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Olympia2014 - Combatants

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Yvan Guichaoua

on 20 July 2014

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Transcript of Olympia2014 - Combatants

Irregular Combatants
Caveat. Other factors shaping groups' dynamics:
- Interactions with non-combatant (civilians ARE NOT bystanders)
- Interactions with state actors
- Interactions with international actors
Match, mismatch and armed groups behaviours over time

Beyond simplistic motivational factors

The puzzle of recruitment in irregular armed groups

Why does it matter? Trajectories of irregular armed groups and repertoires of violence

Is more combatants is better?
Is anyone welcome to join?
Should women be allowed?
1) Intensity of violence

2) How irregular armed groups evolve:
- Annihilation through repressive means
- Entrenchment in no war / no peace types of governance
- Violent radicalisation / sectarian drifts
- Political normalisation (e.g. today’s RENAMO)
- Factionalisation
- Criminalisation (e.g. OPC)
- ‘Zombification’ / hijacking...
Irregular armed groups stem from the percolation of heterogeneous logics

The 'supply' side' of the matching process
Pure greed models and pure grievances models share the same misconceived unitary approach
- Armed groups consolidate through a matching process
- First movers: entrepreneurs of violence
- Rank-and-file: multiple logics of participation
--> No reason to assume that motives of leaders and followers entirely coincide
Armed groups’ behaviours likely to be affected by the nature of the ‘match’ between leaders and followers:
--> Sexual violence
--> Suicide bombing

Wartime experiences affect post-war individuals’ perspectives (‘integration’) and risks of resumption of collective violence
Recruitment puzzles
Major constraint: the course of the conflict dramatically affects ‘HR’ needs and alters the decision-making process
Women might be perceived as physically and morally unfit for combat
1) Liberation movements enhance their public image as promoters of deep societal change and equality when they accept women in their ranks
2) Women may profitably be used to accomplish certain logistical tasks, such as smuggling arms or spying
3) Women assigned conventional care giving roles may facilitate the relations between armed groups and civilians
4) They may stimulate male recruitment as their mere presence in the group challenges men’s aspiration to masculinity: if women can fight why shouldn’t men fight, too?
5) Importance in occult practices (Nolte 2008)
Is recruitment determined by (economic) initial conditions (Weinstein)?
More puzzles:
- Which identities mobilise most efficiently?
- Brokerage between violent actors:
horizontal networks v vertical (clientelistic) networks
- Hyp: institutional stickiness? (African youth politics v Polisario)
But this is not the end of the story:
Armed violence is a transformative process
Armed groups are places where behavioural norms are produced through explicit training, collective learning and violent socialisation. Reasons why people stay in groups differ from the ones which made them join
What is possibly wrong with this model?
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