CONDITIONS FOR SELECTING VIOLENCE
Assuming that government use of repression is related to insurgent use of violence (Davenport 1995; Francisco 1996; Gartner and Regan 1996; Gurr 1986; Lichbach 1995;Moore 1998), what conditions modify this inimical interaction? In the analysis of insurgency, scholars emphasize the “importance of opportunities for rebellion” (Collier and Sambanis 2002, 4; Collier and Hoeffler 2001; see also Kingdon 1984). Ron (2001) uses a combination of ideological and political opportunity approaches to understand the political violence of the Maoist Sendero Luminoso insurgency in Peru. Fearon and Laitin (2003) explain the onset of civil wars and insurgency using the powerful factor in explaining variation in the effective operation of democratic gov-ernments. He uses the example of peasant “rotating credit associations” and other forms of mutual aid and cooperative organizations as “investments in social capital”(p. 169). These forms of cooperation build social trust and “should be positively asso-ciated with good government” (p. 175). High political participation and high partici- pation inmutual aid and cooperative organizations that build social capital narrow the policy window for political violence. Democratic and cooperative behaviors on the part of citizens raise government officials’fear of being replaced and reduce the oppor- tunity for insurgent organizational development. Like poverty, levels of participation and social capital are distributed unevenly within a country. Thus, variation in social, political, and physical or geographical conditions likely influences the selection of violence by government and opposition. This selective exchange of violence argument
implies some testable hypotheses. First, we expect that government and insurgent use of violence are related. A gov- ernment’s violent reprisal, even in democratic states, is acceptable if it is in response to violence, which likely provokes further aggressive moves by the insurgent opposition. Violent insurgencies survive in rugged terrain, and governments will respond violently in those geographical areas. The use of violence by one side likely provokes a violent response from the other side, both as punishment for past violence and as a deterrent for future violence:
The exchange of violence is, however, modified by local conditions. Insurgent vio- lence ismore likely in some situations than others. Fearon and Laitin (2003, 80) argue that there are always grievances but not always conditions thatmake insurgency feasi- ble. They specify and test the importance of geography and mountainous terrain. Dis- tance alone does not necessarily attenuate communication and a government’s ability
to control its territory. For example, in Nepal, communication with the capital Katmandu is relatively easy over long distances on the plains, or Terai, that border India. In comparison, control and communication are much more difficult in the rug- ged, inaccessible, high-altitude regions. Following Fearon and Laitin (2003), we con- ceive elevation as representing a measure of the ease of control and communications
and a factor influencing insurgency. Hypothesis 2:The level of insurgent and government violence increaseswith rugged terrain.
Economic conditions influence the attractiveness and viability of insurgency. The poorer the area, the more likely the insurgent group is to recruit new members. Insurgent groups will locate their activities in poorer areas, which are the areas more likely
to supply recruits and support for the insurgency.
source: journal of conflict resolution