988 high point and 2001 (University of thought to have been killed, the vast majority of
British Columbia 2005, 1). However, despite them civilians. Many have been killed in fight-

ing, but a far greater number have died of dis- More casualties can occur under the regime
ease and starvation (UNICEF, n.d.). The human that emerges victorious from a civil war. Groups
rights agency Amnesty International has re- that use violence to seize power are likely to be
ported that during the course of the conflict, willing to use further violence if they feel their
tens of thousands of women and girls have been power is threatened, and are likely to take action
victims of systematic rape committed by com- against perceived threats. This can lead to wide-
batant forces. Throughout 2004, women and spread violence against the groups they defeated
girls continued to be attacked. Many suffered in order to seize power. Victorious groups might
gang rapes or were taken as sex slaves by com- also use force to ensure that their goals and
batants. Rape of men and boys was also re- ideals are carried out.
ported. Rape was often preceded or followed by The plight of Cambodia under the Khmer
the deliberate wounding, torture, or killing of Rouge presents an extreme case of violence in
the victim. Women suffering injuries or illnesses the aftermath of a civil war. Cambodia experi-
caused by rape were denied medical care. Fur- enced a brutal civil war during the 1970s as the
thermore, many women were abandoned by Khmer Rouge fought the government for con-
their husbands and excluded by their communi- trol of the country. With the April 1975 fall of
ties because of prejudice. This condemned them Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, the
and their children to extreme poverty (Amnesty Khmer Rouge implemented a radical and brutal
International 2005). policy aimed at restructuring society. Although
Many children are recruited as fighters by the regime lasted for less than four years, the
warring factions. Children are often viewed by regime would leave chilling reminders of its
factions as a readily available supply of recruits atrocities in the form of the killing fields. These
who can be easily trained and indoctrinated, who were areas where mass executions of men,
do not have to be paid, and who require less food women, and children took place. By the time the
than adults. Children as young as eight years of Khmer Rouge lost power in early 1979, as many
age have been recruited, often through force, and as 1.7 million lives had been lost through execu-
are particularly vulnerable when they have been tions, malnutrition, or disease. Overall, up to a
separated from their families or have become or- quarter of the population is estimated to have
phans. According to the Human Security Report died as a direct result of Khmer Rouge policies
2005, in the Middle East and Central Asia chil- (Bellamy 2005, 17).
dren are or recently have been involved in com- The disastrous impact of civil war continues
bat in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, to be felt long after the fighting has subsided or
Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, Tajikistan, and ended. Higher rates of mortality often remain,
Yemen. Colombia uses more child soldiers than for it takes time to rebuild the country’s dam-
any other country in Latin America. In early aged infrastructure, such as health and sanita-
2004, as many as 14,000 children were serving in tion systems. The reduced pool of available re-
the country’s paramilitary and rebel groups. In sources hinders this rebuilding. For instance,
Asia, children have served in rebel or government there may be few people with the necessary ex-
forces in Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, East pertise and skills, for such people may have fled
Timor, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, the war or have become casualties. This is partic-
Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, ularly a problem given the likelihood of in-
and the Solomon Islands. In Burma/Myanmar, it creased demand for basic services because of
is estimated that there are more than 75,000 child war damage, and the resultant increased threat
soldiers, one of the highest numbers of any of infectious diseases but reduced ability to pre-
country in the world (University of British Co- vent and contain outbreaks. According to one
lumbia 2005, 113–15). study, during a five-year civil war (the average

length of a civil war is about seven years), infant witnessing the horrors of war, such as the death
mortality increases by 13 percent and remains and injury of relatives and friends.
11 percent higher than the baseline in the first According to the Human Security Report
five years of postwar peace (World Bank 2003, 2005, for four decades the number of refugees
23–24, 93). around the world has tracked the number of
Lives are further jeopardized by the remnants armed conflicts—growing inexorably, albeit un-
of war. Unexploded ordnance often claims lives evenly, from the 1960s to the early 1990s, then
and causes injuries; land mines are a particular falling commensurately as the numbers of wars
menace. Land mines are frequently used, be- declined. The number fell from a record high of
cause they are inexpensive, readily available, 17.8 million in 1992 to 9.7 million in 2003. Ac-
and easy to use. This frequent use, along with cording to the report, the recent upsurge of
the difficulty of clearing mines and their poten- peace agreements in Africa suggests that this
tial to indiscriminately harm people, adds to trend will continue, at least in the short term
their menace. Moreover, those who survive en- (University of British Columbia 2005, 103).
counters with mines are often maimed and face Afghanistan’s recent history is dominated by
the prospect of losing their ability to work and war, which has resulted in many refugees. The
thus their livelihoods. Mined roads and de- Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and
stroyed bridges are significant obstacles to post- remained for ten years to support a Communist
war recovery, and minefields around many regime. This led to intense fighting with the
major population centers place more pressure anti-Soviet mujahideen. Although the Soviets
on land for agriculture and resettlement. Mines withdrew in 1989, and the Communist regime
also hinder development because they can pre- collapsed in 1992, fighting then erupted among
vent the use of valuable resources, such as land. the various mujahideen factions. From these
The plight of Cambodia highlights the grief factions evolved the Pashtun-dominated Tal-
caused by mines. In Cambodia, even though iban, who sought to impose their extreme ver-
166 million square meters of land were cleared sion of Islam. The Taliban in 1996 seized Kabul,
from 1992 to 2001, and a total of 313,586 an- the capital, and were in control of much of
tipersonnel mines were found and destroyed, Afghanistan until late 2001. The Taliban were
6,422 villages (46 percent of villages) still have opposed by an alliance of factions drawn mainly
areas contaminated with mines and unexploded from minority communities and based in the
ordnance. Official reports indicate that in 2001, north. This alliance received extensive assistance
173 people were killed and 640 were injured by from the United States after the September 11,
mines or unexploded ordnance (World Bank 2001 terrorist attacks, and the Taliban lost power
2003, 31). in 2001. More than two decades of civil war, and
the resultant destruction of many towns and vil-
Refugees lages, have caused the mass movement of
As the death and destruction of war spreads, it is Afghanistan’s people. During the 1990s, almost
likely that people will attempt to flee the fight- 40 percent of the population lived in refugee
ing. These people often become refugees with camps in asylum countries (World Bank 2003,
few possessions and are forced to survive with 18). As many as 300,000 Afghans have entered
the limited resources they have, at least until Iran and Pakistan since September 11, 2001, and
they find new homes or are provided assistance the resultant intensification of war, and more
at refugee camps. Refugees are unlikely to re- than 3.5 million have been there for more than
ceive adequate help from a weakened state and ten years (, n.d.).
are vulnerable to attack. Their plight is further Conflict has similarly dominated much of
worsened by the trauma they have experienced Sudan’s recent history. Military regimes favoring

Islamic-oriented governments have dominated of refugees fleeing a war. For instance, the UN
national politics since Sudan’s independence reported in June 2005 that malnutrition had
from the United Kingdom in 1956. Sudan has reached critical levels in the Fugnido and Bonga
been embroiled in two prolonged civil wars dur- refugee camps, which house almost 48,000 peo-
ing most of the remainder of the twentieth cen- ple in the Gambella region, Ethiopia (IRIN
tury. The wars have been rooted in the northern 2005). With inadequate support, infectious dis-
economic, political, and social domination of eases can rapidly spread among people already
non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The weakened by their flight from conflict, especially
second war and famine-related effects resulted those most vulnerable. Measles, meningitis, and
in more than 2 million deaths and more than 4 diarrhea increased the mortality rates among
million people displaced over a period of two children under five years in camps for Sudanese
decades. Peace talks gained momentum in refugees in northern Uganda (1994), Rwandan
2002–2004 with the signing of several accords; refugees in Zaire (1994), and residents in eastern
the final Naivasha peace treaty of January 2005 Democratic Republic of Congo (2000) (World
granted the southern rebels autonomy for six Bank 2003, 25). The incidence of malaria also
years, after which a referendum for independ- increases as refugees are forced to avoid main
ence is scheduled to be held. A separate conflict travel routes because of fighting, thereby risking
that broke out in the western region of Darfur in travel through areas where the disease can be
2003 resulted in at least 200,000 deaths and contracted. Malaria during the mid-1990s was
nearly 2 million people displaced (CIA 2006). In the main cause of morbidity in the Bonga
December 2005, the UN described the security refugee camp (World Bank 2003, 37).
situation in the Darfur provinces as volatile, Many refugees who have fled abroad and are
with reported banditry and looting. The harass- not in camps experience major problems too.
ment, beating, and killing of internally displaced These people often have little money to afford
people was also reported (UN News Service accommodation and cannot access local support
2005). systems because of their legal status or language
Many refugees suffer from severe trauma as barriers. The flight of many Nepalese from the
a result of their experiences. Approximately 68 conflict in their homeland—it is estimated that
percent of Cambodian refugees living on the seven million out of 27 million Nepalese now
Thai border have displayed symptoms of major live abroad—illustrates the uncertain future
depression, and 37 percent have shown symp- refugees face. Many of these people now work in
toms associated with the diagnosis of post- brothels in Bombay and sweatshops in South-
traumatic stress disorder. Similar trauma has east Asia, as well as in servants’ quarters in the
been reported in Bosnia (World Bank 2003, Gulf (Perry 2005).
29). This is worsened by the inadequate sup-
port systems and lack of help. Refugees return- The Difficulty of Ending War
ing to their homes have also experienced prob- The recurrent nature of war is examined later,
lems. In Sudan, many refugees who went back but it is worthwhile noting the difficulty of end-
to their former homes found it difficult to ing war here, as this is another important rea-
readjust and returned to the places they now son to study the phenomenon and, hopefully, to
live. About 40 percent of returnees who come develop better means of prevention. In any
from Khartoum, the capital, returned there given time period, a civil war can have one of
after six months because of social and eco- four outcomes: victory by the government, vic-
nomic problems (McLaughlin and Selva 2004). tory by the rebels, a treaty, or a truce (cease-fire
Refugee camps often find it difficult to pro- with no final settlement) (DeRouen Jr and
vide adequate care, food, and shelter to an influx Sobek 2004, 307).

As is evident in this compendium, a diverse the involvement of the UN significantly in-

range of factors can contribute to the outbreak creases the likelihood of a truce or treaty. In
of civil war and impact the conflict’s duration terms of duration, UN involvement increases
(general causes are oulined later). This diversity the expected time needed for both government
can seriously hinder attempts to establish peace, and rebel victories and decreases the time for a
as negotiations must take these factors into ac- truce or treaty (DeRouen Jr and Sobek 2004,
count and overcome the associated hurdles to 309–14, 317).
achieve peace. For instance, compromises are However, even when the international com-
often required on the part of various groups munity actively intervenes to end the conflict,
with strong attachments to their goals and nega- fighting often continues. The difficulty of suc-
tive perceptions of their opponents. cessfully intervening is shown by events in So-
According to the work of James D. Fearon, malia during the 1990s. Mohamed Siad Barre
wars originating as coups or popular revolutions seized power in 1969, and opposition to his
have tended to be short because the “technol- regime began to emerge after he excluded mem-
ogy” for taking state power depends on defec- bers of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from govern-
tions within the security apparatus. Civil wars ment positions. Opposition clans ousted Barre
since 1945 have lasted significantly longer when in 1991 but continued fighting; widespread star-
they have involved land or natural resource con- vation led to the deployment of U.S. forces in
flicts, conflicts between state-supported mi- 1992. This was ahead of a UN peacekeeping
grants from a dominant ethnic group, and the force sent to restore order and safeguard relief
ethnically distinct “sons of the soil” who inhabit supplies. Beginning in 1993, a two-year UN hu-
the region in question (this approach is detailed manitarian effort (primarily in the south) was
later). They also last longer when the rebels have able to alleviate famine conditions, but when the
access to finance from contraband goods such as UN withdrew in 1995, having suffered signifi-
opium or cocaine (Fearon 2004, 297). cant casualties, order still had not been restored.
According to Karl DeRouen Jr and David In November 2005, numerous warlords and fac-
Sobek, a number of variables can influence the tions were still fighting for control of the capital
duration of a war and the outcome. Geographi- city as well as for other southern regions (CIA
cal variables appear to have disparate effects. In 2005).
particular, civil war in a highly forested state has Similarly, Iraq has experienced much con-
a significantly lower probability of ending in a flict, despite the continued presence of coali-
government or rebel victory, truce, or treaty. tion forces since the 2003 invasion. It was re-
Thus, forest cover increases the probability that ported in mid-2004 that there were over
wars will continue. Civil wars in mountainous thirty-five countries working alongside U.S.
states have a significantly lower probability of forces undertaking military and humanitarian
ending in government victory and a higher operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (Diehl
probability of ending with a rebel victory or 2004, 2–3). There were 133,000 U.S. personnel
truce. Primary commodity exports increase the and over 17,000 coalition personnel in Iraq in
probability of government victory, truce, or August 2006, but conflict continues (GlobalSe-
treaty; however, they do not seem to help rebel, n.d.). There were 106 U.S fatalities
victory. Grievances appear to have a slight effect in October 2006, the highest number since Jan-
on the outcome of a civil war. States that have an uary 2005, when another 106 died. The highest
exceptionally unequal distribution of income number of fatalities from March 2003 to Octo-
experience civil wars that are less likely to end in ber 2006 was recorded in November 2004 (137)
truce. The intervention of the UN plays an im- (CNN 2006). Moreover, in December 2005
portant role in a war’s outcome. In particular, there were an estimated 20,000 insurgents in

the field on any given day (Ware 2005, 23). For fourteen countries whose average growth
There have been many causalities among coali- rates of GDP per capita could be calculated, the
tion forces. As of November 21, 2006, there had average annual growth rate was negative 3.3
been 3,113 coalition deaths. Of these, 2,867 percent. Furthermore, a wide range of macro-
were Americans and 125 were Britons (CNN, economic indicators worsened during the con-
2006). These in turn have led to mass protests flict. In all eighteen economies, the external
in coalition countries. The Democratic Party debt increased as a percentage of GDP; in fif-
won control of the U.S. Senate and the House teen countries, per capita income fell; in thir-
of Representatives in the 2006 mid-term elec- teen countries, food production dropped; and
tions, a result influenced by the ongoing con- in twelve countries, export growth declined
flict in Iraq. (World Bank 2003, 17).
Many countries that have witnessed conflict
Economic Impact have experienced severe economic problems.
The impact of civil war on a country’s economy The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda’s fragile
is devastating. During a civil war, a society di- economic base, severely impoverished the pop-
verts some of its resources from productive ac- ulation, particularly women, and eroded the
tivities to destruction. Thus, there is a double country’s ability to attract private and external
loss: the loss of resources that had contributed to investment. Serious problems remain in the
production prior to the war’s onset and the loss country, with 60 percent of the population esti-
from the damage that the war inflicts (World mated to be living below the poverty line in
Bank 2003, 13). Skills are lost with the death and 2001, and Rwanda continues to receive signifi-
exodus of people, and the damage to the coun- cant aid money (CIA 2005). Conflict has also
try’s infrastructure seriously hinders economic impacted the Nepalese economy. Tourism is an
development and activity. For instance, the loss important source of foreign exchange but has
of reliable electricity supplies hits productivity, been hit hard by the fighting. Tourism was
and damaged transport systems hinder both the down 43 percent in February 2005 from a year
inflow of resources and the outflow of products. earlier, and there have been fears of starvation
Moreover, the uncertainty surrounding war dis- (Perry 2005). The loss of revenue has con-
courages investment; it can also encourage eco- tributed to the poor state of the economy;
nomic instability as people seek to stockpile Nepal is among the poorest and least developed
goods, and money loses its value with inflation. countries in the world, and 40 percent of its
The impact of civil war is shown by the eco- population lives below the poverty line.
nomic performances of countries experiencing Prospects for investment have been reduced by
such conflict. One study found that, during the ongoing conflict (CIA 2005).
civil war, countries tend to grow around 2.2 The economic impact of civil war is not con-
percent more slowly than during peace. Hence, fined to the country experiencing the conflict.
after a typical civil war of seven years’ duration, Because countries are closely interlinked by the
incomes would be about 15 percent lower than global economy, when conflict affects the econ-
had the war not occurred, implying approxi- omy in one country, it is likely to have an impact
mately a 30-percent increase in the incidence of on others, especially neighbors. The magnitude
absolute poverty. The cumulative loss of in- of the impact is influenced by the nature of the
come during the war would be equal to about country’s economy. Civil war in a country that
60 percent of a year’s gross domestic product has a large economy with strategic resources
(GDP). Another study examined the economic such as oil is likely to have a larger impact on the
impact of civil war using data from about global economy than a war in a country with a
eighteen countries affected by such conflict. small, resource-limited economy. The country’s

location is also important, as war can disrupt in- on Saudi Arabia, given that country’s oil wealth.
ternational trade. Instability in Saudi Arabia would have a global
The impact of war on the global economy is impact because the country possesses 25 percent
clearly shown by the effect of the conflict in Iraq of the world’s proven petroleum reserves, it is
since 2003. Iraq has historically been a key sup- the largest exporter of petroleum, and it has a
plier of oil for the international community. leading role in the Organization of the Petro-
Iraq’s economy is dominated by the oil sector, leum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (CIA 2005).
which has traditionally provided about 95 per- Indeed, the country’s oil industry has been tar-
cent of foreign exchange earnings (CIA 2005). geted by terrorists. For instance, in May 2004
Iraq contains an estimated 115 billion barrels of there were attacks on the petrochemical site in
proven oil reserves, the third largest in the world Yanbu and on an oil company compound in
(behind Saudi Arabia and Canada), concen- Khobar.
trated overwhelmingly (65 percent or more) in War can have a particularly detrimental im-
southern Iraq. However, estimates of Iraq’s oil pact on the economic prospects of countries
reserves and resources vary widely, for only close to the conflict. This impact is illustrated
about 10 percent of the country has been ex- by both the likelihood of less investment and
plored. Some analysts believe that deep oil-bear- the disruptive impact on trade. According to
ing formations located mainly in the vast West- the World Bank, having a neighbor at war re-
ern Desert region could yield large additional oil duces a country’s annual growth by around 0.5
resources ranging from 45 to 100 billion or more percent (World Bank 2003, 35). Economic
barrels (EIA 2005). growth rates may be adversely affected for a
The Iraqi conflict has reduced oil produc- number of reasons, one of which is the disin-
tion, in turn contributing to international price centive to invest in a region experiencing con-
increases that impact global economic growth. flict, as has been the case in Africa. In late 2004,
The important oil industry in Iraq, already suf- the UN said that instability and war in Africa
fering from a lack of investment and restric- were having a “ripple effect” across the conti-
tions on imports of machinery and technology nent and were discouraging investment. Africa
under Saddam Hussein, has been hit by the con- had the lowest level of foreign investment of
flict. For instance, pumping at Iraq’s only func- any continent, about $15 billion a year. Direct
tioning oil terminals in Basra was halted in Au- foreign investment in the world’s thirty Orga-
gust 2005 after a power cut thought to have nization for Economic Cooperation and Devel-
been caused by an attack on a key power line. opment (OECD) countries was $384 billion in
The conflict has encouraged anxiety over the 2003 (IRIN 2004)
supply of oil to the global economy. Oil futures Trade obstacles caused by war are a particular
settled above $61 a barrel at the end of Decem- problem for landlocked countries, such as in
ber 2005 and finished 40 percent higher than Africa. In the 1976–1992 civil war in Mozam-
they started in 2005. Moreover, the price of nat- bique, almost a million lives are estimated to
ural gas increased by more than 80 percent in have been lost, many of them civilians who died
2005 (USA Today 2005). of hunger and disease (Bercovitch and Fretter
The impact of the Iraqi conflict on the inter- 2004, 80). The war in Mozambique also doubled
national economy is increased by the country’s neighboring Malawi’s international transport
location. Iraq is strategically located on the Shatt costs and triggered an economic decline. Simi-
al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian larly, the war in the Democratic Republic of
Gulf. It also has borders with Iran, Jordan, Congo closed the river route to the sea for the
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. Of par- landlocked Central African Republic (World
ticular importance is the impact of the conflict Bank 2003, 35).

The economic impact of war is worsened by stance, the United States has allocated significant
the extra demands that are placed on regional resources to combat the threat, and the threat has
economies. The flight of refugees from a war can become more important in shaping foreign pol-
strain the economies of neighboring countries icy. This is clearly shown by the deployment of
that must deal with the influx of people. For in- substantial forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. De-
stance, many Afghans have entered Iran and spite this, terrorist groups remain active, and ter-
Pakistan to escape the conflict in their own rorism continues to occur throughout the world.
country, as already mentioned. The World Numerous terrorist attacks in many countries
Health Organization (WHO) has reported that have occurred in recent years. The United States
resources have been strained by the influx of was attacked on September 11, 2001, in the worst
Afghan refugees into Pakistan, and that there are international terrorist attack to date (November
major problems. According to WHO, housing 2006). On that day, al-Qaeda suicide attackers hi-
conditions are inhuman, sanitation conditions jacked and crashed four U.S. commercial jets—
are below minimal standards, and there is inade- two into the World Trade Center in New York,
quate drinking water. WHO warned that, with one into the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.,
problems such as these, outbreaks of communi- and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsyl-
cable diseases could occur (WHO n.d.). vania. The attack left nearly 3,000 individuals
Another demand on the economy is the like- dead or missing (U.S. Department of State 2005,
lihood that threat perceptions, and thus the per- 107). Later attacks have included deadly bomb-
ceived need for defense expenditure, will in- ings on the Indonesian island of Bali in October
crease in countries close to conflict. This can 2002, in Madrid during March 2004, in London
occur with anxiety that the war could spread, during July 2005, and in Amman, Jordan, during
there is an increased threat of regional instabil- November 2005. According to revised U.S. State
ity, and border disputes might arise as various Department figures, there were 208 acts of inter-
warring factions seek to use border areas as national terrorism in 2003—an increase from the
sanctuaries. The impact of conflict on defense most recently published figure of 198 attacks in
expenditure is shown by an analysis of regional 2002 and a 42-percent drop from the 355 attacks
expenditure around the world. In 2003, military in 2001. A total of 625 persons were killed in the
expenditure as a percentage of GDP was highest attacks of 2003, fewer than the 725 killed during
in the Middle East, at 6.7 percent. This was more 2002. A total of 3,646 persons were wounded in
than double the percentage of expenditure in the the attacks that occurred in 2003, an increase
Americas (3.3 percent), the second-highest re- from 2,013 persons wounded the previous year
gion. Africa and Europe then followed (2.1 per- (U.S. Department of State 2004). It should be
cent) (IISS 2005, 316). noted that, as new information becomes avail-
able, the United States revises previously pub-
Terrorism lished statistics.
Terrorism has allowed weaker and smaller insur- The growth of terrorist groups has been facil-
gent groups to become actors in international se- itated by the link between civil war and terror-
curity. Terrorism has occurred globally since ism. The lack of control exercised over territory
World War II and especially since the 1970s. The by the state, as well as the general absence of law
threat of terrorism has been internationally ac- and order during war, can assist terrorist groups.
knowledged, particularly since the attacks of In such areas, terrorists can operate with little or
September 11, 2001, and many countries have no interference from state authorities. Indeed,
sought to counter the threat. This, in turn, has terrorists may be helped by some combatants
led to changes in the national security structures who share the same beliefs. Terrorists can estab-
and foreign policies of various countries. For in- lish organizational structures, recruit and train

followers, develop international terrorist net- War and the production of drugs are linked. It
works, and establish supply networks. Conflict is estimated that some 95 percent of the global
can also make people more receptive to support- production of opium takes place in countries ex-
ing terrorists or at least accepting their presence. periencing civil wars (World Bank 2003, 41). His-
As noted later, the decline in living standards torically, Colombia has had a problem with ban-
and economic opportunities associated with ditry, but in 1965 some bandits linked up with
conflict can make promises of support from ter- left-wing political movements to overthrow the
rorists more attractive. Similarly, terrorists can government. By 1998, an estimated 40,000 lives
exploit the emotional turmoil that often arises had been lost (Bercovitch and Fretter 2004,
with the death and destruction of war; for exam- 139–40). As conflict intensified during the 1990s,
ple, by serving as a channel for retribution. production increased. The U.S. Drug Enforce-
Afghanistan illustrates how countries at war ment Agency estimates that more than 80 percent
can become terrorist havens. After the Taliban of the worldwide powder cocaine supply and ap-
seized power, it allowed al-Qaeda to establish proximately 90 percent of the powder cocaine
bases, and Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the smuggled into the United States is produced in
terrorist group, allegedly lived there. In 1998, Colombia (U.S. Department of State 2005a).
the United States launched missile strikes at Colombian intelligence sources estimate that 40
suspected al-Qaeda bases after the bombing of percent of the country’s total cocaine exports are
U.S. embassies in Africa, and in 1999 the UN controlled by paramilitaries and their allies in the
imposed an air embargo and financial sanctions narcotics underworld, and that it is “impossible
to force Afghanistan to hand over Bin Laden for to distinguish between paramilitaries and drug
trial. Further sanctions were imposed in Janu- traffickers” (Human Rights Watch 2003).
ary 2001; and after September 11, factions fight-
ing the Taliban received extensive assistance.
The Taliban’s last stronghold in Kandahar fi- Causes of War
nally surrendered in December 2001. Despite Given war’s disastrous consequences, it is vital to
the fall of the Taliban, conflict and lawlessness better understand the factors that can cause civil
remain, as elements of both the Taliban and al- war, hopefully to prevent such wars from taking
Qaeda operate within the country or near its place or at least to enhance the ability to estab-
borders, and as of November 2006, Bin Laden lish peace. The essays in the main part of this
had yet to be captured. book examine in greater detail specific conflicts
and their causes, so general factors and ap-
International Crime proaches are only briefly outlined here. These
Civil war is often linked to international crime, factors range from the previous occurrence of
such as the manufacture and trafficking of ille- war to internal divisions and personalities.
gal drugs. Civil war creates territory outside the
control of a recognized government, in which History
illegal activities, such as drug cultivation, can Once a country has experienced civil war, the
become widespread. Moreover, drug cultivation threat of more conflict is elevated. The risk of a
or control of the illegal drug industry can pro- subsequent war for countries that have experi-
vide an important source of revenue for guer- enced war is estimated to be two to four times
rilla groups. Cultivation can also be encouraged higher than the risk for new states. One reason
as a source of income for people whose eco- for this high risk is that the same factors causing
nomic options have been reduced by the war or the initial war often remain (World Bank 2003,
who live in areas under the control of guerrilla 83, 104). Indeed, these factors might have be-
groups. come stronger as a result of the destruction and

casualties caused by war. For instance, suspicion nificantly more likely to face a violent challenge
and hostility between members of warring fac- from a new rebel group. This supports the idea
tions hinder reconciliation and take time to that the outcome and duration of an earlier war
overcome. The difficulty of bringing to justice can play an important signaling role to other
key personalities responsible for the conflict is challengers in their decision to act or remain at
another obstacle to reconciliation. A return to peace. One war does appear to provide impor-
war is also facilitated by the likely postwar un- tant information to other potential combatants
employment of many people who have little ex- about the potential costs and outcome of their
perience except fighting, and by the ready access own contest” (Walter 2004, 385).
of groups to weapons. In fact, what is done with
weapons stockpiles after a war can also cause The Strength of the State
tension. The strength and success of fundamental fea-
The threat of ongoing conflict is shown by tures of the state influence the likelihood of war.
events in Angola. Angola achieved independence The presence of key political institutions that
in 1975 after a guerrilla war. However, conflict provide adequate and appropriate avenues to
did not cease; a struggle for control of the coun- exercise rights, to express opinions, and to ad-
try resulted in approximately 345,000 deaths dress grievances is vital in reducing the likeli-
from 1975 to 1994 and ended in a stalemate. hood of war. Similarly, a central government is
That year, the Lusaka Accord was signed, and needed that can adequately provide the basics of
UN peacekeepers were deployed. Conflict oc- good governance. These include the provision
curred in 1997, however, with the failure to im- of basic resources such as clean water and elec-
plement the agreement, and fighting resumed in tricity, the provision and maintenance of basic
March 1998. More than 10,000 people were infrastructure such as sanitation and trans-
killed in the new round of fighting. Moreover, it portation systems, and the upholding of law
is estimated that nearly 75,000 people died of and order. DeRouen Jr and Sobek have noted
starvation in 1999 (World Bank 2003, 105). A the influence of the state’s capacity on conflict.
cease-fire was signed in April 2002, and in Feb- According to their research, effective state bu-
ruary 2003 the UN mission overseeing the peace reaucracy undermines rebel victory. A govern-
process concluded its operation. Conflict con- ment has an effective bureaucracy when there is
tinued, however, in areas such as Cabinda, an ex- a regular process for recruiting and training bu-
clave separated from the rest of Angola by the reaucrats, when the bureaucracy is protected
Democratic Republic of the Congo. from political pressure, and when it has the
Barbara F. Walter has studied the recurrent ability to provide services and expertise even in
nature of civil war. Her findings support the the- the face of government changes (DeRouen and
ory that living conditions that favor individual Sobek 2004, 307, 317).
enlistment in rebel armies—low quality of life Where the fundamental features of the state
and barriers to political participation—can help are strong, civil war is less likely. For instance,
predict which countries will continue to experi- these features are strong in New Zealand, and
ence civil war and which will not. “The likeli- this contributes to the very low likelihood of
hood of returning to war was both a function of civil war there (Henderson and Bellamy 2002a,
the basic well-being of the country’s population 88). However, this is not the case in many coun-
and the accessibility of government decision- tries. The term failed nation-state indicates a
making to the average citizen.” According to dangerous development in the aftermath of the
Walter, “Governments that fought a short war Cold War—the breakdown of law, order and
against one set of challengers and governments basic services in a number of multiethnic states,
that ended a previous war in partition were sig- particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. This

phenomenon is accompanied by bitter commu- ices. As the population suffered these hardships,
nal conflict, violent ethnic nationalism, mili- Lon Nol and members of his regime benefited
tarism, and possibly endemic regional conflict. from rampant corruption (Shawcross 1979, 220,
Examples of this include Liberia and Somalia 222, 224–30).
(Evans and Newnham 1998, 167). However, Thad Dunning writes that, al-
The country’s economy influences the state’s though relevant literature suggests that fiscal cri-
strength. Poor economic development limits the sis and economic contraction tend to result in
resources that can be used to build strong politi- regime change, many resource-dependent coun-
cal institutions. Likewise, the government’s abil- tries do not seem to experience political instabil-
ity to meet the needs and demands of the popu- ity. Dunning suggests that one reason for this
lation are limited by a weak economy. Within could be that resource dependence is the out-
such a context, grievances over economic prob- come of strategic decisions by incumbent elites
lems such as inflation and unemployment grow to limit the extent to which political opponents
as they impact living conditions. As such condi- can challenge their power. Thus, fiscal crisis and
tions deteriorate, grievances are likely to become economic contraction do not cause regime
stronger. This is particularly the case now, be- change or political instability in resource-de-
cause technology means that even the poorest pendent states. This is because elites can block
and most remote areas often have access to in- the viability of challenges to incumbent power
ternational information. Thus, people are able to through promoting resource dependence (Dun-
learn about better conditions in other areas or ning 2005, 474–75).
countries. Discontent with the government in- James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin find that
tensifies when the living conditions of groups rough terrain increases the probability of civil
are uneven due to government favoritism and war onset. Because mountainous geography
corruption. Within such a context, people are makes it harder for government forces to locate
more likely to support factions that promise bet- the rebels, rugged landscape can provide incen-
ter conditions even via the use of force. tives for rebel leaders to initiate conflicts with
The role of a struggling economy both in en- their governments (Fearon and Laitin 2003).
couraging an insurgency and in increasing its
strength is evident in countries that have experi- Natural Resources
enced civil wars. For instance, the intensification The issue of ownership of resources often arises
of war in Cambodia during the 1970s and the when they are spread unevenly, and this can
growing strength of the Khmer Rouge occurred cause conflict. Much research has been under-
against the background of a failing economy. taken on the role of natural resources in civil
Lon Nol had seized power through a coup in wars. According to a review of work on the link
1970 against Norodom Sihanouk, and under his between natural resources and war by Michael L.
regime economic problems worsened. Despite Ross, the weight of evidence available so far sug-
the stagnation of the economy under Sihanouk, gests four regularities:
in 1969 exports of rice, rubber and corn had
brought in $90 million—a sizeable portion of Oil dependence appears to be linked to the
the gross national product of $450 million. initiation of conflict but not to conflict dura-
However, by the end of 1970, the government tion. There is some evidence that oil depend-
was spending five times its revenue and earning ence (and possibly mineral dependence) is
nothing abroad. From mid-1972 on, there was more strongly associated with separatist con-
rarely enough food in Phnom Penh, the capital, flicts than with other types of conflicts.
and the government increasingly found it diffi- Gemstones, opium, coca, and cannabis do not
cult to provide even the most basic health serv- seem to be linked to the initiation of conflict,

but they do seem to lengthen preexisting terns of state spending impact order. Of particu-
wars. Timber’s role remains untested. lar importance is whether rulers consume rev-
There is no statistical evidence—and very lit- enue frivolously or invest it in strengthening the
tle case study evidence—that links agricul- military, providing social welfare, and improv-
tural commodities to either the initiation or ing their capacity to earn future revenue (Snyder
the duration of civil war. and Bhavnani 2005, 588).
The claim that primary commodities are as- The link between diamonds and civil war has
sociated with the onset of civil war does not been examined by various scholars. First, dia-
appear to be robust (Ross 2004, 352). monds have been found to influence the inci-
dence of civil wars but generally not the risk of
According to Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, conflict onset. The effect of diamonds depends
the plundering of natural resources can finance on the level of ethnic fractionalization, and they
opportunistic rebellions, and resources can mo- mainly affect ethnic war. Secondly, the geologi-
tivate conflict, especially in the form of seces- cal form of the diamond deposits is important.
sions. This is because secessionists claim both For instance, easily exploited resources such as
ownership of the resources and misuse of the secondary diamonds can be used to finance pro-
money by national authorities through embez- longed conflicts. Third, the impact of secondary
zlement by distant elites (Collier and Hoeffler diamonds on the onset of civil war has been
2005, 632). The work of Macartan Humphreys substantially higher since the Cold War ended.
indicates that countries dependent on agricul- Fourth, research suggests that diamonds are
tural commodities are at risk of war independ- dangerous only after production has started.
ent of their endowments of oil and diamonds. Thus, the mere discovery of a diamond deposit
Humphreys found that Sierra Leone was vulner- in a country does not seem to affect the risk of
able to conflict, not simply because it had gems civil war (Lujala, Gleditsch, and Gilmore 2005,
but also because it had not been through a 559–60).
process of industrialization, and there were clus- The work of Jeremy Weinstein suggests that
ters of rural communities with relatively weak natural resources (and other forms of economic
commercial ties between them (Humphreys endowments) may shape the types of individuals
2005, 534). A study of war in the Democratic Re- attracted to rebellion in different contexts. Al-
public of the Congo found that conflict intensity though the presence of natural resources or other
increased with the abundance of natural re- sources of financial support allow insurgent
sources and the degree of ruler appropriation leaders to provide short-term rewards to those
(Olsson and Fors 2004, 334). who join their groups, such strategies imply
Richard Snyder and Ravi Bhavnani propose major challenges. In particular, groups that pro-
that, in countries rich in lootable resources such vide short-term benefits tend to attract oppor-
as alluvial diamonds, precious hardwoods, and tunistic members with little commitment to the
illegal drugs, the ability of rulers to establish and organization’s long-term goals. These “con-
maintain political order depends on three key sumers” are unwilling to make investments of
factors. First, order is dependent on the overall time, energy, and resources without receiving the
resource profile of the economy, specifically the promised material rewards. The absence of eco-
amount of nonlootable wealth available as a nomic endowments can be a challenge for rebel
source of revenue. Second, the mode of extrac- groups, but is not an absolute constraint. In these
tion in the lootable sector is relevant. Whether contexts, rebel leaders build armies by making
lootable resources are extracted by hard-to-tax credible promises about the selective incentives
artisans or, alternatively, by large, taxable indus- they can provide to participants in the future. In-
trial firms is particularly important. Finally, pat- dividuals demonstrate their commitment to the

group by accepting promises rather than payoffs further asserts that, just as dominance can cause
(Weinstein 2005, 621–22). problems, so, too, can polarization. Dominance
Statistically, secessionist rebellions are consid- occurs when one group is larger than others; po-
erably more likely if the country has valuable larization occurs when the society is split into
natural resources, particularly oil. The role of two fairly equal groups. A completely polarized
natural resources is illustrated by Cabinda, An- society divided into two equal groups has an es-
gola (World Bank 2003, 60). In Cabinda, a sepa- timated risk of civil war around six times higher
ratist conflict continues between the government than a homogeneous society (World Bank 2003,
and rebels. Angola is sub-Saharan Africa’s sec- 57–58). This risk can be heightened by the in-
ond-largest oil producer after Nigeria. The ma- tense rivalry that can develop between two
jority of its crude oil is produced offshore in groups of similar size over issues such as politi-
Block Zero, located in Cabinda. Although cal influence and power.
Cabinda accounts for nearly all Angola’s foreign Discontent can be particularly strong when
exchange earnings, the province receives only 10 people are fighting for their right to live in their
percent of taxes paid by ChevronTexaco and its ancestral home (the “sons of the soil” dynamic).
partners operating offshore. Many separatist This is evident in the Ethiopian war (1976–
groups have demanded that a greater share of oil 1985). Here, the army undertook an active cam-
revenue remain in the poverty-stricken province, paign against the insurgents, not only attacking
often kidnapping foreign nationals to draw at- the guerrillas themselves but also directing their
tention to their cause (EIA 2005). The pursuit of attacks at the population’s means of survival.
wealth can also be a major motive for warring Livestock, water wells, pasturelands, and trade
factions, although they may claim they seek to routes were all subject to attacks. This helps to
address legitimate grievances. According to a UN explain why the indigenous clans of the Ogaden
committee that investigated the plunder of gems region in Ethiopia were willing to fight so long.
and minerals in the Democratic Republic of the As a matter of survival, the nomads were not
Congo, “illegal exploitation remains one of the going to allow themselves to be pushed off their
main sources of funding for groups involved in ancestral lands.
perpetuating conflict.” It further noted that The potentially destructive nature of divi-
“[t]he flow of arms, exploitation and the contin- sions is illustrated by the experiences of Nigeria.
uation of the conflict are inextricably linked” At independence in 1960, Nigeria had a federal
(UN News Service 2003). constitution comprising three regions defined
by the principal ethnic groups in the country:
Internal Divisions the Hausa and the Fulani in the north, the
Divisions within a country can provide the basis Yoruba in the southwest, and the Ibo in the
for civil war. Divisions such as those based on southeast. Ethnic tensions increased during the
ethnicity, region, and religion can be a source of 1960s with a military takeover and a worsening
tension and, ultimately, conflict if the different economy. In 1967, the head of the Eastern Re-
groups clash and cannot resolve differences gion, Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, unilaterally de-
peacefully. According to the World Bank, if the clared the independent Republic of Biafra. The
largest ethnic group in a multiethnic society war that broke out lasted until 1970; this con-
forms an absolute majority, the risk of rebellion flict, along with the Nigerian blockade of Biafra,
is increased by approximately 50 percent. In caused a famine that killed hundreds of thou-
such societies, minorities may reasonably fear sands of people. Overall, more than a million
that even a democratic political process will lead people died as a result of the conflict (Bercovitch
to their permanent exclusion from influence, re- and Fretter 2004, 75). Biafra was ultimately reab-
gardless of the electoral system. The World Bank sorbed into Nigeria. Likewise, divisions have

been a source of conflict in Sri Lanka. Tensions abusing their power. This abuse often includes
between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil sepa- the use of brutality against any opposition, plac-
ratists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thou- ing members of groups they identify with in key
sands have died in an ethnic conflict that contin- positions of power while excluding others, and
ues to fester (CIA 2005). After two decades of corruptly exploiting the state’s resources. Poor
fighting, the government and the Liberation and incompetent leadership further erodes the
Tigers of Tamil Eelam formalized a cease-fire in legitimacy of a regime and encourages disillu-
February 2002. However, fighting continues sionment, particularly if this leadership has re-
with an upsurge of deadly violence in December sulted in major policy failures. Such an erosion
2005, which the government blamed on Tamil of legitimacy can be exploited by insurgency
Tiger rebels. leaders who can effectively organize opposition
There have been fears that conflict in Iraq to the regime.
might escalate into civil war. Fears have espe- The influence of leadership during the initial
cially grown over the relationship between Shi- years of a rebellion is illustrated by Jeffrey
ites and Sunnis. Shiites constitute 60 percent of Herbst’s study of African militaries. According
the population. Sunni Arabs make up some 15 to Herbst, “As an insurgency matures, a govern-
to 20 percent of the population, but they domi- ment may not be able to mobilize forces for their
nated the government and economy throughout army, especially if they are facing a domestic
the twentieth century. Sunni Kurds, the other threat and if they do not receive foreign aid. It is
major population group, represent some 18 per- not only scholars who may have been misled by
cent and were repressed under Saddam Hussein. the declining utility of force over time. African
Although there has been intermarriage between leaders may also systematically underestimate
Shiites and Sunnis among the urban middle the threats that they face because they do not
class, and some Iraqi tribes have both Sunni and understand that they will quickly fall behind the
Shiite branches, tensions are evident (Council curve as an insurgency matures and their mobi-
on Foreign Affairs 2003). There has been dis- lization efforts fail” (Herbst 2004, 367). Studies
agreement over the existence of autonomous re- of conflict indicate that the poor quality of lead-
gions and over dealing with members of the ership exhibited in the Democratic Republic of
ousted government and the Baath Party. Iraq’s the Congo, along with the grievances that arose
constitutional committee approved a final draft toward the ruling elite, contributed to the con-
of the constitution in August 2005 and put it be- flict (Olsson and Fors 2004, 333–34).
fore the National Assembly, despite its rejection The key role of a leader in the outbreak and
by Sunni Arab leaders. Sunni Arab negotiators continuation of war is perhaps best illustrated
questioned the document’s legality and called on by events in the former Yugoslavia. Milosevic
the UN and the Arab League to prevent its pas- embraced Serb nationalism in the late 1980s and
sage. Voters approved the new constitution in warned that, if the Yugoslav nation dissolved, it
October 2005 and there were parliamentary would be necessary to redraw Serbia’s bound-
elections in December 2005. However, these de- aries to include Serbs living in other republics.
velopments have not prevented widespread and When Croatia declared independence, the Serb
brutal sectarian violence. minority in Croatia sought support from Milo-
sevic, and fighting broke out. By December
Personalities 1991, the Yugoslav People’s Army and Serbian
State and insurgency leaders alike can inflame separatists had taken nearly a third of Croatia’s
and exacerbate tensions that lead to war. Leaders territory. When Bosnia declared independence
in countries that have experienced insurgencies in April 1992, violence broke out throughout the
often have alienated much of the population by republic. Milosevic vowed to defend Serbs from

what he termed “Croatian genocide” and “Is- External Actors

lamic fundamentalism.” Milosevic deployed his Assistance to factions from external actors can
forces, and more than three years of war fol- exacerbate conflict. Of the 163 internal conflicts
lowed—the bloodiest in Europe since World identified between 1946 and 2001, thirty-two in-
War II (BBC, n.d.). Milosevic was extradited to volved external participation by other states
the International Criminal Tribunal for the For- (Gleditsch et al. 2002, 620). External actors
mer Yugoslavia at The Hague in 2001. There, he might become involved in civil wars by deploy-
faced three indictments, the most serious of ing their own forces or indirectly by helping to
which alleged genocide in Bosnia. However, finance and equip particular groups they sup-
Milosevic was found dead in his cell in March port. Regardless of the nature of this involve-
2006. ment, the level and intensity of violence often
Likewise, leaders of insurgencies often in- increase as warring factions become stronger,
flame the tensions that contribute to war. Rebel particularly if there is direct intervention on
military organizations might have a hierarchical their behalf. This involvement might be encour-
and dictatorial decision structure, with most of aged by external actors who benefit from the on-
the power vested in a charismatic leader to going conflict and who support the goals of a
maintain cohesion. Rebel leaders often preach particular faction in the belief that the faction’s
intolerance and the need for direct action victory will promote their own interests.
against their enemies, such as those who hold External involvement frequently occurred
power. They are likely to exploit the grievances during the Cold War, when it was used as a tool
of various groups to rally support around the by the superpowers and their allies to promote
insurgency and are ruthless in their pursuit of their rival strategic interests. This is shown by
power. A measure of the leader’s importance is the experiences of Afghanistan in the late 1970s
that the rebel organization often collapses if the and 1980s. Mohammed Daud seized power in a
leader is removed. This is shown by the eclipse 1973 coup and tried to play off the Soviet Union
of the Shining Path, a Maoist group (World against Western powers but was overthrown in
Bank 2003, 69). The Shining Path launched an 1978. After a power struggle, the Soviet Union
insurgency in Peru during 1980. In the initial deployed forces the following year to support a
stages of the struggle, conflict-related deaths pro-Communist regime and in 1980 installed
numbered fewer than 100 a year, but a decade Babrak Karmal as leader. However, Communist
into the conflict, 20,000 had been killed by po- resistance intensified, with various mujahideen
litical violence. This estimate reached approxi- groups fighting pro-Communist and Soviet
mately 28,000 by 1996, when the conflict finally forces. These groups were supplied with money
petered out. However, the strength of the Shin- and arms by countries that opposed the Soviet
ing Path declined significantly after the 1992 Union, including the United States and Pakistan.
capture of Abimael Guzman, its leader. Follow- The United States and the Soviet Union finally
ing his capture, the organization split into two agreed to end military aid to both sides in 1991,
factions. This split is identified by many histori- two years after the withdrawal of Soviet forces.
ans as the beginning of the group’s downfall.
With regard to Guzman, the constitutional
court struck down the antiterror laws enacted Conclusion
under former President Alberto Fujimori in This compendium uses the work of Nicolas Sam-
2003. This resulted in Guzman’s sentence being banis (2004) to define civil war. This definition
overturned, and a civilian trial was begun. Guz- takes into account the location of the conflict, the
man was sentenced to life imprisonment in Oc- combatants, the fatalities, the level of violence, and
tober 2006. the start and end of the conflict. There have been

numerous civil wars since World War II. Civil wars Bercovitch, Jacob, and Judith Fretter. 2004.
have occurred throughout the world but have Regional Guide to International Conflict and
been more common in some regions, such as de- Management from 1945 to 2003. Washington,
DC: CQ Press.
veloping Asia (South and East Asia and Oceania). British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). No date.
Various factors validate the study of civil war. “Milosevic’s Yugoslavia.”
Most important, a common feature of civil wars hi/english/static/in_depth/europe/2000/
is the widespread loss of life; graphic violations milosevic_yugoslavia/default.stm (accessed
of human rights are often witnessed too. Other January 12, 2006).
Cable News Network (CNN). 2006. “Forces: U.S.
serious consequences of war include the plight
& Coalition/Casualties: Graphical Breakdown
of refugees attempting to flee the fighting, and of Casualties.” November 21, 2006. edition.
the recurrent nature of war. Furthermore, the
impact of civil war on a country’s economy is (accessed November 22, 2006.)
devastating. During a civil war, there is a double Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2005. CIA
loss: the loss of resources that were available be- World Factbook.
factbook/index.html (accessed January 9,
fore the war began and the loss of material de- 2006).
stroyed by war. Civil war has also been linked to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2006. CIA
terrorism and international crime. World Factbook.
Given the disastrous consequences of civil factbook/index.html (accessed December 16,
war, it is vital to better understand the factors 2006).
Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. 2005. “Resource
that can cause civil war and prevent such wars
Rents, Governance, and Conflict.” Journal of
from taking place—or at least enhance the abil- Conflict Resolution, 49(4): 625–33.
ity to establish peace. Various factors can influ- Council on Foreign Affairs. 2003. Iraq: The Sunnis.
ence the likelihood of war. First, once a country December 12.
has experienced civil war, the threat of more html?id=7678 (accessed January 11, 2006).
conflict is elevated. Second, the strength and DeRouen Jr, Karl, and Uk Heo. 2005. Defense and
Security: A Compendium of National Armed
success of fundamental features of the state, Forces and Security Policies. Santa Barbara, CA:
such as political institutions, influence the likeli- ABC-CLIO.
hood of war. Third, the issue of ownership of re- DeRouen Jr, Karl, and David Sobek. 2004. “The
sources often arises when resources are spread Dynamics of Civil War Duration and Outcome.”
unevenly, and this can cause conflict. Fourth, di- Journal of Peace Research, 41(3): 303–20.
Diehl III, Arthur F. “Chip.” 2004. “The Coalition
visions within a country, such as those based on
of the Willing.” Coalition Bulletin, June 13:
ethnicity, can cause conflict, especially when in- 2–5.
flamed by leaders. Finally, assistance to factions Dunning, Thad. 2005. “Resource Dependence,
from external actors can exacerbate conflict. Economic Performance, and Political Stability.”
Journal of Peace Research, 49(4): 451–82.
Paul Bellamy Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2005.
Country Analysis Brief: Angola. January.
(The views expressed are those of the author
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Energy Information Administration (EIA). No
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Asian Conflicts

Introduction separated from North America to the northeast

From 1950 to 2001, developing Asia (South and by the Bering Strait and from Australia to the
East Asia and Oceania) experienced a persist- southeast by the waters of the Indian and the Pa-
ently high incidence of war. Civil wars have oc- cific oceans. The Isthmus of Suez joins Asia with
curred in Afghanistan (1978–1992), Azerbaijan Africa, and it is generally agreed that the Suez
(1992–1994), Bangladesh (1972–1997), Cam- Canal forms the border between them.
bodia (1970–1975 and 1979–1991), China The land boundary between Asia and Eu-
(1946–1949), India (1946–1949), Indonesia rope is a historical and cultural concept that
(1975–1999), Korea (1950–1953), Myanmar/ has changed more than once. The most con-
Burma (1968–1995), Pakistan (1971), the venient geographic boundary—one that has
Philippines (1972–1996), Sri Lanka (1972– been adopted by most geographers—is a line
present), and Tajikistan (1992–1997). The war that runs south from the Arctic Ocean along
in Vietnam is not covered: The civil war there the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains and
was ultimately submerged by an international then turns southwest along the Emba River to
conflict in which the United States adopted the the northern shore of the Caspian Sea; west of
strategy of containment as a viable approach to the Caspian, the boundary follows the Kuma-
restricting Communist expansion. Manych Depression to the Sea of Azov and the
Kerch Strait.
Asia has a long history of human settlement.
Regional Background Fossil evidence indicates that Asia has been oc-
Asia is the largest and most diverse continent on cupied by humans for at least 1 million years
Earth, and it occupies 30 percent of the world’s and possibly longer. Additionally, Buddhism
land area. The total area of Asia, including the came into being in northeastern India during
Caucasian isthmus and excluding the island of the period from the late sixth century to the
New Guinea, is about 17,226,000 square miles early fourth century BCE, a period of much so-
(44,614,000 square kilometers). Asia is bounded cial change and religious activity. There are now
by the Arctic Ocean on the north, the Pacific 350 million Buddhists worldwide (BBC n.d.).
Ocean on the east, the Indian Ocean on the Asia’s rich history is clearly illustrated by the
south, the inland seas of the Atlantic Ocean— pasts of China and India. China’s history can be
the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea—on traced back about 3,500 years. Beginning in 221
the southwest, and Europe on the west. Asia is BCE, the country was united under a highly

| 27

centralized dynastic system. During the 2,000 lationship between China and Taiwan. Following
years that followed, China experienced nine feu- the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949,
dal dynasties. When the last dynasty, the Qing the Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a
Dynasty, was established in 1644, China was one government, using the 1946 constitution drawn
of the most powerful states in the world. China up for all of China. Since 1949, the relationship
began to fall behind, however, when the Indus- between China and Taiwan has been tense, with
trial Revolution spread across the West. In 1840, the question of eventual unification a dominant
Great Britain defeated the Central Kingdom in a issue. There have been a series of crises (1954–
war over the opium trade. China agreed to cede 1955, 1958–1959, and 1995–1996). Despite
Hong Kong to Britain, to pay large reparations, China’s basic policy toward Taiwan of “one coun-
and to open its ports for trade. In the following try, two systems, and peaceful unification,” China
years, other powers pressed China to grant simi- has not abandoned the option to use force to se-
lar privileges. As a result, by the beginning of the cure unification. China’s policy, along with Tai-
twentieth century China had become the de wan’s increasingly aggressive stance, makes the
facto colony of those powers. issue a potential source of conflict in the region
The twentieth century saw major changes in (DeRouen Jr and Heo 2005, 152).
China. Civil conflict flared, and further blood- Another significant issue is the tense relation-
shed was caused by Japanese advances, by World ship that has existed between North Korea and
War II, and by the civil war that followed. Under South Korea since the Korean War (1950–1953).
Communist rule, nationalization and collec- Although North Korean President Kim Il Sung
tivization took place, and social upheaval oc- died in 1994, and his son Kim Jong Il assumed
curred during the Cultural Revolution, which power, North Korea’s relations with its neigh-
was initiated in 1966. Many policies were re- bors remain tense. North Korea announced in
versed after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong 1996 that it would no longer abide by the
in 1976, replaced by a rapid drive toward indus- armistice that ended the Korean War, and sent
trialization and wider trade with the West. Today, troops into the demilitarized zone. Six years
China is a major international actor with im- later, in 2002, North and South Korean naval
mense political, economic, and military power. vessels fought in the Yellow Sea. In February
India is another key actor in the region and, 2005, North Korea said it had built nuclear
indeed, internationally. India is the world’s weapons for self-defense. A fourth round of six-
largest democracy and has been home to several nation talks started in July 2005; in September,
political systems that eventually encompassed North Korea agreed to give up all its nuclear ac-
most of the South Asian subcontinent. The most tivities and rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
important of these are the predominantly Bud- Treaty, whereas the United States said it had no
dhist Mauryan Empire, the reign of the Hindu intention of attacking. However, North Korea
Guptas, and the Muslim Mughal Empire. The later demanded a civilian nuclear reactor.
colonial wars of the eighteenth century broke Some common characteristics can be identi-
the Mughal Empire, and the 1857 Indian Mutiny fied from the study of civil wars in the region.
led to the imposition of direct British rule. India First, although some wars have been dominated
became a republic in 1947 after a long struggle by one insurgent group, conflicts have tended to
for independence. India is now the dominant involve at least two and in some cases numerous
economic player in South Asia, or the Indian warring groups. Second, external support has
subcontinent. Moreover, India’s nuclear-capable been an important factor influencing insurgent
military is one of the largest in the world. capabilities—especially as the Korean and Viet-
Despite the end of the Cold War, major secu- nam Wars placed Asia at the forefront of the
rity issues remain. One such issue is the tense re- Cold War. Third, mountains, jungles, and forests

have had a major impact on conflict. The terrain The estimated GDP real growth rate in 2005
has generally helped the insurgents by providing was 5.3 percent.
them with cover and facilitating the use of guer- Korea (North and South Korea): North
rilla tactics. Finally, many insurgent groups have Korea, one of the world’s most centrally
cultivated illegal resources, such as drug crops, planned and isolated economies, has serious
in areas under their control or influence. economic problems. The estimated GDP real
The current economic development and growth rate in 2005 was 1 percent. Since the
prospects of countries vary: early 1960s, South Korea has achieved signifi-
cant economic growth. Its economy is the
Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s economic outlook eleventh-largest in the world. The estimated
has improved significantly since 2001, but the GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 3.7 percent.
country remains extremely poor and highly Myanmar/Burma: Although rich in resources,
dependent on foreign aid. The estimated the country suffers from government controls,
gross domestic product (GDP) real growth inefficient economic policies, and abject rural
rate in 2005 was 8 percent. poverty. The estimated GDP real growth rate
Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan’s key export is oil. Oil in 2005 was 1.5 percent.
production declined through 1997 but has in- Pakistan: Pakistan, an impoverished and un-
creased every year since. The estimated GDP derdeveloped country, has experienced solid
real growth rate in 2005 was 18.3 percent. macroeconomic recovery over the last four
Bangladesh: Despite sustained domestic and years. The estimated GDP real growth rate in
international efforts, Bangladesh remains 2005 was 8.4 percent.
poor. Major impediments to growth include Philippines: GDP growth accelerated to
frequent cyclones and floods. The estimated about 5 percent between 2002 and 2005. This
GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 5.2 percent. reflected the continued resilience of the serv-
Cambodia: From 2001 to 2004, the economy ice sector as well as improved exports and
grew at an average rate of 6.4 percent, driven agricultural output. The estimated GDP real
largely by an expansion in the garment sector growth rate in 2005 was 4.7 percent.
and tourism. The estimated GDP real growth Sri Lanka: GDP growth was 5 percent between
rate in 2005 was 4 percent. 2002 and 2005. The struggle by the Tamil
China: Measured on a purchasing power par- Tigers of the north and east for a largely inde-
ity (PPP) basis, China in 2005 had the sec- pendent homeland continues to have a major
ond-largest economy in the world after the impact on the economy. The estimated GDP
United States, although in per capita terms real growth rate in 2005 was 4.7 percent.
the country is still in the lower-middle in- Tajikistan: Tajikistan has one of the lowest
come range, and 150 million Chinese fall per capita GDPs among the fifteen former So-
below international poverty lines. The esti- viet republics. Although 60 percent of its peo-
mated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 9.2 ple continue to live in abject poverty, there
percent (official data). has been steady economic growth since 1997.
India: The economy has posted an average The estimated GDP real growth rate in 2005
growth rate of more than 6.8 percent in the was 8 percent (CIA 2005).
decade since 1994, reducing poverty by about
10 percent. The estimated GDP real growth
rate in 2005 was 7.1 percent.
Indonesia: Indonesia has struggled to over- The Insurgents
come the Asian financial crisis and faces seri- Most scholars agree that seven major mujahideen
ous problems, such as high unemployment. groups emerged early in the Afghanistan war. All

seven were Sunni in composition and operated protect and promote the interests of particular
from the sanctuary of Pakistan. The main Sunni ethnic groups. The Karen National Union
groups have been further classified into two (KNU) was established in 1947 and became the
broad categories: Islamist and traditionalist. The most persistent insurgent group.
seven groups were eventually brought under a In Cambodia, after his overthrow by General
nominal common front, known as the Seven Lon Nol in 1970, Norodom Sihanouk made an
Party Alliance, by about 1985. Several minor Shi’a alliance with the extreme Communist Khmer
groups were also identifiable, although they were Rouge. From this alliance, the National United
largely ineffective during much of the war and Front of Kampuchea (Front Uni National de
prone to internal strife. Kampuchea [FUNK]) was established in March
In Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Repub- 1970, and in May the Royal Government of Na-
lic (NKR) established independence during Sep- tional Union of Kampuchea (Government Royal
tember 1991, but it was unrecognized as a sover- d’Union Nationale de Kampuchea [GRUNK])
eign state by the international community and was announced. However, the Khmer Rouge
remains so today. Despite its officially unrecog- commanded the insurgency. Another alliance
nized international status, the NKR has estab- was made in 1982 to fight the Vietnamese, with
lished a highly organized government bureau- the announcement of the Coalition Government
cracy that includes a prime minister, a unicameral of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK). This con-
legislature, and executive ministries. The NKR sisted of the Khmer Rouge, the Khmer People’s
has also established permanent missions in vari- National Liberation Front (KPNLF), and the
ous countries. National United Front for an Independent, Neu-
In Bangladesh, in response to the growing re- tral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia
sentment of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) (FUNCINPEC).
people, the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati In China, the Chinese Communist Party
Samiti (JSS) political party was formed under (CCP) was established in 1921 and was fortu-
the guidance of Manabendra Narayan Larma in nate to survive early Nationalist Party (KMT)
February 1972. The party’s political platform offensives. The KMT and CCP both fought
channeled rising dissatisfaction and fear of the Japanese forces from 1937 to 1945. By the time
CHT tribes, who referred to themselves as of Japan’s surrender, the number of CCP mem-
Jumma and not Bengalis. However, only a year bers had increased from 40,000 to 1,211,000 and
after JSS failed to resolve the conflict peacefully, the armed forces from 30,000 to 910,000. More-
Shanti Bahini was formed, with Manabendra over, Mao had successfully consolidated his au-
Naryan Larma as its leader. Most members came thority and organized the CCP into a united and
from the three most populous tribes in the re- efficient political power.
gion—Chakmas, Tripura, and Marma—who In India, the conflict from 1946 to 1949 took
were also the most disadvantaged by the govern- two forms: internecine communal conflict and
ment’s policies toward CHT. In addition to the military conflict over borders in Kashmir. Both
regular force, Shanti Bahini created a militia. conflicts were intimately related in that both re-
The organization split into two factions after sulted from India’s partition in 1947. The
Larma’s assassination in 1983. 1946–1948 war involved fighting between Hin-
Various groups have been active in Myan- dus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In the 1947–1949 war,
mar/Burma. The oldest of these groups was the the main combatants were the Indian army and
Communist Party of Burma (CPB) formed in Pathan paramilitary units supported by covert
1939. The CPB then fractured when Burma Pakistani military units.
achieved independence in 1948, and began to In Indonesia, the war against government
disintegrate in 1989. Other groups sought to forces within East Timor was dominated by the

Revolutionary Front for an Independent East tionalist project, the MILF, led by Salamat
Timor (Frente Revolucionaria de Timor-Leste Hashim, came to consider the armed conflict es-
Independente [Fretilin]). This was a leftist anti- sentially a religious struggle.
colonial party that came to prominence in East The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Timor in 1975 when the government of Portu- came to dominate the war in Sri Lanka. In the
gal, which governed East Timor, was toppled in a early 1970s, a number of Tamil paramilitary or-
leftist coup d’état. Portuguese officials wished to ganizations initiated an armed struggle against
rid themselves of their colonial holdings and the Sri Lankan state. By the early 1980s, the
pushed for a quick transfer of power to like- LTTE had emerged as the most formidable
minded political groups. Fretilin’s armed wing Tamil paramilitary group and by 1987 was the
was the Armed Forces of National Liberation of dominant such group. The LTTE has carried on
East Timor (Forcas Armadas De Libertacao Na- a dual struggle, fighting rival Tamil moderates
cional De Timor Leste [Falintil]). and extremists as well as the Sri Lankan state. Its
In Korea, the civil war was initiated by the Ko- struggle against rival Tamils has been highly suc-
rean People’s Army of North Korea’s invasion of cessful. This effort continues, as much to deny
South Korea in June 1950. The Korean invasion the Tamils an alternative representative as to
was undertaken by a force of 110,000 soldiers deny the Sri Lankan government an alternative
equipped with artillery and tanks. North Korea’s negotiating partner.
Communist Party (Korean Workers Party The main actors in Tajikistan were political
[KWP]) had been inaugurated in 1946, and the groups capable of mobilizing armed militias.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North By 1990, a number of political movements and
Korea) proclaimed in 1948. parties opposed to the Communist regime had
Three main groups resisted the Pakistani cen- formed. They included the Rastokhez Popular
tral government and fought for the establish- Movement (RPM), the Democratic Party of
ment of Bangladesh: political leaders, disaffected Tajikistan (DPT), and the Islamic Renaissance
soldiers, and guerrilla activists. Eventually, these Party of Tajikistan (IRP). These organizations
were joined by Indian military personnel, but and political parties, together with the La’li
this was much later. The main rebel force was Badahshon and Nosiri Khusraw societies,
the Mukti Bahini. Originally a sort of paramili- formed what became known as the United
tary–security wing of the nationalist (and secu- Tajik Opposition (UTO), or “the opposition”
lar) Awami League, this force soon grew and ac- for short.
quired a guerrilla nature. It was led by a retired Insurgent revenue sources have varied. Al-
Pakistan army officer, Colonel Muhammad though not united, the mujahideen in Afghani-
Ataul Gani Osmani. stan had the advantage of receiving major exter-
The war in the Philippines centered on the nal assistance, primarily from Pakistan, the
fight between Bangsa Moro and the govern- United States, and Saudi Arabia. The NKR in
ment. The two main insurgent groups were the Azerbaijan has established a well-equipped mod-
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and ern army through significant support from Ar-
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The menia and Russia. Most of the arms used by the
leader of the MNLF, Nur Misuari, framed the KNU in Myanmar/Burma were smuggled from
cause for a Bangsa Moro (Moro Nation) as a na- Thailand. The stockpiles of nearby countries
tionalist struggle against the “gobirno a sarwang were another important source of weapons. The
tao” (foreign government) based in Manila. CPB was the best-equipped group, as it received
However, a basic ideological difference emerged major assistance from China. The Cambodian
between the two groups. Although the MNLF insurgents received foreign aid from Communist
considered the fight for the Bangsa Moro a na- countries such as China and Vietnam during the

1970–1975 war; during the second war, they re- smaller than Iowa. Terrain: Mostly flat alluvial
ceived assistance from countries ranging from plain and hilly in the southeast. Natural re-
China and Thailand to the United States. sources include natural gas and arable land.
In India, the Pathan paramilitary units fight- Cambodia. Size: Total, 181,040 sq km; land,
ing between 1947 and 1949 were covertly sup- 176,520 sq km; water: 4,520 sq km; slightly
ported by Pakistan. Insurgents in Sri Lanka smaller than Oklahoma. Terrain: Mostly low,
were helped by India. Falintil in East Timor ac- flat plains with mountains in the southwest
quired weapons from Portuguese arsenals but and north. Natural resources include timber
found it difficult to obtain external support. and gemstones.
North Korea received significant equipment China. Size: Total: 9,596,960 sq km; land,
from other Communist countries, whereas 9,326,410 sq km; water, 270,550 sq km;
China received some support from the Soviet slightly smaller than the United States. Ter-
Union and used equipment seized from the rain: Mostly mountains, high plateaus, de-
Japanese. In the Philippines, the MNLF and serts in the west; plains, deltas, and hills in the
MILF were largely dependent on arms stolen or east. Natural resources include coal, iron ore,
purchased from the Philippine military. In and petroleum.
Tajikistan, rebels were funded by regional clans, India. Size: Total, 3,287,590 sq km; land,
Iran, and Pakistan. 2,973,190 sq km; water, 314,400 sq km;
slightly more than one-third the size of the
United States. Terrain: Upland plain (Deccan
Geography and Tactics Plateau) in the south, flat to rolling plain
Mountains and plateaus constitute about 75 along the Ganges, deserts in the west, and the
percent of the continent’s total area, and low Himalayas in the north.
plains occupy the rest of the Asian mainland. Indonesia. Size: Total, 1,919,440 sq km; land,
The size, terrain, and natural resources of the 1,826,440 sq km; water, 93,000 sq km; slightly
countries vary: less than three times the size of Texas. Terrain:
Mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have
Afghanistan. Size: Total, 647,500 sq km; land, interior mountains. Natural resources include
647,500 sq km; water, 0 sq km; slightly petroleum and tin.
smaller than Texas. Terrain: Mostly rugged North Korea. Size: Total, 120,540 sq km; land,
mountains, with plains in the north and 120,410 sq km; water, 130 sq km; slightly
southwest. Natural resources include natural smaller than Mississippi. Terrain: Mostly hills
gas and petroleum. and mountains separated by deep, narrow
Azerbaijan. Size: Total, 86,600 sq km; land, valleys; coastal plains wide in the west, dis-
86,100 sq km; water, 500 sq km; slightly continuous in the east. Natural resources in-
smaller than Maine. This includes the exclave clude coal and lead.
of the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and South Korea. Size: Total, 98,480 sq km; land,
the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The region’s 98,190 sq km; water, 290 sq km; slightly larger
autonomy was abolished in November 1991. than Indiana. Terrain: Mostly hills and
Terrain: Large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura- mountains, with wide coastal plains in the
Araks Lowland) with the Great Caucasus west and south. Natural resources include
Mountains to the north and Qarabag Yaylasi coal and tungsten.
(Karabakh Upland) in the west. Natural re- Myanmar/Burma. Size: Total, 678,500 sq
sources include petroleum and natural gas. km; land, 657,740 sq km; water, 20,760 sq
Bangladesh. Size: Total, 144,000 sq km; land, km; slightly smaller than Texas. Terrain:
133,910 sq km; water, 10,090 sq km; slightly Central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged

highlands. Natural resources include petro- KMT forces were isolated in several major cities.
leum and timber. The last stage of the war consisted of three all-
Pakistan. Size: Total, 803,940 sq km; land, out campaigns in Manchuria, North China, and
778,720 sq km; water, 25,220 sq km; slightly Central China.
less than twice the size of California. Terrain: Insurgencies have generally been assisted by
Flat Indus plain in the east, mountains in the the region’s terrain. The mountains in Af-
north and northwest, and the Balochistan ghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, and Bangla-
Plateau in the west. Natural resources include desh helped insurgents there; in Myanmar/
land and natural gas reserves. Burma, insurgents used steep hills and thick
Philippines. Size: Total, 300,000 sq km; land, jungles to establish secure bases. East Timor’s
298,170 sq km; water, 1,830 sq km; slightly mountainous interior helped insurgents, but the
larger than Arizona. Terrain: Mostly moun- relatively small size of the island and the massive
tains, with narrow to extensive coastal low- size of the Indonesian military deployment hin-
lands. Natural resources include timber and dered the insurgency. This meant limited hit-
petroleum. and-run tactics. Tajikistan’s mountains rein-
Sri Lanka. Size: Total: 65,610 sq km; land, forced regional rivalries. The insurgents in the
64,740 sq km; water: 870 sq km; slightly larger Philippines built camps in forested and moun-
than West Virginia. Terrain: Mostly low, flat to tainous terrain to enhance their security, with
rolling plain with mountains in the south- the MNLF and the MILF adopting the rudi-
central interior. Natural resources include ments of conventional warfare.
limestone, graphite, and mineral sands. Similar terrain has been exploited elsewhere.
Tajikistan. Size: Total, 143,100 sq km; land, The jungles of north and east Sri Lanka provide
142,700 sq km; water, 400 sq km; slightly cover for insurgents. In 1999–2000, the LTTE
smaller than Wisconsin. Terrain: Pamir and was able to cut off and overrun an overextended
Alay Mountains dominate landscape, western enemy in operations reminiscent of the 1950s-
Fergana Valley in the north, and Kofarnihon era Viê·t Minh operations against the French in
and Vakhsh Valleys in the southwest. Natural Vietnam. This allowed the LTTE to retake much
resources include some petroleum, uranium, of the Jaffna Peninsula. LTTE has also used ter-
and gold (CIA 2005). rorist attacks. Rebels in Vietnam were based in
the mountains, in marshlands, and among the
Geography influences the nature and out- civilian population. Communist tactics evolved
come of civil war. Given the size of China and from a camouflaged war of liberation by guer-
its international impact, its war deserves partic- rilla forces during the early years into an offen-
ular mention. The CCP took advantage of sive using conventional warfare strategy and tac-
China’s vast and diverse terrain to hide from tics during the last years (1972–1975). In India,
KMT forces and to launch surprise guerrilla at- much of the communal violence occurred in
tacks before ultimately launching major offen- Punjab, where victims frequently had no forests
sives. During the CCP’s defensive phase (July or mountains in which to escape the killing
1946–March 1947), it initially abandoned the squads. Kashmir’s mountainous geography dif-
cities to avoid the KMT’s greater firepower. A fers significantly from that of Punjab and hin-
stalemate then prevailed (March 1947–August ders offensive operations.
1948). The Communist forces, now renamed Borders with other countries can influence a
the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), not only war’s outcome. Borders with other countries, es-
repulsed attacks but also counterattacked the pecially those friendly to insurgent groups, can
overextended KMT troops. When the Commu- provide an important advantage to insurgents.
nist offensive started in September 1948, the Borders can facilitate the provision of assistance,

insurgents can withdraw across borders to rela- mise, as the country’s position was sure to im-
tive safety when pursued by their enemies, and prove in the future. Moreover, petroleum de-
insurgents can launch attacks from border areas. posits in the seas lying between Timor and Aus-
The rebels in Afghanistan were aided by their tralia were reputed to be a motive for
ability to obtain sanctuary in neighboring Pak- Indonesia’s initial occupation of East Timor in
istan. Furthermore, Pakistan offered the rebels 1975 as well as its reluctance to relinquish con-
not only protection from Soviet pursuit but also trol of the territory.
a secure base for recuperation, resupply, train-
ing, and the recruitment of fighters from among
the refugees there. North Korea’s geography did Causes of the Wars
not have strategic importance in the Korean An ideological struggle for control of the central
War; however, its shared border with China government and the major intervention of an
made possible the Chinese intervention in Octo- external actor were prominent causes of the war
ber 1950. Because East Pakistan bordered India, in Afghanistan. The seizure of power by the left-
rebels fighting for the creation of Bangladesh ist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan
had an area in which to regroup and train, and (PDPA) in 1978 led to conflict as it sought to
they enjoyed considerable Indian support. The impose a strictly secular, Marxist system, to
NKR has been helped by Armenia, a major ally completely dismantle traditional tribal customs,
bordering Azerbaijan. Thai assistance for the in- and to expunge all influences of Islam from pub-
surgents in Cambodia was facilitated by their lic life. This attempt to change society radically
shared borders. Rebels fighting in Vietnam also was accompanied by much brutality, and wide-
used sanctuaries in Cambodia. spread opposition quickly arose. The govern-
Natural resources can play an important role ment was supported by the Soviet Union, but
in financing the activities of warring groups. Ac- the Soviets became increasingly concerned with
cording to Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler, natu- its extremism and sought to remove its leader,
ral resources can finance opportunistic rebel- Hafizullah Amin, ultimately invading in 1979.
lions, and resources can motivate conflict, This invasion and the subsequent occupation
especially successions (2005, 632). In Myan- provided a rallying point for the various factions
mar/Burma, the rebels, who mainly controlled against the Soviet-backed government and So-
the resource-rich border regions, quickly estab- viet forces.
lished links with China and Thailand and bene- Various issues contributed to the Azerbaijan
fited from the black market trade. Furthermore, conflict. These included historical ethnic ten-
while resources such as drugs, gems, and timber sions (Nagorno-Karabakh is a predominantly
were transported out of Myanmar/Burma, con- Armenian area in Azerbaijan), NKR’s discontent
sumer goods in large quantities were imported with Azerbaijan’s perceived suppression of their
through rebel-held areas. The Nagorno-Karabakh cultural and linguistic heritage, and different liv-
region in Azerbaijan has numerous mineral ing standards. The Armenians of Nagorno-
springs as well as deposits of zinc, coal, lead, Karabakh were dissatisfied with their living stan-
gold, marble, and limestone. Rebels have used dards, which they attributed to the policies of
drugs to generate revenue. Oil has also influ- the Azerbaijani republican government.
enced conflicts. Oil negatively affected Azerbai- The causes of the war in Bangladesh can be
jan’s peace negotiations, creating a mindset traced back to the British withdrawal from the
among officials in Baku, the capital, that due to region. Under imperial rule, the CHT enjoyed a
the country’s petroleum resources, time was on privileged administrative status, but this was
their side, and there was less need to compro- gradually lost when the British left, a source of

tension for the CHT. Another cause of tension the dispute between Pakistan and India over the
was the World Bank–sponsored Kaptai Dam legality of Kashmir’s accession to India. Techni-
near Rangmati, which was built with little regard cally, India and Pakistan were not the only states
for the rights of the CHT population. Some be- in the subcontinent to gain independence and
lieve that conflict has also been encouraged by undergo partitioning. Indeed, here lay a precipi-
the progressive Islamization of Bangladesh, tate cause of war between India and Pakistan.
which has reduced tolerance of other religions. The princely states, which had operated as semi-
Finally, the perception grew that Jumma minori- autonomous regions within the British Empire,
ties living in the CHT were disloyal because they were now to be divided between India and Pak-
remained largely indifferent to the cause of in- istan. The more general cause of the war be-
dependence for Bangladesh. tween India and Pakistan revolved around the
The primary cause of the Cambodian civil religious composition of the people living in
war was the Lon Nol coup d’état in 1970 that these princely states.
toppled Sihanouk. Communist power had The chief cause of the war in East Timor was
spread since the late 1960s, and demonstrations the bitterly opposed Indonesian occupation of a
and rebellions were widespread. However, dis- culturally distinct area. The question of whether
content intensified under Lon Nol’s poor leader- the war constitutes a “sons of the soil” type of
ship, while attacks and bombings by the U.S. and struggle is a difficult one. The typical “sons of
South Vietnamese military caused further ten- the soil” war involves a peripheral minority and
sions, especially given Lon Nol’s anticommunist state-supported migrants of a dominant ethnic
stance. The primary motive for the second civil group. At one level, this describes Timor pre-
war was Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia. cisely. However, as East Timor is a detached is-
Phnom Penh, the capital, fell in 1979, and Viet- land, the number of majority migrants from the
nam controlled the major population centers ethnic core of the state is limited.
and most of the countryside from 1979 to Sep- In Korea, an ideological struggle for control
tember 1989. of the central government arose as Kim Il Sung
In China, common ideological ground ex- sought to reunify Korea under communism.
isted between Maoism and General Sun Yat-sen’s However, as with other wars, it is simplistic to
Three Principles of the People. In this sense, the attribute the war to one factor. Other factors
cause of the war was more prudential: the con- included the power struggle between Kim Il
trol of the government. As the only ruling party Sung and Syngman Rhee, the leader of South
since 1928, the KMT did not want to share Korea, who sought to reunify Korea but under
power with the Communists, whereas Mao be- his rule. Kim Il Sung also overestimated the
lieved that political power was to be achieved prospects for internal disruption in South
through force. Korea. Moreover, the conflict was a result of
In India, the 1946–1948 war involved reli- failed deterrence. The war illustrates how per-
gious conflict between Hindus, Muslims, and ceptions of the likely response of external ac-
Sikhs. The Great Calcutta Killing of August 1946 tors can be influential. Some scholars have ar-
began the communal conflict. At the same time gued that the actions of the United States prior
that Hindu–Muslim violence spread, many to the war led both North Korea and the Soviet
Sikhs began to fear that inclusion in the future Union to believe that it would not defend
Pakistan would leave them isolated and vulnera- South Korea.
ble; they reasoned that the only way to protect Various groups with different goals have
themselves was to take up arms against Muslims. fought against the government and against each
The issue dominating the 1947–1949 war was other in Myanmar/Burma. However, grievances

of one type or another can be identified as mo- Union, one undertaken with little regard for the
tives. For the ethnic rebel armies, the military cultural and ethnic basis of the Tajik people. A
government’s unwillingness to compromise on second aggravating factor in the slide to civil war
issues of autonomy for the hill tribes was a major was the undeveloped nature of Tajikistan’s fledg-
factor. With regard to the CPB, the breakdown of ling democracy following independence.
Burmese–Chinese relations in 1967, following
the Cultural Revolution, and ethnic riots in Ran-
goon were influential. More generally, severe Outcomes
food shortages in the 1960s fueled growing dis- The outcomes of wars have varied. The war in
content with the government. Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh
When Pakistan became independent, it inher- (although prospects for peace are not favorable),
ited a geographically divided state. West Pak- whereas a Communist regime took power in
istan, consisting of the Muslim-majority regions China. In the Philippines, conflict has de-esca-
of the northwest of British India, and East Pak- lated, with favorable prospects for peace; and in
istan, consisting of the Muslim-majority portion Tajikistan, there are reasonable prospects for
of Bengal, were separated by almost 1,000 miles, peace if economic and political reforms are im-
with the newly independent India lying between plemented. Prospects for peace are favorable in
them. Bengalis dominated East Pakistan and East Timor, though violence remains a threat.
were the biggest ethnic group, in terms of popu- However, tensions also remain in the region.
lation, in all of Pakistan. However, Punjabis and This is clearly shown by the turbulent relations
Muhajirs dominated politics and the military. between North and South Korea. The prospects
Ethnic tensions between East and West Pakistan for peace in Afghanistan are unfavorable, for
eventually led to war and, in 1971, the secession the central legacy of the war was the creation of
of East Pakistan to form Bangladesh. a generation of embittered Afghans mired in
In the Philippines, Muslim grievances against the abject misery of having lost everything of
the state grew with the pejorative treatment they any value to them. Fighting continues, with
received from Christians, the loss of their home- clashes between Afghan troops and suspected
lands due to discriminatory colonial policies, Taliban fighters. In Bangladesh, serious prob-
and moves by the state seen as threatening their lems remain, and prospects for peace are not
identity and way of life. More specifically, the favorable. Similar prospects for peace exist in
1968 Jabidah massacre of Muslims by govern- Sri Lanka, where a stalemate currently prevails,
ment forces fueled resentment. and with regard to the NKR–Azerbaijan con-
In Sri Lanka, ethnic division and settlement flict, whereas further conflict threatens Cambo-
patterns, along with expectations and griev- dia. Violence continues in India and Pakistan,
ances, created the potential for conflict. This po- and tension remains over Kashmir. The
tential was ignited by the policies and weak ca- prospects for peace in Myanmar/Burma are un-
pacities of Sinhalese-dominated governments. clear. Although armed conflict is limited, exiled
Sinhalese policies and Tamil resistance were political opposition is strong and has received
stimulated by an unclear balance of power. international attention.
Moreover, a limited conflict was transformed External actors have played key roles in sup-
into a full-blown war when India provided sup- porting warring groups and thus have con-
port to the nascent Tamil insurgency. tributed to the duration of fighting. After the
Regional factionalism was a primary domes- initial success of the North Korean offensive
tic cause of Tajikistan’s war, as both government against South Korea, the United States and other
and opposition forces had strong regional bases. members of the United Nations deployed forces.
Tajikistan was a direct creation of the Soviet These forces drove the invasion back but then

had to retreat after the Chinese offensive. With length and cost of the wars in Afghanistan, and
the deployment of major forces by external ac- Korea highlight the consequences of such con-
tors, the conflict escalated. Moreover, the lengthy flict. Although some wars have ended in Asia, se-
armistice negotiations contributed to the war’s rious tensions remain, which could result in fu-
duration. Soviet forces in Afghanistan certainly ture conflicts.
bolstered the survivability of the Afghan Com-
munist government. However, they eroded the Paul Bellamy
government’s legitimacy while also strengthen- (The views expressed are those of the author
ing and legitimizing popular opposition. and not necessarily those of his employer)
In some instances, the actions of external ac-
tors have helped to end or reduce conflict. The
UN played a key role in Tajikistan by bringing References
Bellamy, Paul. 2005. “Cambodia: Remembering
both sides to negotiations and facilitating com- the Killing Fields.” New Zealand International
munication. The Organization for Security and Review, xxx (2), 17–20.
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also helped in British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). No
such areas as institution and democracy build- date.“Introduction to Buddhism.”
ing and drafting a constitution.
intro.shtml (accessed February 14, 2006).
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2005. World
Fact Book.
Conclusion factbook/index.html (accessed February 4,
Wars in Asia have involved groups that varied
Collier, Paul, and Anke Hoeffler. 2005. “Resource
widely in terms of their tactics, goals, and size. Rents, Governance, and Conflict.” Journal of
This variation is clearly shown by the vast differ- Conflict Resolution, 49(4), 625–33.
ence between the conventional war seen in DeRouen Jr, Karl, and Uk Heo. 2005. Defense and
Korea and the insurgency in the Philippines. Security—A Compendium of National Armed
However, as has been noted, some commonali- Forces and Security Policies. Santa Barbara, CA:
ties are apparent. Insurgencies have been af- University of British Columbia, Canada. 2005. The
fected by the region’s geography, particularly its Human Security Report 2005—War and Peace
mountains and forests. Causes of war have var- in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford
ied, with ideological struggles sometimes inflam- University Press. www.humansecurityreport.
ing tensions, as in Afghanistan, but a common info/index.php?option=content&task=view&
id=28&Itemid=63 (accessed January 8, 2006).
feature is grievances against the government that
World Bank. 2003. Breaking the Conflict Trap—
groups ultimately believe can be addressed only Civil War and Development Policy, A World
through force. These grievances have been re- Bank Policy Research Report. Washington, DC:
lated especially to rights and land. Finally, the World Bank and Oxford University Press.
European Conflicts

Introduction Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) established a

Europe has experienced fewer civil wars than far-reaching empire, but it fragmented after his
other regions. The former Yugoslavia, including death. In Roman Judea, Jesus of Nazareth was
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia (1991–1995), said to be the Jewish messiah (savior). After his
Greece (1944–1949), Chechnya (1994–1996), and crucifixion, Jesus’ followers believed that he was
Turkey (1984–1999 and 2004–present) have all resurrected, and his life became the basis of
experienced war. The wars that have occurred Christianity. By the fourth century, Christianity
have caused much destruction and suffering. This had come to dominate the Roman Empire; it is
is particularly the case with the wars in Bosnia- presently the largest faith in the world, with
Herzegovina and in Chechnya, Russia. These wars more than 1 billion followers.
generated international concern and—thanks to In the fifth century, the Middle Ages and the
modern telecommunications—graphically illus- rise of feudalism followed the fall of the Roman
trated to the world the costs of war and the im- Empire in Western Europe. The eighth and
portance of preventing their occurrence. ninth centuries witnessed the Carolingian Re-
naissance, and from the eleventh to the thir-
teenth centuries the Crusades fostered greater
Regional Background East–West contact. The era of the Renaissance
Among the continents, Europe is somewhat of (fourteenth to sixteenth centuries) was fol-
an anomaly. Europe is a small appendage of the lowed by the Age of Reason (the Enlighten-
great landmass that it shares with Asia, which is ment) during the seventeenth century and the
more than four times its size. Europe occupies first half of the eighteenth, prior to the begin-
some 4 million square miles (10.4 million square ning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750. Dur-
kilometers). Only Australia is smaller. ing the next century, liberal nationalist revolu-
Modern humans appeared some forty thou- tions swept across Europe with a profound
sand years ago, and throughout the prehistoric long-term impact.
period the region received continual waves of The twentieth century was a period of major
immigrants from Asia. Key features of Europe’s upheaval. World War I pitted the Triple Alliance
early history include the emergence of the classi- (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Em-
cal Greek civilization in the eighth century BC pire, and later Bulgaria) against the Triple En-
and the founding of the Roman republic (which tente (Great Britain, France, Russia, and later
later became the Roman Empire) in 509 BC. the United States) and their associates. The war

| 39

resulted in an Entente victory but only after been expressed by some in the region about the
most of Europe was destroyed. Political instabil- EU’s power and its influence over domestic af-
ity followed, leading to World War II. World fairs in individual states. Indeed, in 2005 voters
War II was fought between the expansionist in France and the Netherlands rejected the pro-
Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and its associ- posed EU constitution. There has also been con-
ates against the Allies (Great Britain, France, troversy over the implications of adopting a
China, the United States, and the Soviet Union) common currency—the united European cur-
and partners. The Allies were ultimately victori- rency (the Euro) replaced the national currency
ous but at great cost. As it did other regions, the of twelve EU states in January 2002.
Cold War dominated post–World War II Eu- European civil wars have some common
rope until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Al- characteristics. Although Europe has had fewer
though the Cold War did not result in major wars than other regions, the fighting that has
wars like those in Asia, flashpoints of high ten- taken place has been particularly destructive.
sion occurred. The Cold War and the East-West This is because much of the conflict has oc-
division of Europe ultimately ended with the re- curred in heavily populated urban areas, and
forms initiated in the Soviet Union during the modern weapons have been readily accessible.
late 1980s and the Soviet Union’s collapse in Multiple factors have contributed to the conflict
1991. in Europe. As with other regions, grievances
A key post–Cold War issue is the expansion have arisen through historical animosities and
and deployment of the North Atlantic Treaty have been reinforced by domestic developments.
Organization (NATO), formed by the 1949 Grievances generated by the treatment of differ-
North Atlantic Treaty. NATO’s fundamental role ent ethnicities have been a particularly strong
is to safeguard the freedom and security of its motive. Finally, the roles of external actors have
member countries by political and military been mixed, with actors simultaneously actively
means. For instance, massive expulsions of eth- supporting warring groups and attempting to
nic Albanians living in Kosovo provoked an in- resolve the conflicts. The region highlights the
ternational response that included the NATO difficulty of external actors conducting conflict
bombing of Serbia in 1999. NATO currently has mediation successfully.
twenty-six members in North America and Eu- Europe was the first major world region to
rope. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Roma- develop a modern economy based on commer-
nia, Slovakia, and Slovenia formally became cial agriculture and industrial development. Be-
members in March 2004 (DeRouen Jr and Heo tween 1990 and 2000, the EU’s total trade with
2005, xv). Russia has expressed concern over the the rest of the world doubled in value. The EU is
eastward expansion of NATO to include former the world’s leading exporter of goods—more
Communist countries. than €985 billion in 2001, almost a fifth of the
Membership of the European Union (EU) is world total—and the world’s leading exporter of
another issue. The EU is a family of democratic services— €307 billion in 2001, nearly a quarter
European countries committed to working to- of the world total (EU, “The EU: A Major Trad-
gether for peace and prosperity. Its member ing Power”).
states have set up common institutions to which The current economic development and
they have delegated some of their sovereignty so prospects of countries vary:
that decisions on specific matters of joint inter-
est can be made democratically at the European Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia: There have
level. The Treaty on the European Union took been improvements in the economy since the
effect in November 1993. The EU comprises end of the wars. However, a sizable current
twenty-five independent states. Concerns have account deficit and a high unemployment

rate are serious problems. The estimated Council (HVO), and the Army of Bosnia-Herze-
gross domestic product (GDP) real growth govina (ARBiH). Apart from their different eth-
rate in 2005 in Bosnia-Herzegovina was 5.2 nic compositions and goals, the VRS enjoyed a
percent. significant advantage over its opponents in
Greece: Despite strong growth, Greece has terms of equipment through much of the war.
not met the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact Chechens are the largest ethnic community
budget deficit criteria of 3 percent of GDP of the North Caucasus. They account for about
since 2000. The estimated GDP real growth 2 million people, approximately 900,000 of
rate in 2005 was 3.3 percent. whom live in the territory of present-day
Russia: Russia ended 2005 with its seventh Chechnya. Russia had successfully colonized
straight year of growth, averaging 6.4 percent Chechnya by the end of the seventeenth cen-
annually since the financial crisis of 1998. tury, but animosities between the Russians and
High oil prices and a relatively cheap ruble Chechens arose in the eighteenth century and
have influenced this economic rebound, continued through the nineteenth century, al-
along with investment and consumer-driven though Chechnya remained under Soviet con-
demand since 2000. The estimated GDP real trol in the twentieth century. The collapse of the
growth rate in 2005 was 5.9 percent. Soviet Union seemed to provide an opportunity
Turkey: The economy is turning around with for Chechen nationalists, who declared inde-
the implementation of economic reforms. In pendence in November 1991. Dzhokhar Musa-
2004, GDP growth reached 9 percent, and in- yevich Dudayev was the leader of the movement
flation fell to 7.7 percent in 2005—a thirty- for Chechen independence and the first sepa-
year low. The estimated GDP real growth rate ratist president of the Chechen Republic of
in 2005 was 5.1 percent (CIA 2005). Ichkeria. The chief goal of the insurgents was
the establishment of the independent Muslim
state of Ichkeria (Chechnya).
In Greece, the Communists established the
The Insurgents National Liberation Front (EAM) in September
The wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia 1941 as a political movement and the National
were the most brutal wars in post–World War II People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) as its military
Europe and involved various groups. Until its wing. As the main opposition to the govern-
collapse, Yugoslavia was a federation of six re- ment, the broad-based EAM was involved in an
publics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, ideological and factional struggle for control of
Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia) and two the central government. EAM’s goal was the es-
autonomous regions (Kosovo and Vojvodina). tablishment of a Communist Greece.
The war started with Bosnia-Herzegovina’s dec- In Turkey, the nationalist ambitions of the
laration of sovereignty in October 1991. This ancient Kurdish population are older than the
was followed by a declaration of independence Turkish state itself. Although the Kurds as a peo-
from the former Yugoslavia on March 3, 1992, ple have never organized as a modern nation-
after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. state, nationalist ambitions grew steadily in pop-
The Bosnian Serbs, supported by neighboring ularity and fervency throughout the twentieth
Serbia and Montenegro, responded with armed century, and the national liberation of ethnic
resistance aimed at partitioning the republic Kurdish peoples in southeastern Anatolia is a
along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to prominent issue. In 1974, Abdullah Öcalan,
form a greater Serbia. Key combatants were the along with his brother Kesire Yildirim Öcalan
Yugoslav National Army (JNA), the Army of the and supporters Haki Karaer, Cemil Bayik, and
Serb Republic (VRS), the Croatian Defense Kemal Pir, founded the Kurdistan Workers Party

(PKK). This was a Marxist-Leninist political of the Urals, vast coniferous forest and tundra
party committed to establishing a socialist Kur- in Siberia, and uplands and mountains along
dish state made up of the Kurdish portions of the southern border regions. Natural re-
Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Öcalan considered sources include major deposits of oil, natural
Turkey’s Kurdish lands in the southeast to be gas, and coal.
Kurdistan’s largest province and decided to Turkey. Size: Total, 780,580 sq km; land,
focus his group’s initial efforts there. In Novem- 770,760 sq km; water, 9,820 sq km; slightly
ber 1978, the Kurdistan Workers Party was offi- larger than Texas. Terrain: High central
cially formed. The PKK was organized around a plateau (Anatolia), narrow coastal plain, and
president (Abdullah Öcalan) advised by a coun- several mountain ranges. Natural resources
cil of the presidency. However, since Öcalan’s include coal, iron ore, copper, and chromium
capture in 1999, there has been no office of the (CIA 2005).
presidency; instead, the party has been led by the
council of the presidency. Geography has influenced wars in Europe,
with mountains and forests again affecting the
nature of conflict. The mountainous areas of
Geography and Tactics Greece provided a safe haven for the insurgents
The broad territory of Europe reveals no sim- throughout most of the civil war. ELAS was en-
ple unity of geologic structure, landform, relief, trenched in the mountains during the World
or climate. The region possesses a wide range of War II Axis occupation and used these same
minerals. bases to resist the government forces. However,
The size, borders, terrain, and natural re- the insurgents ultimately changed their tactics
sources of countries vary: from guerrilla warfare to conventional warfare.
Chechnya encompasses topographically dis-
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Size: Total, 51,129 sq tinct regions. The southern part of the republic is
km; land, 51,129 sq km; water, 0 sq km; comprised of densely forested mountains. By
slightly smaller than West Virginia. Terrain: contrast, the northern part of Chechnya is com-
Mountains and valleys. Natural resources in- prised of plains and lowlands. The western part
clude coal and iron ore. is comprised of the Terek and the Sunzha valleys.
Croatia. Size: Total, 56,542 sq km; land, Grozny (the capital of Chechnya), lies in the cen-
56,414 sq km; water, 128 sq km; slightly tral part of the republic. The forested mountains
smaller than West Virginia. Terrain: Plains facilitated the guerrilla campaign of the insur-
along border with Hungary, low mountains gents, while the difficulty of controlling urban
on Adriatic coastline. Natural resources in- areas hindered Russian attempts to defeat the in-
clude oil, coal, and bauxite. surgency. Insurgents have effectively taken ad-
Greece. Size: Total, 131,940 sq km; land, vantage of the republic’s geography to counter
130,800 sq km; water, 1,140 sq km; slightly the Russians’ superior numbers and firepower. In
smaller than Alabama. Terrain: Mostly mountain warfare, the insurgents’ superior
mountains, with ranges extending into the knowledge of the terrain facilitated their effective
sea as peninsulas or chains of islands. Natural use of booby traps and road mines. The insur-
resources include lignite, petroleum, and gents have also displayed expertise in urban war-
iron ore. fare, as shown by the losses they inflicted during
Russia. Size: Total, 17,075,200 sq km; land, Russia’s initial 1994 assault on Grozny. Here, the
16,995,800 sq km; water, 79,400 sq km; ap- successful use of antiarmor ambushes allowed
proximately 1.8 times the size of the United the Chechens to inflict heavy losses on the Russ-
States. Terrain: Broad plain with low hills west ian troops and repeatedly forced them to retreat.

The conflict in Turkey illustrates the compli- aries. In 1991, Chechen nationalists took power
cated role that geography can play. Most of the in Chechnya and announced its initial declara-
region called Northern Kurdistan is straddled by tion of sovereignty. However, their proclamation
the craggy Taurus mountains, abutted by the was not supported by the Ingush part of the re-
Anatolian Plateau’s semiarid steppes. The Tau- public. As a result, the Chechen-Ingush Republic
ruses dip into Northern Iraq and provide a natu- split into two parts: Chechnya and Ingushetia.
ral border between the two countries. Vegetation Moscow’s unwillingness to recognize the repub-
is sparse and shrubby and provides little cover, lic’s declaration of full independence in 1993
although the PKK use what foliage exists to was reinforced by its fear of a domino effect.
maximum effect when setting ambushes. The Russia feared that if it recognized Chechnya’s in-
region experiences harsh winters, which, com- dependence, other republics would seek to break
bined with the scarcity of cover, tend to reduce away, too, and violence would spread. Indeed,
(but not arrest) the PKK’s countryside guerrilla conflict has spread as insurgents have under-
activity during the colder months. The Taurus taken terrorist attacks outside Chechnya. The
mountains’ high peaks and narrow passes help strategic importance of the republic was another
conceal PKK movements, and insurgents have motive for Russia’s reluctance to recognize the
constructed caves for hiding and caching sup- republic’s independence and, ultimately, for the
plies. Yet the mountains also tend to hinder the decision to invade. For instance, access routes to
very idea of Kurdish nationalism. The moun- both the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea go from
tains have isolated the Kurds, as the remoteness the center of Russia through Chechnya (the role
of communities limits their interaction. This has of oil is noted later in this entry).
fostered cultural idiosyncrasies and linguistic di- Insurgent funding can come from various
alects among individual Kurdish enclaves. sources. Groups in Bosnia-Herzegovina received
As has terrain, land borders, too, have shaped assistance from neighboring states (in this case
the nature of conflict. In Greece, government Serbia and Croatia) and were involved in illegal
forces were unable to secure the Yugoslav and activities such as smuggling. The disadvantage
Albanian borders. Until Yugoslavia closed the the ARBiH experienced in terms of firepower
border in 1949, the rebels were able to receive was perpetuated by an international arms em-
supplies across the borders and could cross the bargo. Chechen insurgents have funded their
borders to evade government harassment. The operations through various means, such as ille-
conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina was influenced gal drugs. Moreover, Russia suspects Turkey of
by the assistance the groups received from Serbia providing direct financial and military aid to the
and Croatia. In Turkey, the close proximity of Chechen separatists. Members of Turkish ex-
ambivalent states allowed the PKK to withdraw tremist groups have been open about their sym-
to safety when pursued. Bases were established pathies and have engaged in terrorist activities
in northern Iraq, and training camps, some- on the Chechen side.
times far abroad, allowed PKK militants to train The EAM in Greece received support from
in relative security. The disinterest of Turkey’s Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, and the Soviet
southern neighbors and the remoteness of their Union. However, the Communists did not se-
Turkish borders meant that PKK rebels were cure significant external support, and this was a
rarely confronted there. The northern no-fly fundamental reason for their defeat. The small
zone in Iraq also ensured that the Iraqis could amount of aid from Yugoslavia and Albania was
not prosecute the PKK. not commensurate with the massive amount of
Chechnya illustrates the role that geopolitical aid the government received from Britain and,
considerations can play in conflict, along with later, the United States. The PKK in Turkey has
the threat that war will spread beyond bound- funded its activities through crime, private

sponsorship, and occasional foreign aid. It has been very costly and would have made it more
also been involved in the trafficking of illicit difficult to convince producers to use the Russ-
narcotics (particularly opiates and hashish). ian route (Walker 1995, 3).
This is because Turkey, and the Kurdish territo- The role of natural resources has differed
ries in particular, form the major clandestine elsewhere in Europe. Turkey’s Kurdish territories
drug route between Iran, Afghanistan, and Eu- possess significant freshwater resources that in-
ropean markets. Syria, Iraq, and Iran have pro- clude hydrological developments built by the
vided additional funds and arms to the PKK. government. Bosnia has no natural resources of
Conflict in Europe illustrates how a country’s note, although looting was a way for irregular
location relative to natural resources can play an forces to sustain their activities. Nor did natural
important role in its descent into war. Chech- resources have a practical impact in Greece.
nya’s geographical location, primarily relating to
the oil industry, reinforced Russia’s determina-
tion not to recognize its independence, and the Causes of the Wars
Chechens’ determination to fight. Oil produc- Multiple factors have contributed to the conflict
tion in Chechnya had been declining prior to the in Europe. As with other regions, grievances
1994 Russian invasion. Indeed, by 1994 it repre- have arisen through historical animosities and
sented only some 0.5 percent of Russia’s total have been reinforced by domestic develop-
output. However, Edward W. Walker believes ments. These developments have included the
that the real issue was not oil in Chechnya itself deterioration of the country’s economy and its
but rather oil (and natural gas) passing through resultant impact on living standards, and the
the republic. Three separate pipelines run government’s policies. Here, the government’s
through Grozny, and these had been occasion- discrimination against particular groups, and
ally sabotaged and frequently shut down as a re- indeed its brutal policies toward groups, has
sult of instability. Moreover, the insurgents re- been influential.
portedly had learned how to steal oil and gas Historical animosities existed in Bosnia-
from the pipelines, thus causing a loss in earn- Herzegovina between the various ethnic groups.
ings to Russia worth tens of millions of dollars Yugoslavia was formed after World War I, with
(Walker 1995, 3). the Croats and Slovenes agreeing to a union
The importance of oil was reinforced by largely to protect themselves from Italy and
Russian plans to exploit the resource from the Hungary. Serbia was principally interested in the
republic’s neighbors. This would necessitate fate of the borderland Serbs of Croatia and
transferring the resource through Chechnya. Bosnia (Serbs living on the borderlands between
Walker elaborates on his analysis of the Russian the old Habsburg and Ottoman Empires to the
decision to invade by referring to the negotia- west of Serbia proper). The preexisting Serbian
tions of two major pipeline deals. These en- state and army were duly expanded to encom-
tailed shipping oil and gas through Grozny to pass all of Yugoslavia. Thus, it is not surprising
the Black Sea ports of Novorossiisk (Russia) that there were tensions between Serbs and
and Tuapse (Georgia). The first of these deals Croats, with borderland Serbs, Slovenes, and
was with the so-called Caspian Consortium, Bosnian Muslims carving out mediating politi-
which planned to develop oil and gas reserves cal niches. From 1929, a Serbian royal dictator-
off Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. The second ship exacerbated the grievances of non-Serbs.
deal involved another consortium developing After occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, Yu-
the large Tenghiz oil field located in Kaza- goslavia was carved up. The next four years
khstan. For both deals, the building of an alter- combined a war of resistance against foreign oc-
native pipeline bypassing Chechnya would have cupiers with interethnic and ideological civil

war. In 1945, the Yugoslav socialist federation sistance and bring Chechnya under Russian ad-
was established under an independent Commu- ministrative rule. In the late nineteenth century,
nist regime led by President Josip Broz Tito the Russian administration began deporting
(DeRouen Jr and Heo 2005, 921, 925). Chechens from their homeland, encouraging
Simmering interrepublic political tensions further resistance. More hostility developed dur-
and demands for greater political autonomy ing World War II when Chechen and Ingush
began to increase after Tito’s death in 1980. Eth- units of the Soviet army defected to the Ger-
nic Serbs made up the largest single group in the mans and collaborated against the Soviets. This
Yugoslav population and dominated the JNA of- resulted in the deportation of the republic’s in-
ficer corps. The federal government was also habitants when the Soviets regained control. The
seated in the Serbian republic. This led to resent- tensions that developed from these events con-
ment over the perceived Serbian domination of tinued into the 1990s. Moreover, further support
the federal government. Partly in response to for the insurgents arose because of economic
this sentiment, a new constitution in 1974 had hardships and Russian opposition to the repub-
devolved authority from the federal center to the lic’s independence.
republics and autonomous regions and pro- The war in Greece resulted from external and
vided for an eight-member presidency that internal processes. The external process was the
would rotate annually among them. The plan development of social conflicts in Western and
worked for a time in the early 1980s, but without Eastern Europe that set into motion both the
Tito at the center it quickly became clear that the Communist revolution in Russia and the subse-
forces pulling the republics apart were stronger quent consolidation of the Soviet Union, and
than the forces keeping them together. It was the expansion of fascism throughout most of
against this background that the war in Bosnia- Europe. These competing ideological pulls had a
Herzegovina included the graphic, widespread, major impact on the Greek civil war. Of equal
and systematic violation of human rights based effect was the internal process of the persistent
on ethnicity. division of Greek society, known as the National
Economic problems contributed to tensions Schism (Ethnikos Dikhasmos). The National
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. By the 1980s, unem- Schism dated from the questions not only of
ployment had risen, foreign debt levels had be- whether Greece should participate in World War
come unsustainable, economic growth had II but also of whose side they should participate
slowed, and real income was dropping. These on. This division would later expand into many
economic conditions exacerbated existing ten- different realms of Greek social and political life.
sions over uneven development. Slovenia and The constant was that the division of Europe
Croatia enjoyed the most advanced economies into competing camps—before, during and after
of the republics; many there resented their dis- World War II—was mirrored by the division of
proportionately large contributions to the fed- Greece into competing camps, eventually lead-
eral tax base and began to push for economic ing to conflict between the restored government
liberalization. Meanwhile, Bosnia remained less of Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou and
developed in comparison to other republics. Communist resistance. As both the left and the
Historical animosities are evident in the right envisioned a different future for Greece,
Chechen war. These date back to the eighteenth neither could accommodate the other’s solution.
century, when Russia followed a policy of mili- With each wave of violence, hatred contributed
tary expansionism that in turn led to widespread to a further round of civil war.
armed resistance against Moscow’s colonial rule. Turkey’s Kurdish insurrection has no single
It took the czarist army more than a century of cause, although historical circumstances play a
active conflict before it was able to suppress re- key role. First was the ideological notion of

Kurdish nationalism: that Kurds, being a lin- ties that led their respective ethnic communities
guistically and culturally distinct people, ought into the war easily achieved postwar electoral
to be afforded self-government. Nationalist sen- success; their goals did not change, only their
timent was most pronounced among educated methods did. Although this is a major improve-
Kurds living in cities; rural Kurds (who repre- ment for the Bosnian people, it does not bode
sent the population’s majority) found national- well for the future of the Bosnian state. The end
ism’s claim of a monolithic Kurdish identity to fighting in Turkey during 1999 was tempo-
much less convincing. Nevertheless, advocates rary, as fighting started again in 2004; prospects
of Kurdish nationalism persisted throughout for peace are unclear.
Turkey’s history. To this nationalism were added The war in Chechnya illustrates the difficulty
the political force of a burgeoning socialist of ensuring long-term peace. Officially, the first
movement that arose in the 1950s and the ac- Chechen war ended in 1996 with the Khasavyurt
tions of Turkey’s military. The PKK might have Agreements; however, violence continued, with
been quite content to pursue redress through le- paramilitary forces operating freely. In addition,
gitimate political institutions or to remain only Chechen warlords carried out a number of in-
a minor security threat had it not been for the cursions into Dagestan and Stavropol Krai.
actions of the military. Following the military’s These were followed in August 1999 by the tem-
1980 coup d’état and declaration of martial law, porary capture of villages in Dagestan. In Sep-
many dissidents were arrested. This eroded tember 1999, a series of explosions took place in
hopes of accommodation through the political Moscow, Volgograd, and Buinaksk that the Russ-
process and encouraged an armed insurrection. ian government attributed to Chechen sepa-
Turkey’s economic problems during the ratists. Later that month, Russia began to bomb
1970s made leftist economic theories and politi- Chechnya, and on October 1, Russian ground
cal ideologies more attractive to many Turks, troops entered Chechnya (Bellamy 2002, 18). In
particularly university students. Several student response, the Chechen president declared a holy
movements with Marxist, Leninist, or Maoist war against the Russian troops.
ideologies became involved in revolutionary ac- Russian forces seized key cities during their
tivities to bring about a socialist Turkish state. invasion and forced Chechen insurgents to re-
Among these organizations, one in particular, treat to the southern mountains. In June 2000,
the Turkish People’s Liberation Army (TPLA), Russian president Vladimir Putin issued a decree
was intent on starting a revolution in Turkey’s imposing direct rule, and Russian forces remain.
southeast—the least-developed part of the However, fighting continues, and indeed the in-
country. The TPLA was convinced that if it were surgents have launched major attacks elsewhere
successful, other socialist states would assist, in Russia that have attracted international atten-
particularly the Soviet Union. tion. In October 2002, insurgents occupied a
Moscow theater and took about 900 hostages.
The storming of the theater by Russian forces
Outcomes cost 129 hostages their lives. Nearly two years
Conflicts in Europe have resulted in a range of later, in September 2004, insurgents seized
outcomes. In Greece, there was a clear outcome Beslan’s Middle School Number One and took
to the conflict that favored one warring group; 1,300 hostages, most of who were school chil-
the government achieved victory over the Com- dren. In the ensuing siege by Russian forces, 331
munist insurgency. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the civilians died. Prospects for peace in Chechnya
outcome has been more complicated. Although are unfavorable.
the war ended with the Dayton Agreement in The roles of external actors in Europe have
1995, serious issues remain. The nationalist par- been mixed. As has been noted, external actors

have provided resources to the warring groups. sacre. However, it should be noted that the UN
The tacit support the PKK has received from faced a very challenging situation, and its actions
Turkey’s neighbors has contributed to the con- were ultimately dictated by its member states.
flict’s duration. Although Turkey’s military man- NATO as an organization and individual
aged to secure the Turkish countryside, the guer- NATO countries also played important roles in
rillas were always able to withdraw across Bosnia-Herzegovina. As early as 1991, Germany
borders into accommodating states. By the early led the push for European Commission (EC)
1990s, the PKK had no permanent or even semi- recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, and NATO
permanent bases in Turkey itself—nearly all began to enforce the arms embargo on the re-
guerrilla operations were organized and staged gion. The U.S. role in the conflict began some-
from abroad. In contrast, conflict management what later. The United States did not contribute
efforts on the part of other governments, non- troops to UNPROFOR, and it was only margin-
government organizations (NGOs), or the ally supportive of the early EC peace proposals,
United Nations have been minimal. External in- most of which called for an extensive ground
tervention has also taken place in support of force to monitor the peace. Instead, for most of
governments fighting insurgents. The direct in- the war the United States endorsed the “lift and
tervention of Britain and the United States in strike” policy, which meant supporting the lift-
support of the Greek government contributed to ing of the arms embargo and striking Serb posi-
its victory over the insurgents, who lacked such tions from the air. In the end, the U.S. approach
external support. more or less won out. NATO was particularly ac-
There have been major efforts by some exter- tive later in the war. Its bombings of Serb posi-
nal actors to end wars, too. As noted by Karl DeR- tions after the Serb attack on Gorazde in 1994
ouen Jr and David Sobek, the intervention of the and the massive air strikes on Serb positions
UN plays a crucial role in outcomes. In particular, throughout Bosnia helped drive the Serbs to the
the UN significantly increases the likelihood of a negotiating table in 1995.
truce or a treaty. In terms of duration, UN in-
volvement increases the expected time needed for
both government and rebel victories and de- Conclusion
creases the time for a truce or treaty (2004, 317). In conclusion, although Europe has experienced
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, various actors at- fewer wars than other regions since World War
tempted to end the fighting, with the UN play- II, it has not been immune to conflict. Europe’s
ing a key role. UN involvement in Bosnia began wars have involved groups that varied widely in
in 1992, when the mandate of the UN Protection terms of their tactics, goals, and size. Regardless
Force (UNPROFOR), deployed to Croatia in of these differences, the brutality of the conflicts
1991, was expanded to include ensuring the se- in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as Chechnya have
curity and functioning of the Sarajevo airport reinforced the importance of ending such wars
and the delivery of humanitarian assistance to and, ideally, of preventing such wars from start-
the Bosnian capital. In September 1992, the ing. Wars have been influenced by regional geog-
mandate was once again expanded to allow UN- raphy, as shown by the conflict in Chechnya.
PROFOR to support humanitarian efforts Funding for insurgents has come from various
throughout Bosnia. UNPROFOR would eventu- avenues, with illegal sources being particularly
ally also monitor the safe areas, the no-fly zone important. Chechnya further illustrates the role
over Bosnia, and several of the cease-fires that that natural resources can play. Causes of war
were negotiated. The UN’s performance has have varied and range from ethnic tensions
been widely criticized, especially the failure of through competition for resources, but they es-
peacekeepers to prevent the Srebrenica mas- pecially have involved secessionist desires. The

duration of the war in Turkey and the start of European Union (EU). “The EU: A Major Trading
another war in Chechnya indicate that the likeli- Power.”
hood of war increases when earlier conflict has trading/index_animated_en.htm (accessed
February 15, 2005).
occurred. European Union (EU). “Europa—The European
Union On-Line.” (accessed
Paul Bellamy February 15, 2006).
(The views expressed are those of the author Gall, Timothy L., and Susan B. Gall. 1999.
and not necessarily those of his employer) Worldmark Chronology of the Nations—Volume
4: Europe. Detroit: Gale Group.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
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Bellamy, Paul. 2002. “Chechnya—The Russian February 15, 2006).
Quagmire.” New Zealand International Review, University of British Columbia, Canada. 2005. The
xxvii(5), 17–20. Human Security Report 2005—War and Peace
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2005. World in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford
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publications/factbook/index.html, accessed info/index.php?option=content&task=view&
February 4, 2006. id=28&Itemid=63 (accessed January 8, 2006).
DeRouen Jr, Karl, and Uk Heo. 2005. Defense and Walker, Edward W. 1995. “The Crisis in
Security—A Compendium of National Armed Chechnya.”
Forces and Security Policies. Santa Barbara, CA: caucasus/articles/walker_1995-crisis.pdf
ABC-CLIO. (accessed February 15, 2006).
DeRouen Jr, Karl, and David Sobek. 2004. “The Walter, Barbara F. 2004. “Does Conflict Beget
Dynamics of Civil War Duration and Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
Outcome.” Journal of Peace Research, 41(3), Journal of Peace Research, 41(3), 371–88.
303–20. World Bank. 2003. Breaking the Conflict Trap—
European Commission. “European Commission Civil War and Development Policy, A World
Homepage.” Bank Policy Research Report. Washington, DC:
(accessed February 15, 2006). World Bank and Oxford University Press.
Latin American Conflicts

Introduction America. The region’s countries have a com-

Central and South American countries that have bined land area of 202,265 square miles
experienced civil war are Colombia (1978–), El (523,865 square kilometers).
Salvador (1979–1992), Guatemala (1974–1994), South America is the fourth-largest conti-
Nicaragua (1978–1979 and 1980–1989), and nent, with an approximate area of 6,874,200
Peru (1980–1996). Latin America experienced a square miles (17,814,400 square kilometers). Po-
severe bout of conflict in the 1980s; however, the litically, the continent and its adjacent islands
region is now relatively stable, with conflict con- are divided into twelve sovereign republics and
tinuing only in Colombia. In general, Colom- two dependencies. The republics are Argentina,
bia’s rebel groups formed in the mid-1960s, but Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador,
the conflict can be divided into two phases, the Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay,
second and more intensive period starting and Venezuela; the dependencies are the Falk-
around 1978. This second phase is focused upon land Islands and French Guiana.
here. Regarding Guatemala, many sources group Central America before the arrival of Euro-
the 1974–1994 conflict with the 1966–1972 con- peans was home to various nomadic and seden-
flict, considering them one civil war that lasted tary cultures. After 500 BCE, an advanced
from 1960 to 1996. However, in 1974 Guate- Mayan civilization emerged in the highlands of
mala’s civil conflict took a new and deadlier Guatemala and El Salvador and reached its
turn, involving civilians in all walks of life and height between 600 and 900. In the sixteenth
having a major impact on the country. century, Spain’s conquests allowed it to domi-
nate Central America. However, political juris-
diction over Central America under Spanish rule
Regional Background evolved slowly because of the rivalries among
In the strictest sense, Central America is the re- conquistadores, which led to conflict. The acces-
gion of North America that lies between Mexico sion to the Spanish throne of the Bourbon
and Panama (the latter was a part of Colombia Philip V at the beginning of the eighteenth cen-
until 1903 and thus is sometimes technically still tury plunged the empire into conflict, which had
included in South America). The region com- a major impact on the region. The French Revo-
prises Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guate- lution and subsequent Napoleonic Wars brought
mala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Through cus- disintegration to Spain’s empire, and in 1824 the
tom, Panama has come to be included in Central Constitution of the Federal Republic of Central

| 49

America provided for the federation of Guate- times held power in Argentina, Brazil, El Sal-
mala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and vador, Peru, and Uruguay.
Costa Rica. However, the federation disinte- Moreover, Marxist and Maoist revolutions
grated as regional states declared themselves re- had a major effect on the Western Hemisphere.
publics. The 1959 seizure of power by Fidel Castro in
From the late nineteenth century to the end Cuba had a significant impact, as Castro’s
of World War II, military dictatorships were the regime sought to export revolution. In 1966,
characteristic political institution, for the Cuba hosted an international congress, repre-
planter elites depended on military strength to sentatives to which declared their support for
defend their interests. However, by the middle of revolution in other Latin American nations. The
the twentieth century powerful political and revolution in Cuba (along with Mao Zedong’s
economic elites faced challenges from middle- victory in China) inspired others, such as the
and working-class representatives. The demands Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua, who ultimately
for significant socioeconomic reforms brought took power in 1979. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the
revolts to every state, and Central American pol- Cuban revolutionary, led a Marxist uprising in
itics in the late twentieth century became char- Bolivia but was killed in 1967. Cuba supported
acterized by strong conflict between free market the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG),
and Marxist development models. which seized power in Grenada in 1979; Cubans
South America’s earliest inhabitants were no- on the island resisted the 1983 U.S. invasion that
madic hunters, fishers, and gatherers who overthrew the PRG. Insurgents also received
pushed southward from North America. Peru Cuban assistance, as they had in El Salvador.
was the center of the vast and powerful Inca em- A major issue in the region is the tense rela-
pire, the most advanced native civilization in the tionship between Cuba and the United States.
Americas. The empire eventually covered a third Castro nationalized all U.S. businesses without
of South America but was defeated by the Span- compensation in 1960, and the United States
ish conquistadores, who arrived in 1532 (Euro- broke off diplomatic relations and imposed a
peans had first visited the continent in 1498). trade embargo. Tensions were further increased
Ultimately, the region’s political geography was the following year, when the United States spon-
to a great extent the result of the administrative sored an abortive invasion by Cuban exiles at the
and judiciary divisions established by Spain and Bay of Pigs, and Castro proclaimed Cuba a Com-
Portugal. Most of the countries eventually munist state and allied it with the Soviet Union.
achieved independence following wars in the In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis was ignited
early nineteenth century. when Castro agreed to allow the Soviets to deploy
The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 nuclear missiles on the island. The crisis was re-
benefited the western coast, and World War I solved when the Soviets agreed to remove the
gave added importance to South American met- missiles in return for the withdrawal of U.S. nu-
als. The Great Depression of the 1930s caused clear missiles from Turkey; however, relations
popular discontent as economies suffered, but have remained tense. In 1996, the trade embargo
World War II strengthened the continent’s finan- was made permanent, and in 2002 U.S. Undersec-
cial position. Economic expansion created by a retary of State John Bolton accused Cuba of try-
growing demand for primary exports helped to ing to develop biological weapons, adding Cuba
transform society with the emergence of an to the list of “axis of evil” countries. In 2004, U.S.
urban middle class and the beginnings of a mod- sanctions restricted family visits between the
ern urban working class. Many countries experi- United States and Cuba as well as cash remit-
enced political upheaval during the twentieth tances from expatriates; later that year, Castro an-
century; for instance, the military at various nounced a ban on transactions in U.S. dollars.

Another key issue is the region’s major role in by the exclusion of marginal groups, and to
the global illegal drug industry. According to the modest and volatile growth in the last decades
International Criminal Police Organization (In- (World Bank 2005b). Infrastructure has im-
terpol), “Cocaine production, trafficking and proved in most of Latin America and the
abuse, once seen as concerns primarily for the Caribbean over the last decade, but a drop in in-
United States, are increasingly global in nature. vestment in the sector is hindering economic
Cocaine trafficking generates billions of dollars growth, poverty reduction, and the region’s abil-
every year. Organized criminal groups use these ity to compete with other economies (World
profits to obtain power and to finance other Bank 2005a).
criminal groups, terrorists and insurgencies” The current economic development and
(Interpol 2005). Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia re- prospects of countries vary:
main the primary sources of coca leaf and fin-
ished cocaine hydrochloride. Over the last fif- Colombia: Although the economy has been
teen years, the most notable changes have been recovering, problems such as high unemploy-
the drop in cocaine production from Bolivia and ment persist. The estimated gross domestic
Peru, and Colombia’s increased production ca- product (GDP) real growth rate in 2005 was
pability (Interpol 2005). 4.3 percent.
Although the nature of conflict has varied, El Salvador: The smallest country in Central
common features are evident. Grievances America, El Salvador has the third-largest
against the government (particularly regarding economy, but growth has been minimal in re-
land rights) and economic upheaval have been cent years. The estimated GDP real growth
major motivations for conflict. These grievances rate in 2005 was 2 percent.
have been reinforced by the brutal responses of Guatemala: The distribution of income re-
governments. Marxist and Maoist ideological mains highly unequal, with perhaps 75 per-
beliefs have also been influential in motivating cent of the population below the poverty line.
conflict. Although various insurgent groups The estimated GDP real growth rate in 2005
have been active, insurgents have been willing to was 3.1 percent.
cooperate, as in Guatemala and El Salvador. The Nicaragua: Nicaragua faces low per capita in-
illegal drug industry has been an important come and huge external debt. Distribution of
source of revenue for warring groups, much income is very unequal. The estimated GDP
more so than in other regions. Indeed, the in- real growth rate in 2005 was 3.5 percent.
dustry has played a key role in prolonging con- Peru: The economy grew by more than 4 per-
flict, as shown by the war in Colombia. The ge- cent per year from 2002 to 2005, with a stable
ography of the Western Hemisphere has exchange rate and low inflation. The esti-
generally assisted insurgencies. mated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 5.6
In 2004, Latin America and the Caribbean ex- percent (CIA 2005).
perienced the strongest growth performance in
twenty-four years. Growth measured 6.3 per-
cent, an increase from 1.9 percent in 2003.
Among the larger countries in the region, Mex- The Insurgents
ico, Chile, and Brazil all experienced output Colombia’s key insurgent groups are noted here.
gains. Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela have The Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National
continued to recover strongly after major crises. Liberation Army [ELN]) launched its first
However, persistent poverty remains a signifi- armed attack in January 1965. The organization
cant challenge. Poverty is due both to en- continued to grow in strength for another
trenched high inequality, which is exacerbated decade but had become marginalized by the

time the second phase of the Colombian conflict leftist movements and an associated political
began in 1978. Student activists in the Partido arm, the Democratic Revolutionary Front
Comunista Marxista-Leninista (PC-ML) formed (FDR). Three of the FMLN constituent groups
the Ejército Popular de Liberación (People’s Lib- were factions that emerged from the Commu-
eration Army [EPL]), which became involved in nist Party of El Salvador (PCS): the Popular Lib-
fighting during 1967. The group had limited in- eration Forces (FPL), the People’s Revolutionary
fluence when the conflict escalated in 1978. Army (ERP), and the Armed Forces of National
Communist and non-Communist guerrillas Resistance (FARN). A fourth faction emerged in
met in July 1964 to form a unified front as the 1976 in opposition to the PCS and its descen-
Bloque Sur (Southern Block) and to call for dants: the Central American Revolutionary
power to be won through an armed revolution- Workers Party (PRTC). Finally, following the
ary struggle. At the second conference of the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, the PCS sponsored
Bloque Sur in 1966, the group established an an armed faction of its own, the Armed Forces
army under the name Fuerzas Armadas Revolu- of Liberation (FAL).
cionarias Colombianas (Revolutionary Armed In October 1980, leaders of the five factions
Forces of Colombia [FARC]). FARC started as met in Havana, Cuba, where they agreed to form
the smallest of the three rural insurgencies but the FMLN. Its unified governing structure con-
has been the most powerful for most of the time sisted of a general command, which was made
since 1978. These groups have common charac- up of the top leaders of each faction, and the
teristics. They were formed in the 1960s, they Unified Revolutionary Directorate (DRU). This
share the same basic ideology, and they have was a day-to-day decision-making body that in-
fought mainly in rural areas to control territory. cluded representatives of each faction. By 1981,
The fourth major rebel group, Movimento 19 FMLN-FDR operated as a coherent revolution-
de Abril (The 19th of April Movement [M–19]), ary movement.
was formed in 1972; this group had a different Groups came together in Guatemala to fight
background and used different methods. The the government. The war centered on a conflict
name referred to election day in 1970, when, between Guatemalan National Revolutionary
after four recounts of the presidential election Unity (URNG) and the government. URNG
ballots, General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla was nar- began as a consolidation of four groups in dif-
rowly defeated by the Frente Nacional govern- ferent parts of the country: the Guerrilla Army
ment candidate despite strong claims of election of the Poor (Ejército Guerrillero de los Pobres
fraud. M–19’s strategy was to launch high-pub- [EGP]), the Rebel Armed Forces (Fuerzas Ar-
licity operations to destabilize the state and to madas Rebeldes [FAR]), the Organization of the
instigate a public uprising against the govern- People in Arms (Organización Revolucionaria
ment. Toward the end of the 1970s, M–19 man- del Pueblo en Armas [ORPA]), and the Guate-
aged to become arguably the most influential, if malan Workers Party (Partido Guatemalteco del
not the biggest or most active, insurgent group. Trabajo [PGT]). By the time of the settlement
It became a political party in 1990. that ended the conflict, PGT was no longer an
As in Colombia, the war in El Salvador in- active part of the group.
volved various groups. However, the groups The two wars in Nicaragua involved different
united to form one group that fought the gov- insurgents. In the first war, the Sandinista rebels
ernment and the National Democratic Organi- sought a revolution to overthrow the Somoza
zation (ORDEN), a pro-regime paramilitary dictatorship and control the government. The
death squad organization. The guerrilla army in conflict had an ideological component, as the
El Salvador, the Farabundo Martí National Lib- rebels supported Marxist-oriented policies that
eration Front (FMLN), consisted of five separate aimed to redistribute wealth, whereas Somoza

was staunchly anticommunist and promoted the an international solidarity network that in-
status quo, an elite-dominated economy. The cluded more than 300 organizations spread
rebels overthrew the government in 1979. The across forty-two countries. FMLN front organi-
second war involved a struggle between the anti- zations also obtained limited funding from in-
communist Contras and the Sandinista govern- ternational development agencies and some
ment. Initially, the Contras were composed of Western governments.
former members of Somoza’s national guard
who fled the country after the revolution. Dur-
ing the conflict, other groups who shared or de- Geography and Tactics
veloped their own grievances against the San- As the Andes border the Pacific in South Amer-
dinista government, such as Miskito Indians and ica, the continent is divided into two parts that
economic elites, also decided to rebel. differ in size and character. The Andes mountain
Relative to other wars, it is easier to identify ranges are second only to the Himalayas in aver-
the insurgents involved in the Peruvian war be- age height. To the east are the Guiana Highlands
cause the key insurgency group was the Partido and Brazilian plateaus.
Comunista del Peru en el Sendero Luminoso de In Central America, highlands predominate
Mariategui (Communist Party of Peru in the over lowlands, and steep slopes over flatlands.
Shining Path of Mariategui), known as Sendero Four-fifths of Central America is hilly or moun-
Luminoso. The group was founded by Abimael tainous, and areas of flatland away from the
Guzmán in the 1960s but began its war in 1980 coasts are restricted.
with the goal of completely overthrowing the The size, terrain, and natural resources of
Peruvian state. The group’s ideology developed countries vary:
from Guzmán’s synthesis of Maoist thought and
the work of Jose Carlos Mariategui (a Peruvian Colombia. Size: Total, 1,138,910 sq km; land,
intellectual and founder of the Communist 1,038,700 sq km; water, 100,210 sq km (this
Party of Peru). From its early stages, the Sendero includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, Ser-
movement was designed to be a long-term pro- rana Bank, and Serranilla Bank); slightly less
gram for social change, involving the destruc- than three times the size of Montana. Terrain:
tion of the contemporary state through civil war Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high
and its eventual replacement with a peasant- Andes Mountains, and eastern lowland
based revolutionary regime. plains. Natural resources include petroleum,
Insurgent revenue sources have varied. In natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, cop-
Peru, drugs and looting were important, per, and emeralds.
whereas drugs are a major revenue source in El Salvador. Size: Total, 21,040 sq km; land,
Colombia. Similarly, in El Salvador revenue was 20,720 sq km; water, 320 sq km; slightly
gained through illegal activities such as kidnap- smaller than Massachusetts. Terrain: Mostly
ping for ransom. The role of external assistance mountains, with narrow coastal belt and cen-
has varied. Venezuela has been accused of pro- tral plateau. Natural resources include hy-
viding Colombian insurgents with support. In dropower, geothermal power, and petroleum.
Guatemala, one or more groups were led by Guatemala. Size: Total, 108,890 sq km; land,
commanders trained in Cuba. However, no 108,430 sq km; water, 460 sq km; slightly
funding appears to have been provided by Cuba smaller than Tennessee. Terrain: Mostly
or any other Communist country. U.S. govern- mountains, with narrow coastal plains and
ment funds, weapons, organization, and train- rolling limestone plateau. Natural resources
ing played a major role in creating the Contras include petroleum, nickel, rare woods, fish,
in Nicaragua. FMLN in El Salvador assembled and hydropower.

Nicaragua. Size: Total, 129,494 sq km; land, across the border to Ecuador in the south, and
120,254 sq km; water, 9,240 sq km; slightly under the cover of the jungle to Peru, Brazil, and
smaller than New York state. Terrain: Exten- Venezuela to the south and east. Geography has
sive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central in- influenced tactics in Colombia. The main imper-
terior mountains and a narrow Pacific coastal ative for guerrillas has been to avoid full-scale
plain interrupted by volcanoes. Natural re- battles and engage in smaller, hit-and-run opera-
sources include gold, silver, copper, tungsten, tions. There has been a distinct difference be-
zinc, timber, and fish. tween the terrorist tactics of the mainly urban-
Peru. Size: Total, 1,285,220 sq km; land, 1.28 based M–19 and the tactics of the rural
million sq km; water, 5,220 sq km; slightly organizations FARC, EPL, and ELN, even though
smaller than Alaska. Terrain: Western coastal the latter groups have modified their tactics.
plain, high and rugged Andes in the center, Mountains and rural areas facilitated the in-
and the eastern lowland jungle of the Amazon surgency in El Salvador. Rebels were most active
basin. Natural resources include copper, sil- in mountain villages and rural areas in the
ver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, northern and eastern third of the country. The
coal, phosphate, hydropower, and natural gas insurgents used hit-and-run attacks against tar-
(CIA 2005). gets in San Salvador, the capital. After the gov-
ernment gained the initiative in 1984, FMLN
The geography of the region has generally as- dispersed throughout the northeastern third of
sisted insurgencies. Nicaraguan rebels used the country to rebuild and to conduct small-
mountainous and jungle terrain for cover; the scale operations. However, the insurgents also
northern border with Honduras is mountain- operated in urban areas and launched their
ous, thus making it easily permeable. The San- largest offensive of the war in November 1989.
dinistas illustrate that diverse tactics might be This involved attacks at fifty different points
used by insurgents. In their early days, the insur- around the country, and heavy fighting occurred
gents pursued the standard rural guerrilla tac- in San Salvador.
tics; however, as the rebels regrouped in the early Mountains assisted the insurgents in Guate-
1970s, three factions formed, each with different mala. Insurgents mostly relied on ambushes of
tactics. The first, the prolonged peoples’ war military patrols and targeted assassinations.
(guerra popular prolongada) faction, main- They occasionally occupied towns or stopped
tained rural guerrilla tactics, with less emphasis civilian buses to try to influence the people in
on political indoctrination and more on devel- their favor.
oping small groups of guerrillas. A second fac- Sendero Luminoso began in remote and iso-
tion, the proletarios, pursued an urban strategy lated Ayacucho in the southern Sierra region of
that sought to mobilize unions, poor city neigh- Peru. The relative isolation of the region allowed
borhoods, and urban workers against the Guzmán to develop the movement over time
regime. The third, the Tercerista faction, sought with little interference from the state. As land in
to build broader-based coalitions that included Ayacucho and surrounding regions was not suit-
moderate regime opponents and religious peo- able for traditional agriculture, most peasants in
ple who were not attracted to Marxism. In the the mountainous Sierra region relied on subsis-
later war, the Contras used both hit-and-run tence agricultural production. The region was a
guerrilla tactics and terrorism. fertile and protected ground for Sendero ac-
In Colombia, forests and mountains provide tivists to recruit members and to operate.
cover for insurgents. Routes developed by Sendero relied almost exclusively on guerrilla
refugees and drug traffickers have been used by tactics and seldom mounted large-scale opera-
guerrillas, who moved along the mountains tions. They attacked a variety of targets and lo-

cations, focusing on government and commerce. growing. Coca was grown and processed into
Although the insurgents expanded their cam- paste in Peru but transported out of the country
paign of violence to Lima, the capital, the group for the final production of cocaine. Much of the
never successfully consolidated power in major Sendero profits came from fees charged drug
cities. runners for the use of Sendero-controlled
Natural resources have been important to airstrips in the region.
many insurgent groups. Domestic sources of The exploitation of these resources, along
revenue were very important for insurgents in with the prospect of external assistance, placed
Peru and Colombia. The lack of outside sup- these insurgents at an advantage over the insur-
port in Colombia increased insurgents’ de- gents in Guatemala. Here, the resources of
pendence on acquiring resources through URNG were apparently sparse.
criminal activity and taxation of areas under
their control. Lack of outside support thus pro-
vided a tactical imperative for the rebels to take Causes of the Wars
control of economically important areas and Discontent with economic and social conditions,
can explain why the insurgents so willingly es- along with the government’s policies (particularly
tablished alliances with drug cartels. Apart regarding land) and performance, encouraged
from providing economic resources through conflict. This supports research demonstrating
the taxation of drug trafficking, the cartels also that war can occur if the ruler’s defensive strength
provided connections and transportation for is low and grievances high (Olsson and Fors 2004,
arms transfers. 335). In Colombia, economic growth led to grow-
The drug industry contributed to the growth ing economic inequality. The government was re-
of both FARC and M–19 in Colombia. By the luctant to address issues that concerned the
late 1970s, cocaine had largely replaced mari- poorer majority, such as land ownership and
juana as the main drug export, and the newly labor rights. The lack of trust in the state, the gov-
formed cartels were looking for rural areas with ernment, and the police was further enhanced by
limited government control in which to set up the inability of these entities to provide basic
refining laboratories. The cartels were allowed to services or security. Moreover, a large-scale mili-
settle on guerrilla-controlled territory against a tary and police “dirty war” was launched in 1978
protection tax. Although FARC quickly in- against guerrillas and drug producers, leading to
creased its fronts, local commanders became widespread government repression. This further
more independent, and the approach to the encouraged antigovernment sentiments.
drug businesses has not been centrally regulated. Another factor motivating the increased
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, an increasing fighting in the late 1970s was the cocaine indus-
amount of coca was grown in Colombia. FARC try. Thousands of peasants started to colonize
established a minimum price that the middle- new areas to grow coca. In the mid-1970s, some
men had to pay the farmers for the cocaine paste Colombians had begun smuggling small quanti-
in their territories, but FARC also provided se- ties of cocaine into the United States and had
curity for the laboratories. Income from the quickly made huge profits. Soon, connections
drug trade has become increasingly important were made with coca-growing peasants in Peru
for the rebels, and protection of drug-producing and Bolivia; Colombian-led distribution net-
territories has influenced strategy. works were established using contacts among
Revenue from the drug industry was also im- Colombian emigrants in the United States. The
portant in Peru. In the mid-1980s, Sendero Lu- drug cartels considered it beneficial to establish
minoso expanded to the Huallaga River Valley, operations in guerrilla-held territory, thereby
which had become a primary location for coca providing the insurgents with more resources to

fight the government. Colombian intelligence eventually among the elites as well. In contrast,
sources estimate that 40 percent of the country’s the desire of the United States to create an
total cocaine exports are controlled by paramili- armed resistance to the Sandinista government
taries and their allies in the narcotics “under- was the most important factor in the creation of
world” and that it is “impossible to distinguish the Contra war. The Contras were also able to
between paramilitaries and drug traffickers” attract additional groups who had become dis-
(Human Rights Watch 2003). enchanted with the Sandinista government.
Social and economic conditions encouraged In Peru, the civil war was a long-term strat-
the war in El Salvador. Historically, a small egy designed to change society by toppling the
group of Salvadoran elites held the best agricul- government and replacing it with a Commu-
tural land and had become the dominant eco- nist state. Social, economic, and political condi-
nomic group. The oligarchy and its military al- tions created a fertile ground for the insur-
lies were deeply opposed to the land reform gency. The government’s vacillation between
demanded by the disenfranchised peasantry military rule and democracy could easily be in-
(though unlike “sons of the soil” conflicts, an terpreted as a failure of both types of gover-
ethnic dimension was generally lacking). As nance. Sendero could have neither developed
economic problems arose, discontent grew nor succeeded without its base of support in
among peasants. Added to this discontent was Ayacucho. Peasants here provided a fertile
frustration over the government’s illegal and ground for Sendero. The relatively impover-
brutal actions to remain in power. Indeed, the ished population suffered from a history of
use of violence against protestors reinforced the neglect and experienced a subsistence crisis
left’s recruitment efforts, as it strengthened the during Sendero’s organizing stage. During this
belief that armed insurrection was the only way crisis, Sendero assisted the rural peasants,
to achieve progressive reform. whereas the government offered little assis-
The key issue in Guatemala was government tance. Moreover, living conditions in Ayacucho
repression and the denial of peasants’ land were worse than those elsewhere.
rights. Historically, social divisions and in-
equalities had caused tension and undermined
stability, particularly as the military and the Outcomes
wealthy agrarian and commercial elites actively The region is now relatively stable. Of the wars
sought to protect their political power. A cen- examined here, only Colombia’s continues, and
tral factor distinguishing the 1974–1994 con- much of this conflict is related to the drug in-
flict from the one immediately preceding it was dustry and drug profits. The prospects for peace
the extensive involvement of indigenous Maya in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru have all been
Indian communities—both as victims of mass identified as favourable. However, the ending of
violence and as mobilized militants. Govern- wars has not necessarily prevented further vio-
ment brutality against any perceived opponents lence. Indeed, literature on civil war indicates
further encouraged support for the insurgents. that past wars increase the likelihood of future
Adding to this already flammable situation was wars. The threat of more fighting is particularly
the deteriorating economic situation caused by evident in Guatemala. Prospects for peace have
the 1973 energy crisis, which affected living been deemed shaky, with peace unlikely to last if
conditions. land reform is not accomplished or if the mili-
In the first Nicaraguan war, the central cause tary regains power.
was a corrupt, economically ineffective, repres- The war in Colombia has been lengthened by
sive, and illegitimate dictatorship that created the drug industry (along with kidnappings) and
vast grievances among the poor people and fighting over drug profits. Recent estimates sug-

gest that FARC makes about US$300 million an- and economic upheaval have been major factors
nually from its drug trafficking activity. Colom- encouraging conflict; however, much of the
bia’s experiences support the hypothesis that eas- continued fighting in Colombia is related to the
ily exploited resources can prolong war and, more illegal drugs industry. Compared to other re-
specifically, supports research that coca seems to gions, the Western Hemisphere is now relatively
lengthen preexisting wars (Ross 2004, 352). Cur- stable, and prospects for peace are generally
rently, much of the fighting in Colombia is en- positive.
couraged more by the desire to control the drug
industry and its profits than by grievances. Paul Bellamy
External actors have played a key role in sup- (The views expressed are those of the author
porting warring groups and thus the duration of and not necessarily those of his employer)
wars. Nicaragua is particularly relevant here, as
external support was vital for the insurgents. References
After the initial Contra forces were established Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 2005. World
and trained, the United States increased aid, Fact Book.
factbook/index.html (accessed February 10,
providing higher-quality weapons and more pay
for the fighters. Indeed, U.S. help encouraged Human Rights Watch. 2003. Colombia’s Checkbook
others in Nicaragua to rebel. Similarly, U.S. sup- Impunity—A Briefing Paper. September 22.
port of the El Salvador regime was vital to El Sal-
vador’s fight against insurgents. impunity.htm#P58_8319 (accessed February
External actors have helped to end war, too. 11, 2006).
International Criminal Police Organization
This role is evident in El Salvador. Here, the (Interpol). 2005. “Cocaine.” December 8.
United Nations secretary general played a cru-
cial mediating role during peace negotiations. default.asp (accessed February 10, 2006).
The UN Observer Mission in El Salvador Olsson, Ola, and Heather Congdon Fors. 2004.
(ONUSAL) also provided important monitor- “Congo: The Prize of Predation.” Journal of
Peace Research 41(3), 321–36.
ing to ease implementation of the peace accord.
Ross, Michael L. 2004. “What Do We Know About
Natural Resources and Civil War?” Journal of
Peace Research, 41(3), 337–56.
Conclusion World Bank. 2005a. Latin America and
Although war continues to affect the lives of Caribbean—Infrastructure in Latin America and
many people, the region is now relatively stable. the Caribbean: Recent Developments and Key
Challenges. August 31.
The wars have involved groups that varied wbsite/external/countries/lacext/0,contentmdk:
widely in terms of their goals and sizes; how- 20631899~pagePK:146736~piPK:146830~the
ever, common to all are guerrilla tactics that SitePK:258554,00.html (accessed January 26,
take advantage of the region’s geography. Insur- 2006).
gents here, like those in other regions, have ex- World Bank. 2005b. Regional Brief— Latin
America and Caribbean.
ploited natural resources, but the nature of the
resources have differed, with cocaine being a MDK:20340156~menuPK:815394~pagePK:
major source of revenue. Grievances against the 146736~piPK:226340~theSitePK:258554,00.
government (particularly regarding land rights) html (accessed January 26, 2006).
Middle Eastern and
North African Conflicts

Introduction Mongols, the Mamluks, the Ottomans, the Euro-

The Middle East and North Africa have had a peans, and many others.
stable and high incidence of civil war since the Many countries in the region gained inde-
late 1960s. Some of the most intense civil wars pendence only in the last century or so. After
have been in Algeria (1992–), Iraq (1961–1975 more than a century of rule by France, Algerians
and 1988–1994), Lebanon (1975–1978), and fought through much of the 1950s, and they
Yemen (1962–1970). An analysis of war in this achieved independence in 1962. Formerly part
region is particularly important given the pres- of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was occupied by
ence of the key oil-producing nations. Britain during the course of World War I, and in
1920 it was declared a League of Nations man-
date under the administration of the United
Regional Background Kingdom. In stages over the next dozen years,
The Middle East and North Africa region in- Iraq attained its independence as a kingdom,
cludes Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, completing the process in 1932. North Yemen
Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, became independent of the Ottoman Empire in
Malta, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, 1918. The British, who had set up a protectorate
Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the West area around the southern port of Aden in the
Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. The surface area of nineteenth century, withdrew in 1967 from what
the region is 11.1 million square kilometers. became South Yemen. North and South Yemen
The region encompassing southwestern Asia were formally unified as the Republic of Yemen
and northeastern Africa and spanning the area in 1990. Lebanon gained independence in 1943
from Morocco to Pakistan, including the Cauca- (from the League of Nations mandate under
sus, is the birthplace of civilization and all three French administration).
monotheistic religions. The first civilization The Middle East is the world’s largest sup-
emerged in 3200 BC in Sumer, in Mesopotamia plier of oil. The founding of the oil industry in
(the region between the Tigris and Euphrates the Middle East dates from 1908, when oil was
rivers). The establishment of civilization discovered in southwest Iran. Iranian oil pro-
brought with it government, religion, urbaniza- duction rapidly expanded during and after
tion, and economic specialization. The region’s World War I but fell sharply in the early years
history has been influenced by the Persian, of World War II. A recovery began in 1943 with
Greek, and Roman Empires, the Crusaders, the the reopening of supply routes to the United

| 59

Kingdom. Little oil development was possible to be an increasingly important source. The is-
in the Persian Gulf region during World War II, sues discussed here have contributed to con-
although large fields had been located in Iran, cerns regarding the security of oil supplies.
Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. By the end of Various security issues face the region. The
the war, it had become evident that the Gulf ongoing conflict in Iraq is a key issue that threat-
would become a major oil-exporting region ens regional stability. According to the Interna-
when adequate outlets became available. In the tional Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), “The
postwar years, a rapid rise in world oil demand removal of Saddam Hussein has proved to be the
was coupled with a rapid expansion of produc- beginning and not the culmination of a long
tion in the Gulf (Riva Jr, 1995). and very uncertain process of state building”
The Organization of the Petroleum Export- (2005, 180). The presence of U.S. and Coalition
ing Countries (OPEC) was established in 1960 forces is a major international issue, and at the
and has a strong influence on the oil market. end of 2006 it seemed unlikely that the conflict
OPEC is a permanent intergovernmental or- would end in the near future.
ganization created in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, In addition to the ongoing conflict in Iraq,
Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The five founding terrorism is a threat. For instance, fifty-six peo-
members were later joined by eight others: ple were killed in explosions at three interna-
Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962), Socialist Peo- tional hotels in Amman, the capital of Jordan,
ples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1962), the United during November 2005. Al-Qaeda claimed re-
Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria sponsibility for the explosions. The threat of
(1971), Ecuador (1973–1992), and Gabon terrorism is particularly illuminated by devel-
(1975–1994). OPEC’s objective is to coordinate opments in Saudi Arabia, for the threat there
and unify petroleum policies among member has international consequences given that
countries. OPEC rose to international promi- country’s crude oil reserves. From May 2003 to
nence during the 1970s. During this period, August 2005, militants loyal to al-Qaeda leader
member countries took control of their domes- Usama bin Laden killed more than ninety for-
tic petroleum industries and became influential eign nationals and Saudi citizens and caused
in the pricing of crude oil on world markets. considerable damage (BBC 2005). Saudi Arabia
The 1970s also witnessed two oil-pricing crises, has come under pressure to curb extremism in
the first triggered by the Arab oil embargo in the wake of the violence, and there have been
1973 and the second by the Iranian Revolution regular gun battles between Saudi security
in 1979. OPEC member countries produce forces and militants. Indeed, the United States
about 40 percent of the world’s crude oil and 16 closed its embassy and two consulates briefly in
percent of its natural gas; however, OPEC’s oil August 2005 in response to a terror threat.
exports represent about 55 percent of the oil Another issue is the long history of tension
traded internationally (OPEC 2006). between Arab countries and Israel. The creation
Oil remains a key global resource. The world’s of Israel was the culmination of the Zionist
largest proven crude oil reserves, in millions of movement, the goal of which was establishment
barrels, are currently in Saudi Arabia (264,310), of a homeland for Jews all over the world follow-
Iran (132,460), Iraq (115,000), Kuwait (101,500), ing the Diaspora. After the Nazi holocaust, pres-
and the United Arab Emirates (97,800). At the sure grew for the international recognition of a
rate of production in 2003, OPEC’s oil reserves Jewish state, and in 1948 Israel was established.
are sufficient to last more than ninety years, The region’s history since 1948 has been domi-
whereas non-OPEC oil producers’ reserves nated by conflict between Israel on the one side
might last less than twenty years. The worldwide and Palestinians (represented by the Palestine
demand for oil is rising, and OPEC is expected Liberation Organization) and Israel’s Arab

neighbors on the other. Many Palestinians were United Arab Emirates. Moreover, on a per capita
displaced, and several wars were fought involv- basis, the region’s recent economic growth is
ing Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Israel lower than that of other regions (World Bank
evacuated its settlers from the Gaza Strip in late 2005b).
2005 and withdrew its forces, ending almost The current economic development and
four decades of military occupation. However, prospects of countries vary:
the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestin-
ian refugees and Jewish settlements are con- Algeria: Real gross domestic product (GDP)
tentious issues. Tensions also remain between Is- has risen due to higher oil output and in-
rael and such countries as Syria and Iran. In creased government spending. However, the
January 2006, Israeli prime minister Ariel country faces problems such as large-scale
Sharon suffered a stroke, and his position was unemployment. The estimated GDP real
assumed by Ehud Olmert. In July 2006, Israel growth in 2005 was 7.1 percent.
launched attacks on targets in Lebanon after Iraq: The military victory of the U.S.-led
Hezbollah (Party of God) captured two Israeli coalition in March and April 2003 resulted in
soldiers, and the following month Israeli ground the shutdown of much of the central eco-
troops advanced into southern Lebanon. A truce nomic administrative structure. Since the
came into effect on August 14, 2006, after thirty- war, looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage
four days of fighting. have undermined efforts to rebuild the econ-
Although the natures of the civil wars have omy. The estimated GDP real growth in 2005
varied, common features are identifiable. These was 2.4 percent.
wars have been particularly complicated; the Lebanon: In the years since the war, Lebanon
groups involved are diverse, and some have has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and
changed sides during the conflicts. Ideology has financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily.
played a key role in the conflicts, with insurgents The estimated GDP real growth in 2005 was
driven by their beliefs. Insurgents have especially 0.5 percent.
exploited the region’s mountainous terrain to Yemen: Yemen has reported meager growth
conduct operations. The role of external actors, since 2000. Yemen’s economic fortunes de-
particularly their direct intervention, has influ- pend mostly on oil. The estimated GDP real
enced the duration of the wars. The important growth in 2005 was 2.5 percent (CIA 2005).
role of external actors is to be expected, given
the presence of different ideologies and the re-
gion’s geopolitical significance. The Insurgents
The Middle East and North Africa constitute The war in Algeria involved various groups. Key
an economically diverse region that includes groups fought for the reestablishment of a polit-
both the oil-rich economies in the Gulf and ical system that would allow the Islamic Salva-
countries with scarce resources relative to popu- tion Front (Front Islamique du Salut [FIS]), an
lation, such as Egypt, Morocco, and Yemen. Dur- umbrella organization of Islamist groups that
ing 2003 and 2004, economic growth averaged opposed the government, to take power. The
more than 5.6 percent a year, the strongest first of these was the Armed Islamic Movement
growth in a decade, up strongly from the 3.6 (Mouvement Islamique Armé [MIA]). The MIA
percent average yearly growth throughout the was selective in its recruitment process. Given
1990s. Comparing growth over the 1990s with the large numbers of people eager to participate
recent growth, however, 97 percent of the re- in the insurgency, the establishment of addi-
gional growth upturn was driven by just four tional armed groups was possible. In 1994, the
countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and the Islamic Army of Salvation (Armée Islamique du

Salut [AIS]) was established. The AIS continued political system, whereas the Christian groups
the MIA’s focus on insurgency to reinstitute the fought to preserve the status quo, in which they
political process, concentrating on attacking the were dominant. There were also clashes among
government and security forces. However, it Christians and Muslims. In the status quo coali-
sought to work on a much broader scale than tion, two groups were most effective. The Pha-
the MIA and to plan for a long conflict. langist Party was the most important group. The
Radical groups emerged in 1993 that chal- party was founded in the 1930s and became
lenged the notion of returning to the political quite influential in Lebanese politics. The sec-
process and the focus on government targets to ond influential group was the National Liberal
that end. Established in 1991, the Movement for Party (NLP), led by Camille Chamoun. In the
the Islamic State (Mouvement pour l’Etat Is- south, the South Lebanon Army (SLA), led by
lamique [MEI]) focused on taking the battle to Major Saad Haddad and supported by Israel,
the Algerian people. The Islamic Armed Groups was the only effective non-Muslim organization.
(Groupes Islamiques Armées [GIA]) took a sim- Despite differences among the Christian groups,
ilar approach to the MEI, which had begun to they managed to form alliances against the Mus-
target civilians to force them to choose between lim militias between 1975 and 1978.
supporting the government or the Islamists. The revisionist coalition was larger and more
From 1998 on, the GIA and a splinter group, the heterogeneous than the status quo coalition. The
Salafiya Group for Call and Combat (Groupe most influential actors were the Palestinian or-
Salafi pour la Predication et le Combat [GSPC]), ganizations and the leftist militias. Of the leftist
have been active along with other groups. groups, the Progressive Socialist Party, led by
The first and most prominent of the groups Kamal Junblat, was the most influential. Fath,
that made up the Kurdish resistance against the led by Yasser Arafat, was the most powerful
Iraqi state were the affiliates of the Barzani group among the Palestinian organizations. Syr-
tribe, led by Mullah Mustafa (known also by his ian intervention produced several pro-Syrian
surname, Barzani). Barzani formed the Kurdish groups during the civil war. The most influential
Democratic Party (KDP) in 1946, which spear- was Amal, a Shi’ite organization. Of the Muslim
headed the resistance movement in Iraqi Kur- groups, the Progressive Socialist Party and the
distan until his eventual defeat in the mid- Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were
1970s. From the beginnings of the modern the most effective.
Kurdish uprising in the mid-twentieth century, For most of Yemen’s war, two administra-
the basic military force that carried out armed tions—a republican one centered in the capital
resistance against the Iraqi state were the guer- of Sanaa, and a royalist one centered around the
rilla fighters known by the term pershmerga, imam and the royal family in the mountains of
“those who face death.” Under the KDP, they be- the north—claimed to represent the “true” gov-
came known officially as the Kurdish Revolu- ernment of Yemen. However, it became evident
tionary Army (KRA). However, the consolida- that the republicans constituted the govern-
tion of these troops into professional battle ment, and the royalists were the insurgents. The
formations was a difficult process. The Patriotic Yemeni rebels, or royalists, consisted of the sup-
Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was established in porters of the imam. Important support for the
June 1975 as an alternative wing of the Kurdish imam came from the constituent tribes of the
opposition, which adopted a more identifiable, two great tribal confederations in the north,
leftist, Marxist orientation. Hashid and Bakil. Most of the tribesmen were
The war in Lebanon essentially involved Zaydis, and many believed the imamate was the
Christian and Muslim militias. Muslim groups legitimate form of authority beyond the tribe.
generally sought a fundamental change in the Although this may have been a sufficient incen-

tive for some of the tribesmen, and although public (YAR or North Yemen) and the former
many were opposed to what they saw as an inva- People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen
sion by a foreign army (the Egyptian forces), the (PDRY or South Yemen); slightly larger than
large majority fought for material incentives and twice the size of Wyoming. Terrain: Narrow
offered their services to the highest bidder. The coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and
dynamic position of the tribesmen supports Je- rugged mountains; upland desert plains in
remy Weinstein’s work showing that economic the center slope into the desert interior of the
endowments may be problematic for insurgent Arabian Peninsula. Natural resources include
leaders (2005, 621–22). petroleum and gold (CIA 2005).

Geography has shaped wars in the region. Al-

Geography and Tactics geria’s mountains have provided a base of opera-
Deserts are a major feature of the Middle East tions for groups. Whereas the GIA was most ac-
and North Africa. Renewable freshwater is tive in urban areas, the MIA and the AIS were
scarce, and the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, firmly established in mountainous areas, from
is located in North Africa. The region’s geogra- which they conducted operations. The small
phy also includes rugged mountains, plains, number of important highway routes for com-
coastal cliffs, plateaus, and depressions. merce also allowed groups to demarcate terri-
The size, terrain, and natural resources of the tory as well as to draw revenues. However, the
countries vary: terrain used by insurgents was by no means se-
cure. The government was able to defeat insur-
Algeria. Size: Total, 2,381,740 sq km; land, gents in the mountains by using air power and
2,381,740 sq km; water, 0 sq km; slightly less local militias. The MIA and the AIS focused al-
than 3.5 times the size of Texas. Terrain: most exclusively on attacking security forces and
Mostly high plateau and desert, some moun- government officials, whereas the GIA and the
tains, and a narrow, discontinuous coastal MEI put civilians squarely in the middle of the
plain. Natural resources include petroleum conflict.
and natural gas. The Kurdish region of Iraq, or Southern Kur-
Iraq. Size: Total, 437,072 sq km; land, 432,162 distan, features highly mountainous terrain
sq km; water, 4,910 sq km; slightly more than with some wooded areas, and fertile plains fed
twice the size of Idaho. Terrain: Mostly broad by rivers at lower elevations. The peshmerga
plains, reedy marshes along the Iranian bor- fighters often made use of the mountain areas
der in the south with large flooded areas, and to employ hit-and-run tactics that put Iraqi
mountains along the borders with Iran and ground troops at a disadvantage in the early
Turkey. Natural resources include petroleum years of the war. However, Iraqi forces enjoyed
and natural gas. tactical superiority in the low-lying regions. Ini-
Lebanon. Size: Total, 10,400 sq km; land, tially, the Kurdish insurgency manifested itself
10,230 sq km; water, 170 sq km; about 0.7 largely in traditional forms of tribal warfare,
times the size of Connecticut. Terrain: Nar- carrying out attacks with loosely organized
row coastal plain with El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) bands of fighters. However, the increasing num-
separating Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon ber of Kurdish deserters from the Iraqi national
Mountains. Natural resources include water army eventually swelled the rebel ranks,
and arable land. through which they gradually became more dis-
Yemen. Size: Total, 527,970 sq km; land, ciplined regular forces.
527,970 sq km; water, 0 sq km; includes The mountainous terrain in Lebanon enabled
Perim, Socotra, the former Yemen Arab Re- groups to carve out small pockets of land, which

they dominated. For instance, the Christians parts of the country and conducted economic
were able to isolate themselves from the rest of activities accordingly. In Yemen, much of the
the population because of their geographic loca- funding for the royalist war effort came from ex-
tion in Mount Lebanon. Beirut, the capital, was ternal sources, namely Saudi Arabian subsidies
the most violent place, as almost all sects and paid to the Imam and the tribes.
groups lived here. Car bombs, assassinations,
and abduction became widely used.
Yemen’s rugged topography was a key factor Causes of the Wars
contributing to the persistence of war. Given the The Algerian war is commonly attributed to the
mountainous terrain to the north, the popula- country’s economic and social crisis during the
tion was scattered and isolated, roads and 1980s, the failure of the regime to address the
telecommunications were practically nonexist- crisis, and the military’s refusal to allow the elec-
ent, and the maneuverability of conventional toral process bringing the Islamists into power
armies was limited. During the first few weeks of to continue. The decision of groups to fight the
the war, republican forces consolidated their government after the cancellation of elections in
hold over the coastal areas and the triangle be- January 1992 may be seen as a careful evalua-
tween the major cities of Sanaa, Taizz, and Ho- tion. This was an evaluation of their prospects
dayda. Meanwhile, royalist forces, most often for survival and success in a war against the gov-
based in caves, organized themselves in the ernment, and an evaluation of the opportunities
mountains of the north. From these starting available to them under the government at the
points, the war swung back and forth according time or under an alternative regime of their
to whichever side happened to be waging an of- choosing. Potential financial resources, com-
fensive campaign. bined with the refuge of the mountains and the
As has the terrain, land borders have shaped dire financial situation of the government may
the nature of conflict. This is clearly shown by well have convinced insurgent groups of the
the experiences of Yemen and Lebanon. The ex- possibility of their survival, if not their success.
ternal interventions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen The opportunity to profit from conflict, as well
and those of Syria and Israel in Lebanon were fa- as the ability to redistribute economic wealth to
cilitated by shared borders. their supporters, may also have motivated both
Although crude oil is a major natural resource insurgents and the government to take steps that
in the region, it has not been an important led to conflict, particularly in the context of a
source of revenue for many insurgents. In Alge- declining economy.
ria, groups collected taxes in the areas they con- The immediate background to the revolt in
trolled; in contested areas, they collected bribes. Iraq that began in September 1961 was the bur-
Further revenue was generated through the often geoning nationalist sentiment that had devel-
informal import-export sector of the economy. oped in the Kurdish territories during the period
This supports James Fearon’s contention that between the end of World War II and the consol-
contraband financing of groups is associated idation of Karim Abdel-Qassem’s revolutionary
with longer-lasting conflicts (2004, 297). regime in Iraq. The periodic agitations and
In Iraq, the Kurdish insurgents were sup- minor uprisings that had taken place since the
ported briefly by Iran and the United States and nineteenth century and that persisted under the
obtained arms and supplies from black market British-installed Faisal monarchy gradually de-
and expatriate Kurdish groups. The Lebanese veloped into a recognizable movement. At the
warring factions benefited from the economic same time, the Kurds had been allowed to retain
boom in the early and mid-1970s. Most of the an arsenal and relatively independent status. The
groups established a de facto rule over some 14 July Revolution of 1958, which overthrew the

monarchy of King Faisal and established an Iraqi Yemeni in origin, these conflicts were magnified
republic, showed great initial promise for the by regional geopolitics. Laying aside the rela-
prospect of Kurdish self-rule. The new govern- tively small Israeli and Jewish communities, the
ment both declared the unity of Arabs and population was divided almost evenly between
Kurds and enshrined the recognition of Kurdish Sunni Muslims, who followed the Shafai school
rights in the national constitution. However, of law, and Shi’a Muslims, who followed the
when the government reneged on the promise of Zaydi branch. Zaydis received preferred status
greater autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan, it set the over Shafais, who suffered from discrimination
stage for conflict. and harassment by Zaydi officials. The tribal sys-
The 1975–1978 Lebanese civil war was a re- tem tended to reinforce Zaydi dominance. This
sumption of the 1958 conflict between the same encouraged frustration and political dissent.
parties. The political turmoil in Lebanon during There were also demands for reform among the
these years was closely related to regional devel- young and educated, which the old administra-
opments. The primary factor that led to the tive apparatus could not absorb.
outbreak of conflict between the two major It was in this domestic context that revolu-
groups, the Christians and the Muslims, was tionary movements in the Arab world began to
systemic. The Arab-Israeli conflict and Egyptian exert influence. Cadets sent from Yemen to
leader Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalistic poli- Egypt for training and Egyptian instructors
cies fueled the Muslims’ resentment in brought to Yemen were exposed to revolutionary
Lebanon. The Muslims believed that the politi- ideas. A coup d’état was ultimately staged in
cal system needed to be altered so that Chris- September 1962. The revolutionaries were a
tians no longer dominated. The status quo was loose coalition of the urban population: army
preserved, yet the 1958 war showed the short- officers, Shafai merchants, young intellectuals,
comings inherent in the political system, along Free Yemenis, and dissident expatriates.
with the close relationship of Lebanese politics
to regional developments.
With regard to the 1975–1978 war, domestic Outcomes
factors were closely related to the ethnic and re- In Yemen and Lebanon, wars have ended, but
ligious composition of society, with cleavages the threat of further conflict remains. Events in
manipulated and exploited by community lead- Lebanon during 2005 especially illustrate the
ers. The shift in the numerical strength of the volatile nature of politics. In February 2005, for-
sects (by 1968 it was widely acknowledged that mer Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in a
Muslims outnumbered Christians) increased car bomb attack in Beirut, and the cabinet of
demands for a revision of the decision-making Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned follow-
process. The war also was influenced by external ing anti-Syrian rallies sparked by Hariri’s assas-
developments. The Arab-Israeli conflict fueled sination. In April 2005, Syria said it had with-
the conflict among the various groups, primarily drawn all of its military forces as demanded by
revisionist Muslims and status quo Christians. the United Nations, but political violence has
The revolution of 1962 and the subsequent continued. Although the conflict in Algeria con-
war in Yemen were encouraged by domestic con- tinues, violence has decreased, and prospects for
flicts and enabled by external intervention. In- peace are favorable. Prospects are uncertain in
ternally, Yemen suffered from a number of Iraq and are dependent on the outcome of
growing conflicts: between liberal reformers and regime change after the U.S. invasion and occu-
defenders of the status quo, between the urban pation of Iraq in 2003.
population and the rural tribesmen, and be- The role of external actors in the region has
tween Zaydi and Shafai Muslims. Although been mixed. Although there has been no clear

external military intervention in Algeria in tribes in Yemen often switched sides. The strug-
terms of the use of force by a third party, this has gle for power against a background of conflict-
not been the case elsewhere. The primary reason ing ideologies and the intervention of external
for the long duration of the Lebanese civil war actors were key factors behind the wars and in-
was foreign intervention. The war between the tensified the fighting. Although natural re-
domestic groups came to an end in October sources such as precious stones and oil were not
1976; however, the presence of the foreign pow- important sources of revenue, insurgents fi-
ers, especially Syria and Israel, not only interna- nanced their activities through other means, and
tionalized the war but also provided support for external sources were particularly important in
the warring factions to continue fighting. Al- some cases. Insurgents have exploited geograph-
though the war in Yemen pitted revolutionary ical features, but the conflicts in this region
republics against conservative monarchies in demonstrate that terrain can both help and hin-
broad terms, in practice it meant a war fought der insurgencies. Finally, external actors have in-
by Egyptian troops on one side and Saudi fluenced the duration of wars.
money on the other. In addition, the Soviet
Union and the eastern bloc countries supported Paul Bellamy
the republic. (The views expressed are those of the author
External actors have also contributed to hu- and not necessarily those of his employer)
manitarian and conflict management efforts.
The primary effort at humanitarian interven- References
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Saudi Arabia primarily conducted conflict Peace Research, 41(3): 275–302.
management efforts. UN involvement and me- Gall, Timothy L., and Susan B. Gall. 1999.
diation efforts came after Israel became di- Worldmark Chronology of the Nations—Volume
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February 12, 2006.
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Sub-Saharan African Conflicts

Introduction lantic Ocean, on the north by the Mediterranean

Until the 1980s, Africa had a below-average inci- Sea, on the east by the Red Sea and the Indian
dence of civil war, although the region’s level of Ocean, and on the south by the Atlantic and In-
conflict is now comparable to that of Asia and dian oceans. Africa’s total land area is approxi-
the Middle East and is much higher than that of mately 30,217,000 square kilometers.
Latin America. Africa is the only region that did The Kingdom of Kush emerged in present-
not see a decrease in incidence over the 1990s day Sudan in 1000 BC and was the first sub-Sa-
(World Bank 2003, 112–15). The brutality of haran African civilization. Various kingdoms
war there has been extreme, as shown by the emerged in the region, such as the Kanem Em-
genocide committed in Rwanda and by the gen- pire, which was founded in present-day Chad in
eral duration of conflicts in the region. Conflict, 800 and the expansion of which peaked in the
which affects about one-third of African coun- thirteenth century. The Portuguese initiated the
tries, is also estimated to cost affected African African slave trade in the late fifteenth century;
countries 2.2 percent in economic growth each over the next four centuries, millions of black
year (World Bank 2005). Some of the most in- Africans were forcibly uprooted. Europeans had
tense wars in the region have been in Angola traded with Africa for several centuries through
(1992–2002), Burundi (1972), Chad (1966– coastal settlements, but during the nineteenth
1979), the Democratic Republic of the Congo century, missionary endeavors, efforts to abolish
(the DRC and formerly Zaire) (1996–1997 and the slave trade, and optimistic views of African
1998–), Ethiopia (1976–1985), Liberia (1989– riches encouraged colonial ambitions. The
1997), Mozambique (1979–1992), Nigeria (1967– countries involved in the partition of Africa in-
1970), Rwanda (1990–1994), Somalia (1988–1991 cluded Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Por-
and 1992–), South Africa (1976–1994), Sudan tugal. When the French and the Italians com-
(1983–2005), Uganda (1986–), and Zimbabwe pleted the partition of North Africa before
(formerly Rhodesia) (1972–1979). World War I, only Liberia and Ethiopia re-
mained independent. Fighting occurred during
both world wars and led to repartitioning. Many
Regional Background countries achieved independence in or after the
Africa is the second-largest continent and covers 1960s.
about one-fifth of the world’s total land surface. Various security issues face the region. A seri-
The continent is bounded on the west by the At- ous threat to regional security is the presence of

| 69

failed nation-states. The term failed nation-state further magnified by the actions of external ac-
indicates a dangerous development in the after- tors, particularly during the Cold War. The pres-
math of the Cold War: the breakdown of law, ence of natural resources (such as diamonds)
order, and basic services in a number of multi- contributed both to the initiation of conflict and
ethnic states. This breakdown is accompanied to its duration. Ethnic tensions have also played
by bitter communal conflict, violent ethnic na- a major role in conflicts, a role that reflects the
tionalism, militarism, and possibly endemic re- artificial nature of the borders that resulted from
gional conflict. Failed states include Sierra the colonial period. Hostilities between groups
Leone, Liberia, the DRC, and Angola. The fail- have grown strong enough to contribute to acts
ure of states has occurred regardless of the pres- of genocide. The gross violation of human rights
ence of natural resources, through the corrup- has been evident in many wars.
tion–natural resources nexus. For instance, The economy of Africa was projected to grow
diamonds are a significant resource in Angola, by 4.1 percent in 2005, slightly slower than the
but corruption and the exploitation of dia- 4.4 percent growth rate it experienced in 2004,
monds by warring groups have fueled conflict with virtually all countries recording positive
(as is discussed later). Similarly, the Congo’s re- growth rates. However, the number of Africans
sources include nickel, bauxite, gold, and silver, living on $1 a day has almost doubled since 1981,
but much of this wealth is lost through wide- to 314 million people. Africa contains thirty-four
spread corruption. of the world’s forty-eight poorest countries and
Another major issue is the large number of twenty-four of the thirty-two countries ranked
refugees. According to the United Nations High lowest in the United Nations Development Pro-
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the total gramme (UNDP) Human Development Report.
number of refugees in Africa (excluding North Moreover, malaria and HIV/AIDS kill more than
Africa) at the end of 2004 was 2,748,400. Of 2 million people a year (World Bank 2005).
these refugees, 1,267,700 were in Central Africa The current economic development and
and the Great Lakes, 770,500 in East Africa and prospects of countries vary:
the Horn of Africa, 245,100 in Southern Africa,
and 465,100 in West Africa (UNHCR 2005, 2). Angola: The high growth rate has been driven
During war, many people become refugees; they by the oil sector, but record oil prices and ris-
have few possessions and are forced to survive ing petroleum production have occurred
with limited resources, at least until they find without improved performance in other parts
new homes or are assisted at refugee camps. of the economy. The estimated gross domes-
Moreover, refugees and other displaced popula- tic product (GDP) real growth rate in 2005
tions are at increased risk of contracting was 14.1 percent.
HIV/AIDS during and after displacement, be- Burundi: Burundi is landlocked and resource
cause of the disruption of families, social struc- poor with a predominantly agricultural econ-
tures, and health services; poverty; increased omy. The estimated GDP real growth rate in
sexual violence; and increased socioeconomic 2005 was 5.5 percent.
vulnerability, particularly among women and Chad: More than 80 percent of Chad’s popu-
youth (World Bank 2003, 39). lation relies on subsistence farming and rais-
Although the nature of conflict has varied, ing livestock for its livelihood. The estimated
common features are evident. Humanitarian GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 14 percent.
crises have often accompanied wars. Many Congo (officially known as the Democratic
countries in the region already have serious Republic of the Congo): Economic stability
problems, such as widespread poverty, that are improved in 2003–2005, but growth is ham-
exacerbated by conflict. Devastation has been pered by problems such as corruption. The

estimated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was ing high inflation. The estimated GDP real
6.5 percent. growth rate in 2005 was –4 percent (CIA
Ethiopia: Ethiopia’s poverty-stricken econ- 2005).
omy is based on agriculture. The estimated
GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 6.5 percent.
Liberia: War and government mismanage- The Insurgents
ment have destroyed much of the economy. A wide range of insurgent groups have been ac-
The estimated GDP real growth rate in 2005 tive in sub-Saharan Africa. In Angola, the Na-
was 8 percent. tional Union for the Total Independence of An-
Mozambique: Mozambique is dependent gola (UNITA) became the main armed force
upon foreign assistance for much of its an- opposing the Popular Movement for the Libera-
nual budget, and the majority of the popu- tion of Angola (MPLA) government. UNITA
lation is below the poverty line. The esti- was founded in 1966 and drew its support al-
mated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 7 most entirely from the Ovimbundu, roughly a
percent. third of Angola’s population.
Nigeria: Oil-rich Nigeria has long faced such The rebel Hutus, after years of repression and
problems as corruption, but some reforms are denial of opportunity by the government of
occurring. The estimated GDP real growth President Michel Micombero, decided to stage a
rate in 2005 was 5.2 percent. coup d’état and establish Hutu control of the
Rwanda: Rwanda is a poor rural country with government in Burundi. Aside from some plan-
about 90 percent of the population engaged ning of the date and timing of attacks, there was
in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. The esti- little known coordination.
mated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 4.8 In Chad, many groups emerged from the main
percent. insurgent organization, the National Liberation
Somalia: Agriculture is the most important Front (FROLINAT). FROLINAT was formed in
sector. The ongoing conflict has interfered exile in 1966. At the start, it was led by Ibrahim
with any broad-based economic development Abacha, although he was killed in 1968. Through-
and international aid arrangements. The esti- out much of the organization’s operation, the po-
mated GDP real growth rate in 2005 was 2.4 litical wing of FROLINAT was led by Dr. Abba
percent. Siddick, a former minister in the government led
South Africa: South Africa is a middle-in- by President Ngarta Tombalbaye, who served as
come, emerging market; however, there are the international voice of the organization. The
serious problems such as poverty and high various factions fought under different names
unemployment. The estimated GDP real and experienced leadership struggles.
growth rate in 2005 was 4.5 percent. In the DRC, a number of groups were in-
Sudan: There are formidable economic prob- volved in the conflict. In the 1996–1997 upris-
lems, beginning with the low level of per ing, the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour
capita output. The estimated GDP real la Libération du Congo-Zaire (the Alliance of
growth rate in 2005 was 8.6 percent. Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-
Uganda: Agriculture is the most important Zaire [AFDL]) included various organizations.
sector of the economy. Growth in 2003–2005 In the 1998–2001 uprising against President
reflected an upturn in Uganda’s export mar- Laurent-Desire Kabila, rebel groups included the
kets. The estimated GDP real growth rate in Parti pour la Réconciliation et le Développe-
2005 was 9 percent. ment (PPRD).
Zimbabwe: The government faces a wide va- In Ethiopia, the rebellion was launched in
riety of difficult economic problems, includ- 1963 by a group that later became known as the

Western Somalia Liberation Front (WSLF). composed of members of the Hawiye clan and
President Siyaad Barre of Ethiopia officially dis- initially was formed from two conferences in the
solved the WSLF in 1969; however, in March late 1980s. The SNM was formed in 1981 and
1976 the WSLF war against the Ethiopian gov- consisted of businesspeople, religious leaders,
ernment began in earnest. intellectuals, and former army officers from the
The National Patriotic Front of Liberia Isaaq clan. The SSDF was composed mainly of
(NPLF) was the main group in Liberia. The members of the Majerteyn subclan of the Darod
NPLF was led by Charles Taylor, a former official clan and was formed in 1979.
of President Samuel Doe’s government. It was The best-known group in South Africa was
composed of the ethnic group Gios and people the African National Congress (ANC). The
of the Manos ethnic group, which were the prin- ANC was founded in 1912 with the primary
cipal tribes in Nimba County. The group also goal of advancing the interests of nonwhite
contained mercenaries and internationalist rev- elites. It was not until the early 1960s that the
olutionaries. During the conflict, as factions ANC sought to use violence to bring down the
splintered and proliferated, various groups government. Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the
emerged. Nation) carried out its first attacks against gov-
In Mozambique, Resistencia Nacional Mo- ernment installations in 1961. It suspended op-
zambicana (Renamo) was founded around 1976 erations in 1990.
by members of the Rhodesian Central Intelli- In Sudan, Lieutenant Colonel John Garang
gence Organization (CIO). The group was formed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army
founded as a counterinsurgency force against (SPLA) after a 1983 mutiny of government sol-
Zimbabwean insurgents and the Mozambique diers, which later led to the Sudan People’s Lib-
Liberation Front (Frelimo) government in eration Movement (SPLM). The SPLM was the
Mozambique, and to close Mozambique’s bor- major force working to overthrow the Sudanese
der with Rhodesia. government during the 1983–2005 war.
In the case of Nigeria, it is more accurate to There have been numerous rebel groups in
think of the insurgents as regionally based mili- Uganda. The Holy Spirit Movement Force
tary and political elites rather than groups of (HSMF) was a prominent group active from
rebels. Lieutenant Colonel (later General) Chuk- 1986 to 1987 as it fought Yoweri Museveni’s
wuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who led the Bi- regime. The HSMF was allegedly created on Au-
afran secession, was a regional governor. In addi- gust 6, 1986, when the spirit Lakwena ordered a
tion to Ojukwu, several other key figures played mystical young prophetess, Alice Auma, to stop
roles in the Biafran secession. Many of these indi- healing the sick and to start raising an army for
viduals were among Nigeria’s intellectual elite. an antigovernment crusade. The Lord’s Resis-
The rebel force in Rwanda was known as the tance Army (LRA) was later created by Alice’s
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) and its military cousin (or nephew) Joseph Kony, who claimed
wing as the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). The to have similar spiritual visions as he began to
RPF was created in 1987 in Kampala, Uganda, lead a small guerrilla war.
mainly by Tutsi exiles. The RPF was actually an In Zimbabwe, the two primary rebel organi-
extension of the Rwandan Alliance for National zations were the military wings of the Zimbabwe
Unity (RANU), which had been created in 1979 African People’s Union (ZAPU)—the Zimbab-
by Tutsi radicals. wean People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA);
In Somalia, the three core rebel groups are the and the Zimbabwe African National Union
United Somali Congress (USC), the Somali Na- (ZANU)—the Zimbabwean African National
tional Movement (SNM), and the Somali Salva- Liberation Army (ZANLA). The ZANU had split
tion Democratic Front (SSDF). The USC was from the ZAPU in 1963.

Along with the benefits gained from ex- Chad. Size: Total, 1,284,000 sq km; land,
ploitation of natural resources (see the follow- 1,259,200 sq km; water, 24,800 sq km; slightly
ing section), assistance from external actors has more than three times the size of California.
been important to insurgents. Somali rebels re- Terrain: Broad, arid plains in the center,
ceived support from Ethiopia, whereas the desert in the north, mountains in the north-
Ogaden insurgents in Ethiopia were supported west, and lowlands in the south. Natural re-
by Somalia. In Mozambique, Renamo was es- sources include petroleum, uranium, gold,
tablished by the CIO and then was funded and limestone, and salt.
controlled primarily by South African military Congo. Size: Total, 2,345,410 sq km; land,
intelligence forces. The rebels also engaged in 2,267,600 sq km; water, 77,810 sq km; slightly
international fund-raising. In Rwanda, the RPF less than one-fourth the size of the United
received most of its funding from Ugandan States. Terrain: The vast central basin is a low-
President Yoweri Museveni. Additional support lying plateau; mountains in the east. Natural
was provided by the Tutsi diaspora living resources include gold, silver, and diamonds.
abroad and by larger communities of Tutsi in Ethiopia. Size: Total, 1,127,127 sq km; land,
Africa. The LRA in Uganda has allegedly re- 1,119,683 sq km; water, 7,444 sq km; slightly
ceived significant help from Sudan, and coun- less than twice the size of Texas. Terrain: High
tries such as Israel aided Sudanese rebels. Most plateau with central mountain range divided
of the South African ANC’s military budget by the Great Rift Valley. Natural resources in-
came from the Soviet Union and Eastern Eu- clude small reserves of gold, platinum, and
rope. Additional sources of money included copper.
wealthy South African expatriates. Liberia. Size: Total, 111,370 sq km; land,
96,320 sq km; water, 15,050 sq km; slightly
larger than Tennessee. Terrain: Mostly flat to
Geography and Tactics rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau
Africa can be considered a vast plateau rising and low mountains in the northeast. Natural
steeply from narrow coastal strips. The plateau’s resources include timber, diamonds, and gold.
surface is higher in the southeast and tilts down- Mozambique. Size: Total, 801,590 sq km;
ward toward the northeast. Africa’s known min- land, 784,090 sq km; water, 17,500 sq km;
eral wealth places it among the world’s richest slightly less than twice the size of California.
continents. Terrain: Mostly coastal lowlands, uplands in
The size, terrain, and natural resources of the the center, high plateaus in the northwest, and
countries vary: mountains in the west. Natural resources in-
clude coal and titanium.
Angola. Size: Total, 1,246,700 sq km; land, Nigeria. Size: Total, 923,768 sq km; land,
1,246,700 sq km; water, 0 sq km; slightly less 910,768 sq km; water, 13,000 sq km; slightly
than twice the size of Texas. Terrain: Narrow more than twice the size of California. Ter-
coastal plain rising abruptly to vast interior rain: Southern lowlands merge into central
plateau. Natural resources include petroleum, hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast
diamonds, gold, and uranium. and plains in the north. Natural resources in-
Burundi. Size: Total, 27,830 sq km; land, clude petroleum, tin, iron ore, and coal.
25,650 sq km; water, 2,180 sq km; slightly Rwanda. Size: Total, 26,338 sq km; land,
smaller than Maryland. Terrain: Hilly and 24,948 sq km; water, 1,390 sq km; slightly
mountainous, dropping to a plateau in the smaller than Maryland. Terrain: Mostly
east, and some plains. Natural resources in- grassy uplands and hills; the relief is moun-
clude nickel, uranium, tantalum, gold, and tin. tainous, with the altitude declining from the

west to the east. Natural resources include Chad were assisted by large areas of unpopu-
gold, methane, and arable land. lated northern desert and Sahelian regions,
Somalia. Size: Total, 637,657 sq km; land, where they could organize and operate. UNITA
627,337 sq km; water, 10,320 sq km; slightly in Angola established its headquarters in the far-
smaller than Texas. Terrain: Mostly a flat to thest reaches of the sparsely populated Cuando
undulating plateau rising to hills in the north. Cubango province. The mountainous volcanic
Natural resources include uranium, largely region along Rwanda’s northwest border with
unexploited reserves of iron ore, and likely oil Uganda provided the RPF with easy access to
reserves. Rwanda and refuge. Rebels returning to South
South Africa. Size: Total, 1,219,912 sq km; Africa exploited the rough, bushy terrain on the
land, 1,219,912 sq km; water, 0 sq km; slightly frontier between South Africa and many of its
less than twice the size of Texas. Terrain: A neighbors. The large size of Sudan and the lim-
vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills ited number of paved roads retarded govern-
and narrow coastal plain. Natural resources ment efforts to control the rebels.
include gold, coal, iron ore, tin, uranium, and Geography can also hinder insurgencies.
gem diamonds. Ethiopia’s desert and sparse pasturelands left in-
Sudan. Size: Total, 2,505,810 sq km; land, surgents vulnerable to attacks by conventional
2,376,000 sq km; water, 129,810 sq km; Ethiopian forces. In Mozambique, insurgents
slightly more than one-fourth the size of the blamed the absence of dense forests and the
United States. Terrain: Generally flat, feature- drier, flatter terrain for the difficulty of penetrat-
less plain; mountains in the far south, north- ing the southern part of the country. Further-
east, and west; desert dominates the north. more, the size of Sudan hindered coordination
Natural resources include petroleum and and cooperation among the insurgents and fa-
gold. cilitated infighting. The Eastern Region of Nige-
Uganda. Size: Total, 236,040 sq km; land, ria, which was proclaimed the Republic of Biafra
199,710 sq km; water, 36,330 sq km; slightly in 1967, was vulnerable to government opera-
smaller than Oregon. Terrain: Mostly plateau tions. The rebel coastline was vulnerable, and
with a rim of mountains. Natural resources there was little shelter from air attack.
include copper and arable land. The proximity and number of borders have
Zimbabwe. Size: Total, 390,580 sq km; land, been important. Mozambique’s land borders
386,670 sq km; water, 3,910 sq km; slightly contributed to the interventionist tactics of
larger than Montana. Terrain: Mostly high several states and offered temporary safe
plateau with higher central plateau and havens for rebels. In Zimbabwe, the ZANU and
mountains in the east. Natural resources in- ZAPU rebels benefited from access to safe
clude coal and gold (CIA 2005). havens across the Zambezi River in Zambia (for
ZIPRA) and across the Mozambican border
Geography has shaped the nature of conflict in (for ZANLA). Uganda and Burundi allowed
sub-Saharan Africa. In the Congo, rebels have Rwandan rebels to use their territory as a sanc-
undertaken operations from eastern Congo, tuary, whereas Ugandan insurgents have been
where the government’s control is weakest, a po- helped by the proximity of Sudan. The close
sition influenced by the jungles that provide proximity of the UNITA headquarters to the
rebels with places to hide. In Zimbabwe, the Namibian border facilitated South African as-
dense forests helped the insurgents. Rebels in sistance. Ibo-dominated Biafra was able to take
Liberia hid in the rain forests and mountains; in advantage of its border with Cameroon and the
Uganda, in the bush and rough terrain. Rebels in government’s limited naval capability to smug-

gle goods onto the international market and to Diamonds are a significant resource in An-
import arms. gola. The government has had trouble control-
Given South Africa’s military capabilities, in- ling diamond exports, and diamonds have been
surgents had to select base sites carefully. Namibia exploited by UNITA to purchase weapons. Ac-
was under direct South African control for por- cording to the United Nations, UNITA has coop-
tions of the war, while Botswana, Zimbabwe, and erated with a foreign consortium to run indus-
Mozambique provided tempting targets for trial diamond mines in the Cuango Valley, which
South African raids. Lesotho was surrounded by is close to the Congolese border. Diamonds were
South African territory, and Swaziland was al- sold directly to diamond cutters and their inter-
most completely engulfed. Thus, most of the key mediaries, through tenders issued in third coun-
ANC military and nonmilitary bases were located tries, and on South Africa’s open market. UNITA
in Angola, Tanzania, and Zambia. has also found arms dealers willing to barter for
Insurgencies have been funded through vari- diamonds. Although the government has re-
ous means. Insurgents in Burundi were not asserted its control over the past three years, it
funded by any particular source other than their continues to lose several hundred million dollars
day-to-day agricultural income. Overall, though, a year in revenue through diamond smuggling.
natural resources have been an important source Most of Angola’s diamonds are in alluvial de-
of revenue. In the DRC, the exploitation of re- posits, which are much easier to exploit than
sources by the AFDL and the government con- kimberlite deposits. The richest deposits are lo-
tributed to the conflict’s duration. With abun- cated in areas accessible to the Congo, which
dant supplies of gold, diamonds, timber, and helps UNITA to move diamonds out of Angola
other natural resources, the warring groups and to import material from the Congo.
could finance operations. By signing mining In Liberia, the control and exploitation of dia-
contracts, the AFDL was able to finance its oper- monds, timber, and other raw materials were
ations. These resources also influenced strategy, some of the principal objectives of the NPFL. Mil-
as control over their locations became intensely lions of dollars worth of diamonds were shipped
contested. to Belgium, Lebanon, and the Netherlands. The il-
Oil has been influential in some countries. The legal trading of weapons for diamonds has oc-
recent cultivation of the oil industry in Sudan curred despite sanctions. Revenue from the pro-
placed higher stakes on the war. In the last quarter duction and trafficking of timber from major
of 1999, Sudan began exporting large amounts of timber-producing areas has also been important.
oil from the southern areas through a pipeline ex- Millions of tons of timber were produced and
tending from the south-central region to Port transported to China, France, and Italy.
Sudan along the Red Sea. The extraction of oil The theft of resources is common during war.
from the south fueled the war, as southerners In Mozambique, opportunities to access re-
complained that revenues benefited only the sources encouraged young and impoverished
northern areas. Ethiopia has large, undeveloped boys to join Renamo, the benefits of which in-
petroleum deposits, which increased the strategic cluded enjoying the spoils of war, such as looted
and economic value of the region and thus the and stolen goods. Renamo reportedly took any-
determination of groups to control it. In Nigeria, thing and everything of value in a raid before
the area controlled by the secessionists included destroying an area. They then sold the loot in
the bulk of the country’s oil reserves as well as the the markets of neighboring states. As has been
only oil refinery. However, the government estab- hypothesized, the presence of natural resources
lished a naval blockade that denied the insur- or other sources of financial support allows in-
gency a significant source of revenue. surgent leaders to provide short-term rewards to

those who join their groups. However, these Burundi and its ethnic tensions are similar to
strategies can be problematic in the long-term, as but fundamentally different from those in
they attract people with little commitment to the neighboring Rwanda. Prior to independence,
group’s long-term goals (Weinstein 2005, 621). Rwanda observed a strict ethnic split between
International actors have been a source of fur- the Hutu and the Tutsi. By contrast, Burundi
ther revenue and equipment, as is shown by So- had a much more fluid system. There was con-
malia. The Cold War rivalry between the United siderable mixing between the groups, and al-
States and the Soviet Union encouraged the su- though the Tutsi tended to be well off socioeco-
perpowers to provide Somalia with foreign aid nomically, there was no strict division that
and weapons. Initially, Somalia received foreign prevented either of the two groups from ad-
aid and military aid from the Soviet Union. Dur- vancing socially. This began to change around
ing its war with Ethiopia, Somalia severed its ties 1961, just before independence. Hutus were sys-
with the Soviet Union because the latter would tematically denied advancement opportunities
not provide the assistance Somalia requested to through the civil service and military purges
enable it to defeat Ethiopia and unite the Ogaden and were discovering that the educational limits
Somalis. The United States filled the vacuum cre- enforced on Hutus would limit the advance-
ated by the Soviet Union’s departure, although ment of future generations. Their position in
the level of aid was lower. society became confined largely to agricultural
peasantry. By the early 1970s, the Hutu had
concluded that a violent insurgency was their
Causes of the Wars only option.
The wars in sub-Saharan Africa have been The roots of rebellion were sown very early in
caused by a multitude of factors. Although ear- Chad’s independent history. The main factors
lier phases of the war in Angola were fueled by leading to the insurgency were the southern
anticolonialism or Cold War ideological battles, dominance of the government and repressive
the 1992–2002 fighting was largely fueled by the policies against the northern population. The
ambitions of Jonas Savimbi, the UNITA leader. government’s tax policy turned this dissatisfac-
His refusal to accept the election results of 1992 tion into violence. In 1965, a new tax on cattle
was the direct trigger for a return to war, and his (the main source of wealth for the pastoral and
recalcitrance with respect to the Lusaka peace semipastoral populations of northern Chad)
process was largely responsible for its failure. was issued and other taxes increased. This led to
UNITA served as his personal vehicle, as evi- discontent, government reprisals, and ultimately
denced by the war’s rapid end after his death. the establishment of FROLINAT. Thus, the gov-
This further supports the hypothesis that leaders ernment’s response to the outbreak of conflict
can play a key role in insurgencies. heightened northern resentment and encour-
Angola also highlights the contribution of aged further conflict.
natural resources to the duration of wars. In An- The interaction of Joseph Desire Mobutu’s
gola, the government relied on oil and UNITA despotism and ethnic tensions between Hutus
on diamonds to fund their war efforts. As long and Tutsis in eastern Congo caused war in the
as states and companies were willing to deal with Congo. Studies of conflict indicate that poor
them, both sides could access tremendous sums leadership in the Congo, along with the griev-
of money. Events in Angola support the work of ances that arose against the ruling elite, con-
scholars who have concluded that easily ex- tributed to the conflict (Olsson and Fors 2004,
ploited resources such as secondary diamond 333–34). The colonial boundaries inherited did
deposits can be used to finance prolonged con- not reflect the reality on the ground. The Tutsi
flicts (Lujala, Gleditsch, and Gilmore 2005, 559). ethnic group overlapped the borders of the

Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Tanza- expanding level of support throughout the
nia. This caused the various pockets of Tutsi 1980s was the result of several largely domestic
groups to commit their allegiance to a Tutsi sources: the destructive policies and mistakes of
identity rather than a Congolese identity. More- the Frelimo regime, particularly toward tradi-
over, Belgium had not prepared the Congo for tional agriculture and religion; regional and eth-
independence. Other factors that contributed to nic divisions within Frelimo and Mozambique;
war include the destabilizing force created by and the attraction of the lifestyle of Renamo
refugees in eastern Zaire, the collapse of the warriors to young and impoverished males.
Zairian state, and the security concerns of states Although ethnic conflict between Ibos and
(Uganda and Rwanda). The exploitation of non-Ibos contributed to the conflict in Nigeria,
abundant natural resources has allowed groups other factors were also involved. There were
to finance their fighting. three key proximate causes of the conflict. The
In the case of the Ogaden insurgency in first was the politicization of ethnic identity, first
Ethiopia, the most important factor was by the British and then by independent Nigeria.
Ogadeni frustration with oppressive taxes and The second cause was the militarization of
the redistribution of land that created a “sons of Nigerian politics. The third was the unequal dis-
the soil” dynamic. The involvement of Somalia tribution of resources, especially oil.
in the conflict was influenced by the idea of pan- In Rwanda, a key factor that contributed to
Somalism. The weakness of the Ethiopian gov- the conflict was the tense relationship between
ernment following the 1974 coup d’état, as well Hutus and Tutsis. During colonialism, Tutsis oc-
as subsequent insurrections, contributed to the cupied the elite positions, but when Rwanda be-
perception that Ethiopia was open to further at- came independent in 1962, a Hutu-led republic
tacks from abroad. was established. During this period, there was
The civil war in Liberia was caused by ethnic ethnic scapegoating and stereotyping; both
hatred, the violation of human rights, and the groups used violence against the other. Conflict
corruption of Doe’s government. Historically, was also encouraged by the economic slump of
Liberia has been divided by two opposing ethnic the late 1980s and intense competition over
groups: Americo-Liberians, who immigrated to land. By the end of the 1980s, the political sys-
West Africa in the nineteenth century, and the tem was on the verge of collapse both economi-
tribal Africans indigenous to the area. Americo- cally and politically. The invasion of Rwanda by
Liberians have dominated and repressed the in- the Tutsi Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) was en-
digenous people, thereby causing ethnic ten- couraged by the perceived vulnerability of the
sions. Another cause of the war was the violation regime, along with the plight of Tutsi refugees
and abuse of human rights during Doe’s regime. living outside Rwanda.
Torture, disappearances, extrajudicial execu- As with Rwanda and Burundi, ethnic and clan
tions, and the imprisonment of opposition lead- cleavages contributed to the war in Somalia. Al-
ers were all commonplace. Furthermore, cor- though Somalia is the most homogeneous state
ruption was widespread. The social inequality in Africa, the Somali people subdivide into sev-
and lack of security of personal property rights eral clans, subclans, and clan-groups. Another
caused by high-level and systemic corruption factor is the country’s artificial borders. At inde-
encouraged tension. pendence, Somalis lived in Somalia, Ethiopia,
In Mozambique, although the rise of Renamo Djibouti, and Kenya. The Somali leaders did not
and the group’s early funding can be attributed forget their Somali brethren in neighboring
to the interventionist tactics of Rhodesia and countries, and Somalia’s irredentist claims
South Africa, this external support began to de- threatened the region’s stability. Furthermore,
cline in the early 1980s. By and large, Renamo’s decolonization occurred rapidly and prevented

an effective transfer of sovereignty. The brutal British pulled out in 1962 has only added to the
leadership of Siad Barre also facilitated the coun- country’s inability to build a cohesive national
try’s descent into anarchy. External assistance for bond that unites the competing ethnic groups. To
insurgents and the intervention of both the the extent that the current armed conflict involves
United States and the Soviet Union were addi- mainly the Acholi people (the people of the dis-
tional factors. tricts of Kitgum Pader—known as Acholiland—
In general terms, the principle cause of the in northern Uganda), it should be noted that the
war in South Africa was the National Party’s economies of the two Acholi districts of Kitgum
apartheid (“separateness”) policy. Under apar- and Gulu are severely underdeveloped, even by
theid, only those classified as white were enti- Ugandan standards. Alleged discrimination in
tled to full civil and political rights. Despite the terms of the benefits of economic development
repressive and degrading nature of apartheid, has aggravated the Acholi sense of exclusion.
the ANC’s initial policy focused on working Moreover, Museveni appears to be uneasy in ad-
within the white system. The ANC strategy dressing political dissent in a manner consistent
changed to guerrilla warfare, however, after the with international human rights standards. This
1960 massacre of blacks in Sharpeville. The problem arguably reflects one of the key causes of
riots that followed resulted in government Uganda’s current civil war.
crackdowns against opposition groups and the In Zimbabwe, three principal factors under-
banning of groups such as the ANC. The deci- lay the conflict. First, the white African settler
sion by the government to ban the groups de- minority dominated, both economically and po-
stroyed any remaining opposition links to the litically, a sizeable black African majority. Sec-
government. ond, the war can be viewed as an anticolonial
The conflict in Sudan has been described as a conflict between perceived agents of European
fight between Sudan’s Arab north and black domination and wrongfully subjugated peoples.
African south, or between northern Islam and Third, the war was a conflict between the mar-
southern Christian and animist faiths. However, ket-oriented Rhodesian government and Marx-
recent research indicates that this is simplistic. ist nationalist groups.
Some scholars have argued that the root cause of
the Sudanese conflict had to do with traditions
of governance rather than Arabs and Africans. Outcomes
Beginning with Turkish conquerors in 1821, The prospects for peace in sub-Saharan Africa
governments exploited the impoverished Mus- vary. Prospects for peace in some countries have
lim subjects in the north, who then exploited been identified as favorable. Wars have ended
non-Muslims on the periphery. This tradition of and prospects are favorable in Angola, Ethiopia
exploitative governance resulted in a state in (although future intermittent conflict is a
which all civilians were exploited, with the south threat), Liberia, Mozambique, and South Africa.
receiving the brunt of this exploitation. In 1983, Prospects are favorable in Sudan, although the
Sudan plunged deep into a war that pitted non- war ended as recently as 2005, and peace has
Islamic southerners against the religious and been tenuous. War in Uganda continues, but
cultural intolerance of Islamic fundamentalist prospects for peace are favorable.
leaders in Khartoum, the capital. Elsewhere, prospects are not positive. The
Recurring themes can be identified from the war in Burundi lasted only from April to May
ongoing wars in Uganda. Uganda’s wars are best 1972, and in recent years there have been im-
characterized as the result of ethnic differences provements; however, ethnic conflict persists.
and their connected political and economic ten- The war in Chad ended in 1979, but prospects
sions. A succession of repressive regimes since the for peace are very low, and prospects are uncer-

tain in both Nigeria and Rwanda. The war in tures of the conflicts. The genocide in Rwanda is
Zimbabwe officially ended in 1979, but there graphic evidence of this brutality. The activities
has been renewed conflict, and prospects for of groups have been shaped by the geography of
peace are unfavorable. Moreover, other wars the region, which has provided advantages and
continue. Peace, at least in the near future, ap- disadvantages to insurgents. Key advantages in-
pears to be unlikely in the Congo and in Soma- clude the presence of natural resources that can
lia. Of particular concern is the cycle of war that be exploited to finance activities, and terrain
both have experienced. that suits guerrilla tactics. However, disadvan-
External actors have played key roles in sup- tages are also evident, such as that afforded gov-
porting warring groups and thus have con- ernment forces by the terrain in Ethiopia.
tributed to the duration of fighting. External in- Causes of war have varied, but ethnic tensions
volvement was a key factor that led to the have been a major factor in many countries. The
lengthy war in Chad. External actors such as ongoing nature of the wars in the Congo,
France and Libya provided direct military assis- Uganda, and Somalia illustrates the difficulty of
tance to the government and rebels respectively. ending war and its horrors. Prospects for peace
The second role of external actors was to pro- vary, but at least in some countries, such as
vide sanctuaries for the FROLINAT factions. In- South Africa, they are favorable.
deed, some insurgency groups have been estab-
lished by external actors, as in Mozambique. Paul Bellamy
Ugandan troops were also directly involved in (The views expressed are those of the author
fighting the government in Sudan. and not necessarily those of his employer)
In some instances, the actions of external ac-
tors have helped to end or reduce conflict. Pres- References
sure from the frontline states and from South Central Intelligence Agency. 2005. World Fact
Africa was critical in pushing the warring parties Book.
to the negotiating table in Zimbabwe. Zambia factbook/index.html (accessed February 4,
and Mozambique were hit especially hard by the Gall, Timothy L., and Susan B. Gall. 1999.
fighting. Cross-border strikes threatened local Worldmark Chronology of the Nations—Volume
citizens in these countries, and the war was an 1: Africa. Detroit: Gale Group.
economic disaster for them. This was particu- Lujala, Päivi, Nils Petter Gleditsch, and Elisabeth
larly the case for landlocked Zambia, which had Gilmore. 2005. “A Diamond Curse? Civil War
and a Lootable Resource.” Journal of Conflict
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Resolution, 49(4), 538–62.
Africa put pressure on Ian Smith, the Rhodesian Olsson, Ola, and Heather Congdon Fors. 2004.
Front prime minister, to negotiate as well. South “Congo: The Prize of Predation.” Journal of
Africa feared that Soviet, Cuban, and Chinese Peace Research, 41(3), 321–36.
influence in the region would increase the United Nations High Commissioner for
longer the war continued. For similar reasons, Refugees (UNHCR). 2005. 2004 Global
Refugee Trends – Overview of Refugee
the United States also sought a quick resolution Populations, New Arrivals, Durable Solutions,
to the conflict. Asylum-Seekers, Stateless and Other Persons of
Concern to UNHCR. June 17. www.unhcr.
Conclusion pdf?tbl=statistics&id=42b283744 (accessed
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Introduction very narrow strip of territory that extends out to

Afghanistan is a country of incredible ethnic di- the east from the bulk of Afghanistan’s territory
versity as well as geographic and climatic ex- and separates Tajikistan (to the north of the cor-
tremes. Largely agricultural and principally ridor) from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to the
Muslim, the population has been subjected to south. The territory of Afghanistan comprises
repressive and authoritarian regimes and foreign 647,500 square kilometers of land, an area
control. Afghanistan became a sovereign state in slightly smaller than Texas (CIA 2005). The
the early twentieth century. The country has un- country possesses very limited sources of fresh-
dergone two civil wars in the last half-century— water, with many minor rivers but no significant
the first from 1978 to 1992, which eventually re- lakes, and only about 12 percent of the land is
sulted in the collapse of the Communist arable. Extensive mountain ranges—including,
government, and the second beginning very in particular, the spectacular though very rugged
soon thereafter, resulting in control of the coun- and earthquake-prone Hindu Kush range—span
try by the Taliban in 1996 and their subsequent the eastern and central parts of the country, with
removal by an international Coalition in 2001. arid to semiarid plains in the north and the
southwest. Thus, the people of Afghanistan are
faced with a climatic pattern of extremely cold
Country Background winters and very hot summers.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country in Asia that Afghanistan’s economy is largely based on
shares a common border with several states (CIA subsistence agriculture; wheat and, to a lesser ex-
2005). These neighboring states include Iran to tent, barley are the major crops (Marsden 2002;
the west, with a 936-kilometer border; the for- Rubin 2002). The many nomadic tribes of Af-
mer Soviet republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbek- ghanistan also engage extensively in sheep and
istan, and Tajikistan to the north, with borders of goat herding. During the last three decades or so,
744 kilometers, 137 kilometers, and 1,206 kilo- many Afghan peasants have turned away from
meters, respectively; and China to the east, with a the farming of legitimate crops to the farming of
76-kilometer border. The longest stretch of bor- poppies because of the significantly greater eco-
der is shared with Pakistan to the south and nomic return from that particular crop. There is
southeast and extends some 2,430 kilometers. hardly any industry to speak of in Afghanistan;
The tiny border with China is the result of Af- what industry exists is heavily concentrated in
ghanistan’s control of the Wakhan Corridor, a Afghanistan’s few real cities—namely Kabul,

| 83
84 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

Kandahar, Herat, Jalalabad, and Mazar-e-Sharif the signing of the Treaty of Rawalpindi and the
(Maley 2002). The country’s one major road cir- complete withdrawal of Britain from the affairs
cumvents the central mountains and links the of Afghanistan. For this reason, Afghanistan it-
major cities; there are virtually no railroads self celebrates August 19, 1919, as its independ-
(Goodson 2001). ence day.
It is very difficult to ascertain reliable numbers Afghanistan’s population was estimated at
for Afghanistan’s economy across the period just about 15 million in 1978 when the (first) civil
before, during, and immediately after the civil war began, about 22 million in 1992 when this
war (1978–1992), although Doyle and Sambanis civil war ended, and about 30 million in 2005.
(2000) claim a figure of US $198 for the annual On the bases of religion, language, ethnicity, and
per capita gross domestic product across those tribe, Afghanistan is an incredibly diverse and
years. It is likely that even this very low figure pluralistic state. It is an overwhelmingly Muslim
includes a considerable amount of economic country; less than 1 percent of the population
product generated largely by foreign economic practices other religions. The Muslims of Af-
assistance. It is estimated, for instance, that Af- ghanistan are, however, divided along sectarian
ghanistan received approximately US$1.27 bil- lines, with some 80 percent of the population
lion in economic aid and approximately US$1.25 being of the Hanafi Sunni branch of Islam and
billion in military aid from the former Soviet the remainder adhering to the Shi’a branch. The
Union between 1955 and 1978 (Goodson 2001; Shi’a of Afghanistan are further subdivided into
Rubin 2002). the Jafari (Twelver) and Ismaili (Sevener) sects
Although there are numerous written refer- (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Rubin 2002). Fur-
ences to “Afghans” living in present-day Afghan- thermore, scholars have identified more than
istan that date as far back as 530 BC (Ewans fifty national groups that make up Afghan soci-
2002; Marsden 2002), most scholars agree that ety when ethnic, tribal, and linguistic affiliations
only in recent years has Afghanistan emerged as are taken into account. Afghan society, then, may
a true “state” in the modern (that is, West- be more appropriately thought of as a patchwork
phalian) use of the word. Nevertheless, consider- of minisocieties; the country consists of many
able debate remains over precisely when Af- minorities and no true majority. Although par-
ghanistan became a truly sovereign state (Ewans ticular regions of the country may be identifiable
2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Marsden 2002). as the primary locale of this or that Afghan
Some date the founding of the modern Afghan group, no region is truly homogeneous in its eth-
state to 1880, when Abdul Rahman Khan be- nic, tribal, or linguistic makeup (Rubin 2002).
came emir of all Afghanistan. He was the first The Pashtuns (or Pushtuns) make up the
ruler to exercise political and bureaucratic au- largest national group in Afghanistan, although
thority across the territories of the country’s they account for only some 42 percent of the
many autonomous tribes. overall population (CIA 2005). They are concen-
Most scholars, however, consider 1919 to be trated in the eastern, southern, and southwest-
the correct date for the founding of a sovereign ern parts of the country and spill over into the
Afghan state. This year marked the beginning of North-West Frontier Province and the Federally
the reign of Amanullah, grandson of Abdul Rah- Administered Tribal Areas of neighboring Pak-
man, and it was at this point that Afghanistan istan. The Pashtuns speak their own language,
established its ability to conduct its affairs—par- Pashto, which is distinct from both the Persian
ticularly its foreign affairs—without other na- dialect of Dari, which is spoken by most other
tions’ control. Afghanistan’s increasing ability to Afghans, and from the Persian dialect of Haz-
govern itself was the result of the third aragi, which is spoken by the Hazaras. Neverthe-
Anglo–Afghan War (1919), which ended with less, as with cross-cutting religious and ethnic

mer was the ruling tribe of Afghanistan from

Historical Crossroads 1747 to 1978 (Rubin 2002).
of Asia The southwest corner of Afghanistan is home
By any scholarly definition, Afghanistan is the
to a small concentration of the Baloch people, a
quintessential multinational state, with a soci-
ety widely fragmented along linguistic, ethnic, much larger number of whom live further south
tribal, and sectarian lines (see Table 1). None in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan (though
of the country’s many nationalities constitutes there are also small numbers in neighboring Iran).
a majority of the population, and on the basis In the north of Afghanistan are three other major
of the combination of ethnicity, tribe, and lan-
national groups, each of which is associated with
guage, scholars have identified as many as
fifty-five different national groups in Afghani- the peoples of the three neighboring former So-
stan. The fragmented nature of Afghan soci- viet republics. The small Turkoman population
ety is made more acute by the fact that the lives in the northwest, the Uzbeks in the north
various ethnic, linguistic, and sectarian divi- central region, and the Tajiks in the northeast of
sions are not necessarily complementary. For the country. The Turkoman and Uzbek peoples
example, although Pashto is spoken largely
are of Turkic origin, while the Tajiks are of Persian
by the Pashtuns, many Pashtuns speak Dari
or other languages as their primary tongue. origin. Two more national groups of note are the
Similarly, while most Tajiks are Sunni, some Hazara and Aimak (or Chahar Aimaq) peoples of
are Ismaili Shi’a. Furthermore, hardly any central Afghanistan. The Hazaras (also said to be
Afghan national groups, and none of the of Turkic descent) make up the bulk of the Shi’a
larger groups, constitute a majority of the
population of the country, being mostly Jafari
population even within the provinces or local
regions of the country; these groups are geo- Shi’a, with small numbers of Hazaras and Tajiks
graphically intermixed to a significant extent. accounting for the Ismaili Shi’a.
Lastly, very few Afghan national groups are None of these major national groups is en-
entirely indigenous to Afghanistan; most tirely indigenous to Afghanistan; all of them ex-
groups share common national identities with cept the Hazaras and the Aimaks overlap neigh-
the peoples of five neighboring states. Even
boring states (Goodson 2001; Rubin 2002).
the ancestral roots of the various Afghan
peoples are represented by the intermingling Furthermore, even the Hazaras and the Aimaks,
of indigenous tribes, Mongols, Cossacks, although they are localized within Afghanistan,
Persians, Turks, and others across many cen- are thought to be ethnically and linguistically re-
turies. It is this vibrant patchwork demogra- lated to the people of eastern Iran. Culturally
phy that leads many to characterize Afghani-
speaking, the Pashtuns are the most conservative
stan as the historical crossroads of the vast
Asian continent. of the various Afghan national groups. They are
also highly tribally inclined in their identities
and loyalties, along the lines of the peoples of
the Arabian Peninsula. The Hazaras are also
affiliations, some Pashtuns speak Dari, and some quite conservative but not as tribal as the Pash-
non-Pashtuns—mainly Tajiks and Uzbeks— tuns, whereas the peoples of the north of Af-
speak Pashto (Rubin 2002). Although they make ghanistan tend to be relatively more progressive
up only a plurality of the Afghan population, the and modern in their thinking and lifestyles and
Pashtuns have dominated Afghan society for for the most part do not adhere to tribal identi-
well over two centuries. The Pashtuns are subdi- ties and loyalties (Goodson 2001). This amal-
vided into several important tribes, which con- gam of cross-cutting cleavages that constitutes
stitute the core of sociopolitical order and power Afghan society makes it very difficult to un-
within Afghan society (Ewans 2002; Goodson equivocally classify Afghanistan as belonging to
2001). The two major Pashtun tribal confedera- the broader Central Asia, South Asia, or Middle
tions are the Durranis and the Ghilzais; the for- East regions, and for this reason many scholars
86 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

Table 1: Afghanistan’s Multinational Demography

Population Population Primary Primary Primary
Ethnicity % in 1979 % in 2005 Religion Language Location

Pashtun 46 42 Hanafi Sunni Pashto South and

Tajik 23 27 Hanafi Sunni Dari Northeast
Hazara 10 9 Jafari Shi’a Hazaragi Central
Uzbek 8 9 Hanafi Sunni Turkic North
Aimak 5 4 Hanafi Sunni Dari West central
Farsiwan 4 2 Jafari Shi’a Dari West
Turkoman 2 3 Hanafi Sunni Turkic Northwest
Baloch <1 2 Hanafi Sunni Balochi Southwest
Qizilbash <1 <1 Jafari Shi’a Dari Kabul
Brahui <1 <1 Hanafi Sunni various Southwest
Moghol <1 <1 Hanafi Sunni various Herat
Nuristani <1 <1 Hanafi Sunni various East

Sources: CIA 2005, Goodson 2001, Rubin 2002.

Afghanistan as the “crossroads” where the three who was a cousin of the king, Mohammad Zahir
regions of Asia come together. Shah, the way was opened for Zahir Shah to ex-
The political system in Afghanistan through- periment with a limited opening of the political
out the period before, during, and after the system. The post-1963 period, the so-called New
1978–1992 civil war was decidedly authoritarian Democracy period, was based on a new, rela-
(Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Freedom House tively progressive constitution that allowed mul-
2004; Gleditsch 2003). The Polity 4 Project (see tiple political parties to stand for parliamentary
Gleditsch 2003) generally rates Afghanistan as elections. Relatively free elections were held in
having warranted a score of –7 (–8 during the 1965 and 1969, and commoners were elected to
last three years of the civil war following the So- the position of prime minister. Nevertheless, the
viet withdrawal) on its 21-point scale of autoc- state’s bureaucracy remained incapable of pro-
racy (extreme of –10) versus democracy (ex- viding basic services for the people, and eco-
treme of 10) across the years before, during, and nomic development remained stagnant at best.
after the civil war. Similarly, for the post–civil Corruption and nepotism were endemic in all
war period from 1994 to 2001, Freedom House areas of the polity; as a result, social welfare de-
(2004) accords Afghanistan scores of 7—on a clined, and political unrest increased across Af-
scale of 1 (best) to 7 (worst)—for both political ghanistan throughout the ten-year period of the
rights and civil liberties and an overall “not free” New Democracy.
rating. The state’s lackluster, perhaps even indiffer-
The political system that existed in Afghani- ent, response to a major famine that swept
stan through 1963 was strictly monarchic, al- across the country in 1972 starkly framed the in-
though the regime was a constitutional monar- adequacies and failings of the regime, and in July
chy during its later years. With the resignation of 1973 the former prime minister Mohammad
the widely feared and highly unpopular consti- Daoud overthrew Zahir Shah’s regime in a
tutional prime minister, Mohammad Daoud, palace coup and proclaimed a new republican

regime with himself as president and prime the last remnants of the Communist regime. The
minister. Daoud’s republican regime proved to Soviets, for their part, had already withdrawn all
be no less corrupt and ineffective than the their military forces from Afghanistan by Febru-
monarchy it replaced. It also proved itself to be ary 15, 1989, as the consequence of the United
quite brutal in the treatment of its political op- Nations–brokered peace plan for Afghanistan
ponents, real and imagined, which very quickly known as the Geneva Accords. A subsequent
soured enthusiasm for the new regime among UN-sponsored agreement, intended to provide a
the many Afghans—including the Commu- peaceful and stable political transition in a post-
nists—who had initially reacted very favorably Communist Afghanistan, was rejected by many
to the coup. As a result, less than five years into of the victorious mujahideen groups. Within
his “revolution,” Daoud himself was overthrown months of the defeat of the Communists, the
in a military coup. country was plunged into a new civil war that
pitted the various factions of the mujahideen
against one another in a ruthless struggle for po-
Conflict Background litical power.
The civil war that broke out following the mili- The human costs of the civil war in Afghani-
tary coup of April 27, 1978, was the first true in- stan from 1978 to 1992 were staggering. Al-
trastate war in Afghanistan’s modern history as a though estimates vary, Doyle and Sambanis
sovereign state. This civil war was an ideological (2000) put the total number of military and
struggle for control of the central government of civilian deaths during the civil war at about
the country and, by extension, for determination 1,200,000. Millions more Afghans were maimed
of the future political system of the country. The in the war, many suffering devastating injuries,
coup brought to power in Kabul a radical Com- including the loss of limbs from exploding land
munist government that immediately launched mines. Estimates of the number of Afghans who
a campaign of repression and terror against per- were turned into refugees by the war also vary.
ceived regime opponents. Initially, therefore, the Numbers provided by Marsden (2002) appear to
cause of the antigovernment forces was merely reflect a broad consensus: some 3.2 million
resistance to the new government’s repressive refugees had fled to Pakistan and an additional
policies. Communism became the point of con- 2.9 million were living in Iran. Of these refugees,
tention in the civil war, with Islamism proffered some 2.8 million are estimated to have returned
as the ideological alternative to communism to Afghanistan by early 1994. It is also estimated
only in the aftermath of subsequent events. that perhaps 2 million more Afghans were inter-
On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union nally displaced in the country, most fled from
launched a surprise invasion of Afghanistan rural areas to cities and towns for protection and
with tens of thousands of troops in an effort to sustenance (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001). Offi-
replace the ineffective and collapsing Commu- cial casualty counts for the Soviet Army, released
nist regime with a new, stronger Communist after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991,
government that would be backed up by the claimed 13,833 killed and nearly 50,000
power of the Soviet Army. This transformed the wounded (Maley 2002), although many others
rebellion from a struggle against repression into argue that the true casualty figures were likely
an ideological jihad, or holy war, against a gov- three times higher.
ernment that was deemed the puppet of an oc- The Afghan army boasted 100,000 soldiers in
cupying foreign infidel. This war lasted until 1978, reasonably well trained and equipped by
April 28, 1992, when the Afghan resistance, the the Soviet Union. A further 10,000 troops served
mujahideen, finally fully occupied Kabul and with the air force, and some 30,000 additional
formally accepted the surrender of the capital by personnel were members of the paramilitary
88 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

The Soviet Conquest of Afghanistan

Throughout 1979, the Soviet Union became increasingly unhappy with the situation in Afghani-
stan, a country whose control by the Soviet Union was deemed essential to Soviet security and
strategic interests. Things were going very badly for the pro-Moscow Communist revolutionary
PDPA government in Kabul, which had come to power in a military coup in April 1978; major
antigovernment insurrections were spreading to every part of the country. Things went from bad to
worse for the Soviet Union when, in September 1979, President Taraki of Afghanistan was over-
thrown by Hafizullah Amin, an even more radical but also much more independent-minded PDPA
leader. Amin saw Moscow’s hand behind Taraki’s assassination attempt against him, which had
precipitated his takeover of the government in Kabul, and he was therefore understandably hostile
toward Moscow.
By early October 1979, the Soviets began prepararing for a military assault on Afghanistan,
with several battalions of the crack 105th Airborne Division bolstered by a battalion of armor de-
ployed to the civilian airport in Kabul and the major Soviet-built airbase in Bagram just north of the
capital. The Soviet Politburo formally agreed upon military action in early December, although one
more unsuccessful attempt was made to get rid of Amin by assassination on December 17. On the
night of December 24, the remainder of the 105th Division landed in Kabul and quickly moved to
control key positions within the city. Soviet advisors attached to the various Afghan military units in
and around Kabul helped ensure in one way or another that those units would not pose an obsta-
cle to the Soviet army’s war plans. Additional Soviet airborne forces landed in and around Herat
and Kandahar to secure those cities. Two Soviet motorized infantry divisions, followed soon there-
after by two more, crossed the Amu Darya River separating Afghanistan from the Soviet Union and
headed south before splitting east and west. One of these units, the 360th Motorized Infantry Divi-
sion, drove through the Salang Pass, which had been secured by the Soviet forces operating from
the Bagram airbase, and eventually occupied Kabul.
On December 27, a Soviet Army Spetsnaz special forces unit under the operational control of
the KGB stormed the Tajbeg Palace in the Darulaman sector of southern Kabul. Troops loyal to
Amin managed to put up a fierce defense, killing the commander of the Soviet assault force, but
eventually the Spetsnaz unit cornered and killed Amin and several of his family members inside
the palace. The following day, December 28, the Soviets announced on a radio broadcast that
President Amin had been overthrown by Babrak Karmal, an exiled former leader within the PDPA,
and that Soviet military forces were in Afghanistan because their presence had been requested by
the legitimate government of Afghanistan under the terms of the 1978 Treaty of Friendship with the
Soviet Union. Three additional Soviet motorized infantry divisions were committed to the fight in Af-
ghanistan immediately thereafter, bringing the size of the Soviet occupation force to about 85,000
by January 1, 1980.

central police force (Goodson 2001). Most ana- army all the way down to the battalion and com-
lysts agree that by the end of 1980, however, de- pany levels. During the early part of the occupa-
sertions had decimated the ranks of the Afghan tion, the Soviet Army deliberately chose to send
army and reduced its true strength to about ethnic Tajik, Uzbek, Kirghiz, and Turkoman sol-
30,000 troops. This remained the case through diers to Afghanistan in the expectation that they
1985 before troop numbers finally began rising would be better positioned to counter the
slightly. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan Afghan resistance. It soon became shockingly
initially began with some 85,000 troops by early clear, however, that these soldiers sympathized
1980, with troop strength averaging about with the plight of the Afghans, and so the Soviet
105,000 in the years thereafter (Ewans 2002; Army was subsequently forced to send only eth-
Rubin 2002). Several thousand Soviet troops nic Russian troops to Afghanistan (Ewans 2002).
were deployed as “advisors” with the Afghan For their part, the various groups that made up

Table 2: Civil War in Afghanistan

War: Government vs. the mujahideen
Dates: April 1978 to April 1992
Casualties: Approximately 1,200,000
Regime type prior to war: –7 (ranging from –10 [authoritarian] to 10 [democracy])
Regime type after war: Complete collapse of central political authority; not free
GDP/capita year war began: US $198
GDP/capita 5 years after war: US $800
Insurgents: Seven major and several minor groups
Issue: Ideological struggle for control of central government
Rebel funding: The United States, Saudi Arabia, and others
Role of geography: Rebels hid in mountains and across international borders
Role of resources: Not applicable
Immediate outcome: Government collapse and rebel victory
Outcome after 5 years: Authoritarian (Islamic fundamentalist) government in a new civil war
Role of UN: Failed attempt to mediate among rebel groups and create a post–civil war
transitional government; no peacekeepers
Role of regional organization: Not applicable
Refugees: Approximately 6,100,000; some 2,800,000 repatriated by 1994
Prospects for peace: Unfavorable

Sources: CIA 1998; Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Freedom House 2004; Gleditsch 2003; Marsden 2002.

the mujahideen collectively accounted for some Afghanistan. This organization was known as
150,000 fighters at the height of their strength, Hezb-i-Wahdat (Unity Party) and led by Abdul
although these fighters would not all be available Ali Mazari, and it largely controlled the Hazara
for combat at the same time. area of central Afghanistan (the Hazarajat).
The seven Sunni groups are further classified
by scholars into two broad categories: Islamist
The Insurgents and traditionalist. The Islamist groups were de-
Most scholars agree that seven major mu- voted to the cause of destroying the existing
jahideen groups emerged early in the civil war, Communist regime in Afghanistan so that it
all of them made up of Sunnis and operating could be replaced with an Islamic republic. In
from the sanctuary of Pakistan. This was largely addition to their opposition to the Communists,
due to Pakistan’s insistence that it would recog- these groups also firmly rejected any political
nize and aid only these seven groups, an effort system for Afghanistan that included the
by Pakistan to maintain some semblance of co- restoration of the monarchy. By contrast, the so-
hesion within the resistance. These seven groups called traditionalist groups were also essentially
were eventually brought under a nominal com- Islamist in orientation but were open to the idea
mon front known as the Seven Party Alliance by of the return of the monarchy, this being a part
about 1985. Several minor Shi’a groups are also of their general unwillingness to use their Is-
identifiable, although they were largely ineffec- lamist ideology to dismantle or destroy long-
tive during much of the civil war and prone to standing and widely accepted Afghan customs
internal strife. In 1989, the Iranians—who were and traditions.
the primary backers of these groups—were fi- There were four Islamist resistance groups:
nally able to pressure most of these groups to
merge under an umbrella organization to en- Hezb-i-Islami (Islamic Party): Led by Gul-
hance their relative power and influence within buddin Hekmatyar, a Pashtun from the north
90 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

of Afghanistan, this was the favored group of Sibghatullah Mojaddidi, also a Pashtun and a
the Pakistanis because of Hekmatyar’s ruth- Sufi.
less zeal for jihad, but it was viewed with trep- Harakat-i-Inqilab-i-Islami (Movement of the
idation by many Afghans for the same reason. Islamic Revolution): Led by Mohammad
The group was also renowned for its strong Nabi Mohammadi, a Pashtun as well, this
organizational structure and robust opera- group became a very radical Islamist group in
tional capabilities. the later years of the war and was the group
Hezb-i-Islami (Islamic Party): Led by Mo- most closely associated with the rise of the
hammad Yunus Khalis, also a Pashtun, this Taliban in 1994.
was a splinter group from Hekmatyar’s group
and confusingly continued to carry the same Although the Afghan mujahideen received its
name. It was best known as the group of funding from several sources, the provision of fi-
Abdul Haq, the well-respected commander of nancial and material support from two coun-
the resistance in Kabul. tries, the United States and Saudi Arabia, is espe-
Ittehad-i-Islami Bara-yi Azadi Afghanistan cially noteworthy. The United States began
(Islamic Union for the Freedom of Afghani- offering military aid to the mujahideen (and hu-
stan): Led by Abdur Rasoul Sayyaf, another manitarian aid to the Afghan refugees in camps
Pashtun, this was a rather small group that in northern Pakistan) very soon after the Soviet
was notable for its financial support from invasion of December 1979, once it became clear
Saudi Arabia. that the Soviet Union was planning on a lengthy
Jamiat-i-Islami (Islamic Society): Led by occupation of the country. Though this aid
Burhanuddin Rabbani, a Tajik, this was a rela- amounted to just tens of millions of dollars dur-
tively moderate Islamist group that included ing the early years of the war, aid began to rise
some of the best battlefield commanders of sharply by the mid-1980s, especially because
the mujahideen. One of them was the famed Saudi Arabia agreed to match U.S. aid almost
commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, also a dollar for dollar at this time. United States aid
Tajik, who proved himself to be a major thorn allotments for the mujahideen were as follows
in the side of the Soviets in the Panjshir Valley (Rubin 2002): US $30 million in 1980, US $50
area just north of Kabul. Another well-re- million in 1981, US $120 million in 1984, US
spected commander was Ismail Khan, who $250 million in 1985, US $470 million in 1986,
operated very successfully in the area of Herat US $630 million in 1987, and US $700 million in
in the northwest. 1989.
By 1990, the mujahideen appeared incapable
There were three traditionalist resistance of defeating the Afghan government in spite of
groups: the complete Soviet withdrawal from Afghani-
stan (which was completed by February 1989),
Mahaz-i-Milli Islami-yi Afghanistan (Na- and with the end of the Cold War, the United
tional Islamic Front of Afghanistan): Led by States began to sharply cut back its military aid
Pir Sayed Ahmed Gailani, a Pashtun and a to the mujahideen. However, since Saudi Arabia
member of the Sufi sect within Sunni Islam, had been matching U.S. aid from 1985 on, the
this group represented the most liberal strains Saudi government replaced the United States as
of the Afghan resistance and also held close the resistance’s principal financial backer. This
ties to the historically dominant Durrani began in mid-1989, when the Saudi government
tribe and to the Afghan royal family. allocated US$435 million for 1990, which was
Jebha-i-Milli-i-Nejat-i-Afghanistan (National one-and-a-half times the U.S. allocation of US
Liberation Front of Afghanistan): Led by $280 million for that year (Rubin 2002). When

the mujahideen failed to bring down the Afghan sources (estimated at about US $400 million an-
government by February 1990 (as expected by nually thereafter). U.S. aid to the mujahideen fell
the CIA), exactly one year after the withdrawal sharply in 1991, and all aid was terminated in
of the Soviet Union, U.S. funds began to dry up 1992 (Rubin 2002).
and had to be supplanted by additional Saudi
and also Kuwaiti funds. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Geography
used government funds as well as private monies During the Afghan civil war, unlike many guer-
from various princes, and together they pro- rilla wars, the issue for the rebels was never one
vided as much as US $1 billion in aid between of smaller numbers of fighters relative to the
February and July 1990 (Rubin 2002). Most of forces of the government. Numerically, the mu-
this aid, however, was channeled specifically to jahideen groups were actually superior in num-
the Wahhabi groups within the mujahideen, es- bers to the Afghan army because of mass deser-
pecially Hekmatyar’s group. tions and defections from the army, and even the
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, introduction of a large contingent of Soviet
however, and these Wahhabi groups expressed troops did not fully offset the imbalance. The
vehement opposition to the Kuwaiti–Saudi al- issue for the rebels in this civil war was their
liance with the United States, much of the finan- huge disadvantage in military firepower; they
cial support for these groups from Saudi Arabia were fighting the armed forces of the Soviet
and Kuwait was terminated, although a portion Union, a superpower, not the Afghan govern-
of this lost aid was made up by millions of dol- ment and its army (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001;
lars in aid from Iraq, Libya, and private Arab Maley 2002; Marsden 2002). Therefore, the


N Amu Da
r ya

T U R K M E N I S T A N Taloqan
Mazar-e H
Sharif S
Baghlan U
Meymaneh K
Pass D U
H Panjshir Valley

Qal 'eh-ye Shomali Valley

Herat Jalalabad Khyber Pass
He l m
Peshawar Islamabad




0 50 100 mi
0 50 100 150 km
92 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

main geographic factor that aided the rebels was 2002). The mujahideen never proved capable of
their ability to obtain sanctuary in neighboring major set-piece battles against the Soviet and
Pakistan, where Soviet forces dared not pursue government forces, and guerrilla warfare was the
them for fear of sparking a full-fledged war with norm. On those rare occasions when the mu-
the United States. Furthermore, Pakistan offered jahideen did engage in set-piece operations,
the rebels not only protection from Soviet pur- those battles usually were disastrous for the
suit but also a secure base for recuperation, re- rebels. The mujahideen operated as small groups
supply, training, and the recruitment of fresh of fighters who were localized to particular areas
fighters from among the millions of refugees liv- of the country. Each group was led by a single
ing there. commander, typically a tribal leader or other
Geography also played a part in helping the charismatic local leader with whom the men
rebels within Afghanistan (Ewans 2002; Good- under his command had a patron–client rela-
son 2001). As described earlier, the central and tionship. A good example was the group com-
eastern parts of Afghanistan are covered with ex- manded by Ahmed Shah Massoud, which oper-
tensive, rugged, and very inhospitable mountain ated in the Shomali and Panjshir valleys in the
ranges; the capital city of Kabul is actually lo- northeast corner of Afghanistan. Dozens of
cated in a valley within the eastern mountains. these groups functioned throughout the country
The other major urban centers of Kandahar (in and were essentially independent from one an-
the southwest), Herat (in the northwest), and other, though each claimed affiliation with one
Mazar-e-Sharif (in the north) are therefore sep- or another of the seven major mujahideen par-
arated from Kabul by the mountains, with the ties listed previously. The affiliation with one of
mountains effectively dividing the country along the seven major Pakistan-based parties was nec-
an east-west axis. No direct overland routes exist essary because it was only through these seven
north to south or east to west; Soviet and Afghan parties that Pakistan was willing to provide
military garrisons in the various cities were iso- money, weapons, and training for the mu-
lated from one another and were unable to jahideen. However, the sincerity and closeness of
quickly support each other when they came these declared affiliations were always open to
under attack from the rebels. All supplies, in- question, and the local commanders inside Af-
cluding food, freshwater, and fuel, had to be ghanistan rarely took direct operational orders
moved around the country by aircraft—gener- from the leaders of the seven parties. The vast
ally helicopters, because even well-developed majority of these small mujahideen groups were
airfields did not exist in most parts of the coun- located in the Afghan countryside, although re-
try. The overland route south to Kabul from the sistance cells also successfully operated in Kabul
Soviet border was especially perilous for Soviet and other urban centers.
military convoys, because the only road that The mujahideen received their weapons and
could accommodate motorized traffic passed weapons-handling training from a covert supply
through numerous narrow mountain passes and network that was established in Pakistan (Rubin
valleys, in particular the Salang Pass, whose long 2002; Sathasivam 2005). The intelligence agency
tunnel cuts through the mountains. of the Pakistani military, the ubiquitous Direc-
torate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),
Tactics formed the heart of this network, and the Pak-
The battlefield tactics employed by the mu- istani government absolutely insisted that the
jahideen largely centered on small-scale hit-and- ISI would be the only conduit for military aid
run attacks against isolated Soviet and Afghan being sent to the rebels through Pakistani terri-
government military outposts and convoys tory. By insisting that the ISI would be the only
(Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Rubin point of contact with the mujahideen, Pakistan

sought to maintain complete control over not devastation. Where significant ground forces
only the activities of the external providers of were available, these would sweep through vil-
the aid, the United States and Saudi Arabia, but lages and valleys, wiping out everything in their
also the activities and the power of the various path. All the civilians were driven from their
mujahideen groups. Pakistan did this by favor- homes or killed; buildings, livestock, crops, and
ing those groups that adhered to its wider politi- irrigation systems were destroyed and the areas
cal and military ambitions (Maley 2002; Sathasi- sown with mines and booby traps. A particularly
vam 2005). The CIA and the al-Istakhbarah reprehensible Soviet tactic, one that directly af-
al-’Amah, the Saudi intelligence agency, man- fected children, was the sowing of roads and
aged and coordinated procurement of weapons trails with antipersonnel mines that could be
for the mujahideen using the funds provided by mistaken for toys (Goodson 2001; Maley 2002).
the U.S. and Saudi governments (Ewans 2002; The countryside was almost entirely depopu-
Rubin 2002). The weapons procured typically lated, and its inhabitants congregated in refugee
consisted of small arms (rifles, grenades, rockets, camps in Pakistan and Iran. Where ground
etc.) and were obtained from China, Egypt, Is- forces were unavailable to carry out these
rael, and other places. The Chinese even set up a scorched-earth tactics, massive aerial carpet
special factory to manufacture weapons specifi- bombing was the preferred alternative.
cally for the mujahideen, to be sold to the CIA. After 1983, once the countryside had been
The United States was very careful not to pro- largely emptied of people, Soviet and Afghan
vide any American weapons to the mujahideen, government forces transitioned to a different
with the notable and hugely consequential ex- style of military operations (Ewans 2002;
ception of the advanced, man-portable Stinger Goodson 2001; Maley 2002). They established
antiaircraft missiles in 1986. The CIA trans- permanent garrisons in the cities and only sent
ported the weapons by sea or air to Pakistan, out forces on sweeps to keep open the main
where it handed them off to the ISI. Pakistan road that ringed the periphery of the country
then transported the weapons to depots along and connected its cities to one another. The
the Afghan border for distribution to the various Afghan government did not care at all about
mujahideen groups and also provided food, controlling the countryside, and so it was gen-
clothing, and medical supplies for the rebels. erally satisfied with exercising its authority over
The nonmilitary supplies and transport services only the 15 to 20 percent of the territory that
provided by Pakistan were also paid for by U.S. contained most of the country’s population. A
and Saudi funds transferred directly to Pakistan. combination of repression and the distribution
Soviet and Afghan government tactics to of goods and services using Soviet aid money
counter the mujahideen evolved through two within the cities kept the urban population rel-
major phases (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; atively passive, and some rebel commanders,
Maley 2002). During the first few years of the tired of a war that appeared beyond their ca-
war, through 1983, the Soviet and Soviet-led pacity to win, even allowed themselves to be
Afghan forces essentially waged a high-intensity bought off by the government. Whenever a
conventional campaign that took full advantage particular mujahideen commander and his
of their massively superior firepower. Large- unit became too bothersome, the Soviet Army
scale mechanized units fully supported by orchestrated a major counterinsurgency cam-
armor, artillery, and airpower were sent into paign in that area that was targeted at that par-
every one of Afghanistan’s provinces. Urban ticular mujahideen unit. These operations es-
areas were directly occupied and the populace chewed armor, artillery, and mechanized
subjected to severe repression. Rural areas, on infantry, and instead relied heavily on the use
the other hand, were simply subjected to utter of special operations (Spetsnaz) and airmobile
94 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

Resistance soldiers (known as mujahideen) rest high in the mountains in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in May
1980. (AP/Wide World Photos)

forces supported by airpower—especially heli- riod as a means of furthering political power and
copter gunships. The relative effectiveness of standing. The leaders and the rank-and-file
these Soviet tactics eventually prompted the members of the PDPA were largely intellectual
Reagan administration to send Stinger antiair- and urban, middle-class people and very pro-So-
craft missiles to the mujahideen. viet. The three key individuals who brought
about the formation of the PDPA were Nur Mo-
hammad Taraki, Babrak Karmal, and Hafizullah
Causes of the War Amin; Taraki was its leader. By 1967, however,
More than two-and-a-half decades of the worst Karmal had fallen out with Taraki and formed a
kind of civil war began with the mysterious as- splinter faction called Parcham (Banner). Those
sassination of a single individual on April 17, of the PDPA still loyal to Taraki then became
1978 (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; known as the Khalq (People) faction. Ten years
Rubin 2002). The individual, Mir Akbar Khyber, later, in 1977, with socioeconomic conditions in
was a rather prominent political activist of the Afghanistan deteriorating badly under the
Parchami faction of the Afghan communist Daoud government, which had initially come to
movement. The fractious Afghan Communist power with the tacit support of the Communists,
movement had been unified under the auspices and with the Khalq and Parcham factions reuni-
of the Hezb-i-Demokratik-i-Khalq-i-Afghani- fied within the PDPA, word began to spread of
stan (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan PDPA plans to stage a coup against the govern-
[PDPA]) in 1965 during the New Democracy pe- ment. So, when Khyber was assassinated in April

1978, many blamed the Daoud regime, others A key reason for the split between the Khalq
blamed the Khalqis, and some even suspected the and Parcham factions of the PDPA was Par-
CIA and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. As large, cham’s opposition to Khalqi plans for an imme-
pro-PDPA and antigovernment crowds gathered diate and radical transformation of Afghan so-
for Khyber’s funeral, the government panicked cial and political life. The Khalqis, especially
and launched a major crackdown against the Amin, wanted to use their revolutionary zeal to
PDPA, imprisoning all of its leaders. On April 27, impose upon the country a strictly secular
1978, a small number of military officers in the Marxist system with the complete dismantling
Kabul area with Communist sympathies, appar- of traditional tribal customs and all influences of
ently acting on their own without guidance from Islam from public life (Ewans 2002; Goodson
the PDPA, launched a coup against the govern- 2001; Maley 2002; Rubin 2002). For example,
ment (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; women would now be educated by male teachers
Rubin 2002). Army and air force units under the and treated by male doctors; older uneducated
command of these officers quickly took control people would be forcibly educated (by younger
of the city and eventually stormed the presiden- teachers); tribal customs regarding leadership
tial palace. Daoud and most of his family, includ- succession, marriage, inheritance, and so forth
ing women and children, were slaughtered. would be abolished; no mention of Islam would
The PDPA quickly established itself in gov- be allowed in public, and even the Afghan flag
ernment and proclaimed a people’s “revolution.” with its green stripe representing Islam would be
This revolution was such in name only, for it was replaced with an all-red flag very similar to those
a revolution imposed from the top down rather of other Communist states. Furthermore, a
than a grassroots mass movement. In its early Treaty of Friendship was signed with the Soviet
months in office, the government moved very Union under which thousands of Soviet civilian
slowly with its policies, seeking to calm the nerv- and military “advisors” were allowed into the
ous public while it used that time to settle inter- country to oversee the implementation of
nal differences within the PDPA (Ewans 2002; Amin’s various policies. (Amin had assumed the
Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Rubin 2002). Taraki prime minister’s office by early 1979, a move
became both president and prime minister, but that essentially sidelined President Taraki.)
Amin and Karmal were given prominent posts Beginning in the summer of 1978 and con-
within the cabinet, as were other major Par- tinuing into 1979, thousands of Afghans—ordi-
chami figures. Within just a few weeks, however, nary citizens and elite alike—were brutally
the Khalqis, acting under the leadership of Amin murdered. Entire families were wiped out, and
as the regime’s new security chief, began a purge in at least one instance an entire village of more
of the Parchamis from the government. Karmal than a thousand people was completely de-
was sent off to Czechoslovakia as ambassador, as stroyed (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley
were a few other individuals, but others fared 2002; Rubin 2002). Widespread public opposi-
much worse, being imprisoned or dying under tion to the PDPA’s policies had begun to emerge
suspicious circumstances. By the end of 1978, by September 1978, especially among the vari-
Amin had also set his terror machine upon other ous non-Pashtun segments of Afghan society.
segments of the political and social establish- Surprisingly, it was the Pashtuns who were ini-
ment, in particular the military, the clergy, the tially the most tolerant of the PDPA’s policies,
bureaucracy, intellectuals, professionals, and for- mainly because most of the PDPA leadership
mer politicians; many thousands of innocent was Pashtun, but by 1979 even the Pashtun
Afghans were labeled enemies of the regime and tribes were beginning to rise up against the gov-
executed. Afghanistan’s middle class was espe- ernment. Large numbers of the Afghan army
cially devastated by Amin’s actions. were also beginning to desert their units, and
96 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

many others refused to take action against their Not surprisingly, Amin’s efforts were for
civilian brethren. A particularly important naught; he found himself completely isolated
turning point was the Afghan government’s de- and friendless when the Soviet invasion began
struction of the city of Herat in March 1979. A on the night of December 24, 1979. On Decem-
major revolt in that city resulted in hundreds of ber 27, Soviet Spetsnaz forces stormed Amin’s
government officials and Soviet citizens, includ- hideout, and he was killed. By early January
ing women and children, being hunted down 1980, the country was firmly under the control
and butchered in public. In retaliation, the gov- of some 85,000 Soviet troops, and the Soviets in-
ernment used a massive artillery and air bom- stalled Babrak Karmal as the president of Af-
bardment and an armored assault to subdue the ghanistan (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley
city, killing perhaps 20,000 people in the 2002; Rubin 2002). Had the Soviet Union cho-
process. By the summer of 1979, large-scale re- sen to withdraw all, or even most, of their forces
volts were occurring in every part of the coun- at this stage, twenty years of bloody war in Af-
try, and entire brigades of the army were defect- ghanistan might have been averted. The Soviet
ing to the side of the rebels. These events made decision to embark upon a full-fledged occupa-
the Afghan government even more reliant on tion of the country became a rallying point for
Soviet military aid. the various Afghan factions despite their dis-
By this time, the Soviet Union was increas- parate interests and ambitions, especially for the
ingly nervous about Amin’s extremism and Pashtuns, who fully joined in the war only after
began plotting his removal with Taraki and the the Soviet invasion. Thus, although the Afghan
exiled Karmal (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; civil war began in the summer of 1978 as a pop-
Maley 2002; Rubin 2002). On September 14, ular rebellion against the country’s Communist
1979, when Amin arrived at the presidential government, it was transformed into an ideolog-
palace to meet with Taraki, he was ambushed ical jihad only in early 1980. The Soviet occupa-
and wounded. He escaped, however, and used tion forces became the war's primary target; the
military units loyal to him to counterattack the Afghan government was merely an associated,
palace, where he murdered Taraki. Amin de- secondary target.
clared himself president on September 17 and
immediately unleashed assassins throughout
Kabul to kill all those he suspected of being his Outcome
enemies, including many leading members of Conflict Status
his own Khalqi faction. The Soviet government The Afghan civil war discussed here formally
now found itself in the worst possible position: ended on April 28, 1992, when the Afghan
still stuck with Amin, who now had complete Communist regime represented by Mohammad
power in Kabul and fully suspected Soviet com- Najibullah (who had replaced Babrak Karmal as
plicity in Taraki’s attempt on his life. Aware that president in 1986) collapsed in the face of the
the Soviets were out to get him, Amin now occupation of Kabul by several mujahideen fac-
began a lame attempt to try and reconcile with tions. It is crucially important to note, however,
various Afghan groups, the Pakistanis, and even that war in the country ceased only temporarily
the United States. Amin released some political and that the fourteen-year-long struggle against
prisoners, called off some government offensives communism was supplanted by a new, nine-
against rebel groups, and even released the year-long civil war that pitted the various mu-
names of some 12,000 people he claimed had jahideen groups against one another (Ewans
been murdered by Taraki—even though it had 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Marsden
been well established that Amin had been their 2002; Rubin 2002). The second Afghan civil war
true executioner. began within months of the April 1992 con-

quest of Kabul by the mujahideen, but there was ment to permanently settle in Iran if they
no precise date to its beginning, for internecine wished to do so.
conflict among the mujahideen groups began
during that same period. Several attempts were Duration Tactics
made to form governments of national unity The first Afghan civil war lasted fourteen years,
during the years after the ouster of Najibullah, which is a relatively long time. The long dura-
but invariably one or another group felt dissat- tion of the civil war is attributable to two major
isfied with that particular arrangement and factors. The first is, of course, the direct mili-
took up arms against the government. The tary intervention of the Soviet Union, which
emergence of a new, very radical Islamist group without question bolstered the survivability of
in October 1994, the Taliban, complicated mat- the Afghan Communist government but which
ters considerably, and it was this group that ulti- also served to delegitimize that government
mately prevailed in capturing and successfully even as it strengthened and legitimized popular
holding on to Kabul in September 1996 (Mars- opposition to that government (Maley 2002).
den 2002). Although several opposing groups This factor is discussed further in the following
continued to wage war against them, especially section.
in the form of the so-called Northern Alliance, The second factor that contributed to the
the Taliban remained the formal government of war’s long duration was the absence of meaning-
the country from late 1996 until their removal ful political unity and military coordination
from power in December 2001 by an interna- among the various mujahideen groups. This re-
tional coalition of forces led by the United sulted from two core problems on the antigov-
States. ernment side. First, as discussed previously,
A large number of the estimated 6.1 million Afghan society was and historically had been a
displaced Afghans who had been living in deeply divided society with multiple cross-cut-
refugee camps in neighboring Pakistan and Iran ting cleavages along religious, linguistic, ethnic,
or who had been internally displaced, perhaps tribal, and ideological lines. These societal divi-
2.8 million in all, returned to their homes dur- sions were mirrored among the various rebel
ing the 1992–1994 period after the end of the groups and were further exacerbated by the per-
first Afghan civil war (Marsden 2002). This sonal ambitions and egos of the various mu-
process of refugee repatriation slowed down jahideen leaders and commanders (Ewans 2002;
sharply, and tens of thousands of new refugees Goodson 2001; Marsden 2002). Second, the
began to flee the country in 1994 as the second problem of Afghanistan’s existent societal divi-
Afghan civil war began to expand significantly, sions was greatly amplified and even deliberately
especially with the advent of the Taliban. In the reinforced by the military dictatorship in neigh-
aftermath of the defeat of the Taliban regime in boring Pakistan, led by General Mohammad Zia
the 2001 U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, some 3.1 ul-Haq. Pakistan held two particular geopolitical
million refugees returned to their homes during ambitions with regard to Afghanistan. One was
the 2003–2004 period, including some 600,000 the permanent neutralization of the historical
internally displaced persons (Library of Con- Pashtun demand for the creation of an inde-
gress 2005). It is estimated that since the most pendent Pashtun homeland (Pashtunistan) en-
recent wave of refugee repatriation, there are compassing the Pashtun lands in both Afghani-
perhaps 2.5 million Afghans still living in Pak- stan and Pakistan (Marsden 2002). The second
istan and Iran. It is useful to note here, however, Pakistani ambition was the establishment of a
that unlike the refugees who fled the Soviet oc- very pro-Pakistan government in Kabul that
cupation to Pakistan, those who fled to Iran would be formally allied with and perhaps
were allowed by that country’s Islamic govern- even subservient to Pakistan, thereby providing
98 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

Pakistan with its long-coveted “strategic depth” tion in the Middle East, attests to the seriousness
vis-à-vis India, its geographically much larger of U.S. strategic concerns.
historical rival (Sathasivam 2005). Thus, Pak- In the subsequent years of the early to mid-
istan openly manipulated the various Afghan 1980s, however, with the Soviet Union showing
rebel groups and fostered competition and ri- no signs of further military expansionism in the
valry among them to ensure a pliant, non-na- region and indeed finding itself seriously chal-
tionalist, post–civil war regime in Kabul. lenged by the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghani-
stan, United States policy vis-à-vis the Afghan
External Military Intervention insurgency clearly evolved from a merely defen-
Although several countries—Pakistan, the sive policy meant to block the further erosion of
United States, and Saudi Arabia in particular— U.S. strategic interests in that region to one of
were extensively involved in providing political, taking the offensive against the Soviets and mak-
financial, and material (including military) sup- ing them pay—and pay dearly—for their strate-
port for the antigovernment forces in the Afghan gic misstep in Afghanistan. In other words, for
civil war, the only country that became directly the United States, helping the mujahideen repre-
involved in the fighting was the former Soviet sented more than driving the Soviets out of Af-
Union. The details of the Soviet invasion and ghanistan; rather, it became a potent policy in-
subsequent occupation, the nature of the opera- strument with which to drain Soviet power in
tions of the Soviet Army and the devastating im- the broader context of the Cold War.
pact these operations had on millions of Afghan
civilians, and the political impact of the Soviet Conflict Management Efforts
intervention in terms of rallying Afghanistan’s Immediately following the Soviet invasion, in
divided peoples toward a common cause have early 1980, the United States and other inter-
been extensively discussed previously. Thus, it is ested parties brought a resolution before the
more useful to discuss here somewhat briefly the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that
geopolitical considerations that compelled the rejected Soviet arguments justifying the inva-
United States government to take up the cause of sion, condemned Soviet actions in the strongest
the antigovernment and anti-Soviet resistance in possible terms, and demanded an immediate So-
Afghanistan with such intensity and vigor. viet withdrawal. The resolution acquired wide-
To begin with, it is arguable that in the initial spread support in the UNGA, including most
aftermath of the Soviet invasion, having been third-world governments, leaving only the So-
taken by surprise by that event, the United States viet Union and its closest Communist allies vot-
was genuinely concerned that the Soviet Union ing against it. Nevertheless, because the Soviet
held wider ambitions to also bring Pakistan and veto made a UN Security Council (UNSC) reso-
Iran under its direct or indirect control. The lution infeasible, and UNGA resolutions were
Pakistanis were certainly fearful that the Soviets essentially nonbinding, the UN was unable to
(perhaps acting jointly with the Indians) were play any meaningful role in resolving the Afghan
going to invade them next, and they transmitted conflict for much of its duration. Resolutions
their fears unequivocally to Washington (Satha- condemning the occupation and demanding a
sivam 2005). Furthermore, the United States had Soviet withdrawal were introduced and passed
just recently lost a crucial regional ally in Iran in the UNGA annually thereafter, purely for
following the Islamic revolution in that country. symbolic effect.
President Carter’s decision to set up in 1980 Although the UN was not able to play a for-
what was then called the U.S. Rapid Deployment mal and direct role in the Afghan civil war, the
Force, a combined force of land, sea, and air “good offices” of the secretary-general of the UN
units tailored for direct U.S. military interven- could be utilized to facilitate negotiations among

the parties concerned, and indeed such a process phase of the Afghan civil war, it possessed two
of discussions between the Afghan and Pakistani major interrelated shortcomings, both of which
governments began as early as April 1981 (Maley would return to haunt the search for peace in
2002). Although these two governments were the Afghanistan (Maley 2002). First, the accords
only formal parties to these negotiations, the So- provided no mechanism for establishing a new,
viet and U.S. governments were clearly also prin- broadly legitimate, central government that
cipal parties to the negotiations, albeit behind- would include the various mujahideen groups.
the-scenes parties. A series of exchanges of Pakistan was especially unhappy with this defi-
communications between the Afghan and Pak- ciency, envisioning the death of its long-stand-
istani governments—with UN officials acting as ing dream of a Pakistan-friendly regime in
intermediaries—occurred between early 1982 Kabul, and almost refused to sign the accords.
and early 1988 and eventually resulted in the Under significant pressure from Washington,
Geneva Accords, which were signed on April 14, the Pakistani government eventually signed the
1988. In addition to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Geneva Accords, but many within the Pakistani
the Soviet Union and the United States were also political, military, and intelligence establish-
party to the accords in their capacity as guaran- ments became embittered and resentful and, in
tors of the agreement (Maley 2002). particular, distrustful of U.S. motives and aims
The key provision of the accords was the com- (Sathasivam 2005). Second, because the Ge-
plete withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghani- neva Accords completely excluded the partici-
stan, scheduled to be completed by February 15, pation of the various mujahideen groups in the
1989. In exchange for the Soviet withdrawal, the negotiation of the accords as well as their im-
United States was expected to cease all aid to the plementation, much antipathy and disillusion-
mujahideen once all Soviet forces had left Af- ment was engendered within these groups, es-
ghanistan. The agreement created a furor in the pecially toward the United Nations and the
United States on the eve of its signing, when it United States.
was revealed that, although the United States Serious consequences for the future stability
would stop aiding the rebels, the Soviet Union of Afghanistan followed from each of these two
could continue to send aid to the Najibullah gov- shortcomings of the 1988 Geneva Accords
ernment in Kabul. A last-minute crisis was (Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Mars-
averted with a tacit understanding between the den 2002; Rubin 2002). First, the Pakistani gov-
Reagan administration and the Kremlin that the ernment, and especially the ISI, moved further
United States would fully honor its commitment and further toward backing the most radical of
to stop aiding the mujahideen only in parallel Islamist groups in Afghanistan, particularly after
with a similar Soviet commitment to terminate the cutoff of U.S. aid for the Afghan resistance
aid to the Afghan Communist government and also U.S. aid for Pakistan itself during the
(Maley 2002). Subsequently, the United States early 1990s (Sathasivam 2005). The ISI, which
and the Soviet Union agreed to terminate their for its part had also increasingly come to be
respective military aid programs by January 1, dominated by radical Islamists during the latter
1992, which, ironically, coincided with the final years of the war in Afghanistan, held to the view
collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union it- that an Islamist government in Kabul, so long as
self and that country’s own disintegration. it was a Sunni regime and not Shi’a, would be
the most pro-Pakistan government possible in
Afghanistan. It was to this end that the Pakistani
Conclusion government aided and abetted the Taliban’s sub-
Although the Geneva Accords proved success- sequent rise to power in Afghanistan during the
ful in bringing to an end the Soviet occupation mid-1990s.
100 | AFGHANISTAN (1978–1992)

Second, on account of having been treated in The central legacy of the 1978–1992 civil
a rather condescending and exclusionary manner war in Afghanistan, born of the scorched-earth
by the UN during the negotiations for the tactics of the Soviet Army and the Afghan
Geneva Accords, all the various Afghan mu- communist government, was the creation of an
jahideen groups to one extent or another resisted entire generation of embittered Afghans mired
attempts by the UN to mediate and broker tran- in the abject misery of losing everything they
sitional political arrangements in Afghanistan valued: their families, their lands, their homes
during the period leading up to and following and their possessions. For thousands upon
the collapse of the Najibullah government in thousands of such Afghans, there was nothing
Kabul in April 1992 (Goodson 2001; Rubin left to live for other than to fight and die for
2002). The only party to the civil war that was some radical cause, for of all the things these
enthusiastic in its support of and praise for the people had lost, their greatest loss was the loss
UN secretary-general’s peace plan of May 21, of all hope.
1991, was the Najibullah government, because
the UN plan envisioned a continuing political Kanishkan Sathasivam
role for Najibullah himself in any transitional
central government in Afghanistan (Maley Chronology
2002). But this provision in the UN plan was pre- July 17, 1973 The monarchy under King Zahir
cisely the element of the plan that all the major Shah is overthrown by Mohammad Daoud in
mujahideen groups unanimously rejected. a palace coup; Daoud proclaims Afghanistan
a republic.
By the time the UN secretary-general reached
April 17, 1978 A prominent member of the
the obvious conclusion that any interim political PDPA, Mir Akbar Khyber, is murdered in
arrangement for Afghanistan must exclude any Kabul by unidentified assassins, sparking
role for Najibullah, in early 1992, it was too late. huge antigovernment demonstrations.
The Najibullah government was collapsing, with April 25, 1978 President Daoud orders the mass
many of his allies beginning to act against him arrest of PDPA leaders and activists.
April 27, 1978 Pro-PDPA military officers
and in their own personal interests (Maley launch a coup against the government in
2002). Furthermore, the main mujahideen which Daoud is killed, and a revolutionary
groups, in particular the groups led by Rabbani PDPA government under President Nur
and Hekmatyar, could now clearly see that they Mohammad Taraki is established.
held all the cards and could dictate the form of March 15, 1979 A mass revolt against the
government breaks out in the city of Herat.
any transitional government. As a result, the
The government uses overwhelming military
mujahideen groups rejected the UN’s final effort force to suppress it, resulting in thousands of
to establish an interim council to take over the civilian casualties.
governing of the country and instead pro- September 14, 1979 President Taraki, with
claimed their own Islamic Jihad Council as the alleged Soviet complicity, unsuccessfully tries
future governing body. It was this body, led by to arrange the assassination of his very
ambitious PDPA rival, Prime Minister
the veteran mujahideen leader Sibghatullah Mo- Hafizullah Amin.
jaddidi, that eventually flew into Kabul to accept September 17, 1979 In response to the attempt
the government’s formal surrender on April 28, on his life, Amin overthrows Taraki’s
1992. Thus it was that the UN’s peacemaking ef- government and has Taraki and many other
forts died with the Najibullah government in PDPA elites killed.
December 12, 1979 In a meeting of the
April 1992, and the stage was set for a tragic new
Politburo, the Soviet government, in bitter
civil war in a land already ravaged beyond belief conflict with the independent-minded Amin,
(Ewans 2002; Goodson 2001; Maley 2002; Mars- agrees to a plan to invade Afghanistan and
den 2002; Rubin 2002). depose Amin.

December 24, 1979 The Soviet Union begins its References

invasion of Afghanistan. CIA. 2005. The World Factbook 2005: Afghanistan.
December 28, 1979 After eliminating Amin, the
Soviet Union proclaims Babrak Karmal as the html.
president of a new Communist government Doyle, Michael W., and Nicholas Sambanis. 2000.
in Kabul. Within days, all of Afghanistan is Data set supplement to “International
occupied by the Soviet Army. Peacebuilding: A Theoretical and Quantitative
January 10, 1980 The Afghan resistance, the Analysis.” American Political Science Review
mujahideen, receives its first shipment of (December) 94: 4.
weapons paid for by the United States. Ewans, Martin. 2002. Afghanistan: A Short History
January 14, 1980 By a vote of 104 to 18 with 18 of Its People and Politics. New York: Harper-
abstentions, the UNGA adopts a resolution Collins.
condemning the Soviet invasion and Freedom House. 2004. “Freedom in the World
occupation of Afghanistan, a largely symbolic 2004: Afghanistan.”
act that would be replicated annually research/freeworld/2004/countryratings/
thereafter. afghanistan.htm.
April 14, 1988 The signing of the UN-brokered Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. 2003. Modified Polity
Geneva Accords by the governments of P4 and P4D Data, Version 1.0. weber.ucsd.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Soviet Union, and edu/~kgledits/Polity.html.
the United States heralds the end of the Goodson, Larry P. 2001. Afghanistan’s Endless War:
Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the
May 15, 1988 The first contingent of Soviet Taliban. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
troops begins its withdrawal from Hagerty, Devin T., and Herbert G. Hagerty. 2005.
Afghanistan. “The Reconstitution and Reconstruction of
February 15, 1989 The last of the Soviet Afghanistan.” In South Asia in World Politics.
Union’s troops are withdrawn from D. T. Hagerty, ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman &
Afghanistan. Littlefield.
January 1, 1992 By mutual agreement, the Lansford, Tom. 2003. A Bitter Harvest: US Foreign
United States and the Soviet Union end all Policy and Afghanistan. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
military aid to the mujahideen and the Library of Congress—Federal Research Division.
Afghan government. 2005. “Country Profile: Afghanistan (February
April 15, 1992 President Najibullah’s 2005).”
government in Kabul collapses. Afghanistan.pdf.
April 27, 1992 Ahmed Shah Massoud’s Maley, William. 2002. The Afghanistan Wars.
mujahideen forces take control of Kabul. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
April 28, 1992 The umbrella mujahideen Marsden, Peter. 2002. The Taliban: War and Religion
governing group, the Islamic Jihad Council, in Afghanistan. Rev. ed. London: Zed Books.
accepts the formal surrender of the Afghan Rashid, Ahmed. 2000. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil
communist government in Kabul. and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. New
Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Roberts, Jeffery J. 2003. The Origins of Conflict in
List of Acronyms Afghanistan. Westport, CT: Praeger.
CIA: Central Intelligence Agency (United States) Rubin, Barnett R. 2002. The Fragmentation of
ISI: Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence Afghanistan: State Formation and Collapse in
(Pakistan) the International System. 2nd ed. New Haven,
KGB: Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti CT: Yale University Press.
(Committee for State Security, former Sathasivam, Kanishkan. 2005. Uneasy Neighbors:
Soviet Union) India, Pakistan and US Foreign Policy.
PDPA: People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
(the Afghan Communist Party) Ziring, Lawrence, ed. 1982. “The Future of
UN: United Nations Afghanistan.” In The Subcontinent in World
UNGA: United Nations General Assembly Politics: India, Its Neighbors, and the Great
UNSC: United Nations Security Council Powers. Rev. ed. New York: Praeger.

Introduction Country Background

The Algerian civil war that began in 1992 has Algeria’s war for independence from France,
gained notoriety for several reasons. It origi- fought between 1954 and 1962, brought to a
nated in a democratic process that came to an close more than one hundred years of colonial
abrupt halt and had massacres of civilians that rule. Power struggles within the Front de Libéra-
were shocking in their scale and atrocity. The tion Nationale (FLN), which—along with its
government received significant amounts of ex- military organization, the Armeé de Libération
ternal support despite accusations of widespread Nationale (ALN)—was the force behind the
abuses relating to its prosecution of the conflict, struggle for independence, continued during the
and many recognized the possibility that Algeria conflict.
represented another foothold for “radical Islam.” By the time Algeria gained its independence
In part because analysts often choose to in- on July 2, 1962, the confrontation between the
vestigate puzzles pertaining to one or another of general staff of the armed forces and the provi-
these attention-catching aspects, research on the sional government had grown particularly in-
conflict has generated a number of seemingly tense as forces loyal to each group fought for
competing perspectives, each with its own con- control. This period is coded as a civil war (Doyle
clusions about the causes of the war and the and Sambanis 2000; Fearon and Laitin 2003). In
logic of its conduct. Approaching Algeria from a August, the provisional government offered to
comparative perspective on civil wars allows a surrender, but the military faction continued to
synthesis of the insights of previous research press the fight, successfully taking Algiers by Sep-
and a comprehensive understanding of the war. tember 8. Ahmed Ben Bella was chosen as presi-
Attention to the details of the Algerian civil war dent of the republic and Ferhat Abbas as presi-
also offers a promising opportunity to refine dent of the National Assembly in the elections
theories of civil war. War duration as a conse- that followed on September 20, 1962 (Laremont
quence of the interaction between governments 2000). Ben Bella thus took control of what was,
and insurgents rather than of determining through a referendum on proposals for the con-
structural factors, the role of diasporal commu- stitution, a one-party state in which the executive
nities defined on the basis of factors other than and the FLN had exclusive power, the National
national identity, and the nature of opportunity Assembly standing without any functions of con-
costs to war emerge as important areas of future sequence. In the years following independence,
inquiry. Ben Bella worked to consolidate his power, and

| 103
104 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

by September 13, 1963, he held the offices of to the early years of Benjedid’s presidency, that
commander-in-chief of the military and prime period saw a general worsening of the economic
minister in addition to his original presidential situation. Increasing unemployment, particu-
portfolio. larly problematic for young, well-educated Alge-
Ben Bella was opposed by other personalities rians, encouraged participation in the informal
from the war of decolonization, who founded economy (known as trabendo). As the global
the Front des Forces Socialistes (FFS) later in the prices of oil and gas fell through the mid-1980s,
month. The FFS carried out attacks in early dramatically reducing the revenue available to it
1964, even attempting to assassinate Ben Bella. from these sectors, the government under Bend-
Although the FFS did not successfully mount its jedid realized the importance of moving away
challenge to Ben Bella’s government, late in 1964 from a centrally planned, socialist economy to-
Houari Boumedienne, formerly head of the ward a market economy. The government was
ALN and the minister of war under Ben Bella, no longer able to sustain its provision of social
carried out a military coup against Ben Bella on welfare to the public—which up to that point
June 19, 1965. Boumedienne’s rule lasted for had been part of an implicit deal between the
thirteen years until his death in 1978. He was government and the public, the public con-
succeeded by Colonel Chadli Bendjedid, who tributing its support or at least lack of demands
was nominated by an FLN party congress and on the government. In the face of these changes,
won 94 percent of votes in a referendum on Feb- the government drew up plans to encourage pri-
ruary 7, 1979. Bendjedid’s rule was similarly vate sector growth and participation in develop-
long-lived, and he remained in office until 1992. ment and foreign investment. Interestingly, the
Although economic and political liberalization gradual opening of Algeria’s economy that
occurred at various points in the period follow- began during this period ended up playing an
ing independence, Algeria remained firmly a important role in generating additional rev-
dictatorship throughout the period. enues for the government and in increasing
Algeria’s economy at independence faced a funds available to the insurgents once conflict
grave problem: The departure of Algerians of broke out (as elaborated later in this article). Di-
French descent left the country without quali- rectly prior to the war, Algeria’s real gross do-
fied administrators or professionals in many mestic product (GDP) per capita was US$4,902.
fields. Unemployment at independence stood at
approximately 45 percent. Ben Bella began a
process similar to nationalization, under which Conflict Background
workers attained self-management but were for Algeria’s war of independence from France is
all intents and purposes employed by the state often taken as a reference point for those analyz-
because of the institutional arrangements used. ing the conflict that began in the 1990s. The
Ben Bella did not, however, address moderniza- form of the opposition insurgent organizations
tion of the agricultural sector. Industrialization in both wars is seen as similar: The FLN in the
became a key priority during Boumedienne’s war of independence, like the Front Islamique
presidency, along with redistribution of land du Salut (FIS), served to unify the diverse inter-
and continued nationalization. The 1973 oil ests against the incumbent government; the
price increases by OPEC facilitated the plans for Armée Islamique du Salut (AIS), viewed as a
“state-led development” (Entelis 2000). military force serving the goals of the FIS, could
Although progress was made in carrying out thus perform a function akin to that of the ALN,
Boumedienne’s economic plans, agriculture the military wing of the FLN. The two wars have
continued to get little governmental attention. also both served as examples of the violent na-
And, although some of the progress carried over ture of insurgency, owing to the behavior of the

Algerians protest the disappearance of family members during the civil war in Algeria in a demonstration in Algiers
on September 28, 2005. The government is blamed for various human rights abuses. (Louafi Larbi/Reuters/Corbis)

insurgent groups and the repressive apparatus tributional arrangements extant in the economy.
brought to bear against them by the government. If the vocabulary used to describe this position
And, although the current conflict is not a war happened to be religious, or even if these sup-
for independence, similarities persist, too, in the porters understood their stance as a religious
type of conflict. Although some researchers code one, it does not follow that the conflict itself was
the war that began in 1992 as an “ethnic/reli- of a religious nature. Similarly, although sup-
gious/identity conflict” (Doyle and Sambanis porters of the government and the government
2000), it is not clear that the conflict can be un- itself couched their opposition to the Islamists in
derstood within this framework. The insurgent terms of their perception of the Islamist platform
groups in Algeria clearly professed a religious as an extreme one, this perspective was often
agenda at a superficial level—they discussed the used to discredit the Islamists and gain support
role of religion in governance, used religious ter- for the government from outside powers (mainly
minology to discuss the situation in Algeria, and France and the United States). Thus it is not en-
incorporated the word Islam into the names of tirely a true characterization of the nature of the
their organizations. However, the extent to which conflict itself.
the conflict itself concerned the role of religion is Outside these analytical understandings of
more ambiguous. Even supporters of the insur- the conflict are harsh facts about what it actually
gents who emphasized the importance of the meant for Algeria and Algerians. The conflict it-
groups’ religious stance characterized their rea- self is ongoing and has so far taken the lives of as
sons for supporting the insurgents in terms of many as 150,000 people, mostly civilians (Mar-
the changes they wanted to see in the form of tinez 2004; Stone 1997). If this figure is correct,
governance provided by the regime and the dis- it represents the death of more than 4 percent of
106 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

the prewar population. Approximately 40,000 and perhaps other small insurgent groups remain
people either have left the country or have been active, though on a smaller scale compared to the
internally displaced. A large percentage of Algeri- mid-1990s. Even as of 2005, violence persists.
ans also participated in the conflict: The Algerian
armed forces numbered approximately 130,000
in the mid-1990s, and at their height armed in- The Insurgents
surgent groups may have had as many as 40,000 Armed insurgency against the Algerian govern-
members (Martinez 2000; Stone 1997). These fig- ment began in earnest following the military
ures, of course, say nothing of the effects that coup that deposed President Chadli Bendjedid
death, migration, or participation in the conflict on January 11, 1992. The previous three years
have had on the social networks of the victims, had seen demonstrations and riots leading to
immigrants, or participants. Finally, although one the first multiparty elections in Algerian history;
of the main insurgent groups, the Armée Is- a significant victory by the FIS, an umbrella or-
lamique du Salut (AIS), signed a truce in 1997 ganization of Islamist groups that opposed the
and ultimately surrendered in January 2000, po- government; further demonstrations against
litical violence has by no means vanished from government interference with the elections re-
Algeria. The Groupes Islamiques Armées (GIA) sults and, following these, the institution of

Table 1: Civil War in Algeria

War: MIA, AIS, MEI, GIA, GSPC, and other groups vs. the Government of Algeria
Dates: 1992–present
Casualties: 150,000
Regime type prior to war: –2 (ranging from –10 [authoritarian] to 10 [democracy])
Regime type after war: Not applicable; from 1/1992–11/1995: –7; 11/1995–: –3
GDP/capita year war began: US $4,902 (constant 1996)
GDP/capita 5 years after war: Not applicable
Insurgents: Armed Islamic Movement (MIA), Islamic Army of Salvation (AIS),
Movement for the Islamic State (MEI), Islamic Armed Groups (GIA), Salafi
Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Islamic Front of Jihad in Algeria
(FIDA), Salafi Combatant Group (GSC), Salafi Group for the Jihad (GSPD),
Guardians of the Salafi Call (HDS), and Islamic League for Preaching and
Jihad (LIDD).
Issue: Failed liberalization of governance
Rebel funding: Import–export companies, extortion of individuals and businesses, illegal
automobile imports, diaspora, and sympathizers
Role of geography: Insurgents established bases in mountainous interior; government used
prisons in southern desert and was able to isolate and protect the hydrocarbon
sector, a main source of revenue in that area.
Role of resources: Hydrocarbon sector and investment in it was a large source of revenue for the
Immediate outcome: Ongoing
Outcome after 5 years: Not applicable
Role of UN: None
Role of regional organization: None
Refugees: 40,000 (including internally displaced persons)
Prospects for peace: Favorable

Sources: Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Economist Intelligence Unit, various years; Hafez 2000; Heston, Summers, and Aten 2002;
International Crisis Group 2004; Lowi 2005; Marshall, Jaggers, and Gurr 2004; Martinez 2000, 2004; Stone 1997.

martial law; and a final round of elections, FIS leaders in June 1991. With the repression of
which the FIS seemed poised to win. In short, the FIS in 1992, the MIA and other armed
prior to the coup, Algeria was on a rapid course groups took the opportunity to bring a military
toward fundamental changes in the distribution confrontation with the government to the fore,
of power in society through the increasing the electoral approach of the FIS having been
power of the FIS in government. When the army discredited in light of the government’s re-
stepped in to end this process by seizing control sponse. MIA was selective in its recruitment
of the government from President Bendjedid process and explicitly did not allow perhaps
and canceling the election results, armed Is- thousands of eager volunteers to join it, particu-
lamist groups that existed even prior to these de- larly out of fear that the Securite Militaire would
velopments saw an opportunity to mount a di- infiltrate it. In 1992, the MIA had approximately
rect challenge to the government. As the army 2,000 members but by 1993 was thought to have
consolidated its power and attempted to repress grown to 22,000. Initially, it competed with
the Islamists, declaring a state of emergency in smaller groups such as Takfir wa-l Hijra, also es-
February 1992 and banning the FIS in March tablished before the military coup, but of these
1992, these groups began to attack the govern- groups the MIA alone was able to survive the
ment and security forces and to assert control counteroffensives of the government’s security
over areas sympathetic to the FIS. As the conflict forces, making it the center of the insurgency. By
continued, new groups formed, bringing new 1994, however, the MIA was considerably
goals and new tactics to the conflict. weaker and was seen as unsuccessful in challeng-
The insurgents can be grouped according to ing the government.
their political orientation, following Martinez Given the large numbers of people eager to
(2000): groups that sought to force the govern- participate in the insurgency, the creation of ad-
ment to reinstate the political process through ditional armed groups was possible, and in 1994
which the FIS had been gaining power prior to the AIS was established. The AIS did not have
the military coup, and revolutionary groups em- the first-mover advantage that the MIA had in
phasizing jihad, which sought the complete attracting recruits, but it benefited substantially
overthrow of the state. To these may be added a from the release of prisoners from prison camps
third category: local groups acting in the context in the south in 1993 and 1994, and estimates put
of civil war whose principal purpose was to take its membership in 1994 at 40,000. The AIS con-
advantage of the economic opportunities cre- tinued the MIA’s focus on insurgency to reinsti-
ated by the war. tute the political process, concentrating on at-
The groups that sought to force the return of tacking the government and security forces.
the political process that would have brought the However, its assessment was that the war could
FIS to power were active principally at the be- not be won in the quick and limited fashion that
ginning of the conflict. The first of these, the many thought possible . Thus, the AIS sought to
Mouvement Islamique Armé (MIA) had origi- work on a much broader scale than the MIA,
nally been active between 1982 and 1987. In and it planned for a long conflict with the Alger-
1990, the MIA began preparations for insur- ian government.
gency, establishing infrastructure and training Radical groups emerged in 1993 that chal-
camps in the Blida Atlas mountains. Although it lenged the idea, taken up by the MIA and the
agreed with the FIS not to interfere with the AIS, of returning to the political process and, to
elections, the MIA’s preparations for war intensi- that end, of focusing on targeting the govern-
fied as the government’s repression of the FIS in- ment. Established in 1991, the Mouvement pour
creased, with MIA members withdrawing from l’Etat Islamique (MEI) focused on taking the bat-
the cities to the mountains after the arrests of tle to the people of Algeria. Rather than viewing
108 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

the conflict as one between the elite of the MIA the conflict—a process noted by many ob-
against the government, the MEI hoped to win servers of political violence outside the Algerian
over the people of Algeria and, in so doing, de- context (della Porta 1995; White 1989). How-
prive the government of any support. With this ever, an often-mentioned and more controver-
outlook, the MEI accepted all those who wished sial possibility is that the government played an
to fight for it. The GIA took a similar approach active role in the development of the armed
to the MEI, which divided civilians into “enemies groups—for example, by carrying out atrocities
of Islam” and “supporters of the jihad,” the for- and then blaming the GIA, or by infiltrating the
mer being legitimate targets. Targeting civilians GIA and encouraging massacres and killings of
forced them to choose between supporting the public figures in an effort to turn public opin-
government or the Islamists. The GIA’s strategy ion against the Islamists. These allegations are
in the war is understood as one of “total war,” the difficult to assess; although there seems to have
destruction of the ruling regime by eliminating been an incentive for the government to act this
all bases of social support for it. In contrast to the way, firsthand accounts report that those carry-
MIA and AIS, the GIA was active for the most ing out the attacks were indeed members of the
part in urban settings, whereas the MIA and the groups that the government blamed. Still, it is
AIS were firmly established in and conducted important to understand the role of the govern-
operations from mountainous areas. From 1998 ment in a more complex way that goes beyond
on, the GIA and a splinter group from it, the its own official statements on the conflict. Mar-
Salafi Combat Group (GSPC), as well as other tinez (2004) provides an example of such an
groups related to the GSPC have been active. analysis, noting that the government’s war-
Despite the clear ideologies of the different fighting strategy may have been indirectly re-
insurgent groups, it is not possible to extend sponsible for the massacres of civilians during
the understanding of these ideologies to their mid-1990s. Unable to occupy the territory
actual behavior. It is here that the role of local needed to wrest control from the insurgents
organizations and leaders, often mentioned in with its own forces, the government created
detailed accounts of the conflict, emerges. local militias as a surrogate force. Although the
First, given the secret nature of the groups, it is militias were a successful tool in combating the
not possible to judge the degree of organiza- insurgency, it is possible that through militariz-
tion with which they operated and the degree ing the population they generated a retaliatory
to which decisions were made centrally. The dynamic in which insurgents attacked civilians
MIA and the AIS exhibited a higher degree of to punish them for participating in the conflict
control in this regard than the GIA, which al- through the militias.
lowed the leaders of local groups to act in its
name without hesitation. Second, local armed Financing
groups, extremely active in the suburbs of Al- As mentioned earlier, the local dynamics of the
giers, played a significant role in the conflict in conflict were extremely important, nowhere
its day-to-day conduct. Although these may more so than in its financing. In areas directly
have operated in the name of one of the larger under their control, the armed groups acted as a
players, often the considerations that drove parallel government, essentially collecting taxes
their conduct were purely local. from the populace and carrying out administra-
A final caveat concerns the role of the gov- tive functions. In contested areas, the armed
ernment in the development of the armed groups put together finances through extortion
groups. It is clear that the government repres- of business owners and collection of bribes
sion in response to the challenge of the insur- from operators in the transit sector in return for
gents played a key role in the development of allowing them to continue to operate. Through

supporters and their own members, the groups strongly supported the FIS and continued to re-
also drew in large amounts of revenue from the main a base of support for the Islamists.
often-informal import–export sector of the
economy. At times, this revenue stream was Geography
linked to illegal activity, as when leaders of the As in the war for independence, the mountains
armed groups were able to obtain revenue of Algeria played a key role in the current civil
through illicit imports of cars from France war. They provided a base of operations for
using the networks established for the drug groups such as the MIA and AIS, which estab-
trade from Morocco. Finally, the groups re- lished themselves securely there and then carried
ceived funding from the Algerian diaspora in out operations elsewhere in the country. The re-
Europe. The effects of financing can be seen in lationship between terrain and the conflict ex-
the patterns of activity of the armed groups tends beyond the basic idea of safe havens. The
throughout the conflict. Most active in the mountains of Algeria proved to be an important
southern suburbs of Algiers, home to relatively element in the development of the conflict par-
wealthy businesspeople, the groups did not op- ticularly because some, like the Blida Atlas, were
erate in the more central, poorer areas of Al- located close to important areas of operations
giers, even though these were areas that had for the insurgents. Thus, the MIA and the AIS

Algiers Tizi-Ouzou Skikda SKIKDA

Bejaïa 15 Annaba
Mascara Boufarik STIF
MOUASKAR 5 9 10 14 16 17
4 8
Oran 3 6 11 MILA 18 Tunis
Tlemcen 2 7
13 Sétif
tif Constantine
1 20
N M'SILA Batna
Tiaret Djelfa BATNA bassa
Rabat Sa da
SIDI BEL Laghouat Biskra

char Ouargla








5 TIPAZA Tamanrasset
17 EL TARF 0 100 200 300 mi
Oil Pipeline Kidal 0 100 200 300 400 500 km
21 KHENCHLA Oil field
110 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

could operate in the southern suburbs of Al- lenge. The government’s subsequent defeat of
giers, important for their revenues and symboli- insurgent forces in the mountains, coming as it
cally in that they were part of the capital, and did after an extensive overhaul and reconstruc-
then retreat to the mountains. Forest cover may tion of the security forces, is not surprising in
also have served a similar function, though in a this view.
less extensive manner.
Related to the control armed groups could Tactics
exert, the existence of a small number of impor- The brutality of the Algerian civil war, as evi-
tant highway routes for commerce allowed the denced by the massacres of civilians in the mid- to
groups to use a system of checkpoints to demar- late 1990s, was one of the most notorious fea-
cate territory as well as to draw revenues. As for tures of the conflict. The vast majority of ob-
the GIA and local armed groups, the city’s ter- servers understood this violence as “irrational,”
rain facilitated their operations in urban areas. but in fact patterns of violence have been related
The absence of an urban plan privileged local to the dynamics of control used by the combat-
knowledge of the layout of the neighborhood in ants (Kalyvas 1999). Although ultimately an ex-
battles with the security forces, and this worked planation of the intertemporal and spatial varia-
to the insurgents’ advantage. tion in the violence is desirable, it is instructive
Nevertheless, it would be too simplistic to to understand the ideology of the armed groups
view terrain in Algeria as solely benefiting the as it relates to the tactics they pursued in the war
insurgents or proving a direct asset to them. The and the resulting patterns of violence, and key
government made extensive use of desert prison aspects of the interaction between the govern-
camps in the south, allowing it to effectively re- ment and the insurgents that also shaped the vi-
move large numbers of suspected combatants olence. Finally, related to these questions is the
and sympathizers to a location remote from the puzzle of why the insurgents appeared not to at-
theater of operations. Even the terrain of use to tempt to strike at the Algerian government di-
the insurgents was by no means a secure tool for rectly in order to depose it.
them. The government was able to defeat insur- As discussed earlier, the MIA and the AIS fo-
gents in the mountains by using air power and cused almost exclusively on attacking security
local militias, and it also developed security forces and government officials, while the GIA
forces specializing in counterinsurgent opera- and the MEI put civilians squarely in the middle
tions in the urban areas. The conclusion drawn of the conflict. The decision to target civilians
by Fearon and Laitin (2003)—that rough terrain came largely out of the GIA and MEI radical
is a risk factor for civil war—seems to hold in perspective on the conflict as a “total war,” one in
Algeria on its surface: The insurgents did indeed which civilians would need to choose sides and
make use of the mountains in developing their one that would be won by winning the populace,
organizations at the beginning of the conflict. not be eliminating the security forces in a war of
Had it not been for the mountains, the MIA and attrition, a strategy more akin to that of the MIA
the AIS might have faced severe challenges in and AIS. Even more specific targeting decisions
mounting an armed assault on the government may be attributed to the radical perspective,
and may not have attempted it. However, Algeria which held that the entire order supporting the
demonstrates that the role of terrain may be current regime would need to be destroyed.
more appropriately considered in its interaction Thus, the competition between Francophones
with the strength of the government. In this and Arabic speakers in the economic arena car-
analysis, terrain was beneficial to the insurgents ried over to the armed conflict itself, and armed
when the government’s repressive apparatus was groups threatened and killed journalists from
insufficiently developed to deal with their chal- French-language media outlets.

The widespread involvement of civilians and further attention, given that an explanation
their deaths can also be attributed to the exigen- would illuminate the motivations of the insur-
cies of fighting that the insurgents and the gov- gent groups and would therefore validate
ernment faced. Both tried to force civilians to broader claims about the nature of the conflict,
choose a side by employing violent tactics, such some of which are discussed below.
that violence became a recruiting tool. Both sides
also involved the civilian populace in providing
financial and logistical support. This resulted in Causes of the War
civilian deaths either as part of the establishment Analysts of the Algerian civil war commonly at-
of the authority of a group or due to competition tribute it to a combination of the economic and
between groups, including the government, a dy- social crises the country experienced in the
namic explored in depth by Kalyvas (1999). As 1980s, the failure of the regime to address these
noted earlier, the government’s tactic of estab- crises, and the military’s refusal to allow the elec-
lishing civilian militias may also have accentu- toral process bringing the Islamists into power
ated these dynamics by making civilians more di- to continue (see Testas [2001] for a development
rect participants in the conflict and thereby of the economic perspective and a summary of
subject to retaliatory actions by the insurgents other arguments; see also Martinez [2000] for a
(Martinez 2004). Overall, these characteristics of summary of the standard arguments). A related
the war in Algeria fit within the theoretical per- analysis that probes the mechanisms of this
spective proposed by Azam and Hoeffler process suggests that that the Algerian govern-
(2002)—that civilians become targets either be- ment, as a rentier state, was unable to address
cause of the extortive activities of the parties to persistent conflicts in Algerian society (see for
the conflict or because targeting civilians serves a example Joffé [2002] and Lowi [2004]). Mar-
direct military purpose. tinez disputes such perspectives as flawed in that
At another level is the question of why the in- economic and social inequality cannot on their
surgent groups, when attacking the government own account for the war, as their persistence
and the security forces, focused throughout the during the entire postindependence period (if
conflict on sabotage, assassination, and more pe- not at a constant level) demonstrates, nor can
ripheral attacks than any all-out attempt to problems of governance. Rather, the opportuni-
wrest control directly from the entire govern- ties available through war, combined with these
ment. The guerrilla war fought by the insurgent factors, provided the basis for the war. This
groups can be attributed largely to the resources analysis places understanding the Algerian civil
available to them. Numerically far fewer than the war squarely in the middle of an ongoing debate
government’s security forces and without the in the literature on civil war onset: Do griev-
heavy weaponry and air support available to the ances or opportunities explain conflict? The
government, the insurgents likely focused on ac- causes of the Algerian civil war can be further il-
tions in which they could succeed. Nevertheless, luminated by taking an overview of this debate
this led to frustration among civilians, who and highlighting where these accounts validate
questioned why the violence seemed always to extant understandings of the war in Algeria or
be that of a war of attrition played out at the suggest new avenues of analysis. Finally, the na-
local level rather than a direct confrontation ture of the war in Algeria suggests areas in which
with the power center of the government (Mar- these theories can be refined, specified with
tinez 2000). Still, although resource constraints greater detail, or perhaps rejected.
may have been behind the tactical choices of in- Current work on civil wars and civil war onset
surgents, these choices have not been explored follows a rational choice approach, examining
in detail by analysts of the conflict. They merit the decision calculus of would-be insurgents and
112 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

weighing the factors that might prompt them to time or under an alternative regime of their
launch an insurgency against the deterrent that choosing. This view stands in contrast to other
the current government can mount. In itself, this evaluations of the conflict as stemming from
framework allows the possibility of the effect of mounting grievances against and frustration
both grievances and opportunities. However, with the government, touched off by the repres-
cross-national studies of civil war have found sive actions of the army. Potential financial re-
that opportunities (rather than grievances) ap- sources through informal trade, extortion, and
pear to be the significant factor in predicting civil external sources, combined with the refuge of
war onset (Collier and Hoeffler 2002; Fearon and the mountains close to areas in which they
Laitin 2003). Chief among the predictors of civil might wish to operate and the dire financial sit-
war onset are thought to be per capita income uation of the government, may well have con-
(negatively related), whether a state was new vinced the armed groups of the possibility of
(positively related), mountainous terrain (posi- their survival—and perhaps even success—
tively related), population (positively related), against the government. The opportunity to
and fossil fuel exports (positively related) (Col- profit from conflict, as well as the ability to re-
lier and Hoeffler 2002; Fearon and Laitin 2003; distribute economic wealth to their supporters,
see also Hegre and Sambanis 2006 for an evalua- may also have motivated both the insurgents
tion of robustness of results in the empirical lit- and the government to take steps that led to
erature). Miguel, Satyanath, and Sergenti (2004) conflict, particularly in the context of an econ-
call into question the specific variables posited as omy that was on the decline.
significant in previous studies, using a more ap-
propriate estimation strategy in their work on
civil wars in sub-Saharan Africa. Their principal Outcome
findings were that GDP growth is negatively re- Conflict Status
lated to the incidence of civil war and that the ef- The Algerian civil war has lasted approximately
fect of income shocks on the incidence of civil fourteen years and is ongoing. Recent cross-na-
war appears not to vary with other factors previ- tional data sets of civil wars code the war as on-
ously thought important (for example, GDP and going through 1999 (Sambanis 2004; Fearon
oil exports). These findings are consistent with 2004; Fearon and Laitin 2003). Since that point,
views that draw connections between civil war although it is clear that the level of conflict has
and opportunities. been decreasing steadily, violence continues.
The perspective just outlined is instructive in President Boutleflika, who took office in 1999,
the case of the Algerian civil war. It incorporates quickly extended an amnesty offer to insurgents,
the focus of Martinez (2000) on the opportuni- provided that they surrendered. The AIS re-
ties available in Algeria through war but also ar- ceived a full amnesty for its members on January
ticulates how the opportunity structure that po- 13, 2000, leading to what amounted to its sur-
tential combatants face can determine whether render. In addition to an estimated 3,000 AIS
or not they act to address any extant political, fighters thereby removed from the conflict, per-
social, or economic problems through conflict. haps 2,000 to 3,000 other insurgents surren-
The calculation of the armed groups to begin an dered under the amnesty.
insurgency against the government after the The GIA and the GSPC rejected the amnesty
cancellation of elections in January 1992 may be and continued their activities, the GIA in the
seen as a careful evaluation of their prospects for west (Tipaazza, Chlef, and Ain Delfa provinces)
survival and success in a war against the govern- and in areas to the south of Algiers, and the
ment, and as an evaluation of the opportunities GSPC in portions of the east and Kabylia. In
available to them under the government at the 2000, an estimated 1,500 to 3,000 insurgents

Kabylia: A Second Conflict

Most histories of Algeria mention the “Berber Question” close to the outset. This chapter is an
anomaly in that respect. The current conflict in Algeria, however, is unrelated, at least in a direct
way, to problems surrounding the role of Berber identity in Algeria. Rather, conflict over Berber
identity is more related to efforts to reform the government and reconceptualize the Algerian na-
tion. Violent conflict in Kabylia related to these issues, both in the early 1980s and after 2000, rep-
resents a focal point for opposition to the government, if limited in the movement’s support outside
the region.
Berbers represent about 20 percent of the Algerian population. Most Algerians are of Berber
origin, as the Berbers were indigenous to Algeria prior to the Arab invasion in the seventh century.
In contemporary Algeria, however, linguistic affiliation defines Berber identity, and advancing
Tamazight, the Berber language, has been a key part of demands made by Berber political move-
ments. Two Algerian political parties, the Front of Socialist Forces (Front des Forces Socialistes
[FFS]), founded in 1962, and the Rally for Culture and Democracy (Rassemblement pour la Cul-
ture et la Démocratie [RCD]) are Berber parties.
Unrest in Kabylia in 1980 began after a lecture on Berber poetry was banned. Protesters from
a wide range of backgrounds demanded recognition of Tamazight and Berber culture by the gov-
ernment, and organized against the government in March and April. Although the unrest that
started in 2001 generated some similar demands—the inclusion of Tamazight as an official lan-
guage in Algeria, for example—it began when a young man died in police custody in April. A series
of protests and government repression of protests followed. In the early days of the unrest, approx-
imately eighty protesters died. The protest movement focused on abuse of authority and exclusion
by the government of portions of the population, principally the young. A government concession
gave Tamazight “national” status but did little to appease protesters, as it did not make Tamazight
an official language (which would mandate its use in government documents and education).
The emphasis of the Kabylia protests on issues of governance gives them a national charac-
ter. This is in spite of the particularism of Kabylia, as even Berbers in other parts of the country
have not joined in the cultural and linguistic demands of the Kabylia protests. Demands for a more
accountable government and more inclusive policies resonate with Algerians outside Kabylia. The
dissatisfaction in this region indicates issues facing the country as a whole. Most recently, this was
seen in the low turnout for the referendum on the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation in
Kabylia. This low turnout mimicked earlier low participation rates: the high observance of the FFS
and RCD boycott of the May 2002 parliamentary election and low turnout for the April 2004 presi-
dential election (International Crisis Group 2003; Quandt 2002; Roberts 2003; Stone 1997).

continued to operate, with civilian deaths and Zoubri, in February 2002, although with little
deaths on both sides of the conflict occurring on perceptible effect on the group. During 2002,
a weekly basis, totaling perhaps 200 deaths per GIA violence continued against towns and
month in 2000. As the GSPC “avoid[s] targeting smaller villages in its areas of operation, and
civilians,” civilian deaths are attributed to the GSPC violence continued against government
GIA (Economist Intelligence Unit 1996–2004). personnel. Algiers saw a series of explosions, but
From January through July 2001, approximately these did not cause much damage.
1,300 people lost their lives in the conflict, By 2004, infighting had broken out in the
whereas the GIA appeared to bring the conflict GSPC; its leader, Hassan Hattab, who apparently
back into urban areas after an explosion in the opposed creating better ties with al-Qaeda, was
Casbah of Algiers in August, an attack on a re- killed. The government pressed its campaign
sort near Algiers, and a bomb that was planted against insurgents and in June “claimed to have
in a market but later defused. The government killed [the GSPC’s] new leader,” Nabil Sahraoui.
struck the GIA by killing its leader, Antar Still, this appeared not to affect the GSPC, which
114 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

attacked a power station in Algiers, although on civil war emphasizing the possibility of bene-
without success, and was seen by the govern- fits accruing to participants during conflict rein-
ment as a potential threat to oil installations in forces analyses of Algeria suggesting that the dy-
the south. As of 2005, the insurgents were namics of Algeria’s war economy are important
thought to be able to draw on external support- in explaining why the war has continued.
ers, particularly in Europe, for resources, leading One perspective on civil war duration, which
analysts to note that the insurgency “is not over takes into account the possibility that the rebels
and attacks on security personnel and civilians benefit from the conflict during its conduct, not
are likely to continue for some time.” However, solely upon its conclusion, seems to fit well with
the situation appears to have turned entirely in accounts of the conflict in Algeria. Here, prof-
favor of the government. Despite the external itability during conflict is crucial in explaining
support insurgents enjoy, they are thought to be conflict duration. Variables that influence the
without significant support within Algeria, and ability of the insurgents to operate at a profit
the government has successfully regained con- and to hold out against the government are sig-
trol over many parts of its territory formerly nificant in determining its duration but not sig-
controlled by the insurgents (Economist Intelli- nificantly related to the initiation of conflict,
gence Unit 1996–2004, 2005). and variables significantly related to its initia-
tion tend not to influence its duration.
Duration Tactics This stands in contrast with predominant ex-
Although the duration of the Algerian civil war planations that have examined the relative mili-
by 1999 (eight years) was below the mean dura- tary capabilities of the warring parties, and par-
tion for ongoing wars coded in a data set of 128 ticularly their expected postconflict benefits, as
civil wars for the period 1945 to 1999 (almost crucial in determining the duration of the war
sixteen years), even then its duration was above (Grossman 1991, 1995; Collier and Hoeffler
the mean duration for all civil wars in North 1998). It also contrasts with the opportunities ac-
Africa and the Middle East (Fearon 2004). Work count of civil war initiation in that, although op-

The September 2005 Referendum

Algerian voters approved the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation on September 29,
2005, by more than 97 percent. The charter absolves government forces of their role in the vio-
lence, contains an amnesty for Islamist fighters except those responsible for “massacres, rapes or
bomb attacks in public places,” and provides for reparations to families of victims, including those
who disappeared during the civil war. Turnout, taken by some as an indication of the unanimity of
the referendum result, varied significantly across Algiera, even as the turnout rate nationally was
almost 80 percent. Tizi-Ouzou and Bejaia in Kabylia, for example, had turnout of about 11 percent.
President Bouteflika has billed the charter, which was drafted by his office without outside par-
ticipation, as facilitating a process of national reconciliation that will prevent the recurrence of con-
flict. The charter certainly stands in contrast to reconciliation in South Africa, El Salvador, and other
postconflict countries, where the process is based on a public debate on the conflict and examina-
tion of responsibility for crimes and atrocities committed during it. Critics object that the Algerian
referendum and charter are merely an exercise in forgetting the atrocities of the war and a way for
Bouteflika to “consolidate his power.” Still, opinion is divided. Some see the referendum as provid-
ing a way to begin debate about the conflict, even despite the criticism of it. Others call into ques-
tion even the relevance of reconciliation, pointing out the economic problems still prominent in the
lives of many Algerians (Associated Press 2005; Slackman, September 26 and 30, 2005).
The text of the charter is available in French at

portunity-related variables influence the initial ration of the war by making the opportunities of
outbreak of conflict, they are thought to be unre- conflict relatively more attractive. Although eco-
lated to the duration because once the insurgents nomic reforms from 1994 on resulted in macro-
establish themselves, initially making use of op- economic improvements for Algeria, they have
portunity variables, it is their ability to protect been linked to large levels of unemployment,
their initial setup or to adapt it and hold out particularly among those under thirty years of
against the government that determines duration age, and to higher levels of poverty (Interna-
(Collier, Hoeffler, and Söderbom, 2004). tional Crisis Group 2001; Joffé 2002). These
Turning to the Algerian civil war, then, we changes may have provided more potential re-
should expect variation in financial support for cruits to insurgent groups. Additionally, they ex-
the government and the insurgents to have a acerbated the conditions of social conflict that
large effect on the duration of the conflict. In- characterized Algeria prior to 1992 and that
deed, financial support for the government, as were not resolved by the military coup in 1992,
explained in the “External Military Interven- thus strengthening the basis of opposition to the
tion” section, may have caused the war to last for Algerian government.
a long time. Had the government been unable to
finance its repressive activities against the insur- External Military Intervention
gents, it may have been forced to come to some There has been no clear external military inter-
accommodation with them in the mid-1990s, vention in the Algerian civil war in the conven-
rather than pursuing, as it did, an “eradication- tional sense of use of force by a third party.
ist” approach throughout the period. Financial However, both sides have received assistance
support for the government is also likely to have from third parties that highlights the need for
enlarged the financial stake of the security serv- deeper analysis of external interventions in civil
ices in the ongoing conflict such that there may wars: either the assistance was covert, and thus
be a disincentive for the government to deci- our ability to recognize and measure it is se-
sively defeat the insurgents or pursue a settle- verely hampered, or the assistance may not have
ment. The persistence of the “eradicationist” been perceived at the time as being related to the
perspective in the government through the conflict but in fact had a concrete influence on
1990s, and the government’s continued refusal its course. It appears that external economic
to negotiate with the insurgents (see “Conflict- support for the insurgents and the government
Management Efforts”), reflect the possibility may have allowed the war to continue for a
that the war was proceeding in this way. Looking longer period than would otherwise have been
to the insurgents, financial support from sympa- possible. This fits well with the empirical results
thizers and the Algerian diaspora abroad, and of Regan (2002), who notes that external inter-
increased revenues from the import–export ventions, whether military or economic, tend to
trade stimulated by the International Monetary increase the duration of civil wars.
Fund’s Structural Adjustment Package (SAP) in The insurgents, coming out of the FIS’s Is-
1994, likely increased the ability of the insur- lamist movement in Algeria, derived support
gents to resist the security services during the from third parties with an Islamist agenda. The
period. Finally, much as they did for the govern- exact nature of this support remains unclear,
ment, rents available to the insurgents as a result pointing to the need to deal properly with it in
of the conflict may have provided an incentive to cross-national analyses. Some support for the
pursue the conflict for financial gain rather than insurgents appears to have come from states.
conclude any sort of agreement. Stone (1997, 190) notes that Iran appears to
Changes in structural conditions in the econ- have officially supported the insurgents “as part
omy and the society might also increase the du- of its policy of exporting the Islamic revolution
116 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

throughout the Muslim world.” Stone also states IMF, as by 1993 Algeria, with its debt service of
that Iran was likely involved in the bombing of $8 billion per year and annual revenue of only
the airport in Algiers in 1992, according to the $9 billion in 1993, was on the verge of bank-
Algerian press, other activities supporting the ruptcy. Debt rescheduling and an SAP that in-
insurgents, including training of insurgents in cluded privatization initiatives and trade liberal-
Hezbollah (or Hizb Allah, as it is translated from ization allowed the government to reverse its
the Arabic, meaning the Party of God) camps in financial situation. The government was able to
Lebanon. The Algerian government, in addition obtain some 40 billion francs (roughly at least
to denouncing Iranian involvement, also US $8.3 billion, taking the lowest exchange rate
pointed to Sudan, although Stone (1997) judges for the period) “in the form of loans, credits,
that there was likely no Sudanese support for the gifts and other financial arrangements” from the
insurgents. The Algerian government’s position international community under the IMF’s SAP.
was motivated by the general role the Sudanese By 1995, its debt service amounted to 37 percent
played in support of Islamist movements in the of its earnings from exports, whereas in 1993
region. Finally, it officially acknowledged Saudi that figure had been 93 percent.
support for the FIS prior to 1991 (Martinez The government, through the revenue these
2000, 23) yet the fact that no link between the programs freed up in its own budget and what
Kingdom and Algerian armed groups after the they brought in, was able to finance an overhaul-
beginning of the civil war has been established ing of its repressive apparatus. Thus, by 1995 the
raises the possibility of (as yet undetected) Islamists, who at one point had “the electoral
covert support for the insurgents. capital of three million voters and an enemy in a
External support for the insurgents has also state of bankruptcy . . . lost their relative advan-
come from private citizens outside Algeria. The tage after three years of fighting” (Martinez
Algerian government has demanded more coop- 2000, 92–3, 238). Economic liberalization under
eration from European governments in cracking the SAP was also likely of benefit to the govern-
down on militant networks, likely composed ment in a quite specific way: As army officers
mostly of Algerian migrants, in their countries were among the main beneficiaries of privatiza-
(Economist Intelligence Unit 1996–1998, 2005). tion, it had effect of aligning their own personal
The alleged support of the FIS by Saudi busi- financial interests with the survival of the gov-
nessmen based in Jeddah (Economist Intelli- ernment (Martinez 2000, 125). It would be diffi-
gence Unit, 1997) shows that private support for cult to determine how much this affected the
the armed insurgent groups in Algeria from government’s position, but it is likely that it
sympathizers would have been all too easy, yet played a role in helping the government consoli-
decidedly hard to verify. date its advantage against the insurgents and
The external support that the Algerian gov- perhaps even in ensuring that a particularly
ernment received likely dwarfs all possible sup- hard-line stance was adopted against them. Still,
port garnered by the insurgents from their sup- it is important to note that liberalization, partic-
porters in the government or private sector. ularly in opening trade, also benefited the insur-
Through debt rescheduling and economic liber- gents, who made use of import–export compa-
alization, additional foreign aid, and investment, nies as additional revenue sources (Martinez
the Algerian government in essence was able to 2000). Thus, although on the whole economic
obtain funds for its security operations against assistance and policy changes by the government
the insurgents and was able to tie in supporters likely worked in its favor, some doubt remains. A
economically to its success against the insur- conservative analysis, and indeed a skeptical
gents. Between 1993 and 1994, the Algerian gov- one, would suggest that external support, rather
ernment negotiated a debt program with the than being linked to the ability of either side to

prevail, has been more related to the duration of failed to involve the principal player in the con-
the conflict and has prolonged it due to the fi- flict. Particularly after the horrific massacres of
nancial benefits both sides have gained as a re- the late 1990s, the international community, in-
sult of it. As Martinez (2000, 168) suggests: cluding the United Nations and the EU, ex-
pressed a desire to become involved in settling
This consolidation of the armed forces, due the conflict. However, the Algerian government
partly to the unconditional backing of Algeria’s firmly rejected any mediation efforts, including
international political and economic partners,
nonetheless raises questions: does the
an offer extended by UN Secretary-General Kofi
continuation of the “eradicating” policy not Annan in September 1997 (Olsen 1998) perhaps
conceal interests involved in a war economy that due to the prevalence of the “exterminator”
ensures a hegemonic role for the army and viewpoint within it or because of interest groups
market openings in the private sector for the that continued to benefit from the conflict.
army’s patronage networks? In short, are the
The utter failure of mediation in the conflict
Islamist groups and the military not in the
process of becoming “complementary enemies” suggests a point of note for research on peace
finding in the violence of war the way to achieve settlements. Although in the Algerian case this
their aspirations? appears to have entirely prevented the institu-
tion of negotiations, it may well be that interests
France also has played a large role in support- in continued conflict, whether on the part of the
ing the Algerian government during the conflict, insurgents or the government, end up under-
providing extensive financial backing (Martinez mining efforts at a negotiated settlement. This
2000). Its aid to Algeria nearly doubled between contrasts with a typical view taken in the litera-
1990 and 1994, and because of the leading role it ture on peace settlements that holds that failure
took in shaping European Union (EU) Algerian to achieve a settlement is typically a commit-
policy, Algeria received US $40 million in EU de- ment problem, and that means of overcoming
velopment aid in 1994, a fourfold increase from this problem, such as third-party security guar-
1990. Particularly during the initial stages of the antees, can be effective in obtaining and secur-
conflict, EU members stayed behind French sup- ing a peace settlement (for this view, see Walter
port of the Algerian government, at least tacitly, 2002).
despite the fact that this conflicted with the EU’s
emphasis on democratization during the period
(Olsen 1998). Finally, private companies invest- Conclusion
ing in the hydrocarbon sector have provided ad- The Algerian civil war indicates several avenues
ditional revenues to the Algerian government. of research worth pursuing to elaborate the dy-
These companies have even taken part in the de- namics of civil wars that are not adequately
fense of their own assets by employing merce- captured in the literature on civil wars, even
naries. Having the industry protecting its own though this literature informs a balanced un-
interests alleviates some of the government’s se- derstanding of the war itself. Analysts have neg-
curity burden (Martinez 2000, 229–31). lected to address the interaction between the
government’s forces and the insurgents as hav-
Conflict Management Efforts ing a critical effect on the duration of the con-
The Algerian civil war saw no conflict manage- flict. Although contraband financing, as in
ment efforts from either the international com- Fearon (2004), is likely to allow an insurgent
munity or specific third parties. The Rome talks organization to function for a longer period of
of 1994, probably the last attempt to achieve a time, the economic dynamics of the conflict in
political solution to the conflict, were not at- Algeria demonstrate that financial benefits ac-
tended by the Algerian military and therefore cruing to the government may lead to strategies
118 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

that prolong the conflict if parties within the nancing for insurgents should be investigated
government have financial interests in the con- more broadly, and not confined in a strict sense
flict itself. to national diasporas. Instead, it is likely that
Second, the researchers must cast a wider em- communities of sympathizers abroad play an
pirical net in examining the financing of insur- important role. Private, external support of the
gent groups. Fearon (2004) notes that contra- insurgents could then be operationalized as the
band financing of insurgent groups is associated presence of persons who sympathize with the
with longer-lasting conflicts. Yet a binary coding insurgents and share their preferences for polit-
of whether the insurgents made use of income ical change (Schulhofer-Wohl 2004). Attention
from illicit sources (in Fearon, production or to such detail would be instructive not only in
trafficking in narcotics or gems) is surely a blunt uncovering the role of external support for in-
instrument. Such a coding misses the sources of surgent organizations but also in casting light
income for insurgents not involved in contra- on the tactics of insurgents. Pursuing the idea of
band financing that may prove just as potent, or sympathetic communities financing the insur-
at least potent enough, in sustaining the insur- gents in Algeria, it may be that Algerian insur-
gency. As Algeria illustrates, insurgents derived gents continued to use Islamist rhetoric and
income by playing off of the structure of the even modified the type and targets of violence
economy using both licit and illicit trade and ex- they used in order to gain external supporters
torting rents from civilians. These tactics are not or to maintain current relationships.
unique to the Algerian case. The complex role of Finally, the analysts’ emphasis of the Algerian
the government in the Algerian war economy civil war on the role of lucrative opportunities in
also underscores the obscure nature of the a war economy in explaining the occurrence and
causal relationship of contraband financing to duration of war underscore the need for a fully
war duration. Rather than simply providing a thought-out concept of opportunity costs in the
source of income to insurgents, contraband may context of war. Henderson (2005), in his study
very well involve the government in profitable of mobilization of individuals in Connecticut
activities possible only under the conditions of during the American Revolution, develops the
conflict. idea that individuals may have opportunities
The role of diaspora support, cited as a po- available to them through warfare that are un-
tential factor in Collier et al. (2004), can also be available in peacetime. Even though it may ap-
drawn out in future empirical work. Fearon pear that the opportunity costs of war are high
(2004) does not even address the issue of dias- for these individuals because of relatively high
pora support for insurgent organizations. And, levels of income or perhaps educational attain-
although Collier et al. attempt to estimate the ment, in fact the opportunities available through
role of diaspora support on conflict duration, war that have no corollary in peacetime make
albeit unsuccessfully due to lack of data, their war a desirable activity. In the Algerian civil war,
operationalization of it is confined to co- unresolved puzzles relating to the opportunity
nationals living abroad. Not only was the Alger- costs of the participants remain. A theory like
ian diaspora in Europe a source of funding for Henderson’s might help sort out why violence
insurgent groups, but it appears that parties developed precisely when it did following the
sympathetic to the insurgent groups, whether 1992 coup, and why and how the conflict has
individuals or states, also played an important persisted, particularly after the disintegration of
role in providing finances and perhaps even the large insurgent groups in the late 1990s.
other support. The Islamist networks that may Refining the characterization of opportunity
very well have been utilized by the Algerian in- costs, diasporal communities, and the dynamics
surgents suggest that external support and fi- of the interaction between governments and in-

surgents as it relates to duration may at times December 22, 1988 Bendjedid reelected to the
seem to be a rather arcane activity compared to presidency.
the immediacy of an ongoing violence that has September 14, 1989 FIS legalized.
June 12, 1990 FIS wins municipal elections.
killed, scarred, and displaced a large segment of June 15, 1991 Abassi Madani, FIS leader, calls for
the population of Algeria. Yet it is instructive to general strike.
remember that making such refinements would June 30, 1991 Madani and Ali Benhadj, FIS
bring the means of preventing and quickly re- leaders, arrested.
solving civil wars one step closer to the hands of November 27, 1991 Border post at Guenmar
attacked by two Islamists.
policy-makers. Each gradual improvement in
December 26, 1991 FIS wins first round of
the comparative understanding of civil wars ad- parliamentary elections, taking 188 of 232 seats
vances the understanding of the Algerian civil decided in the round. FFS takes twenty-five
war itself. Not only do analysts of Algeria owe seats, followed by the ruling FLN with fifteen.
this to Algerians, but it can empower Algerians January 11, 1992 Military coup d’etat.
by allowing them to make sense of and thereby Cancellation of second round of general
elections. President Chadli Bendjedid forced
build a future that leads away from an immea- to resign.
surably damaging portion of their past. January 14, 1992 The High Council of Security
(Haut Conseil de Sécurité) establishes the
Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl High Council of State (Haut Conseil d’Etat
Chronology January 16, 1992 Mohammed Boudiaf returns to
July 3, 1962 Algeria gains its independence from Algeria after exile of twenty-eight years and
France. assumes chairmanship of the HCE.
1963 Election of Ahmed Ben Bella as first January 22, 1992 Arrest of Abdelkader Hachani,
president of Algeria. FIS leader.
June 19, 1965 Ben Bella deposed by Colonel February 9, 1992 Twelve-month state of
Houari Boumedienne emergency declared
June 27, 1976 Referendum on National Charter, March 4, 1992 Algiers Administrative Court
new constitution reaffirming Algeria’s dissolves the FIS.
commitment to socialism and the FLN’s role April 11, 1992 People’s Assemblies with FIS
as the only political party and recognizing majorities at the Commune and Wilaya levels
Islam as the state religion is introduced by are dissolved; they are replaced with
Boumedienne. Election of Boumedienne as appointed bodies.
president. April 22, 1992 National Consultative Council
December 27, 1978 Boumedienne dies. (Conseil Consultatif National, CCN) created.
February 7, 1979 Colonel Chadli Bendjedid June 29, 1992 Mohammed Boudiaf assassinated.
replaces Boumedienne as president. Ali Kafi takes his position as chair of the
April 20, 1980 Riots in Tizi Ouzou. HCE.
November 20, 1982 Violence between Islamist July 12, 1992 Abbasid Madani and Ali Belhadji,
and progressive students in dormitories of FIS leaders, receive twelve-year prison
Ben Aknoun University. sentences.
November 16, 1984 Islamist demonstration at August 26, 1992 Bomb explodes at the Algiers
Kouba during funeral. airport, killing eleven and injuring 128.
January 16, 1986 New National Charter adopted November 30, 1992 Curfews put in place in
through referendum. Algiers, Blida, Boumerdès, Tipasa, Bouira,
November 8–12, 1986 Riots at Constantine and Médéa, and Aïn Defla.
Sétif occur in wake of increasing February 7, 1993 State of emergency extended.
unemployment, inflation, and the collapse of March 27, 1993 Algeria cuts off diplomatic
oil and gas prices. relations with Iran and Sudan.
October 4–10, 1988 Riots in Algiers. May 26, 1993 Assassination attempt on Tahar
November 3, 1988 Establishment of multiparty Djaout, an anti-Islamist writer who dies from
system of governance. wounds on June 2.
120 | ALGERIA (1992–PRESENT)

May 29, 1993 Curfew in place from December 5, January 26, 1995 Zéroual’s office announces
1992 extended to Chlef, M’Sila, and Djelfa upcoming presidential elections.
regions. February 14, 1995 Talks with political parties
June 10, 1993 Morocco arrests GIA leader concerning the presidential elections begin.
Abdelhak Layada. February 21, 1995 Prisoners escape from
July 1993 Liamin Zéroual appointed minister of Serkadji prison; the prison housed those
defense. charged with or convicted of terrorism.
August 21, 1993 Redha Malek appointed prime Ninety-six prisoners and four guards die over
minister. the course of a day and a half.
August 22, 1993 Assassination of former prime April 4, 1995 Exclusion zones established by the
minister Kasdi Merbah. government around the oil fields.
September 17, 1993 FIS establishes an overseas July 11, 1995 Killing of Imam Sahraoui, one of
leadership led by Rabah Kébir. the FIS founders, in Paris.
December 1, 1993 GIA deadline. After this date, August 28, 1995 Opposition groups that signed
the GIA considered foreigners in Algeria to the National Contract call for boycott of the
be targets. presidential election.
January 31, 1994 HCE appoints Zéroual to November 16, 1995 Zéroual elected president of
presidency. Zéroual replaces Ali Kafi as leader the republic.
of Algerian government. January 26, 1996 MSI-Hamas becomes part of
February 24, 1994 Former FIS senior officials Ali the new government.
Djeddi and Abdelkader Boukhamkham February 18, 1996 Curfews in place from
released from prison. December 1992 lifted.
February 26, 1994 GIA leader Djafaar el Afghani March 13, 1996 Antiterrorist summit in Sharm
dies. el-Sheikh, Egypt attended by the Algerian
March 10, 1994 Tazoult prison attacked by government.
insurgents, freeing approximately one March 27, 1996 GIA claims responsibility for
thousand prisoners. Assassination of kidnapping of seven monks.
playwright Abdelkader Alloula. March 30, 1996 Kidnapped monks found dead.
June 1, 1994 Foreign debt of US $26 billion is May 5, 1996 Parliamentary and municipal
rescheduled. elections announced by Zéroual to be before
August 27, 1994 Border with Morocco closed. end of 1996.
September 29, 1994 Assassination of Cheb July 16, 1996 LIDD kills Djamel Zitouni, GIA
Hasni, Rai singer. leader. Antar Zouabri assumes GIA
October 31, 1994 Presidential election leadership.
announced by Zéroual. Election is to take April 3, 1997 Massacre at Thalit. Only one out of
place before the end of 1995. fifty-three inhabitants survives.
November 14, 1994 Killings at Berrouaghia April 22, 1997 Massacre at Haouch Khemisti.
prison after prisoners attempt to escape. April 23, 1997 Massacre at Omaria.
November 21, 1994 Beginning of Rome talks, May 28, 1997 FIS leadership abroad publishes
hosted by the Community of Sant’ Egidio. “strategy for resolving the crisis in Algeria.”
December 24, 1994 Air France Flight 8969 June 5, 1997 RND wins parliamentary elections
hijacked at Algiers airport by Islamists. with 155 seats. MSP takes sixty-nine seats,
December 26, 1994 French authorities storm the followed by the FLN with sixty-four, En
airplane at the Marseilles airport and kill the Nahda with thirty-four, the FFS with
hijackers. nineteen, and the RCD with nineteen.
December 27, 1994 Major foreign airlines halt June 16, 1997 Massacre at Dairat Labguer.
flight to Algeria; four priests killed at Tizi July 27, 1997 Massacre at Si Zerrouk.
Ouzou. August 3, 1997 Massacre at Oued el-Had and
January 13, 1995 Opposition groups attending Mezouara.
the Rome talks, including the FIS, FFS, FLN, August 20, 1997 Massacre at Souhane.
and others publish the National Contract. August 26, 1997 Massacre at Beni-Ali.
January 14, 1995 Opposition groups at the August 28–29 Massacre at Raïs.
Rome talks sign a plan to end the civil war September 5, 1997 Massacre in the hills of
called the Sant’ Egidio platform. The Algiers at Béni Messous.
government of Algeria does not sign. September 19, 1997 Massacre at Guelb el-Kebir

September 21, 1997 Unilateral cease-fire List of Acronyms

declared by the AIS. AIS: Islamic Army of Salvation (Armée Islamique
September 22, 1997 Massacre at Bentalha. du Salut)
October 12, 1997 Massacre at fake roadblock at ALN: National Liberation Army (Armeé de
Sidi Daoud. Libération Nationale)
October 23, 1997 RND wins municipal ANP: Popular National Army (Armeé National
elections, taking 55 percent of the seats. Populaire)
October 27, 1997 Demonstrations against FFS: Front of Socialist Forces (Front des Forces
election fraud by opposition in Algiers. Socialistes)
December 24, 1997 Massacre at Sid el-Antri. FIDA: Islamic Front of Jihad in Algeria (Front
December 30, 1997 Massacres in Relizane Wilaya. Islamique du Djihad Armé)
January 4, 1998 Massacres in Relizane Wilaya. FIS: Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique du
January 11, 1998 Massacre at Sidi-Hamed. Salut)
March 26, 1998 Massacre at Oued Bouaicha. FLN: National Liberation Front (Front de
June 25, 1998 Assassination of Matoub Lounes, Libération Nationale)
anti-Islamist Kabyle singer. Lounes had been GDP: gross domestic product
on the GIA’s list of artists and intellectuals GIA: Islamic Armed Groups (Groupes Islamique
and was kidnapped by the GIA for two weeks Armées)
on September 25, 1994. GSC: Salafi Combatant Group (Groupe Salafiste
September 14, 1998 GSPC splits from the GIA Combattant)
because of massacres. GSPC: Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat
December 8, 1998 Massacre at Tadjena. (Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le
April 15, 1999 Election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika Combat)
as president. Other candidates had already GSPD: Salafi Group for the Jihad (Groupe Salafist
withdrawn and had made allegations of pour le Djihad)
election fraud. HDS: Guardians of the Salafi Call (Houmat Al-
June 5, 1999 AIS begins to negotiate amnesty for Da’wa Al-Salafiyya)
its members after agreeing to dissolve. IMF: International Monetary Fund
November 22, 1999 Assassination of Abdelkader LIDD: Islamic League for Preaching and Jihad
Hachani, senior FIS member. MEI: Movement for the Islamic State (Mouvement
January 11, 2000 Dissolution of AIS after pour l’Etat Islamique)
amnesty agreement with the government. MIA: Armed Islamic Movement (Mouvement
September 23, 2001 U.S. President George W. Islamique Armé)
Bush’s Executive Order 13224 freezes the RCD: Rally for Culture and Democracy
assets of the GIA and GSPC, which the (Rassemblement pour la Culture et la
United States considers terrorist groups. Démocratie)
February 8, 2002 GIA leader Anta Zouabri RND: National Democratic Rally (Rassemblement
killed. National Démocratique)
July 2, 2003 FIS leaders Abassi Madani and Ali SAP: Structural Adjustment Program
Beljadji are released from prison. They had
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Country Background Angola’s economy is heavily reliant on the oil

For most of its independent existence, Angola sector: Oil accounts for 90 percent of exports, 75
was a Marxist-Leninist state ruled by a single percent of revenues, and half of the GDP, and it
party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation is a significant source of collateral for commer-
of Angola (MPLA). Freedom House gives it a cial loans. Oil revenues brought in $4.5 billion in
rating of 6.0 (5.5–7 is “not free”). The MPLA 2004 (IMF 2005a). There is virtually no integra-
government renounced Marxism-Leninism in tion between the oil sector and the rest of the
1990 and officially legalized other parties in May economy, and most fields are located offshore,
1991 as part of the Bicesse Accords. There are which protected oil production from disruption
currently more than one hundred twenty legal during the civil war. Angola possesses 5 billion
parties, with twelve controlling seats in the Na- barrels of proven reserves, and production has
tional Assembly. Nonetheless, the MPLA re- been steadily climbing over the last decade. In
mains the dominant force in Angolan politics: It 1995, Angola produced about 650,000 barrels
controls nearly 60 percent of the seats in the As- per day; by 2004, production had reached 1 mil-
sembly, and its long-time leader, Jose Eduardo lion barrels per day and was expected to double
dos Santos, has served as president since 1979. by mid-2007 (IMF 2005a). This helped fuel an
The last elections were held in 1992, and new 11.4 percent real GDP growth rate in 2004. Ac-
elections have been promised for September cording to the U.S. State Department, Angola’s
2006. GDP/purchasing power parity is $35.1 billion,
Despite a rich natural resource base and and per capita GDP/ppp is US $2,525 (United
strong economic growth rates, Angola remains States Department of State 2005).
one of the world’s poorest countries. It is the Transparency International ranks Angola as
second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan one of the world’s most corrupt countries. Based
Africa after Nigeria, and the world’s fourth- on International Monetary Fund (IMF) studies,
largest producer of rough diamonds (IMF some $1 billion in oil revenues in 2002 went un-
2005a). A net exporter of food at independ- accounted for. Between 1997 and 2002, a total of
ence in 1975, decades of civil war have left $4.22 billion in oil revenue appears to have been
most Angolans reliant on subsistence agricul- siphoned off, an amount roughly equivalent to
ture and humanitarian assistance for their all social spending (both public and private) in
food needs. the same period (Human Rights Watch 2003a).

| 125
126 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

Lack of transparency and mismanagement con- beginning of the MPLA’s campaign. The brutal
tinue to plague the economy. Portuguese counterattack killed tens of thou-
Diamonds are another significant economic sands of Africans and sent hundreds of thou-
resource, accounting for more than 8 percent of sands into Zaire as refugees; by the time the
exports and 95 percent of non-oil exports (IMF peasant uprising had been put down, Portugal
2005a). But the Angolan government has had had 140,000 troops stationed in Angola. Sus-
trouble controlling diamond exports, and espe- tained anticolonial guerrilla operations com-
cially in the 1990s diamonds were overwhelm- menced in 1966. Three factions emerged: the
ingly exploited by the rebel movement, the Na- MPLA, the National Front for the Liberation of
tional Union for the Total Independence of Angola (FNLA), and UNITA. In 1974, following
Angola (UNITA) in a lucrative illegal trade. The an army coup triggered by the draining anti-
government has steadily reasserted its control colonial wars in Africa, Portugal announced its
since 2002, and Angola will produce an esti- intentions to grant Angola independence on No-
mated $900 million in diamonds in 2005 vember 11, 1975. A brief period of relative calm
(United Nations Integrated Regional Informa- was destroyed by early summer 1975 as the three
tion Network, 5 July 2005). Nonetheless, Angola anticolonial movements fought for control of
continues to lose several hundred million dollars the soon-to-be independent state.
a year in revenue because of diamond smuggling The heavy involvement of the United States
(United Nations Integrated Regional Informa- and the Soviet Union as the sponsors of oppos-
tion Network, 2005a). ing movements helped turn Angola into a major
Cold War battleground. Cuban troops began ar-
riving in late summer in support of the MPLA,
Conflict Background and South African and Zairean troops inter-
With few exceptions, Angola was in a constant vened on behalf of the FNLA and UNITA. The
state of war from 1961 to 2002. From 1961 to Cuban intervention proved decisive, and the
1975, several factions fought an anticolonial war MPLA routed the FNLA, which all but disinte-
against the Portuguese occupiers, which then grated as it retreated into Zaire. The MPLA de-
continued as internecine civil war after inde- clared itself the Government of Angola (GOA)
pendence in November 1975. The civil war has at independence on November 11, 1975. UNITA,
three distinct phases. Phase I (1975–1991) was a the smallest of the three movements, refused to
classic Cold War regional conflict, pitting the accept the legitimacy of the MPLA government.
MPLA government, backed by 50,000 Cuban It continued a guerrilla campaign in the south-
troops and massive levels of Soviet bloc military ern areas, backed by Zaire and South Africa.
assistance, against its bitter rival, UNITA, backed American assistance to UNITA was legally cut
by South Africa, Zaire, and the United States. off by the 1976 Clark Amendment and would
Phase II (1992–1994) is bookended by the col- not be restored until 1985. In the early 1980s, the
lapse of one peace accord, the Bicesse Accords, Reagan administration tied the independence of
and the implementation of another, the Lusaka Nambia, illegally occupied by South Africa, to
Protocol, which kept a relative peace for four the withdrawal of the 50,000 Cuban troops in
years. Phase III (1998–2002) began with the Angola. Fighting between the Angolan govern-
total collapse of the Lusaka Protocol and ended ment and UNITA dragged on for thirteen years
with the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. after independence.
This entry focuses on the 1992–2002 period. As the United States and the Soviet Union
The first armed uprisings broke out in 1961, began to end their Cold War, and as apartheid
spearheaded by peasants resisting the forced cul- South Africa moved toward democracy, diplo-
tivation of cotton and, in a separate action, the matic efforts mounted to solve the international

element of the Angolan war. Soviet leader to verify that the two parties were following the
Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to extricate the So- cease-fire, and thus it deployed only 350 military
viet Union from its costly third-world involve- observers. The Joint Political and Military Com-
ments, Cuba could not afford to maintain its mission, the body charged with the actual im-
forces in Angola without Soviet financial assis- plementation of the accord, comprised the two
tance, and South Africa was staggering under the parties plus the United States and the Soviet
combined weight of sanctions, the war in An- Union; the UN’s special representative to the
gola, and colonial control of Namibia. Heavy secretary-general was an observer.
fighting in 1987–1988 produced a mutually The elections were held in September 1992
hurting stalemate as all parties recognized that despite clear evidence that both parties had
military victory was not possible and that fur- failed to demobilize or disarm. Three weeks be-
ther fighting was economically prohibitive. fore the elections, less than half of the govern-
On December 22, 1988, the Brazzaville Proto- ment’s forces had demobilized, and not even 25
col was signed at the UN by Angola, Cuba, and percent of UNITA’s forces had done so (Jett
South Africa. It featured a phased withdrawal of 1999, 104). Nonetheless, the elections went for-
Cuban troops, to be completed by July 1991, and ward, and 92 percent of registered voters partici-
the implementation of UN Resolution 435, pated. The MPLA won nearly 54 percent of the
which governed Namibia’s transition to inde- vote for the national assembly (129 seats) and
pendence. A seventy-person UN military ob- UNITA 34 percent (seventy seats). President dos
server force (United Nations Angola Verification Santos received 49.57 percent of the vote for
Mission [UNAVEM I]), verified the Cuban with- president and Savimbi 40.6 percent. The failure
drawal. The diplomatic momentum carried over of any candidate to achieve a majority should
into an effort to solve the internal dimension of have triggered a second round of voting, but
Angola’s civil war as the Americans and the So- Savimbi rejected the results of the elections.
viets both pressured their clients to settle politi- Savimbi’s decision plunged the country into
cally. The GOA announced its commitment to a the worst violence yet seen in the long civil war.
political solution in January 1989, and over the An estimated 300,000 people died in the 1992–
next two years a variety of mediators brokered 1994 period (Human Rights Watch 1999, 15).
negotiations. UNITA was well positioned for a return to war.
Joint American, Soviet, and Portuguese medi- Its forces were now three times larger than those
ation over six rounds of talks in 1990 produced of the Forcas Armadas Angolanas (FAA), thanks
the 1991 Bicesse Accords. The agreement’s pro- to the government’s crash effort to demobilize
visions included a cease-fire, effective May 15, to its forces in the weeks surrounding the election
be followed by cantonment and disarmament; a (Jett 1999, 104). Unsurprisingly, UNITA rapidly
multiparty system, which allowed for UNITA’s seized over three-quarters of the country, in-
participation in politics; a commitment to hold cluding several provincial capitals, before the
free and fair elections under international super- FAA began to reverse those gains. Several factors
vision; the recognition of the MPLA govern- contributed to the FAA’s gradual resurgence. In
ment by UNITA until the elections; the exten- 1993, the GOA hired Executive Outcomes, a pri-
sion of central administration to all parts of the vate security firm whose personnel were former
country; the termination of outside military as- members of the South African Defense Forces
sistance by the United States and the Soviet (SADF), to train and assist the FAA. UNITA lost
Union; the creation of a unified national mili- its outside supporters, with the exception of
tary force; and a UN peacekeeping mission Zaire, because it had rejected the election results.
(UNAVEM II) to support the parties. UNAVEM It was forced to turn to diamond smuggling to
II had a very weak mandate—its role was simply buy the weapons previously provided by the
128 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

United States and South Africa. The UN im- 1998, UNITA continued to purchase large
posed sanctions on UNITA in September 1993, amounts of weaponry, in contravention of the
forbidding sales of fuel and arms to the rebels. UN sanctions. It stockpiled weapons and ma-
By late 1994, the FAA had retaken most of the teriel in neighboring countries. UNITA’s foot-
cities captured by UNITA, and the rebels were dragging constantly pushed back the timetable
under heavy military pressure. for completing the various components of the
Diplomatic efforts produced the Lusaka Pro- Lusaka process.
tocol in November 1994. Lusaka built on the The government also utilized the post-Lusaka
Bicesse framework but directly addressed the period to rearm. Military expenditures as a share
previous agreement’s weaknesses, adding power of GDP had been between 6 and 12 percent
sharing, direct UN oversight of the peace from 1990 to 1993; that figure averaged nearly
process backed by a 7,000-person peacekeeping 20 percent between 1994 and 1999 (Omitoogun,
force, and a new round of elections to take place 2001, 4). In 1996, for example, the GOA pur-
after the DDR (disarmament, demobilization, chased $350 million dollars worth of Russian at-
and reintegration) process was completed. The tack helicopters and fighter jets (Reno 1999, 65).
protocol’s effectiveness was cast into doubt al- Localized fighting broke out in 1995 and
most immediately when Savimbi refused to at- 1996, and cease-fire violations multiplied
tend the signing ceremony. Consequently, dos throughout 1997. The UN imposed additional
Santos did not sign for the GOA. For the first sanctions against UNITA because of its failure to
time in three years, dos Santos and Savimbi met meet its commitments under Lusaka in August
face to face in May 1995, the first of four such 1997 and June 1998, including a ban on sales of
meetings in 1995 and 1996. Savimbi’s role in the diamonds from Angola not accompanied by a
government had yet to be determined and was a certificate of origin. Simultaneously, the UN was
major point of contention. In June 1995, the downsizing its peacekeeping mission; by June
GOA offered Savimbi the largely ceremonial 1997, only an observer force of roughly 1,500
post of vice president. When it did not receive troops with 345 civilian police officers was left.
any reply, it made the offer again in March 1996. UNAVEM III transitioned to the UN Observer
Savimbi finally rejected the post in August, Mission in Angola (MONUA), which had an au-
claiming that UNITA did not want him to accept thorized strength of 2,000 personnel.
it. Savimbi also never went to Luanda, although With a return to war looking increasingly
the UNITA deputies elected in 1992 took their likely, the GOA moved to cut UNITA off from its
assembly seats, and UNITA members were ap- outside support network. Zaire’s leader, Mobutu
pointed to the Government of Unity and Na- Sese Seko, was UNITA’s longest running, and by
tional Reconciliation (GURN). this point its most essential, patron. Savimbi had
UNITA largely failed to live up to its side of stashed a large quantity of weapons and supplies
Lusaka, pursuing “a policy of procrastination in Zaire and had also maintained a “secret army
with concessions only when unavoidable” (Mac- of perhaps 15,000 soldiers,” both deliberately
Queen 1998, 409). It dragged its feet on the hidden from the Lusaka process (Turner 2002,
quartering of its troops and never handed in its 81). When the rebellion against Mobutu flared
heavy weaponry. It refused to allow state admin- in 1996, the GOA recognized an opportunity
istration into many of the areas under its con- both to sever UNITA’s Zairean network and to
trol. In early 1998, nearly one year into the punish Mobutu for years of meddling in Angola.
process, UNITA had turned over only 239 of the Initially, it accepted Zairean promises to cut off
344 localities specified in Lusaka (Human Rights UNITA in return for Angola staying out of the
Watch 1999, 23). With the billions it gained burgeoning rebellion. But when such promises
from illegal diamond sales between 1993 and were not fulfilled—several Zairean generals sold

UNITA tons of arms even as their own army was ple in government-controlled areas, which in-
crumbling in the face of the rebel advance—the cluded camps with insufficient assistance and
GOA sent some 5,000–7,000 troops to support security, and pursued scorched-earth tactics.
rebel leader Laurent Kabila (Turner 2002, 82). UNITA, hard hit by the offensive and reeling
Kabila’s capture of Kinshasa in 1997 severely from the loss of its outside networks, could no
curtailed UNITA’s ability to use Zairean territory longer mount sustained conventional opposi-
and forced Savimbi to establish alternative sup- tion, resorting to hit-and-run guerrilla attacks
ply networks and sanctuaries. that took a heavy toll on civilians. In one in-
Savimbi turned to Pascal Lissouba, the em- stance in August 2001, a UNITA-laid land mine
battled president of Congo-Brazzaville, itself on caused a train derailment that killed more than
the brink of civil war. Thousands of UNITA 250 people.
fighters who fled Zaire went to Congo-Brazza- The government inflicted heavy losses on
ville, where Lissouba incorporated them into his UNITA throughout 1999. UNITA was unable to
militia. When war broke out in June 1997, the import the fuel, spare parts, and munitions it
GOA sent 3,500 troops to help Lissouba’s rival, needed to counter the FAA offensive, and its
Denis Sassou-Nguesso (Hewitt 1999). With An- morale plunged. The FAA seized Andula and
gola’s help, Sassou-Nguesso seized power in Bailundo, the military and political headquar-
Congo-Brazzaville in October, once more cut- ters of UNITA, in September, and in late Decem-
ting UNITA off from an important external ber captured Jamba, UNITA’s headquarters until
base. The Angolan troops stayed in Congo-Braz- 1994. The GOA persuaded Namibia to allow its
zaville until 2001. forces to attack UNITA positions from Namib-
To preserve its success in denying UNITA ac- ian territory in late 1999, and fighting that also
cess to the Democratic Republic of the Congo involved Namibian forces flared along the bor-
(DRC, the former Zaire), the GOA sent additional der. In 2000, “UNITA was defeated as a conven-
troops to support Kabila when his Rwandan and tional military force” (Turner 2002, 86).
Ugandan allies turned against him in August Despite the government’s string of victories,
1998. The UNITA fighters remaining in the DRC the fighting dragged on through 2000 and 2001.
now supported their former enemies, Rwanda On February 22, 2002, UNITA leader Jonas Sav-
and Uganda. By this time, though, UNITA offi- imbi was killed by government commandos in a
cials had visited both states and were transship- raid. A cease-fire was in place by April 4, and
ping guns and diamonds through their airports peace was officially declared on August 2. All UN
with official sanction. This earned Rwanda and sanctions were lifted in December.
Uganda the GOA’s enmity, and further strength-
ened Angola’s reasons to back Kabila.
The government’s patience with UNITA fi- The Insurgents
nally ran out in December 1998. President dos UNITA was founded in 1966, when Jonas Sav-
Santos asked the remaining UN observers to imbi left the FNLA to form his own group. Ini-
withdraw, suspended the Lusaka Protocol, and tially based in Zambia, UNITA was expelled in
ordered a massive military offensive. This round 1967 after an attack on a strategic rail link be-
of fighting was markedly more brutal than be- tween Zambia and Angola. Inside Angola, the
fore, as both sides committed egregious viola- group grew stronger, but it remained the small-
tions against civilians. Between 1998 and 2002, est of the nationalist groups until independence.
the number of refugees nearly doubled, and the It counted only some 3,000 fighters in January
number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) 1975.
quadrupled (Human Rights Watch 2003b, 6). Following the collapse of the FNLA, UNITA
The government began to forcibly resettle peo- became the main armed opposition force to the
130 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

Table 1: Civil War in Angola

War: UNITA vs. the government
Dates: September 1992–April 2002
Casualties: 500,000–700,000
Regime type prior to war: –7 (ranging from –10 [authoritarian] to 10 [democracy])
Regime type after war: –3
GDP/per capita year war began: US $586 in 1992 (1995 dollars)
GDP/per capita 5 years after war: US $632 in 2003 (1995 dollars)
Insurgents: UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola)
Issue: Control of central government and mineral resources
Rebel funding: Diamonds
Role of geography: Limited
Role of resources: Revenue from oil and diamonds funded the fighting
Immediate outcome: Government victory due to death of rebel leader
Outcome after 5 years: Peace, elections scheduled for 2006
Role of UN: Facilitated peace talks; five peacekeeping missions; humanitarian assistance
Role of regional organization: None
Refugees: 435,000; all should be repatriated by mid-2005
Prospects for peace: Favorable

Sources: Doyle and Sambanis 2000.

MPLA government. UNITA drew its support al- monds were sold directly to diamond cutters
most entirely from the Ovimbundu, who consti- and their intermediaries, through tenders issued
tute roughly a third of Angola’s population. Yet in third countries, and through South Africa’s
the war, especially after 1992, was not about eth- open market (UN 2000b, para. 176). The gov-
nicity; it was about Savimbi’s personal ambition ernments of Burkino Faso, Zaire, Uganda, and
to be the leader of Angola. Savimbi’s control Rwanda facilitated UNITA’s illegal diamond sell-
over UNITA cadres was a “product partly of his ing. Significant quantities of diamonds also
personal charisma and genuine leadership quali- moved through Namibia, South Africa, and
ties, but it [was] reinforced by a fearsome secu- Zambia, although not with official sanction. Di-
rity apparatus, a culture of zero tolerance for amond sales between 1993 and 1998 brought in
dissent and a personality cult that has parallels an estimated $3 billion to UNITA and its part-
with those of Mao Tse-Tung and Kim Il-Sung” ners (UN 2000b, para. 153). The peak year was
(Hodges 2001, 18). 1996, when UNITA produced roughly $800 mil-
Throughout the war, UNITA captured “sub- lion in diamonds (UN 2000b, para. 152).
stantial quantities” of weapons from the govern- Diamonds allowed UNITA to fund the pur-
ment, but in the 1990s especially it actively pur- chase of large quantities of equipment, including
chased weapons on the black market (UN “mechanized vehicles such as tanks and APCs,
2000a, para. 39). Thanks to several UN inves- mines and explosives, a variety of small arms and
tigative reports, a great deal is known about light antiaircraft weapons, and a variety of ar-
UNITA’s funding and arms acquisitions. tillery pieces” (UN 2000a, para. 48). Until the
UNITA became a major participant in the overthrow of Mobutu in 1997, Zaire was
blood diamond trade following its seizure of the UNITA’s main backer. From as early as 1997, Bul-
Cuango Valley in November 1992. According to garia was the source for the majority of UNITA’s
the UN, UNITA cooperated with a foreign con- weapons purchases, although the Bulgarians be-
sortium to run industrial diamond mines in lieved the end-user certificates presented from
Cuango Valley, close to the DRC border. Dia- Togo were authentic (UN 2000b, para. 50).

Jonas Savimbi (center) led the UNITA rebel army in Angola for decades. This photo of Savimbi was taken in 1975,
around the time of Angolan independence. (Patrick Chauvel/Sygma/Corbis)

Despite multiple rounds of UN sanctions, areas (UN 2000a, para. 21). In return, Mobutu
UNITA continued to find suppliers, seeking out received cash and diamonds as well as the assis-
arms dealers willing to barter for diamonds. The tance of several thousand UNITA troops against
Fowler Report identified four reasons for the Kabila rebellion. Savimbi forged a close rela-
UNITA’s success in circumventing the sanctions: tionship with Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo in
the willingness of certain African countries to the early 1990s, when Togo agreed to help
provide UNITA with end-user certificates and to UNITA purchase weapons and other military
facilitate the movement of arms through their equipment in return for a 20-percent cash or in-
territory; the willingness of some countries offi- kind cut of the shipment’s value (UN 2000a,
cially or unofficially to sell arms with little or no para. 33). With Mobutu’s position increasingly
regard for their final destination; the eagerness threatened by the rebellion in Zaire, Savimbi in
of international arms brokers and air transport early 1997 turned again to Togo, which gave
companies to act as intermediaries between UNITA a genuine end-user certificate that
UNITA and its suppliers; and UNITA’s ability to UNITA then forged and used repeatedly. Burk-
pay for what it wanted, thanks to its diamond ina Faso also supplied end-user certificates;
operations (UN 2000a, para. 51). Blaise Campaore and Savimbi enjoyed a close
Zaire, Togo, and Burkina Faso all helped personal relationship in addition to their finan-
UNITA procure weapons. In the early 1990s, cial ties (UN 2000a, para. 103). Eyadema and
Mobutu arranged for weapons to reach UNITA Campaore received diamonds in payment for
by providing false end-user certificates and facil- the false documents and the assistance in storing
itating transport (often by air) into UNITA-held and transporting the weapons.
132 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

The FAA offensive in 1999 made UNITA’s ille- that was capable of laying siege to and capturing
gal diamond trading and arms acquisitions ex- major provincial capitals. These tactics took a
tremely difficult. The UN embargo on air travel heavy humanitarian toll. UNITA’s twenty-one-
into UNITA-held areas and the GOA’s interven- month bombardment of Kuito, which it failed to
tions in the DRC and Congo-Brazzaville also cut capture, killed an estimated 20,000–30,000 peo-
off UNITA from its outside supply network. As ple and all but leveled the town; its shelling of
its resources were choked off, UNITA found it Huambo killed 10,000 people (Human Rights
increasingly difficult to prosecute the war. Watch 1994). UNITA rained 1,000 shells per day
on these cities. Such sieges also produced severe
Geography food shortages. UNITA captured and held six
Savimbi established his headquarters in Jamba, provincial capitals: Caxito, Huambo, M’banza
in the farthest reaches of the sparsely populated Kongo, Ndalatando, and Uige (Hodges 2001,
Cuando Cubango province, an area the Por- 15). It also moved its capital from Jamba to
tuguese had called the “end of the world.” This Bailundo in the central plateau province of
isolation allowed the group to survive once the Huambo during this period. Under the Lusaka
MPLA took power in 1975, and Jamba’s close Protocol, UNITA was to turn the areas under its
proximity to the Namibian border meant South control over to the central administration, but
African assistance, including SADF troops, when fighting resumed in 1998 it still held sixty
could flow in easily in Phase I of the war. In the localities (Human Rights Watch 1999, 23).
early 1980s, UNITA expanded the areas under its Government successes in 1999 forced UNITA
control from some southern and central into hit-and-run ambushes and terrorist tac-
provinces toward the Zairean border. By the tics for the remainder of the war. UNITA
mid-1980s, UNITA’s reach extended to areas began to target expatriate workers, govern-
bordering Zaire, allowing it to use Zaire as a ment and traditional leaders, and humanitar-
transshipment point, supply depot, and sanctu- ian workers, and its abuses against civilians
ary. Zaire gave UNITA strategic depth, which (such as forced recruitment and mutilation)
helped the movement to pose a serious chal- increased dramatically. Freedom of movement
lenge to the government’s ability to rule for was denied in UNITA areas, and no humani-
more than two decades. tarian assistance reached those populations for
Most of Angola’s diamonds are in alluvial de- several years. Southern Bie province, for exam-
posits, which are much easier to exploit than ple, was inaccessible from 1998 until the end of
kimberlite deposits. Thus, UNITA’s mining op- the war. The FAA also engaged in widespread
erations were labor intensive and did not require forced displacement, moving people from
a great deal of mining equipment. The location rural areas into major population centers or
of the richest deposits in areas easily accessible pushing them into refugee camps. The human-
to Zaire/DRC also eased UNITA’s ability to move itarian emergency that emerged when the war
diamonds out of Angola and to bring weapons, ended was a direct consequence of the warring
fuel, food, and equipment in from Zaire. The lo- parties’ tactics.
cation of the major oil fields offshore ensured UNITA’s ability to wage anything more than a
government control of this resource and pro- guerrilla campaign was dictated by the number
tected it from disruption during the fighting. of men it had under arms, the resources it con-
trolled, and the size of the FAA. UNITA’s major
Tactics gains came at a time when the FAA had dispro-
For most of its existence, UNITA was a classic portionately demobilized, giving UNITA a large
rural guerrilla insurgency. In the 1992–1994 pe- numerical advantage. Accurate estimates of
riod, it evolved into a semiconventional force UNITA’s size are difficult to make, but it was to



Brazzaville N
M'banza Congo

C ua

LUANDA N'dalatando Cuango


Lobito Kuito
Benguela Huambo MOXICO
n avale


Namibe Lubango Menongue







Major diamond producing area

Oil field 0 100 200 mi BOTSWANA
UNITA headquarters 0 100 200 300 km

have quartered 62,500 combatants as part of the Most UNITA forces were light infantry units,
Lusaka process and 105,000 combatants went although UNITA was able to field several ar-
through DDR at the war’s end (Hewitt, 1999; mored and mechanized units. It captured some
UN 2003, 3). The FAA was the largest army in T–54/55 tanks from government forces and pur-
sub-Saharan Africa by the late 1990s, with chased four or five others (UN 2000a, para. 49).
roughly 120,000 men. Over the final two years of It was not until December 1998 that UNITA first
fighting, it grew to 146,000 (Stockholm Interna- used tank divisions. UNITA also had artillery
tional Peace Research Institute 2001). and antitank and air defense units, but the
134 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

mainstay of its weapons inventory was small months after the cease-fire, most fighters were
arms and light weapons (UN 2000a, para. 47). still in the camps, and a year later 15,000 fighters
Like the government, UNITA made heavy use of were still waiting to enter the reception areas
land mines. (UN 2003, 3). Potentially problematic is that
UNITA turned over the equivalent of one
weapon for every three soldiers in the disarma-
Causes of the War ment process (Human Rights Watch 2003a).
Although earlier phases of the war were fueled Given the staggering unemployment rate and
by anticolonialism or Cold War ideological bat- the government’s inability to provide even basic
tles, the 1992–2002 fighting was largely fueled by services, there are continuing concerns that ex-
the ambitions of one man, Jonas Savimbi. His UNITA fighters will resort to banditry to sustain
refusal to accept the election results of 1992 was themselves and their families (ICG 2003a, 6).
the direct trigger for a return to war, and his re- The UN reported in 2003 that 90,000 UNITA
calcitrance with respect to Lusaka was largely re- excombatants went through the resettlement
sponsible for its failure. UNITA served as his process out of 105,000 total (each with average
personal vehicle, as evidenced by the rapid end of six dependents) (UN 2003, 3).
of the war after his death. When the fighting stopped, half a million
people living in UNITA-held areas previously
inaccessible to humanitarian assistance proved
Outcome to be in dire need of aid; the UN Office for the
Conflict Status Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
The war ended in 2002 as a result of the death of said that malnutrition among those living in
the rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. The two sides combat zones was among the worst seen in
signed an addendum to the Lusaka Protocol, the Africa in a decade; some 3 million Angolans re-
Luena Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). quired food assistance to survive by mid-2002
The MOU dealt with military issues still out- (ICG 2003a, 4). Relief efforts were hampered by
standing from the implementation of Lusaka, bad (or nonexistent) roads, land mines, and sea-
such as DDR and the integration of UNITA per- sonal rains, which combined to place 445,000
sonnel into the FAA and the national police. people beyond the reach of assistance by early
Despite an end to the fighting, Angola contin- 2003, with an additional 200,000 people yet to
ues to face severe resettlement problems. Demo- be reached for the first time; a year after the war
bilization created a new humanitarian crisis, as ended, mortality rates were still at emergency
the UNITA excombatants waited in camps for levels, especially in rural areas (UN 2003, 4).
the government to deliver on its promises of aid. By the war’s end, roughly 435,000 refugees
A number of factors hindered the DDR process, had fled, mainly to the DRC, Zambia, and
including a “lack of adequate facilities, inaccessi- Namibia; another 4 million persons—one-third
ble roads, mine infestation and inadequately of the population—were internally displaced
prepared resettlement areas” (UN 2003, 3). Ex- (United Nations High Commission for Refugees
combatants were promised farming tools, 2002, 2004). Large numbers of persons returned
household goods, zinc roofs, clothes, and $100 to their homes in 2002 and 2003, often outside
stipends, but the GOA did not universally pro- of the formal resettlement process. OCHA re-
vide such benefits, claiming it faced financial ported that 3.8 million Angolans returned or re-
difficulties in paying for the DDR process. In settled in 2003; some 70 percent did so without
September 2002, the World Food Program any assistance from local authorities or humani-
began supplying food to the excombatants be- tarian organizations (United Nations Office for
cause the GOA had not (Cauvin 2002). Six the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004,

1). Land mines made this especially hazardous.

Only 30 percent of designated return sites had Land Mines
basic services in place for the returnees, and Angola is one of the world’s most heavily mined
countries. At least one in every 415 Angolans is dis-
900,000 people returned to areas without any
abled as a result of a mine injury. The Angolan gov-
basic services (UN 2003, 5). The United Nations ernment estimates that some 80,000 people have
High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) re- been mutilated by mine injuries. Seventy-six differ-
ported that by mid-2005, some 320,000 refugees ent types of mines manufactured in twenty-two
had voluntarily repatriated (185,000 with countries have been laid in Angola (Hartley 2002),
UNHCR assistance), and it expected to repatri- and roughly 4,000 minefields have been identified.
All sides have laid mines since the 1960s, generally
ate another 55,000 refugees in the later half of
without mapping or marking where the mines were
the year before its program ended (United Na- laid. The UN has identified mines along roads as the
tions Integrated Regional Information Network, main hindrance to economic development in An-
2005c). Nearly all of the ex-combatants and gola; mines were also frequently laid along railroads
IDPs had returned home or had decided to re- or near other major infrastructure such as dams or
electricity pylons. Pathways to farming fields,
settle in new communities by 2005.
streams, and the ways in and out of towns and vil-
lages were also routinely and heavily mined. The
Duration Tactics mining of transportation routes made the delivery of
The Angolan conflict dragged on for four humanitarian assistance especially difficult once the
decades largely because the parties to the con- war stopped in 2002—and the most heavily mined
flict were not committed to a peaceful solution. areas (which were the central highlands) also hap-
pened to be those most in need of emergency as-
The parties’ deep distrust of one another (a dis-
sistance. When IDPs and refugees began returning
trust amply deserved in both cases) repeatedly to their homes in large numbers in 2002 and 2003,
meant that, rather than fulfill their commit- the number of mine incidents skyrocketed.
ments as specified in Bicesse and later Lusaka, The process of demining is painfully slow, ex-
they constantly hedged their bets. Both sides pensive, and dangerous. Eight NGOs operate in
Angola, three of which have been there for a
held back forces in the various DDR processes,
decade: Halo Trust, the Mine Action Group, and
stockpiled weapons, and purchased huge amounts Norwegian People’s Aid. According to the 2004
of equipment during periods of cease-fire. Sav- Landmine Monitor Report (International Campaign
imbi in particular deserves blame for undermin- to Ban Landmines 2004), an estimated 20 million
ing the various peace plans. His intentions were square miles were demined between 1999 and
never clear, as he routinely failed to show up for 2003. Tragically, mines continued to be laid even as
the demining effort got underway in the mid-1990s.
meetings or signings, refused to move to Lu-
The Angolan government began its Mine Impact
anda, and was unwilling to accept a lesser role in Survey in December 2002 and is undertaking a
a unity government. mine action plan.
UNITA dragged its feet at every possible junc- In a society where subsistence farming is the
ture, and even when it was cooperating its ef- main economic occupation, land mines and their af-
termath are especially debilitating. People are pre-
forts, fell well short of full compliance. For ex-
vented from farming for fear of triggering a land
ample, during the DDR process associated with mine or are forced by necessity to till areas of un-
Lusaka, many of the “soldiers” UNITA sent to certain safety. Victims generally lose a limb or their
quartering areas were conscripted solely for that eyesight or both, which renders them unable to
purpose, were war wounded, or were under farm. The 2004 Landmine Monitor Report observes
eighteen. It handed in few weapons, many of that the “availability of services to assist in [land
mine survivors’] social and economic reintegration
them old or broken, and never surrendered its
is either non-existent or inadequate to meet the
heavy weaponry. need” (International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Outside actors also share some responsibility 2004).
for Angola’s prolonged war. In Phase I, third-
136 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

party intervention by the superpowers and re- During Phase I of the Angolan civil war,
gional actors provided both sides with the mili- Cuban, South African, and Zairean troops were
tary, financial, and political resources necessary all involved to varying degrees. The 1988
to continue the fighting for thirteen years. In Namibia Protocol brought about the withdrawal
Phases II and III, key states such as Russia and of Cuban troops as well as the end of SADF in-
Portugal continued to sell weapons to the gov- volvement. The 1991 Bicesse Accords provided
ernment, and a variety of states actively con- that the United States and the Soviet Union
nived at sanctions-busting to aid and trade with would cease supplying their respective allies in
UNITA. the civil war. South African support ended as
The UN record in Angola in Phases II and III well with the implementation of Bicesse and the
is a poor one. UNAVEM II was undersized and end of apartheid.
underresourced and could not prevent the col- However, once fighting resumed in 1992,
lapse of the Bicesse Accords. It must be recog- Russia once more supplied Angola with weapons
nized, though, that the limited scope of the UN on favorable terms, becoming the GOA’s largest
role under Bicesse was a reflection of the wishes supplier from 1992 to 2002. Portugal, Belarus,
of the GOA and UNITA. Allowing the parties Brazil, Bulgaria, China, and others also supplied
themselves to police implementation of the the government with weapons. UNITA captured
peace accord was identified as a key weakness of its weaponry from the FAA or bought it on the
Bicesse, and thus Lusaka provided for a much black market.
more robust UN role. But UNAVEM III actually Under heavy pressure from UNITA forces
downsized as cease-fire violations increased in after the fighting resumed in 1992, the GOA
the mid-1990s, and failed to halt the steady slide hired Executive Outcomes (EO). The private se-
toward renewed war. Although the UN passed curity firm committed about 550 personnel to
successive sets of sanctions against UNITA, it the Angola mission. “Defense strategists gener-
often turned a blind eye toward their violation. ally credit Executive Outcomes (EO) with greatly
To its credit, once the UN commissioned the assisting the MPLA to turn back the resurgent
Panel of Experts in 1999, its reports on sanc- UNITA” (Howe 1998, 312). Initially, EO pro-
tions-busting were tough and detailed, even tected oil installations, trained FAA troops and
naming names of complicit heads of state. pilots, and helped plan military operations. From
Finally, the political economy of war helped mid-1994, EO also deployed its own forces to re-
keep the conflict going after 1991. The govern- take and then hold onto several important dia-
ment and UNITA relied on oil and diamonds, mond mining areas. The Lusaka Protocol called
respectively, to fund their war efforts, and as for the repatriation of all mercenaries, but the
long as states and companies were willing to deal GOA did not completely sever its ties with EO
with them, the parties had access to tremendous until January 1996 at the insistence of the United
sums of money. States and UN. EO received $40 million annually
for its services (Howe 1998, 318).
External Military Intervention
UNITA’s support in the 1974–1975 period came Conflict Management Efforts
from South Africa, Zaire, and the United States. The UN played a prominent role in efforts to
U.S. assistance was forbidden by Congress under bring peace to Angola, authorizing five peace-
the 1976 Clark Amendment, but South Africa and keeping missions:
Zaire remained major patrons. The United States
restored military assistance to UNITA in 1985 as UNAVEM I (UN Angola Verification Mission):
well as supporting it diplomatically. The GOA January 1989–June 1991
had the backing of Cuba and the Soviet bloc. UNAVEM II: June 1991–February 1995

UNAVEM III: February 1995–June 1997 The Lusaka Protocol attempted to correct the
MONUA (UN Observer Mission in Angola): flaws of UNAVEM II by providing the new UN
July 1997–February 1999 mission with a much more robust mandate. It
UNMA (UN Mission in Angola): August was charged with overall supervision, control,
2002–February 2003 and verification of the cease-fire; chairing the
Joint Commission that oversaw implementation
UNAVEM I, established as part of the 1988 of the Lusaka provisions; and directing the DDR
Brazzaville Protocol, was a traditional peace- process for UNITA forces. UNAVEM III’s au-
keeping operation: a small observer force man- thorized strength was 7,000 troops, 350 military
dated to verify the withdrawal of Cuban troops, observers, and 260 police observers, and its
created with the consent of the parties. UN- budget was roughly $1 million a day (MacQueen
AVEM I “achieved its limited goals with very 1998, 416).
limited resources precisely because the parties Although progress was made in implement-
cooperated and wanted the UN to succeed in its ing Lusaka, UNITA’s procrastination repeatedly
mission (Jett 1999, 117). meant that target dates in the Lusaka timetable
UNAVEM II confronted a much more diffi- were not met. UN pressure often brought at least
cult task. The Bicesse Accords, which the UN some measure of compliance from UNITA, but
had played little role in negotiating, called for by the fall of 1996 the UN’s patience was all but
the establishment of a 350-person UN observer exhausted. It threatened new sanctions if
force to supervise the cease-fire between the UNITA failed to deliver its fighters to the quar-
FAA and UNITA. Expectations for what this tering areas. By early 1997, 70,660 UNITA troops
small mission could accomplish were immense, had registered, and UNITA declared it had com-
and in fairness UNAVEM II did succeed in or- pleted the quartering of its troops. The UN re-
ganizing the 1992 elections on a very com- mained concerned, however; of that number,
pressed schedule. But the mission’s mandate was 22,686 troops had deserted or temporarily ab-
poorly defined, and its resources were “hope- sented themselves from the camps (UN 1997,
lessly inadequate for the magnitude of the task” para. 10). UN threats also helped push UNITA
(Hodges 2001, 14). Flaws in Bicesse, including to agree to the formation of the Government of
the lack of a power-sharing requirement and the Unity and National reconciliation in April 1997,
failure to make the elections conditional on the although Savimbi refused to attend the swear-
fulfillment of the military goals, were magnified ing-in ceremony.
by the lack of cooperation on the part of the With nearly all UNITA troops supposedly in
parties themselves. “UNAVEM II had neither ad- the quartering areas and the GURN in place, the
equate resources nor the authority to help the UN extended UNAVEM III’s mandate in April
parties find peace, even if they had been sincere for a final six months, planning to replace it with
about wanting it” (Jett 1999, 162). a smaller observer mission. Yet, as the UN tran-
Following the collapse of Bicesse and the re- sitioned into MONUA, there were already abun-
turn to war, the UN continued to search for a dant signs that peace was precarious. UNITA
negotiated settlement. It sponsored several still had not met several key obligations under
rounds of talks in 1993, and in September Lusaka, Zaire was being consumed by a civil war
adopted UN Resolution (UNR) 864, which pro- that would pull in both UNITA and the FAA,
hibited all sales or supply to UNITA of arms and and serious cease-fire violations were multiply-
related materiel and military assistance as well as ing. The intense fighting that broke out in
all petroleum and petroleum products. The northern Angola in the summer of 1997
threat of further sanctions helped push Savimbi “demonstrated not only that UNITA still con-
to accept the validity of the 1992 elections. trolled major portions of the country but that it
138 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

had hidden a major military capacity from the the population is malnourished, and the vast
UN” (Jett 1999, 163). majority lack access to basic health care or clean
Like its predecessor UNAVEM II, MONUA water. Angola is one of the world’s most heavily
found that its small size and limited resources mined countries, and one in every 415 Angolans
were dwarfed by the tremendous challenges that is an amputee (International Campaign to Ban
faced it. With Lusaka disintegrating and MONUA Landmines 2002, 74). Infrastructure has been
outmatched, the UN finally imposed the oft- shattered, and the endemic land mine problem
threatened sanctions against UNITA in October has vastly complicated transport, agriculture,
1997. UN Resolution 1127 placed an interna- the movement of people, and the delivery of hu-
tional travel ban on UNITA officials, closed manitarian relief assistance. Unemployment is
UNITA offices abroad, and prohibited flights estimated at over 50 percent (Timberg 2004).
into Angolan territory without approval by the The plight of children, who constitute 60 per-
government. Further sanctions were passed in cent of the population, is dire. One quarter of
June 1998, targeting UNITA’s diamond-trading Angolan children die before their fifth birthday;
network. UNR 1173 prevented the direct or in- 45 percent are chronically malnourished; and
direct import from Angola of diamonds not nearly half of school age children are not in
controlled by a certificate of origin and banned school. Eleven percent of children lost one or
the export of equipment for mining and mining both parents in the war (United Nations Chil-
services to UNITA-controlled territory. But it dren’s Fund 2003).
was too little, too late. The GOA asked the UN to Decades of war drove many people from rural
withdraw MONUA preparatory to a return to areas into the cities, and many do not wish to re-
full-scale war in December 1998. turn given the miserable and dangerous condi-
From UNAVEM I through MONUA, the tions in the hinterlands. Luanda’s population
UN spent $1.5 billion and lost nearly sixty “has swelled from several hundred thousand to
peacekeepers. more than 3 million, overwhelming the city’s in-
Following Savimbi’s death, the UN author- frastructure. Other cities have grown as well”
ized its final mission to Angola (UNMA). (Timberg 2004). Despite several years of robust
UNMA was tasked with assisting the parties in economic growth, Angola is plagued by “a size-
consolidating the peace; its mandate included able debt, a swollen public sector payroll, and
support for the reintegration of excombatants, largely unaccountable state institutions that
facilitation and coordination of humanitarian dominate critical areas of the economy” (IMF
assistance, technical support for mine action, 2005b). There is a yawning chasm between rich
and the protection and promotion of human and poor, which often equates to those who
rights (UN 2003, para. 11). The mission oper- work for the government, including former
ated from August 2002 to February 2003. UNITA officials, and everyone else.
A return to war is unlikely given the total de-
feat of UNITA and the exhaustion of the popu-
Conclusion lation. Angola nonetheless faces enormous chal-
Decades of civil war combined with corruption lenges. State building has been distorted by the
and poor economic management have left An- war that consumed nearly every year of Angola’s
gola desperately poor. According to the 2004 independent existence. Its coercive and extrac-
Human Development Index, Angola ranks 166 tive capacities are outsized, while it is virtually
out of 177 and has among the world’s worst in- unable to meet even the most basic needs of its
fant, child, and maternal mortality rates (United population. It has been plagued by dismal politi-
Nations Development Program 2004, 142). Life cal leaders, men committed to their own power
expectancy at birth is 40.1 years. More than half and enrichment regardless of the cost to An-

Cabinda: The Other Civil War

Cabinda is a tiny enclave of 10,000 square kilometers, home to several hundred thousand people.
It is separated from the rest of Angola by a 60-kilometer-wide strip of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo. About 60 percent of the Angolan government’s oil revenues come from offshore fields
in Cabinda. For nearly four decades, an armed independence movement has fought against the
central government, first the Portuguese and then the MPLA. Independence appears to have wide-
spread support in Cabinda. The Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (FLEC) is the main
movement, with several smaller groups splintering off over the years. FLEC’s persistent factional-
ism hurt its ability to confront the much larger and much better equipped FAA. The combined
forces of the rebels in the 1990s were estimated to be 2,000 troops.
In January 1993 the FAA moved 15,000 troops into Cabinda, reigniting the fighting after an
eight-year cease-fire. Widespread displacement and indiscriminate abuse by the soldiers made life
very difficult for civilians, although conditions were not as severe as in the rest of Angola. The war
created some 25,000 IDPs and 3,100 refugees in Congo-Brazzaville and the DRC. In an effort to
win hearts and minds, the GOA agreed in 1996 to give Cabinda 10 percent of the taxes paid by the
oil companies that operate in the enclave. Cabinda’s underdevelopment and high cost of living—
supplies are brought in from Luanda—are a persistent complaint of the population.
Following the defeat of UNITA, the GOA sent 30,000 troops to Cabinda, determined to defeat
the rebel factions once and for all. In October 2002, the FAA destroyed FLEC’s main base of oper-
ation since 1979. By mid-2003, “the FAA had virtually destroyed the rebel group,” reducing it to
“small bands of roving guerrillas with light arms, and no permanent logistical bases.” However, the
FAA committed serious and widespread human rights abuses against the civilian population, act-
ing “with almost complete impunity”(Human Rights Watch 2004).
The FLEC factions and the GOA met in early 2003, but no progress toward a peaceful resolu-
tion was made. The rebels continue to insist on independence, and the GOA continues to insist
that it will only discuss autonomy. With FLEC’s military capacity all but gone, its army chief and a
half dozen other high-ranking officials surrendered to the GOA in June 2003. The government then
extended a reintegration program to FLEC soldiers who laid down their arms, “in return for” food,
agricultural tools, and other benefits. By April 2004, roughly 2,000 FLEC excombatants and their
families had registered, totaling 27,000 people. Although the military situation seems to be firmly in
hand, the GOA still faces a population that has steadfastly fought for independence. Devoting a
higher percentage of Cabinda’s oil revenues to improve the enclave’s infrastructure and its popula-
tion’s socioeconomic status would be one way to maintain peace over the long term (Porto 2003).

golans. And it has been betrayed by an interna- conflict peace building are mutually reinforc-
tional community that contributed, through ing processes.
sins of omission and commission, to the ability
of the MPLA government and the UNITA rebels Beth K. Dougherty
to sustain nearly thirty years of war.
If Angola is to become anything more than a Chronology
November 11, 1975 Angola gains its
failed state, its leaders must commit them- independence from Portugal; MPLA
selves to genuine political and economic re- proclaims itself as government.
form—to ending cronyism, to professional February 1976 Clark amendment forbids the
and transparent management of the country’s United States from aiding any party to the
natural resources, to accountable government, Angolan conflict.
December 22, 1988 Brazzaville Protocol signed.
to respect for democratic freedoms and rule of
April 1, 1990 Namibian independence is
law, to significant investment in the country’s declared.
broken infrastructure, to massive social sector May 25, 1991 Cuban troop withdrawal
spending. For Angola, state building and post- completed.
140 | ANGOLA (1992–2002)

May 31, 1991 Bicesse Accords signed. UNITA: National Union for the Total
September 1992 Multiparty elections held, Independence of Angola
Savimbi rejects results; subsequent fighting is UNMA: UN Mission in Angola
heaviest to date. UNR: UN Resolution
September 1993 UNR 864 imposes sanctions
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Azerbaijan and
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Introduction which measures a state’s political regime charac-
Azerbaijan has long been one of the poorest teristics through democracy by ranking a state
countries in the former Soviet Union. The civil with a full-fledged democracy with a score of 10
war there and in the Nagorno-Karabakh Repub- and a state with a copiously authoritarian
lic is rooted in the tension between Christian regime with a score of –10, scores the Union of
Armenia and the Muslim territories that sur- Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1953 to
round it, and more than 1 million people were 1987 as a –7. As Gorbachev ushered in glasnost
displaced during the 1992–1994 civil war. Un- and perestroika, the USSR’s Polity IV score im-
fortunately, a timely resolution of this conflict is proved to –6 in 1988, –4 in 1989, and 0 in 1990.
unlikely, since neither the Azeris nor the Arme- In the year of the USSR’s collapse and in the
nians seem willing to prioritize peace over their three years following it, Azerbaijan’s polity score
own territorial interests in the Nagorno- was primarily –3, and in 1995 Azerbaijan be-
Karabakh region. came more autocratic when its polity score
dropped to –6 for three years and to –7 in 1998,
remaining there until 2003.
Country Background What accounts for the drastic fluctuations in
In 1918, Azerbaijan emerged from World War I Azerbaijan’s polity scores during the 1990s?
and the Russian Revolution as an independent They can be attributed to the failure of the Azer-
state. Azerbaijan’s independence, however, was baijani government to resolve the Nagorno-
short-lived: The Red Army’s invasion in 1920 led Karabakh conflict throughout the 1990s. “Grow-
to Azerbaijan’s annexation by Soviet Russia in ing masses of disaffected refugees pressed
the same year. As a constituent republic, Azer- vociferously for military victory and quickly
baijan came under the total political and eco- shifted their support from one leader to another
nomic control of the state that became the Soviet when losses occurred, negating efforts to estab-
Union in 1922. Under Soviet rule, Azerbaijan lish solid political institutions at home or to
was subjected to Moscow’s authoritarian regime, make concessions that might provide a diplo-
and the same political patterns instituted under matic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh con-
the Soviets continued in Azerbaijan when it es- flict” (Curtis 1994). For instance, in the late
tablished itself as an independent state. In terms 1980s, the advent of Mikhail S. Gorbachev’s pol-
of institutionalized authoritarian patterns, icy of glasnost in Moscow encouraged vocal op-
Polity IV data (Marshall and Jaggers 2002), position to the ruling Azerbaijani Communist

| 143

Party (ACP). In 1989, the central opposition role in GDP shrank from 30 percent to 23 percent”
went to the Azerbaijani Popular Front (APF), (European Forum 1999). According to the Euro-
which was able to capture the presidency from pean Forum, Azerbaijan’s GDP was approxi-
the ACP in the 1992 election, but in 1993 the mately US $1,000 in 1990; but GDP in Azerbai-
APF leadership was overthrown, and former jan fell by 22.6 percent in 1992, by 23.1 percent in
Communist official Heydar Aliyev was installed 1993, and by an additional 18.1 percent in 1994.
as president. Between 1992 and 1994, hyperinflation levels
Azerbaijan ranks just as poorly in terms of reached over 1,000 percent (European Forum
political freedom and civil liberties as it does in 1999). Inflation took off in early 1992, when
institutionalized authoritarian patterns, as many prices were decontrolled, and accelerated
measured by Freedom House (2003). In the throughout the year, reaching an annual rate of
Freedom House data, a score of 1 indicates the 735 percent by October 1992. Inflation for 1993
highest amount of either freedom or liberties, was estimated at 1,200 percent, a figure exceeded
and a score of 7 equals the lowest amount of in the international community only by Russia
freedom or liberties. From 1973 to 1991, the and a few other former Soviet republics.
USSR hovered around a score of 7 or 6 in both Shrinking productivity in Azerbaijan’s tra-
the political freedoms and civil liberties cate- ditional economic activities of agriculture and
gories. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, industry contributed greatly to the drop in
Azerbaijan’s political freedom and civil liberties GDP after 1991. In the industrial sector, gross
rankings improved to 5 in 1992 and to 4 in 1993 industrial production plunged at least 26 per-
and 1994. Immediately after the cease-fire that cent in 1992 and 10 percent in 1993. This re-
ended the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, however, flected the lack of infrastructure maintenance
Azerbaijan’s political freedom rankings deterio- and other inputs left over from the collapse of
rated to Soviet Union levels. the Soviet Union. In the agricultural sector, de-
Economically, the prosperity of Azerbaijan, clines in production were attributed to the col-
like much of the Soviet Union, had been slowly lapse of the Soviet Union and to the fighting in
declining since the 1970s. Azerbaijan possessed the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The major
rich agricultural lands and a relatively developed agricultural cash crops of Azerbaijan were veg-
industrial sector, but utilization of those re- etables, cotton, fruit, and tobacco. Together,
sources during the Soviet period were subject to these crops accounted for more than 80 per-
the customary deformations of centralized state cent of all production. In 1990, work stoppages
planning. The Soviet-era collective farm system and anti-Soviet demonstrations contributed to
discouraged private initiative; agricultural equip- the beginning of declines in agricultural pro-
ment and the irrigation systems were outdated; duction. Azerbaijan’s economy was further re-
modern technology had failed to be introduced duced because of the conflict in Nagorno-
on a wide and large scale; and agricultural pro- Karabakh, as Nagorno-Karabakh was the site
gram administration was ineffective. In the early of approximately one-fourth of Azerbaijan’s
1990s, Azerbaijan saw significant further eco- croplands. The breakout of fighting substan-
nomic degeneration with the collapse of the So- tially reduced agricultural production. Addi-
viet Union and the emergence of armed conflict tionally, the decline in agriculture’s contribu-
with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). tion to GDP was also owing to changes in
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, “produc- weather patterns that reduced cotton and
tion in both sectors [fell] in both absolute and grape harvests in the early 1990s.
relative terms. In 1991, agriculture made up 39 Although the agricultural and industrial sec-
percent of GDP. By 1996, this had dropped to 30 tors shrank after the fall of the Soviet Union,
percent. In the same period, the share of industry Azerbaijan’s gas and electrical production con-

False Statistics
Understanding the impact of a conflict on a population or territory is often hampered by the distri-
bution of false statistics, which can be caused by propaganda campaigns, human error, or both. In
propaganda campaigns, one side attempts to disseminate false information to influence public per-
ception and thought. The reasons for doing this vary widely from conflict to conflict and from actor
to actor, but typically propaganda campaigns using statistics involve one side minimizing or exag-
gerating reported casualty numbers, overstating or understating territorial losses, or suppressing
or exaggerating military strength or importance.
One such example of a state skewing statistics is the Azeri government’s distortion of its un-
employment figures. “In 1992 unemployment was still officially characterized as a minor problem
[in Azerbaijan], affecting some 200,000 people, but in fact the Azerbaijani government vastly un-
derreported this statistic. Underreporting was facilitated by the practice of keeping workers listed
as employees in idled industries. Funds set aside by the government to deal with unemployment
proved woefully inadequate” (Curtis 1994). In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, one of the primary
sources of misrepresentation of data concerns the amount of Azeri land the Armenians control. In
a speech by Azeri president Aliyev on October 27, 1993, the amount of Azeri land controlled by Ar-
menians was given as 20 percent. “Perhaps because Azerbaijanis did not want to contradict their
president or because it was a powerful round number, this figure has been repeated by Azerbaija-
nis ever since. Less forgivably, it has also been used extensively in Western media, including
Reuters, the New York Times, and the BBC” (De Waal 2003, 285). In actuality, the combined area
of territory under Armenian control is approximately 11,797 square kilometers, which accounts for
only 13.62 percent of Azerbaijan’s total area of 86,600 square kilometers. Although Armenians still
occupy 13.62 percent of Azerbaijani land, this is still dramatically less than the claim that Armeni-
ans occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijani land (De Waal 2003).

tracted insignificantly compared to the other Historically, Azerbaijan was one of the poor-
sectors. “A substantial part of the Azerbaijani est Soviet republics, and poverty further in-
economy relies on extensive oil fields in the creased in 1992 because of the collapse of the
Caspian Sea, gas and electricity production. In economy after the fall of the Soviet Union and
contrast to the rest of the economy, these sectors the escalating conflict with the Nagorno-
have contracted only slightly in absolute terms Karabakh Republic. “In spite of the standard
since 1991” (European Forum 1999). Azerbaijan communist proclamation that employment was
has four major oil fields in the Caspian Sea: the a right and employment was virtually full, large-
Gunesli, Cirak, Azeri, and Kepez oil fields. The scale, chronic unemployment had already
largest oil field was Gunesli field, which in 1992 emerged in the late 1980s, especially among
accounted for approximately 60 percent of Azer- youth and the growing ranks of refugees and
baijani oil production. Crude oil production has displaced people” (Curtis 1994). According to
decreased in recent years, mainly because of a official statistics compiled by the Azerbaijani
weak global market, well maturity, inadequate government, the Azerbaijani workforce num-
investment, and outdated equipment, but dur- bered approximately 2.5 million individuals in
ing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, oil produc- 1992, with agriculture accounting for approxi-
tion decreased relatively little compared to the mately 35 percent of employment, and industry
other sectors. “According to Azerbaijani esti- accounting for an additional 16 percent. Yet,
mates, for the first seven months of 1993 com- these figures were skewed by underreporting by
pared with the same period in 1992, crude oil the Azeri government because workers in idle
production declined 7.1 percent, gasoline refin- industries were listed as “employed” in official
ing 2.8 percent, and diesel fuel production 19.9 statistics. Additionally, by the end of the conflict
percent” (Curtis 1994). with the NKR, it is estimated that 62 percent of

the population lived at or below the poverty predominantly Christian Armenia and those of
level. Poverty was worst among displaced per- the surrounding Muslim region that today com-
sons, refugees, and the elderly. Officials tried un- prises Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Iran—animosity
successfully to protect the standard of living seriously aggravated by Soviet policy in the re-
from inflation by periodically increasing wage gion from the early 1920s, when the Soviet re-
payments and taking other measures. In his New publics of Armenia and Azerbaijan were arbi-
Year’s message in January 1994, Aliyev acknowl- trarily created by Stalin” (United States Institute
edged that during 1993 Azerbaijan had faced a of Peace 1992). Stalin had a “divide-and-rule”
serious economic crisis that led to further de- policy by which he intentionally placed territo-
clines in the standard of living, but he promised ries containing large ethnic majorities inside re-
that 1994 would witness positive changes. But gions containing a different ethnicity, thereby
unemployment had increased to 20 percent by making the former ethnic majority an ethnic
1996, despite the promised improvement of the minority. One such example is the Nagorno-
economy. Karabakh region, a predominantly Armenian
In keeping with Aliyev’s economic promises to area that Stalin placed inside the borders of
stabilize and stimulate the economy, Azerbaijan Azerbaijan. “By placing the [Nagorno-Karabakh]
enacted economic reforms in 1995, cutting the region within the borders of Azerbaijan, the Ar-
budget deficit by slashing subsidies and utilizing menia inhabitants could be used as potential
international monetary support. With the assis- ‘hostages’ to ensure the Armenian SSR’s cooper-
tance of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), ation with the wishes of the Soviet leadership. By
Azerbaijan’s economic prospects began to im- the same token, an ‘autonomous’ Armenian en-
prove, with a comprehensive economic stabiliza- clave within Azerbaijan could serve as a poten-
tion program through the IMF and through in- tial pro-Soviet fifth column in the event of dis-
creased foreign direct investment (FDI). The loyalty by the Azerbaijanis” (Cox and Eibner
United States alone invested US $1.8 billion by 1993, 31; Croissant 1998, 19–20). “In order to
the end of 1997. By 1998, Azerbaijan’s gross do- convert these potentialities into reality, Stalin
mestic product had grown by approximately 8 to created the Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno-
10 percent, and inflation remained close to zero Karabakh (AONK) on July 7, 1923 and drew its
(Laurila 1999). Yet, despite this economic growth, borders so as to leave a narrow strip of land sep-
Azerbaijan still remains economically distant arating it physically from Armenia” (Croissant
from the rest of the world. Through the assistance 1998, 20; Walker 1991, 109). The AONK, how-
of the IMF, the Azerbaijani government had some ever, was given the authorization to govern its
success in stabilizing the economy. Although un- own cultural and educational affairs (Altstadt
employment figures were still high in 1995, infla- 1992; Croissant 1998). During the Soviet period,
tion dropped drastically to 84.5 percent, and ex- any animosity that was stirred between the two
perts believe overall economic recovery started in ethnic groups was quickly and quietly sup-
Azerbaijan in 1996 when GDP grew by 1.3 per- pressed by strong central rule from Moscow.
cent. However, despite several economic im- “However, in the hearts and minds of the Arme-
provements, economic growth and recovery in nians and Azerbaijanis, the question of
Azerbaijan have been limited in comparison with Nagorno-Karabakh never receded in impor-
the international community. tance: The Armenians retained a strong desire
for unification with their brethren in the moun-
tainous area and vice versa, while the Azerbaija-
Conflict Background nis retained an equally strong desire to retain
“The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has its sovereignty over the land” (Croissant 1998, 25).
roots in the animosities between the peoples of As is typically the case when there is ethnic hos-

tility fueled by attachment to a piece of land, tion of civil war, the beginning and ending dates
tensions cannot be indefinitely suppressed. of the conflict are dependent upon one’s percep-
“Therefore, when the ‘thaw’ of the Gorbachev tion and definition of armed conflict and civil
period arrived, tensions and irredenta that had war. Most scholars (Fearon 2004; Eriksson and
been just below the surface of Armenian-Azer- Wallensteen 2004; Strand et al. 2004; Wallen-
baijani relations were released, resulting in a spi- steen and Sollenberg 1998) assert that the dura-
raling cycle of violence and bloodshed between tion of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh
the two republics that outlasted the Soviet lasted from 1992 to 1994 because the collapse of
Union itself ” (Croissant 1998, 25). the Soviet Union in 1991 allowed Azerbaijan to
Whether the conflict between the NKR and become an internationally recognized state.
Azerbaijan is classified as a true civil war de- Before 1991, the conflict in Azerbaijan was not
pends upon whether the Armenian government a civil war, because the Armenian inhabitants of
is considered to be actively assisting the Armeni- the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR)
ans in Nagorno-Karabakh (Gleditsch 2001). were not fighting against the Soviet government.
Leading scholars (Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Still, other notable scholars, primarily Doyle and
Eriksson and Wallensteen 2004; Fearon 2004; Sambanis (2000), assert that the conflict lasted
Strand, Håvard, Wilhelmsen, Gleditsch, and from 1988 to 1996. The start dates vary because
Eriksson 2004) ascertain that the conflict was a of differences in definitions of the beginning of
civil war, but Eriksson and Wallensteen (2004) the conflict. The year 1988 saw the beginning of
attach a caveat to this categorization by classify- protests about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh
ing the conflict as a civil war during 1992 and as in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Repub-
an internationalized civil war during 1993 and lic, and the ethnic cleansing of Armenians and
1994, owing to Armenia’s assistance of the NKR. Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan and Armenia, but it
Just as the classification of the Nagorno- was the Khojaly massacre in 1992 that initiated
Karabakh conflict is dependent upon the defini- full-scale war over the territory. Similarly, the end

Table 1: Major Features of the Azerbaijani Civil War

Major Conflicts
Baku, Nakhichevan, and Ganja (Kirovabad)—anti-Armenian pogroms; Gedashen and Martunashen; Khojali;
Maragha; Shusha; Lachin; Shaumian region; Martakert (Agdere); Srkhavend; Kelbajar region; Martakent;
Aghdam; Jebrail; Kubatly; Horadiz; Zangelan; Fizuli; Kelbajar region

Important Geographical Locations

Karabakhian mountain ridge; Mrav mountain ridge; Artsakh region—rich in forests; Tartar River; Khachen

Mineral Resources
Coal—in Maghavuz, Nareshtar, and Kolatak in the Martakert region; zinc, lead, copper, gold—found in
Mehmana, Drmbon, Gyulatagh, Kousapat, Van, Khazanchi, Lisagor, Zardanashen, Mets Tager, Tsor, and
Maghavouz, between the Tartar and Khachen Rivers, and also on the slopes of the mountain Mrav

Large Diaspora Communities

United States, Iran, France, Lebanon, Russia, and Argentina

NKR Permanent Missions

Paris, Washington, D.C., Sydney, Moscow, Beirut, and Yerevan

dates of the conflict are dependent upon one’s one that saw an Azerbaijani army consisting of
definition of conclusion. A permanent cease-fire approximately 74,000 troops (Doyle and Samba-
was instituted in 1994, but peace negotiations nis 2000) fighting against the NKR’s army, which
continue to the present year. Although the con- numbered approximately 20,000 (Pushkin
flict is technically considered a civil war only after 2002). Lacina and Gleditsch (2005) estimate that
the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is important to over the course of the armed conflict more
consider the events that began in 1988 in order to 20,000 battle deaths were inflicted on each side.
understand the importance of the onset of events Lacina and Gleditsch (2005) also estimate that
after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is also Azerbaijan suffered 16,000 total population
important to understand that, theoretically, fight- deaths, whereas Armenians suffered only 4,000.
ing stopped with the implementation of a cease- Doyle and Sambanis (2000), however, give more
fire in 1994, but animosity and deliberations con- conservative estimates of the total number of
tinue today among the three primary actors (the civilian and battle casualties by estimating only
NKR, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). 55,000 lives lost in total during the period
Although the Armenians are predominantly 1988–1996. In addition to the number of dead,
Christian and the Azerbaijanis are predomi- over 1 million people were displaced during the
nantly Muslim, the conflict over Nagorno- conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Karabakh is truly an ethnic territorial conflict
(Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Eriksson and Wal-
lensteen 2004; Fearon 2004; Strand et al. 2004). The Insurgents
Originally, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) estab-
wished to reunite with Armenia, but now the lished its independence on September 2, 1991, but
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic wishes to establish it was (and still is) unrecognized as a sovereign
sovereignty. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is state by the international community; Armenia

Table 2: Civil War in Azerbaijan

War: NKR vs. Azerbaijan
Dates: 1992–1994
Casualties: 55,000–60,000
Regime type prior to war: –3 (ranging from –10 [authoritarian] to 10 [democracy])
Regime type after war: –3 (ranging from –10 [authoritarian] to 10 [democracy])
GDP/capita year war began: US $1,000 (constant 1995 dollars)
GDP/capita 5 years after war: US $1,200 (constant 1995 dollars)
Insurgents: Nagorno–Karabakh Republic (NKR)
Issue: Historical ethnic tensions resulting in the disagreement over the ownership of
Rebel funding: Armenian and Russian assistance, NKR tax base, Armenian diaspora
Role of geography: Mountains used as defense barrier; also allowed rebels to use guerrilla tactics
against government troops.
Role of resources: Oil, which impacted peace settlements
Immediate outcome: Cease-fire facilitated by CSCE
Outcome after 5 years: Stable cease-fire but peace-building failure
Role of UN: Passed four resolutions in 1993; no peacekeepers
Role of regional organization: CSCE
Refugees/displaced persons: More than 1 million
Prospects for peace: Unfavorable

Sources: World Resources Institute 2004; Pushkin 2002.


does not even recognize the NKR as a sovereign Conscripts go to the Defense Ministry Training
state in order to prevent international diplomatic Division at Ivanovka . . . [where] . . .there is much
situations. Still, Armenia has allowed the NKR to emphasis on discipline and adherence to a strictly
enforced daily routine . . . Much of the time in
establish the Permanent Representation of the the first three months is spent on establishing the
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the Republic of regime and on basic training . . . Basic training
Armenia in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, includes care and use of uniform, drill, training in
which is guarded by soldiers of the Nagorno- the use of the standard infantry weapon AK–74,
Karabakh Republic. However, despite its officially first aid, close quarters combat and, unusually,
learning to throw a knife to kill . . . After six
unrecognized international status, the NKR has
months, those who are particularly keen and able
established a highly organized government bu- can elect to go to military training college with a
reaucracy that includes a prime minister, a uni- view to becoming professional soldiers . . . A
cameral legislature consisting of thirty-three lieutenant of the Karabakh Armed Forces on the
democratically elected representatives, and execu- front line earns $150–170 a month. Soldiers
tive ministries. There are strict passport and visa serving under contract earn $60–70 a month
(average monthly wages in NKR amount to
requirements to enter the republic, and the NKR $25–30) . . . Women are admitted to the NKP
has established permanent missions in Paris, [the standing army of the NKR] but are restricted
Washington, D.C., Sydney, Moscow, Beirut, and to work in areas like administration and medical
Yerevan. “There is even a Miss Artsakh beauty services. (Harris, 1999)
competition—bathing costumes and all—every
April in the Palace of Youth. It seems the only With regard to military funding, the NKR re-
thing in the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh does ceives a great deal of outside assistance, especially
not have is a national airline” (Harris 1999). The from Armenia and Russia. The NKR also receives
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has also established considerable economic, political, and humani-
a taxation system to fund these government activ- tarian support from the ethnic Armenian dias-
ities, and it does not appear that the looting of re- pora. Large Armenian diasporas exist in the
sources is a source of funding for the NKR. United States, Iran, France, Lebanon, Russia, and
The NKR has also established a modern, well- Argentina. These diasporas have provided finan-
equipped army—with effective command and cial assistance to Armenia in the form of human-
control, border guard, air defense, heavy and itarian aid and in other charitable projects.
light artillery, mechanized infantry, engineering, “However, a field where politically active Arme-
intelligence, and special operations units—that nians were able to provide a significant amount
is considered to be the most capable military of support beyond the pocket books of the com-
force among all post–Soviet militaries on the munity was in the formation of lobbying organi-
unit-for-unit basis. The NKR established its De- zations in the West” (Masih and Krikorian 1999,
fense Army on May 9, 1992, to defend Nagorno- 112). In the United States, for instance, the Ar-
Karabakh’s population against Azerbaijani mili- menian diaspora numbers almost 1 million indi-
tary aggression. The formation of the Defense viduals. This population’s involvement in Ameri-
Army was a uniting of various self-defense units can politics has had a considerable impact on
within the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic that U.S. policy toward Armenia. In 1992, Congress
were formed in the early 1990s to protect passed the Freedom Support Act, which provided
Nagorno-Karabakh from military attacks. To re- for American assistance for the newly independ-
sist Azerbaijani aggression, life in the NKR pri- ent states of the former Soviet Union, and Sec-
marily focused on the military effort. Every male tion 907 of the Act was lobbied for by the Ar-
over the age of eighteen must serve two years in menian diaspora. Section 907 assisted the
the army as a conscript, and only full-time stu- Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh governments
dents can defer the service obligation: by preventing the U.S. government from assisting

the Azerbaijani government. Additionally, the name (Nagorno means “mountainous”) indi-
Armenian diaspora was able to convince the cates that the region is exceptionally mountain-
United States to provide large amounts of hu- ous and covered with forests. The Mrav moun-
manitarian assistance to Armenia, which led to tain ridge, which runs through the Martakert
“Armenia eventually [becoming] the largest per region, is the country’s highest mountain chain;
capita recipient of US aid in the former Soviet and the other notable mountain chain, the Great
Union and the fourth largest dollar recipient fol- Kirs, is situated in the junction of the Shushi and
lowing Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan” (Masih Hadrout regions. The Nagorno-Karabakh region
and Krikorian 1999, 112). Due to Armenian and is, on average, 1,100 meters above sea level, and
ethnic Armenian assistance, most of the litera- it covers approximately 1,700 square miles in
ture discussing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict western Azerbaijan. The region has numerous
tends to describe the conflict as one between the mineral springs as well as deposits of zinc, coal,
government of Azerbaijan and “Armenian lead, gold, marble, and limestone. Farming and
forces.” The term “Armenian forces” is a calculat- grazing are important agricultural activities, and
edly ambiguous term, which refers to Nagorno- there are various light industries in the region.
Karabakh’s army as well as to citizens of Arme- The mountainous topography of the region has
nia, the Armenian diaspora, mercenaries, and aided the NKR in the defense of its land by cre-
members of the armed forces of Armenia. ating an environment conducive to guerrilla tac-
tics and inconducive to offensive operations
Geography (Pushkin 2002). “The topography of the region
Nagorno-Karabakh is located in the southeast- does much to prevent either side from launching
ern portion of the Caucasus Minor. Its very another military offensive” (Carley 1998, vi).

Major battle sites

RUSSIA Area controlled by NKR
and Armenian troops


Seki N

Mingecaur Sumgait
Gjandza Ievlach
Ku Baku

Kelbacar Merakert C ASPIAN

Khojali Ali Bajramly
ARMENIA Stepanakert


0 10 20 30 mi I R A N
0 10 20 30 4050 km

“The region’s mountainous landscape would relative to the NKR’s Defense Army, and “Baku is
make it difficult for Azerbaijan to launch an of- unable to successfully conduct offensive opera-
fensive against either Armenia or Karabakh” tions against the NKR and Armenia. Meanwhile,
(Carley 1998, 12). Moreover, the mountainous the military and economic potential of Azerbai-
terrain in the areas of conflict around Nagorno- jan is much higher than that of the opposing
Karabakh and along the Azeri-Armenian border forces. Baku has substantial resources for replen-
precluded the effective use of large-scale military ishment of fuel and lubricants which [the NKR]
assaults by armored forces. does not” (Pushkin 2000). Officially, Azerbaijan
and the NKR fought each other without outside
Tactics intervention:
According to the online journal Russian Military
Analysis (Pushkin 2002), the NKR’s military is However, the non-governmental organization
Human Rights Watch found evidence that
one of the best-equipped, best-trained forces in Armenia mobilized its regular forces. The
any of the former Soviet republics. Although the Russians participated by providing training and
NKR does not release official numbers pertain- material assistance. According to Russian
ing to its force strength, the Russian Military sources mountain troops from the 128 Regiment
Analysis (Pushkin 2002) estimates that the NKR of the 7th Russian Army based in Armenia
participated in the seizure of Kelbajar Province
currently has 20,000–25,000 servicemen, 316
of Azerbaijan in a blitzkrieg operation starting
tanks, 324 armored combat vehicles, 322 ar- 27 March and ending 5 April 1993. A number of
tillery pieces of 122-mm and larger caliber, and mercenaries participated in the war operations
44 multiple rocket launcher systems: on the both sides. Also other sources and
eyewitness evidence confirm the direct military
The Karabakh Armed Forces are the most and political involvement of the Soviet Union.
combat ready and efficient armed forces in any (Laurila 1999, 8–9)
of the former Soviet republics. The experience of
the former Soviet army was taken as the basis for The NKR’s primary tactic in fighting against
combat training. The Armed Forces of NKR Azerbaijan has been to occupy the land between
have practically the same regulations, firing and
driving practices. Military exercises are
itself and Armenia, thereby creating a security
organized regularly, and not only active troops, zone around the NKR by removing Azerbaijanis
but also mobilization reserves take part in these from the land. After its formation in 1992, the
exercises . . . NKR spends one-fourth of its NKP succeeded in liberating previously cap-
budget on defense. There are combat units tured territories from Azerbaijan and, during
deployed along all 250 kilometers of the
military engagements, occupied a few Azerbai-
Karabakh-Azerbaijani border. These units are
prepared to parry the opponent’s attacks at any jani regions bordering the NKR that had been
time. (Pushkin 2002) used as firing lines against the Armenians. The
creation of the security zone precluded the im-
In comparison, according to Doyle and Sam- mediate threat facing the population of the
banis (2000), during the conflict the Azerbaijani NKR. This security zone now amounts to ap-
military numbered 74,000 troops. By Russian proximately 15 percent of Azerbaijani land. The
Military Analysis estimates (Pushkin 2002), only physical connection that the inhabitants of
Azerbaijan has 69,900 servicemen, 259 tanks, or visitors to Nagorno-Karabakh have with the
328 armored combat vehicles, 303 artillery outside world is through a seven-hour road
pieces of 122-mm and larger caliber, 49 combat journey through the Lachin Corridor. This is a
airplanes, and 15 strike helicopters. Although 10-kilometer-wide corridor driven through
Azerbaijan may have an advantage over the NKR Azerbaijan that was created by the NKR (with
in terms of ground forces, the Azerbaijani Armenian assistance) to connect Armenia and
Armed Forces are inefficient and poorly trained the NKR. All supplies from the outside world

come through the corridor on trucks bearing the Armenian literature” (Laruila 1999, 8). The near
plates and camouflage of either the Armenian or severance of their education and cultural ties
Nagorno-Karabakh armies. with Armenia and the inadequate development
of the Armenian language and culture in the
oblast itself aroused the Armenians in Nagorno-
Causes of the War Karabakh as they saw these policies brought
In addition to the previously discussed historical about by the Azerbaijani government (Yamskov
ethnic tensions, Yamskov (1991) identifies three 1991).
immediate factors that contributed to the Not only did the Armenians of the NKR rea-
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: economic factors, son that the Azerbaijani government was inten-
cultural and linguistic factors, and ethno-demo- tionally suppressing their culture, they also be-
graphic factors. The most basic underlying eco- lieved that the government was attempting to
nomic cause of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict “Azerbaijanize” the NKR. When the Soviet gov-
was the difference in the standard of living be- ernment created the boundaries of Nagorno-
tween the Azerbaijanis and the Armenians: Karabakh, it had a population of 131,500—5.6
percent of which were Azerbaijani (Yamskov
The population of Nagorno-Karabakh enjoys a 1991). By the late 1980s, the oblast had grown to
level of social and economic development that is 177,100 inhabitants—24.4 percent of which
somewhat higher than that of the general
population of Azerbaijan. However, the
were Azerbaijani (Yamskov 1991; Starovoitova,
Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh are well aware Yamskov, and Krupnik 1988). The population
that life is even better in neighboring Armenia, changes in terms of ethnicity were evident to the
and are dissatisfied, believing that their lower inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as to
standard of living is the result of the deliberate the Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Yamskov
policies of the Azerbaijani republican
(1991) estimates that, had these population
government, which controls the development
and economy of their oblast. The government of trends continued for another twenty years, the
Azerbaijan, comparing the living conditions in Azerbaijanis would have gained majority status
Nagorno-Karabakh with the surrounding in the oblast. To the Armenians living in the
region, concluded that the situation in the oblast, the increased Azerbaijani population was
autonomous oblast was significantly better than seen as an “Azerbaijanation” of the oblast, and
elsewhere, and that funds from businesses in
Karabakh should be directed toward the
the chance that the Azerbaijanis might gain pre-
development of other, poorer territories. dominance in the oblast meant the displacement
(Yamskov 1991) of Armenians from Armenia’s “native land” by
“foreigners” (Yamskov 1991).
In addition to economic grievances, the peo-
ple of the NKR were discontented with Azerbai-
jan’s perceived suppression of their cultural and Outcome
linguistic heritage. Despite Nagorno-Karabakh’s Conflict Status
autonomous status as an oblast of the Azerbai- After numerous failed attempts, a permanent
jan SSR, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire was instituted on May 12, 1994, to end
were hindered in developing and using their two years of armed conflict. “After a series of of-
own language and culture (Yamskov 1991; Lau- fensives, retreats, and counteroffensives, Nagorno-
rila 1999). “The Azerbaijanis can be accused of Karabakh now controls a sizable portion of Azer-
depriving the 130,000 Armenians living in the baijan proper . . . including the Lachin corridor.”
Nagorno-Karabakh of their possibilities to (Starovoitova 1997, 25–26). Although relative
watch TV broadcasts from Yerevan, of their right peace has been maintained since the cease-fire,
to study Armenian history and their access to Doyle and Sambanis (2000) have coded the con-

flict as a peace-building failure owing to the con- (Shaumyan) province and from Chaikent
tinued occupation of Azeri territory by the Arme- (Getashen), a village in Khanlar province, Azer-
nians and the inability of either side to reach a baijan” (HRW 1994, 59). Most of these individuals
permanent, peaceful settlement. were able to return to their villages within the next
The conflict created approximately 1 million two years. In 1992, another Azerbaijani counterof-
refugees and displaced persons. According to fensive against the provinces of Geranboi and
Human Rights Watch: Helsinki, “A displaced per- Mardakent displaced roughly 40,000 Armenians
son is one who flees his home because of fear or in Nagorno-Karabakh, but most of these Armeni-
persecution but does not cross an international ans were able to return to their villages as a result
border. A refugee is one who is forced out of his of later successful Karabakh Armenian offensives.
home under the same circumstances but crosses In comparison to the number of Armenian
an international border” (HRW 1994, 58). Much refugees, Azerbaijan acquired numerous dis-
of the forced displacement of ethnic Armenians placed persons, and there were almost as many
took place before the collapse of the Soviet Union Azerbaijani refugees as Armenian refugees. Be-
and the recognition of Azerbaijan as an independ- tween 1988 and 1989, approximately 200,000
ent state by the international community. Human Azerbaijanis fled Armenia, but between 1988
Rights Watch: Helsinki estimates that 350,000 eth- and 1994, an estimated 750,000 to 800,000 Az-
nic Armenians left Azerbaijan between 1988 and eris were forced out of Nagorno-Karabakh and
1990 and the majority relocated to Armenia or the seven other Azeri provinces now completely
Russia. “In 1991, in Operation Ring, the govern- occupied by Karabakh-Armenians. De Waal esti-
ment of the former Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist mates that half a million Azerbaijanis were
Republic with the aid of central authorities in forced out in the years 1992 to 1994. (2003, 218).
Moscow was responsible for the forced displace- In comparison to other civil wars, “Azerbaijan
ment of Armenian civilians from Geranboi has the largest proportion of displaced people

Providing for Refugees

It is estimated that more than 1 million people were displaced during the Nagorno-Karabakh con-
flict. The responsibility of caring for these displaced persons fell upon the international community.
The following is an excerpt from a Human Rights Watch report in which Irshad Aliyev, chairman of
the Azerbaijani State Committee for Work with Refugees and Forcibly Displaced, details the bur-
den of caring for the overwhelming displaced Azeri population:

At first families took their relatives in, then schools, hotels, pioneer summer camps,
resorts, everything started to fill up with refugees. After the offensives of 1993, the
Iranians, Turks, and Saudis had to help us build tent cities in Imishli, Saatli, Barda, and
Agjabedi. Even then there are people living along the side of the road in little dugouts
and shanties. (Aliyev 1994)

According to UNHCR representatives in Baku, according to Azerbaijan government figures

there were an estimated 658,000 Azeri displaced persons and 235,000 Azeri refugees in Azerbai-
jan in March 1994. Aliyev complained that since January 1994, the state simply had not had the
money to pay each refugee family registered with the government its monthly payment of 900
manat. Refugees and the displaced received no food parcels from the government, but the ICRC
would often disburse supplemental food parcels to those living in displaced persons camps. Haji
Rajabov, Head of the Azerbaijani Council of Ministers’ Department for Displaced Persons and
Refugees, told Human Rights Watch: Helsinki, “We try our best. Last year we disbursed twenty bil-
lion manat. But there simply isn’t any money any more.” (Human Rights Watch 1994, 61)

per capita as every tenth person is a refugee from war by actions that included indiscriminate fire,
the conflict with Armenia . . . Six years after the the destruction of civilian objects, the taking of
cease-fire agreement was signed, in the year hostages, and looting. Additionally, each side
2000, around eighty or ninety thousand of them took or held hostages, which is prohibited in
were still in refugee camps. Hundreds of thou- armed conflicts. There were also reports that the
sands more were living in a vast archipelago of Republic of Armenia took and held hostages to
sanatoria, student hostels, and makeshift accom- assist the NKR. “The Armenian government has
modations.” (De Waal 2003, 218). As of 1999, participated in the holding of hostages; several
there were 900,000 Azerbaijani refugees and in- Azeri hostages told HRW/H that they were held
ternally displaced persons who cannot return to in jails or other locations inside Armenia. In ad-
their homes in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic dition, several former Azeri hostages alleged that
due to a heavily militarized ruling structure in soldiers from the Republic of Armenia army
the region, coordinated by the Armenians, that took them hostage” (HRW 1994, 53). Moreover,
prevents ethnic Azerbaijanis from returning to combatants that were captured were not cared
their homes. for in the appropriate manner.
The conflict between the NKR and the Azer-
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki spoke with
baijani government also produced numerous vi- captured combatants on both sides who were
olations of the rules of war. From 1992 to 1994, slashed with bayonets or knives at the time of
both sides violated a vast majority of the rules of their capture. Most were beaten thereafter,

Azeri children in a refugee camp near Baku, Azerbaijan, on November 8, 2005. The refugee situation was caused by
civil war. (David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters/Corbis)

sometimes to the point of unconsciousness. One ammunition first to Armenian forces fighting in
released Karabakh Armenian captive reported Karabakh and later to Azerbaijani forces when
that hot water had been poured on him while in Armenian forces seemed likely to prevail. The
detention. A release Azeri captive . . .[reported] military equipment ranged from Kalashnikovs
that he and two of his comrades were beaten to tanks, armoured combat vehicles (ACVs),
terribly, then tied to the outside of an armored heavy artillery and Grad multiple rocket
personnel carrier and a tank and driven off. launchers. Huge quantities of military
Prisoners were sometimes subject to ridicule equipment were also looted by militia forces
and scorn from civilian crowds. (HRW 1994, 52) from poorly protected Russian military depots.
Detailed accounts provided by Aman Tuleyev,
former Minister for CIS Affairs, General Igor
Duration Tactics Rodionov, former Defense Minister, and retired
Using the dates provided by PRIO/Uppsala General Lev Rokhlin, Chairman of the Duma
(Strand et al. 2004) research, the duration of the Defense Committee . . . [note that the] Trans-
actual conflict between Azerbaijan and Nagorno- Caucasian Group of Forces (TCGF) covertly
transferred to Armenia without payment
Karabakh was fairly short—from 1992 to 1994.
around US $1 billion worth of military
Yet, the duration of the acrimony harbored by equipment. The equipment was said to include
the two sides dates back centuries and continues 84 T–72 tanks, 50 ACVs, howitzers, heavy
to the present day. The post–Cold War conflict artillery, antitank guided missiles and up to 32
was limited in length not because of efforts Scud tactical missiles, as well as light weapons
made by the Azerbaijani, Armenian, or Nagorno- and ammunition including 26 mortars, 306 sub-
machine guns, 7,910 assault rifles and 1,847
Karabakh governments but rather because of in- pistols.” (Anthony 1998; Berryman 2000; Herzig
tervention by outside entities and the interna- 1999; Menon 1998)
tional community’s interest in the former
republics of the Soviet Union. Additionally, Ar- Turkey intervened in the conflict by allowing
menia’s and Azerbaijan’s admittance to the Armenia to utilize its airspace, railroads, and
Commission on Security and Cooperation in ports to facilitate the movement of goods when
Europe (CSCE) in 1992 promoted the short du- Azerbaijan blockaded Armenia in 1992 and
ration of the conflict, as the CSCE agreed to act practically brought the economy to a standstill.
as a mediator for the conflict. The countries of Turkey had hoped to establish itself as a power
the CSCE had underlying reasons, discussed fol- in the region, yet when Armenia began to look
lowing, for desiring the quick end of the to Russia for assistance as well as to Turkey,
Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani conflict. Turkey became disgruntled at this sensed strug-
gle for influence with Russia, and in 1993,
Turkey shifted its support from Armenia to
External Military Intervention
Azerbaijan when it closed its borders with Ar-
Officially, no state will publicly admit to inter-
menia under the premise that Armenia must
vening in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from
withdraw from seized Azeri land. Turkey began
1992 to 1994, but numerous states had eco-
diplomatically supporting Azerbaijan in inter-
nomic and strategic interests in the region that
national forums, and it hampered shipments of
caused them to covertly interfere in the conflict.
humanitarian assistance to Armenia. Iranian in-
These states typically provided either Armenia,
tervention in the conflict was prompted by con-
which in turn assisted the NKR, or Azerbaijan
cerns that, if the conflict were not quickly and
with economic or military aid. Russia, for in-
peacefully settled, its own Azeri minority might
stance, shipped over $1 billion in arms to Arme-
want independence. American involvement in
nia from 1993 to 1995:
the conflict was motivated by the need for con-
[I]t appears that Russian military commanders tainment of Iranian influence, the Armenian di-
in the field sold or “loaned” arms and aspora’s influence in the United States, and oil in

the Caspian. Yet, none of these countries openly rejects any plan that does not include a provi-
contributed troops to the conflict. sion for sovereignty.
In general, the mediation process has been
Conflict Management Efforts flawed by the lack of peacekeeping experience of
Numerous mediation attempts were made by the CSCE (which later became the Organization
Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, and France for Security and Cooperation [OSCE] in Europe
prior to 1994. The longest-lasting mediation in 1995) and by the ulterior motives of the
attempt, led by Iran, lasted a week but collapsed Minsk Group members. First, at the insistence of
because of the unwillingness of either side to Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is not a member
commit to peace and because of Western resist- of the OSCE, because it is lawfully part of Azer-
ance to Iranian involvement. “[T]he Armenians baijan. Therefore, as Nagorno-Karabakh is not a
of Nagorno-Karagagh saw their situation as formal member of the peace negotiations, any
desperate and did not feel that they could suc- permanent conflict resolution is irrevocably
cessfully negotiate while their very existence hampered (Hughes and Sasse 2002). Second, the
was precarious at best. They were concerned deeply rooted historical and cultural causes of
with their security first and foremost . . . . Dur- the conflict and the issue of repatriating at least
ing critical phases of the Iranian negotiating ef- some of the approximately 1 million refugees
forts, NKR forces seized strategic objectives, have still not been resolved by the OSCE. Third,
which essentially torpedoed Iranian media- the OSCE’s lack of a substantial peacekeeping
tion” (Masih and Krikorian 1999, 116–17). Ad- force would hinder the enforcement of any set-
ditionally, the conflict between NKR and Azer- tlement if one were reached. Additionally, nu-
baijan quickly appeared on the international merous Minsk Group members have “wider
radar owing to to the world’s interest in the for- strategic aims” (Carley 1998, 7) than simple
mer Soviet Union. “Iran’s competitors in the peace between Azerbaijan and the NKR.
region, most notably Turkey, viewed Iranian Russia, a supporter of Armenia, is pursuing a
sponsored negotiations with growing appre- solution that would allow it to maintain its in-
hension” (Masih and Krikorian 1999, 117), but fluence in the South Caucasus region, which is
to the relief of Iran’s competitors and to the evident by its “occasional attempts to bypass the
dismay of Iran, with Azerbaijan’s and Arme- OSCE process entirely and continue to pursue
nia’s admittance to the Commission on Secu- separate resolution efforts” (Carley 1998, 7).
rity and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the Turkey, Russia’s traditional rival in the region,
mediation torch was passed to this organiza- has committed itself to the defense of Azerbaijan
tion in 1992. The CSCE created the Minsk should Armenia resume hostilities. As for the
Group to lead mediation efforts, and a cease- United States, it is attempting to assuage its own
fire was signed on May 12, 1994. Beyond the influential Armenian population while securing
permanent cease-fire established in 1994, little alternative oil pipeline routes for Azerbaijan’s
progress has been made regarding a permanent substantial oil reserves from the Caspian Sea. Al-
peace. “[E]ach side has insisted on . . . condi- though there is little evidence that natural re-
tions that the other will not accept. The Arme- sources (other than land) contributed to the
nians will not discuss the withdrawal of their conflict, oil has emerged as a concern in the me-
troops from Azeri territories until the [NKR] is diation efforts. It was in 1994 that “Washington
recognized as independent; Azerbaijan insists and other centers of power seemed to wake up
on its complete territorial integrity and de- to the realities of Caspian oil” (Carley 1998, 13).
mands the withdrawal of Armenian troops be- Not only has oil contributed to Western interest
fore it will discuss . . . Nagorno-Karabakh” in the region, but oil has negatively impacted the
(Carley 1998, v). And Nagorno-Karabakh flatly peace negotiations by creating a mindset among

officials in Baku that Azerbaijan’s petroleum re- that is acceptable to the main parties to the
sources means “time is on its side and . . . there conflict.” (Hughes and Sasse 2002, 159).
is less need to compromise now because the
country’s position will improve [economically Jessica Atwood
and politically] in the future. More importantly,
this situation may increase the risk that Baku Chronology
will resort to force if no progress is made at the February 11, 1988 Armenian activists organize
negotiating table, because once oil revenues start public demonstrations in Stepanakert calling
to fill the national coffers, it will be harder for for reunification with Armenia.
February 20, 1988 By a 110-to-17 vote, the
the Azeri government to explain to its people
Regional Soviet of the Nagorno-Karabakh
why Azeri lands are still occupied by Armeni- Autonomous Oblast (AONK) calls for the
ans” (Carley 1998). reunification of Karabakh with Armenia.
February 23, 1988 The Central Committee of
the Communist Party rejects the demands of
Conclusion March 1988 The USSR Supreme Soviet
The conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region presidium rejects Nagorno-Karabakh’s
has been described as a “war without hope” request for reunification.
(United States Institute of Peace 1992), and any June 1988 The Armenian Supreme Soviet votes
to accept Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia.
prospects for a peaceful settlement are bleak be-
July 18, 1988 The Presidium of the Supreme
cause there are territorial factors linked to the Soviet of the USSR resolves that Nagorno-
nationalistic pride of each state. Azeri writer Karabakh remain part of Azerbaijan.
Houseline has declared, The USSR Supreme Soviet rejects AONK’s
call for reunification.
“There cannot be a victor. The Azeris will never September 18–20, 1988 Armenians are driven
agree to the forcible annexation of Nagorno- out of Shusha, Azerbaijanis out of
Karabakh to Armenia. And Armenia can never Stepanakert.
rest in peace after seizing the territory of November 20–24, 1988 Anti-Armenian pogroms
others.” Independent journalist Thomas take place in several Azerbaijani cities,
Goetz . . . concluded that the only evident including Baku, Nakhichevan, and Ganja.
solution would be for Azerbaijan to give Soviet troops are assigned to guard the
Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia in exchange for homes of Armenians in Baku. A state of
territory . . . two moves that he labeled as emergency and curfew are established in
politically impossible for both governments. Ganja and Baku.
Kenneth M. Jensen . . .agreed that the only January 12, 1989 The USSR Supreme Soviet
apparent way to peace in Nagorno-Karabakh decides to keep AONK under Azerbaijani
would be a swap of territory or population jurisdiction. The Supreme Soviet also forms a
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but warned Special Commission to directly govern the
that would constitute “an outrageous violation region.
of a number of important norms of August 16, 1989 The Armenians of AONK form
international relations.” (United States Institute their own National Council.
of Peace 1992, 5) January 13–15, 1990 Anti-Armenian pogroms
occur in Baku.
It is very difficult to negotiate a permanent April 30, 1991 In a massive attack, Soviet forces
solution to the conflict which would be take over the Armenian-inhabited villages of
satisfactory to the main parties. At the heart of the Gedashen and Martunashen. Operation Ring
Karabakh conflict lies the classic contradiction begins.
inherent in the international system: territorial May 7, 1991 Joint attacks by Soviet and
integrity versus the right of self-determination. Azerbaijani OMON (Interior Ministry police
The difficulty facing any peace agreement . . . is special forces) succeed in overrunning the
how to combine these two principles in a manner villages of Getashen and Martunashen.

September 2, 1991 Nagorno-Karabakh OSCE: Organization for Security and Cooperation

announces its secession from Azerbaijan. in Europe
December 10, 1991 Ninety-nine percent of PRIO: Peace Research Institute, Oslo (Norway)
Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians vote in SSR: Soviet Socialist Republic
referendum in favor of independence TCGF: Trans-Caucasian Group of Forces
December 31, 1991 The USSR disintegrates. UNHCR: United Nations High Commissioner for
January 30, 1992 CSCE admits Armenia and Refugees
Azerbaijan, takes up mediating role. USSR: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
February 25–26, 1992 Hundreds of Azerbaijanis
are killed after Armenians storm Khojali. Glossary
March 24, 1992 CSCE Minsk Conference for Conference on Security and Cooperation in
Nagorno-Karabakh is proposed; Minsk Europe: Established in the 1970s to create a
Group is formed. forum for dialogue between states. At the end
May 18, 1992 Armenians capture Lachin. of the cold war, the CSCE was called upon to
August 15, 1992 Karabakh Armenian State play a part in managing the historic changes
Defense Committee is created. taking place, such as arms control agreements
September 1, 1992 Azerbaijanis take village of and military security treaties. To manage this
Srkhavend, control almost half of Nagorno- new role, a secretariat was established, meetings
Karabakh. became more regular, missions were
April 3, 1993 UN Resolution 822 calls on established, and the conference’s work became
Armenians to withdraw from Kelbajar. more structured. Recognizing that the CSCE
July 29, 1993 UN Resolution 853 condemns was no longer simply a conference, the CSCE
occupation of Azeri territory. changed its name in 1994 to the Organization
October 14 , 1993 UN Resolution 874 supports for Security and Cooperation in Europe
the mediation efforts of the CSCE. (OSCE).
November 12, 1993 UN Resolution 884 internally displaced person (IDP): An individual
expresses grave concern for displacement of who has been forced to leave his or her local
Azeris in Zangelan district and demands the residence but who has not crossed an
withdrawal of occupying troops. international boundary.
May 12, 1994 Cease-fire agreement mediated by Freedom Support Act: Enacted by the U.S.
CSCE is implemented. Congress on October 24, 1992, to facilitate
December 5–6, 1994 CSCE becomes OSCE at American national security by providing for
summit in Budapest. Peacekeeping mandate the safeguarding of the weapons of mass
for Karabakh is approved. destruction of the newly independent states of
the Soviet Union. The act also provided for
List of Abbreviations efforts to reduce the military threat from the
ACP: Azerbaijani Community Party former Soviet Union and to expand military-
ACV: armored combat vehicles to-military contacts between the United States
AONK: Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno- and the independent states.
Karabakh glasnost: Soviet policy introduced by Gorbachev
APF: Azerbaijani Popular Front in 1985 to bring about openness in the state.
CSCE: Commission on Security and Cooperation The main goal of the policy was to make the
in Europe state’s bureaucracy and methods of operation
FDI: foreign direct investment transparent and open to debate.
GDP: gross domestic product Minsk Group: Established by the OSCE in 1994 at
HRW/H: Human Rights Watch: Helsinki the Budapest Summit. Negotiations to resolve
ICRC: International Committee of the Red the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been
Cross entrusted to this group, which has
IMF: International Monetary Fund representation from Russia, France, the United
NKP: the standing army of the Nagorno-Karabakh States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and several
Republic European nations; at the insistence of
NKR: Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is
OMON: special police forces of the Interior unrepresented in the negotiations. Thus far, the
Ministry during the Soviet Union period. Minsk Group has been unsuccessful in

proposing a peaceful settlement agreeable to Freedom House. 2003. “Freedom in the World.”
both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
perestroika: A Soviet policy of economic reforms (accessed April 2005).
introduced in June 1987 by Gorbachev. The Gleditsch, Kristian S. 2001. “A User’s Guide to
goal of the policy was to restructure and Omitted Wars and Participants in the COW
reform the Soviet economy under the market War Data.” Paper presented at the conference
economy model. “Identifying Wars: Systematic Conflict Research
refugee: An individual who seeks refuge in and Its Utility in Conflict Resolution and
another country to escape persecution. Prevention,” Uppsala University, Uppsala,
Sweden, June 8–10.
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Introduction directly fueled England’s Industrial Revolution

Writings on Alexander’s invasion of India in 326 left a devastating legacy for the people and the
BCE contain the earliest historical references to land, best summarized by historian R. C. Dutt:
organized political life in the Bangladesh area.
Some historians suggested that Alexander the The people of Bengal had been used to tyranny
but had never lived under an oppression so far-
Great halted his conquest of lands to the east in reaching in its effects, extending to every village
anticipation of fierce resistance from the Gan- market and every manufacturer’s loom. They
garidai and Prasioi empires, located in the Bengal had been used to arbitrary acts from men in
region (Ministry of Information n.d.). Since that power but had never suffered from a system
time, the area has seen the rise and fall of many that touched their trades, their occupations,
their lives so closely. The springs of their
great kingdoms and principalities, including
industry were stopped, the sources of their
Pundra Vardhana (northern Bangladesh), Gauda wealth dried up. (Bangladesh Sangbad
(parts of West Bengal and Bangladesh), Dandab- Sanghsta, 2006)
hukti (southern West Bengal), Karna Subarna
(part of West Bengal), Varendra (northern Under the British, the Hindu middle class
Bangladesh), Rarh (southern areas of West Ben- emerged as the greatest beneficiary of the colo-
gal), Summha Desa (southwestern West Bengal), nial rule, much to the dismay of Muslim aristoc-
Vanga (central Bangladesh), Vangala (southern racy, who were forced to seek support among the
Bangladesh), Harikela (Northeast Bangladesh), lower echelons of the society. This reinforced the
Chandradwipa (southern Bangladesh), Subarn- rivalry between two religions, marking the onset
abithi (central Bangladesh), Navyabakashika of Bangladeshi Islamization, which persists even
(central and southern Bangladesh), Lukhnauti today. Muslims’ unrelenting demands for higher
(North Bengal and Bihar), and Samatata (eastern administrative status for Bengal and a guarantee
Bangladesh). Bangladesh continued to play an of representation in politics for the Bengali pop-
integral role throughout its history as a cultural, ulation were continuously denied, culminating
economic, and natural bridge between south in the 1940 Pakistan Resolution at Lahore. The
Asia and Southeast Asia. The year 1757 marked agreement called for geographically contiguous
the beginning of a 200-year period of British units to be “demarcated into regions which
colonial rule, with the arrival of the East India should be constituted with such territorial read-
Company (Cain and Hopkins, 1995). Imperialis- justments as may be necessary so that the areas in
tic policies and exploitation of the country that which the Muslims are numerically in a majority

| 161
162 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent

States’ in which the constitutional units [shall] be The Birth of Bangladesh
Beginnings of the modern Bangladesh state
autonomous and sovereign” (Pakistan Resolu-
are traced to February 21, 1952, when the
tion of the Lahore Session of the All India Mus- Bengali language movement, largely con-
lim League 1940). sistig of students, fueled the drive for the
Implying that South Asia consists of many country’s independence. The protesters, ini-
nations, not merely two, the agreement explicitly tially resisting the imposition of a new state
language, Urdu, which only a bare minority in
signaled balkanization of the subcontinent. Like
East Pakistan could speak, were eventually
Woodrow Wilson’s promise of the right to self- transformed into a fervent push for the eleva-
determination to many of world’s minorities at tion of the language of Bengal to official sta-
the Paris Peace Conference of 1918, the Lahore tus. The Muslims of Bengal in India and the
Declaration promised everything to everyone. Bengalis in East Pakistan put forth the united
Through the partition, areas in which Mus- campaign for reassertion of their unique cul-
tural and linguistic identity against their fellow
lims had a numerical majority would constitute
religionists who spoke a different language. In
Pakistan, and those with non-Muslim majority commemoration of the Bengali struggle for
would remain in India. A small, hilly region of linguistic recognition, today February 21 is
East Bengal, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), observed worldwide as International Mother
which the British annexed in 1860 and awarded Tongue Day.
a special administrative status in 1900 restricting
the settlement of nontribals, was of little rele-
vance in the partition process of the 1940s, be- suffrage, legislative representation on the basis
cause its population was neither Muslim nor of population, federal government in charge of
Hindu (Arens and Chakma 2002). foreign affairs and national defense, and provin-
In 1947, the British divided the subcontinent cial autonomy in domestic issues (Arens and
into India and Pakistan. East Bengal constitu- Chakma 2002). The Bengalis’ effort culminated
tionally became a province of Pakistan, sepa- in a bloody war of independence in 1971, which
rated from it by a 1,000-mile physical boundary. they won; and the independent country of
Territorial solutions did little to mitigate rising Bangladesh was born.
tensions in the region, which flowed from reli- Economic stagnation during the decade fol-
gious and linguistic differences of the majority lowing independence reflects the tumultuous
populations within and among the two coun- political environment and the inability of suc-
tries. As a result, the British Boundary Commis- cessive nondemocratic leaders to develop and
sion was set up in order to demarcate the sustain any type of economic growth. The long-
boundaries in the high-risk areas of Bengal and sought independence of Bangladesh, although
Punjab. The commission awarded the CHT to providing a solution to one set of problems, es-
Pakistan despite the region’s religious and de- sentially brought a new set of issues to the coun-
mographic similarities to India (Zeigler 2001). try along with the beginning of an endemic in-
In the two decades that followed, East Pak- ternal war. Natural disasters occurring during
istan Bengalis conducted a united campaign to the 1970s combined with other factors—the
reassert their unique cultural and linguistic breakdown of a democratic regime and the be-
identity, among their fellow religionists who ginnings of military control of the state, unde-
spoke a different language. In 1966, the first po- fined rights of minorities within the new coun-
litical party, the Awami League, was created to try, repopulation of a large number of refugees
defend and enforce these demands. The league from the 1971 war, and most important, the
adopted a six-point platform calling for a parlia- government’s failure to recognize previous agree-
mentary government elected by universal adult ments granting special status to more than thirty

ethnic minorities living in Chittagong Hills ing assertion of the Muslim identity among
Track (CHT)—set Bangladesh on a path to Bengalis and intolerance of non-Islamic group-
civil war. ings within the country, much to the dismay of
As a result, the hillsides of southeast Bangla- the largely Buddhist and Hindu CHT tribal
desh gave rise to the military organization people. This legacy is felt today, for Bangladesh
Shanti Bahini (Peace Force), which abandoned remains an “Islamic democracy.” A succession
peaceful solutions to the conflict and took up of coups and military rule ensued up until the
arms in order to protect the indigenous Jumma end of the Cold War, but any hopes that democ-
people in a war that in some respects is still racy may take hold in a new international sys-
going on. The irony is that, after decades of re- tem were shattered by a faltering economy, the
pression and denial of their cultural and politi- rise of Islamic fundamentalism, political polar-
cal rights, Bengalis finally won independence for ization, and endemic corruption. Since 1990,
their country, and immediately turned to sup- the political power has shifted away from the
pressing and denying those same rights to the BNP to the Awami League without any signifi-
minorities in the CHT. This situation provided cant changes in economic development or po-
the springboard for twenty-four years of civil litical reforms toward democracy.
war that persist to the present day. The war is Bangladesh remains at or near the bottom of
said to have lasted twenty-four years as the Peace all international lists measuring economic and
Agreement was signed in 1997. That fact social growth, with 38 million people living
notwithstanding, low-key violence and hostili- below the poverty line. More than 50 percent of
ties continue in Bangladesh today. As the litera- children are malnourished. During the period
ture on civil conflicts has not yet conclusively 2000–2004, Transparency International found
answered the question of what point constitutes Bangladesh to be the most corrupt state in the
the end of the war, we will take the year the world. Nationwide political protests remain
peace agreement was signed as the endpoint, al- one of the strongest tools used by opposition
though this interpretation may not be factually parties to induce change. Coupled with exces-
correct. sive use of violence by law enforcement officers
to keep protesters in check, riots have caused
hundreds of deaths and many more injuries
Country Background across the country. There is an almost total
When he took over the independent Bangladesh breakdown of the rule of law, complete disre-
in 1970, Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur gard for the minority rights, and an increase in
Rahman (Mujib) planned to establish a parlia- terrorist groups and activities that threaten any
mentary democracy, rebuild the war-ravaged future attempts at democratic transition and
country, reestablish law and order, and reinte- economic development.
grate returning refugees. He quickly abandoned
those plans, instead focusing on consolidating Conflict Background
his power in a presidential democracy. Ensuing The CHT, located between the Arakan hills of
political disorder led to his assassination and a Burma and northeast India, are home to thirty
coup d’état, which resulted in a the new presi- ethnic communities. Collectively known as
dent-general, Ziaus Rahman (Zia), leader of the Jumma for their cultivation of jumma, a grain
Islamic Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). that is the country’s chief export, the tribes
His troubling contribution to the country’s de- constitute 0.5 percent of the 141 million people
velopment was redefinition of Bangladeshi na- in Bangladesh. In addition to religious differ-
tionalism as one race (Bengali), one religion ences, the indigenous people differ physically
(Islam), and one language (Bengali)—signify- from the majority of Bengalis in that they are
164 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

of Sino-Tibetan descent, with distinctively from the Kaptai Dam construction but also
Mongoloid features. There are also linguistic from the government forces in the civil war
disparities, as well as dissimilarities in social or- (Human Rights Congress on Bangladesh Mi-
ganization, marriage customs, and birth and norities 2003). The Chakmas, who settled in
death rites (Schendel 1995). Largest of the thir- the northeastern part of the country, disrupted
teen main Jumma nationalities are the Chak- the demographic structure of the three dis-
mas, who number an estimated 350,000 and tricts: Lohit, Changlang, and Papumpare.
occupy the central and northern parts of the Adding to the tensions are numerous reports
CHT, including the capital, Rangamati (Anti- pointing to the nexus of the Chakma refugees
Slavery International 1989). The second-largest with underground extremists operating in
ethnic group are the Marmas, who number Tripura. There is currently no integrated re-
about 140,000 and live in the southern and gional approach or political willingness to resolve
northeastern parts of the CHT. Both ethnic mi- the refugee crisis.
norities are Buddhist. The third-largest group Bangladesh’s independence brought about
are the Tripuras, who practice Hinduism, are human rights abuses and large-scale massacres
related to similar peoples in the Tripura state of of the indigenous people of the CHT (United
India, and inhabit mostly the northern part of Nations Economic and Social Council Commis-
the CHT. These three ethnic groups constitute sion on Human Rights 1993). The government
an estimated 87 percent of the total Jumma approved policies of “planned population trans-
population, which, according to the 1991 cen- fer” whereby more than half a million Bengali
sus, totaled 590,000. plains settlers were moved into the CHT in an
Genesis of the post-independence civil war effort to displace the Jumma peoples. The initial
can be traced to the 1962 World Bank–spon- settlement plan included the transfer of 400,000
sored commissioning of the Kaptai Hydroelec- Bengalis into the region, pushing the locals into
tric Power Project, which resulted in the dis- areas of lower-quality agricultural land and forc-
placement of 100,000 people, or one-quarter ing different tribes to coalesce into cluster vil-
of the CHT population, and the submerging of lages that resembled concentration camps
40 percent of the region’s rich agricultural land (Amnesty International 2000).
(Mohsin and Ahmed 1996). The Pakistani gov- Shanti Bahini initially formed resistance
ernment spent 12.5 million rupees (compared against such encroachment of government-
to the planned 240 million) for the rehabilita- sponsored Bengali population transfers in the
tion and compensation of the people displaced CHT (Huque 1998). As its tactics failed to pre-
as a result of the project. Aggravating the prob- vent the further influx of Muslims into the re-
lem further, in 1964 the government annulled gion, Shanti Bahini’s goals evolved into outright
the CHT Regulation of 1900, withdrawing the demands for the region’s elevated autonomy. In
region’s special administrative status. This de- some accounts, this dispute is compared to the
cision was reaffirmed in the 1972 Bangladesh American Indian campaigns, in which soldiers
Constitution (Arens and Chakma 2002). When and white settlers pushed the Indians westward
General Zia became the new president in 1975 in an attempt to fulfill a nineteenth-century po-
through a military coup, democratic struggle litical philosophy of a “manifest destiny.” This
for the CHT autonomy grew into a low-inten- philosophy held that the United States held a
sity armed conflict that evolved into a civil right to the conquest of North America from the
war, which has lasted to some extent to the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
present day. In the mid-1970s, the Bangladesh govern-
Some 65,000 Chakma tribe members remain ment sanctioned military occupation of the re-
in India today, where they took refuge not only gion, causing a refugee spillover into neighbor-

The Chittagong Hill Tracts dispute is over autonomy in southeastern Bangladesh. Here a Hill Tracts student protest
group marches on the prime minister's office in Dhaka in August 2003. (Shawkat Khan/AFP/Getty Images)

ing India. The government persistently denies tion. The government has violated most of its
most of the charges of arbitrary arrest, extraju- key promises in the accords. The Bangladesh
dicial execution, massacre, torture, and unlawful military, which remains a de facto authority in
killing of the indigenous people. Instead, it the region, surrounds the area, assisting in the
claims that the tribes constitute less than 0.5 construction of hundreds of mosques, Islamic
percent of the total population inhabiting more religious schools (madrassas), and Muslim set-
than 10 percent of the area of Bangladesh and tlements. Any attempt to oppose the status quo
that therefore an influx of settlers is inevitable ends in arrest, torture, and jail on charges of ter-
and within their rights. The ongoing civil war ror and extortion. The most threatening devel-
continued until the formal peace agreement was opment remains the silent genocide: demo-
signed in 1997, ending a twenty-four-year insur- graphic manipulation of government-sponsored
gency that claimed more than 8,500 soldiers, Muslim settlement, which resulted in the in-
rebels, and civilians and caused an influx of crease of the Muslim population in the CHT
more than half a million refugees into neighbor- from 2 percent in 1947 to more than 60 percent
ing countries (PRIO 2004). In the eight years in 2004. In one such operation in the early
since the agreement, Bangladesh has yet to come 1980s, Ali Haider Khan, deputy commissioner of
to terms with the disastrous legacies of civil war; the CHT, was authorized to implement the set-
the legal, political, and economic bias toward the tlement of 100,000 Bengali families to the CHT
tribal people; and the sporadic acts of aggression (Peace Campaign Group 2000). Under the pro-
and violence across the CHT—all of which gram, each family received between 2.5 and 5
stand in the way of the agreement’s implementa- acres of land, depending on location; preference
166 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

was given to retired army personnel and former journalists throughout the region, and tourists
members of paramilitary forces. who arrive by bus from the Chittagong port are
Many international observers, indigenous rep- allowed to spend no longer than twenty-four
resentatives, and foreign officials within the hours to a few days in the CHT.
country bear witness to severe human rights vio-
lations, degradation of democratic norms and
standards, unlawful use of military force against The Insurgents
civilians, systematic racial discrimination, ensu- Efforts of the indigenous people to create an
ing ethnic cleansing in the CHT, communal at- organized resistance movement within the
tacks on tribal villages, suppression of free CHT date back to the establishment of British
media, and politically motivated attacks on colonial rule. The Chakmas, the largest of the
human rights activists, intellectuals, and opposi- thirty tribes populating the disputed region,
tion political leaders. Moreover, the 2001 election demanded constitutional recognition of the
saw the rise of Islamic political parties backed by CHT as a special administrative area within
an 88-percent Muslim population in Bangladesh, the British Empire. In 1900, the struggle re-
confirming allegiance to the “Islamic State” sulted in a special ordinance that declared the
(Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangla- CHT a special administrative area. This special
desh, Part I, Article 2A). The country has since status was annulled in the 1964 Pakistani con-
become the new “rest stop” for Taliban and al- stitution and in the subsequent 1972 Bangla-
Qaeda fugitives and has further strengthened its desh constitution.
resolve in the Islamization of the CHT and the Resulting Jumma resentment and dissatisfac-
victimization of its citizens. In an effort to keep tion inspired the creation of a political party
the war a secret, the government has denied or under the auspices of MP (member of Parlia-
restricted the movement of peace activists and ment) Manabendra Narayan Larma on February

Table 1: Civil War in Bangladesh

War: Shanti Bahini vs. government
Dates: August 1972–December 1997
Casualties: 8,500 (rough estimate)
Regime type prior to war: Parliamentary democracy
Regime type after war: Parliamentary democracy (BNP)
GDP/capita year war began in 1972: US $920.48
GDP/capita 5 years after war in 2000: US $1684.58
Insurgents: Shanti Bahini, UNDF
Issue: Privileged status for the CHT region
Rebel funding: Drugs, arms smuggling, ransom
Role of geography: Rebels hid in forested and hill areas
Role of resources: Not decisive or adequate enough to cite
Immediate outcome: 25-year civil war; treaty signed in 1997
Outcome after five years: Feeble peace with low-key, sporadic violence
Role of UN: UNDP in facilitating development
Role of regional organizations: None
Refugees: Estimated 60,000 remain outside country, some repatriated (action still
in progress); 50,000 internally displaced persons
Prospects for peace: Not favorable

Sources: Levine 1999; Center for the Study of Civil War (n.d.); Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities 2003.

15, 1972: Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Shanti Bahini created a militia consisting of per-
Samiti (PCJSS). The party viewed the emergence sonnel less well-trained but capable enough of
of Bangladesh on the basis of Bangladeshi and disturbing the peace and the lives of Bengali set-
Islamic nationalism as an implicit threat to tlers in the CHT. In the ensuing two decades, the
Jumma’s future political, social, and economic rebels conducted raids on the government forces
development. The party presented the Awami surrounding the region, ambushes of govern-
League with a four-point list, demanding (a) ment military officials, kidnappings of foreign
declaration of the CHT as an autonomous zone nationals for ransom, forceful extortion of re-
with its own assembly, (b) the incorporation of sources from the settlers, and acts of aggression
provisions similar to the 1900 CHT Ordinance against fellow tribesmen unsympathetic to their
into the Bangladesh constitution, (c) recogni- goal. Resisting them stood the army and the po-
tion and maintenance of the tribal kings’ offices, lice, who also created, trained, and equipped the
and (d) incorporation of provisions safeguard- Village Defense Parties. Also known as Defense
ing the autonomy of the CHT into the Police, these groupings were made up of Bengali
Bangladesh constitution. The government not settlers in the CHT.
only ignored the list of demands but responded After Larma’s assassination in 1983, the or-
with a military offensive and a population trans- ganization split into two factions, those who re-
fer of Bengalis to the CHT. On the other hand, mained loyal to Larma’s goals and the Preeti
the CHT tribes, having exhausted the peaceful group. The latter surrendered to the govern-
means of conflict resolution, turned to arms and ment in 1985, declaring a unilateral cease-fire
violence. To that end, Shanti Bahini coordi- and surrendering its weapons. The Larma
nated, implemented, supported, trained, and group, under field commander Bodhipriya
funded guerrilla warfare to preserve the special Larma, carried on activities against law enforce-
status of the region and the safety of its people. ment and military personnel in the CHT, seek-
Although its success in achieving the organiza- ing autonomy for the region and halting of set-
tion’s goals remains debatable, Shanti Bahini tlement. Bodhipriya initiated peace talks with
provided the backbone of armed resistance to the government in the early 1990s that eventu-
the Bangladesh government for decades until it ally culminated in the agreement of 1997.
was formally abolished in 1999.
Shanti Bahini was formed on January 7, 1973, Geography
a year after the PCJSS had exhausted all peaceful The CHT is located in southeastern Bangladesh,
means of conflict resolution. Most of its mem- bordering India to the north and Myanmar to
bers came from the three most numerous tribes the east. It covers no more than 10 percent of the
in the region—the Chakma, the Tripura, and the total land area of Bangladesh. Unlike the rest of
Marma—who were also the most disadvantaged the country, which is generally flat, the CHT ter-
by the government’s regional policies. Although rain features numerous valleys, whose heavily
most legacies of the war for independence were forested ridges rise to more than 3,000 feet. The
harmful to the indigenous people, the leftover region is relatively resource rich, with an abun-
surplus of small arms, modern weapons tech- dance of fruit, bamboo, timber, and gas deposits.
nologies, and explosives were a great advantage Many Western oil giants have expressed the de-
to Shanti Bahini. Ideological fervor was aug- sire to commence exploration of the CHT gas
mented with the necessary military equipment, reserves, Shell Oil among them.
and the stage was set for an intense civil war. Shanti Bahini used its geographical advantage
Armed operations began in 1974, after a large to compensate for its relatively weak numerical
number of tribal people were properly trained strength. The indigenous people have lived in
and equipped. In addition to the regular force, the area for centuries; they are far more familiar
168 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

CHINA Chittagong Hill Tracts











th e G an BURMA
M o u t h s of

0 50 100 mi B AY O F
0 50 100 150 km

with the landscape than are the government’s The government’s response has been a public
forces, and they are thus able to execute insur- relations campaign declaring the problem in the
gency from under the cover of the mountains CHT to be economic, not political. Government
and the forests. To that end, Shanti Bahini di- officials argue that the funds are desperately
vided the CHT into two military zones (north needed for the improvement of the standard of
and south), with each zone further split into living and the economic infrastructure for in-
three sectors and each sector into smaller areas. digenous people—a strategy that ultimately
The headquarters and other logistically impor- should bring about the end of hostilities. To that
tant rebel bases were located within the densest end, in 1976 the CHT Development Board was
forests of the region. established to absorb and redirect foreign aid to-

ward implementation of programs for the al- will never be known. Second, the government
leged economic development in the region. The encouraged forced population transfers of Ben-
contributions and financial aid poured in from galis into the region through generous alloca-
many donors, including UNICEF, UNDP, and tions of land grants, cash, and rations. Bengali
the Swedish and Australian governments. The settlers now account for almost half the popula-
real nature of the projects, however, was anti-in- tion. Although this program was secret at first,
surgency development, including construction the government has admitted to the program’s
of road infrastructure to facilitate military de- implementation, aimed at artificially disrupting
ployment in remote areas of the region, defor- regional demographic balance. Third, the gov-
estation to expose the rebel hideouts, and fur- ernment sanctioned forced religious conversion
ther military equipment for Bengali settlers to and persecution through construction of
fight the insurgents. The true intentions of the mosques and madrassas, while encouraging de-
CHT board and the Bangladeshi government struction of Buddhist and Hindu temples. A
were exposed in 1982, when the general officer Saudi government-funded nongovernmental
in command of the 24th Infantry Division of the organization (NGO), Al-Rabita, is a chief Is-
Bangladesh army was appointed the board’s lamic missionary institution in the country, re-
chairman. He proceeded to further use funds ceiving full state and military support in the Is-
provided by the Asian Development Bank, the lamization of Bangladesh. Al-Rabita set up
World Bank, and others to achieve military goals Islamic preaching centers and Islamic hospitals
in the region and to finance additional Bengali in the CHT, overtly promoting Islam and en-
settlements. couraging Jumma conversion. And fourth, the
As already shown, geography has been the key government committed massacres in the
advantage of the rebels, providing a safe haven CHT—thirteen from 1980 to 1989—resulting
against the more sophisticated arms technology in more than 3,000 civilian deaths and more
and numerical advantage of the government than 100,000 refugees (Amnesty International
forces. Recently, Bangladesh has become the key 2000). The actual numbers will probably never
transit point for illegal arms trade, most of be recovered.
which takes place through the Cox Bazar (Kam- On the rebel side, the tactic du jour is kid-
boj 2005). In the process, the country has been napping. On February 16, 2001, three foreign
flooded with small arms and other, more devel- nationals, engineers working in Bangladesh,
oped weaponry readily available to the rebels. As were abducted by the United People’s Democ-
they become better equipped, two interrelated ratic Front (UPDF), a group organized by for-
factors stand to change: Geography stands to mer Larma faction members who did not sup-
lose some of its relevance as the rebels’ primary port the signing of the 1997 agreement. In
advantage, as they may become capable of tak- March of the same year, in one of several such
ing the conflict to the streets and other areas of instances that month, insurgents kidnapped
the country. three pro-Peace Treaty activists and injured
several others (SATP 2001). These episodes are
Tactics not likely to subside in the future, as the gov-
The Bangladeshi government relied on four ernment persistently fails to address indige-
principal tactics to combat the CHT insurgency. nous people’s grievances.
First, it conducted arbitrary arrests, mass deten- During the first few decades of the war, con-
tions, rapes, executions, torture, and kidnap- flict was confined to the CHT. Manipulating ge-
ping of indigenous people. International relief ography to their advantage, the rebels relied
and human rights organizations fear that the chiefly on ambushing the government forces
true number of those who perished as a result and conducting hit-and-run attacks on army
170 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

personnel stationed in the area. This is likely to with the civil war in Bangladesh. At the present
change. In addition to the small arms confis- time, fewer than 1 percent of the country’s pop-
cated from the Bangladeshi and the capitulating ulation, who live on an estimated 10 percent of
Pakistani military, the rebels succeeded in ac- the land, is seeking a special status for the region
quiring some of the most advanced weapons they live in. In contrast, the Bangladeshi govern-
technology. The sources of such sophisticated ment and its people remain reluctant to award
arms, including AK-47, silencer-fitted guns with any type of privileged constitutional standing to
telescopic viewfinders and antitank missiles, are the CHT. The identity, cultural, and ethnic dif-
still unknown or debated (A. Kumar 2003a). It is ferences between the two sides have been rein-
not known whether the government does not forced by a combination of influences: historical
want to regulate the proliferation of arms in factors; colonial, imperialistic, and governmen-
Bangladesh, or whether it is simply incapable of tal policies; the development of a “Bengali” na-
doing so. Recently, one significant seizure of ille- tionalism; and the recent increase in the pres-
gal arms in the CHT region, on April 2, 2004, ex- ence of Islamic fundamentalism in the country.
posed 1,290 AK series rifles, 1.1 million rounds These differences have played a key role in limit-
of ammunition, 25,020 grenades, 840 rockets, ing the degree of interaction among the two
night vision goggles, and silencers for guns, in sides, thereby impeding the growth of religious
boxes labeled “made in China” (P. Kumar 2004). and ethnic tolerance and the growth of a func-
This confirms the recent UN research indicating tioning civil society. By extension, despite the
the change in status of Bangladesh from a transit signed peace accord in 1997, both sides remain
country to a country that is a user of illegally hesitant to make the compromises that may help
smuggled arms that are manufactured in illegal the country toward a sustained economic and
factories all over Bangladesh. The report further political development. Nonetheless, the grand
points out that there are an estimated 200,000 il- picture of the civil conflict in Bangladesh is not a
legal firearms in the country and eighty syndi- simple one. The causes of the war include a
cated terrorist and criminal groups. Addition- number of factors that, combined, have led to a
ally, some 600 to 700 illegal firearms enter the perpetual state of conflict and have retarded the
country each day (Kumar 2003a). country’s transition to peace.
Experts claim that very few, if any, South The earliest period to which we can trace the
Asian insurgency groups use such weaponry as roots of the conflict is when the UK granted in-
high-velocity rockets. This equipment is more dependence to two successor states, India and
conducive to the classic warfare against a regu- Pakistan, a 1947 arrangement that left a bifur-
lar army, not the asymmetrical combat that has cated Muslim nation separated by more than a
generally characterized the Bangladeshi civil thousand miles. Under imperial rule, the CHT
war. With such weapons at their disposal, in- enjoyed a privileged administrative status, any
surgents are now capable of taking the battle to type of Bengali settlement and migration was
the flatlands, creating chaos and panic among forbidden, and the region enjoyed limited self-
the Bengalis and executing attacks in public government. Since the British left, the CHT has
places or during demonstrations without being undergone a gradual stripping away of its special
detected. standing within the country as the prospects of
eventual conflict grew proportionately with the
diminishing rights of the indigenous people.
Causes of the War We can argue that the cause of the present-
Rarely has there been an instance of an armed day civil war in Bangladesh dates to between
conflict with respect to the occurrence of which 1957 and 1963, with the construction of the
one can point to a single cause. It is no different World Bank–sponsored Kaptai Dam near Rang-

mati. The Pakistani government sacrificed the damentalist group Harkat-ul-Jihad, an organi-
interests of indigenous agricultural CHT popu- zation with Wahhabi and Taliban influences,
lation for a dependable source of energy. The equips and trains its followers to conduct armed
project resulted in destruction of at least 54,000 raids against the tribes’ people. The group has
acres of settled, arable land, cultivated mainly by since worked on establishing the Islamic Huku-
the Chakma tribe, submergence of more than mat (Islamic Rule) in Bangladesh, and has pro-
400 square miles of additional land, and far- vided support campaigns against such liberal
reaching negative economic, cultural, and social and secular practices as music, dance, movies,
effects on the locals. An estimated 40,000 and television. There are a number of other Is-
Chakma tribe members took refuge in neigh- lamic groups, one of which, Jamaat-i-Islami,
boring India. Coupled with the construction, holds two ministerial positions within the pres-
the Pakistani government encouraged the settle- ent BNP regime in Bangladeshi government.
ment of Bengalis in the area. It is no surprise that the government seeks Is-
We can also argue that the progressive Is- lamization of Bangladesh as a policy initiative
lamization of Bangladesh has led to intolerance geared toward establishing the country’s unified
of any other religions and more violence against identity. Even though it is home to more than
the groups resistant to Islam. Thus, the outbreak 140 million people, Bangladesh faces the signifi-
of the civil war was a natural consequence of cant security dilemmas that are often character-
policies that can be traced to the former Prime istic of smaller states. One such issue is its territo-
Minister of Pakistan, Zulffikar Ali Bhutto. Al- rially and numerically powerful Hindu neighbor,
legedly, Bhutto believed that friendly relations India. Within that context, further Islamization
between Bangladesh and India would pose a na- of Bangladesh is one government’s available tool
tional security concern for Pakistan. To that end, to prevent its identity from being subsumed by
he sought to spread Islamic fundamentalism India. During its transition from Bengali to the
throughout Bangladesh, driving a wedge be- identity of extremist Islamist nationalism, the
tween Bangladesh and its powerful, largely Bangladeshi government faces two groups: non-
Hindu neighbor (S. Kumar 2005). This policy Bengali speakers and non-Muslims, the majority
was strengthened in the late 1970s with the rise of whom live in the CHT region. Fleeing govern-
of the military leadership in Bangladesh, which ment and terrorist forces, many non-Bengali and
proceeded to desecularize the Constitution of non-Muslim CHT people sought refuge in India,
1977 and lift the ban on communal and funda- triggering a chronic refugee problem that persists
mentalist parties. When General Ershad came to to the present day.
power, declaring Islam the state religion in 1988, On the other hand, we can also trace the con-
one can argue that the fate of the CHT people flict’s origin to 1971. Although Bangladeshi peo-
was sealed, as the choices available to them ple sacrificed their lives to gain independence
ranged from conversion to Islam to refuge in from Pakistan, the Jumma minorities remained
neighboring countries. Evidence shows that they largely indifferent to the cause of their country-
overwhelmingly chose the latter option, joining men. There is no single reason for this ambiva-
the ranks of an estimated 20 million Bangla- lence, whether it be the relatively peaceful culture
deshi immigrants. The mounting spread of of the CHT tribes or Jumma’s expection of be-
Islam is most evident in the estimated 64,000 coming a part of India. Additionally, some influ-
madrassas that are said to be the breeding ential individuals among the CHT tribes sided
ground for terrorists (Kamboj 2005). with the Pakistani government, whereas others
Proliferation of Islamic education centers, complained of being excluded from participation
largely financed by petrodollars from Saudi Ara- in the war. For one of those reasons or all of them
bia, is marked in the CHT region, where the fun- combined, in the context of the Bangladeshi
172 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

campaign for sovereignty, the Jummas’ intentions

came to be perceived as disloyal. By extension, Women in Power
following the war for independence, the Bangla- in Bangladesh
Begum Khaleda Zia is the Bangladeshi prime
desh government and its people were quick to
minister. As the first woman in her country in
point a finger at the region and blame its people the post, she was in power from 1991 to 1996
for treason and subversion. With its complete and again after the BNP election victory in
monopoly on the military and the police, the gov- 2001. Her assassinated husband, General
ernment was able to implement and enforce any Ziaur Rahman, formed the Bangladesh Na-
tionalist Party (BNP) and set the country on a
policy it deemed necessary, including punish-
course toward rapid Islamization. Khaleda Zia
ment of those who remained disloyal to the cause was born in 1945 and married General Rah-
of independence. In the case of the CHT, that man in 1960. After her husband’s death, she
meant sanctioning population transfers into the took very little interest in politics but instead
region, denying the Jumma’s claim for elevated focused on raising their two sons. That
administrative status for the CHT, and employing changed in 1983, when Justice Sattar ap-
pointed her vice chairman of the BNP. She
aggression and hostility against the indigenous
succeeded Justice Sattar in 1984 and until
people. 1990 was detained seven times during Gen-
Lastly, these events and subsequent develop- eral Ershad’s rule. Khaleda Zia was elected
ments in the region between the government the country’s first female prime minister in
and the CHT minorities unfolded against the 1991 in Bangladesh’s first free and fair elec-
tions. Khaleda Zia introduced compulsory
background of a faltering economy with abun-
free primary education, free education and
dant but undeveloped resources, rampant cor- stipends for female students until tenth grade,
ruption, nonexistent social benefits, an ineffi- and a food-for-education program. She fur-
cient educational system, and successive military ther increased the age limit for entry into
governments. In addition, Bangladesh’s relative government services from 27 years of age to
lack of geostrategic importance warranted the 30 and made the highest budgetary alloca-
tion in the education sector. In 2001, the
noninvolvement of international community in
BNP—in coalition with the Jatiya Party, Ja-
the conflict, much to the satisfaction of the gov- maat-i-Islami, and Islami Oikya Joy—won
ernment, which was free to pursue its policies the election with a two-thirds majority, and
unfettered by outside influences. Khaleda Zia was once again elected prime

Prior to the 1997 agreement, civil war in People’s Democratic Front, who views the agree-
Bangladesh was fairly easy to explain: Shanti ment as an act of treason; the Parbatya Chatta-
Bahini fought for the rights and autonomy of gram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS), who sup-
CHT, and the government struggled to prevent ported the agreement; and the indigenous
them from succeeding. In the postagreement pe- people in general, who want peace, stability,
riod, the situation became a lot more complex. order, and the rule of law to return to the coun-
Sheik Hasina’s Awami League government, try that has spent the last three decades en-
which won the national elections in 1996 and trenched in civil war. Most of the fighting in the
signed the 1997 agreement on government’s be- area now occurs between the UPDF and the
half, was replaced by the coalition of the BNP PCJSS on one side, while a low-key hostility and
and the radical fundamentalist party Jamaat-i- tension remain between the indigenous popula-
Islami, both of which were against the agree- tion and the Bengali settlers that can easily ex-
ment in the first place. On the side of the insur- plode, given the proper trigger (such as the
gents, there were now three factions: the United breakdown of internal order and law, a terrible

economic situation, or an increase in radical no constitutional provision for ethnic identity

fundamentalism), into large-scale violence at or the councils, which consequently could be
any point. In the five years after the agreement repealed at any point; there is no deadline for
was signed, there were an estimated 300 victims; military withdrawal or implementation of the
but things have grown more macabre since accord; and there is no provision for an inde-
2002, with confrontations and gunfire occurring pendent monitoring institution to oversee im-
daily. plementation of the agreement.
Consequently, under no international or do-
Conflict Status mestic pressure, the government has not fulfilled
The Peace Agreement sought to mitigate three the four outstanding issues it promised in the
important issues. First, it stipulated the creation accords:
of the CHT Regional Council “comprising the
Local Government Councils of the three Hill (1) It has established the CHT regional coun-
Districts,” which would have twenty-two mem- cil as promised, but the council is a de facto
bers elected from the tribal population, with a institution that remains void of any political
special quota for each tribe. The council’s activi- power, autonomy, or legitimacy with which to
ties would include coordination of development solve one of the most pressing and con-
activities in the area, general administration, tentious issues, the question of land;
provision of law and order, NGO activities, and (2) it has not repatriated the Jumma refugees
disaster and relief management. Most impor- and has not addressed the resettlement of the
tant, the council would be entrusted with resolv- Bengali settlers who have inhabited the region
ing land disputes, especially disputes between through government-sponsored forced popu-
settlers and indigenous people regarding proper lation transfers;
verification of land records in the region (Chit- (3) it has not facilitated the return of the
tagong Hill Tracts Treaty 1997, Article D.4). Sec- Chakmas’ ancestral lands taken over through-
ond, the accord did not extend general amnesty out the three decades of the conflict; and
to army and police personnel for past human (4) it has not reduced—but since 2002 has
rights violations, but it granted amnesty to those even stepped up—its military presence in the
members of Shanti Bahini and PCJSS who sur- region. (A. Kumar 2003a).
rendered their weapons. Third, the accord stipu-
lated the need for speedy rehabilitation of tribal The problem of IDPs can be likened to the Is-
refugees and internally displaced persons raeli–Palestinian problem, as both accentuate
(IDPs), who by definition are those displaced the grave prospects for solving the problem of
between August 1975 and August 1992. land and property ownership. Refugees who
More than eight years after the agreement wish to return to their homes often discover
that officially ended the civil war in Bangladesh, that, in the meantime, their houses have been
the country remains deeply entrenched in en- taken over by members of another religion or
demic political, social, and economic problems. side. The European Parliament has earmarked
In addition to those issues, the government’s the funds for repatriation of Bengali settlers
lack of political willingness to implement the from the CHT back to the plains, but the gov-
agreement’s provisions, coupled with growing ernment, despite voicing willingness to under-
resentment and tensions among an indigenous take such action given adequate funding, has yet
CHT population that grows more militarily able to present a project proposal.
and better equipped as time goes by, threatens to The BNP supports the status quo, the party
push the country into another crisis. The agree- having declared that the agreement was not in
ment contains a number of weaknesses: There is the interest of Bengali people. Keep in mind that
174 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

the greater portion of its support comes from Bangladesh but in the region as well” (as quoted
the fundamentalist Islamic groups and that its in Routray 2004).
coalition partner is the radical Islamic group Ja- There are no significant prospects for ending
maat-i-Islami; since its electoral win in 2001, the the refugee problem in a satisfactory way for any
BNP has consistently acted against implementa- of the three sides—Bangladesh, India, or the
tion of the 1997 accord. These issues constitute refugees. Tensions have been rising within the
strong potential triggers capable of thrusting the two peaceful northeastern Indian states, Arun-
country into another round of civil war. chal Pradesh and Mizoram, which are home to
Since 2001, the BNP set Bangladesh on the more than 60,000 Chakma and Hajong Buddhist
path of rapid Islamization, in the process provid- refugees from the CHT region (Haokip, 2003).
ing safe haven for a number of international and These indigenous people took refuge in the two
domestic Islamic terrorist groups. Islamic outfits republics as a result of the Kaptai Dam construc-
operating within Bangladesh won a de facto li- tion, and the subsequent civil war in the CHT
cense to terrorize minority tribes in the country, became an added obstacle to their return. A sig-
mainly focusing on the CHT. The full support nificant portion, although not all, of the 60,000
given to the Islamic groups by the local police ef- consists of men and women fleeing the civil war
fectively erodes the last line of defense of the in- and the subsequent failing life standards and
digenous people against the government. The di- lack of opportunity in Bangladesh. The increas-
visional inspector general of police of Rajshahi, ing impatience of the citizens of Arunchal
Noor Mohammad, has openly stated his support Pradesh and Mizoram about the issue has re-
and has urged his colleagues to uphold the activi- cently culminated in two significant events.
ties of the self-styled vigilante groups in the coun- First, the All Arunachal Pradesh Student
try (A. Kumar 2004). An estimated 305 minority Union (AAPSU) served a quit notice to the
attacks were reported in 2005; in 2004, eleven refugees, threatening violence and agitation if
members of Hindu family in one CHT village they are not deported from the republic. The
were burned to death by an Islamic group (S. union’s members belong to the more radical ele-
Kumar 2005). The government shows no signs of ments of society, many of whom contributed to
willingness or ability to maintain internal law and the formation of the Eastern India Liberation
order. Proliferation of small arms and a flourish- Tigers Front (EILTF). Their reaction was further
ing drug trade are driving the crime rate up, justi- aggravated by the decision of the Supreme
fying reports by the United Nations Development Court of India to accept all Chakmas living in
Program and Transparency International refer- Arunachal Pradesh state as Indian citizens. Al-
ring to Bangladesh as the most corrupt country in though the ruling does not guarantee citizenship
the world (Haokip 2002). rights, it lends legal credibility to all Chakmas
In addition, an estimated 20 million Bangla- who wish to stay in India.
deshi immigrants have fled the country, about In the second instance, the convener of the
15 million of whom have settled in India (Kam- Core Committee on Deportation of Chakma
boj 2005). Instead of seeking to resolve the Refugees, Domin Loya, conveyed an additional
refugee problem, the Bangladesh government threat, claiming that New Delhi’s favorable
charged India with sheltering anti-Bangladesh stance on settling of refugees in the two republics
groups, including the United People’s Democra- may provoke large-scale violence and a civil war.
tic Front, which fights for CHT autonomy Their statement implied not only a bilateral
(Routray 2004). On September 20, 2004, Finan- problem between Bangaldesh and India but the
cial Express said, “There is mistrust and misun- possibility of a larger national security problem if
derstanding about India in Bangladesh. As a the issue is not resolved immediately: “If New
matter of fact, there is Indo-phobia not only in Delhi [sic] try and impose an arbitrary decision

asking Chakmas to be settled here, we would Bangladesh in the hopes of enhancing economic
have to look for help from our lost brothers [im- development and indirectly halting the ongoing
plication for China] to fight for our rights” civil war (DaVanzo, Grammich, Nichiporuk,
(Hoakip, 2003). In response to both threats, and Fair, 2004). The country features a high
many of the young Chakma and Hajong indige- population density (nearly 1,100 per square
nous people have crossed over to Bangladesh to kilometer), more than twice that of any other
engage in arms and drug smuggling. nation with at least 10 million people. It remains
to be seen whether the government’s political
Duration Tactics commitment to this goal will contradict its
South Asia is cradled between the Golden Trian- pledge to the spread of Islam in the country. Due
gle and Golden Crescent, two of the world’s key to rising tensions and the increase in confronta-
producers of psychotropic drugs. The Golden tions, foreign aid is channeled into the country
Crescent is the prime illicit opium-producing re- sparingly, and the international community re-
gion in the world, located at the crossroads of mains largely aloof from the CHT conflict.
central, south, and western Asia and overlapping One of the more alarming trends in Bangla-
three nations—Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. desh recently is the increase of foreign terrorist
The Golden Triangle is the second-most impor- groups who, in addition to seeking a safe haven
tant opium-producing area and also has been in in Bangladesh, cooperate with the government
the business longest (since the 1950s, as opposed in spreading Islam and forced conversion across
to the Golden Crescent’s 1970s), straddling the the country. The most frequent point of en-
mountains of three countries in southeast Asia: trance for the terrorist is the CHT, where many
Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. As a consequence, of them remain to support madrassas, terrorize
rebel groups and government forces are able to the locals, smuggle drugs and arms, and train re-
extract enormous funds from the flourishing cruits in weapons handling (Sakhuja 2003). It is
drug trade in an area where democratic norms believed that 150 men belonging to the Taliban
and standards are difficult to come by and bor- and al-Qaeda crossed into Bangladesh in 2001
ders are porous. The flourishing drug trade has through CHT, while Chittagong and Cox Bazar
fostered a nexus of terrorist organizations, drug are two major transit points for arms smuggling.
traffickers, and money launderers who, in addi- Time magazine dubbed Bangladesh a “hotbed of
tion to dealing a crushing blow to the rule of law, radical Islam,” whereas Far Eastern Economic Re-
are also the key actors in regional civil wars. It is view was no less critical, depicting the country as
no different in Bangladesh, which is both the pro- a “cocoon of terror.”
ducer and a transit country for cannabis, heroin,
opium, marijuana, and codeine-based cough Conflict Management Efforts
syrups such as Phensedyl (Manohamaran 2003). Bangladeshi civil war remained off the world’s
Profits from illegal trade are used to bankroll the radar for most of its duration until the signing
Islamization of the CHT on one side and contin- of the 1997 agreement. The efforts to settle the
ued insurgency on the other. Some studies conflict began in 1985, when the agreement be-
showed an increase in the abuse of heroin since tween General Ershad’s government and a
1995 in Bangladesh and highlight the country’s PCJSS breakaway faction resulted in surrender
producing capacity, with cannabis and poppy cul- of the group’s 300 members, who in exchange
tivation rife in the CHT (Haokip 2003). received rehabilitation packages consisting of
symbolic land rations (Amnesty International
External Military Intervention 2000). Leading PCJSS structures rejected the ac-
Overwhelming international aid has recently cord, and the conflict continued. One positive
targeted a reduction in population growth in result was the beginning of communication be-
176 | BANGLADESH (1972–1997)

tween the two sides, which eventually resulted in List of Acronyms

the establishment of the three district elected AAPSU: All Arunachal Pradesh Student Union
councils in Rangmati, Khagrachari, and Bandar- BNP: Bangladesh Nationalist Party
CHT: Chittagong Hill Tracts
ban with limited administrative and supervisory EILTF: Eastern India Liberation Tigers Front
authority over some government departments, NGO: nongovernmental organization
such as fisheries, agriculture, small and cottage PCJSS: Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti
industries, public health, and primary educa- UPDF: United People’s Democratic Front, a
tion. The PCJSS lobbied for the UN presence to breakaway faction from the PCJSS that did
not support the signing of the 1997 peace
oversee the withdrawal of the military and the
accord with the government.
Bengali settlers from the region. As the UN
failed to respond, PCJSS announced a unilateral
cease-fire in 1992, remaining in effect until the Glossary
1997 agreement between the National Commit- Cox Bazar: The longest natural beach in
tee on Chittagong Hill Tracts and the PCJSS in Bangladesh, this stretch of 120 kilometers has
the presence of the highest government authori- become one of the key transit routes for illicit
drugs, arms, and terrorist trade.
ties in Bangladesh. One can only speculate East India Company: British company chartered
whether the international community’s failure by Elizabeth I in 1600 to develop trade with the
to oversee and support implementation of the new British colonies in India and southeastern
agreement resulted in its failing legitimacy. Asia. In 1773, the British Parliament passed an
amendment to curb the Company’s exploit-
ative practices and gain a share of its revenues.
In the eighteenth century, the company
Conclusion assumed administrative control of Bengal and
Two problems exist in Bangladesh relating to held it until the British army took over in 1858
civil war. First, terrorism is on the rise, with al- after the Indian Mutiny.
leged links between Bangladesh and Pakistan’s Jumma: Common name for some 600,000
external intelligence agency (ISI) and interna- indigenous people, spanning some 20 different
tribes, living in the CHT region.
tional Islamic terrorist groups. Second, there is Madrassas: Religious schools funded by
growing unrest in the CHT. The two reinforce petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and other
one another. Under the government’s protec- Middle Eastern countries; an overwhelming
tion, terrorist groups ensure that arms and presence in Pakistan and other countries in the
drug smuggling flourishes and madrassas pro- region, allegedly promoting anti-Western
sentiments and forced conversion to Islam of
liferate. This poses a direct threat for the CHT
all non-Muslim people.
non-Muslim. Since political dialogue ceased in Taliban: In translation, it means “students of
2001, the country has witnessed a breakdown Islamic knowledge”; characterizes the Islamic
of the rule of law and internal order that has regime in Kabul and Afghanistan, and consists
subsequently hindered any chance of economic of people who believe in an almost medieval
development. brand of Islam.
Tripura: Indian state that absorbed the highest
Today, global broadcasting news agencies are number of the CHT refugees as a result of the
focused on stories of nuclear talks with North civil war.
Korea and the Iraqi war. The CHT population Wahhabi: An Islamic movement named after
and stories of their multidecade appeal for recog- Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab (1703–1792);
nition, peace, and stability have yet to reach a represents a fundamentalist, puritanical Sunni
form of Islam. It has become an object of
wide audience and provoke an urgent response
increased interest because it is the major sect of
and condemnation of human rights abuses. the government and society of Saudi Arabia.
Wahhabism is an offending synonym for one
Milica Begovich form of Salafism.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Introduction sans led by Josep Broz Tito defeated both the Us-
For the first time since the Middle Ages, Bosnia- tashe, a Nazi puppet regime based in Croatia,
Herzegovina (referred to as Bosnia in this arti- and Serbian nationalist Chetniks and ushered in
cle) became an independent nation in 1992, one an era of heavy-handed, antinationalist, Com-
of six states that would eventually emerge from munist rule. Tito ruled largely through the
the ashes of the former Yugoslavia. The price strength of his personality and, to keep a lid on
Bosnians paid for this sovereignty was a civil war renewed disputes between ethnic or religious
in which hundreds of thousands were killed, groups, forbade any expressions of nationalist
millions displaced from their homes, and war sentiment. Until its collapse, Yugoslavia was a
crimes and atrocities committed on a scale not federation of six republics (Slovenia, Croatia,
seen in Europe since World War II. The Bosnian Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and
war was the severest of the four wars that (so Macedonia) and two autonomous regions
far) have resulted from the demise of Yugoslavia, (Kosovo and Vojvodina). Within these republics
but it cannot be understood without reference lived, in relative peace, people who classified
to the broader context in which it occurred. At themselves as belonging to at least ten different
the same time, Bosnia has been fought over for nationalities.
centuries, and any decision about when the story Most of the Yugoslav republics were domi-
should begin is somewhat arbitrary. This article nated by their namesake ethnic group (Serbia by
begins with the Yugoslavian context from which mostly ethnic Serbs, Croatia by mostly ethnic
modern Bosnia emerged, then devotes most at- Croats, etc.). Bosnia was different. In 1991, it
tention to the particulars of the recent war. contained about 43 percent Muslims, 31 percent
ethnic Serbs, 17 percent ethnic Croats, and a mix
of other nationalities. Once the war began, this
Country Background balance meant that the conflict over what should
The second Yugoslavia was established after become of Bosnia was far more intense than in
World War II, which coincided in the Balkans other republics. Ethnicity was generally an im-
with a vicious civil war that claimed as many as portant cleavage, but a significant cultural divide
1.7 million lives. In Yugoslavia, the memory of also existed between conservative, often ethni-
this era was “politically almost as powerful as the cally intolerant rural Bosnians and more cosmo-
history of the Holocaust is in Israeli politics politan urban Bosnians who were less concerned
today” (Denitch 1994, 31). Communist parti- with ethnicity. Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital and

| 181
182 | BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (1992–1995)

largest city, typified this cosmopolitan Yugoslav rating economic conditions exacerbated existing
identity. It had been the site of the 1984 Winter tensions over uneven development between re-
Olympics and remained home to houses of wor- publics. Slovenia and Croatia enjoyed the most
ship from all the Yugoslav faiths. Throughout advanced economies of the republics, and many
Bosnia, “[o]ne of the three ethnic groups usually resented their disproportionately large contribu-
predominated in any given area, but in most tions to the federal tax base and began to push
places there was at least some ethnic commin- for economic liberalization. Meanwhile, al-
gling at some level of dispersion. Before the war though Bosnia had enjoyed some economic im-
there were places in Bosnia where one could, for provements during Tito’s reign, it remained less
instance, find a Serb-majority street within a developed than the other republics. “GNP per
Croat-majority town in a Muslim-majority op- capita was 35 percent below the Yugoslav aver-
stina (county or municipality)” (CIA 2002, 121). age in 1981” (Burg and Shoup 1999, 43).
The Bosnian Croat population was concen- Second, growing interrepublic political ten-
trated in the Herzegovina region in southwest- sions and demands for increased political auton-
ern Bosnia, along the border with Croatia. His- omy began to emerge after Tito’s death in 1980.
torically, the mostly rural Herzegovinian Croats Many believed that ethnic Serbs had too much
have been more politically extreme than other power in the federal government. In fact, they
Bosnian Croats; Serbs were known to say “noth- made up the largest single group in the Yugoslav
ing grows in western Herzegovina except rocks, population and were dominant in the Yugoslav
snakes, and Ustashe” (Silber and Little 1996, National Army (JNA) officer corps. Further-
212). The Bosnian Serb population was spread more, the federal government was seated in the
out, with some majority Serb districts in eastern Serbian Republic. These types of concerns had
Bosnia and in the north and west along the bor- led to a new constitution in 1974 that had trans-
ders with the Croatian Krajina. The majority of ferred authority away from the federal center to
Serbs were rural, and although there was an the republics and autonomous regions and pro-
urban–rural political divide among Serbs, most vided for an eight-member presidency that
shared something of a martyr complex, a legacy would rotate annually among them. In the early
of prior Serb victimization at the hands of the 1980s the plan seemed to be working, but with-
Ustashe. Unlike Bosnian Croats and Serbs, most out Tito’s as the galvanizing force, the republics
of whom viewed Croatia and Serbia as their re- had trouble remaining unified. By the late 1980s,
spective homelands, Muslims in Bosnia did not the federal government “retained effective au-
have an ethnic homeland. There had been Mus- thority only within the spheres of foreign policy,
lims in Bosnia since the Turkish occupation in the economy, and defense. Even these domains
the fifteenth century, and districts with majority had begun to erode as some of the individual re-
Muslim populations were spread throughout publics undertook their own foreign and eco-
Bosnia, with concentrations in the far northwest nomic policies independent of—and at times at
corner near Bihac and in pockets in central and odds with—the federal government’s” (CIA
eastern Bosnia. 2002, 45).
By the late 1980s, three sets of issues were Finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall brought
contributing to the tensions that would eventu- with it the deterioration of Yugoslavia’s most
ally lead to Yugoslavia’s disintegration and war powerful unifying force: the Communist Party.
in Bosnia (CIA 2002, 45). The first was eco- Communists were largely replaced by (and often
nomic. By the 1980s, unemployment had risen, became) nationalists, further increasing inter-
foreign debt levels had become unsustainable, republic divisions. To these were added in-
economic growth had slowed, and real income creased intrarepublic divisions in Bosnia, where
was dropping (Woodward 1995). These deterio- the party had been multiethnic, made up in

1982 of 42.8 percent, 35 percent, and 11.9 per- lims, validated their discomfort with Serb domi-
cent ethnic Serbs, Muslims, and Croats, respec- nation of the federal government.
tively (Burg and Shoup 1999, 45). The fact that By May 1991, referenda in both Slovenia and
ethnic Serbs and Croats in Bosnia were targets of Croatia had come out overwhelmingly in favor
nationalist appeals in Serbia and Croatia only of secession. Negotiations between the republics
exacerbated this dynamic. Multiparty elections on the future of the federation brought no solu-
held in Bosnia in November 1990 were decided tions, and war began on June 25, when both
exclusively along ethnic lines. The three parties Slovenia and Croatia unilaterally declared them-
that collectively gained nearly 90 percent of the selves independent. Milosevic acceded to Slove-
votes were nia’s secession after a short and relatively blood-
less war, but the large ethnic Serb minority in
(1) the Party of Democratic Action (Stranka Croatia bristled at the idea of living in a Croat-
Demokratske Akcije [SDA]), the Muslim dominated state, and Milosevic sent in the JNA
party led by Alija Izetbegovic, an activist who to crush the rebellion and ostensibly to protect
had been imprisoned twice by the Commu- Serbs from attacks by Croat nationalists. Some
nists for advocating a larger role for Islam in in the army viewed their actions as an attempt to
Bosnia; preserve Yugoslavia; although dominated by eth-
(2) the Serb Democratic Party (Srpska nic Serbs, the army was also the federal institu-
Demokratska Stranka Bosne I Hercegovine tion that, more than any other, realized Tito’s
[SDS]), the Serb party led by Radovan slogan, “Brotherhood and Unity” (CIA 2002,
Karadzic, a former psychiatrist adamantly op- 46). That the mission in Croatia was pursued
posed to any move to lessen the connection with the help of ultranationalist Serbian militia
between Bosnia and Yugoslavia; and by murdering or evicting nearly all non-Serbs
(3) the Croatian Democratic Union of living in predominantly Serbian regions of
Bosnia-Herzegovina (Hrvatska Demokratska Croatia suggests that many in the JNA also
Zajednica Bonse I Hercegovine [HDZ]), the viewed their role in ethnic terms. Thus began
Bosnian branch of the Croatian nationalist the “ethnic cleansing” of the former Yugoslavia.
party, a branch that was divided internally be- The summer of 1991 in Bosnia was filled with
tween some who wanted to preserve the unity tense and acrimonious negotiations between the
of Bosnia and others who wanted to annex SDA, the SDS, and the HDZ over the future of
the Croatian-majority areas of Bosnia to Bosnia. As Nikola Koljevic, an SDS representa-
Croatia. tive on the Bosnian Presidency, said, “Through-
out 1991, even in the beginning of 1992, each
The pace of Yugoslavia’s deterioration had ac- side thought the other wouldn’t dare. And there
celerated on April 24, 1987, when Slobodan was that terrible tense political game. Until fi-
Milosevic, then first secretary of the Serbian nally we found ourselves at the point of no re-
Communist Party, made an inflammatory turn” (Silber and Little 1996, 212). In October,
speech in Kosovo, a predominantly Albanian over the fierce objections of its Serb members,
Muslim autonomous region of great historical the Bosnia parliament vote