Group Characteristics of Militias

  • Paul Rexton Kan


This chapter covers the characteristics that make militia a unique type of violent non-state group. The differing relationships militias have with the state, the ways that militias recruit members, the areas where they operate, their organizational strength, community-militia relations, the scope and scale of paramilitary violence along with the effects militias have on state institutions and civil society are all ways that militia characteristics show that this type of armed group is dynamic and adaptive.


State relations Community relations Recruitment Areas of operation Levels of violence 

Works Cited

  1. al-Laithi, Nidhal. “Factions Vie for Oil Deals to Finance Activities.” Azzaman, November 3, 2007.Google Scholar
  2. Amnesty International. “Sudan: At the Mercy of Killers—Destruction of Villages in Darfur.” Amnesty International Report, July 2004.Google Scholar
  3. Barter, Shane Joshua. “State Proxy or Security Dilemma? Understanding Anti-Rebel Militias in Civil Wars.” Asian Security 9, no. 2 (2013): 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bolte, Brandon. “Pro-Government Militias and the Institutionalized Enemy.” Unpublished paper, Department of Political Science Truman State University, May 2015.Google Scholar
  5. Carey, Sabine, Michael Colaresi, and Neil Mitchell. “Governments, Informal Links to Militias and Accountability.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (2015): 850–876.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, Dara Kay, and Ragnhild Nordas. “Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (2015): 877–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. DeBruin, Erica. “War and Coup Prevention in Developing States.” PhD dissertation, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2014.Google Scholar
  8. Felbab-Brown, Vanda. “Hurray for Militias? Not So Fast: Lessons from the Afghan Local Police Experience.” Small Wars and Insurgencies 27, no. 2 (2016): 258–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Forney, Jonathan Filip. “Who Can We Trust with a Gun? Information Networks and Adverse Selection in Militia Recruitment.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (2015): 824–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Glanz, James, and Robert Worth. “Attacks on Iraq Oil Industry Aid Vast Smuggling Scheme.” New York Times, June 4, 2006.
  11. Golkar, Said. “Paramilitarization of the Economy: The Case of Iran’s Basij Militia.” Armed Forces and Society 38, no. 4 (2012): 625–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gutierrez Sanin, Francisco. “Telling the Difference: Guerrillas and Paramilitaries in the Colombian War.” Politics and Society 36, no. 1 (2008): 3–34.Google Scholar
  13. Jentzsch, Corinna, Stathis Kalyvas, and Livia Isabella Schubinger. “Militias in Civil Wars.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (2015): 757–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jeursen, Thijs, and Chris van der Burgh. “Security Provision after Regime Change: Local Militias and Political Entities in Post-Qaddafi Tripoli.” Journal of Intervention and State-Building 8, nos. 2–3 (2014): 173–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Le Billon, Philippe. Fueling War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflict. Adelphi Series 373. London: Routledge, 2005.Google Scholar
  16. Muller, John. The Remnants of War. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  17. Naim, Moises. The End of Power. New York: Basic Books, 2013.Google Scholar
  18. Olson, Mancur. “Dictatorship, Democracy and Development.” American Political Science Review (September 1993): 567–576.Google Scholar
  19. Richards, Joanne. “Forced, Coerced and Voluntary Recruitment into Rebel and Militia Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Journal of Modern African Studies 52, no. 2 (2014): 301–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sarhan, Amre. “1,000,000 Volunteer Fighters Back Army Forces in Fight against ISIS, Says Iraqi PM.” Iraqi News, November 3, 2014.
  21. Schneckener, Ulrich. “Militias and the Politics of Legitimacy.” Small Wars and Insurgencies 28, nos. 4–5 (2017): 799–816.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Seymour, Lee J. M. “Why Factions Switch Sides in Civil Wars: Rivalry, Patronage and Realignment in Sudan.” International Security 39, no. 2 (2014): 92–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Smid, Tomas, and Miroslav Mares. “‘Kadyrovtsy’: Russia’s Counterinsurgency Strategy and the Wars of Paramilitary Clans.” Journal of Strategic Studies 38, no. 5 (2015): 650–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sprague, Jeb. “Paramilitaries in Haiti.” Monthly Review 64, no. 4 (2012): 24–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stanton, Jessica A. “Regulating Militias: Governments, Militias and Civilian Targeting in Civil Wars.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59, no. 5 (2015): 899–923.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Stringham, Noel, and Jonathan Forney. “It Takes a Village to Raise a Militia: Local Politics, the Nuer White Army and South Sudan’s Civil Wars.” Journal of Modern African Studies 55, no. 2 (2017): 177–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thompson, Peter. Armed Groups: The 21st Century Threat. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Rexton Kan
    • 1
  1. 1.National Security StudiesU.S. Army War CollegeCarlisleUSA

Personalised recommendations