Why Are Some Civil Wars More Lethal Than Others? The Effect of Pro-Regime Proxies on Conflict Lethality

Published on 2019-08-14T06:06:40Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Previous large-N studies on conflict lethality have focused in large part either on structural factors or on the properties of key conflict protagonists – governments and rebels. This article challenges the dyadic two-actor approach to studying conflict lethality that examines exclusively the key actors of the dyad, and – on the example of pro-regime militias – hypothesises that participation of extra-state actors in civil wars can exert significant influence on battlefield lethality. It is proposed here that pro-regime militias can swell the number of combat deaths through, first of all, acting as ‘extra boots’ on the ground, providing governments with auxiliary forces and local intelligence, and enabling incumbents to launch more effective and often more deadly attacks on insurgents. Militias also affect the number of battle deaths by forcing rebels to protect their civilian support bases, which exposes insurgents to lethal government attacks. This assumption is empirically tested on 88 civil wars from 1981 to 2015 with militia presence. The findings show that the presence of pro-regime militias in civil wars is highly conducive to the incidence of high-casualty conflicts.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Aliyev, Huseyn (2019): Why Are Some Civil Wars More Lethal Than Others? The Effect of Pro-Regime Proxies on Conflict Lethality. SAGE Journals. Collection. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.c.4616915.v1