The Colonial Roots of Counter-Insurgencies in International Politics

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There is a state-centrism in the way insurgencies are conceived in international politics. Herein, policy and practice targeting insurgencies draw on the long-established scholarly perception that war-making is the vocation of the state and that the violence of non-state insurgent factions is a source of insecurity. However, this state-centrism also has a colonial legacy and is an outgrowth of the colonial hostility towards anti-colonial factions. In this article, I establish the colonial roots of the current standing of insurgencies in international politics. Empirically, I focus on the European Union's (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). These efforts are largely premised on the notion that state-building is synonymous with peacebuilding and are focused on furbishing the state-like institutions of the Palestinian Authority (PA). But, in doing so, this manner of peacebuilding also replicates the scholarly antagonism towards non-state armed factions and, with it, the logic of colonial counterinsurgencies, as it de-legitimizes the varied forms of insurgent politics that occur outside the institutional limits of the PA. In the end, it is not entirely surprising that this mode of engagement has not secured peace—especially since it is premised on a certain antagonism towards insurgent politics. Therefore, I conclude, a substantial understanding (and incorporation) of the political grievances that drive insurgent politics, and their appeal, is essential for effective peacebuilding.
TidsskriftInternational Affairs
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)209-223
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 10 jan. 2022

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