The Impact of External Aid on Modern Day Secession Movements

Open Access
Simpson, Arianna Hailey
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Douglas William Lemke, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Gretchen G Casper, Honors Advisor
  • International affairs
  • politics
  • external aid
  • foreign aid
  • secession
  • violence
  • terrorism
  • basques
  • tibet
  • south sudan
  • eritrea
The intent of this thesis is to determine the impact of external actors on independence movements, and which types of aid are most successful in assisting these secessionist efforts. Secondary questions which will also be addressed include assessing which types of outside groups may affect said efforts, and to what degree of success, as well as determining the various forms that support can take (political, economic, and military, or any combination of these). Determining the correlation between the size and relative importance of an external actor, and its significance to independence movements will be another goal of the study. I hypothesize that concrete methods of support have a greater impact on independence efforts than less tangible ones, and that significant external aid is necessary for a group to secede. The validity of the hypothesis is tested through the completion of six case studies: the Kosovar Albanians, the Eritreans, the Basques, the Southern Sudanese, the Tamils, and the Tibetans. Each case study will be completed by presenting a historical background to the conflict and discussing the role of external actors in the conflict. Finally, I draw conclusions about the importance of the aid received by the secessionist in the outcome of each case, or in other words, whether they were able to achieve independence, autonomy, or no degree of political freedom.