Recent Trends in Civil War Dynamics
Political Forecasting, Political Conflict

Reassessing Rebellion

Author(s): Jay Benson, Eric Keels, Joshua Lambert
Date: March 15, 2019
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Political Forecasting, Political Conflict

Overview:

Though historically the number of armed conflicts has been declining, there has been a recent surge in ongoing civil wars. Intrastate armed conflicts therefore represent a persistent and dangerous threat to global stability. Breaking from past studies, our report examines recent trends in civil war dynamics. Leveraging publicly available dataset, this report provides a comprehensive look at how rebel group strategies have shifted in the 21st century. Findings include detailed analyses on recent trends in rebel group structure, the location of armed violence, as well as rebel tactics. Our report also provides unique policy suggestions to deal with these evolving risks.

Key Findings:

  • Though insurgency (i.e. asymmetric warfare) remains the modal form of war, growing global instability creates opportunities for insurgents to pursue more conventional (and deadly) campaigns.
     
  • Civilian victimization may be more common during periods of greater instability. Actions pursued by the international community to manage conflicts (such as military interventions) may inadvertently increase the number of civilians targeted by rebel groups.
     
  • Contrary to popular perceptions, most civil war violence (particularly battles between rebels and the government) is moving further away from major cities.
     
  • Rebel organizations are becoming more decentralized and more religious. This trend presents unique challenges to the international community’s efforts to generate diplomatic solutions to ongoing armed conflicts.

Related Publications

women and nonviolent campaigns policy brief

Women’s Participation and The Fate Of Nonviolent Campaigns | Policy Brief

Written by Erica Chenoweth, Conor Seyle, Sahana Dharmapuri on September 30, 2019

This research examines the effects of women’s representation in resistance movements on their choice of strategies and movement effectiveness.  The Women in Resistance (WiRe) data set is the first attempt to assess resistance movements on the degree

Read more
 Women’s Participation and Nonviolent Campaigns

Women’s Participation and The Fate Of Nonviolent Campaigns | Report

Written by Erica Chenoweth on September 30, 2019

This research examines the effects of women’s representation in resistance movements on their choice of strategies and movement effectiveness.  The Women in Resistance (WiRe) data set is the first attempt to assess resistance movements on the degree

Read more
2019 Report on Risk of Coup

Annual Risk of Coup Report - 2019

Written by Matthew Frank, Jay Benson, Clayton Besaw, Jonathan Powell on April 26, 2019

The goals of this first ever Annual Risk of Coup Report are two-fold.

Read more
A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Peace is Ours: A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Written by Alexandra Amling, Timothy Schommer, Illustrator: Chloé Dolic on March 6, 2019

Peace is Ours is the story of a young couple, Ximena and Jair, who attempt to build their lives in the shadow of the Colombian peace process in 2016.

Read more
gender and reintegration in colombia

The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia's Reintegration Efforts

Written by Alexandra Amling on March 5, 2019

Gender perspectives are understood as the differences in needs and challenges of men, women, boys, and girls which are based on the social construction of gender roles and norms.

Read more
exploring the puzzle rebel terrorism

Exploring the Puzzle of Rebel Terrorism

Written by Eric Keels on December 11, 2018

The decision by rebel groups to employ terrorism is influenced, in part, by the structure of rebel organizations as well as the strategic environment in which they operate.

Read more
The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

on July 19, 2018

This discussion paper analyzes the structural and causal factors that led to the collapse of Mozambique’s landmark 1992 General Peace Agreement in October 2013 and why they matter for the country’s future stability.

Read more

The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: Implications for Peace Enforcement

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

UN peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent years to include more robust missions that pursue peace enforcement in a way not previously seen.

Read more

Pages