Honors College Thesis


A Holistic Model: A risk assessment model for internal conflict and case study of the Democratic Republic of Congo Public Deposited

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  • Internal conflicts are detrimental to a country’s development for a number of reasons. Therefore, it is beneficial to identify the factors that lead to internal conflict. The three perspectives used to understand why internal conflicts occur are the systemic lens, the individualist perspective, and an interpretation that emphasizes the role of external actors. Each provides a unique perspective, and when combined provide a richer holistic perspective. This holistic perspective is the base for my model, which emphasizes the roles that regime type, resource wealth, grievance and opportunistic external actors play in fostering civil conflict. In sum, while grievances are always an issue governments face, different regime types have different methods of dealing with grievances. In particular, hybrid regimes lack a mechanism to deal with grievances and are therefore are at an increased risk of internal conflict. Further, resources that are in remote areas can be exploited by rebel factions. Finally, opportunistic external actors can take advantage of the situation and back rebel factions in return for access to resources, thereby increasing the duration and intensity of the conflict. This thesis applies this model to the case study of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, focusing on two past periods of internal conflict and the present. Analysis has led to the conclusion that this model is viable. Furthermore, application of the model suggests that the DRC is at risk of falling back into internal conflict.
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