Pro-government anti-government armed groups? Toward theorizing pro-government "government challengers"

Aliyev, H. (2020) Pro-government anti-government armed groups? Toward theorizing pro-government "government challengers". Terrorism and Political Violence, (doi: 10.1080/09546553.2020.1785877) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

This study challenges the presentation of non-state armed groups as divided into anti-government rebels and pro-government proxies and proposes that some pro-government armed groups maintain explicit anti-government rhetoric. It is this anti-government agenda that enables “pro-government” groups to successfully recruit their members and to advance their interests. From Iraq’s Shiite militias to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Afghan Uzbek warlords, there are numerous armed groups which, on the one hand, officially maintain pro-government stance and, on the other hand, explicitly criticize, oppose and challenge the state. On a theoretical level, this study seeks to demonstrate that a “pro-government anti-government” group is a distinct category of non-state armed groups that neither directly engages in armed confrontation with the state nor complies with its agenda and policies or fully accepts its legitimacy. On an empirical level, this paper explores why individuals mobilize for pro-government anti-government armed groups. Unique micro-level interview data with members of volunteer militia battalions in Ukraine are employed to provide insights into the functioning of pro-government anti-government militants. Drawing upon its empirical findings, this study proposes that pro-government “government challengers” emerge and persist because these groups are more efficient than the government in the provision of security and in promoting the incumbent’s ideology.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Aliyev, Dr Huseyn
Authors: Aliyev, H.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Terrorism and Political Violence
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:0954-6553
ISSN (Online):1556-1836
Published Online:16 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in Terrorism and Political Violence 2020
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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