Multivariate Time Series Approaches To Analysing The Northern Irish Conflict: Lessons For Future Sub-State Conflict Control

Wright, S and Webb, D (2004) Multivariate Time Series Approaches To Analysing The Northern Irish Conflict: Lessons For Future Sub-State Conflict Control. In: Analysing Conflict Resolution and its Resolution, The Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications International Conference, 28-30 Jun 2004, St Catherine's College, Oxford, UK.

[img] Text
Timeseriespaper.doc - Accepted Version

Download (693kB)
Text (PDF)
Timeseriespaper.pdf - Updated Version

Download (482kB) | Preview
index.html - Supplemental Material

Download (16kB)
[img] Text (Programmes used to run the time series analyses (APPENDIX B))
index.html - Supplemental Material

Download (16kB)
nipdata_sources.html - Supplemental Material

Download (39kB)
Official URL:


This paper is essentially an introduction to the use of multivariate time series analyses of the Northern Irish conflict from 1969-1981.It draws on the conceptual work of Paul Smoker to describe systemic conflict relationships between all the parties to this conflict. Using some of the most comprehensive statistical documentation ever compiled on an internal conflict, the authors present an innovative methodology to show the highly structured nature of this conflict over a long period of time. The paper and its ancillary web sites present not only the data archive, but also the univariate, bivariate and multivariate time series programmes used to make the analyses. The outputs are presented in the form of descriptions of associated influence or ‘systemograms’ which can describe the dynamic and changing conflict ecology where apparently disparate conflict behaviour such as house searches, plastic bullet firings and the killing of military personnel, are highly correlated. Measures of autocorrelation are used to suggest a loss of freedom in the actions of particular conflict participants. Particular attention is given to the use of “less-lethal weapons” and their impact on overall conflict dynamics. What emerges is that sectarian killings form a distinct conflict susbset, whereas the counter-insurgency behaviour of the state security forces act as a conflict driver, ratchet ting up the conflict as each more severe phase of the counterinsurgency programme is introduced. The paper attempts to introduce a whole systems conflict approach which is both dynamic and puzzling, since in many respects it indicates cooperation between the various participants to carry on the conflict at a systemic level. The provisional lessons of this study are that sub-state conflict control measures can prove dysfunctional. The work is very much a case of research in progress and the findings remain tentative. We are re-introducing it at this time since it does open the prospect of repeating the research methodology in other sub-state conflicts such as Israel and Iraq, if reliable data were ever to become available.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Depositing User: Symplectic Nick Sheppard
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2015 10:04
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2015 11:10
Status: Published

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item