We’ve collected a few interesting and relevant journal articles as part of our new series From the Journals. This week, we’re highlighting:

E pluribus unum, ex uno plures: Competition, violence, and fragmentation in ethnopolitical movements by Lee JM Seymour, Kristin M Bakke, and Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham. Cunningham is a frequent contributor to the Monkey Cage; her most recent piece, What really stands in the way of a negotiated end to Syria’s war?, is here.

Abstract:

Why are some ethnopolitical movements divided while others are relatively unified? A growing literature examines the consequences of internal divisions in ethnopolitical movements – and shows that it matters for a range of conflict outcomes – yet the mechanisms causing such divisions remain poorly understood. Our argument emphasizes com- petitive dynamics between states and self-determination movements and between rival factions within these move- ments as key determinants of fragmentation. Drawing from literatures on social movements, contentious politics, and civil war, we situate our argument vis-a`-vis three alternative and complementary sets of explanations based on theories emphasizing transnational dimensions, political institutions, and structural factors within ethnopolitical groups. Using an original dataset, we test hypotheses explaining movement fragmentation over time and use a case study of Punjab in India to identify specific causal mechanisms and missing variables. Our findings show some sup- port for three of these theories, suggesting that ethnopolitical movements divide as a result of complex and interactive processes. But our findings also underscore that central to explaining fragmentation dynamics are factors capturing competitive dynamics, including repression, accommodation of movement demands, the turn to violence, and the dynamic and changing nature of ethnopolitical demands.

Journal of Peace Research, January 2016, Volume 53: 3-18.

Israel and Its Messianic Right: Path-Dependency and State Authority in International Conflict by Barak Mendelsohn. Barak was a participant in our Islam and International Order workshop last July, and his memo was published in POMEPS Studies 15 here.

Abstract:

Why do states responsible for unleashing violent nonstate actors fail to halt them despite rising costs and, at best, marginal utility? I argue that a historical-institutionalist approach helps scholars understand these dynamics. I present five path-dependent mechanisms—change in the balance of power, spiraling perception of threat, ideological shift among the public, state penetration, and weakening of the principle of state primacy—that diminish the prospects of policy reversals. I then demonstrate the usefulness of path-dependency analysis in the case of Israel’s entanglement with the Jewish messianic Right. Applying the theoretical framework sheds light on the process that brought Israel prohibitive costs—undercutting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, undermining the state’s international standing, and weakening the state’s authority and democratic nature—and made policy reversal, in line with the state’s national interest and its responsibilities as a member of the international society, highly unlikely.

International Studies Quarterly, Volume 59, Issue 4, 1 December 2015.

The Negotiation Calculus: Why Parties to Civil Conflict Refuse to Talk by Jeffrey M. Kaplow.

Abstract:

Why do some parties to intrastate conflict refuse to negotiate? I propose a simple theory of civil conflict in which the act of negotiation itself carries costs and benefits. Several hypotheses follow: parties to civil conflict will avoid negotiation when they (1) fear alienating external supporters or internal constituencies, (2) risk granting legitimacy to their opponents or signaling weakness to other potential claimants, or (3) find it difficult to identify reliable negotiating partners. Empirical tests find support for my argument. My findings suggest that cases exist in which the parties would reach an agreement if only they could overcome the costs of negotiation and engage in talks. Diplomats and mediators should consider the costs and benefits of talks when planning the timing and form of interventions designed to bring parties to the table.
In the summer of 2011, as the conflict in Syria escalated into civil war, the international community repeatedly appealed to the parties to cease hostilities and negotiate. The Assad regime assented at first by hosting a “national dialogue.” The opposition chose to boycott, however, and the government later ruled out talks with armed rebels it labeled as “criminals” and “terrorists” (Barnard 2013; Hassan and Borger 2011). International pressure briefly brought both sides to the negotiating table in early 2014, but those talks soon collapsed, with Islamist factions of the opposition rejecting any negotiation with the government. The United States, for its part, first pushed for talks with the Syrian government, then rejected any peace process that involved Assad and, more recently, acknowledged that the government will likely be a party to any negotiated settlement (Gordon 2015).

Civil wars commonly experience these ups and downs in negotiations. Parties to civil conflict often refuse to hold talks at one point in the fighting only to relent as hostilities drag on. Sometimes they agree to negotiate, but storm away from the table as talks progress. These patterns of negotiation vary between conflicts as well. Some civil wars enjoy frequent negotiations, whereas other conflicts never see direct discussions between the rebels and the government.

[Read More]

International Studies Quarterly, Volume 59, Issue 4, 1 December 2015.

Oil and International Cooperation by Michael Ross and Erik Voeten Oil. Erik is a co-editor of Monkey Cage, and you can read a version of this paper published there.

The more that states depend on oil exports, the less cooperative they become: they grow less likely to join intergovernmental organizations, to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of international judicial bodies, and to agree to binding arbitration for investment disputes. This pattern is robust to the use of country and year fixed effects, to alternative measures of the key variables, and to the exclusion of all countries in the Middle East. To explain this pattern, we consider the economic incentives that foster participation in international institutions: the desire to attract foreign investment and to gain access to foreign markets. Oil-exporting states, we argue, find it relatively easy to achieve these aims without making costly commitments to international institutions. In other words, natural resource wealth liberates states from the economic pressures that would otherwise drive them toward cooperation.
Oil-exporting states puzzle scholars of international cooperation. These states are highly integrated into the global economy. Thus, their reliance on trade, international finance, and foreign workers should give their governments a major stake in the health of global markets and the international institutions that facilitate the transnational flow of goods and finance.1

Yet oil exporters are often at odds with international norms and institutions. Some oil exporters, such as Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Oman, and Turkmenistan, choose to remain politically isolated despite their dependence on foreign trade and finance. Other exporters, such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and until recently, Iraq and Libya, actively defy global norms, invade neighboring countries, expropriate foreign investors, flout human rights, and finance terrorism and armed rebellions in foreign countries.

[Read More]

International Studies Quarterly, Volume 59, Issue 4, 1 December 2015.

From the Journals: Israel; Oil; Civil Conflict

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