The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend... The Dynamics of Self-Defense Forces in Irregular War: The Case of the Sons of Iraq

Govinda Clayton, Andrew Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article assesses the effect that leveraging civilian defense force militias has on the dynamics of violence in civil war. We argue that the delegation of security and combat roles to local civilians shifts the primary targets of insurgent violence toward civilians, in an attempt to deter future defections, and re-establish control over the local population. This argument is assessed through an analysis of the Sunni Awakening and ancillary Sons of Iraq paramilitary program. The results suggest that at least in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq, the utilization of the civilian population in counterinsurgent roles had significant implications for the targets of insurgent violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-935
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Volume37
Issue number11
Early online date15 Aug 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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