What drives governments to crack down on and kill their own civilians in the context of popular uprisings? This is the topic of our newly-released special report with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. In it, we explore why governments engage in mass killings – or the intentional killing of 1,000 or more civilian noncombatants – in the context of both violent and nonviolent mass uprisings. Among 308 popular uprisings since 1955, we find that mass killings are surprisingly common, yet they are strongly associated with certain types of resistance. More broadly (and strikingly), we find that characteristics of the uprisings are just as significant as features of the states they are confronting.
States are Far Less Likely to Engage in Mass Violence Against Nonviolent Uprisings than Violent Uprisings
Forecasting political unrest is a challenging task, especially in this era of post-truth and opinion polls.
Several studies by economists such as Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler in 1998 and 2002 describe how economic indicators, such as slow income growth and natural resource dependence, can explain political upheaval. More specifically, low per capita income has been a significant trigger of civil unrest.
Economists James Fearon and David Laitin have also followed this hypothesis, showing how specific factors played an important role in Chad, Sudan, and Somalia in outbreaks of political violence.
According to the International Country Risk Guide index, the internal political stability of Sudan fell by 15% in 2014, compared to the previous year. This decrease was after a reduction of its per capita income growth rate from 12% in 2012 to 2% in 2013.
Here is a selection of fascinating links we’ve come across:
- The Global Peace Index has put together a great list of authoritative media sources and social media channels – I won’t repeat them all here.
- ReliefWeb collects situation reports, maps and news from the humanitarian perspective.
- The University of Colorado Library has the best background links collection on Libya I’ve come across so far.
- For research and policy papers on Lybia, don’t forget to check out the ISN’s full-text Digital Library.
- Always a great source of analysis, this is the Council on Foreign Relations‘ coverage of Libya.
- Your classic country profiles: Libya’s entry in the CIA World Factbook and the BBC Country Profiles
- In case you’re interested in economic issues, the World Bank also has a profile on Libya, including statistics.
- And for comprehensive data on the security aspects, browse the Facts on International Relations and Security Trends (FIRST) database.
We’ve missed your favourite source of information? Leave us a comment!