Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Inside Insurgency: Violence, Civilians, and Revolutionary Group Behavior

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Inside Insurgency: Violence, Civilians, and Revolutionary Group Behavior

Article excerpt

Inside Insurgency: Violence, Civilians, and Revolutionary Group Behavior. By Claire Metelits. New York: New York University Press, 2010. 242pp. $70 ($23, paper).

Inside Insurgency addresses a question important to both academics and policy makers: How does one explain the variation in the types and level of victimization of civilian populations by insurgent groups. Some groups brutalize the local population while others do not. Some insurgent groups attack civilians but only some of the time.

Metelits, assistant professor of political science at Washington State University, has conducted extensive field research in Colombia, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, and Turkey since 200 1 . Braving insurgent hot-spots, she interviewed more than a hundred insurgent leaders, military commanders, government officials, and civilians. Her research focuses on three insurgent groups in particular: the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and the SudanPeople's Liberation Army (SPLA). Although each organization has preyed on the local population, Metelits explores the variations in their victimization of civilians. The PKK targeted Turkish civilians for some time before moderating this practice. FARC evolved in the opposite way, from protecting Colombian civilians to killing, kidnapping, and extorting them. The SPL A's trajectory was akin to that of FARC, committing widespread human-rights violations against the southern Sudanese people before winning over their allegiance. …

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