Indirect Interventions in Civil Wars: The Use of States as Proxies in Military Interventions
Current research on motivational sources of military interventions in civil wars frequently assumes that states intervene due to direct interests in the civil war country. However, this study argues that there exists a subset of interventions in which weaker powers intervene on behalf of interests which great powers hold vis-à-vis the civil war country. Using the logic of principal-agent theory in combination with arms trade data allows one to identify 14 civil wars which experienced the phenomenon of indirect military interventions. This type of intervention features a weaker power providing troops for combat missions, whereas its major arms supplier is only involved with indirect military support. The analysis is complemented with two brief case studies on the Moroccan intervention in Zaire (1977) and the Ugandan intervention in the Central African Republic (2009). Both case studies corroborate expectations as deduced from the proxy intervention framework.
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