Introduction to the Case Studies
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Introduction to the Case Studies The quantitative results presented in the previous chapters reveal strong statistical relationships between neighborhood conditions and civil war and between transnational rebellion and interstate conflict. Nevertheless, it is useful to examine a few cases in greater depth in order to look at the underlying causal processes behind the statistical correlations, assess elements of the theory that are difficult to test in a quantitative study, and shed light on additional empirical implications of the theory. The following chapters examine the civil wars in Nicaragua and Rwanda and how these conflicts spread throughout Central America and the Great Lakes region of Africa, respectively. These “civil” conflicts are better understood as complex “systems ,” where domestic and international disputes overlapped in multiple ways. These cases elucidate the dynamics of transnational conflicts— namely, how they begin, how governments attempt to combat TNR groups, their implications for regional relations, and how they were ultimately resolved . As argued in chapter 1, transnational rebellions are more difficult to resolve through negotiations because external mobilization poses special challenges for conflict bargaining. External mobilization exacerbates informational problems, draws external actors into the bargaining process who can block negotiations, and makes credible commitments to demobilize fighters more difficult secure. However, it is difficult to test bargaining theories in a quantitative analysis of many cases, as this requires knowledge about the actual decision-making processes. The following chapters examine negotiations between states and rebels and between host and home countries. If the theory I have developed is indeed plausible, then the actors themselves must perceive that negotiations are complicated by the transnational nature of the conflict. Although we cannot actually “look into the heads” of the actors, we can examine public statements and key junctures in negotiations to understand the fears and motivations of decision-makers. An additional implication of the theory is examined here; conflict termination—or the end to armed violence—will be unlikely unless broad regional cooperation is achieved. Neighboring states must commit to limit rebel activities on their territory. Rebel hosts can either push insurgents off of their territory and cooperate with counterinsurgency efforts, making conflicts more likely to end in government victory, or they can facilitate negotiated settlements by ensuring that rebel units on their soil comply with demobilization agreements and by providing guarantees of future abandonment of their territory. Thus, conflicts are more likely to end when TNRs no longer have access to external bases and when regional governments demonstrate their ability and resolve to limit rebel activities. For successful counterinsurgency or negotiated settlements, the cooperation of rebel hosts is needed. A full test of this conjecture must await further data collection and a more comprehensive analysis. However, the cases presented here can at least probe the plausibility of this additional aspect of the theory. These case studies should be seen as complementing the statistical analyses presented in the previous chapters. The quantitative studies made causal inferences based on statistical associations among large amounts of data. The case analyses seek out the process by which transnational rebellion unfolds. In particular, they address: (1) the strategic choice by rebels to locate abroad; (2) the state’s difficulties in repressing rebels; (3) the motives of the host country in facilitating or preventing rebel activities; (4) state-tostate frictions and tensions; and (5) multiactor bargains and conflict resolution efforts. The case studies also provide rich empirical detail that large-N studies gloss over. Nicaragua and Rwanda Why select Nicaragua and Rwanda for in-depth analyses? First, relatively good information is available on these conflicts through published materials, news accounts, and online sources. Second, the Nicaraguan conflict ended through a negotiated settlement, whereas the Rwandan conflict ended after counterinsurgency operations. These different endings are not considered “dependent variables” in this analysis, and so I will not attempt to explain the variation in the type of conflict termination. Instead, the case studies provide Introduction to the Case Studies 123 evidence that these modes of conflict termination followed a similar logic, where agreements by rebel hosts to limit TNRs were important preconditions for ending these wars. This variation will also highlight interesting nuances in the role that host states play in cooperating with counterinsurgency efforts (Rwanda) and in facilitating credible commitments after peace agreements (Nicaragua). Finally, these conflicts vary in their geographic context, motivations, and time period. The Nicaraguan civil war was an ideological struggle, whereas...


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Subject Headings

  • Insurgency.
  • Civil war.
  • Non-state actors (International relations).
  • Transnational sanctuaries (Military science).
  • Ethnic conflict.
  • Transborder ethnic groups.
  • World politics -- 1989-.
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