The Power of Politics vs. The Politics of Power: Exploring the Political Activism of Armed Groups and Its Regulation.
Berti Alberti, Benedetta.
Abstract: 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 win public office, some armed groups have gained enormous political and decision-making power. However, despite the important real-world implications of this trend, the existing literature on ... read morethe topic is still scarce and it fails to adequately grapple with the complexity of the issue. The study tackles the subject by looking into what factors motivate an armed group to set up a political wing and compete in elections and by assessing how political participation impacts upon the armed group's strategic outlook. The study argues that, contrary to a consistent strain in the literature, the political involvement of armed groups should not be seen in the context of a linear development process from armed to political organization. Instead, it should be analyzed by applying a cyclical model: the group's political involvement occurs cyclically, as political accommodation and armed struggle are chosen in turn in response to shifts in the relation and the internal balance of power between a given group's political and armed wings. To test the hypotheses on political wing formation and development, the research relies on comparative case studies, and analyzes the decision-making patterns of the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian Hamas, and the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
At the request of the author, this graduate work is not available to view in the Tufts Digital Library.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Diplomacy, History, and Politics.
Advisor: Richard Shultz.
Committee: Andrew Hess, and William Martel.
Keywords: International Relations, and Middle Eastern Studies.read less