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«A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

DEVOLUTION FROM ABOVE:

THE ORIGINS AND PERSISTENCE OF STATE-SPONSORED MILITIAS

A Dissertation

submitted to the Faculty of the

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

of Georgetown University

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the

degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

in Government

By

Ariel I. Ahram, M.A.

Washington, DC

July 30, 2008

Copyright 2008 by Ariel I. Ahram

All Rights Reserved ii

DEVOLUTION FROM ABOVE:

THE ORIGINS AND PERSISTENCE OF STATE-SPONSORED MILITIAS

Ariel I. Ahram, M.A.

Thesis Advisor: Andrew Bennett, Ph.D.

ABSTRACT

This study examines the proliferation of militias and other armed groups who act in conjunction with, but outside, the state’s military apparatus. Groups like the Sudanese janjaweed, the Serbian paramilitaries, and Colombian self-defense forces figure prominently in a host of contemporary conflicts in the developing world. They are widely identified as banes of human and international security and harbingers of anarchy.

Their very existence violates the Weberian ideal-type of the state as a monopolist over the use of force. I argue, however, that reliance on non-state violence-wielders has been a common form of military development and is not necessarily associated with state failure.

I use small, medium, and large-n methods to develop a theory of how and why developing states rely on non-state actors to implement coercion. Through historical case studies of Indonesia and Iraq, regional comparisons of Southeast Asia and the Middle

East, and statistical analysis across eighty-five cases, I draw the following conclusions:

First, decolonization was a critical juncture that led states to adopt different techniques for organizing coercion. Specifically, revolutionary states tended to decentralize coercive power by assimilating former revolutionary fighters into informal local militias. In contrast, non-revolutionary states directly inherited European-trained armies with more iii conventional, centralized organizational patterns that placed the use of force firmly in state hands. Second, post-colonial conditions of regional competition compelled some states to continually upgrade and centralize coercive power, while states facing weaker external challengers could co-opt militias for counterinsurgency without needing direct control over coercion.

By exploring the dynamics of state-militia relations and the historical and structural factors that inhibit or enable theuse of state-sponsored militias, I highlight the futility of many efforts at state reconstruction aimed to regain the illusory monopoly over coercion. The emergence of both centralized and decentralized institutions of violence are responses to the international system and can scarcely be addressed through piecemeal efforts at the country level. Rather, I suggest that violence devolution may alleviate, rather than cause, some of the dangers commonly attributed to frail or failed states.

–  –  –

Many people deserve acknowledgement for their sacrifices of time and energy on my behalf in the past five years. Andy Bennett, my dissertation advisor, saw a first proposal for the project in 2003 and was unwavering in both critique and encouragement since then. Charles King, Jack Goldstone, and Debbie Avant read drafts at various stages and gave me valuable feedback about ways to shape and hone the argument. Hillel Frisch, Meyer Kestnbaum, and Sunil Dasgupta—specialists themselves in the subject of militias—took an active interest in my work and gave me pointers about steering the project through to completion. Among the Georgetown faculty, I thank Dan Brumberg, Steve Heydemann, and Marc Howard particularly for introducing me to a realm of research topics I would otherwise have overlooked. Equally important, my graduate student colleagues, John Gledhill, Sara Wallace Goodman, Gabe Rubin, and Rachel Templer, merit special thanks as my cohort and co-commiserators during the most difficult months of writing.

My interest in the Middle East dates to my undergraduate training at Brandeis University under Kanan Makiya and Yitzhak Nakash. Subsequently, I was lucky to receive further guidance from Amatzia Baram, Phebe Marr, and Ken Pollack. A novice and interloper in Southeast Asia, I am grateful to David Steinberg and Fred Von Der Mehden from indulging and correcting me, as well as the staff of the Sudirman Museum in Yogyakarta and Museum Proklamasi in Jakarta for their patience and assistance.

–  –  –

analysis. Errors in any portion of the work are mine, not theirs.

The project benefited from a number of sources of institutional support, notably the Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies Program, the Boren National Security Education Program, Georgetown University Graduate School, and the Center for Democracy and Civil Society. It was strengthened by the opportunity to present at the Institute for Qualitative Methods Research, American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, Midwest Political Science Association, Social Science History Association, Georgetown Working Group on Internal Security, Culture and World Politics Workshop, and the DC Workshop on Contentious Politics. I also thank the staff of the Georgetown University Library, the Africa and Middle East Reading Room at the Library of Congress, and the National Archives and Record Administration in College Park, Maryland, for their assistance.





Finally, I wish to acknowledge a number of people outside the academia whose role was no less important to my success. Joe Neumann has buoyed me in my hardest time in graduate school and every day since then. Jacob Ebin, Kathryn Hinkle, and Jason Kohn served variously as inspirations, exemplars, and sounding boards. Throughout my life, my mother, Judi, brother, Roey, and sister, Sharon, were steadfast in their support. I can only hope I was the same for them. Finally, I thank my fiancé, Marni Lefkowitz, whose companionship during the last year turned the most daunting part of my education into the most exciting and wonderful one as well.

–  –  –

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: A Theory of Violence Devolution …………………………………...…….13 Chapter 3: Limited Wars and Limited States: Violence Devolution in Indonesia………………………………………………………………………………... 43 Chapter 4: Oversized Wars and Overgrown States: Building the Garrison State in Iraq…………………………………………………………………………………….. 111 Chapter 5: Wider Perspectives on Revolution, War, and Military Development……. 197 Chapter 6: Conclusion: Distant Battles, Historical Pathways, and the Future of Violence Devolution………………………………………………………………………………224 Appendix A: Type and Intensity of Conflict of Time: Middle East vs. Southeast Asia……………………………………………………………………………………..241 Appendix B: Variable Descriptions……………………………..………….………….244

–  –  –

Figures Figure 2.1: Continuum in the Organization of Violence………………………………..14 Figure 2.2: Conceptual Map of Violence Devolution…………………………………...15 Figure 2.3: M-form Military Organization……………………………………………...22 Figure 2.4: U-form Military Organization………………………………………………22 Figure 2.5: Militia Mobilization with Competing Sources of Clientage and Brokerage………………………………………………………………………………...27 Figure 2.6: Militia Mobilization with Limited Clientage and Brokerage……………….27 Figure 2.7: Pathways of Late Developing State Military Development………………...37 Figure 3.1: Location of Major Internal Uprisings in the Late 1950s……………………85 Figure 5.1: Pathways of Military Development Compared: Iraq and Indonesia………199 Figure 5.2: Military Budgets as Percentage of Government Expenditure, 1960ss……………………………………………………………………………………203 Tables Table 1.1: Conflict by Type and Region, 1945-2006 (Tally and Crosstab by Row)……7 Table 1.2: Military Spending Among LDSs, 1999……………………………………….8 Table 2.1: Comparison Between U-form and M-form Governance………………….…23 Table 4.1: Changes in the Size of the Iraqi Military…………………………………...113

–  –  –

Expenditure……………………………………………………………………………..202 Table 5.2: Growth in Military Size of Selected Middle Eastern Countries………………………………………………………………………………..209 Table 5.3a: Multivariate Regression Using Robust Standard Error for PARAMILITARY (Model includes major conflicts only)………………………………………………….221 Table 5.3b: Multivariate Regression Using Robust Standard Error for PARAMILITARY (Models includes all conflicts)………………………………………………………….222 Table 6.1: Types of International Engagement in Frail States…………………………230 Appendix A: Type and Intensity of Conflict of Time: Middle East vs. Southeast Asia……………………………………………………………………………………..240 Appendix B: Variable Descriptions……………………………………………………243

–  –  –

In 2003, a new word entered Western parlance, drawn from colloquial Sudanese Arabic—janjaweed (devil-horsemen). The term connoted a phenomenon that seemed suddenly to catch the world’s attention: nomadic tribal bands rampaging through Sudan’s Darfur region, attacking villages and destroying the crops of the sedentary population.

Despite protestations by the Sudanese Defense Minister that they are nothing but “gangs of armed bandits” whom the government is unfortunately powerless to stop, the United Nations commission of inquiry has well-documented the way the janjaweed is a “militia acting, under the authority, with the support, complicity or tolerance of the Sudanese State authorities, and who benefit from impunity for their actions.”1 Groups like these are becoming ever more typical in contemporary warfare, which Mary Kaldor observes tends to involve a host of “paramilitary units, local warlords, criminal gangs, police forces, mercenary groups, and also regular armies including break away units” each “operat[ing] through a mixture of confrontation and cooperation even when on opposing sides.”2 Concurrently, John Mueller and Martin Van Creveld argue that conventional armies are moving toward obsolescence and that today’s conflicts are mostly carried out by a sundry mix of thugs whose allegiances to the state and adherence 1 Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General, Geneva, January 25, 2005. http://www.un.org/News/dh/sudan/com_inq_darfur.pdf (Accessed March 19, 2007); Usman A. Tar, “The Perverse Manifestations of Civil Militias in Africa: Evidence from Western Sudan,” Peace, Conflict, and Development, 7 (2005).

2 Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organizing Violence in a Global Era (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999 [2007]), 9.

1 to long-established norms of conduct are weak.3 The Sudanese janjaweed, the Rwandan interahamwe, the Colombian autodefensas, among many others examples, are today recognized as being capable of inflicting severe damage on civilian populations and are deemed to pose at least as profound a danger to international and human security as conventional armies.

Underlying this bleak depiction of the present and future scenarios is the fear that states, the entities that have been the authoritative arbiters of violence in and between societies for over three centuries, are moving to irrelevance if not extinction.4 Max Weber’s famous ideal-type definition of the state as “a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory” provides the touchstone for contemporary understanding of the state.5 Of course, no state is without some illicit use of violence in its society by criminals, and many rebellions and insurgencies challenge states’ supremacy over force. But the idea that any state entity would encourage a vigilante group like the janjaweed to deploy 3 John Mueller, The Remnants of War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004); Martin Van Creveld, The Rise and Decline of the State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

4 Stanley Hoffman, Chaos and Violence: What Globalization, Failed States, and Terrorism Mean for U.S.

Foreign Policy (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 9; Francis Fukuyama, State-Building:

Governance and World Order in the 21st Century (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004); Robert Kaplan, The Coming Anarchy: Shattering the Dreams of the Post Cold War (New York: Random House, 2000).

5 Max Weber, “Politics as Vocation” in H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills eds., From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (New York: Oxford University Press, 1958), 78 (italics in original). For a recent example of a definition state-ness very much dependent on Weber, see Margaret Levi, “The State of the Study of the State,” in Political Science: The State of the Discipline, Ira Katznelson and Helen V. Milner eds. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002), 40. Even Joel Migdal’s critique of Weber acknowledges that the

state is “a field of power marked by the use and threat of violence….” See Joel Migdal, State in Society:

Studying How States and Societies Transform One Another (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 14-5.



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