Book of the month - Wars of Plunder, by Philippe Le Billon

New Intercross feature. 

First is Wars of Plunder: Conflicts, Profits and The Politics of Resources, by Philippe Le Billon, 2012, London, Hurst.

From Iraq and Angola to Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, resource-rich countries with high incidences of poverty are prone to devastating outbreaks of war. These conflicts are highly idiosyncratic, and the response of the international community to their occurrences is complex.

Philippe Le Billon traces the specific burden of owning the world’s most precious resources and the effects of resource politics on the development of war. He focuses on three key resources––oil, diamonds, and timber––and the circumstances linking their abundance to war. He discusses the role of resource revenue in financing belligerent forces, a trend that has grown more conspicuous with the withdrawal of Cold War foreign sponsorship. Le Billon also takes a frank look at international reactions toward such conflicts and possible motives. While the fight against terrorism has altered the terms of military assistance and perhaps the nature of war, many armed actors continue to rely on the profits of “conflict resources” for their survival. Mr. Le Billon examines this exploitation of resources and its role in fostering unrest.

About the author:

Phillipe Le Billon specializes in the links between resource extraction and armed conflict. With an MBA and Ph.D. in geography, he has worked for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in United Nations peacekeeping missions, advised governments and collaborated with NGOs and research institutes, including Global Witness and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is associate professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues and in the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.