Oil contributed to civil war in the Republic of Congo, but this conflict would never have arisen in the first place had democratization not generated substantial political instability. Once the fighting began, moreover, petroleum's overall effect was ambiguous. Oil tempted elites to fight, but the oil fields' remote location also limited most combat to the capital city. Later, oil money helped underwrite a 1999 peace settlement. Despite polarization among Congo's three main ethnoregional groups, the country did not fracture into ethnic, secessionist, or warlord zones. Thus, Congo qualifies prevailing theories linking natural primary commodities and civil war.