Associate Professor, Leiden University
12 January 2023, Thursday at 12.00
Bilkent University, FEASS, A130 Seminar Room
“Quagmire in Civil War” (Cambridge University Press, 2020) :
The prospect of a country becoming trapped in civil war is alarming. Flashpoints like Syria, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Ukraine have all, at one time or another, faced this threatening scenario. Quagmire in Civil Warchallenges a prevalent “folk” notion that such entrapment, a quagmire, is intrinsic to certain countries or wars. The book argues that the strategic structure of a civil war – the interactions between belligerents and potential foreign backers – can systematically produce quagmire. In other words, quagmire is made, not found. A field research-based study of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, which includes interviews with former commanders, illustrates the argument and puts readers in decision-makers’ shoes. Statistical analysis of all civil wars in the post-Second World War period measures the incidence of quagmire and assesses its correlates. Historical comparisons of the trajectories of civil wars in Chad and Yemen (1994) assess alternative explanations and provide further evidence for the argument. The book’s findings have implications for policy debates and are relevant for policy makers and analysts working to understand ongoing civil wars and foreign powers’ strategies towards them.