CARNEGIE MEC: Hybridizing Security: Armies, Militias and Constrained Sovereignty

Concepts   •   October 30, 2019

Defense sectors in several Arab countries have undergone significant transformation as a result of the armed insurrections and civil wars, external interventions, and paralysis of political systems that have incapacitated their central states. In Iraq, Lebanon, Libya1, Syria, and Yemen, mixes of regular, national armed forces – or their fragments and remnants – and armed non-state actors – including state-sponsored militias or others that have acquired quasi-official status – are increasingly engaged in complex patterns of de-confliction, coexistence, and cooperation embedded within a wider context of persistent competition among them and of geopolitical rivalry between an array of external backers. A direct consequence has been the hybridization of security governance in these counties, leaving them with forms of sovereignty that are both constrained and constantly contested.

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