Foreign policy during intrastate and extrastate conflict : patterns of support, retaliation, and opportunism
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This project examines how states and international organizations (IOs) interact with rebel groups involved in civil conflict to achieve their own goals. I argue that rebel groups in other states are an increasingly important component of interstate war and that states strategically support rebels in other states to weaken their rivals while avoiding retaliation. Previous research on state sponsorship of rebels in other states has viewed state-sponsored rebels as substitutes for their sponsors' militaries. My research shows that externally-sponsored rebels are sometimes substitutes for foreign armies, but often serve as supplemental forces who fight alongside external invaders during interstate war. This approach to understanding state-rebel relationships challenges previous scholarship and provides a new pathway to understanding the function of these relationships and the process by which they take shape. In addition, this paper examines the potentially unintended consequences of cutting off external supplies to conflicting parties involved in a civil war. By examining how arms embargoes affect the fighting capacity of rebels and governments, I show that UN and EU arms embargoes tend to disproportionately damage the capacity of rebels to fight and win battles during civil war while having no discernible effect on the government's capacity to fight. Altogether, this research implies that state and IO interactions with rebel are increasingly important to our understanding of international relations. States and IOs will continue to leverage these interactions to achieve their own goals, and it is important that we continue empirical analyses of these relationships.