rebel without a cause

a discussion based human security report

looks at upsala univeristy and university of british columbia human security centre

world is a safer place because cold war ending and post colonialism conflicts are over. fewer wars, fewer deaths. nice ah?

more civil wars – internal vs inter-state

more non-state actors. wishing to become a state? are we heading to many small states and some superstructures?

ethnicity matters. ethnics wars are on the rise. identity matters

but still a lot of small conflicts, no big ones. formal definitions ‘civil conflict’ (25 deaths), ‘civil war’ (1000)

key takeaways:

  • wars are changing. endless, small, non-state, mutli-rebels civil conflicts.
  • only one parameter is statistically significant. GDP is a predictor of war. so if you are poor, you are really screwed
  • peace through fear. balanced conflict may cause quiet
  • with so many potential reasons for a civil conflict/war it is surprising how few there are
  • social scientist are envious of scientists
  • no research on war and lack of water! want a phd thesis? take a look at homer dickenson
  • repeat small problems are acceptable, a single big one is not!
  • are third parties facilitators or causes to internal conflicts?


perhaps less formal wars. but

  • are we safer?
  • different wars, more difficult to deal with.
  • wars/conflicts are longer and do not end
  • so it seems to me we are looking in the rear-view mirror vs thru the windshield

Nigeria has all the makings of a country to be troubled, but according to formal measures it is not. just small conflicts. poor, oil, many ethnics, strong militia, inequality of wealth, corruption, big business.

a few fresh angles:

  • proliferation of ak47, younger people play at war, power taken from older people, less rulers, harder to control
  • urbanization as s deterrent to war
  • politicizing the self vs the self politicizing?  a theory that identity and ethnicity brings you into war. a counter thesis: civil wars allow every-day politics to come to play that otherwise would not. so it is now easier to kill. a powerful mechanism.

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One Response to “rebel without a cause”

  1. NMH Says:

    Proliferation of ak47 makes rebel leaders more able to bring younger people into war – the accessibility of these weapons and their relative ease of use by children because of their size and weight has been part of the story behind the growing use of child soldiers in many developing country conflicts.

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