Arms, private militias and fragile state dynamics

Greene, Owen / Ariel Penetrante
External Publications (2011)

in: Owen Greene / Nicholas Marsh (eds.), Small arms, crime and conflict: global governance and the threat of armed violence, Berlin, Heidelberg & London: Routledge, 138-159

ISBN: 978-0-415-56700-8

This chapter examines inter-relationships between arms availabilitx, private (or non-state) militias and the dynamics of fragile states. It uses the Philippines as a case study and primary reference point, as well as drawing on wider international research and experience. The inter-relationships between SALW, non-state armed groups and state fragility have been a major focus of concern for SALW research and policy communities, and this chapter provides further confirmation of their importance. It particularly focuses on understanding of their effects on the trajectories for fragile states.

In this context, we examine and challenge widely held understandings of how combinations of poorly regulated non-state militias and wide arms availability in fragile states tend to be drivers towards state failure. A key argument of this chapter is that the situation in the Philippines shows that existing frameworks for understanding such risks need to be revised and greatly developed, if not replaced. This is important to better understand and address not only risks of state failure but also the possible 'pathways' out of state fragility.

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