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When and How Do Militias Disband? Global Patterns of Pro-Government Militia Demobilization in Civil Wars


Studies in Conflict and TerrorismJournal abstract

The research to date on pro-governm`ent militias demonstrates that numerous pro-regime militia groups were actively deployed in civil wars over the last half a century. As hundreds of militia groups emerged amid civil warfare, hundreds more were disbanded, integrated into regular military, or transformed into political forces. This study seeks to improve our understanding of global patterns of militia demobilization. In contrast to the growing body of literature that explores the emergence of militias or examines their relationship with the state, studies on the demise of pro-government militias are notable by their absence. Statistical analysis of 220 pro-government militias involved in seventy-five civil wars from 1981 to 2011, based on a recent database of pro-government militias, demonstrates that the disappearance of militias has little to do with the termination of armed conflict. This study is the first to investigate when and under which conditions militias created to assist governments in fighting civil wars disband.

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