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Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Fragmentation: Trajectories of Militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan

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Title: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Fragmentation: Trajectories of Militancy in Kashmir and Pakistan


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
  • pstan_at_mit.edu

2
The public is the most powerful weapon and it is
on our side - JKLF senior leader Javed Mir, 1993
Greater Kashmir
3
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)
Greater Kashmir
4
not supported by a majority of Kashmiri Muslims
(Behera 2000)
The Rise of Hizbul Mujahideen
the most militarily well organized of all the
jehadi organizations in Pakistan and Kashmir
(Rana 2004)
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, 1988-2008
  • Northern Ireland, 1962-2005
  • Sri Lanka, 1972-2009

12
Research Design
  • Scope - ethnic insurgent civil wars in militarily
    capable, politically-resolved states
  • Cases - 19 significant insurgent organizations
    in
  • Kashmir, 1988-2008
  • Northern Ireland, 1962-2005
  • Sri Lanka, 1972-2009
  • 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. Groups social base
  • 2. Access to external state and diaspora support

17
Explaining Insurgent Cohesion
  • Two key variables
  • 1. Groups 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
In capable-state context, external aid crucial
  • Aid leads to military strength
  • High organizational capacity
  • Resource centralization
  • Fighters and factions join and remain

27
Effects of External Support
In capable-state context, external aid crucial
  • 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

28
High External Aid
Cohesive (Durable)
Bonding Network
Coalition Network
29
High External Aid
Cohesive (Durable)
Bonding Network
Low External Aid
Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate)
Coalition Network
30
High External Aid
Cohesive (Durable)
Bonding Network
Low External Aid
Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate)
High External Aid
State-Reliant (Intermediate)
Coalition Network
31
High External Aid
Cohesive (Durable)
Bonding Network
Low External Aid
Consensus-Contingent (Intermediate)
High External Aid
State-Reliant (Intermediate)
Coalition Network
Low External Aid
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 1988-1990
  • State-reliant group that attracts recruits and
    (some) compliance due to Pakistani aid

43
JKLF Fragmentation
  • Pakistani support 1988-1990
  • State-reliant group that attracts recruits and
    (some) compliance due to Pakistani aid
  • Loss of external support 1991-1996
  • 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, 1972-2009 (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. 223.
  • 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
Frequency Intensity Autonomy Issues
Cohesive I Rare Low Low Political-Military
State-Reliant II Intermediate Low Low Distribution
Consensus-Contingent III Intermediate High High Political-Military
Factionalized IV Common High High 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 Network Foco-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 (1969-72) Official IRA (1962-76) LTTE (1972-83) Hizb (89) Factionalized INLA JKLF (91-96) PLOT Jaish (01-) EROS Ikhwan (95-) IPLO RIRA Harkat (99-)
65
Social Ties Over Ideology
  • we couldnt 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 whats my da and ma
    going to say if I go home and tell them Im 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
    Sullivans 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. 188.
  • 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. 153.
  • 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. 263.
  • Ghulam Rasool ShahWe 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. 298.
  • Lyall and Wilson III 2009, Johnston 2009,
    Salehyan 2009

68
Does External Aid Lead to Thuggery?
  • the IRAs 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. OLeary 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, 1972-2009
  • Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
  • Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO)
  • Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam
    (PLOT)
  • Eelam Peoples 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 Network Coalition 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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