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Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence

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  • Kydd, Andrew
  • Walter, Barbara F.

Abstract

Why are extremists able to sabotage peace processes in some cases but not others? And under what conditions will the public respond to such provocation and return to unpopular wars? We seek to show that extremist violence is not indiscriminate or irrational as many people have assumed but quite strategic. We argue that extremist violence intentionally plays on the uncertainty that exists between the more moderate groups who are attempting to negotiate a peace agreement. Using a game-theoretic model of the interaction of extremist violence and mistrust, we identify the conditions under which extremists will succeed and fail. We find that extremists are most likely to succeed in derailing a peace process when the targeted side believes that opposition moderates are strong. At these times, the public perceives moderates as best able to control and suppress extremists within their own ranks. When moderates are viewed as weak and unable to crack down on extremists, terrorism is more likely to fail. We discuss this finding, as well as a number of additional implications of the model, in connection with the Israeli–Palestinian case.

Suggested Citation

  • Kydd, Andrew & Walter, Barbara F., 2002. "Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 263-296, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:56:y:2002:i:02:p:263-296_44
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    Cited by:

    1. David A. Jaeger & Esteban F. Klor & Sami H. Miaari & M. Daniele Paserman, 2015. "Can Militants Use Violence to Win Public Support? Evidence from the Second Intifada," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 59(3), pages 528-549, April.
    2. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjostrom, 2012. "The Strategy of Manipulating Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2897-2922, October.
    3. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1591-1604, September.
    4. Nobuhiro Mizuno & Ryosuke Okazawa, 2017. "Within-group heterogeneity and civil war," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 153-177, May.
    5. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2006. "Israel, the Palestinian Factions, and the Cycle of Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 45-49.
    6. Ruiz Estrada, Mario Arturo & Koutronas, Evangelos, 2016. "Terrorist attack assessment: Paris November 2015 and Brussels March 2016," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 553-571.
    7. Jaeger, David A. & Klor, Esteban F. & Miaari, Sami H. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2012. "The struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds: Violence and public opinion in the Second Intifada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 354-368.
    8. Independent Evaluation Group, 2010. "The World Bank Group in the West Bank and Gaza, 2001-2009," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 22735.
    9. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Attack Assignments in Terror Organizations and The Productivity of Suicide Bombers," NBER Working Papers 12910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Caruso Raul & Klor Esteban F., 2012. "Political Economy Studies on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Introduction," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 1-10, August.
    11. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2010. "Does Terrorism Work?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1459-1510.
    12. Kıbrıs Arzu & Kıbrıs Özgür, 2016. "On the Dynamics of Extremist Violence," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(1), pages 1-25, January.
    13. Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Sara M. T. Polo, 2016. "Ethnic inclusion, democracy, and terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 207-229, December.
    14. Yuri M. Zhukov, 2014. "Theory of Indiscriminate Violence," Working Paper 365551, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    15. Wong P-H., 2014. "How can political trust be built after civil wars? : lessons from post-conflict Sierra Leone," MERIT Working Papers 083, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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