Evaluating rentier theory and resource curse theory: The case of the Libyan Civil War

Aslan, Nur
This thesis seeks to explain the causes of the 2011 internationalised Libyan civil war and the collapse of the Qadhafi regime. But its primary purpose is to evaluate the usefulness of two neglected sets of theory, namely rentier state theory and resource curse theory, in the explanation of civil war and international intervention. Rentier state theory holds that control and distribution of natural resource revenues is crucial for state power, but that rentier states are fragile and inflexible in the long run, particularly in the face of international economic changes. Resource curse theory holds that resource-rich states can be fatally undermined by the very resource wealth found in a state, as it generates internal (and external) competition for its control. Having elaborated and criticized these two theories, they are applied to the case of Libya, one of the oil wealthiest states in the world. Can the collapse of one of the longest enduring regimes in the world – the Qadhafi regime from 1969 – be explained by resource curse theory? Why and how did Qadhafi’s rentier state collapse? These questions are addressed through testing the internal and external dimensions that shaped the experience of the Libyan state.


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Citation Formats
N. Aslan, “Evaluating rentier theory and resource curse theory: The case of the Libyan Civil War,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2014.