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Gambling with ViolenceState Outsourcing of War in Pakistan and India$

Yelena Biberman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190929961

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190929961.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Gambling with Violence

Yelena Biberman

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

The introduction presents the main puzzle: states with robust militaries, such as Pakistan and India, gambling with violence by outsourcing counterinsurgency to nonstate actors. Why would these states share their world-class armies’ resources and responsibilities with characters of questionable capability and loyalty? The puzzle is illustrated with a discussion of the risks and illicit nature of violence outsourcing with concrete examples from around the world. The introduction also explains the value of studying state-nonstate alliances in times of civil war, and why South Asia is the ideal setting for doing so. The chapter then provides a survey of the existing research, overview of the main argument, and outline of the book’s structure.

Keywords:   security, civil war, alliance, militia, South Asia, opportunist, activist, balance of interests

As anyone who has ever been in combat will tell you, the last thing you want is a fair fight.1

By 1999, the Clinton Administration wanted Osama bin Laden dead. The bombing of two US embassies in East Africa made obvious the al-Qaeda leader’s intention to attack the United States worldwide. His shopping list included nuclear material. But who could get the mission accomplished? Bin Laden was effectively out of reach of the United States and its state allies. He was in Afghanistan, under the protection of the Taliban. So the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) turned to nonstate actors: paid “tribal assets” in Afghanistan. “From the American President down to the average man on the street, we want him [bin Laden] stopped,” a CIA field officer instructed the tribals. Their response, however, caught the agency off guard. The tribals agreed to capture bin Laden but refused to kill or harm him. They explained that their actions were constrained by their “beliefs and laws we have to respect,” and that is what distinguished them from bin Laden. The CIA was “impressed” the tribals were “not in it for the money but as an investment in the future of Afghanistan” and grudgingly acquiesced.2

The lesson of this story is twofold. First, militarily superior states are not always capable of tackling insurgents on their own. Sometimes they (p.2) need the help of nonstate partners. This is especially the case at the local level, or “on the ground,” where states’ reach may be severely limited. Second, the relationship between states and nonstate actors is far more complex than the existing literature allows. Assets are not mere puppets at the hands of their principals. They have agency and interests of their own. Even those operating in “weak and collapsing states characterized by fluid alignments among armed actors”3 can be surprisingly nonmaterialistic and farsighted. The aforementioned Afghan tribals were not the ferocious opportunists the CIA assumed they were. They had principles and a long-term outlook.

This book tackles a particularly perplexing and underexplored type of alliance. Much of the existing work focuses on either interstate or interrebel alliances, or on states supporting rebels against rival states.4 This book explores state-nonstate alliances. Its focus is on counterinsurgency. As Carl von Clausewitz reminds us, to fight any war is to gamble.5 But to fight a war inside one’s borders with nonprofessionals is a particularly dicey proposition. This is not merely because of the questionable loyalty of those driven solely by their own interests that so preoccupied Niccolò Machiavelli,6 or the inferior proficiency Adam Smith attributed to those for whom war is not “the sole or principal occupation.”7 It is also because, as army commanders George Washington and Leon Trotsky equally observed, arming individuals who are neither professional nor loyal soldiers tends to exacerbate internal problems, thereby strengthening the hands of powerful foreign adversaries.8

The phenomenon of governments outsourcing violence to nonstate actors inside their borders is particularly puzzling when we consider states with robust militaries—such as Pakistan and India. Why would these countries’ powerful armies share their resources and responsibilities with characters of questionable capability and loyalty? Pakistan’s military is so protective of its turf that it barely entrusts domestic security to the police.9 India prides itself on being the “world’s largest democracy.” But it has continued to outsource counterinsurgency to nonstate actors despite its Supreme Court’s condemnation, which characterized (p.3) the practice as “tantamount to sowing of suicide pills that could divide and destroy society.”10

The disturbingly high prevalence of (and marked variation in) Pakistan and India arming their own citizens against insurgents, without fully and formally incorporating them into their security apparatus, offers an opportunity closely and systematically to study the phenomenon. It allows us to generate hypotheses about its causes and mechanisms while controlling for many plausible alternative explanations. It also sheds light on an important but largely overlooked source of human rights violations and states’ low infrastructural power in South Asia.

Why Study State-Nonstate Alliances in Civil War?

Uprisings in states with robust armed forces are surprisingly common. Eleven of the fifteen states with the world’s strongest militaries confronted an insurgency of some magnitude inside their borders in 2000–2015.11 The global prevalence of state outsourcing of violence is no less astounding. Figure 1.1 displays the geographical distribution of “pro-government militias” between the years 1981 and 2007.12 At least 64 percent of the 332 identified groups had direct links to a state institution.13 Given the significant limitations to collecting accurate cross-national data on armed nonstate groups’ relationships with state institutions, the figures very likely underestimate the incidence of state outsourcing of violence.


Figure 1.1 Prevalence of Pro-Government Militias, 1981–2007

Source: GIS map created using Carey, Mitchell, and Lowe dataset. Sabine C. Carey, Neil J. Mitchell, and Will Lowe, “States, the Security Sector, and the Monopoly of Violence: A New Database on Pro-Government Militias,” Journal of Peace Research 50, no. 2 (March 2013): 249–258.

Violence outsourcing is a high-stakes gamble carrying serious political and security risks. In the short run, states chance betrayal and further exacerbating the conflict. The long-term risks of violence outsourcing include loss of local legitimacy and international prestige.14 Backlash can also be a serious problem: the empowered nonstate groups may turn into their sponsor’s gravediggers,15 or new militant forces may rise in reaction to the abuses perpetrated by the proxies.16 The ensuing disorder may compel powerful outside actors, such as India in 1971 (see chapter 3), to get involved in the conflict.17 (p.4)

(p.5) Cases as diverse as Syria, Guatemala, and Afghanistan remind us of the high costs of violence outsourcing. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used the notorious shabiha (ghosts) forces, comprising racketeers and smugglers, to torture and execute regime opponents in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The shabiha quickly became a symbol of the Syrian regime’s brutality and further mobilized domestic and international opposition. What ensued was a full-fledged civil war with a hefty dose of foreign involvement.

During a nearly four-decade-old civil war, the Guatemalan military collaborated with nonstate counterinsurgent groups comprising roughly 1 million peasant farmers. These so-called Patrullas de Autodefensa Civil (civil self-defense patrols) committed over 3,000 human rights violations, with some 14,000 victims.18 Two decades after the end of the civil war, and despite the state’s demobilization efforts, the proxies persist, detaining and interrogating “suspicious individuals, who are sometimes punished, tortured, or even lynched.”19

The Afghan government and its international supporters enlisted the help of tribal fighters against the Taliban-led insurgency as part of the international exit strategy. However, these efforts were frequently “hijacked by local strongmen or by ethnic or political factions, spreading fear, exacerbating local political tensions, fueling vendettas and ethnic conflict, and in some areas even playing into the hands of Taliban insurgents.”20

The jury is still out on whether nonstate counterinsurgents are actually useful. It might be tempting to conclude that they are. Counterinsurgency is, after all, “an intelligence-driven endeavor” requiring high familiarity with the local context.21 As insurgents and states compete for local influence, nonstate partners may help states by collecting tactical intelligence, building the state’s legitimacy at the local level, making credible threats against civilians in the case of noncooperation, providing plausible deniability, supplying low-cost auxiliary manpower in operations, and carrying out selective violence.22 However, according to a classified CIA report, nonstate allies often have “a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of a conflict.”23 Moreover, in all the cases closely examined (p.6) in this book (chapters 3–6), the victories states achieved with the help of nonstate allies were either ephemeral or incomplete.

The usefulness of nonstate counterinsurgents notwithstanding, violence outsourcing violates national and international norms. International humanitarian law requires combatants to be clearly distinguished from civilians and expressly prohibits them from posing as such.24 State-sponsored nonstate combatants raise a number of legal issues: Does the military’s code of conduct apply to them? If captured, do they receive the protections offered to soldiers by the Geneva Conventions? Which courts have jurisdiction over them—military or civil? Can their sponsor be held accountable for their misbehaviors? The irresolution of these questions makes violence outsourcing a deeply controversial subject. Hence, when India’s defense minister let it publicly slip that his country should “neutralize terrorists through terrorists only,” observers gasped: “Even if you want that as a part of your strategy, you don’t say it publicly.”25

Why South Asia?

South Asia is the ideal setting for exploring the question of state-nonstate alliances for several important reasons. First, although Pakistan is most notorious for using nonstate proxies, the less known instances of India’s violence outsourcing offer a rich universe of cases to select those most appropriate for our comparative purposes. Among them are the Ikhwan in Kashmir, the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh, the Cats in Punjab, the Tigers and Cobras in Andhra Pradesh, and the SULFA (Surrendered ULFA, or United Liberation Front of Assam) in Assam. Some also see the Bodo Liberation Tigers as a force propped up by the state to counter the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam, or the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) used as a counterforce to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah NSCN(IM) in Nagaland.26

Second, South Asia is a region of high geostrategic importance. This is not only because of its size, location, environmental vulnerability, and economic prospects.27 It is also because of its high potential for nuclear (p.7) conflict and the critical role state-nonstate alliances play in either aggravating or lessening that potential.28

Finally, much of the existing work on state use of nonstate proxies centers on Latin America, especially Colombia, and the Middle East. This book contributes to a better understanding of state outsourcing of violence as a global phenomenon with cases that have received little accurate in-depth analysis.

Existing Research and Book’s Contribution

What distinguishes the modern state from its medieval and early modern predecessors is the possession of an unprecedented resource: the legitimate use of physical force. The state is the only organization that has the widely, if not universally, recognized right to use violence as a means of achieving its goals. No other organization is granted such power over the creation, and destruction, of security. No other organization so jealously guards it.

Warfare is conventionally viewed as the state’s quintessential and exclusive domain. Centralization, nationalization, and bureaucratization of violence are deemed necessary for the making and survival of the modern state within the anarchic international system.29 The standing army is widely acknowledged as “necessary for the constant pacification of large territories as well as for warfare against distant enemies.”30 States that reach beyond it are considered problematic and pathological. Pakistan is a case in point. It has been labeled “an abnormal state” for using “Islamic militants—jihadi groups, nonstate actors—in addition to diplomacy and trade to pursue its defense and foreign policies.”31 Prominent experts describe the country’s security policy as emblematic of a “greedy state determined to pursue its revisionism for ideological and even religious goals,” and therefore dangerous to the existing world order.32

Many believe that violent nonstate actors arise and proliferate because states are too weak to contain them.33 Currently emerging is a new body of work that recognizes states can play an active role in the rise of armed nonstate groups on their territory. However, it too associates violence (p.8) outsourcing with military backwardness. Miguel Centeno, for example, proposes that states that have not fought “total wars” (highly destructive wars that require the militarization of the entire society) have failed to undergo the kind of centralization and military development processes necessary to fight in the “regular” style.34 Following a similar logic, Ariel Ahram links the relationships between postcolonial states and their proxies to an absence of a strong, external competitor that would have compelled the building and centralization of the armed forces.35 The underlying assumption in the existing scholarship is that states with strong militaries do not outsource violence.

The conventional view that fighting “irregularly” through nonstate proxies necessarily reflects a state’s abnormality or failure to build strong conventional forces does not square with the ubiquity of violence outsourcing by militarily superior states. The British army and police in Northern Ireland have colluded with loyalist paramilitaries on targeted killings.36 China has delegated internal security to “units that are not formally government employees, and probably have little or no legal training.”37 Irregular practices that intentionally straddle the legitimate-illegitimate divide are far more common than their misnomer suggests. Modern states ostensibly exercise a monopoly on legitimate violence, but this does not mean that nonstate actors have a monopoly on illegitimate violence. The state is as capable of illicit behavior as its nonstate counterparts.38

The main argument of the book bridges and extends key insights drawn from realist international relations (IR) theory and civil war scholarship. It does this by demonstrating that civil wartime state-nonstate alliances are a product of the local balance of power and actors’ interests.

State Alliances

State alliances are “central to the conduct of international politics, and thus the discipline of IR.”39 IR scholarship contains a rich array of theories accounting for alliance patterns across different types of global and regional orders.40 In Waltz’s neorealist tradition, many deem structure (p.9) (in which a key element, be it power or threat, is distributed) the main driver of alliances. Enter the “neoclassical realist” proposition that different states have different political goals. Some states may prioritize self-preservation (status quo states), while others are “willing to take great risks—even if losing the gamble means extinction—to improve their condition” (revisionist states).41 Classic examples of revisionist states are Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. Alliances thus likely reflect not a balance of power per se but rather a balance of interests. States ally in ways that maximize their interests: some just want to hold onto what they have; others want more.

This book draws on the insights of structural and neoclassical realism to illuminate civil-wartime alliances between states and nonstate actors. In doing so, it builds on the innovative work of Fotini Christia, who uses neorealism’s standard emphasis on relative power to explain civil-wartime alliances between nonstate actors.42 I show that, while relative power is no doubt important, so are the actors’ interests. And these interests are not limited to power. This book departs from Christia’s approach to alliances between nonstate actors by showing that nonstate actors’ interests need not be limited to maintaining or augmenting their influence. Some may be driven primarily by ideational or identity considerations. This book’s original contribution is also in distinguishing and taking into account the varied interests of both the state and the nonstate actors.

Rebel Alliances

While the field of IR has characteristically focused on the alliance patterns between states, there is increasing interest in the civil war literature in alliances between nonstate actors, namely rebel groups. The question of whether anarchy is as relentless at the domestic level as it is at the international level underlies much of the debate. Some have shown that it can be.43 Others have argued that anarchy is not evenly distributed in civil-war-torn states. Territories may, in fact, be governed by the state or a rebel group.44

(p.10) Frequent defections, fractionalization, and alliance reconfigurations among nonstate groups have been shown to prolong civil conflict. This book examines the drivers of an alliance that has, so far, received little theoretical attention. Yet, it is one with the capacity to fundamentally transform and even end a conflict.45

The principal question of this book is: What drives state-nonstate alliances? The principal answer: power and interest. But, where does interest come from? Civil war studies have identified two important structural sources: organizational and systemic. Jeremy Weinstein’s pioneering work theorizes the former. It identifies two types of rebel: (1) an opportunist, who is driven by material and other short-term interests; and (2) an activist, who is “willing to invest their time and energy in the hope of reaping large gains in the future.”46 Rebel organizations with significant resources attract opportunists, while their poorer counterparts draw on social ties to make credible promises about the private rewards that will come with victory.47 The latter attracts highly committed members, while the former succumbs to the so-called “rebel resource curse.” At the systemic level, Lee Seymour’s work shows that, in weak and collapsing states, short-term horizons dominate alliance-making.48 Because life is nasty, brutish, and short in collapsing states, immediate payoffs trump long-term oriented activism.

This book builds on the opportunist-activist framework. It treats each condition as sticky but, unlike Weinstein, does not assume it to be fixed. Activists may become disillusioned with their movement or, as Seymour suggests, structurally compelled to forgo farsightedness for pragmatism. Consider one ISIS deserter’s account of why he no longer supported an ideology that initially inspired his journey from Virginia to Mosul: “It was pretty hard to live in Mosul. It’s not like the Western countries, you know, it’s very strict. There’s no smoking. I found it hard for everyone there.”49 This book’s qualitative methodology is designed precisely to capture unexpected but consequential transformations in individual orientation, which are otherwise easily missed in macro- and micro-level quantitative research.

(p.11) Militias

There is a marked surge in both scholarly and policy interest in the so-called third actors operating “alongside state security forces or independently of the state.”50 These actors go by different names: “pro-government militia,” “paramilitary,” “civil defense force,” and “self-defense patrol.” The existing literature has traced their historical roots,51 as well as negative52 and positive effects,53 on conflict dynamics. However, their relationship with the state, especially in a civil war context, remains little examined and poorly understood. The few accounts that do exist are either state centric or rebel centric. They are also largely functionalist and thus poorly account for variation.

The state-centric approaches emphasize the benefits states reap from militias, such as local knowledge and plausible deniability.54 The role of ideology has been suggested as important in shaping state-militia relations, but, so far, this research has focused on how ideology influences only the state’s choice of nonstate partner.55 It has neglected to consider the importance of ideology to the nonstate actors. The hereto sole rebel-centric account of state-rebel collaboration posits that the latter turn to the former for protection when a rising insurgent hegemon tries to eliminate them.56 This book incorporates the interests of both states and nonstate actors, and it brings in the structure and the agency of each to explain state-nonstate alliance patterns.

The Argument

Civil wartime state-nonstate alliances are primarily a product of power and interest. The strong cannot always do what they want. A state’s military power is relative to the context in which it must be deployed. States with strong armed forces sometimes need nonstate partners for the tactical benefits (e.g., local knowledge, selective violence, force multiplication) they can provide. The nonstate partners have interests of their own. Some (opportunists) prioritize the immediate material payoffs of (p.12) collaboration, be it protection or patronage. Others (activists) are more farsighted and play a longer game in the name of ideas.

The proposed “balance-of-interests” theory recognizes the role of both power and interest in state-nonstate alliances, specifies when states seek nonstate allies, and identifies the conditions under which different types of nonstate actors join the counterinsurgency operations.

In a civil war context, the state’s main goal is either to reestablish its sovereignty or to preserve the status quo. When the local balance of power is in its favor, it does not need, nor does it wish to bear the costs of, nonstate allies. Nonstate allies are useful to the state when rebels have the upper hand or when the local balance of power is roughly equal. However, this is precisely when it is difficult to find nonstate partners willing to assume the risks of collaboration. Activists, for whom ideals or identities rank above survival and enrichment, may be convinced to join the state even when it is losing, so long as they believe the alliance will serve their long-term interests. Making credible promises of future rewards to activists requires cultivating social or ideological links with them: constructing a compelling, even if not altogether earnest, narrative of shared commitments. Opportunists prioritize immediate payoffs,57 and so they may be compelled or co-opted into an alliance with the state when it is doing reasonably well—when the local balance of power with the rebels is roughly equal or favors the state.

To sum up, state-nonstate alliances are balance-of-interests bargains. A state seeking to shift the local balance of power in its favor may enlist activists if it can cultivate social or ideological ties with them. Opportunists are more likely to serve as balance tippers.

Book Plan

This book is organized into three parts: theoretical, empirical, and policy. Chapter 2 offers a novel theoretical framework for understanding state-nonstate alliances in times of civil war. A brief overview of the main concepts and alternative explanations provides the foundation for the arguments introduced here and developed in the rest of the book. The (p.13) chapter also describes the book’s research design and methodologies used for data collection and analysis.

Chapters 3 through 5 trace the main argument with a comparison of four different cases drawn from South Asia: Pakistan’s counterinsurgency campaign in East Pakistan/Bangladesh (1971); India’s counterinsurgency in Kashmir (1988–2003); Pakistan’s counterinsurgency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (2002–2014); and India’s counterinsurgency in Chhattisgarh (2004–2015). Chapter 6 evaluates the explanatory power of the argument cultivated in the previous chapters with cases drawn from outside of South Asia, namely Turkey’s counterinsurgency against Kurdish rebels (1984–1999) and Russia’s two counterinsurgency campaigns in Chechnya (1994–1996 and 1999–2009).

Chapter 7 concludes the book. It summarizes the key findings and considers their policy implications, as well as directions for future research and lessons for South Asian security.


(1.) Mark Bowden, “The Killing Machines: How to Think about Drones,” The Atlantic, September 2013, 60.

(2.) National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report (New York: W.W. Norton, 2004), 132–33.

(3.) Nonstate actors operating in such environments are expected to prioritize immediate payoffs. See Lee J. M. Seymour, “Why Factions Switch Sides in Civil Wars: Rivalry, Patronage, and Realignment in Sudan,” International Security 39, no. 2 (Fall 2014), 94.

(4.) Belgin San-Akca, States in Disguise: Causes of State Support for Rebel Groups (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Daniel Byman, Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

(5.) Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. and ed. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), 85.

(6.) Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, ed. and trans. Peter Bondanella (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 43 and 54.

(7.) Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson, 1843), 292.

(8.) George Washington, “Letter, George Washington to the President of Congress,” September 24, 1776, American Archives, http://amarch.lib.niu.edu/islandora/object/niu-amarch%3A84896; Leon Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed: The Military Writings and Speeches of Leon Trotsky, vol. 2 (London: New Park, 1979).

(9.) Yelena Biberman, Farhan Zahid, and Philip Hultquist, “Bridging the Gap between Policing and Counterinsurgency in Pakistan,” Military Review (November–December 2016), 37–43.

(10.) Supreme Court of India, Nandini Sundar & Org. versus State of Chhattisgarh Order, July 5, 2011, 18.

(11.) They are China (Xinjiang), Russia (North Caucasus), India (Northeast), Pakistan (Northwest and Balochistan), Turkey (Southeast), Syria (Civil War), Eritrea (Southeast Red Sea Coast), Iran (Sistan and Baluchestan), Egypt (North Sinai), Israel (West Bank), and Ukraine (Donbass). Of the world’s fifteen militarily (p.172) strongest states that did not experience an insurgency inside their borders were the United States, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. Military strength is assessed using a comparative scale. States are ranked based on their prioritization of resources for military use and the size of their militaries (data source: World Bank). The percentage of GDP committed to military spending was multiplied by the number of military personnel, and the resultant figure was converted to a 1–100 scale to facilitate comparison.

(12.) “Pro-government militias” are defined as groups that (1) are identified by media sources as pro-government or sponsored by the government (national or subnational); (2) are identified as not being part of the regular security forces; (3) are armed; and (4) have some level of organization. Sabine C. Carey, Neil J. Mitchell, and Will Lowe, “States, the Security Sector, and the Monopoly of Violence: A New Database on Pro-Government Militias,” Journal of Peace Research 50, no. 2 (March 2013), 250.

(13.) Ibid., 253.

(14.) Pakistan is a case in point. “Snake Country,” Economist, October 1, 2011.

(15.) Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Islamist Militancy in South Asia,” Washington Quarterly 33, no. 1 (January 2010), 47–59.

(16.) Kimberly Marten, “The Danger of Tribal Militias in Afghanistan: Learning from the British Empire,” Journal of International Affairs 63, no. 1 (Fall–Winter 2009), 157–74.

(17.) Ahsan I. Butt, Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy against Separatists (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017), 59–63.

(18.) Amnesty International, “Guatemala: The Civil Defence Patrols Re-emerge,” 2002, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3d99cd394.html.

(19.) Regina Bateson, “How Local Institutions Emerge from Civil War,” Working Paper, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (October 2, 2015), 4.

(20.) Human Rights Watch, “ ‘Just Don’t Call It a Militia’: Impunity, Militias, and the ‘Afghan Local Police,’ ” September 2011, 3.

(21.) US Department of the Army, Counterinsurgency, Field Manual 3-24, December 2006 (Washington, DC), 3–1.

(22.) Corinna Jentzsch, Stathis N. Kalyvas, and Livia Isabella Schubiger, “Militias in Civil Wars,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (August 2015), 755–69; Kristine Eck, “Repression by Proxy: How Military Purges and Insurgency Impact the Delegation of Coercion,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (August 2015), 924–46; Tomáš Šmíd and Miroslav Mareš, “‘Kadyrovtsy’: Russia’s Counterinsurgency Strategy and the Wars of Paramilitary Clans,” Journal of Strategic Studies 38, no. 5 (2015), 674; Jason Lyall, “Are Coethnics More Effective Counterinsurgents? Evidence from the Second Chechen War,” American Political Science Review 104, no. 1 (February 2010), 1–20; Sunil Dasgupta, “Paramilitary Groups: Local Alliances in Counterinsurgency Operations,” Brookings Counterinsurgency and Pakistan Paper Series 6 (June 2009); Stathis N. Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War (New York: Cambridge University Press 2006), 109.

(23.) Mark Mazzetti, “C.I.A. Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels,” New York Times, October 14, 2014.

(24.) International Committee of the Red Cross, “Protocols I and II Additional to the Geneva Conventions” (Geneva: January 1, 2009).

(25.) Charu Sudan Kasturi, “Unease at Terror-for-Terror Slip,” The Telegraph, May 26, 2015, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1150526/jsp/nation/story_22196.jsp#.VXr9-0aN0QQ.

(26.) Author’s interviews with security experts, New Delhi, October 2011.

(27.) Sadiq Ahmed, Saman Kelegama, and Ejaz Ghani (World Bank), Promoting Economic Cooperation in South Asia (New Delhi: Sage, 2010), 3–27.

(28.) Vipin Narang, “Posturing for Peace? Pakistan’s Nuclear Postures and South Asian Stability,” International Security 34, no. 3 (Winter 2009/10), 38–78; Sumit Ganguly, “Nuclear Stability in South Asia,” International Security 33, no. 2 (Fall 2008), 45–70; S. Paul Kapur, “Ten Years of Instability in a Nuclear South Asia,” International Security 33, no. 2 (Fall 2008), 71–94.

(29.) Among the prominent writings in this vast literature are Max Weber, “Politics as a Vocation,” in eds. H. H. Garth and C. Wright Mills, Essays in Sociology (New York: Macmillian, 1946), 26-45; Charles Tilly, “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” in eds. Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol, Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 169-191; Michael Mann, States, War and Capitalism: Studies in Political Sociology (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988); Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1990 (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990); Hendrik Spruyt, “The Origins, Development, and Possible Decline of the Modern State,” Annual Review of Political Science 5 (2002), 127–49.

(30.) Max Weber, “The Bureaucratization of the Army by the State and by Private Capitalism,” in eds. H.H. Garth and C. Wright Mills, Economy and Society, vol. 2 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), 981.

(31.) Ahmed Rashid, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan (New York: Penguin Books, 2013), 27.

(32.) C. Christine Fair, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 5. Also, see Sumit Ganguly, Deadly Impasse: Indo-Pakistani Relations at the Dawn of a New Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

(33.) Robert I. Rotberg, “Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators,” in ed. Robert I. Rotberg, State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror (Cambridge, MA: World Peace Foundation, 2003); James D. Fearon and David D. Laitin, “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War,” American Political Science Review 97, no. 1 (February 2003), 75–90; William I. Zartman, Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority (London: Lynne Rienner, 1995).

(34.) Miguel Centeno, “Limited War and Limited States,” in eds. Diane E. Davis and Anthony W. Pereira, Irregular Armed Forces and Their Role in Politics and State Formation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 82-95.

(35.) Ariel I. Ahram, Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011).

(36.) John Stevens, “The Stevens Inquiry: Overview and Recommendations,” Metropolitan Police Service, United Kingdom, BBC, April 17, 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/northern_ireland/03/stephens_inquiry/html/.

(37.) “Unrest Catches China’s Police by Surprise,” Financial Times, February 6, 2012, 3.

(38.) For an overview of the state’s illicit practices in the global economy, see Peter Andreas, “Illicit Globalization: Myths, Misconceptions, and Historical Lessons,” Political Science Quarterly 126, no. 3 (Fall 2011), 406–25. For the role of illicit economic activity in state formation, see Peter Andreas, Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(39.) Thomas S. Wilkins, “‘Alignment,’ Not ‘Alliance’—the Shifting Paradigm of International Security Cooperation: Toward a Conceptual Taxonomy of Alignment,” Review of International Studies 38 (2012), 54.

(40.) Among the prominent writings in this vast literature are Steven R. David, “Explaining Third World Alignment,” World Politics 43, no. 2 (January 1991), 233–56; Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder, “Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: Predicting Alliance Patterns in Multipolarity,” International Organization 44, no. 2 (Spring 1990), 137–68; Walt, The Origins of Alliances; Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979).

(41.) Randall L. Schweller, “Bandwagoning for Profit: Bringing the Revisionist State Back In,” International Security 19, no. 1 (Summer 1994), 103–4.

(42.) Fotini Christia, Alliance Formation in Civil Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 239. Similarly, Posen uses basic neorealist assumptions to explain the behavior of ethnic groups when states break down. Barry R. Posen, “The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict,” Survival 35, no. 1 (Spring 1993), 27–47.

(44.) Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War; Ana Arjona, Nelson Kasfir, and Zachariah Mampilly, Rebel Governance in Civil War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

(45.) For example, Lyall shows that Russia’s use of Chechen nonstate counterinsurgents reduced insurgent violence in Chechnya. Jason Lyall, “Are Coethnics More Effective Counterinsurgents? Evidence from the Second Chechen War,” American Political Science Review 104, no. 1 (February 2010), 1–20.

(46.) Jeremy M. Weinstein, “Resources and the Information Problem in Rebel Recruitment,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49, no. 4 (August 2005), 599–600.

(47.) Ibid., 599.

(48.) Lee J. M. Seymour, “Why Factions Switch Sides in Civil Wars: Rivalry, Patronage, and Realignment in Sudan,” International Security 39, no. 2 (Fall 2014), 94.

(51.) Ariel I. Ahram, Proxy Warriors: The Rise and Fall of State-Sponsored Militias (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011); Janet Klein, The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone (Stanford: Stanford University (p.175) Press, 2011); Bruce B.Campbell and Arthur D. Brenner, Death Squads in Global Perspective: Murder with Deniability (New York: Pelgrave Macmillan, 2002); Janice E. Thomson, Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994).

(52.) Neil J. Mitchell, Sabine C. Carey, and Christopher K. Butler, “The Impact of Pro-Government Militias on Human Rights Violations,” International Interactions 40, no. 5 (2014): 812-36.

(53.) Corinna Jentzsch, “Auxiliary Armed Forces and Innovations in Security Governance in Mozambique’s Civil War,” Civil Wars 19, no. 3 (2017): 325-47; Goran Peic, “Civilian Defense Forces, State Capability, and Government Victory in Counterinsurgency Wars,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 37, no. 2 (January 2014): 162-84; Stephen Biddle, Jeffrey A. Friedman, and Jacob N. Shapiro, “Testing the Surge: Why Did Violence Decline in Iraq in 2007?” International Security 37, no. 1 (Summer 2012): 7-40.

(54.) Staniland’s study of the role of ideology in state-militia relations shows how ideology influences the state’s choice of nonstate partner, but surprisingly neglects to consider whether and, if so, how ideology matters to the nonstate actors themselves. Paul Staniland, “Militias, Ideology, and the State,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (August 2015), 770–93.

(56.) Paul Staniland, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Insurgent Fratricide, Ethnic Defection, and the Rise of Pro-State Paramilitaries,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 56, no. 1 (February 2012), 16–40.

(57.) The term opportunist is not used as a pejorative label. It applies to individuals who seek to improve their material lot or avoid harm. Opportunists prioritize immediate concerns. Activists prioritize farsighted preferences.