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Civil War in African States: The Search for Security

Ian S. Spears
Civil War in African States: The Search for Security
ISBN: 978-1-935049-20-3
ISBN: 978-1-935049-98-2
2010/281 pages/LC: 2010018974
A FirstForumPress Book
"A well-researched and well-written book that will give readers a thorough understanding of three of Africa's most challenging conflicts."—James J. Hentz, Virginia Military Institute


How do disputants in Africa's civil wars—rebel movements, ethnic groups, state leaders—find security in the midst of anarchic situations? Why do some rebel movements pursue a secessionist agenda while others seek to overthrow the existing government? Under what circumstances will insurgents agree to share power? Proposing answers to these questions, Ian Spears offers a fresh perspective on the possibilities for ending violent political conflict in Africa.

Spears focuses on the security predicaments of the disputants themselves as he closely examines the roots and dynamics of civil wars in Angola, Ethiopia, and Somalia. His original analysis leads to conclusions that challenge prevailing assumptions about the nature both of conflict resolution and of peacebuilding in postconflict societies.


Ian S. Spears is associate professor of political science at the University of Guelph. His publications include States Within States: Incipient Political Entities in the Post–Cold War Era (coedited with Paul Kingston).


  • The Search for Security in Africa.
  • The Wars of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • Unification and Quasi-Secession in Somalia.
  • The Angolan Civil War.
  • The Search Continues.