Resource Wars: the New Landscape of Global Conflict

5105 WordsSep 19, 201121 Pages
Political Geography of War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts Philippe Le Billion Summary: Throughout the 1990s, many armed groups have relied on revenues from natural resources such as oil, timber, or gems to substitute for dwindling Cold War sponsorship. Resources not only financed, but in some cases motivated conflicts, and shaped strategies of power based on the commercialization of armed conflict and the territoriality of sovereignty around valuable resource areas and trading networks. As such, armed conflict in the post-Cold War period is increasingly characterized by a specific political ecology closely linked to the geography and political economy of natural resources. This paper examines theories of relationships between…show more content…
Rewards from resource control are maximized by insurgents when resources are easily accessible and marketable and sufficiently valuable, such as distant diffuse resources, hence the association with warlordism. Finally, proximate diffuse resources involving large number of producers would be more likely to lead to rebellion or rioting in nearby centres of power (provincial or national capital). Much of the political ecology literature on resources and conflict has dealt with diffuse, proximate resources and has thus focused on conflicts characterised by rebellion and rioting. The remaining three types of conflict (violent state control, secession, and warlordism) have received less attention. While in Section 4 it explores the process by which resources become linked to armed conflicts, focusing on processes of inclusion, exclusion and criminalization. In this section an interpretation has been created that builds on the concept of ‘bad governance’ characterizing ‘weak’ or ‘failed’ states. While developing countries enjoying ‘good governance’ may be considered for inclusion, countries affected by ‘bad governance’ are deemed prone to ‘chaotic’ conflicts and considered a new plague requiring their exclusion. This understanding has fed into the paradigm of a ‘coming [dangerous] anarchy’ resulting
Open Document