Predicaments of 'disaster diplomacy' : tracing causal processes of conflict and 'natural disaster' in tsunami-affected Sri Lanka and Aceh, Indonesia
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
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Recent conflict research acknowledges the long-ignored intertwined nature of social conflict and environmental vulnerability; findings show that natural disasters affecting conflict regions can catalyse pre-disaster conflict developments. It is, however, unclear why disasters sometimes contribute to conflict escalation and sometimes to mitigating conflict. Drawing from the contrasting post-tsunami experiences of Sri Lanka and the Indonesian province of Aceh, I investigate the tipping effects and asymmetrical impact of international relations, political participation, and economic sustainability on post-disaster peacebuilding. Evidence shows that the domestic capacity for conflict transformation critically depends on the quality of international support. While Sri Lanka and Indonesia have many similarities, the latter's major geopolitical relevance guaranteed sufficient, credible and targeted peacebuilding support, while the former received limited support and faced competing internal demands from Tamil and Sinhalese areas, thereby further restricting the potential for effective peacebuilding. The study thus affirms the hypothesis that post-disaster peace is not only a matter of disaster- and conflict response, but is essentially an object of international politico-economic power- and interest politics.