Edited by Graham K. Brown and Arnim Langer
The political economy of civil wars has acquired unprecedented relevance for scholars and policy makers as important to preventing and mitigating armed intra-state conflict. The issue surfaced in the international agenda since the mid-1990s due to a convergence of political factors, policy concerns and academic interests at that time. Given the important role of natural resources as a source of combatant financing in numerous civil wars, the term ‘resource wars’ soon gained currency (Cilliers 2000; Klare 2001; Renner 2002). Advocacy campaigns against so-called ‘blood diamonds’ found particular traction, reflected also in United Nations Security Council resolutions, Hollywood movies and, more recently, international media coverage of former super-model Naomi Campbell’s appearance at the Sierra Leone War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Yet the issue of ‘war economies’ has much broader research and policy implications. Analysing the economic agendas in civil wars provides important insights into the onset, duration and mutation of armed conflict, the linkages that exist between local conflicts and world markets for both legal and illegal trade and finance, and what challenges these dynamics create for peacemaking and peacebuilding. By now, these issues and their policy consequences are under scrutiny by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes, humanitarian and aid organizations, governments, international financial organizations (IFIs), and, importantly, the United Nations (UN)
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