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Issue brief
State Support to Insurgents in Other States:Resolution or Worsening of Conflict?
Harish Venugopalan
What are the causes and consequences of interventions by other states in the form of support to insurgent groups? Why do countries intervene and support insurgent groups in other countries?
There could be a variety of reasons. Large-scale human rights abuses/mass killings could lead to intervention. Countries might intervene for their own economic interests. Geopolitical interests could also be a reason: this could be either expanding one’s own influence in the region or preventing other major powers from expanding its influence. To deflect attention from crises in one’s own country, the governments involved might lend support to insurgent groups in foreign territories. If country A is defeated by country B in a war, country A might be looking for an opportune moment to create instability in either country B or any of the close allies of country B. If the ruling government is overthrown and the insurgents can take over power, the nature of alliances can be changed.
Ethnic/religious reasons also prompt countries to come out in support of insurgent groups in other countries. The nature of support could be anything ranging from provision of sanctuary to the rebels, arming the insurgent groups, training, finances, moral support and so on. In this Issue Brief, the question has been studied with the help of two cases: Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. These two cases have been chosen because they are acknowledged as two of the biggest interventions in the last few decades.


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