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Progovernment militias, identity leadership, and ethnic defection: Evidence from Israel's recruitment of the South Lebanese Army

Voller, Yaniv (2024) Progovernment militias, identity leadership, and ethnic defection: Evidence from Israel's recruitment of the South Lebanese Army. Political Psychology, . ISSN 0162-895X. E-ISSN 1467-9221. (doi:10.1111/pops.12963) (KAR id:104974)

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Ethnic defection has been identified as a potential game-changer in conflicts. However, the factors that enable this process require further study. One factor that has been often overlooked is that of social identity and, more particularly, identity leadership. Ethnic defection is a social as much as it is a political process. Incumbents who can utilize this element may be more successful in encouraging a continuous and more persistent process of ethnic defection. A particularly useful tool for counterinsurgency (COIN) leaders to function as identity leaders is that of militias. Traditionally perceived in the literature as ad hoc outcomes of defection, this article demonstrates how militia recruitment can serve as a platform for recruiters to serve as identity leaders and create among recruits a distinct sense of identity that further distances them from other group members and strengthens their group identity. Success in enabling this group categorization could pave the way for more defectors to switch to the government side in a way less relevant than material incentives. The article illustrates this process by employing the case of Israel’s recruitment of Shi‘a defectors into pro-Israel militias in South Lebanon and the Security Belt during the 1980s and 1990s.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/pops.12963
Projects: Pro-Government Militias as Social and Political Actors and Their Impact on Governance and Security Orders
Uncontrolled keywords: Ethnic defection; Identity leadership; Pro-government militias; Israel; Ethnic conflicts; Lebanon
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Yaniv Voller
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2024 00:17 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 14:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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