Yelena Biberman, Gambling with Violence: State Outsourcing of War in Pakistan and India, New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

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Gambling with Violence

This book tackles a global problem that is particularly consequential for Pakistan and India: state outsourcing of violence to ordinary civilians, criminals, and ex-insurgents. Why would these countries gamble with their own national security by outsourcing violence – arming nonstate actors inside their own borders? Drawing on over 200 interviews, archival research, and fieldwork conducted across Asia, Europe, and North America, I introduce the “balance-of-interests” thesis to deepen our understanding of state-nonstate alliances in civil war. This framework centers on the distribution of power during war and shows how various combinations of interests result in distinct types of coalitions. Incorporating case studies of civil war and counterinsurgency, the book sheds light on how militias, alliances, and South Asian security connect today.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction
CHAPTER 2: State-Nonstate Alliances in Civil War: A New Balance-of-Interests Theory
CHAPTER 3: Saving the House of Islam: Pakistan’s “Volunteers” in the War of 1971
CHAPTER 4 “Guns Plus Interest:” Renegades and Villagers in India’s Kashmir War
CHAPTER 5: Tribal “Awakenings” in Pakistan and India
CHAPTER 6: All the State’s Proxies in Turkey and Russia
CHAPTER 7: Conclusion