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The Delegation of War to Rebel Organizations

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Abstract

States in an international dispute sometimes choose to attack their enemies with their own military forces but other times choose to empower domestic insurgent groups. What explains the decision to act through rebel proxies rather than directly engage a rival? Theories and empirical analyses of international conflict have adopted a state-centric bias, ignoring the substitution between direct uses of force and indirect action through rebel organizations. This note examines the decision to delegate conflict to rebels through the lens of principal-agent theory. While states support rebel groups to forgo some of the costs of conflict, they also lose a degree of foreign policy autonomy. Preliminary evidence of conflict delegation is presented, along with a number of empirically testable propositions. Finally, the consequences of delegation from the rebels' perspective are explored. This framework serves as a starting point for future research on rebel-patron interactions.

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... Este artículo examina la tendencia de los gobiernos anfitriones y los grupos que estos acogen a participar en actos de violencia en áreas que albergan poblaciones de refugiados. A partir de los argumentos de que los gobiernos delegan estratégicamente la violencia a grupos afiliados con fines de "negación plausible" (Carey, Colaresi, and Mitchell 2015;Salehyan 2010), se alega que, debido a las preocupaciones sobre la problemática del bienestar de los refugiados autoasentados, así como la preocupación de que estos refugiados elegirán vivir en áreas fronterizas que son más vulnerables a (o útiles para) la actividad militar, es probable que los gobiernos anfitriones y sus representantes dirijan la violencia hacia áreas con un autoasentamiento de refugiados más importante. Al su vez, se prevé que los gobiernos anfitriones "tercerizarán" esta violencia para reemplazar a los grupos que se encuentran en campamentos militares de gran tamaño, debido al mayor riesgo de sufrir costos en la esfera internacional. ...
... Past research takes at its starting point that governments are indirectly responsible for civilian abuse committed by surrogate groups. According to this logic, governments strategically outsource violence to militias (Carey et al. 2015) and rebel groups (Salehyan 2010) for plausible deniability purposes, banking on the odds that the international community will fail to punish them when these groups violate international human rights and humanitarian law. An often-cited example is the Sudanese government's delegation of violence to proxy militia known as the Janjaweed, as the government (or principal) denies having control over the militia's (agent's) actions (Carey et al. 2015). ...
... The literature on intrastate war tends to theorize and model civil conflict dynamics in terms of two distinct actor categories engaged in battle with one another -a government and a rebel group. Yet we know that non-state actors central to the study of civil war can act as government proxies, challenging the unitary state assumption (Jentzsch, Kalyvas, and Schubiger 2015); that their affiliations with states may enable these groups to achieve their independent goals; and that states sometimes help and delegate to rebel groups in pursuit of mutual objectives (Salehyan 2007(Salehyan , 2008(Salehyan , 2010. Furthermore, we know that organized, armed opposition to the government is not necessarily unitary, as insurgent groups sometimes fragment and fight one another as well as the state (Bakke, Cunningham, and Seymour 2012;Staniland, Pearlman, and Cunningham 2012). ...
Article
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This paper examines the propensity for host governments and the groups they sponsor to engage in violence in areas that host refugee populations. Drawing on arguments that governments strategically delegate violence to affiliated groups for “plausible deniability” purposes, it argues that, due to concerns over self-settled refugees’ welfare burden as well as the concern that these refugees will choose to live in border areas that are more vulnerable to (or useful for) militant activity, host governments, and their proxies are likely to target violence in areas with more substantial refugee self-settlement. At the same time, it anticipates that host governments will “outsource” this violence to surrogate groups where sizable camp-settled populations are present, due to a heightened risk of suffering international audience costs. Findings from a large-N sample of countries in Africa provide some evidence of the hypothesized outsourcing effect. While the presence of sizable camps alongside large self-settled populations is associated with a reduction in the likelihood of violence by host governments, it significantly increases the likelihood of violence committed by host-aligned proxies.
... Finally, the complexity, severity, and duration of modern conflicts such as Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Libya appear to be related in part to the involvement of external states. Providing external support to a rebel group is commonly understood as a substitution strategy carried out to drain the target state of valuable resources, and ultimately, to decrease their relative strength in an ongoing interstate rivalry (Salehyan, 2010;Salehyan, Gleditsch, & Cunningham, 2011;San-Akca, 2016) (see Figure 2.1). States provide external support as part of a "high risk, high reward game" (Marshall, 2019, p. 6). ...
... The principal-agent approach is often employed to understand the lines of control between different actors. In the study of conflict, it has shed light on relations between groups like states and rebel groups (K. S. Gleditsch, Salehyan, & Schultz, 2008;Salehyan, 2010;Salehyan, Siroky, & Wood, 2014), terrorist organisations (Byman & Kreps, 2010), militia groups (Carey & Mitchell, 2017;Clayton & Thomson, 2016;Eck, 2015;Jentzsch, Kalyvas, & Schubiger, 2015) or private military companies (Cockayne, 2007), but also the internal lines of command in state forces (Butler,Gluch,& Mitchell,5 Although the risk of safehavens may be mitigated by the sponsor if they plead ignorance or claim that it is unable to expel the group. ...
... External support is rarely free. Rebels face a trade-off between resources and autonomy, as the external state assumes an element of the rebel group's agenda setting in exchange for its support (Salehyan, 2010) (as shown in Table 2.1). With greater say in their agenda-setting, external states can impose their preferences on the rebellion. ...
Thesis
Why do states provide different forms of support to rebels fighting in foreign civil wars? How can external support band disparate rebels together in some conflicts but lead to bloody fratricide in others? My thesis aims to answer these questions. To do so, I make a two-step argument. First, I argue that civil wars are opportunities for states to improve their place in the global balance of power, and they provide different forms of support depending on the risk of retaliation from other states. Second, I argue that different forms of support have heterogeneous effects on rebel dynamics. The influx of money and weapons–which are fungible and exchangeable–induces a competitive conflict environment and leads to greater splintering and rebel infighting as groups compete over important resources. Nonfungible support such as troops shifts the balance of power, alleviates the systemic effects of anarchy, causes bandwagoning among and within rebel groups, and leads to more allying and less splintering. This argument provides the first holistic account of how the international system shapes cooperation and competition in rebellions. I test the empirical grounding of the argument as part of a mixed-method nested research design. First, I conduct two large-N analyses: a temporal network analysis to explain how external states support rebels and a matching analysis of rebel group behaviour on how different forms of support affect the propensity that rebels fight, form alliances, and splinter. Second, I conduct a theory-testing case study of the conflict in Northern Ireland (1968-1998) and a cross-case comparative study of Libya (2011-2019) and Syria (2011-2019). Drawing on archival evidence, secondary and grey literature, and micro-level conflict data, I demonstrate the causal mechanisms underpinning the results of the large-N analyses. I find support for key parts of the argument.
... Similarly, governments may use foreign armed actors, such as foreign militaries, foreign security contractors or foreign rebel groups (Morrow 1993;Singer 2008;Salehyan 2010). While states can and do generate coercive capabilities through foreign forces, I am interested in the state's generation of security capabilities within its territorial jurisdiction and−therefore−only focus on the state's use of domestic providers of violence. ...
... The national government in some circumstances may forgo these administrative and overhead costs by turning instead to local armed forces and local governments. 12 Previous studies on militias emphasize that localized forces are nancially cheaper than gendarmeries or militaries (Byman 2005;Salehyan 2010). Alvarez (2006)'s research on the Rwandan Interahamwe nds that the Rwandan national government turned to local Hutu militias in part because the government needed to increase domestic capabilities quickly but lacked the resources and funds to do so. ...
... Yet many of these studies only examine the use and behavior of death squads, security forces covertly Research on counterinsurgencies emphasizes a second information problem governments confront in civil con ict: the ability to gather intelligence on rebels and their bases of support. In this framework, the central government and its central armed forces lack the local area knowledge necessary to disrupt and counter enemy operations, including knowledge about the identity of rebels, rebel sanctuaries and relevant social networks (Kalyvas 2006(Kalyvas , 2008Lyall 2010;Salehyan 2010 gathered and analyzed at the lowest possible level and disseminated throughout the force." ...
Thesis
How do governments organize internal power? What are the consequences of these actions for human rights? I explore the creation, evolution and repercussions of the state's organization of internal security, centering on the national government's competing needs to maximize control over security and minimize costs. I argue that legacies of violence influence the state's organization of internal armed forces and the subsequent effects of those organizations. Counterinsurgency campaigns and anti-colonial wars lead to the creation and expansion of local security, allowing governments with limited capacity and limited local area knowledge to engage in irregular warfare and population-centric operations. However, governments using local forces during domestic operations may be unable to demobilize them; these forces can remain long after wars end. The short-term strategic benefits of local security forces undermine prospects for an enduring peace. In addition, I show that limited democratic constraints on national leaders will unintentionally encourage them to adopt centralized but publicly unaccountable security. This organization of force provides national leaders with the capability and command authority to engage in widespread repression against their own population. I test these arguments using an original global dataset on internal security forces that covers 198 countries from 1970 through 2011. The organization of internal security ultimately emerges from factors historical and immediate, domestic and international, and has lasting consequences on citizens within the state.
... In 2010, I wrote "The Delegation of War to Rebel Organizations," which appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution (Salehyan 2010). This was not the first article to examine the issue of foreign support for rebel organizations or proxy warfare. ...
... In the last decade, principal-agent theory has almost completely dominated theorizing on conflict delegation (Byman and Kreps 2010;Salehyan 2010;Salehyan, Gleditsch, and Cunningham 2011;Salehyan, Siroky, and Wood 2014;Popovic 2017). Even scholars using alternative labels, such as beneficiary-proxy (Mumford 2013) or sponsor-insurgent (Tamm 2016a), adhere to many of its core assumptions. ...
... Once we recognize the agency of proxies, we must also reconsider when sponsors have more control as well as expand our conceptualization of the tools available to sponsors to reign in their proxies. Part of this argument is made here by Karlén and Rauta, starting from the common assumption that the sponsor is thought of as the principal retaining the ultimate say over support (Salehyan 2010). However, in reality, the proxy has the ability to accept or reject sponsorship (San-Akca 2016); the sponsor, on the other hand, often lacks a market of available rebel groups to choose between and will have to content itself with the actors at hand. ...
Article
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This forum provides an outlet for an assessment of research on the delegation of war to non-state armed groups in civil wars. Given the significant growth of studies concerned with this phenomenon over the last decade, this forum critically engages with the present state of the field. First, we canvass some of the most important theoretical developments to demonstrate the heterogeneity of the debate. Second, we expand on the theme of complexity and investigate its multiple facets as a window into pushing the debate forward. Third, we draw the contours of a future research agenda by highlighting some contemporary problems, puzzles, and challenges to empirical data collection. In essence, we seek to connect two main literatures that have been talking past each other: external support in civil wars and proxy warfare. The forum bridges this gap at a critical juncture in this new and emerging scholarship by offering space for scholarly dialogue across conceptual labels.
... Information asymmetries in the patron-client relation arise naturally in this context, and deeply drive our results. Governments face adverse selection when contracting local armed groups since these groups often lack a fixed ideological structure and frequently change leadership and inspiration (Salehyan (2010)). ...
... Les asymétries d'information entre le patron et le client surgissent naturellement dans ce contexte et déterminent nos résultats. Les gouvernements sont souvent confrontés à une sélection adverse lorsqu'ils engagent des groupes armés locaux, car ces groupes n'ont pas de structure idéologique fixe et changent fréquemment de leadership et d'inspiration (Salehyan (2010)). ...
... That can also happen when contracting one's own delegate. Salehyan (2010) argues that governments often face adverse selection when contracting local armed groups, as these groups lack a fixed ideological structure and frequently change leadership and inspiration. Research in political science (e.g. ...
Thesis
Weakly institutionalized environments represent a fertile ground for conflicts and for the suboptimal exploitation of resources. This dissertation explores these themes using a combination of theory and field experiments. Chapter 1, joint with Francis Bloch, studies the phenomenon of information distortion with a simple model of communication in networks. Agents can influence the probability that the information they send is transmitted without distortion, by exerting a costly and continuous effort. We characterize the equilibria of the game in function of the timing of agents’ decisions and of communication costs. Chapter 2, joint with Juni Singh, looks into the endogenous demand of peer-monitoring institutions in rural Nepal and studies its effect on contributions to a public good. Socially sparse groups are more likely to elect a highly influential monitor compared to socially dense ones. Monitoring institutions that are democratically elected by groups increase cooperation compared to those that are externally imposed, but only in socially sparse groups. Chapter 3 offers a model of conflict delegation with adverse selection, where states employ local groups to fight on their behalf. In a setting with incomplete information, militias receive transfers that are smaller than in complete information but are left with higher political autonomy. Chapter 4 extends this framework investigating the tradeoffs of delegating conflict and studies the effect of competition between different sponsors willing to hire the same local group. The delegation of conflict is the unique equilibrium when local groups enjoy weak local support. When there is competition between two sponsors, the delegate can carve out higher rents compared to a situation of monopoly contracting.
... A wide body of literature has considered the costs and benefits of state delegation to nonstate or irregular forces (Hoekstra 2020;Dowdle 2007;Eck 2015;Byman 2007;Hughes 2012). Among the advantages, irregular or localized forces can be a cheap and expedient means of expanding the number of forces quickly (certainly cheaper than deploying more foreign troops) (Salehyan 2010a;Byman and Kreps 2010;W. Rosenau and Gold 2019). ...
... A last major category or classification that many of these forces would trip is that of proxies or surrogate forces (Salehyan 2010a;Salehyan, Gleditsch, and Cunningham 2011;Byman 2007;Innes 2012). Certainly all of the groups in this thesis would match certain criteria associated with proxies or surrogates given their relationship with the US (as well as with other external states). ...
... Principal-Agent theory has often been used to analyze the relationships involved in security assistance, both state-to-state assistance and state support to non-state groups (Biddle, Macdonald, and Baker 2018;Cochran 2010;Byman 2006;Ladwig 2016;Salehyan 2010a;Salehyan, Gleditsch, and Cunningham 2011;Aliyev 2016;San-Akca 2016;Byman and Kreps 2010). It is a useful paradigm for capturing why states might delegate or outsource security functions to other actors. ...
Thesis
This thesis explores how the decision to try to mitigate risks when working with non-state, substate, or other more irregular armed groups might affect the decision to engage with these groups. It does so by examining nine case studies of US partnerships with local, hybrid, and substate forces (LHSFs) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria from 2005 to 2019. The risk mitigation mechanisms that emerged in these US-LHSF relationships typify the sort of control mechanisms that Principal-Agent theory assumes patrons will deploy to better control or constrain agents. However, in many situations, these control mechanisms appeared to be driven more by political bargaining between different actors in the policy-making process, or as the result of bureaucratic protocols, elements that are more central to Bureaucratic or Foreign Policy Analysis. Analysis of these US-LHSF relationships from these two lenses offers theoretical contributions to both analytical models: it adds nuance to our understanding of how Principal-Agent theories might devolve within these non-state or irregular force partnerships, and some of the limitations of those theories, while also expanding the type of bargaining situations and bargaining players that might be analyzed under Bureaucratic Policy Analysis. The conclusion blends insights from both lenses to understand what might underlie this emerging trend toward regulating irregular actors, and also to more broadly understand how states respond to the risks surrounding non-state or substate actors within hybrid or complex security landscapes.
... The organizational fragmentation of the police can also empower individual officers or forces to opportunistically pursue their own interests. Here, moral hazard occurs because delegation allows agents to behave in ways that are contrary to, or subvert, the state's preferred course of action (Feaver 2005;Salehyan 2010). The street-level bureaucrats pursuing complex actions are provided discretion that can allow for bias or even exploitation. ...
... Policing by multiple forces will magnify the problem of adverse selection inherent in recruitment. A state that empowers multiple police forces to recruit their own personnel is unlikely to impose a common screening mechanism to ensure the quality of officers across forces (Salehyan 2010). Inconsistent screening across forces can result in the recruitment of officers who are incapable of carrying out their duties due to incompetence. ...
Article
How do policing institutions affect the prospects for peace in post-conflict settings? We present a principal-agent theoretical framework to explain how the institutional design of policing affects the recurrence of civil conflict. We argue that the fragmentation of police forces can reignite conflict dynamics by impeding coordinated action, undermining information sharing, and enabling agents to pursue their own interests. We test these expectations with the Police Force Organization Dataset (PFOD) on police forces in over 100 developing states. Our empirical analyses show that increasing the number of distinct police forces is systematically associated with an increased risk of conflict recurrence in post-conflict states. We also find that a larger number of police forces is associated with more abuse against civilian populations in post-conflict states, setting the stage for new grievances that may undermine peace.
... This expansion of research provided insights into a serious international security problem (Rauta and Mumford, in Dover et al. 2017). Developed across multiple research clusters (Rauta 2020a), the debate has largely coalesced around two cores: international security and strategic studies (Hughes 2012, Innes 2012, Mumford 2013, Borghard 2014, Brown 2016, Marshall 2016, Rauta 2016, Sozer 2016, Groh 2019, Moghadam and Wyss 2020; and the study of external support to factions in civil war as both 'delegation' and, more recently, 'indirect governance' (Salehyan 2010, Salehyan et al. 2011, Sawyer et al. 2017, Karlén 2017a, 2017b, Popovic 2019Anderson 2019, Petrova 2019, Roberts 2019, Abbott et al. 2020. 1 Karlén (2016) has provided an overview of the latter's development, and a recent paper categorised the former's growth into three generations: founders, framers, and reformers (Rauta 2020b). Notwithstanding its generational development, the debate has shared some of the problems of emerging research areas, including conceptual and definitional 'battles', theoretical disagreements, operationalisation differences, and methodological preferences (Kalyvas, in Chenoweth et al. 2019, pp. ...
... The literature on military intervention, first, classes 'indirect intervention' as complimentary to the direct mode of intervention: the semantic crossovers emphasise the interventionist core of this international behaviour, while the semantic nuances add conceptual specificity by highlighting 'indirectness' as the absence of actual fighting and its substitution with the provision of support. Figure 2 captures the imperfect and often theoretical 'direct'-'indirect' dichotomy by showing how the two complement and substitute each other as tools of statecraft (Gleditsch 2007, Gleditsch et al. 2008, Salehyan 2010. To understand the latter, we look at the Iranian involvement in the Yemeni civil war which marks a clear substitution of direct violence with the Houthi rebels fighting no just in situ, but also attacking Saudi oil tankers in the Bab al-Mandab Strait (Rouhi 2018, p. 36). ...
Article
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This article presents a definitional structure for the notion of 'proxy war' organised around three components: (1) a material-constitutive feature, (2) a processual feature and (3) a relational feature. First, the article evaluates the multiple usages of the term of 'proxy war' in light of its contested character. Second, it proposes a way of making sense of the literature's conceptual turmoil by analysing the different attempts at defining the notion. To this end, it adds an important link to the methodology of concept analysis, namely the 'semantic field', which it reintroduces as a heuristic to identify 'military intervention' as a root concept for defining proxy wars. The article does so by identifying a type of semantic relationship between 'proxy war' and 'military intervention', namely sub-type inclusion.
... States must therefore devise strategies to reduce the risk of militia betrayal ex post. When multiple militias exist simultaneously, states can leverage support for rival groups to manipulate others and hold them accountable for agency slack (Salehyan 2010;Ahram 2011). More generally, Staniland (2015) argues that if the state is motivated to eliminate the group, it can forcibly suppress it or incorporate it into formal politics. ...
... During a civil war, the state and militia mutually benefit from cooperation: militias can increase the probability of government victory (Peic 2014), but these groups may also be motivated by ideology, material gains, or community protection from the state in the future. Tacit or direct support from the state can provide militia organizations the resources they need to achieve these goals (Salehyan 2010), even if they are incompatible with the long-term goals of the state (Ahram 2011;Staniland 2015). Under these conditions, contemporary support for a militia organization can translate into relative gains in the militia's future bargaining leverage, especially when these resources can improve the group's independent coercive power. ...
Article
In most contemporary civil wars, governments collude with non-state militias as part of their counterinsurgent strategy. However, governments also restrict the capabilities of their militia allies despite the adverse consequences this may have on their overall counterinsurgent capabilities. Why do governments contain their militia allies while also fighting a rebellion? I argue that variation in militia containment during a civil war is the outcome of a bargaining process over future bargaining power between security or profit-seeking militias and states with time-inconsistent preferences. Strong states and states facing weak rebellions cannot credibly commit to not suppressing their militias, and militias with sufficient capabilities to act independently cannot credibly commit to not betraying the state. States with limited political reach and those facing strong rebellions, however, must retain militia support, which opens a “window of opportunity” for militias to augment their independent capabilities and future bargaining power. Using new data on pro-government militia containment and case illustrations of the Janjaweed in Sudan and Civil Defense Patrols in Guatemala, I find evidence consistent with these claims. Future work must continue to incorporate the agency of militias when studying armed politics, since these bargaining interactions constitute a fundamental yet undertheorized characteristic of war-torn states.
... It became pervasive during the systems competition of the Cold War, when both East and West sponsored VPOs, mostly in peripheral world regions, with the objective of establishing likeminded governments and thereby expanding the political reach of the system. According to Salehyan (2010), roughly 15 percent of all country-years during the period 1946-2003 involved a state with a foreign-sponsored rebellion. The logic behind this observation is simple: "Proxies enable intervention on the cheap. ...
... Top state sponsors of violent political organizations, 1946-2003Source:Salehyan (2010) For Iran, proxy war is the most frequent type of warfare. It employs a results-oriented approach to determine the level of funding for each candidate VPO. ...
Conference Paper
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This paper examines the financial dimension of violent political organizations (VPOs) such as ISIS, Hamas, or Hezbollah and its impact on the outcome of political contests. Both theory and evidence suggest that in violent political contests, finance matters: on average, deeper pockets win wars. This has several implications for VPOs: (1) Due to their subversive nature, VPOs are financially constrained, i.e. they cannot access credit, bond or capital markets. Instead, they exclusively rely on cash. VPOs generate cheap and fast cash through a combination of (a) profitable predatory operations such as extortion, armed robbery (including piracy and looting), kidnapping and theft; (b) illicit commercial operations such as extraction and sale of natural resources (oil, diamonds, timber, etc.), trafficking of high-value products (drugs, humans, etc.), production of counterfeit goods and provision of illicit services such as private security or money laundering; and (c) donations from wealthy individuals, diaspora communities or foreign governments. (2) VPOs are subject to a size-versus-control-and a wealth-versus-power-trade-off: they can become sidetracked by overly dominant state sponsors or overinvest in purely commercial operations. Both phenomena can result in suboptimal contest effort. Management can mitigate these risks by adjusting financial structure and hiring practices. (3) Finally, and most importantly, cash flow problems such as exogenous cash shocks can severely hamper a VPO's contest capacity and trigger a strategic realignment towards peace. Examples include the PLO, the Provisional IRA, the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the URNG in Guatemala or the LRA in Uganda. A VPO's cash burn rate can serve as proxy indicator for its willingness to exit the contest and enter peace negotiations.
... Forging alliances with internal combatants nevertheless creates notable difficulties for the intervening state. To the extent that local allies retain a sufficient degree of autonomy to undertake tactical operations on their own initiative, the dynamics associated with principal-agent problems are likely to take shape (Salehyan 2010;Coletta 2013;Salehyan et al. 2014). In particular, local allies 'may shirk [their] responsibilities and devote suboptimal effort to the war while privately consuming the [intervening state's] resources'; they might 'prove incompetent and fail to effectively challenge' the appropriate adversaries; and they 'may engage in egregious behaviors that are either contrary to the goals and strategic interests of the [intervening state] or that generate domestic and international backlash against it' (Salehyan et al. 2014, 639). ...
Article
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Foreign military interventions are correlated with longer civil wars, yet existing explanations for this association remain inadequate. One influential argument claims that outside states prolong internal warfare by introducing objectives that are extraneous to the conflict at hand. A more compelling extension of this argument is that intervening states forge alliances with local combatants, and contention among these local combatants creates friction among intervening states and opens the door to additional combatants. Such dynamics lengthened the civil war in Yemen that erupted in 2012–13. Exploring the shifting patterns of antagonism and alignment that accompanied intervention in this particular case improves our general understanding of the mechanisms that increase the duration of internal warfare.
... Scholars have often focused on when and why these actors use violence in pursuing their goals at the international level, thereby focusing on terrorism, insurgency, and rebel groups (Chenoweth and Lawrence 2010;Dalacoura 2001;Varin and Abubakar 2017). With the multiplicity of proxy conflicts in the twenty-first century, scholars employ the principal-agent lens to examine why states employ ANSAs as proxies in the form of "conflict delegation" (Salehyan 2010) and the conditions under which ANSAs accept the support from external backers (Salehyan, Gleditsch, and Cunningham 2011). An emerging literature is also looking at how some ANSAs outgrow their patrons and become patrons themselves for other ANSAs (Mumford 2013;Moghadam and Wyss 2020;Phillips and Valbjørn 2018). ...
Article
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The study of armed non-state actors (ANSAs) has grown exponentially in the last two decades. This article explores the foreign policy of ANSAs as a new empirical domain for foreign policy analysis (FPA) by drawing on various examples from the Middle East to show the merit of this area for novel empirical and theoretical studies. The article identifies the domain of ANSAs’ foreign policy showing how FPA research has so far remained state-centric and almost completely ignores ANSAs. While the external engagement of ANSAs were examined within the scholarship on civil wars, FPA can be adapted to provide systematic scholarly understanding of this phenomenon. Finally, the article explores how studying ANSAs’ foreign policies can revitalize FPA and drive its agenda into new directions.
... Once the party becomes politically aligned with the rebel cause, it implies that its loyalty to the domestic state is dubious. A growing body of literature confirms that a vast share of rebel groups has had an explicit or widely accepted link with a foreign patron (Byman et al. 2001;Salehyan 2010;Salehyan, Gleditsch & Cunningham 2011;Popovic 2017;Bapat 2012). The KPU had been the prominent advocate of Russian interests in the Ukrainian parliament, agitating for the vision of the USSR as a lost paradise, instigating local grievances and questioning the loyalty of the party to Ukraine as an independent state (Kuzio 2015a). ...
Article
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The article explains why the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) became marginalised during the insurgency in Donbas despite its ideological closeness to the rebel cause. The KPU was a popular pro-rebel party during the rebellion, but sharing the rebels’ ideological background doesn't automatically mean the party will profit from the insurgency to expand or retain a share of power in rebel enclaves during the rebel state-building efforts. The KPU officials welcomed the protests against the new government in Kyiv and the onset of the anti-Ukrainian insurgency under the Russian patronage in the Donbas. Still, even despite this open support, the party descended into marginalisation.
... For foreign patrons, delegating war to nonstate armed groups can be cost-effective and limits reputational costs through denial of participation. 8 Sponsorship, in turn, is critical to armed actor consolidation. Those who seek to change the status quo are highly incentivized to bandwagon with armed groups that have dedicated foreign patrons. ...
Article
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Drawing on 15 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article investigates the cooperative consolidation of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a rebel movement that in 1999-2003 sought to rid Liberia of President Charles Taylor. The LURD faced many obstacles to consolidation, including a history of ethnic fragmentation and infighting, leadership conflicts, lack of territory inside Liberia, and a paucity of resources. Yet, despite these hurdles, the LURD succeeded in forging a coalition that lasted just long enough to oust Taylor. It did this by adopting three maxims that emphasized institutional learning, interethnic power sharing, and Guinean sponsorship.
... In addition, future studies could also assess how different rebel group characteristics affect support modes. 15 As San-Akca (2017) has demonstrated that rebels are not simply passive receivers of support, but can actively shape support relationships, rebels might, for instance, choose to reject specific types of support-and the attached strings (see also , Salehyan 2010;Salehyan, Gleditsch, and Cunningham 2011;Bapat 2012). Are rebels more likely to reject "hands-on" delegation than "hands-off" orchestration? ...
Article
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Instead of attacking their adversaries directly, states often do so indirectly by supporting rebel groups. While these support relationships vary considerably, existing research lacks a comprehensive account thereof. To explain states’ choice of support, we suggest differentiating between two modes of support relationships according to the control opportunities they offer states over rebels: while delegation enables “hands-on” control, “hands-off” orchestration allows for plausible deniability and does not harm rebels’ local legitimacy. We argue that sponsors prefer orchestration when “hands-on” control can be substituted by goal alignment or competition; and they prefer delegation when the conflict is highly salient. Tests using global data for the period 1975-2009 support the first two expectations. Surprisingly, states’ capabilities also render “hands-off” orchestration more likely. The paper advances the understanding of external rebel support by transferring insights from indirect governance theory to the study of indirect wars and putting it to a statistical test.
... This is often the case between a state, referred to as a patron or sponsor state, and a non-state group, referred to as the proxy actor. As such, the state provides the non-state group with financial resources, arms, training and political support in exchange for the latter agreeing to fight on its behalf or act in favour of the foreign policy objectives of the patron state (Salehyan, 2010). Some proxy alliances, particularly ideological ones, last beyond wars and violent conflicts and extend to a strong, long-term governance alliance. ...
Book
Focusing on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which comprises some of the world’s richest countries next to some of the poorest, this book offers excellent insights into the discriminatory consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a geographic focus on the MENA region, the multidisciplinary case studies collected in this edited volume reveal that the coronavirus’s impact patterns are a question of two variables: governance performance and socioeconomic potency. Given the global, unprecedented, complex, and systemic nature of COVID-19 – and its long-term implications for societies, governments, international organisations, citizens and corporations – this volume entails a relevance to regions undergoing similar dynamics. Analyses in the book, therefore, have implications for the comparative study of the pandemic and its impact on societies around the globe. Understanding related dynamics and implications, and making use of lessons learned, are a pathway to deal with future similar crises. Questions covered in the volume are relevant to geopolitics, social implications and the relations between political leaders and citizens as beings embedded in various strategies of communication. The volume will appeal to scholars of international politics, political science, risk or crisis governance, economics and sociology, human rights and security, political communication and public health.
... While COIN strategies are generally characterized by use of violence, governments often use irregular forces for the most egregious forms such as genocide (Ahram, 2014;Alvarez, 2006;Koren, 2017 While the lack of complete control over irregular forces may be an important asset for a government trying to root out an insurgency, delegation also offers an advantage when trying to influence the power balance abroad. Supporting rebel proxies reduces the cost incurred by engaging in conflict directly (Salehyan, 2010). Avant (2005) identifies similar incentives in her analysis of private military contractors. ...
... This is often the case between a state, referred to as a patron or sponsor state, and a non-state group, referred to as the proxy actor. As such, the state provides the non-state group with financial resources, arms, training and political support in exchange for the latter agreeing to fight on its behalf or act in favour of the foreign policy objectives of the patron state (Salehyan, 2010). Some proxy alliances, particularly ideological ones, last beyond wars and violent conflicts and extend to a strong, long-term governance alliance. ...
... This is often the case between a state, referred to as a patron or sponsor state, and a non-state group, referred to as the proxy actor. As such, the state provides the non-state group with financial resources, arms, training and political support in exchange for the latter agreeing to fight on its behalf or act in favour of the foreign policy objectives of the patron state (Salehyan, 2010). Some proxy alliances, particularly ideological ones, last beyond wars and violent conflicts and extend to a strong, long-term governance alliance. ...
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Lebanon’s sovereignty has been continuously questioned since Hezbollah monopolised the decision of war and peace for the Lebanese state. The COVID-19 pandemic has been no different, and has demonstrated the obvious political insovereignties in Lebanon when combating this pandemic. In this chapter, I explore how the influence of Iran over the Lebanese government was a main driver for the cabinet’s decisions on dealing with the spread of COVID-19.
... However, so far we have been unsuccessful in finding any work that would tie empowerment together with unconventional warfare. There have been discussions about countries delegating warfare to insurgent forces instead of using their own military (Salehyan, 2010), however, in the first place that calls for a rebel force to exist and no presence of outside agents. Recently cases showed that it is not always needed. ...
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The concept of empowerment is a democratic tool and a logical next step in the evolution of public administration. In this article we explore the possibility of this concept to be used as a tool of unconventional warfare under a certain set of conditions. The carried out case study of the recent events in Ukraine, Crimea allows to conclude that empowerment can indeed be used to compromise the territorial integrity of a sovereign country.
... Understanding the alliance politics of armed non-state actors can contribute to theory development within the alliance programme by problematizing actorness and its impact on alliance choices. Furthermore, the post-2011 Middle East showed that states in the region often seek alliances with non-state actors to forgo the cost of being involved directly in regional conflicts (Salehyan, 2010;Salehyan et al., 2011). The post-2011 regional provide substantive evidence that states seek alliances with nonstate actors, and these alliance yields benefits for states in the region, such as Hezbollah becoming a beneficial ally for Syria especially after 2011 (El-Hokayem, 2007;Saade, 2017;Slim, 2014). ...
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Alliances in the post-2011 Middle East are characterized by anomalous shifts and upsurge of new actors leading to theoretical and empirical puzzles. This article argues that unravelling these patterns requires grappling with in-depth knowledge of regional politics and a serious engagement with the broader IR literature. Through this dual exploration, the article explores how the literature on alliance cohesion within IR could inform anomalous alliance dynamics in the post-2011 regional order. It also reveals how regional developments in the post-2011 Middle East, such as the pursuit of alliance by non-state actors, present avenues for theoretical innovations.
... The bipartite relation between NAGs and host states has become a common mode of foreign policy conduct 1, 2, 10-12 , yet we lack reliable real-time data on NAG-HS relations as most of these interactions are covert; public information usually emerges ex-post facto. The few existing studies have focused on specific NAG-HS relations 5,7,[13][14][15] . The entire ecosystem of NAG and HS interactions and its evolution over time remains an uncharted territory. ...
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Human history has been shaped by armed conflicts. Rather than large-scale interstate wars, low-intensity attacks have been more prevalent in the post-World War era. These attacks are often carried out by non-state armed groups (NAGs), which are supported by host states (HSs). We analyze the global bipartite network of NAG-HS support and its evolution over the period of 1945-2010. We find striking parallels to ecological networks such as mutualistic and parasitic forms of support, and a nested and modular network architecture. The nestedness emerges from preferential behaviors: highly connected players are more likely to both gain and lose connections. Long-persisting major modules are identified, reflecting both regional and trans-regional interests, which show significant turnover in their membership, contrary to the transitory ones. Revealing this architecture further enables the identification of actor's roles and provide insights for effective intervention strategies.
... The analysis is conducted applying principal-agent theory, would begin to explain state choices and behaviours of Russia and PMCs in its strategy. According to the principal-agent theory, delegation is a cost-saving tool useful for the principal who lacks the knowledge and expertise associated with the task [6]. The microtheory explains the circumstances of delegation and the interests of the state that determine the use of PMCs. ...
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Global datasets on interstate armed conflict suggest that African states clash with each other rarely and only for short periods. This research note shows that existing datasets paint a misleading picture. In fact, African states fight each other more often and for longer than is commonly thought, but they do so by mutually intervening in each other's intrastate conflicts. Instead of relying solely on their own armed forces, they support their rival's armed opposition groups. Such mutual interventions—most prevalent in Africa but also evident in other regions—thus span the boundaries of interstate and intrastate conflict. As a result, they have been largely overlooked by conflict scholars. Our note conceptualizes mutual intervention as a distinct form of interstate conflict, comparing and contrasting it with concepts like proxy war, competitive intervention, and international rivalry. The note then presents the first systematic survey of mutual interventions across the African continent. We identify twenty-three cases between 1960 and 2010 and demonstrate that they typically ended independently of their associated intrastate conflicts. We conclude with a research agenda that involves studying the onset, duration, termination, and consequences of mutual interventions, including collecting data on mutual interventions outside Africa to explore cross-regional differences.
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How does external support to insurgents influence the likelihood that the latter will get involved in violent clashes against other rebel groups? In this article, we outline a theoretical framework which contends that, in multiparty civil wars, rebels sponsored by foreign states are more likely to participate in high-intensity inter-rebel conflicts than rebels receiving no support from external states. We argue that this is because external support creates strategic incentives for insurgent leaders to target other rebel contenders in order to signal resolve to their sponsors and to crowd out the battlefield ahead of the post-conflict period. External support, moreover, tends to activate potent socio-psychological mechanisms among rank-and-file combatants that may remove restraints on the use of violence against other rebel fighters. Using data on inter-rebel conflicts from 1989 to 2018, we test these hypotheses with a set of large-N regressions and find strong support for our theory. Further analyzes inductively reveal that our statistical results are likely, to some extent, to be driven by the prevalence of religious insurgencies in contemporary conflicts. Religious insurgencies display organizational features that could reinforce vertical strategic incentives and horizontal socio-psychological dynamics, thereby increasing their involvement in inter-rebel fighting. To further probe the ‘meso-foundations’ of inter-rebel fighting following rebel sponsorship, we then provide qualitative evidence on the Syrian Civil War. Our article contributes to scholarship by highlighting the consequences of external support on conflict processes beyond the insurgent-incumbent dyad. ¿De qué manera el apoyo externo a los insurgentes influye en la probabilidad de que se involucren en enfrentamientos violentos contra otros grupos rebeldes? En este artículo, exponemos un marco teórico que sostiene que, en las guerras civiles en las que hay varias partes involucradas, los rebeldes financiados por estados extranjeros tienen más probabilidades de participar en conflictos de gran intensidad entre grupos rebeldes que los que no reciben apoyo de estados externos. Sostenemos que esto se debe a que el apoyo externo crea incentivos estratégicos para que los líderes insurgentes apunten a otros rivales rebeldes con la finalidad de dar una señal de resolución a sus financiadores y atestar el campo de batalla para tener una ventaja en el período posterior al conflicto. Además, el apoyo externo tiende a activar potentes mecanismos sociopsicológicos entre los combatientes de base que pueden eliminar las restricciones sobre el uso de violencia contra otros combatientes rebeldes. Mediante el uso de datos sobre conflictos entre rebeldes de 1989 a 2018, probamos estas hipótesis con un conjunto de regresiones de N grandes y descubrimos que nuestra teoría tiene un gran sustento. Análisis adicionales revelan por inducción que nuestros resultados estadísticos probablemente, en cierta medida, estén impulsados por la prevalencia de insurgencias religiosas en los conflictos contemporáneos. Las insurgencias religiosas muestran rasgos organizativos que podrían reforzar los incentivos estratégicos verticales y las dinámicas sociopsicológicas horizontales y, por consiguiente, aumentar su implicación en peleas entre rebeldes. Para indagar más las “bases a nivel meso” de las peleas entre rebeldes a consecuencia de la financiación, podemos proporcionar pruebas cualitativas de la guerra civil siria. Nuestro artículo contribuye a la investigación mediante el énfasis en las consecuencias del apoyo externo en los procesos de conflicto más allá de la díada formada por los insurgentes. Comment le soutien extérieur aux insurgés influence-t-il la probabilité que ces derniers s’impliquent dans des affrontements violents contre d’autres groupes rebelles ? Dans cet article, nous présentons un cadre théorique qui affirme que, dans les guerres civiles multipartites, les rebelles soutenus par des États étrangers sont davantage susceptibles de participer à des conflits entre rebelles de forte intensité que les rebelles ne bénéficiant d’aucun soutien d’États extérieurs. Nous affirmons que cela est dû au fait que le soutien extérieur donne lieu à des incitations stratégiques motivant les chefs insurgés à cibler des groupes rebelles concurrents afin de signaler leur détermination aux acteurs qui les soutiennent et d’évincer ces groupes concurrents du champ de bataille avant la période post-conflit. De plus, le soutien extérieur tend à activer des mécanismes socio-psychologiques puissants pouvant éliminer la retenue des combattants de base à recourir à la violence contre d’autres combattants rebelles. Nous nous sommes appuyés sur des données sur les conflits entre rebelles entre 1989 et 2018 pour vérifier ces hypothèses à l’aide d’un ensemble de régressions à grande échelle, et nous avons constaté que notre théorie était solidement étayée. D’autres analyses inductives ont révélé que nos résultats statistiques étaient susceptibles, dans une certaine mesure, d’être déterminés par la prévalence des insurrections religieuses dans les conflits contemporains. Les insurrections religieuses présentent des caractéristiques organisationnelles pouvant potentiellement renforcer les incitations stratégiques verticales et les dynamiques socio-psychologiques horizontales, ce qui peut accroître l’implication des insurgés dans des combats entre rebelles. Nous proposons ensuite des preuves qualitatives issues de la guerre civile syrienne pour explorer encore davantage les « bases au niveau méso » des combats entre rebelles qui interviennent suite au soutien aux rebelles. Notre article contribue aux recherches en soulignant les conséquences du soutien extérieur sur les processus de conflit au-delà de la dyade insurgés-pouvoir en place.
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The literature on delegated rebellion has treated principals (external states) and their agents (rebel groups) as the main factors in the inception of rebellion. Intriguingly, no attention has been paid to subnational elites as a separate, third actor. This article takes a novel perspective on delegated rebellion by ascribing agency to subnational elites. It introduces the theoretical concept of strategic entrapment, which shows that even subnational elites unwilling to follow the path of rebel violence may be trapped between the incipient rebel groups and a principal. As a result, subnational elites are sidelined and replaced by the principal’s rebel proxies.
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The literature on ethnic kin-groups primarily focuses on their role in perpetuating conflict. Less attention has been devoted to how ethnic kin-groups might encourage mediation in disputes affecting their kin in other nations. We argue that transborder kin-groups’ collective concern for the welfare of their fellow members in other states can motivate interstate mediation efforts. Utilizing the Ethnic Power Relations and the Issue Correlates of War datasets, we examine how transborder kin-group connections shape the likelihood of mediation, as well as who provides it. Our findings suggest that the deeper the network of transborder kin-group connections among target states of territorial disputes, the more likely mediation is to occur. Alternatively, challenger transborder kin-group connections reduce the likelihood of mediation. While transborder kin-group connections help explain the likelihood of mediation, mediation is often not provided by the connected third-party state. Instead, these connections promote mediation from international organizations, particularly regional organizations.
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Under what circumstances do third-party states oppose governments that marginalize their ethnic kin in foreign civil conflicts? We argue that the effect of transborder ethnic ties on third-party support for rebel movements depends upon two factors: (1) a constellation of ethnic power relations in which an ethnicity with access to political power in a potential intervener but is marginalized in a civil conflict state and (2) the political insecurity of leaders in a potential intervener. Said leaders facing a high probability of removal from office are willing to undertake risky foreign policies, including support for rebel movements, hoping that such actions will generate an ethnically tinged rally effect. We draw upon the literature on diversionary theory to develop an empirical expectation. We then assemble a dataset of potential intervener–civil conflict state dyad-years to model this expectation. The political insecurity of leaders is measured with a variety of proxies. Our findings suggest that the well-known diversionary theory can be applied to a novel dependent variable that of third-party state sponsorship of rebel movements.
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What types of relationships do armed groups have with states? How do different levels of ties and power relations affect both armed group and government behavior? This article develops a spectrum across which armed group–state relationships can move, focusing on three key types of relationships—delegation, sponsorship, and autonomy. An armed group–state relationship may be classified depending on the degree to which the armed group receives material or security support from a state, whether it pursues the strategic aims of the state, and the balance of power between the armed group and the state. I examine cases and empirical examples of relationships between states and armed groups ranging from criminal organizations to Cold War-era rebels to pro-government and communal militias to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and al-Qaeda. As lines between categories of armed groups and between state and non-state actors are increasingly blurred, the integrated framework enhances our ability to analyze the behavior and liabilities of both armed groups and states and to understand sources of leverage for protecting human rights and resolving conflicts.
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Why do some civil wars turn into interstate wars? I analyze an asymmetric information model of civil war onset, rebel-sided intervention, and interstate retaliation with endogenous stakes. Interstate war occurs when rebels believe that the threat of intervention will compel the government to acquiesce, the third party believes that the government will tolerate an intervention, but they both underestimate the government's resolve. The model also has implications for civil wars. Retaliation can deter intervention and rebellion, but intervention can compel the government to give up power, so predicting civil war requires accounting for this triadic interaction.
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Oriente Próximo es un espacio geoestratégico marcado en la actualidad por diversos conflictos y crisis, que condicionan las relaciones entre los actores estatales y no estatales involucrados, así como el establecimiento de estrategias y alianzas. En el trasfondo de algunas de estas complejas dinámicas está la rivalidad entre dos potencias: Irán y Arabia Saudí. Los dos Estados persiguen el objetivo de erigirse como los únicos referentes políticos y religiosos de la zona. El antagonismo de sus intereses genera un clima de elevada tensión y enemistad, que se traduce en una forma de enfrentamiento indirecto: Guerra Proxy. Esta repercute en varios escenarios de la región, y trae como consecuencia mayor inestabilidad e inseguridad.
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The existing literature explains the war in Donbas and the rationale for why conflict broke out there while failing to do so in other Ukrainian provinces, such as Odesa or Kharkiv. Local pro-Russian organizations could not attract considerable attention and support in the pre-war period in all parts of Ukraine, except for Crimea. The social marginalization and negligible influence of the pro-Russian organizations among the locals presumably stemmed from their weak social ties among the local population. The question is why they had such weak social embeddedness in the local societies despite relatively popular pro-Russian sympathies in these regions? Surprisingly, nobody has sought to explain the social origins of the pro-Russian movements as a source of their weakness and failure to be sparked by the anti-Ukrainian rebellion in 2014.
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In this paper, we develop a new dataset on indirect state rivalry relations based on different matrix calculations for 154 countries, over the period 1970-2015, and demonstrate their importance in explaining civil wars. After controlling for spatial distances between rival countries, we demonstrate that 1) the presence of direct and indirect rivals exerts a positive and significant effect on the risk of civil war; 2) decreasing levels of military capacity of one state relative to its rivals (direct and indirect) also influence the probability of internal conflict. Finally, we confirm the significance of our indicators by using on the one hand the random forest algorithm, a machine learning method using decision trees and on the other hand, the Kaplan-Meier estimate for the duration of the civil wars.
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During a civil war, does external intelligence assistance reduce violence perpetrated by the recipient government against civilians? I contend that intelligence assistance reduces violence against civilians by facilitating identification problems and adopting a “winning-hearts-and-minds strategy,” which enhances the recipient government's legitimacy and intelligence potential. Enhanced intelligence capability solves the recipient government's identification problems. I examined this logic using a dataset on external support and one-sided violence between 1990 and 2008. The empirical findings show that external intelligence assistance reduces the recipient government's violence against civilians.
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Proxy wars are an increasingly common feature of great power competition in the 21st century. In this context, the role of the small states is less clear and has not been properly addressed in the academic literature. Although states of this type have often been chosen as battlegrounds for such wars and have even acted as proxies for the superpowers, this article argues that they are also capable of conducting proxy warfare themselves. Since the start of the 2014 conflict in Donbas, Eastern Ukraine, this country has experienced proxy interventions from many external actors, both large and small, that provided resources to both conflict parties. One of the smallest states which has been trying to affect the course of this conflict in support of the Ukrainian government is Lithuania. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with the security and defence policy-makers in Vilnius, the article aims to explain why Lithuania is punching above its weight and interfering with this conflict from backstage. The empirical evidence points to an almost perfect alignment of interests between the current governments in Kiev and Vilnius in that they both see Russia as their long-term ‘enemy’ which makes Ukraine a surprisingly suitable proxy for Lithuania to exploit.
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The provision of external state support to non-state armed groups in civil wars is a dynamic process. While we know much about the initiation of external support and its effects, we know less about why state sponsorship changes over time. Based on a within-case analysis of the United States’ support commitment to the armed opposition in Nicaragua in the 1980s, this article demonstrates the utility of focusing on shifts in leaders’ perceptions and domestic attribution processes rather than structural features of the international system or rebel behaviour to understand temporal variation in external support.
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In this article, we present the most up-to-date, fine-grained, global dataset on external support in armed conflicts: the UCDP External Support Dataset (ESD). The dataset encompasses data on states and non-state actors as both supporters and recipients and provides detailed information on the type of support provided to warring parties in armed conflicts between 1975 and 2017. We use it to highlight three broader trends in the provision of external support: (1) a dramatic increase in the number of external supporters, (2) a larger share of pro-government interventions, and (3) the rise of direct military intervention as the predominant mode of external support. In conclusion, we identify several avenues worthy of future inquiry that could significantly improve our understanding of external support in armed conflicts.
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This study addresses the dynamics of how states employ proxies to achieve their strategic goals in the so-called gray zone between normal competition and armed conflict. The basic question is whether the use of proxies by the challenger in a crisis decreases the probability that the defender state will respond with violence. We start by examining a broad set of crises where the initial triggering act is either nonviolent or violent, to assess whether defenders respond to proxy triggers or triggers by the challengers themselves with a greater propensity for violence (hypothesis A). We also consider a narrower set of cases, where the triggering act is violent, asking whether the defender is more likely to respond in a tit-for-tat manner to a proxy, or to a state challenger (hypothesis B). We find that proxy use is associated with a higher probability of defender violence, regardless of whether the initial crisis trigger was itself violent. In addition, when the trigger is violent, defenders are more likely to respond in a tit-for-tat manner when a proxy does the triggering. Proxy usage actually leads to violent escalation, potentially questioning the assumption that challengers may minimize damage through the use of proxies. Este estudio aborda la dinámica de cómo los Estados emplean subsisiarios (proxies) para alcanzar sus objetivos estratégicos en la llamada “zona gris” entre la competencia normal y el conflicto armado. La pregunta básica es si el uso de subsidiarios por parte del retador en una crisis disminuye la probabilidad de que el Estado defensor responda con violencia. Comenzamos examinando un amplio conjunto de crisis en las que el acto inicial desencadenante es no violento o violento, para evaluar si los defensores responden a los desencadenantes de los subsidiarios o a los desencadenantes por parte de los propios atacantes con una mayor propensión a la violencia (hipótesis A). También consideramos un conjunto más reducido de casos, en los que el acto desencadenante es violento, y nos preguntamos si es más probable que el defensor responda de manera fulminante a un subsidiario o a un estado atacante (hipótesis B). Comprobamos que el uso de subsidiarios se asocia con una mayor probabilidad de violencia por parte del defensor, independientemente de si el desencadenante de la crisis inicial fue en sí mismo violento. Además, cuando el desencadenante es violento, los subsidiarios son más propensos a responder en forma de “ojo por ojo” cuando el desencadenante es un subsidiario. El uso de subsidiarios conduce, en realidad, a una escalada violenta, lo que cuestiona potencialmente la suposición de que los atacantes puedan minimizar los daños mediante el uso de subsidiarios. Cette étude aborde les dynamiques de la façon dont les États emploient des mandataires pour atteindre leurs objectifs stratégiques dans ce que nous qualifions de « zone grise » entre la concurrence normale et le conflit armé. La question fondamentale est de savoir si le recours à de mandataires par un opposant dans une crise réduit la probabilité que l’État défenseur réponde par la violence. Nous commençons par examiner un large éventail de crises dont l'acte déclencheur initial a été soit non violent, soit violent, afin d’évaluer si les défenseurs répondent aux déclencheurs des mandataires ou aux déclencheurs des opposants eux-mêmes par une plus grande propension à la violence (hypothèse A). Nous étudions également un éventail plus étroit de cas dont l'acte déclencheur a été violent en nous demandons si le défenseur est davantage susceptible de répondre du tac au tac à un mandataire ou à un opposant étatique (hypothèse B). Nous constatons que le recours à des mandataires est associé à une probabilité plus élevée de violence de la part du défenseur, que le déclencheur initial de la crise soit lui-même violent ou non. De plus, lorsque le déclencheur est violent, les défenseurs sont davantage susceptibles de réagir du tac au tac lorsqu'un mandataire est à l'origine du déclenchement. Le recours à des mandataires mène en réalité à une escalade de la violence, ce qui remet potentiellement en question l'hypothèse selon laquelle les opposants pourraient minimiser les dégâts en recourant à des mandataires.
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The phenomenon of war by proxy has received inadequate academic analysis. At the same time, an understanding of how ex-combatants are demobilised, disarmed and reintegrated into society after conflicts that have seen large-scale third-party intervention has been systematically overlooked. In seeking to rectify this gap and transform understanding of peacebuilding after proxy wars, this article will enhance the conceptualisation of the effect of proxy wars on post-conflict development. In order to achieve this, the article is split into five main parts. The first section assesses disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and proxy wars in theory and practice to establish some conceptual fundamentals. The second section analyses the nature of proxy war and highlights the problems it poses for the commencement of DDR policies. The third section analyses how the implementation of DDR policies has historically accounted for the role played by external actors. The fourth section utilises a case study approach to look at the DDR consequences of the recent proxy war against Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. The fifth section ties the policy and scholarly issues together by exploring some important lessons for DDR policy design and implementation after proxy wars.
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Does the overtness of external support to rebels affect civilian targeting in civil wars? Conflict studies increasingly scrutinize how insurgent sponsorships shape rebels’ behavior. However, the influence of external sponsors’ decisions to publicly acknowledge or deny their support on rebel conduct is largely neglected. This article introduces a new dataset on the overtness of external support to rebels in civil wars between 1989 and 2018. It then assesses whether the overtness of support is correlated with insurgents’ propensity to target civilians. I hypothesize that overtly supported rebels are less likely to target civilians than covertly supported rebels. This hypothesis stems from how supply-side factors—the way state sponsors expectedly act after having allocated their support—impact insurgents’ structure of incentives around relations with non-combatants. Statistical analyses yield strong support for my hypothesis. Moreover, further analyses show that support overtness influences civilian targeting independently from sponsors’ characteristics, such as political regimes or foreign aid reliance. Thus, in addition to the type of material aid insurgents receive, variation in whether support is covert or overt shapes how rebels treat civilians.
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Since the end of World War II, leaders have frequently supported rebel groups in other countries as a coercive strategy in international disputes. However, the strategic rationale by which rebel groups gain international support is non‐obvious. Many recipient groups are too weak to viably win and are hostile to the sponsoring state's goals. Using a formal model, I explain that the fundamental objective of transnational rebel support is to gain bargaining leverage against a rival state by depleting its resources to counter internal and external challenges. This subversive effect provides a sufficient incentive for sponsoring the rebels even when favourable conditions suggested by previous studies are absent. Sponsoring rebels is attractive even if conventional warfare is not comparatively costly and even if rebel and sponsor preferences diverge. Moreover, given the goal of destabilizing rival regimes, potential sponsors prefer to support weaker rebel groups and provide more support to them.
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Quantum computing technology has demonstrated the potential to outperform classical computing systems in a variety of different areas. Worldwide, research within the past decade has included the development of quantum computing systems for key national security-related areas such as encryption, machine learning, and simulation. While some pursue quantum computing's potential to unlock the secrets of physics and to facilitate the development of new chemicals to aid all of humanity, it also has demonstrable military uses. Nation states that have access to quantum computing capabilities will have attack and defensive capabilities that states without this capability lack. Moreover, superior quantum computing resources and greater capabilities of those resources can provide possessing states with significant cyberwar fighting benefits. This paper considers how the current situation mirrors the nuclear mutual assured destruction scenario of the cold war and the more recent cybersecurity-related assured deterrence scenarios. Based on this, it discusses how there may be a perceived necessity for quantum computing development that could lead to a proliferation scenario. Herein, the benefits of increased prevalence of quantum computing technology are discussed, as are its potential weaponized uses. The potential risks to nation states of falling behind in quantum computing development are considered, and the implications for state computing development planning, based on the prospective eventuation of a quantum proliferation scenario based on an assured destruction risk, are assessed.
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Les guerres interétatiques directes sont devenues particulièrement contraignantes et la stratégie consistant à financer des groupes rebelles localisés dans les pays rivaux présente de nombreux avantages. En exploitant les ressources dont ils disposent, les États rentiers peuvent financer des activités d’insurrections dans les pays rivaux. Dans cet article, on démontre empiriquement que pour un pays donné, les rentes de ressources naturelles dont disposent ses rivaux ont un effet significatif et positif sur sa probabilité de connaître une guerre civile. Ce résultat est stable lorsque nous contrôlons uniquement pour les rentes tirées des exportations de pétrole.
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This article applies the Principal-Agent model to Security Force Assistance (SFA) in Tunisia, problematising some of its assumptions and advancing complementary notions to capture evolving international and national security practices. By investigating how post-2015 SFA contributed to the reconfiguration and evolution of domestic actors, national strategies, and debates on security in the context of regime change, we argue that it epitomises a counter-intuitive success story of principals-agents' dynamics leading to increased security performance. Meanwhile, SFA evolved from an emergency and state-centric approach, to a partially diversified set of practices embodying more comprehensive and bottom-up understanding of societal and human security.
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This article examines the material-discursive assemblages at work in Security Force Assistance (SFA) programs. Departing from the idea that SFA follows a patron-client type relationship, or that it is normatively bounded, it argues that SFA is emergent and negotiated via epistemic practices. It identifies three sets of practices at work – i) identifying the epistemic object; 2) establishing boundaries of action; and 3) rendering visible the material nexus. The article draws on the case of SFA to Lebanon since 2006 to demonstrate how heterogeneous material elements, global discourses, and actors' interests and agendas are translated and stabilised in SFA programs.
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This paper explores the question of what drives proxy alignment in war and argues that current proxy war scholarship needs further thinking to go beyond focusing on the principal–agent theory and individual actors’ motivation analysis. Rather, there is a need to look at the generative mechanisms of proxy alignment as a process that constitutes patterns of friend–enemy relations. The paper argues securitization patterns from domestic to regional and international levels drive actors to re-evaluate their positions and define their enemies and friends. This is a process of securitization alignment and confluence, which serves as a generative mechanism for proxy alignment in a conflict. Securitization alignment is based on a convergence of securitizations by different actors that create a friend–enemy dynamic and convergence of security interests between actors. The confluence of securitizations from the domestic level to regional and beyond also connects actors across different levels to be in alignment and impact the conflict.
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Stephen Van Evera teaches in the political science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thanks to Robert Art, Don Blackmer, David Laitin, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, Jack Snyder, and Stephen Walt for sharing their thoughts on nationalism and their comments on this paper. A version of this article will appear in 1994 in a Council on Foreign Relations volume edited by Charles Kupchan. 1. A survey is Anthony D. Smith, Theories of Nationalism, 2nd ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1983). Prominent recent works include: Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986); E.J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism Since 1780 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 1991); Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992); and Barry R. Posen, "Nationalism, the Mass Army, and Military Power," International Security, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Fall 1993), pp. 80-124. However, the nationalism literature leaves ample room for more work on nationalism's causes: much of it fails to frame hypotheses clearly and much does not systematically test hypotheses against empirical evidence; hence the literature leaves many questions unresolved. 2. Thus Anthony Smith notes that "the prevailing image of nationalism in the West today is mainly negative," and Boyd Shafer states his "belief that nationalism, especially when carried to extremes, leads to war and destruction." Smith, Theories of Nationalism, p. 8; Boyd C. Shafer, Faces of Nationalism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), p. xiii. Yet the entry under "Nationalism and War" in Louis Snyder's 435-page Encyclopedia of Nationalism fills only two pages, and its bibliography lists no works focused on the topic. Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of Nationalism (New York: Paragon, 1990), pp. 248-250. Exceptions exist: a few scholars have held a less purely critical view of nationalism, arguing that it has the potential for both good and evil. See, for example, Carlton J.H. Hayes, Essays on Nationalism (New York: Macmillan, 1926), pp. 245-275; Hayes's views are summarized in Snyder, Encyclopedia of Nationalism, pp. 132-133. And the impact of nationalism on the risk of war is now receiving more attention: see especially Jack Snyder, "Nationalism and the Crisis of the Post-Soviet State," Survival, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 5-26; and Barry R. Posen, "The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict," Survival, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 27-47. The Snyder and Posen pieces are also published in Michael E. Brown, ed., Ethnic Conflict and International Security (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). 3. My usage of "ethnic community" follows Anthony Smith, who suggests that an ethnic community has six characteristics: a common name, a myth of common ancestry, shared memories, a common culture, a link with a historic territory or homeland (which it may or may not currently occupy), and a measure of common solidarity. See Smith, Ethnic Origins of Nations, pp. 22-30. Summarizing Smith nicely is Michael E. Brown, "Causes and Implications of Ethnic Conflict," in Brown, ed., Ethnic Conflict and International Security, pp. 3-26 at 4-5. Smith's second criteria (myth of common ancestry) would exclude immigrant societies of diverse origin that have developed the other five characteristics of ethnic community, such as the immigrant peoples of the United States, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. However, the common usage of "nation" and "nationalism" includes these groups as nations that can have a nationalism, e.g., "American nationalism," "Argentine nationalism," "Chilean nationalism." I define nationalism as a movement of a "national community" as well as an "ethnic community" in order to include these nationalisms. My usage of "national" follows the Dictionary of the Social Sciences, which defines "nation" as "the largest society of people united by a common culture and consciousness," and which "occupies a common territory." Julius Gould and William L. Kolb, eds., A Dictionary of the Social Sciences (New York: Free Press of Glencoe, 1964), p. 451. 4. The academic literature defines nationalism in an annoyingly wide range of ways. My definition follows no other exactly...
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Nations have two methods of increasing their security: building arms and forming alliances. Both methods present different political costs that must be incurred to raise security. Building arms requires shifting economic resources to the military. Forming alliances requires abandoning interests that conflict with those of the ally. Each of these strategies produces domestic opposition. A nation's response to a threat to its security must weigh the relative attractiveness of arms versus allies, both in terms of their effects on internal politics and on their external benefits. Three cases are examined in the light of this argument. The response of Austria and France to the unification of Germany in the 1860s is the central case. Theories of alliance formation based on neorealism and the offense-defense balance predict that Austria and France should have allied against the mutual threat of Prussia. This article argues that they did not form an alliance because arming separately presented lower political costs. World Wars I and II likewise are analyzed from the perspective of the argument above.
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Sudan and Uganda have for many years carried out an undeclared war. One little-known aspect of this conflict is the use of Zaire/Congo as an outside battlefield where proxy guerrilla organizations either fought each other or fought the armies of their sponsor’s enemy. From a small scale prior to 1996, the conflict grew to occupy a major place in terms of men engaged and battles fought after this proxy war morphed into the bigger ‘Congolese’ conflict which developed from the fall of President Mobutu and lasted until 2002.
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Various concepts ascribe key roles to emerging non-OECD countries in regional and global politics. This paper highlights how these concepts hint not only at a shift of global power but also at geopolitical regionalization: according to the theory of hegemonic stability, regional powers (a subcategory of emerging non-OECD countries) are key actors in overcoming international anarchy and establishing cooperative and stable relations within their regions. Because of the different impacts of different regional powers, which are categorized in this paper using typologies of hegemony, the logic of international relations varies from one region to another. From a theoretical point of view, this means that international relations theories have to make region-specific adaptations.
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Once wars begin, how and when do they end? While wars can and do end in the military defeat of one side, they also often end in negotiated settlements. Our explanations for war termination, however, have tended to rule out the possibility that diplomacy can continue even after the fighting starts and therefore cannot account for negotiated settlements of war. In this article, we develop a model that allows the disputants to negotiate a settlement not only to prevent a war bat to terminate it as well. We focus particularly on private information as a key source of conflict and the revelation of that information as a central component of the process of conflict termination. The model generates several novel and interesting hypotheses related to war outcome and war duration. In addition, since the model also includes the decision to begin a war as well as the decision to continue it, the model suggests several hypotheses related to war onset.
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It is now feasible to include simulations in CIM systems, where the simulation is but one component which should be fully integrated with the other parts to support real-time decisions. We show how to formulate specifications for a simulation software to optimally serve CIM systems and how to translate specifications to a working code which has been successfully utilized in numerous applications. Its claimed suitability to CIM is presently under test.
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Relatively weak ethnic groups mobilize and rebel against their governments just as frequently (or infrequently) as strong ones. However, such seemingly irrational behavior is not inconsistent with a rationalist approach to ethnic separatism. A bargaining model that treats all the relevant actors as strategic players suggests that power disparities between an ethnic minority and the state-including those based on a group's access to third-party intervention-should affect how the state treats the group but not the likelihood that the group rebels against the state. Greater mistreatment by the state should not be correlated with greater external intervention on a group's behalf. New empirical support for the model is drawn from the Minorities at Risk data set, and the discussion has implications for the field of international relations beyond ethnic conflict to extended deterrence more generally.