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Today’s civil wars are becoming more frequent, deadlier to civilians, and harder to resolve. In countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Nigeria, violent extremist groups and other insurgencies pose direct threats to the viability of the state and local populations. Counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies increasingly employ pro-government militias (PGMs), assumed to be crucial partners for combatting dangerous actors, winning back territory, and gathering intelligence. PGMs are seen as necessary in the fight against ISIS in Iraq, countering al-Shabab in Somalia, and facing off against Boko Haram in Nigeria. However, PGMs often become spoilers of peace, invested in the conflict and deleteriously but powerfully shaping post-conflict state-building, and political and economic processes. They also become entangled in regional rivalries and geopolitical conflicts, sometimes triggering international conflict.
On April 3, the Brookings Institution’s Africa Security Initiative and the Centre for Policy Research at United Nations University will offer comprehensive insights into militia dynamics and discuss policy implications, based on in-depth field research in Nigeria, Somalia, and Iraq. After a panel discussion, questions will be taken from the audience.
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