International crisis in the midst of civil war

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This article examines the nexus between international crises and civil wars. Based on the premise that not all simultaneous civil and international conflicts are related, the study aims to explore the circumstances in which civil wars affect violent escalation in international crises. The study identifies ‘composite’ crises – where the civil war is the core issue of the international dispute – as a unique subset of international crises. These crises are distinguished from ‘unrelated-civil war’ situations, in which the issues in the internal and international conflicts are separate. Using data from the ICB, COW, and UCDP/PRIO datasets, the article tests a dual-conflict argument, positing that interconnected issues and interactions between actors in composite situations inhibit moderate crisis management and aggravate interstate behavior. The findings show that while civil war in composite situations has a negative impact on crisis escalation, unrelated-civil war has an inverse impact on interstate relations in crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-326
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Relations
Issue number2
Early online date2021
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • civil war
  • composite crises
  • crisis escalation
  • dual conflict
  • international crisis


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