Masters of War: The Role of Elites in Sudan's Communal Conflict

Department of Peace & Conflict Research No. 102


By: Johan Brosche
February 2015
Uppsala University
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789150623819
195 Pages
$72.50 Paper original


Why do communal conflicts turn violent in some regions but not in others? Communal conflicts pose a severe threat to human security and kill thousnads or people each year, but our understanding of this phenomenon is still limited. In particular, we lack knowledge about why some of these conflicts become violent while others are resolved peacefully. This study addresses variations that are unexplained by previous research.

The theoretical framework combines insights from three different perspectives focusing on the role of the state, elite interatcions, and conditions for cooperations over common resources. Empirically, the research question is investigated by combining within and between region analyses of three Sudanese regions: Darfur, Eastern Sudan and Greater Upper Nile. Despite sharing several similar characteristics, communal conflicts have killed thousands in Darfur and Greater Upper Nile but only a few dozen in Eastern Sudan. The empirical analysis builds on extensive material collected during fieldwork.