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Violence after War

Explaining Instability in Post-Conflict States

Michael J. Boyle

Publication Year: 2014

The end of one war is frequently the beginning of another because the cessation of conflict produces two new challenges: a contest between the winners and losers over the terms of peace, and a battle within the winning party over the spoils of war. As the victors and the vanquished struggle to establish a new political order, incidents of low-level violence frequently occur and can escalate into an unstable peace or renewed conflict. Michael J. Boyle evaluates the dynamics of post-conflict violence and their consequences in Violence after War. In this systematic comparative study, Boyle analyzes a cross-national dataset of violent acts from 52 post-conflict states and examines, in depth, violence patterns from five recent post-conflict states: Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, East Timor, and Iraq. In each of the case studies, Boyle traces multiple pathways through which violence emerges in post-conflict states and highlights how the fragmentation of combatants, especially rebel groups, produces unexpected and sometimes surprising shifts in the nature, type, and targets of attack. His case studies are based on unpublished data on violent crime, including some from fieldwork in Kosovo, East Timor, and Bosnia, and a thorough review of narrative and witness accounts of the attacks. The case study of Iraq comes from data that Boyle obtained directly from U.S. Central Command, published here for the first time. Violence after War will be essential reading for all those interested in political violence, peacekeeping, and post-conflict reconstruction.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-x

This book has been a long time in the making. It was developed out of my doctoral dissertation, “The Prevention and Management of Reprisal Violence in Post-Conflict States,” at the Centre for International Studies at the University of Cambridge (2005). That dissertation was written in response to an internship that I completed in summer...


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pp. xi-xiv

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1. The Challenge of Violence in Post-Conflict States

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pp. 1-20

All wars end, but they rarely end as predicted. The history of warfare is littered with accounts of leaders who have exhibited false optimism about how easy it will be to defeat an enemy in battle.1 Wars expected to go on for years sometimes end in short order, while others expected to be quick fights descend into slow wars of attrition...

Part One: Unpacking Violence After Wars

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2. Understanding Violence after Wars: Concepts and Contexts

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pp. 23-44

To understand why violence occurs after wars, one must begin by unpacking the concept of violence. As noted in chapter 1, violence in post-conflict states is driven by a diverse range of motives, from the highly personal (such as revenge killings) to the criminal and political. Some violent acts are driven by more than one purpose...

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3. Explaining Violence after Wars: Patterns and Pathways

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pp. 45-96

As presented in chapter 1, strategic violence in post-conflict states can follow two broad patterns. In some post-conflict states, the combatants will continue to use strategic violence for reasons directly related to the war itself—as an attempt to spoil the peace settlement, to undermine its effective terms, or to achieve further gains from renewed...

Part Two: Face Case Studies of Post-Conflict Violence

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4. Bosnia-Herzegovina

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pp. 99-142

The civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1991–1995) was famously described by U.S. secretary of state Warren Christopher as “the problem from hell” because of its complexity and apparent intractability.1 The war was not a symmetrical civil war between two evenly matched sides, but rather a multisided conflict fought by combinations...

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5. Rwanda

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pp. 143-174

The genocide in Rwanda from April to June 1994 is one of the most horrifying events of the late twentieth century. Over a period of one hundred days, approximately 800,000 people were killed by the Hutu ultranationalist regime, which seized power after President Juvenal Habyarimana was killed in a plane crash on 6 April 1994.1 The...

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6. Kosovo

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pp. 175-226

Seen in retrospect, NATO’s war in Kosovo (24 March–11 June 1999) was the high-water mark of the series of humanitarian interventions that dominated debates over foreign policy during the 1990s.1 Reacting in part to their legacy of inaction over Bosnia, the United States, United Kingdom, France, and other members of the NATO...

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7. East Timor

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pp. 227-256

One of the most vicious and long-running wars of independence during the twentieth century was waged by the people of East Timor. This small island nation, with a population of about 1 million people, was invaded and occupied by Indonesia in December 1975, just as it appeared to gain its independence from its European colonial...

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8. Iraq

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pp. 257-302

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 stands as one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions of the past decade. The official rationale of the Bush administration was that the overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein was necessary so Iraq could not pass along nuclear, chemical, or biological materials to terrorist organizations...

Part Three: Producing Peace After Wars

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9. Controlling Violence: Implications and Policy Recommendations

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pp. 305-322

All wars may end, but the end of a war rarely means the end of violence in a pos-tconflict state. On the contrary, these states are rife with violent acts of various form and purposes, and the peace that is produced by the settlement of the conflict is often fragile.1 As chapter 2 discussed, post-conflict states feature some mix of expressive...


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pp. 323-382


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pp. 383-422


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pp. 423-433

E-ISBN-13: 9781421412580
E-ISBN-10: 1421412586
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421412573
Print-ISBN-10: 1421412578

Page Count: 448
Illustrations: 8 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2014