On 22 and 23 February 2020, the ACRPS will be holding a conference titled “Militias and Armies: Developments in Combat and Political Performance of Armed Non-State and State Actors” at its headquarters in Doha. The Conference will consider armed groups both loyal and opposed to regimes, hybrid warfare, foreign intervention (armed organizations allied with a state or states), the dynamics of transformation from irregular militia to organized army and vice versa (organized army to militia) and the development of sub-state organizations’ tactical and operational capabilities. Its sessions will cover approximately 30 case studies of armed movements from 20 countries.
Since the last quarter of the twentieth century, there has been a steady rise in the military capacities and political roles of armed non-state actors (ANSAs), challenging the traditional hegemony of armed state actors (ASAs) on the monopoly of force. This rise is consistent regardless of ideology and goals (national liberation, secession, a change of local or international regime). Security and Strategic Studies literature have demonstrated a significant rise in the victories of ANSAs over stronger ASAs or in the inability of armies to defeat much weaker militias. This represents a change to the established historical pattern.
The Conference will present academic approaches to the military and political rise of armed organizations by attempting to answer a series of research questions of global relevance. How did such a revolution in combat performances and political roles happen? Why did it happen? What are the strategic implications of such a trend? How will this trend affect armed state actors and hybrid warfare in the region and beyond? And what are the implications for stability, reforms, and democratization in the region?
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