Clausewitz and African War: Politics and Strategy in Liberia and Somalia

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Oil, diamonds, timber, food aid - just some of the suggestions put forward as explanations for African wars in the past decade. Another set of suggestions focuses on ethnic and clan considerations. These economic and ethnic or clan explanations contend that wars are specifically not fought by states for political interests with mainly conventional military means, as originally suggested by Carl von Clausewitz in the 19th century. This study shows how alternative social organizations to the state can be viewed as political actors using war as a political instrument.