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Changing Commitments: Shifts in External State Support to Rebels
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Division of Strategy.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8428-4861
2022 (English)In: Civil Wars, ISSN 1369-8249, E-ISSN 1743-968X, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 73-96Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The provision of external state support to non-state armed groups in civil wars is a dynamic process. The calculus of state sponsors varies over time, which means that assistance provided to the armed opposition fluctuates. While we know much about the initiation of external support and its effects, we know less about why state sponsorship changes over time. To address this, I propose a theoretical argument that can account for policy adjustments over time. The theory builds on the notion that leaders change their support commitment when there is adverse feedback and that support increases as long as the causes of policy failure can be attributed to external actors, while cutbacks occur when failure is attributed to the state sponsor’s own actions. Process-tracing is used to illustrate the value of this framework in a within-case analysis of the United States’ support commitment to the armed opposition in Nicaragua in the 1980s. The study demonstrates the utility of focusing on shifts in leaders’ perceptions and domestic attribution processes rather than structural features of the international system or rebel behavior to understand temporal variation in external support.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 24, no 1, p. 73-96
Keywords [en]
external support, state sponsorship, civil war, foreign policy change, United States, Reagan, Nicaragua
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
War Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-10402DOI: 10.1080/13698249.2021.1989146ISI: 000708277100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-10402DiVA, id: diva2:1604145
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017/1959Available from: 2021-10-18 Created: 2021-10-18 Last updated: 2022-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Karlén, Niklas

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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