Third party intervention in civil conflicts: Sorting out the effects of domestic factors
Satana, Nil Seda
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Why has the international community refrained from intervention in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict for two decades and why have several interventions taken place in the Iraqi-Kurdish war? The conflict literature has not found an adequate answer to this question, mostly, I argue, due to the lack of domestic variables in the intra-state conflict theories and data. This dissertation builds upon the selectorate theory (Bueno de Mesquita et al. 2003) to construct a formal model that derives testable hypotheses from the interactions between the rebels, the target government and the potential interveners. The regime type of both the target and the intervener shape the preferences of the actors, which in turn affect the potential intervener's decision. The conflict is shaped by the lack of formal recognition of the minority (i.e. potential rebels) identity and/or the lack of political access to the government. An existing data set is improved via the concept of "politically relevant potential interveners." The objective of this dissertation is to show that domestic politics not only affect civil war onset in a country, but also impinge upon the decision of intervention by third parties. The quantitative analysis tests six hypotheses on regime type which are derived from four games in the formal model. The qualitative analysis provides supporting evidence for the argument through the comparative case studies of the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey. The basis of the qualitative chapter is my field research in both countries. Finally, I discuss the policy implications from my findings. I also point out the need for further scholarship regarding the effect of domestic factors on civil conflict onset and on intervention decisions in civil conflicts.