chapter  6
Pages 5

This study has argued that macro-structural explanations alone cannot explain the occurrence of civil war in one country and its absence in another. It is rather the interactions between structures, processes, networks, and actor choices that influence different outcomes (Emirbayer and Goodwin 1994). The initial perceptions of the extent of their power provided the framework in which elites made their decisions, and influenced subsequent developments and elite behaviour. However, developments in the transition period in turn changed the existing perceptions. This study also illustrates the importance of networks, and the role of mediators in establishing these networks. In the final analysis, however, the war in Tajikistan was fought for the sake

of gaining power at the republic level. Many of the respondents interviewed for this study stated that the goal was to gain or keep hokimiyat (power). The war was fought for control of the state, and resulted from the power struggle and interactions between incumbents and challengers. There is a difference between the causes of war and the causes of violence (Kalyvas 2006; Arendt 1970). Violence and war do not have the same causes, but war causes violence. This study finds that what caused the war in Tajikistan was the decision of political actors to go to war, based on their evaluations of their own power, and that of their adversaries, which emerged under the influence of structural, processrelated, and network-related variables. Once started, the violence developed its own dynamics. This argument suggests that similar processes might be at work both in

international and domestic wars, involving power evaluations and bargaining failures as a result of these power evaluations. Scholars in the fields of international relations, and political science in general, have traditionally seen the existence of anarchy (the absence of a supranational governing power in international politics) as the major factor which sets international relations apart from domestic politics. However this has been questioned recently, for example by Lake (2003); Powell (2004); and Werner et al. (2003). Some see close parallels between the actors’ behaviour in the anarchic environment of international politics and in hierarchical domestic environments such as legal disputes or labour negotiations, in which both sides would prefer to avoid costly decisions like going to court or declaring a strike. Others argue that

agreements between states do exist in the international arena and are capable of enforcing order with the consent of the parties to them. Likewise, domestic hierarchies exist as long as the parties to them consent. If they do not agree to work within the rules of the hierarchical state, or reject the authority of the state, then this hierarchy does not exist (Lake 2003, p.8). This suggests that bargaining failure can be the reason behind both international and domestic wars. It further implies that civil wars can be prevented. Through negotiation, bargaining, and effective management of conflict situations, it is possible to prevent disagreements from turning into civil wars. This study argued that regional identity is real and important in Tajikistan

and Uzbekistan. Clan also exists in its original meaning to denote actual, or assumed, extended family, kin-based divisions, and relations, although the term itself is seen as pejorative, and people use the term avlod and urugh to denote it. These two types of allegiance contribute to social and political networks in both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. However, these networks are based on many different types of connection beyond regionalism and clan ties. Personal networks, factions, and self-interest play important roles. Using the term “clan” to denote such diverse allegiances and factors can be both confusing and misleading. A concept of “clan” which is based on kinship ties or birthplace regionalism does not exhaust these relationships. Instrumental ties and the benefits they bring (such as position andwealth) are significant, and relationships continue as long as they benefit the parties involved. At the elite level, networks more closely resemble patron-client networks,

which may or may not include regional or kinship ties. Among ordinary people, such ties tend to be based on localism, kinship, and/or patronage relationships. These networks may interconnect-for example when a member of the political elite recruits his fellow countrymen for a position, or tries to mobilize them for a political cause, demonstration, or a civil war. The emerging picture is more complex than “clan”- or “regionalism”-based approaches can describe. Comprehending the complexities of the networks in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will help us to better understand the society and politics of these countries. Based on my fieldwork, my analysis suggests that the war in Tajikistan did

not start as a result of ordinary, local conflicts that somehow became intensified. Rather, armed clashes began in Dushanbe as a result of elite struggles. This study has shown how armed clashes spread from Dushanbe to Kulyab and to Qurghonteppa, with the coming of militias to these regions. Subsequently, ordinary people often found themselves in a situation in which they could not escape involvement. This study has highlighted the role of the political elites on both sides in

activating their networks to bring their supporters to the capital for support. It has also emphasized the relationships of political actors with armed militias, led by people who had been street criminals before the war. The political elites activated and used these network relations to provide support for themselves and attack their opponents. Similar loyalties and network relationships existed

also in Uzbekistan, where mafia-like criminal groups likewise enjoyed close connections in the state and Party apparatus. However, these networks were not activated there. The opposition was divided, and could not organize itself enough to activate any network against the regime (as discussed in Chapter 4). The civil war in Tajikistan shows that it is possible to connect the masses

and the elites at local and national level through networks in conflicts. Elites contacted their connections; at the village level their connections mobilized people in a very organized way. These networks might connect with each other from kolkhozes to regionally based elite networks in both directions. These networks were tying elites to the ordinary members of the villages. It was through these networks that the mobilization was achieved by the elites on both sides. In Tajikistan, elites mobilized their patron-client networks for the war effort.

These networks were based on both regional ties and personal ties of patronage. At the local level they utilized local kolkhoz, village, and kinship networks based on personal ties of patronage, kinship, and friendship. They also used violence specialists to carry out the war. Networks were key to mobilization in Tajikistan. At the elite level, there

were patron-client networks, which may or may not include regional ties, established among republican and regional/local-level elites. At the local level, networks connected elites with the masses at the level of the kolkhoz. These ties were based on localism, kinship and/or patronage relationships. When called upon, these networks could be activated. This was how top-down mobilization was achieved. The existence of similar networks is a general dynamic in Central Asia and

it is not a particularity for Tajikistan. What is particular about Tajikistan is that the war in the country shows that in conflict situations these networks could be connected and activated when elites needed them. Coercion and punishment by the warring factions against the ordinary

people were commonplace. In order to increase their ranks and support, militia groups used force and violence, and committed murder. People were forced to follow or otherwise risk being killed. Militias used violence not only against people from different identity groups but also against people from the same identity group. Regional identity was not what motivated people to join, especially in the beginning. Motivations were very complex, and in many cases people were forced to join. Revenge was another important motivation for joining armed groups. This study suggests that, rather than being the reason for the war, polar-

ization among regional identities can be a result of the war. Many informants claimed that relations among people from different regions were good before the war. The war came as a surprise to them. This is consistent with similar accounts from other cases of civil war, such as Bosnia. In this example, as well, people claimed that relations among people from different identity groups were good before the war, and that they were surprised at how much enmity emerged among them during the war (Bringa 1995; Benard 1993). Claims to

the effect that relations among people from different identity groups were good before the war are very common in different civil war accounts. I often heard such claims in my interviews. My informants told me how, before the war, people from the different groups intermarried, were friends, lived and worked together, and in general enjoyed peaceful relations. No one expected that people from different identity groups would attack and kill each other, loot each others’ possessions, etc. Although differences were perceived, and stereotypes existed (which is the case almost everywhere), no one thought it possible that there could be such a level of violence among people from different identity groups. The parties to the war were not regionally homogeneous or unitary. Many

Kulyabis supported the opposition, and many Garmis supported the Popular Front. Some people switched sides during the war. There was heterogeneity within groups. However, this heterogeneity declined as a result of the war. In order to create loyalty, the warring parties used regional identities and allegiances to create antagonism towards those from other regions, and thereby generate support for themselves. The process forced most people to side with those from their own region. As militias began killing people based on regional identity, this process created enmity among people from different regions. Parties to the conflict used all available discourses to increase their number

of supporters, increase their ranks, and justify their actions. The elites made instrumental use of discourses. But ordinary people were not fools who were easily manipulated by the elites. The outbreak of violence resulted in many of them being drawn into revenge-based violence, forcibly drafted, or intimidated into supporting the militias. In some cases, they might also have been attracted by the prospect of receiving privileges and positions as a militia member, or of looting, or seizing a piece of land. In the end, as a result of the war, through the process of killing each other, they began to feel enmity for the people on the other side of the conflict. The civil wars in Tajikistan and Georgia, fought for control of the state,

can be considered unique cases in the territories of the former Soviet Union, whose dissolution was surprisingly peaceful.1 A review of the literature shows that similar dynamics to those emphasized in this study also exist in other cases of civil war. Jaba Ioseliani, who had spent some time in prison for theft, rose to become one of the main leaders of one faction in the civil war in Georgia. He allied himself with various Georgian political leaders. His organization, an armed formation called Mkhedrioni (which means “horsemen” in Georgian), survived on such activities as drug smuggling, robbery, and protection rackets. His role is similar to those of violence specialists in the Tajikistan civil war (Slider 1997, pp.165-67). Similarly, criminal and quasi-criminal elements fought in the Bosnian civil

war. Leaders of armed groups came from criminal backgrounds, and criminals were released from jail to participate in the violence. Similar dynamics existed in Rwanda as well (Mueller 2000). Top-down mobilization also existed in

both cases. In the Bosnian case, politicians recruited thugs and hooligans to carrying out violence. Recruitment was carried out locally, by ethnic parties and ethnic entrepreneurs (Kalyvas and Sambanis 2005). In Rwanda, local officials, acting on orders from above, coordinated violence (Mueller 2000). Kalyvas and Sambanis make a similar suggestion with regard to the Bosnian civil war, saying that polarization among ethnic identities was a result of the war, rather than the reason for its outbreak. They argue for an “ethnification” of the conflict as a result of violence: