The Dynamics of Dominance in Multiparty Civil Wars

Spring 2015 Grant Recipient

Graduate Student

Samuel Plapinger(Politics) My dissertation investigates the dynamics of armed group rivalries in multiparty civil wars. Motivated by the rapid rise of ISIS over its rivals in the Syrian Civil War, I ask how particular armed groups fighting on the same side of a conflict's macro-level cleavage (e.g. ethnic, political, ideological) obtain dominance over their peer competitors. I argue that the organizational features of armed groups shape their warfighting capacities and subsequent ability to outcompete rivals, and substantiate this theory through case studies and statistical analysis. The Center's generous support will fund the initial research stage of this project in Summer 2015.