What Rebels Want

What Rebels Want: Resources and Supply Networks in Wartime

Jennifer M. Hazen
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    What Rebels Want
    Book Description:

    How easy is it for rebel groups to purchase weapons and ammunition in the middle of a war? How quickly can commodities such as diamonds and cocoa be converted into cash to buy war supplies? And why does answering these questions matter for understanding civil wars? In What Rebels Want, Jennifer M. Hazen challenges the commonly held view that rebel groups can get what they want, when they want it, and when they most need it. Hazen's assessments of resource availability in the wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire lead to a better understanding of rebel group capacity and options for war and war termination.

    Resources entail more than just cash; they include various other economic, military, and political goods, including natural resources, arms and ammunition, safe haven, and diplomatic support. However, rebel groups rarely enjoy continuous access to resources throughout a conflict. Understanding fluctuations in fortune is central to identifying the options available to rebel groups and the reasons why a rebel group chooses to pursue war or peace. The stronger the group's capacity, the more options it possesses with respect to fighting a war. The chances for successful negotiations and the implementation of a peace agreement increase as the options of the rebel group narrow. Sustainable negotiated solutions are most likely, Hazen finds, when a rebel group views negotiations not as one of the solutions for obtaining what it wants, but as the only solution.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6757-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    Intrastate conflicts are rarely purely intrastate in nature; most involve transnational dimensions of some kind.¹ The transnational dimensions of civil wars include the trade of goods, the sale of natural resources, the movement of refugees and combatants, the intervention of external mediators, the provision of safe haven, and the patronage of neighboring states. The United Nations has intervened in Cambodia, Liberia, the Congo, Cyprus, and East Timor. NATO has engaged in operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan. The African Union has deployed peacekeepers in Darfur and Somalia. African governments have hired mercenaries to aid their war efforts in Liberia, Sierra...

  6. 1 NEVER-ENDING WARS: Explaining Conflict Duration
    (pp. 25-48)

    One notable characteristic of civil wars is their duration. The length of civil wars steadily increased in the post–cold war period, reaching an average of sixteen years in 1999.¹ Despite the decline in the number of active civil wars since the mid-1990s, duration has not decreased. Instead, many of the ongoing conflicts in 2009 were “unusually protracted.”² Several civil wars have lasted more than a decade. Some of these wars ended after years of fighting, most often through some form of a negotiated solution; others, such as those in Colombia and Burma, continue today with no end in sight....

    (pp. 49-72)

    The Nepal Maoist rebels relied heavily on an internal network of taxation and popular support and the seizure of weapons from government forces, whereas the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka developed a transnational financial system through the Tamil diaspora and a “worldwide arms procurement network.”¹ These differences in support systems provided options to the LTTE that were unavailable to the Maoists. Many groups start small and are poorly resourced. In Colombia and Aceh rebel groups started wars with only a few dozen men, in Georgia and Sierra Leone it was a few hundred, and in Côte...

  8. 3 SIERRA LEONE REBELS: The Revolutionary United Front
    (pp. 73-104)

    In the 1980s, just prior to the war, the Sierra Leone government faced an increasingly disgruntled and vocal population that protested against government corruption and lack of transparency, the failing economy, and the continuation of a one-party state system. Once possessed of a thriving economy, Sierra Leone faced rising debt, unemployment, and cost of living, as well as declining exports of its main staple, rice.¹ The civil war began in 1991 and lasted nearly eleven years, officially ending in January 2002. The years of war imposed additional costs on the population: an estimated thirty to fifty thousand people killed, thousands...

    (pp. 105-138)

    Liberia suffered two civil wars over the span of a decade and a half.¹ The first war began in 1989 when Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Front of Liberia entered from Côte d’Ivoire to overthrow President Samuel Doe. This first war ended when the Economic Community of West African States’ military force in Liberia brokered a peace agreement in 1996. The agreement ended the war and enabled the questionably democratic election of Charles Taylor as president in July the following year.² After two years without fighting, rebel attacks began in the north in 1999. This marked the start of...

  10. 5 CÔTE D’IVOIRE: From the MPCI to the Forces Nouvelles
    (pp. 139-170)

    The Ivorian civil war officially lasted less than a year. The war began on 19 September 2002, and in late January 2003 the Linas-Marcoussis peace accords and the Kléber arrangements provided a platform for ending the war. However, the formal declaration of the end of the war on 4 July 2003 did little to end the stalemate or change the situation on the ground. By December 2003 few of the provisions of the peace agreement had been implemented. The rebels continued to control the north, and the government remained opposed to fully implementing the Marcoussis agreement. Animosity ran high and...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 171-190)

    The story of West Africa is not unique. Rebel groups fighting around the globe have demonstrated the capacity to develop a wide range of support networks to fuel their conflicts. Groups have sought financial resources from the sale of natural resources, donations from diaspora, support from sympathetic governments, and taxes on trade. In Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) developed a reliable donation system based on a diaspora that made monthly contributions to the group. In Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) have profited from the production and sale of drugs. Groups have turned to kidnapping, bank...

  12. Index
    (pp. 191-194)