Papers and Presentations

Koehnlein, Britt, and Ore Koren. “Climate Stress and Civilian Targeting in the Sahel: Between Violence and Opportunity.” A Research Policy Paper for Atrocity Prevention Research: Emerging Challenges and New IdeasThe Stimson Center, June 28, 2022.

New data and case-based evidence suggests that locations with seasonal climate variations may face a higher risk of civilian targeting than locations with permanent harsh climatic conditions. Focusing on the Sahel and the Sahara Desert transition zone, this report develops a conditional policy framework to better understand the causes of and improve preparedness for climate-driven civilian targeting by armed actors.

This issue brief argues that the relationship between climatic stressors and environmental conditions is moderated: violence increases in climate-harsh regions – where incentives for violence over resources are higher – but only during months where environmental security levels are higher, which prompts armed actors to loot agricultural resources and use violence to this end. We hypothesize that while climate-harsh locations are more likely to induce willingness on the part of the military, rebels, and militias to engage in violence along resource scarcity lines, they will only act on these incentives when environmental conditions improve. In these times, more resources are available, facilitating military operations and allowing groups and military organizations – especially those living off locally-sourced food and other resources – to support their troops effectively.

Koren, Ore, Benjamin Valentino, Andrew Agbenyi Ameh, Adam Lichtenheld, and Dawop Danjuma Saidu. “Assessing Local Early Warning of Violence and Atrocities in Nigeria.” A Report Produced for the Atrocity Prevention Study Group at the Stimson CenterThe Stimson Center, June 7, 2022.

A preliminary report on early warning program deployment in Kaduna and Plateau, Nigeria.

Koren, Ore. “Covid-19, State Capacity, and Political Violence by Nonstate Actors.” Report for the Atrocity Prevention Study Group, The Stimson Center, August 25, 2020.

This article uses data on deaths from covid-19, conflict event data and nighttime light emissions to anlayze how the prevalence of the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected violence by anti- and pro-government nonstate actors.

Commentaries and Briefs

Koren, Ore. “How ‘Geographic Thinking’ is transforming research on civil war” Culturico, May 8, 2023.

An op-ed discussing the increasingly important role of geography and geospatial data in civil war research.

Benson, Thomas S., Ore Koren, and Benjamin E. Bagozzi. “Food Insecurity and Unrest: What You Need to Know.” Political Violence @ A Glance, July 12, 2022.

Discussing some implications of food insecurity and water stress to unrest, with an emphasis on contextual and socio-political factors.

Koren, Ore. “Food Prices Are Soaring. Civil Conflicts Won’t Necessarily Follow.” Barron’s, March 31, 2022.

Putting the potential impact of rising food prices due to the war in Ukraine in context.

Koren, Ore. “Food, Climate Change, and War in the 21st Century.” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, March 7, 2022.

A discussion of the future relationship between food security, climate change, and political violence.

Koren, Ore. “Civil war in the US is unlikely because grievance doesn’t necessarily translate directly into violence.” The Conversation, January 14, 2022.

An updated assessment of the (low) risk of civil war in the United States.

Koehnlein, Britt and Ore Koren. “Pro-Government Militia Attacks Surge Among COVID-19.” Political Violence @ A Glance, August 2, 2021.

This post show that the Covid-19 pandemic led to increase in the activity levels of militias and other armed pro-government organizations.

Koren, Ore. “Violence Isn’t the Only Story in Israel.” Foreign Policy, May 20, 2021.

This article analyzes how variations in socioeconomic conditions shaped the degree of violence experienced by mixed cities in Israel.

Shalit, Naomi, and Ore Koren. “’Once you engage in political violence, it becomes easier to do it again’ – an expert on political violence reflects on events at the Capitol.” The Conversation, January 7, 2021.

Questions & Answers regarding the January 6th, 2021 riot in the Capitol building.

Koren, Ore. “Election violence in November? Here’s what the research says.” The Conversation, September 28, 2020.

This op-ed applies research on political violence to analyze the possibility of mass violence by vigilantes during and following the 2020 U.S. elections.

Koren, Ore, and W. Kindred Winecoff. “Food Price Spikes and Social Unrest: The Dark Side of the Fed’s Crisis-Fighting.” Foreign Policy, May 20, 2020.

This article visualizes historical data to explore the possibility that the Fed’s recent stimulus effort will raise global food prices and contribute to social conflict around the world.

Bagozzi, Benjamin E. and Ore Koren. “The Diplomatic Burden of COVID-19.” Political Violence @ A Glance, March 30, 2020.

This post explains how COVID-19 can negatively impact international relations between state over the long term, and discusses some of the implications of such a decline.

Koren, Ore. “Climate Change and Conflict.” Political Violence @ A Glance, February 4, 2019. Reposted on Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) Climate & Conflict blog as: “Climate Change and Conflict Generates Clicks, but What about Scientific Claims?,” February 12, 2019.

This post ideintifies some areas of emerging concesus in research on the climate-conflict nexus.

Koren, Ore. “Why blaming conflicts in Africa on climate change is misguided.” The Conversation, May 1, 2018.

This post discusses some explanations for state instability, and how climate change might or might not be having an impact.

Koren, Ore. “When Fighting Breaks Out – Explaining Subnational Variation in Civil War Onset.” Political Violence @ A Glance, March 1, 2018.

This post explains why within weak states, civil wars start where the state exercises more, not less, control.

Koren, Ore. “Why Insurgents Commit Atrocities in Capital Cities.” The Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, October 16, 2017.

This post explains why insurgents frequently attack civilians in capital cities, and identifies some of the mechanisms responsible and conflicts that are more likely to experience such violence.

Koren, Ore. “How Drought Escalates Rebel Killings of Civilians: Study Pinpoints Link Between Food Shortages and Attacks by Extremists, Insurgents.” United States Institute of Peace Policy Analyses, May 24, 2017.

This analysis evaluates the role of famines in violence against civilians and the additional benefits of increasing local drought resistance.

Koren, Ore, and Benjamin E. Bagozzi. “Food Access and the Logic of Violence During Civil War.” New Security Beat, The Wilson Center, March 15, 2017.

In this post, we explain different reasons as to why food abundance can cause violence during civil war.

Koren, Ore. “Living Off the Land: Food and the Logic of Violence in Civil War.” Political Violence @ A Glance, February 6, 2017.

This post discusses how food security has a moderating effect on violence against civilians during peaceful times, but an intensifying impact when conflict intensifies.

Koren, Ore. “Food scarcity causes conflicts — but so can food abundance. Here’s why.” The Monkey Cage, November 23, 2016.

This op-ed surveys recent studies on the relationship between food security and conflict and explores this emerging research agenda.

Koren, Ore. “Tipping the Balance: The Role of Security Repertoires in Predicting Violence.” Political Violence @ A Glance, September 10, 2015.

This post discusses how taking agency and perpetrator characteristics into account can improve our ability to predict mass killing and other state abuses.

Koren, Ore. “Not (Only) Assad’s Fault: The Military Effect in Syria.” International Affairs Forum, May 14, 2013.

This op-ed argues that the scope of violence against civilians in Syria is not only caused by the decision of President Assad, but also by local officers and troops operating in the field.

Letters to the Editor