Wars of Plunder: Conflicts, Profits and the Politics of Resources

Overview

From Iraq and Angola to Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, resource-rich countries with high incidences of poverty are prone to devastating outbreaks of war. These conflicts are highly idiosyncratic, and the response of the international community to their occurrences is fascinatingly complex.

Philippe Le Billon traces the specific burden of owning the world's most precious resources and the effects of resource politics on the development of war. He focuses on three ...

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Overview

From Iraq and Angola to Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, resource-rich countries with high incidences of poverty are prone to devastating outbreaks of war. These conflicts are highly idiosyncratic, and the response of the international community to their occurrences is fascinatingly complex.

Philippe Le Billon traces the specific burden of owning the world's most precious resources and the effects of resource politics on the development of war. He focuses on three key resources——oil, diamonds, and timber——and the circumstances linking their abundance to war. He discusses the role of resource revenue in financing belligerent forces, a trend that has grown more conspicuous with the withdrawal of Cold War foreign sponsorship. Le Billon also takes a frank look at international reactions toward such conflicts and their possible underlying motives. While the "War on Terror" has altered the terms of military assistance and the nature of war's internationalization, many belligerent actors continue to rely on the profits of "conflict resources" to survive. Le Billon examines this exploitation of resources and its creation of unrest.

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Editorial Reviews

Doctor - Ricardo Soares de Oliveira
This impressive book will be a very significant contribution to its field. It does a remarkable job of summarizing a multifarious, and often complex, body of literature without oversimplifying it... and reveals a prodigious amount of reading by the author as well as the breadth of field research he has pursued over many years.
Simon Dalby

The complexity of contemporary resource wars is elegantly unpacked in this lucid investigation of geography and violence. It shows how resources are entangled in complicated geopolitical economies, which require careful policy initiatives rather than simple moral certainties. This simply is the 'must-read' volume for anyone concerned to understand these issues in depth.

Gilles Carbonnier

For anyone interested in war economies and what to do about them, this book is a real 'must-read.' From Angola to Cambodia, from oil to timber, Philippe Le Billon draws on two decades of scholarly research and field experience to paint a remarkable picture of the complex resource-conflict nexus. Concise yet nuanced and comprehensive.

Michael L. Ross

Philippe Le Billon has written a deep, nuanced, and analytically rich exploration of the many ways oil, diamonds, and timber intertwine with violent conflict. His is an important book for both scholars and activists.

Dr Ricardo Soares de Oliveira

This impressive book will be a very significant contribution to its field. It does a remarkable job of summarizing a multifarious, and often complex, body of literature without oversimplifying it... and reveals a prodigious amount of reading by the author as well as the breadth of field research he has pursued over many years.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231702683
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/29/2012
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillipe Le Billon specializes in the links between resource extraction and armed conflict. With an MBA and Ph.D. in geography, he has worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in United Nations peacekeeping missions; advised governments; and collaborated with NGOs and research institutes, such as Global Witness and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is associate professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and in the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction 1

1 Resource Wars Reframed 9

2 Material Motives 43

3 Oil 59

4 Diamonds 85

5 Timber 125

6 Spoiling War 151

7 Resources for Peace 189

Conclusion 225

Notes 235

Bibliography 313

Index 355

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