Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Intrastate War

Richard Dean Wells Jackson

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Abstract

Understanding the causes of contemporary intrastate war is a critical enterprise for a number of reasons. First, intrastate war, in which a variety of state-based and non-state groups engage in organized military conflict primarily within the confines of a single state and employing mainly light weapons and unconventional military strategies, is now the dominant form of military conflict in international politics. Empirical studies demonstrate that since 1945, more than 70 per cent of wars have been intrastate rather than interstate in origin;1 moreover, intrastate wars have comprised more than 90 per cent of all international conflicts since the early 1990s,2 and there are 30 to 40 intrastate wars underway around the world at any given moment. Traditional interstate war between hierarchically organized state militaries fighting for national interests, which for so long has been the central concern of international relations and security studies, is now in fact, increasingly rare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-156
Number of pages17
JournalGovernment and Opposition
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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