Territorial Dimensions of Enduring Internal Rivalries
Conflict Management and Peace Science, Vol. 26, No. 4, 2009
Posted: 8 Jan 2009
Date Written: January 7, 2009
This paper explores the territorial dimensions of enduring internal rivalries (EIRs), which are defined as protracted domestic violent conflicts between governments and insurgent groups. It argues that the nature of domestic-level territorial conflicts, such as tactical advantages facing the rebels, allow the fighting to continue. Three specific hypotheses flow from this argument including that territorial disputes are likely to evolve into EIRs and that territorial EIRs are more likely to recur and produce shorter peace spells than other types of domestic conflict. We test these hypotheses by conducting statistical analyses of 220 internal armed conflicts and find robust and substantively strong empirical support. This article suggests that territorial issues should be studied from an enduring, protracted standpoint for their effect on domestic conflict to be fully appreciated. It also offers new insights into how territory matters and suggests that territorial issues are not simply reducible to the concerns of ethnicity and identity in explaining protracted civil wars, as much of the conventional wisdom suggests.
Keywords: rivalry, conflict, territory, domestic conflict, territorial conflict, conflict recurrence
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