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Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Fragmentation: Trajectories of Militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan Paul Staniland Department of Political Science, MIT.

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Presentation on theme: "Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Fragmentation: Trajectories of Militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan Paul Staniland Department of Political Science, MIT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Fragmentation: Trajectories of Militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan Paul Staniland Department of Political Science, MIT MacMillan Center, Yale University United States Institute of Peace

2 Greater Kashmir “The public is the most powerful weapon and it is on our side” - JKLF senior leader Javed Mir, 1993

3 Greater Kashmir “The public is the most powerful weapon and it is on our side” - JKLF senior leader Javed Mir, 1993 “the JKLF had an idea, but not a base” (interview, Kashmir, summer 2009) “by 1995, the JKLF as an armed group was no longer a force to seriously reckon with, although its agenda for a free, independent Kashmir still fired the hearts of many, if not most, Kashmiris” (Sikand 2002)

4 “the most militarily well organized of all the jehadi organizations in Pakistan and Kashmir” (Rana 2004) “not supported by a majority of Kashmiri Muslims” (Behera 2000) The Rise of Hizbul Mujahideen

5 Who Cares? Effects of Insurgent Organization Victory and defeat in civil war Rape and mass killing Effectiveness of counterinsurgency strategy Success and failure in peace negotiations

6 Questions How do we conceptualize and measure cohesion?

7 Questions How do we conceptualize and measure cohesion? How do insurgent groups build themselves in the midst of rebellion against capable states?

8 Questions How do we conceptualize and measure cohesion? How do insurgent groups build themselves in the midst of rebellion against capable states? What explains consequent variation in insurgent cohesion across time and space?

9 Findings Social networks matter more than popular support or ideological appeal  Robust, pre-existing social structures underpin cohesion, not mass popularity, “the people,” or hearts and minds

10 Findings Social networks matter more than popular support or ideological appeal  Robust, pre-existing social structures underpin cohesion, not mass popularity, “the people,” or hearts and minds When fighting capable states, external aid bolsters insurgent cohesion  Resource-richness need not lead to loot-seeking and indiscipline

11 Research Design Scope - ethnic insurgent civil wars in militarily capable, politically-resolved states Cases - 19 significant insurgent organizations in: Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka,

12 Research Design Scope - ethnic insurgent civil wars in militarily capable, politically-resolved states Cases - 19 significant insurgent organizations in: Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sub-national comparisons  Variation within the same war and society Cross-national comparisons

13 Research Methods 13 months of fieldwork in N. Ireland, India, Indian-administered Kashmir, and Sri Lanka Interviews  130+ current and former militants, politicians, government officials, journalists, academics, analysts, aid workers Written sources  Internal documents and diaries  Memoirs and oral histories  Propaganda  Journalism  History and anthropology

14 Defining and Measuring Cohesion Cohesion: fighters and factions obey orders and rarely launch splits or violent internal challenges Focus on:  Internal Unrest: splits, feuds, coups, defiance  Internal Compliance: fighters and leaders respect orders, peaceful leadership successions Measurement: examine each group over time along a variety of indicators  Frequency, Intensity, Issues, Autonomy

15 Existing Theories Popular Support Political Economy State Policy

16 Explaining Insurgent Cohesion Two key variables:  1. Group’s social base  2. Access to external state and diaspora support

17 Explaining Insurgent Cohesion Two key variables:  1. Group’s social base  2. Access to external state and diaspora support Distinct types of insurgent organization emerge:  Cohesive  State-Reliant  Consensus-Contingent  Factionalized

18 Social Bases Pervasive “social appropriation” (McAdam et al. 2001) of pre-existing networks

19 Social Bases Pervasive “social appropriation” (McAdam et al. 2001) of pre-existing networks These are insurgent social bases

20 Social Bases Pervasive “social appropriation” (McAdam et al. 2001) of pre-existing networks These are insurgent social bases Variation in social bases:  Embeddedness of insurgent leaders within local communities  Pre-existing social links between different leaders

21 Types of Insurgent Social Base Bonding Network: robust pre-existing social relationships between local communities and insurgent leaders, and among leaders  Historically-rooted overlap of local and extra-local social ties

22 Types of Insurgent Social Base Bonding Network: robust pre-existing social relationships between local communities and insurgent leaders, and among leaders  Historically-rooted overlap of local and extra-local social ties Coalition Network: weak pre-existing social relationships between local communities and insurgent leaders, and/or among leaders

23 Social Bases and Organizations Bonding Network Social Integration  Pre-existing structures of collective action hold together organization at the top and from below Elite Cooperation Local Incorporation

24 Social Bases and Organizations Bonding Network Social Integration  Pre-existing structures of collective action hold together organization at the top and from below Elite Cooperation Local Incorporation Coalition Network Social Division  “Median voter” or mass appeal insufficient if lacking embedded links to community and between leaders Elite Distrust Weak Local Incorporation

25 Effects of External Support In capable-state context, external aid crucial

26 Effects of External Support Aid leads to military strength  High organizational capacity  Resource centralization Fighters and factions join and remain In capable-state context, external aid crucial

27 Effects of External Support Aid leads to military strength  High organizational capacity  Resource centralization Fighters and factions join and remain Lack of aid leads to military weakness  Low organizational capacity  Resource diffusion Fighters and factions defect and dissent In capable-state context, external aid crucial

28 Bonding Network Coalition Network High External AidCohesive (Durable)

29 Bonding Network Coalition Network Low External Aid High External AidCohesive (Durable) Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate)

30 Bonding Network Coalition Network Low External Aid High External Aid Cohesive (Durable) State-Reliant (Intermediate) Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate)

31 Bonding Network Coalition Network Low External Aid High External Aid Low External Aid High External Aid Cohesive (Durable) State-Reliant (Intermediate) Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate) Factionalized (Fragile)

32 Insurgency in Kashmir Territory divided between India and Pakistan  Central to India-Pakistan wars and confrontations Insurgency, 1988-Present  ~70,000 dead Militancy has spilled out into broader subcontinent

33 Major Areas of Insurgency

34 Insurgents Fighting India in Kashmir Comparative Cases:  6 indigenous Kashmiri organizations  3 Pakistani organizations Research  2 trips to Kashmir Valley (May ‘08 and July ‘09)  Multiple trips to New Delhi  Interviews with all sides of conflict  Primary and secondary written sources in English and Urdu

35 Two Empirical Puzzles Highly popular JKLF was the most fragmented, while far less politically popular Hizb the most cohesive  Not a popularity contest

36 Two Empirical Puzzles Highly popular JKLF was the most fragmented, while far less politically popular Hizb the most cohesive  Not a popularity contest Pro-Pakistan groups varied in cohesion despite common sponsorship  Not driven solely by Pakistani machinations

37 My Argument: Varying Social Bases Groups structurally able to mobilize different types of social networks/institutions in ‘88-’91

38 My Argument: Varying Social Bases Groups structurally able to mobilize different types of social networks/institutions in ‘88-’91 Groups built around coalition networks were unable to channel and control Pakistani aid effectively  JKLF, Ikhwan, MJF [Harkat, Jaish] - despite different popularity and ideologies - took broadly similar trajectories  Loss of aid contributed to further fragmentation

39 My Argument: Varying Social Bases Groups structurally able to mobilize different types of social networks/institutions in ‘88-’91 Groups built around coalition networks were unable to channel and control Pakistani aid effectively  JKLF, Ikhwan, MJF [Harkat, Jaish] - despite different popularity and ideologies - took broadly similar trajectories  Loss of aid contributed to further fragmentation Groups built around bonding networks channeled command and material through robust, pre-existing social relationships  Hizbul Mujahideen [Lashkar]

40 Cohesive Hizbul Mujahideen (90-)* Lashkar-e-Taiba (1987-) State-reliant JKLF (‘88-91)* Ikhwan (‘91-’95) MJF (‘89-’96) Al-Umar (‘89-’94) Harkat (‘80-’99) Jaish (‘99-’01) Consensus-Contingent Hizbul Mujahideen (‘89)* Factionalized JKLF (‘91-’96)* Ikhwan (‘95-98) Jaish (‘02-) Harkat (‘99-)

41 JKLF: Social Base Structure: no routinized access to sources of collective action in Kashmir Valley  Not linked to parties or religious authorities Result: rapid, heterogeneous expansion  Individuals and factions merge in and out of the JKLF at will  No pre-existing social control mechanisms

42 JKLF Fragmentation Pakistani support:  State-reliant group that attracts recruits and (some) compliance due to Pakistani aid

43 JKLF Fragmentation Pakistani support:  State-reliant group that attracts recruits and (some) compliance due to Pakistani aid Loss of external support:  JKLF factionalized and internally-divided over numerous issues Splits (up to 20), feuds, fratricide High popular support insufficient to hold group together

44 “The JKLF had an idea, but not a base” Interview, Srinagar, July 2009

45 Hizbul Mujahideen: Social Base Non-violent Jamaat-e-Islami cadre party  Overlap (since 1940s) of: Traditional JI families Local party branches and schools Ijtimas, annual congregations, intermarriage across villages and over time Limited popular support  “incapable of reaching out to vast numbers of ordinary Kashmiris” (Sikand 2002)

46 Forging Hizb Cohesion Jamaat network mobilizes for war in 1989

47 Forging Hizb Cohesion Jamaat network mobilizes for war in 1989 High command and Shura Council dominated by Jamaatis  Key leaders almost all JI or JI-linked by 1991

48 Forging Hizb Cohesion Jamaat network mobilizes for war in 1989 High command and Shura Council dominated by Jamaatis  Key leaders almost all JI or JI-linked by 1991 Local Jamaatis spread throughout Kashmir as fighters, recruiters, talent spotters  Expands without fracturing

49 Implications and Extensions Insurgency not about the median voter: focus instead on social networks and institutions

50 Implications and Extensions Insurgency not about the median voter: focus instead on social networks and institutions No simple relationship between material variables and organizational outcomes  Beyond “greed” (and “narco-insurgency”)

51 Implications and Extensions Insurgency not about the median voter: focus instead on social networks and institutions No simple relationship between material variables and organizational outcomes  Beyond “greed” (and “narco-insurgency”) Next Steps:  Expanding empirics  Studying change/evolution

52 Q & A

53 The State: Strategic Manipulator? Reasons for skepticism:  1. Bad intelligence  2. Disconnect between military and political aims  3. State internally disorganized State more reactive than proactive

54 The State: Examples State does not drive fragmentation:  Tamil Jaffna 1980s  Kashmir rural areas, early/mid-1990s  PIRA and INLA splits from OIRA, late 60s/early 70s State fails to fragment groups despite efforts:  PIRA in mid-1970s  Hizb until 2000  LTTE, (Karuna split not exception)

55 External Support: Logics Exogenous: external actors support groups for reasons largely unrelated to their prior cohesion Endogenous: external actors support groups for reasons closely related to their prior cohesion Find empirical support for exogenous logic: sponsors support groups with same war aims - even if fragmented or internally divided  Early years marked by massive uncertainty - sponsors hedge by supporting groups with similar goals

56 External Support: Examples “the role the Provisionals saw for themselves, defending nationalists in the North and defending the British Army, was far more in keeping with what people, especially Irish America, understood.” Swan 2008, p “like the Pakistan government, organizations such as the Jamaat [of Pakistan] are highly selective in which militants they support: basically those that share their Islamic ideology and have the same aspirations for Kashmir.” Malik 2002, p. 298.

57 Fine-Grained Measurement and Predictions FrequencyIntensityAutonomyIssues Cohesive [I] Rare Low Political- Military State-Reliant [II] IntermediateLow Distribution Consensus- Contingent [III] IntermediateHigh Political- Military Factionalized [IV] CommonHigh Many

58 Extending the Empirics: Capable state & ethnic minority rebellion Turkey (Kurdish areas) Iraq (Kurdish/Shiite/Sunni) Russia (Chechnya) China (Tibet) Pakistan (NWFP/Sindh) India (Northeast/ Punjab) Indonesia (Aceh/Dar-ul Islam/East Timor) Anti-Soviet/German partisans Algeria (1992-) Thailand Palestinian territories Burma

59 Other Resources? Do drugs, minerals, and other illicit flows have a similar effect as state/diaspora aid? Research agenda:  In India, Pakistan, and SE Asia, will examine groups with access to mineral and drug resources Two possibilities:  Different nature of resource flows (not top-down) may diffuse power and authority and lead to fragmentation, or  Some groups may be able to harness these resources in a similar manner to external aid Initial sense: heavily dependent on state power - when strong, constrains group behavior

60 Types of Social Base Strong Local Embeddedness Weak Local Embeddedness Strong Leadership Ties Bonding NetworkFoco-ist Network (Coalition) Weak Leadership Ties Parochial Network (Coalition) Anomic Network (Coalition)

61 Where Do Social Bases Come From? Deeply historically-rooted  Products of complex, contingent processes of social mobilization and state response in previous decades or centuries  “Sticky” over time - facts on the ground by the time of a conflict, reproduced by family and social relationships and identities Not endogenous to onset of conflict in question  Can be traced back decades or more prior to war  Often originally non-militant or even apolitical

62 Why These Scope Conditions? Civil wars vary dramatically  Insurgent vs. Conventional  Secessionist vs. Center-seeking  Ethnic vs. Ideological  Strong state vs. Weak state  Democracy vs. Authoritarian I focus on one common context that poses a shared set of challenges to cohesion Tight scope, but lays basis for cumulative research within and across types of wars

63 What is Cohesion? In this conceptualization, looks at both the structural integrity of the group and the commitment of individual members Not the same as success - can contribute, but is not a sufficient condition for victory Focused on insurgent organizations - not the same as “ethnic group” or “opposition movement” cohesion

64 Overall Distribution of Cases Cohesive PIRA (72-05) LTTE (83-09) Hizb (90-) LeT (87-) State-reliant Ikhwan JKLF (‘88-90) MJF Al Jehad Al-Umar EPRLF (87-90) TELO Jaish (99-01) Harkat (80-99) Consensus-Contingent EPRLF (81-87) PIRA ( ) Official IRA ( ) LTTE ( ) Hizb (‘89) Factionalized INLA JKLF (‘91-96) PLOT Jaish (01-) EROS Ikhwan (95-) IPLO RIRA Harkat (99-)

65 Social Ties Over Ideology “we couldn’t disagree with a word the man [an OIRA representative] said, all his arguments were totally right, totally justified. The Provisionals leadership was reactionary and Catholic, they went against what we believed in. But we just said: ‘Yeah, but what’s my da and ma going to say if I go home and tell them I’m going with the Reds?’ There was a real thing about the communist threat about that time. And family tradition counted for a lot.” Devenport and Sharrock 1997, p. 69. “the success of the Officials in hanging on to the Lower Falls is more a tribute to his [Sullivan’s] personality than to the popularity of his political message.” Bishop and Mallie 1987, p. 146.

66 Guns and Money Over Ideology Northern Ireland  Joe Cahill: “they wanted to know if we had guns for them. That was their main concern... they would not give up their allegiance to the Official IRA until they were certain they would get weapons.” Anderson 2002, p  PIRA recruit: “I never thought of joining the Stickies [the Official IRA]. I felt that Provies wanted to get the gear and that was good enough for me.” Bishop and Mallie 1987, p Kashmir  “I agreed to send some of our boys to Pakistan for training [in JKLF camps] in handling sophisticated weapons as it would have helped us in our plans.” Noorani in Thomas 1992, p  Ghulam Rasool Shah:”We took training from them [JKLF], but made it clear that we stand for merging Kashmir with Pakistan.” “Profile in Passion,” Newsline, Feb 2001, p. 34.

67 The Importance of External Aid “state support has had a profound impact on the effectiveness of many rebel movements.... out of the 74 post-Cold War insurgencies surveyed, state support, we believe, played a major in initiating, sustaining, bringing to victory, or otherwise assisting 44 of them.” Byman et al 2001, p. xiv. “Without the constant supply of weapons, the IRA would be lost and the whole republican structure would quickly break down.” Holland, p. 62. “no militant group can operate for long [in Kashmir] without outside funding, training and arms.” Malik 2002, p Lyall and Wilson III 2009, Johnston 2009, Salehyan 2009

68 Does External Aid Lead to Thuggery? “ the IRA’s resources, however dubiously or criminally attained, are overwhelmingly channeled back into mission-related activities.... group-oriented, nonpecuniary, and nonegoistic motivations have been key to both recruitment and retention. ” O’Leary 2007, p. 207 “Our evidence of the rank-and-file terrorists does not support the view that they are mindless hooligans drawn from the unemployed and unemployable. ” Moloney 2002, p. 174 quoting British Army in 1978 Hizb “became a sophisticated political movement, not just a bunch of gun-toting thugs” Joshi 1999, p. 86

69 Sri Lanka 5 major Tamil militant groups, :  Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)  Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO)  People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOT)  Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)  Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS) Extreme variation on DV Argument:  LTTE: Cohesive (caste/regional networks + Indian, then diaspora support)  TELO: State-reliant on India  EPRLF: intermediate case (elements of both consensus- contingent and state-reliant at different points)  PLOT and EROS: Factionalized

70 Jamaat-e-Islami “the JI shows a uniform pattern: a committed, hard core following that amounts to only a small fraction of the population. Thus, as a political party the JI has consistently fared poorly in electoral contests in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Kashmir, incapable of mustering more than a few percentage points of the popular vote. Nonetheless, all these JI branches have a long-standing reputation for committed cadres and organizational acumen” - Bose 2007

71 Trajectories of Militancy Bonding NetworkCoalition Network Significant External Support Cohesive [I] Disciplined and controlled in both war and peace - “organizational weapon” (Provisional IRA, LTTE, Lashkar-e-Taiba) State-reliant [II] Insurgent proxy armies propped up from afar; rely on sponsor materiel for internal control (TELO, Jaish-e- Mohammed, Ikhwan) Minimal External Support Consensus- contingent [III] Rely on norms and trust, but weak internal coercion and fighting power (Official IRA, EPRLF) Factionalized [IV] Deeply divided and fractious - split over numerous issues (INLA, PLOTE, IPLO)


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