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Former Military Networks and the Micro-Politics of Violence and Statebuilding in Liberia

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Recent studies have highlighted the inability of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs to dismantle command structures in the aftermath of civil war. The effect that lingering military networks have on peace, however, is ambiguous. Therefore, a key question—which has so far been unanswered—is why some ex-military networks are remobilized for violent purposes while others are used for more productive ones, such as income-generating activities. In this article, I seek to address this question by comparing two former mid-level commanders (ex-MiLCs) in Liberia and the networks that they control. Based on this comparison I argue that it is ex-MiLCs who are shunned by governing elites as peacetime brokers of patronage—distributing economic resources to ex-fighters—that are most likely to remobilize their ex-combatant networks.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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