Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

From Loss to Looting? Battlefield Costs and Rebel Incentives for Violence

Abstract
Abstract

Research into the causes of civilian abuse during civil conflict has increased significantly in recent years, yet the mechanisms responsible for changes in actors' tactics remain poorly understood. I investigate how the outcomes of discrete conflict interactions influence subsequent patterns of rebel violence against civilians. Two competing logics suggest opposite influences of material loss on violence. A stylized model of rebel-civilian bargaining illustrates how acute resource demands resulting from recent severe conflict losses may incentivize insurgent violence and predation. I also identify several factors that might condition this relationship. I evaluate hypotheses based on these expectations by first analyzing the behaviors of the Lord's Resistance Army using subnational conflict data and then analyzing a cross-sectional sample of post–Cold War African insurgencies. Results from both the micro- and macrolevel analyses suggest that rising battlefield costs incentivize attacks on civilians in the period immediately following the accrual of losses. However, group-level factors such as effective control over territory and the sources of rebel financing condition this relationship. The findings suggest potential benefits from examining the interaction of strategic conditions and more static organizational characteristics in explaining temporal and geographic variation in rebel violence.

Copyright
References
Hide All
BalcellsLaia. 2011. Continuation of Politics by Two Means: Direct and Indirect Violence in Civil War. Journal of Conflict Resolution 55 (3):397422.
BainesErin, and Paddon Emily. 2012. This Is How We Survived: Civilian Agency and Humanitarian Protection. Security Dialogue 43 (3):321–47.
BarterShane J. 2012. Unarmed Forces: Civilian Strategy in Violent Conflicts. Peace and Change 37 (4):544–70.
BeardsleyKyle, and McQuinn Brian. 2009. Rebel Groups as Predatory Organizations: The Political Effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Journal of Conflict Resolution 53 (4):624–45.
BeberBernd, and Blattman Christopher. 2013. The Logic of Child Soldiering. International Organization 67 (1):65104.
BramborThomas, Clark William R., and Golder Matt. 2006. Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses. Political Analysis 14 (1):6382.
BranchAdam. 2005. Neither Peace nor Justice: Political Violence and the Peasantry in Northern Uganda, 1986–1998. African Studies Quarterly 8 (2):130.
BraumoellerBear F. 2004. Hypothesis Testing and Multiplicative Interaction Terms. International Organization 58 (4):807–20.
ButlerChristopher, and Gates Scott. 2009. Asymmetry, Parity, and (Civil) War: Can International Relations Theories Help Us Understand Civil War? International Interactions 35 (3):330–40.
BymanDaniel L. 2008. Understanding Proto-Insurgencies. Journal of Strategic Studies 31 (2):165200.
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 2005a. Global Subnational Infant Mortality Rates Dataset. Palisades, NY: CIESIN, Columbia University. Available at <http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/povmap/ds_global.html>. Accessed 17 January 2012.
Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). 2005b. Gridded Population of the World Version 3. Palisades, NY: CIESIN, Columbia University. Available at <http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/data/set/gpw-v3-population-count>. Accessed 17 January 2012.
CunninghamDavid, Gleditsch Kristian S., and Salehyan Idean. 2009. It Takes Two: A Dyadic Approach to Civil War Duration and Outcome. Journal of Conflict Resolution 53 (4):570–97.
EckKristine. 2012. In Data We Trust? A Comparison of UCDP, GED, and ACLED Conflict Events Datasets. Cooperation and Conflict 47 (1):121–41.
EckKristine, and Hultman Lisa. 2007. One-Sided Violence Against Civilians in War. Journal of Peace Research 44 (2):233–46.
Global Administrative Areas. 2012. GADM Database of Global Administrative Areas, Version 2.0. Available at <www.gadm.org>. Accessed 20 March 2014.
HarbomLotta, Melander Erik, and Wallensteen Peter. 2008. Dyadic Dimensions of Armed Conflict. Journal of Peace Research 45 (5):697710.
HoffmanDanny. 2004. The Civilian Target in Sierra Leone and Liberia: Political Power, Military Strategy, and Humanitarian Intervention. African Affairs 103 (411):211–26.
HovilLucy, and Werker Eric D., 2005. Portrait of a Failed Rebellion: An Account of Rational, Sub-Optimal Violence in Western Uganda. Rationality and Society 17 (1):534.
HultmanLisa. 2007. Battle Losses and Rebel Violence: Raising the Cost of Fighting. Terrorism and Political Violence 19 (2):205–22.
HultmanLisa. 2010. Keeping the Peace or Spurring Violence? Unintended Effects of Peace Operations on Violence Against Civilians. Civil Wars. 12 (1–2):2946.
Human Rights Watch. 2010. Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo. New York: Human Rights Watch. Available at <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/03/28/trail-death>. Accessed 17 January 2012.
HumphreysMacartan, and Weinstein Jeremy M.. 2006. Handling and Manhandling Civilians in Civil War. American Political Science Review 100 (3):429–47.
JohnstonPatrick. 2008. The Geography of Insurgent Organization and Its Consequences for Civil War: Evidence from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Security Studies 17 (1):107–37.
KalyvasStathis N. 2006. The Logic of Violence in Civil War. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
KalyvasStathis N. 2012. Micro-level Studies of Violence in Civil War: Refining and Extending the Control-Collaboration Model. Terrorism and Political Violence 24 (4):658–68.
LockyerAdam. 2010. The Dynamics of Warfare in Civil War. Civil Wars 12 (1–2):91116.
LongJ. Scott, and Freese Jeremy. 2006. Regression Models for Categorical Outcomes Using Stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.
LyallJason. 2009. Does Indiscriminate Violence Incite Insurgent Attacks? Evidence from Chechnya. Journal of Conflict Resolution 53 (3):331–62.
MampillyZachariah C. 2011. Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life During War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
MetelitsClaire. 2009. The Logic of Change: Pushing the Boundaries of Insurgent Behavior Theory. Defense and Security Analysis. 25 (2):105–18.
MkandawireThandika. 2002. The Terrible Toll of Post-Colonial “Rebel Movements” in Africa: Towards an Explanation of the Violence Against the Peasantry. Journal of Modern African Studies 40 (2):181215.
RaleighClionadh, Linke Andrew, Hegre Havard, and Karlsen Joakim. 2010. Introducing ACLED: An Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset. Journal of Peace Research 47 (6):651–60.
Refugee Law Project. 2004. Behind the Violence: Causes, Consequences and the Search for Solutions to the War in Northern Uganda. Working Paper No.11. Kampala, Uganda: RLP. Available at http://www.refugeelawproject.org/files/working_papers/RLP.WP11.pdf. Accessed 16 January 2013.
RustadSiri A., and Binningsbø Helga M.. 2012. A Price Worth Fighting for? Natural Resources and Conflict Recurrence. Journal of Peace Research 49 (4):531–46.
SingerJ. David, Bremer Stuart, and Stuckey John. 1972. Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War, 1820–1965. In Peace, War, and Numbers, edited by Russett Bruce, 1948. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Press.
StanilandPaul. 2012. Organizing Insurgency: Networks, Resources, and Rebellion in Southeast Asia. International Security 37 (1):142–77.
SundbergRalph, and Melander Erik. 2013. Introducing the UCDP Georeferenced Event Dataset. Journal of Peace Research 50 (4):523–32.
TaberRobert. 2002. The War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare. Washington, DC: Brassey's.
WeidmannNils B., Rød Jan K., and Cederman Lars-Erik. 2010. Representing Ethnic Groups in Space: A New Dataset. Journal of Peace Research 47 (4):491–99.
WeinsteinJeremy M. 2007. Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wickham-CrowleyTimothy P. 1987. The Rise (and Sometimes Fall) of Guerrilla Governments in Latin America. Sociological Forum 2 (3):473–99.
Wickham-CrowleyTimothy P. 1990. Terror and Guerrilla Warfare in Latin America, 1956–1970. Comparative Studies in Society and History 32 (2):201–37.
WoodElisabeth J. 2003. Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
WoodReed M. 2010. Rebel Capability and Strategic Violence Against Civilians. Journal of Peace Research 47 (5):601–14.
WoodReed M., and Kathman Jacob D.. 2013. Too Much of a Bad Thing: Civilian Victimization and Bargaining in Civil War, British Journal of Political Science, 122.
WoodReed M., Kathman Jacob D., and Gent Stephen E.. 2012. Armed Intervention and Civilian Victimization in Intrastate Conflicts, Journal of Peace Research 49 (5):647–60.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 15
Total number of PDF views: 241 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 580 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.