Conflict duration has been one of the central and enduring questions driving civil war literature. Still not enough attention has been given to the interdependency of conflict duration dynamics. In an effort to bridge the gap this study introduces a new variable that positions conflict duration as a function of the duration of the pre-conflict phase. I argue proto-insurgents are able to protract conflict due to good choices made before large-scale conflict erupted – or during a period of time called ‘incubation’. After controlling for standard explanations, this study offers statistical evidence that proto-insurgent incubation duration is statistically significant and positively related to conflict duration. This study further explores the usefulness of thinking outside of the standard temporal space of wartime by moving beyond the widely accepted assumption that insurgents are empowered and constrained primarily by wartime decisionmaking and the wartime environment in which they find themselves.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.