The essay examines the impact of military assistance on the levels of state violence against civilians during civil wars. Azam and Hoeffler argue that outside funding raises the levels of counterinsurgent brutality. This essay claims that this may be true for development assistance, but not for military aid. Using data from Peru and El Salvador, it is suggested that military aid may sometimes be inversely related to the levels of violence against civilians. This is explained by two factors. First, development aid only increases the funding of brutal regimes, whereas military assistance can also induce them to abandon brutality. Second, while traditional military aid programmes have been driven mostly by strategic concerns, those implemented in Peru and El Salvador also incorporated human rights considerations.
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