This introductory chapter provides an overview of the transnational dimensions of civil wars. These include the trade of goods, the sale of natural resources, the movement of refugees and combatants, the intervention of external mediators, the provision of a safe haven, and the patronage of neighboring states. The level of access to economic profits, military resources, and political support underlies the capacity of rebel forces to wage war. Fighting factions with limited access to support will fare poorly on the battlefield, while those that are able to establish effective networks of support will prove difficult to defeat. However, while transborder linkages can provide necessary resources, there is no guarantee of continuous support. The rest of the chapter highlights common assumptions about rebel groups and the wars they fight.
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