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Angola's Rise to Regional Power: A Theoretical Approach on Oil and Conflict in Central-Africa

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The Angolan soil is rich in natural resources, especially oil and diamonds. Despite this wealth the country is ranked at the bottom of the United Nation Development Programme Human Development Index and has been the scene of one of the world's longest running and bloodiest civil wars in modern times. Liberal thinkers assume that oil revenues will transform Angola into an economically stable, democratic and peaceful society. They believe that the oil industry in Angola will play a pacifying role and discourage the outbreak of armed conflicts. Yet others claim that oil revenues do not create peace but rather more conflict. Several theories have been developed that offer insight into the potential conflict-promoting role of natural resources in general and oil in particular. This article will test both the liberal view and theories on the conflict-promoting role of oil. After giving an overview of the basic tenets of the different theoretical views on the relationship between oil and armed conflicts, the article will analyse the different phases of the Angolan civil war as well as the impact oil had on the conflict and on Angola's rise to regional power. The final section will analyse how oil interests have shaped the contemporary political-military situation in Central-Africa and how oil companies and other important players in the region have responded. First, however, the article provides an overview of the Angolan oil industry.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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