In recent years, it has been widely argued that a new and different armament — i.e., the refugee as weapon — has entered the world’s arsenals. But just how new and different is this weapon? Can it only be used in wartime? And just how successful has been its exploitation? Using a combination of statistical data and case study analysis, this article tackles these questions and provides a detailed examination of the instrumental manipulation of population movements as political and military weapons of war. In addition to ‘mapping the terrain’ of the issue by providing a comprehensive typology of the most common means by — and desired ends for — which displaced persons have been used as political and military weapons since the end of the Cold War, the author also provides a portrait of the identities of the kinds of actors most likely to engage in this kind of exploitation. She also proposes an explanation for what motivates them to resort — and apparently increasingly so — to the use of this unconventional policy tool, despite the reputational and potential retributive costs of doing so.
War, Natural Disasters, and Forced Migration
Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement as an
Instrument of Coercion