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Regional sanctions against Burundi: the regime's argumentative self-entrapment

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Grauvogel, Julia

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Abstract This paper examines the impact of regional sanctions on the trajectory of the Burundian regime following the 1996 coup. Despite the country's socioeconomic and geopolitical vulnerability, the Buyoya government initially withstood the pressure from sanctions. Through a vocal campaign against these measures, the new government mitigated the embargo's economic consequences and partially re-established its international reputation. Paradoxically, this campaign planted the seed for long-term comprehensive political concessions. While previous literature has attributed the embargo's success to its economic impact, the government actually responded to the sanction senders' key demand to engage in unconditional, inclusive peace talks once the economy had already started to recover. Based on a novel framework for studying the signalling dimension of sanctions, I show how the regime's anti-sanctions campaign, with its emphasis on the government's willingness to engage in peace talks, backfired, with Buyoya forced to negotiate after having become entrapped in his own rhetoric.
Keywords international economic relations; economic cooperation; domestic security; Burundi; domestic policy; political conflict; political sanction; economic sanction; embargo; national development; political impact; Western world; peace process
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 169-191
Journal The Journal of Modern African Studies, 53 (2015) 2
ISSN 1469-7777
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.