Pro-Government Interventions and Civil Wars : Examining Legitimacy-focused Pro-Government Interventions in Asymmetric Civil Wars

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: External unilateral intervention in civil wars has been always a subject of interest in international relations, especially during the Cold War and after the Bosnian civil war. Unilateral interventions have come to the surface again with recent examples in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Libya. This research examines the relation between pro-government intervention and governmental victory in civil wars. Previous studies of external interventions in civil wars point to the limited effect of external intervention in promoting governmental victory. This thesis contributes to the understanding of the conditions that lead pro-government interventions to bring about victory for the government in civil wars. Borrowing from the recent literature on both counterinsurgency and the limitation of military power in civil wars, this thesis provides a new theoretical framework in which it connects governmental victory in asymmetric wars with an increase it its legitimacy. I argue that if the third-party helps the government increases its legitimacy, governmental victory could be materialized. I constructed a structured focused comparison on the Omani Civil War (Dhofar War) in which I compared between “before and after” the introduction of legitimacy-focused pro-government intervention. The result of the study is inconclusive, but still points towards the relevancy of the causal mechanism connecting between legitimacy-focused pro-government intervention and governmental victory.

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