Housing, land and property rights as war-financing commodities: A typology with lessons from Darfur, Colombia and Syria
The ongoing use of landscape-based conflict commodities — diamonds and other minerals, timber, wildlife, etc. — to finance wars continues to evolve. The success with which such commodities can be transacted to support militaries, militias and insurgencies has led belligerents to innovate with additional commodities. Housing, land and property (HLP) rights within war zones have belatedly joined the list of conflict commodities that are subject to transaction, and to such an extent as to warrant significant concern. However, the use of ‘conflict HLP rights’ has not yet been operationally described in the way that other conflict commodities have been. This is a necessary first step towards deriving and designing countermeasures. This article makes a preliminary attempt to delineate the exploitation of conflict HLP rights by examining how they are transacted to support belligerent groups in three conflicts: Darfur, Colombia and Syria.