REBELS WITHOUT BORDERS: Transnational Insurgencies in World Politics

By Masten, Randy G. | Military Review, March/April 2011 | Go to article overview

REBELS WITHOUT BORDERS: Transnational Insurgencies in World Politics


Masten, Randy G., Military Review


REBELS WITHOUT BORDERS: Transnational Insurgencies in World Politics, Idean Salehyan, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2009, 216 pages, $39.95.

Idean Salehyan has produced an interesting, persuasive study that pushes future research on civil war and insurgencies outside the box. The Merriam- Webster Dictionary defines civil war as "a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country." Salehyan's work expands the definition beyond this narrow scope. According to him, civil war, rebellion, and insurgency should not be studied as if they solely occur within the clearly delineated borders of a country. These events are not isolated from the regional or international context in which they occur. Salehyan provides strong evidence in the form of quantitative cross-national dataseis and qualitative case narratives to demonstrate how interstate and intrastate conflicts are driven by transnational relationships, connections, and actors that readily bridge the traditional boundaries of the modern nation-state.

The study considers recent conflicts and provides in-depth case studies on the Nicaraguan Civil War (1978 to 1989) and the Rwandan Civil War (1990 to 1996). Salehyan clearly illustrates how insurgents use borders to their benefit before and during a conflict. …

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