This book examines whether partition is an effective means to resolve ethnic and sectarian civil wars. It 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, the book contends that complete partitions cannot be easily implemented by the international community, and this limits their applicability. It 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 book will be of much interest to students of civil wars, ethnic conflict, peace and conflict studies, and international relations.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Born Again Partition - The Remaking of a Tool
2. How Comprehensive Partition Facilitates Peace
3. Can Partition End an Ongoing War? Cycles of peace and conflict in post-Soviet Georgia-Abkhazia
4. Partition and the Prevention of Civil War Recurrence: Comparing Partitions Around the World between 1945 and 2004
5. Post-Partition Violence and Peace: Stay-Behind Minorities and Minority Returns in Georgia and Moldova
6. Partition’s Present and Future: Comprehensive Partition’s Utility for Serbia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Iraq
Carter R. Johnson is an associate faculty member at HSE University, Russia.