Power, Networks and Violent Conflict in Central Asia: A Comparison of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
When the five Central Asian republics gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, expectations of violent conflict were widespread. Indeed, the country of Tajikistan suffered a five-year civil war from 1992 to 1997. The factors that the literature on civil wars in general and on the Tajikistan civil war in particular cites as the causes of war were also present in Uzbekistan – but this country had a peaceful transition.
Examining this empirical puzzle by isolating the crucial factors that caused war to break out in Tajikistan but not Uzbekistan, this book applies a powerful comparative approach to the broader question of why civil wars occur. Based on fieldwork in both countries, it challenges many common explanations of civil war both generally and in Tajikistan in particular. This includes highlighting the importance of elites’ power perceptions, which have their origins in the interaction of structural-, process-, and network-related variables. Without examining these interactions, macro-structural explanations alone cannot explain the occurrence of civil war in one country and its absence in another.
Applying the insights of bargaining theories of war from the literature on international relations to the civil war in Tajikistan, this book will be of interest to students of violent conflict, civil wars, Central Asia and Asian Politics.
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