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Oil, Water, Blood and Diamonds:International Intervention in Resource Disputes

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Violent conflicts over natural resources disrupt energy supply, distort economic development, weaken governments, and threaten international security. With looming resource scarcity and increasing energy demands, international powers position themselves to protect their access to vital resources abroad. Fierce competition for resources will increase the urgency with which international actors intervene in resource disputes. Yet strategies for resolving resource disputes are underdeveloped. The purpose of this research is to examine the use of political and economic strategies to resolve disputes over vital resources through negotiated settlements, in comparison to strategies that result in exacerbating conflict. This study develops a valuable new dataset on resource disputes and provides a systematic cross-national analysis of international intervention strategies. It tests the success or failure of leveraging international market access, financial aid, capacity building, transparency reforms, and levels of military mobilization for understanding the outcome of resource conflicts. The results identify specific international strategies that are effective in altering the costbenefit analysis of cooperation versus conflict, in the interest of achieving negotiated settlements for resource disputes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, Rutgers University-Camden 401 Cooper Street, Camden NJ 08102 USA, Email:


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