Anatomy of a conflict: the 2006-7 communal violence in East Timor


Scambary, James


The violence that consumed East Timor between April 2006 to December 2007, in what is often referred to as 'the Crisis', opened multiple fracture lines in East Timorese society, pitting neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend and family against family. The repercussions for the international aid community were equally salutary. In the space of two months, from April to May 2006, East Timor's reputation had traversed the full spectrum between UN succcess story to failed state. This chapter analyses the internal dynamics of the 2006 to 2007 violence by examining how multiple, highly fluid notions of identity interacted with each other; how and why alliances were formed and fractured during the 2006 to 2007 crisis; and the practical implications of these identities and alliances on security, development and conflict resolution.

Publication year


Publication type

Book chapter


Security, development and nation-building in Timor-Leste: a cross-sectoral assessment / Vandra Harris and Andrew Goldsmith (eds.), Chapter 4, pp. 59-79


Taylor and Francis




Copyright © 2011 Vandra Harris and Andrew Goldsmith. This chapter Copyright © 2011 James Scambary.