Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War | Study Guide

David D. Laitin, James D. Fearon

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Course Hero. "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Nov. 2020. Web. 26 Jan. 2022. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Ethnicity-Insurgency-and-Civil-War/>.

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Course Hero. (2020, November 23). Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Ethnicity-Insurgency-and-Civil-War/

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Course Hero. "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War Study Guide." November 23, 2020. Accessed January 26, 2022. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Ethnicity-Insurgency-and-Civil-War/.

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Course Hero, "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War Study Guide," November 23, 2020, accessed January 26, 2022, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Ethnicity-Insurgency-and-Civil-War/.

Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War | Quotes

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1.

The factors that explain ... risk for civil war are ... conditions that favor insurgency.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon summarize the common misconceptions about the risk of civil war in certain countries. Many scholars assume that ethnic and religious differences lead to civil war. Laitin and Fearon argue that the conditions that support insurgency are better predictors of civil war.

2.

Poverty ... also favors rebel recruitment—political instability, rough terrain, and large populations.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon note that the recruitment of rebels is most successful in states with financial or bureaucratic weakness. Difficult physical landscape, political insecurity, and large populations also help the cause of rebels.

3.

Civil war has been a far greater scourge than interstate war ... though ... studied far less.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon explain that during the years 1945 to 1999, civil wars killed more people than international wars. Laitin and Fearon found that civil wars killed 16.2 million people while conflicts between different nations killed approximately 3.33 million.

4.

We address these questions using data for the period 1945 to 1999 on ... 161 countries.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon outline how they use data to study civil war. The data was from the years of 1945–99. They used data from 161 countries that all had a population of at least half a million in 1990.

5.

Civil war in the 1990s was not due to the end of the Cold War.


David D. Laitin

One of the central points of Laitin and Fearon's article is that the collapse of the Soviet Union did not cause the civil wars of the 1990s. They note that scholars, policymakers, and news media incorrectly assume that the fall of the Soviet Union caused them.

6.

Not ethnic or religious differences or broadly held grievances but, rather, conditions that favor insurgency.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon's hypothesis is that the primary factors that lead to civil war are conditions that favor rebels. These conditions allow rebels to escape, hide, and meet away from the counterinsurgency.

7.

Financially, organizationally, and politically weak central governments render insurgency more feasible and attractive.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon argue that states with poor or weak central governments create conditions that benefit rebels. These weak governments are more likely to have dishonest police or government security forces. These factors enable insurgencies to thrive.

8.

Rough terrain, rebels with local knowledge of the population ... and a large population.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon note specific factors that benefit the insurgency. Landscapes like mountains, forests, or swamps allow rebels to hide from counterinsurgent forces. Connections in and knowledge of the local population also work in rebels' favor.

9.

Civil war may require only a small number with intense grievances to get going.


David D. Laitin

According to Laitin and Fearon, successful insurgencies do not need large numbers of people. Civil wars may start with a small group of rebels with serious and widely shared grievances.

10.

Numerical weakness ... implies that, to survive, the rebels must be able to hide from government forces.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon explain that because of their significantly smaller size, insurgents must be mobile and disappear. The superior numbers of government forces would make insurgents unlikely to survive sustained conflict.

11.

Requires government forces to distinguish active rebels from noncombatants.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon describe some of the characteristics of successful counterinsurgency. Government forces must be careful to correctly identify regular villagers from rebels. If government forces, kill, injure, harm, or worsen daily life for noncombatants, it can lead to increased support of rebels and provide opportunities for rebels to recruit former noncombatants.

12.

$1,000 less in per capita income is associated with 41% greater annual odds of civil war.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon discover that per capita income is a significant predictor of civil war. Poverty and the conditions it creates makes people more likely to join insurgencies. Laitin and Fearon explain that low per capita income is a secondary indicator of the weakness of the state. Many times this weakness prevents the development of infrastructure such as roads and which makes it easier for forces to hide.

13.

Guerrillas ... need ... superior local knowledge, which enables them to threaten reprisal for denunciation.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon again discuss how local knowledge gives insurgents an advantage. Firsthand information about the village or local community enables rebels to punish locals who inform on rebel actions.

14.

Intense grievances are produced by civil war, which is often a central objective of rebel strategy.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon note that civil war allows for the collection of resentments and anger. Rebels are able to use this to their advantage and can often win local support. The authors note that it seems to be a strategy intentionally used by rebels.

15.

Organizations should develop programs that improve legal accountability within developing world militaries and police.


David D. Laitin

Laitin and Fearon conclude the article with recommendations to international organizations. They recommend an increase in oversight of states involved in counterinsurgencies. International aid must be given to these governments only if their counterinsurgent actions are not driving local people to join the insurgency.

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