Offsetting Losses: Bargaining Power and Rebel Attacks on Peacekeepers

In recent years, international third parties have increasingly sought to manage the dire consequences of civil war, often by deploying peacekeeping operations. However, peacekeepers sometimes face deliberate attacks by armed groups. These attacks hamper efforts to provide humanitarian relief and security. This raises a critical question: what factors lead rebel groups to target peacekeepers? We argue that internal conflict dynamics are important for explaining this phenomenon. Rebels attack peacekeepers as an alternative strategy to undermine incumbent regimes. They adopt this strategy as the balance of power turns against them in their struggle against governments. We evaluate our argument using a novel event data set on violent attacks on peacekeepers in sub-Saharan Africa from 1989 to 2009. We find a positive relationship between rebel losses and violent attacks on peacekeepers. These findings hold when controlling for mission-specific characteristics, time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, and across different model specifications. Full Text PDF   Find Replication Data
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