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Title: The dynamics of transnational alliances in Africa, 1990-2010 : governments, rebel groups, and power politics
Author: Tamm, Henning
ISNI:       0000 0004 4290 3371
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The Second Congo War (1998–2003) is widely considered the deadliest conflict since World War II, yet it has received little attention by International Relations theorists. A closer look reveals that both this war and its precursor, the First Congo War (1996–7), were neither simply intra-state nor just inter-state conflicts; their central feature were transnational alliances between neighboring governments and Congolese rebel groups. In fact, with one exception, every episode of internal war in sub-Saharan Africa from 1990 to 2010 involved external support to the rebel side from at least one African government. In order to explain both the origins and the dynamics of transnational alliances, this dissertation develops a three-step theory. It explains why governments of weak states support foreign rebel groups, why they choose some groups from a specific country as alliance partners but not others, and why some of these allies subsequently behave uncooperatively towards their foreign sponsors, leading to the breakdown of alliances and the formation of new ones. The theory draws on both the rational choice literature and the realist school of thought. It also adapts insights from principal-agent theory. Overall, the three-step theory presents transnational alliances as the continuation of domestic politics by other means: both governments and rebel groups use them as an instrument in their own domestic struggle for power. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including over one hundred interviews – almost all of them conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda – the dissertation uses process tracing to apply the theory to seventeen transnational alliances from the Congo Wars and their aftermath. It also tests the theory’s first step more widely in a cross-case analysis of forty-two African weak state dyads. Together, this multi-method approach demonstrates both the internal and the external validity of the theory.
Supervisor: Snidal, Duncan; Betts, Alexander Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Governance in Africa ; International studies ; War (politics)