Welcome to my website. I am a Lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. Previously, I was a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, and a Predoctoral Fellow with the Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at Yale University’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. I received my DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, where I co-founded the Oxford Central Africa Forum.
One of my main research interests concerns state support for rebel groups. My International Security article on the Congo Wars argues that rulers in post–Cold War Africa often form alliances with rebel groups abroad to alleviate threats to their political survival at home. Going beyond this article in terms of both time period and theoretical focus, my ongoing book project, “Revolutionary Sponsors,” investigates African revolutionary leaders and their support for rebel groups since independence. The research I conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda has also resulted in an African Affairs article on status competition and the direct interstate clashes between Rwanda and Uganda in the DRC.
Together with Allard Duursma (ETH Zürich), I have been working on several papers on mutual interventions, that is, rival states simultaneously intervening in each other’s intrastate conflicts by supporting rebel groups. Our International Studies Quarterly research note develops this concept and introduces our data on Africa (1960–2010). It conceptualizes mutual interventions as a distinct, indirect form of interstate conflict and shows that they are more common and last much longer than direct interstate conflicts in Africa. In our contribution to an International Studies Review forum, we discuss why negotiated settlements of mutual interventions rarely lead to the resolution of the associated intrastate conflicts.
Another major research interest of mine is rebel group fragmentation. My International Studies Quarterly article develops a theory that explains how state sponsors foster either cohesion, fragmentation, or internal coups. It illustrates the theory with case studies of Sudanese and Lebanese insurgent groups. My Journal of Strategic Studies article elaborates on this theory and dissects how external troop support affected rebel fragmentation in the Second Congo War. While these articles primarily ask why some groups split whereas others remain cohesive, my ongoing project on “Varieties of Insurgent Fragmentation” examines how groups split. The project was funded by the Carnegie Trust.