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Carter R. Johnson

Mar 15, 2022

Partition and Peace in Civil Wars

Dividing Lands and Peoples to End Ethnic Conflict

Routledge 2021

In Partition and Peace in Civil Wars: Dividing Lands and Peoples to End Ethnic Conflict (Routledge, 2021), Dr. Carter Johnson examines whether partition is an effective means to resolve ethnic and sectarian civil wars. He argues that partition is unlikely to end ongoing ethnosectarian civil wars, but it can increase the likelihood of preventing civil war recurrence, as long as the partition separates civilians and militaries.

The book presents in-depth case studies of Georgia–Abkhazia and Moldova–Transnistria, in addition to cross-national comparisons of all ethnosectarian civil wars between 1945 and 2004. This analysis demonstrates when partitioning a country can help transform an identity-based civil war into a lasting peace.

Highlighting practical and moral challenges of separating ethnosectarian groups, Dr. Carter contends that complete partitions cannot be easily implemented by the international community, and this limits their applicability. He also demonstrates that ethnosectarian civil wars are driven less by inter-group antagonisms and more by state breakdown, meaning displaced minorities can reintegrate peacefully after partition as long as a minimal level of state-building has been completed. The book ends by examining whether partition would be useful for five contemporary conflicts: Iraq, Ukraine–Donbass, Afghanistan, Sudan–South Sudan, and Serbia–Kosovo.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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