Dealing with Armed Non-State Actors in State- and Peacebuilding: Types and Strategies
Ulrich Schneckener – 2010
For a successful treatment of contemporary wars and conflicts the engagement with armed non-state groups has become of central importance. A glance at the data delineates the quantitative dimension of the problem: The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) registered a total of 122 armed conflicts between 1989 and 2006, of which 89 were intrastate and 26 internationalized intrastate conflicts.1 In these conflicts at least one armed non-state actor is involved but normally multiple militant groups will be implicated. Looking only at rebels fighting a government, the researchers conclude that, for example, in 2002 and 2003 more than 30 per cent of the ongoing conflicts involve more than one rebel group.2 Moreover, the UCDP has introduced ‘non-state conflict’ as a new category, which refers to violent encounters between non-state actors only. In 2002, 36 ‘non-state conflicts’ were registered (compared to 32 conflicts with the involvement of a state actor); in 2006 the number was 24 (compared to 33 with state involvement).3 Although there is no reliable database that sheds light on the approximate total of armed groups, the IISS Military Balance 2007 may serve as an indication: it lists 345 armed non-state actors in all regions of the world; 50 of them alone are active in India, 25 in Iraq, 21 in Pakistan, and half a dozen each in Bangladesh and Nigeria.