"Unlikely recruits": why politically-irrelevant ethnic minorities participate in civil wars?

Aliyev, H. (2020) "Unlikely recruits": why politically-irrelevant ethnic minorities participate in civil wars? Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, (doi: 10.1080/1057610X.2020.1793457) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

There is little research on why smaller ethnic groups with no political stakes in the conflict take part in civil wars. There is even less understanding as to why members of small ethnicities join ideologically distant conflict participants to fight against an enemy that does not directly threaten their ethnic security. This study describes these ethnic minority combatants as “unlikely recruits.” It argues that members of politically irrelevant minorities join stronger conflict participants—either governments or rebels—seeking to protect their ethnic interests from both their prospective hosts and their foes. Although the “unlikely recruits” have minimal grievances against enemies of their hosts and they receive limited participation rewards, forging an alliance with an actor which is likely to offer the highest benefits is sufficient to overcome the collective action problem. Recruiting members of smaller ethnic minorities in the context of ethnic civil wars allows armed actors to strengthen their image of ethnic diversity and all-inclusiveness, as well as to benefit from material resources provided by the “unlikely recruits.” These arguments are empirically tested using new evidence from Ukraine that offers a rare glimpse into the dynamics of politically irrelevant minorities’ participation in civil wars.

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:Studies in Conflict and Terrorism
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1057-610X
ISSN (Online):1521-0731
Published Online:15 July 2020

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