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Circumstantial Alliances and Loose Loyalties in Rebellion Making: The Case of Tuareg Insurgency in Northern Niger (2007-2009)

Yvan Guichaoua ()
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Yvan Guichaoua: Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford

No 20, Research Working Papers from MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict

Abstract: The goal of this paper is to specify the nature of the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la Justice (MNJ) as a non-state armed organisation and to make sense of its shaky existence since its inception, almost three years ago, with a particular focus on the period that made the MNJ a serious political and military opponent to the government. Our argument is that circumstantial alliances and percolation of grievances provoked by local micro-political dynamics and long-standing disenfranchisement of some sections of the Tuareg youth permitted the movement to take off as a credible rebel group. Ultimately, we want to verify if existing analytical tools made available by the theoretical literature on non-state armed groups are adequate to make sense of the MNJ’s organisational trajectory, particularly considering Jeremy Weinstein’s seminal book “Inside Rebellion” (Weinstein, 2006). By putting too much emphasis on “initial conditions”, Weinstein’s model, we argue, fails to properly acknowledge the micro-social dynamics that shape armed groups and their erratic trajectory, and we stress the need to investigate what armed organizations are sociologically made of rather than bluntly postulating their existence.

Keywords: Militias; Violent Mobilization; Security; Africa; Niger (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2009
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http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP20_YG.pdf First version, 2009 (application/pdf)

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