Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


History, Politics and International Relations

First Advisor

Jason Renn


Civil wars have been a common occurrence throughout human history and have had an immense impact on political developments worldwide. Infamous examples include those in Rwanda, the Congo, Ukraine, and more recently, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan⸻all of which were, or haven been quite violent and with a range of human rights abuses committed by both state and rebel actors. Civil wars often have a variety of outcomes: a decisive win by government and military forces, a revolutionary victory and overthrow of current powers accomplished by rebels, the creation of a “failed state” lacking legitimate leadership and political institutions, or a stalemate in which government and rebel actors are forced to negotiate some sort of a peace settlement. After the Cold War era however stalemates have increased by 50%, with roughly 70% of civil wars on average ending with this outcome (Fortna 2009, 7). In the case of a stalemate, or even a less forceful government victory, one option that is occasionally presented to rebels operating in democratic settings is to form political parties. Ultimately rebel party formation is a safe middle ground post-conflict, as ex-combatants have the chance to realize or retain some sort of political status and influence, while not obligating government officials to concede power to rebels in its entirety. In other words, ex-combatants retain the opportunity to share and hopefully persuade the broader public to adopt their ideologies, but under the auspices of democratic norms and institutions. As opposed to rebel groups being abolished outright, when granted the opportunity to form political parties they are given a more reconciliatory way to be reintegrated into their societies and participate in the happenings of the state, which in turn might decrease the likelihood of recidivism. In a democratic setting, government leaders and international observers can also more closely monitor ex-combatant reintegration.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License