Foreign governments are 100 times more likely to intervene in civil wars if the troubled state is home to hydrocarbon reserves, according to a new report by academics from the universities of Warwick, Portsmouth and Essex.
Following systemic analysis, the academics found that economic incentives are major drivers of foreign intervention.
One of the report’s authors, Dr. Petros Sekeris of the University of Portsmouth, told the Independent he and his colleagues had uncovered “clear evidence that countries with potential for oil production are more likely to be targeted by foreign intervention if civil wars erupt.”
“Military intervention is expensive and risky. No country joins another country’s civil war without balancing the cost against their own strategic interests,” he added.
The report, published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, examined 69 civil wars between 1945 and 1999. It said civil wars amount to 90 percent of all militarized conflicts since the close of World War II, and almost 67 percent of these have been characterized by foreign intervention.
The research frames oil as a dominant motivating factor in conflicts, and argues hydrocarbons heavily influenced the West’s military intervention in Libya. It also suggests oil plays a noteworthy factor in the US-lead war against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).