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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jean- Yves Haine

(10) Contemporary Conflicts Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:08 AM Important Dates: • Today's Topics: • Upcoming test - have to answer definitions, open questions (1 of 2), two movies included, check out locations Important People: • Lecture Topic: During the lecture, take notes here. • Will be discussing civil wars and terrorism o Nature of the threat • Specific aspects of suicide terrorism o What do we do about it? • Counter-terrorism policies: prevent, protect, • How does terrorism end? Is there an end to terrorist organizations? • Civil Wars o Countries like Congo have one of the highest casualties in their civil wars o The broad definition of civil war is "ongoing conflict that involves nation govt of state against one of more armed opposition groups" o There has been several attempts to better understand the causes, duration, and possible termination of civil war but it's difficult because each civil war seems to be different o The problem is that once the decolonization process was largely over, these civil wars seem to continue, political grievance aspect seems to be insufficient to explain civil wars so the new way of scholarship focuses on academic opportunities for rebellion o Violent rebellion is seen as rational decision that's influenced by overall economic competition o Robbers seen as criminals o The main motivation is about money o If the state is strong, it is less likely to have that kind of armed rebellion o If the state has abundant natural resources, it is MORE likely to suffer from armed rebellion (ex. Congo - one of the most richest country in the world in terms of natural resources offer these groups to control the resources) o If foreign support is available, more likely to have civil conflict o Another factor is ethnicity can easily generate violence • elite to mobilize for public support, turn one side of people against the other • Ethnic fragmentation doesn't seem to be the most imp in generating civil war but the fact of one group dominating the others • It's not fragmentation but polarization (two or three main ethnic group) • Specific types of ethnic affiliation is imp - through common language, relations, but the way ethnicity is actually cemented is indeed imp • Explanation of civil war, ethnicity seems to be the background but insufficient but what seems to matter the most is the elite's control over these groups • Some consider that it's so imp that it's nearly impossible to overcome ethnic division and affiliation are so embedded and the only way else is partition but once we have an ethnic conflict, the prospect of building after the civil war as a united state, possibilities are low and the only way to end civil war is to partition the country • When war in Iraq wasn't going well, plenty of scholars and decision makers argued that the only way to end the civil war was to divide Iraq into three countries • The question of partition was received as the only way out 1 • The civil war in the ex-Yugoslavia, whether it was intentionally or not gave up to the rise of eight new countries and the borders of these countries decided on ethnic affiliation and the last remnant state (ie. Bosnia) isn't doing well for that very reason • In few week's time, the question of partition will probably be the headline of newspapers because of South Sudan - partition seen as better way to end violence in Sudan instead of making it a united but fake country o What matters the most is security - can diminish ethnic violence • Main idea behind the "search" in Iraq is to bring security on the ground so that interethnic cooperation becomes possible and that's what happened • If security is a way out of interethnic opposition, then partition is not a good idea • Countries that suffered from long civil wars (ex. Somalia), the idea of national govt is empty, national govt is a fiction and premodern conflict extremely difficult to address • One way is to try to rebuild the state and efforts to intl community is building police forces and international army • The bulk of the effort, not only to bring security on the ground but to rebuild the state of Afghanistan and the two main areas of effort are the national army (successful) and the police force (still largely a failure) • The idea is that the way to end civil wars is restoring the authority of the state • Civil wars are indeed much more common than interstate wars, in terms of casualties, civil wars the most common cause of death • International terrorism o The word terror is first used to describe state violence by the French state in the aftermath of the Revolution o Soviet regime under Stalin, terrorism practiced by the state itself o The term terrorism describes tactic - use of violence by small groups to change politics o Terrorism form of irregular warfare, the tactic pursued by the weak o But there are diff types of terrorist movements: • Left-wing terrorism: ideology grounded in opposition of free market societies - left wing movement has been active in Europe in 60s and 70s • Right-wing terrorism: ideology similar to fascist ideology, attack to US has been a right-wing activist • Separatist movements: national liberation groups • Common among these three groups: limited use of violence because by keeping casualties low, they were able to keep and maintain their domestic support (if casualties and use of violence rise, domestic and local support decreases), all follow same tactic - few people to affect big group, highly symbolic, triggers media attention, all part of the landscape of European countries over the past couple decades • 9/11 - everything changed fundamentally: these terrorists wanted mass casualties and this is a new type of terrorism - defined as "SACRED" or "RELIGIOIUS" terrorism (ex. Al Qaeda)  This new type seems to offer new features: • 1. large number of casualties • 2. global reach (active in countries like Somalia, Algeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the very word Al Qaeda means "the base" and it seems to be able to organize terrorist acts globally), aims at the West not only for what the West is doing but for what the West is • 3. relationship with globalization, they use technology to recruit sympathizer around the world, use websites to recruit potential members and estimated that more than 10,000 European citizens recruited by Al Qaeda to wage war against the coalition in Iraq and the same phenomenon is happening in Afghanistan, these organizations are smart in using IT, websites are used in a very efficient manner and any attempt to shut down these websites because new ones form right away, now, everything can become a weapon, weapons of mass destruction (large number of countries start to worry about the likelihood of the use) especially after 9/11, the likelihood to getting WMD for terrorist 2 groups is VERY small, likelihood of nuclear terrorism is very small but there is a big fear and is related to Taliban • 4. Global Jihad - most controversial, no way to deter these groups from acting because they're carrying absolute values and leave no room for compromise, use tactic of suicide terrorism • 5. Suicide terrorism - most disturbing part of 9/11, small group of ppl willing to kill themselves, it's not new but the problem is that there is no way to deter the willingness to modify their commitment and there has been a new way of suicide attacks since 9/11, mix of individual reasons of social and political support, motivation and background of suicide terrorism is extremely diversified and there is no single profile of this, the first set of motivation to explain suicide terrorism is individual reasons - religious, social isolation, identity crisis
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