Three Papers on Armed Group Behavior in Multiparty Civil Wars
Edelstein, David M
This dissertation addresses core questions in the study of civil war, political violence, and social order. It explores three features of multiparty civil wars, conflicts that involve two or more insurgent groups and, frequently, anti-insurgent paramilitaries. The first chapter asks how competition for territorial control among violent non-state actors in multiparty conflicts affects civilians, particularly explaining why competition sometimes reins in civilian abuse and sometimes increases it. The second chapter explores the dynamics of individual combatant defection in multiparty civil wars. It asks why some fighters choose to remain within their armed group, some join a rival armed group, and still others demobilize and leave the conflict altogether. The third chapter examines how development programs in active conflict zones affect the dynamics of violence, especially how increased civilian loyalty to the government - which development assistance purchases - can lead to higher levels of violence by insurgents. The dissertation's geographic focus is the Colombian civil war, the Western Hemisphere's longest ongoing insurgency, yet each chapter assesses the relevance of the arguments and evidence for similar conflicts.
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