“Rebels With a Cause”
Loosely defined, “rebel governance” refers to the development of official structures and practices to regulate social and political life. This system can include a police force and judicial structure, health and educational systems, a tax regime to regulate commercial activities, and even representative structures that give civilians a voice in governing themselves. Likewise, symbolic practices, such as the adoption of flags or national anthems, also lend the rebels legitimacy.
In addition to being incredibly interesting, Zach’s work has important implications for how we might think about civil conflict. In particular, his work suggests we ought to think about who should be at the table when negotiating:
Today, the anti-Qaddafi rebellion in Libya offers a new opportunity to examine the process of engaging with rebel governments. A formal system of recognition would not only allay concerns about the United States’ motives in intervening but also offer some measure of protection to the country’s civilians.