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Armed Political Organizations

From Conflict to Integration

Benedetta Berti

Publication Year: 2013

Many armed-political movements such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) have their roots in insurrection and rebellion. In Armed Political Organizations, Benedetta Berti seeks to understand when and why violent actors in a political organization choose to vote rather than bomb their way to legitimacy. Berti argues that the classic theory of the democratization process, which sees violence and elections at opposite ends of the political spectrum, is too simplistic and wholly inadequate for understanding the negotiation and disarmament work that is necessary for peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and movement toward electoral options. In this comparative study, she develops an alternative cyclical model that clarifies why armed groups create a political wing and compete in elections, and how this organizational choice impacts subsequent decisions to relinquish armed struggle. In her conclusion, Berti draws out what the implications are for a government’s ability to engage armed political groups to improve the chances of political integration. Berti’s innovative framework and careful choice of case studies, presented in a jargon-free, accessible style, will make this book attractive to not only scholars and students of democratization processes but also policymakers interested in conflict resolution and peacekeeping efforts.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


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pp. 1-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I first began thinking about this writing project in 2005, while I was completing a graduate degree at the Fletcher School. At the time my academic advisor, Professor Richard Shultz, encouraged me to pursue a doctorate to develop this project further. ...

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1. Introduction: The Challenge of Understanding the Dual Logic of Armed-Political Organizations

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pp. 1-10

In recent decades, armed groups have shown an increased interest in creating political parties to take part in institutional politics. By using these political wings to participate in elections and to win public office, some armed groups have gained enormous political and decision-making power. ...

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2. The Power of Politics: Party Formation and Armed Struggle

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pp. 11-27

Traditionally, non-state armed groups, especially those that employ terrorist tactics, and political parties are perceived as representing the opposite extremes of a spectrum: the former obstruct and hinder the democratic political process, while the latter are key actors in promoting democracy and the rule of law. ...

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3. The Lebanese Hezbollah: Armed Struggle and Political Integration

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pp. 28-78

Hezbollah (The Party of God) is a Shia Lebanese organization composed of a military branch, sociocultural institutions, and a political party. This group was chosen as a case study because of its critical dimension, its high-profile nature, and its cultural uniqueness. ...

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4. The Palestinian Hamas: Political Participation between Internal Cohesion and Dissent

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pp. 79-129

The reasons behind choosing to analyze the political evolution of the Palestinian Hamas partially coincide with those that led to the selection of Hezbollah as a case study. Hamas also exemplifies a highly institutionalized and sophisticated organization, and thus it can also be used as a “least likely” case study to test the cyclical model of political wing formation and development. ...

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5. The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland: A Model of Political Transition?

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pp. 130-175

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA or PIRA) is an Irish republican paramilitary organization and one of the most popular armed groups of the last century. 1 The IRA is known as the oldest-operating terrorist organization active within Western Europe and is responsible for some of the most infamous operations of the past decades. ...

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6. Armed Groups and Political Integration: Findings and Policy Implications

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pp. 176-194

This book focuses on the relationship between armed groups and institutional politics, in particular looking at the reasons behind an armed group’s decision to establish a political wing and to compete in elections. The main assumption is that armed groups, as social organizations pursuing a political agenda, are rational players interested in surviving and guaranteeing their “organizational maintenance.”1 ...


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pp. 195-218


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pp. 219-230


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pp. 231-239

E-ISBN-13: 9781421409757
E-ISBN-10: 1421409755
Print-ISBN-13: 9781421409740
Print-ISBN-10: 1421409747

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 2 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013