Crimes Of The Civil War, And Curse Of The Funding System

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Building on existing norms and agreements, such efforts should focus on practical measures to combat large-scale and high-level criminality of this type. Incentives and disincentives for peace available to international actors attempting to influence economic agendas in civil wars fall into several categories: the coercive e. Little comprehensive work has been done to catalogue and assess what these measures are and how effective they have proved in the past. In particular, are efforts aimed at addressing basic human needs in countries afflicted by civil strife effective in shaming or inspiring leaders to better care for those dependent on them, or do they merely in practice serve to absolve them from their responsibilities to local populations?

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Here, regional differences may be significant. Several of the authors of ensuing chapters have argued, directly or indirectly, that in a world awash with weapons—many of them produced in countries with few other viable exports—the best means of choking off arms supplies to belligerents is to turn off the financial spigot. This volume illustrates how difficult this will be. Policy instruments could certainly be crafted to do so, but this prospect seems still distant, because knowledge is as yet scant, the motivations of key international actors conflict, the governments of major powers have often displayed a mercantilist bent even where conflict threatens or rages, and, there is understandable although excessive reluctance by leading governments to focus on the role of multinational companies in the drama.

We hope that this volume may represent a modest step in this direction. Martin's Press, , For a sophisticated discussion of the liberal view of globalization see also Andrew Hurrell and Ngaire Woods, "Globalisation and Inequality," Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 24, no. Hurrell, "Explaining the Resurgence of Regionalism," Stephen Ellis, The Mask of Anarchy , For an attempt to substantiate this assertion with respect to two particular areas of external support—the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of combatants after conflict, and the restructuring of the "security sector," see Mats Berdal and David Keen, "Violence and Economic Agendas in Civil Wars: Some Policy Implications," Millennium: Journal of International Studies , 26, no.

The debate sparked at the UN following Kofi Annan's advocacy, in a September speech to the General Assembly of greater international willingness to intervene in support of humanitarian goals, demonstrates how lively and serious the issue remains. For example, see Jackie Cilliers and Peggy Mason eds. Recent action by Canada somewhat breaks the mold. Its permanent representative to the UN, Robert Fowler, who chairs the UN Security Council's Angola sanctions committee, in May traveled to Africa and other venues relevant to the diamond trade in order to engage with those active in this trade and encourage better compliance with the sanctions regime against UNITA.

Academic and NGO research played a significant role in influencing Canadian thinking on sanctions.

Those who wish to facilitate peace will be well advised to understand the nature of war. Yet the label war is one that often conceals as much as it reveals. We think we know what a war is, but this in itself is a source of difficulty: Throwing a label at the problem of conflict may further obscure its origins and functions; and the label, moreover, may be very useful for those who wish to promote certain kinds of violence.

The idea of war can confer a kind of legitimacy upon certain types of violence, given the widespread belief that certain kinds of war are just and legitimate. This chapter attempts to throw some light on the nature of contemporary warfare by looking closely at some of its functions—notably, the economic functions, which are often partially obscured.

The chapter challenges two common notions: that war is a contest between two sides, with each trying to win; and that war represents only a breakdown or collapse rather than the creation of an alternative system of profit, power, and protection.

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A number of economic functions of warfare are outlined, and attention is given to the interaction of political and economic agendas. Partly in reaction to the perceived inappropriateness of the traditional model of warfare as a contest between two disciplined teams, analysts in recent years have often portrayed war as a kind of breakdown. Conflicts have frequently been explained as the result of intractable ethnic hatreds or a descent into tribal violence and anarchy. Although the demise of the Cold War has apparently facilitated progress toward peace in some areas like Central America, it has not significantly stemmed the tide of civil conflicts across the world.

Some conflicts have been born precisely from the demise of Communist regimes in Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.


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Others—such as those in Angola, Burma, and Sudan—have simply refused to go away. Even the apparent "success stories" of conflict resolution—such as El Salvador, Mozambique, and most especially Cambodia—have shown signs that they may yet be mired in intractable conflicts. In these circumstances, one of the most urgent tasks is to gain a better understanding of the internal dynamics that appear to be generating and sustaining a range of contemporary civil conflicts.

Such an understanding will be necessary for anyone thinking of "policy prescriptions" that might facilitate a lasting peace: A good doctor will need to get some idea of the nature of the disease before rushing to the medicine cabinet to pull out a remedy.

Discussion of internal dynamics tended to be minimal and unsophisticated during the Cold War, and unfortunately it has often remained so in the post—Cold War era. Many analysts have stressed the irrationality and unpredictability of contemporary civil warfare, portraying it as evil, medieval, or both. Contemporary civil conflicts often give the appearance of mindless and senseless violence, with a proliferation of militias, chains of command breaking down, and repeated brutal attacks on civilians.

In , Robert Kaplan famously claimed to have detected a "coming anarchy" in West Africa and beyond, a descent into mindless violence propelled by a kind of "witches' brew" of over-population, tribalism, drugs, and environmental decline. Kaplan is only one of a number of analysts who have pointed to an apparent resurgence in "tribalism. This was a major theme in Kaplan's Balkan Ghosts , sometimes seen as influential in persuading the Clinton administration that little could be done to resolve hostilities in the former Yugoslavia.

The need to ensure peace between competing "tribes" or ethnic groups has also been an enduring theme in British policy—in both the colonial and postcolonial eras. Another strand of the literature on contemporary civil wars, which we might call the "development" literature, emphasizes the negative consequences especially economic of war.

Not unnaturally, war is portrayed as disrupting the economy, an interruption in a process of development that is seen as largely benevolent. From those adhering to this apparently common-sense perspective including many UN agencies and NGOs , it is common to hear appeals for a speedy transition from wartime "relief" back to "development," a transition that is sometimes urged even while conflict is still raging.


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In the aftermath of a conflict, homage is habitually paid to a set of goals that appears to be self-evidently desirable. Significantly, these usually begin with the prefix "re": for example, rehabilitation, reconstruction, repatriation, and resettlement. Such interpretations should not be too readily dismissed.

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The economic devastation wrought by wars is all too evident and has been well documented. The importance of ethnic tensions is also clear in many countries. However, the emphasis on war as irrational anarchy or as a dramatic setback to development tends to give a dangerous and in many ways misleading impression that war and perhaps particularly civil war is a disaster for almost everyone concerned.

The resulting temptation is to turn away from warfare as quickly as possible, to put the madness of war into the past, and to get back to "normal" with the greatest possible haste. Of course, it is quite possible to put forward a number of causes of the apparent futility of war, whether these are religious, political, ethnic, or whatever. But the habitual and natural emphasis on war as a negative phenomenon, the idea of war as breakdown, may ultimately induce in the observer a sense of puzzlement: How is it that a phenomenon so universally disastrous could be allowed, and indeed made, so frequently to happen—and very often to persist over years or decades?

And there is a further problem: One is likely to gain little sense, in the habitual enthusiasm to restore the prewar economy, of the way that war was generated by precisely this status quo ante. Those who point to "ancient ethnic hatreds" as a root cause of civil conflicts will need to explain why a variety of "hostile" peoples have been able to live peacefully alongside each other for long periods, or why, for example, the Baggara pastoralists of western Sudan have raided their fellow Arabs among the neighboring Fur and their coreligionists among the Nuba.

Crimes of the Civil War and Curse of the Funding System by Henry Clay Dean

As David Turton 1 and David Campbell 2 have argued, the "ethnic hatreds" school has often failed to recognize that ethnicity—and the importance attached to it—is shaped by conflict rather than simply shaping it. More worrisome, those who are ready to use easy labels and to accept the inevitability of ethnic violence may actually play into the hands of local actors seeking to bolster their own power and privileges by forcing politics along ethnic lines and by presenting themselves internationally and domestically as the leaders of "ethnic groups. The rigidity sometimes visible in academic disciplines has sometimes further muddied the waters.

Disciplines like economics and political science usually focus on a restricted area that is ordered and predictable; and when messy phenomena like contemporary civil wars do not fall easily within the orbit of these systems of analysis, the temptation to wheel out the label of chaos is very great.

Moreover, at both the national and international levels, there may be vested interests not only in chaos and ethnic strife but in the depiction of chaos and ethnic strife. Rather than portraying war as irrational or as an aberration or interruption in development, I want to stress the importance of investigating how violence is generated by particular political economies, which it in turn modifies but does not destroy.

Part of the problem with much existing analysis is that conflict continues to be regarded as simply a breakdown in a particular system rather than as the emergence of an alternative system of profit, power, and even protection. Yet the problem of war should also be put in more positive terms.

What use is war? What functions does it perform? The functions of violence in civil wars can be divided into two broad categories. First, violence may be oriented toward changing or retaining the laws and administrative procedures of a society. In a sense, this is political violence. Of course, much of this political violence centers on the long-term distribution of economic resources: For example, violence may be used to protect or undermine economic privileges such as landowner-ship that are cemented through control of the state. Second, violence may be aimed at circumnavigating the law—not so much changing the law as ignoring it.

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This covers a range of functions that, rather than being concerned with rewriting the rules at the national level, are local and immediate. The local and immediate functions of violence are of three main types: economic, security, and psychological. All of them suggest limitations in state-centric analysis. It may be safer to be in an armed band than outside one, particularly when the majority of attacks are being directed against civilians. And violence may provide a range of psychological payoffs, including an immediate reversal of relationships of dominance and humiliation that have sometimes prevailed in peacetime.


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Participation in armed groups may also offer excitement and a chance to revenge past wrongdoings. Even acts of revenge, vandalism, and ritual humiliation which appear to serve no economic, military, or political purpose should not always be seen as "mindless" or "senseless. Where civil wars have not simply been dismissed as a form of madness or irrationality, they have traditionally been viewed as a political insurrection that is met with a counterinsurgency.

This model appeared particularly applicable from the s to the early s, when anticolonial wars often ran alongside and sometimes gave way to a variety of revolutionary struggles.

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