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Armed Political Organizations

, 256 pages

2 b&w illus.

June 2013



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Armed Political Organizations

From Conflict to Integration

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.

Benedetta Berti is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and a lecturer at Tel Aviv University.

" Armed Political Organizations tackles the vital but neglected topic of armed groups' participation in the political process. By focusing on a mix of internal organizational, political, and structural factors, Berti offers an informed and compelling explanation of the behavior of hybrid groups and counters the flawed argument that political participation necessarily moderates a group's behavior."

"This is an important and timely overview of terrorist groups and their attempts to become actors that are engaged in the democratic process, which highlights the difficulties and tradeoffs that terrorists have faced and shows how they—and their enemies—have responded. Benedetta Berti deserves huge credit for producing such a comprehensive and brilliant analysis."

"Berti offers an in-depth analysis of the political strategies of major non-state armed groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, filling a gap in how these actors are understood. Her analysis has important real-world policy implications. This is an important book."

" Armed Political Organizations is a fascinating, intelligent read providing clear and coherent analysis of a global problem facing nations around the globe. Berti’s research puts a face on terrorists and terrorist organizations as they struggle for a respectable place at the table and a voice for their cause."

"The author’s conceptual framework and case studies are an important contribution to understanding the types of measures that governments need to adopt in order to engage with their terrorist adversaries who may have finally entered the phase in which they are ready to transform themselves into legitimate political actors."

"Berti's intricate research reveals the history and institutional components of each group beyond what we have come to accept about each."

"The book is a welcome addition to the literature, offering both commendable policy prescriptions and a framework on which other scholars may build."

"[ Armed Political Organizations] provides an innovative new lens through which to understand and evaluate the creation of political wings by armed groups... a worthy piece of scholarship."

"Armed Political Organizations' main contribution is supplying the foundation for future research by formulating key analytical questions about armed groups that have not been addressed in the literature on this topic."

"... provide[s] valuable new ways of looking at and analyzing aspects of terrorism."

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