Rebel groups as predatory organizations: The political effects of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka


Journal Article

In this article we propose a new typology for insurgent groups to explain why in such remarkably similar conflicts-Sri Lanka and Aceh-the impact of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was so different. We argue that two principal factors shape all rebel groups by defining their incentive structures: the efficiency of the return on investment of the primary source(s) of support and the group's territorial objectives. The former factor is especially strong in explaining the different choices made by the LTTE and GAM. In Sri Lanka, the availability of lucrative resources outside the country has made the LTTE leadership inimical to compromise, threatened by relief aid, and less reliant on the local population. Lacking access to such high-return funding sources, GAM on the other hand was more closely linked to the needs of the local population and found greater value in both outside aid and a comprehensive settlement. © 2009 The Author(s).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Beardsley, K; McQuinn, B

Published Date

  • August 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 624 - 645

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-8766

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0027

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022002709336460

Citation Source

  • Scopus