Sunday, March 9

Strategic Engineered Migration as a Weapon of War

While researching my last essay here, I came across this paper. Quite an interesting paper, but I have some issues with it, the 4 categories that she comes up with are too vague. I quote:

  • Dispossessive - the class of events, including both in and out-migrations, in which the principal objective is the appropriation of the territory and/or property of another group or groups, and/or the elimination of this group or groups as a threat to the ethno-political or economic dominance of the perpetrators; this includes what is commonly known as ethnic cleansing;
  • Exportive - those displacements undertaken either to fortify a domestic political position -by expelling political dissidents and other domestic adversaries - or to discomfit or destabilize foreign government(s);
  • Militarized - those displacements conducted, usually during active conflict, to gain military advantage against an adversary - namely, via the disruption or destruction of an opponent's command and control, logistics, or movement capabilities - or to enhance one's own force structure, via the acquisition of additional (sometimes reluctant) manpower and/or resources; and
  • Coercive - the class of events in which (real or threatened) outflows are used, as a foreign policy tool, to induce (or prevent) changes in political behavior and/or to extract side-payments from the target(s); coercive use includes the propagandistic use of outflows (which are often generated by others) for their own benefit.

While there were some interesting examples, generally, the taxonomy is too vague and then the number of examples which you can move around is even worse. This inexorably leads to a very small, limited and disappointing set of public policy recommendations and discussion.

JO - Civil Wars
PB - Routledge
AU - Greenhill, Kelly M.
TI - Strategic Engineered Migration as a Weapon of War
SN - 1369-8249
PY - 2008
VL - 10
IS - 1
SP - 6
EP - 21
UR -


In recent years, it has been widely argued that a new and different armament - i.e., the refugee as weapon - has entered the world's arsenals. But just how new and different is this weapon? Can it only be used in wartime? And just how successful has been its exploitation? Using a combination of statistical data and case study analysis, this article tackles these questions and provides a detailed examination of the instrumental manipulation of population movements as political and military weapons of war. In addition to 'mapping the terrain' of the issue by providing a comprehensive typology of the most common means by - and desired ends for - which displaced persons have been used as political and military weapons since the end of the Cold War, the author also provides a portrait of the identities of the kinds of actors most likely to engage in this kind of exploitation. She also proposes an explanation for what motivates them to resort - and apparently increasingly so - to the use of this unconventional policy tool, despite the reputational and potential retributive costs of doing so.

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