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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