Before we proceed to our discussion about the context of the Natural Resource Conflict, it is imperative to take first into account the definition of two terms which are always a part whenever troubles and chaos may arise. These two terms are Conflict and Security. According to (Kernerman Multi Lingual dictionary), security means “the state of being, or making safe, secure, free from danger etc while conflict is being defined as something to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance or in opposition; clash: a fight, battle, struggle, esp. a prolonged struggle; strife( dictionary.com unabridged). This two are sure to go hand in hand whenever trouble or in a larger scale WAR arises.
I- How and in what ways are conflicts over natural resources more issues of development and political economy, rather than security, traditionally conceived?
Natural Resource Conflict is one of the most puzzling problems that the world nowadays is confronting. Some are resolved through diplomatic manner while others are still being contested until now in the form of a hostile confrontation which hapless victims are usually the innocent civilians and children as well. Natural resource conflicts are commonly seen in the continent of Africa where according to a certain report in 1998 that 9 out of thirteen battle related conflict on Natural Resources had occurred (Scott Peg autumn 2003).
The best answer to this question is that they are conceived as something that has got to do with “weak states, to the increased erosion of boundaries and to open or clandestine intervention from neighboring countries. There are a lot of examples to be considered in regard to this situation. One was the case of Sierra Leone, when that country was turned upside down by the atrocities of the group who called themselves the Revolutionary United Front. This group whose savagery and barbarism was confirmed by the presence of thousands upon thousands of people including children whose limbs and arms were cut off from their bodies.
R.U.F. during it heydays period were using the vast amount of diamond deposits in Sierra Leone in order for them to purchase arms and ammunitions, that are necessary in their fight against the Country’s Government.. What is interesting about this was the inability of the government of Sierra Leone in arresting the major personalities of the group. In fact, what is quite ironic is that after the peace agreement. The government even let the R.U.F. to participate in the ensuing election. Instead of making them pay by sending them all to jail, for all the miseries and pain they have inflected towards the populace. If the government of Sierra Leone is committed and strong enough there is no reason why they can’t do it. What happened is a mere reflection of the weakness of the government.
II- Internal and External Factors about the Natural Resource Conflict
Talking about factors concerning the existence of Natural Resource Conflict, well, there are a lot to be counted as such.
First we have to discuss about the 3 internal factors. These are the:
Speaking of Authority it means bureaucratic control and a system of rewards, which generates formal, but passive consensus. About ideology it addresses a sense of mission, indoctrination, which results in formal but passive consensus. Lastly is politics (power Game) it touches the result of temporary internal alliances and strong links with the external people of influence. In regard to the external factors there are the so called:
1. Share holders
3. Other individuals or groups of individuals having a stake in the behavior of the organization, such as political parties, trade unions, other formal and informal CSOs, powerful individuals with economic or ideological interests.
We can cite as example are the sovereign Countries of Angola and Sierra Leone during the time when they were still struggling to resolve their respective insurgency problems. Both these governments at the time were hiring the services of Executive outcomes, a private military company. The purpose for these was to check the flow of diamonds from these countries which as had been alleged were perpetrated by insurgents in order to use the proceeds from this illegal trade in sustaining their effort of destroying the already extant government of both countries. It’s called illegal because the government had nothing to do with this trade. De Beers, the world’s larges trader of diamonds was even under pressure because some of its purchases were coming from these areas.
III- The Actors
Whenever conflict arises it cannot be denied that there are a lot of organizations who are ready to share all their expertise just for the sake of concluding a certain conflict. Whether they are government sponsored or not, it should be noted that they’re here to help. One example for this was the time when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. The United States together with the assistance of several countries and under the complete approval of the U.N. was able to liberate Kuwait from the occupation of Iraq.
IV- The dynamics of Neo-Liberal Capitalism
The dynamics of Neo- liberal capitalism is an event that is greatly manifested by the massive growth of China, India and other countries which several years ago were still waddling along the seemingly unending mire of poverty and non-growth. It is the kind which leads to the resurgence of this so called globalization. It promotes drastic reforms concerning the economic status of one’s country and give abundant opportunities for countries to invest from one country to another.
Naturally the more investments made to a certain country, the greater the economic growth that the recipient of these investments will experience. Like for example China. Its tremendous and dazzling economic growth started when it initiated the reform framed by the late Deng Xiao Ping. It opens China economically to foreign investments.
The resulting effect is the way China is being treated nowadays, not only in Asia but throughout the world. However, growth sometimes will lead to certain negativity, like what happened to Japan in the middle of the 20th century. Because of its massive economic and industrial growth, it was forced to invade China and its neighboring countries. The reason for that was to gain control of those countries resources so that it can sustain and maintain the necessary materials for its huge industrial and economic sector.
Pegg, Scott. “Globalization and Natural Resource Confict- The New Strategic Environment.” http://findarticles.com/?noadc=1. 2003. Naval War College Review. 9 May 2007.