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Partition as a Solution to Ethnic Civil War: Understanding Post-War Violence and Ethnic Separation Carter Johnson Tbilisi June 24, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Partition as a Solution to Ethnic Civil War: Understanding Post-War Violence and Ethnic Separation Carter Johnson Tbilisi June 24, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Partition as a Solution to Ethnic Civil War: Understanding Post-War Violence and Ethnic Separation Carter Johnson Tbilisi June 24, 2011

2 Presentation Overview 1) Motivation 2) Conventional theory of partition and civil war termination  Focus on separating ethnic minorities 3) Case Study of Georgia-Abkhazia and Moldova-Transnistria (1994-1998) 4) Develop alternative explanation  Refine Ethnic Security Dilemma  Focus state building and balance of power

3 Ethnic Civil War Termination  Partition gaining acceptance in policy communities  Sudan, Kosovo, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan  No consensus on partition’s effectiveness (Mearsheimer, Sambanis, Kaufmann, Downes)  Controversy over the need for ethnic separation

4  Negotiated Settlements: Power- Sharing/Autonomy (Horowitz, Ghai, Lijphart, O’Leary)  Peacekeeping/3 rd Party Security Guarantees (Walter, Fortna, Sambanis, Doyle)  Realpolitic/Military Victory (Luttwak, Toft) Literature on Civil War Termination

5 Conventional Partition Argument Ethnic Security Dilemma: 1. Ethnic civil war rigidly divides ethnic groups and prevents post-war cooperation 2. Pockets of ethnic minorities “left-behind” partition line create  offensive opportunities  defensive vulnerabilities

6 Triadic Political Space 1 2 3

7 Method  Structured Comparative Case Studies  Georgia-Abkhazia (1994-1998)  Moldova-Transnistria (1993-1997)

8 Sources  Interviews  Civilian  Military/Police  Government  Militants  Archival Material


10 Abkhazia 1994-1998 Counter-Intuitive Cooperation: 1. Ethnic Georgian civilians demonstrate (limited) cooperation with Abkhaz authorities 2. Ethnic Georgians demonstrate aversion to cooperation with Georgian militants Evidence from Abkhaz officials, Georgians in Gali, and Georgian militants in Zugdidi

11  “We didn’t know which [Georgians] were ours and which were theirs.” Georgian Militant 1 (June 2008)  “Of course they [Georgians in Gali] interfered (meshali) in our operations, the [expletive] traitors – they should be shot.” Georgian Militant 2 (March 2008)  “After a couple of years we began talking amongst ourselves in Russian, so locals [in Gali] would think we were Russian or Abkhaz.” Ethnic Georgian Militant 3 (July 2008) What Militants Said

12 Abkhazia’s “Six Day War” May 1998 Joint invasion of:  Non-state militants  Unofficial military  Official Ministry of Interior troops Where do the invade?  Only lower Gali region

13 Partial Invasion: Lower Gali

14 Comparative State-Building: Lower and Upper Gali  Lower Gali has limited (non-existent) Abkhaz state presence by May 1998  Geography of lower Gali enables increased attacks  Increased attacks lead to lower security in lower Gali  “They [Abkhaz militia] didn’t want to patrol lower Gali, of course they were scared, I lost a lot of men.” Ruslan Kishmaria, Abkhaz President’s Special Envoy to Gali  RAND: 24 Security officers per 1,000 inhabitants  Gali: 3.5 per 1,000 in 1997  Upper Gali experienced little conflict 1994-1998  “By 1995 we found a way to get along [nashli obshii iazyk]” Georgian resident of Upper Gali, Feb.2008

15 Conclusion from Georgia-Abkhazia 1. Ethnic identity does not predict ethnic cooperation after war as easily as during war.  Ethnic preferences and behavior diverge when incentives are powerful enough. 2. Invading forces only targeted where no effective state existed, where balance of power was in Georgia’s favor.  Where state strength was relatively high, no invasion took place despite “advantage” of compact ethnic kin groups.

16 Moldova-Transnistria  Pre-War State Consolidation  1989-1991: Transnistria Separates  Geographically Limited Conflict (1992)  War limited to two urban centers  Limited destruction of security apparatus  Post War attempts at destabilization by Moldova quickly discovered and ended. “We tried [armed groups], but they only caused us problems so we stopped.” Anatol Plugaru, former head of Moldova’s security services in post-war period

17 Conclusion 1. Results do not challenge the ethnic security dilemma: ethnic separation may be a sufficient condition for peace. 2. Results suggest that separation not required to maintain peace if: a) State building is achieved b) Balance of power can be maintained

18 Q & A

19 CountryPost Partition IndexWar Ends for Five Years? Violence Ends for Five Years? Cyprus (1974)100.00YES Georgia-Abkhazia (1993)99.83YESNO Pakistan-Bangladesh (1971) 98.91YES Georgia-S.Ossetia (1992)98.33YES Ethiopia-Eritrea (1991)98.13YES Azerbaijan (1994)95.69YES Bosnia (1995)86.40YES Yugoslavia-Croatia (1995)71.62YES Israel (1948)58.56YESNO India (1948)58.56YES Yugoslavia-Kosovo (1999)52.14YESNO Cyprus (1963)34.60NO India-Kashmir (1965)-28.85NO India- Kashmir (1994)-28.85NO Somalia (1992)-93.43NO Moldova (1992)-108.06YES Russia-Chechnya (1996)-366.67NO Ethnic Separation and Recurring Violence


21 Contribution of this Research 1.Theoretical Ethnic separation remains a sufficient but not necessary condition for establishing peace Importance of state building and balance of power as able to trump ethnic separation 2.Empirical Collected original cross-national data on partition 9 months field research (Georgia & Moldova)

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