How Civil Wars End (and Recur)

Authored by: Joakim Kreutz

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786


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Scholarship on how civil wars terminate and recur is remarkably diverse. In part, this is because of a difficulty of separating the end of conflict from what can be termed ‘post-conflict violence’ but the literature has also often chosen to approach this issue by focusing on specific sub-topics rather than accounting for all civil wars. We therefore know more about the difficulties of peacemaking in a few, high-profile, cases like Palestine than countries which have witnessed a more consistent start-and-resume pattern of civil war activity such as Burma, Colombia or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There has also been much attention given to the benefits and challenges of state partition as an outcome of conflict, even though there have only been eight instances where the end of civil war has been followed by independence for the rebel side. 1 Similarly, we know a great deal more about why peace settlements succeed or fail even though this sub-category constitutes less than 14 per cent of conflict terminations since the end of the Second World War.

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