Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

On the Rights of Warlords: Legitimate Authority and Basic Protection in War-Torn Societies

  • ROBERT A. BLAIR (a1) and PABLO KALMANOVITZ (a2)
Abstract

This article examines the legitimacy of the use of force by armed nonstate actors resisting the imposition of state rule over territories they control. We focus on the rights of warlords: subnational strongmen who seek autonomy within geographically demarcated territories, but not secession or control of the state itself. We argue that behind the resistance to state-building lies a twofold question of legitimate authority: the authority of states to consolidate power within their own internationally recognized borders and the authority of warlords to resist that expansion, by force if necessary, when it threatens social order and the protection of basic rights. This article draws on just war theory to develop a set of conditions under which such resistance may be justified, explores the argument's practical implications for state-building under the tutelage of third parties (e.g., the United Nations), and demonstrates its empirical relevance through an application to Afghanistan.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Robert A. Blair is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Brown University (robert_blair@brown.edu).
Pablo Kalmanovitz is Associate Professor of Political Science, Universidad de los Andes (p.kalmanovitz20@uniandes.edu.co).
Footnotes
Hide All

Thanks to José Hernán Aguilar, Nehal Bhuta, Shawn Fraistat, Claudio López-Guerra, Catherine Lu, Frédéric Mégret, Carlo Nasi, Kevin Russell, Daniel Viehoff; participants in the 2014 Global Justice after Colonialism conference at McGill University; audiences at the Centro de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo Económico (CIDE) in Mexico, the European University Institute in Florence, and the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá; and to the four anonymous reviewers for APSR. Special thanks to Tatiana Neumann for her help and support throughout. Authors are listed alphabetically. Both contributed equally.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Ariel I. Ahram , and Charles King . 2012. “The Warlord as Arbitrageur.” Theory and Society 41 (2): 169–86.

Ana Arjona . 2014. “Wartime Institutions: A Research Agenda.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 58 (8): 1360–89.

Séverine Autesserre . 2010. The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas Barfield . 2010. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jonathan Barnes . 1982. “The Just War.” In The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy, eds. Norman Kretzmann , Anthony Kenny , and Jan Pinborg . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 771–84.

Nehal Bhuta . 2010. “New Modes and Orders: The Difficulties of a Jus Post Bellum of Constitutional Transformation.” University of Toronto Law Journal 60 (3): 799854.

M. Anne Brown , and Alex Freitas Gusmao . 2009. “Peacebuilding and Political Hybridity in East Timor.” Peace Review 21 (1): 6169.

Lars-Erik Cederman , Simon Hug , Andreas Schädel , and Julian Wucherpfennig . 2015. “Territorial Autonomy in the Shadow of Conflict: Too Little, too Late?American Political Science Review 109 (02): 354–70.

Christopher Cramer , and Jonathan Goodhand . 2002. “Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better? War, the State, and the ‘Post–Conflict’ Challenge in Afghanistan.” Development and Change 33 (5): 885909.

Mark Duffield . 1998. “Post‐Modern Conflict: Warlords, Post‐Adjustment States and Private Protection.” Civil Wars 1 (1): 65102.

Cécile Fabre . 2012. Cosmopolitan War. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Christopher J. Finlay 2015. Terrorism and the Right to Resist: A Theory of Just Revolutionary War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Francis Fukuyama . 2004. “The Imperative of State-Building.” Journal of Democracy 15 (2): 1731.

Francis Fukuyama . 2005. “‘Stateness’ First.” Journal of Democracy 16 (1): 8488.

Michael Gross . 2015. The Ethics of Insurgency: A Critical Guide to Just Guerrilla Warfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thomas Blom Hansen , and Finn Stepputat . 2001. “Introduction: States of Imagination.” In States of Imagination: Ethnographic Explorations of the Postcolonial State, eds. Thomas Blom Hansen and Finn Stepputat . Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 138.

Joseph Hellweg . 2011. Hunting the Ethical State: The Benkadi Movement of Cote d'Ivoire. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Paul Jackson . 2003. “Warlords as Alternative Forms of Governance.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 14 (2): 131–50.

Pablo Kalmanovitz . 2015. “Aggression and the Symmetrical Application of International Humanitarian Law.” International Theory 7 (1): 132.

Edward C. Luck 2010. “The Responsibility to Protect: Growing Pains or Early Promise?Ethics & International Affairs 24 (4): 349–65.

Kimberly Marten . 2007. “Warlordism in Comparative Perspective.” International Security 31 (3): 4173.

Philip Martin . 2013. “Coming Together: Power-Sharing and the Durability of Negotiated Peace Settlements.” Civil Wars 15 (3): 332–58.

Ken Menkhaus . 2007. “Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping.” International Security 31 (3): 74106.

David Miller . 2012. “Territorial Rights: Concept and Justification.” Political Studies 60 (2): 252–68.

Richard W. Miller 2011. “The Ethics of America's Afghan War.” Ethics & International Affairs 25: 103–31.

Margaret Moore . 2015. A Political Theory of Territory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay . 2014. Warlords, Strongman Governors, and the State in Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Stephen Neff . 2005. War and the Law of Nations: A General History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cara Nine . 2012. Global Justice and Territory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Phoebe Okowa . 2013. “Sovereignty Contests and the Protection of Natural Resources in Conflict Zones.” Current Legal Problems 66 (1): 3373.

Mancur Olson . 1993. “Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development.” American Political Science Review 87 (3): 567–76.

Anne Orford . 2011. International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Andreas Osiander . 2001. “Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Westphalian Myth.” International Organization 55 (2): 251–87.

Jonathan Parry . 2015. “Just War Theory, Legitimate Authority, and Irregular Belligerency.” Philosophia 43 (1): 175–96.

Magnus Reitberger . 2013. “License to Kill: Is Legitimate Authority a Requirement for Just War?International Theory 5 (1): 6493.

Barnett R. Rubin 1988. “Lineages of the State in Afghanistan.” Asian Survey 28 (11): 11881209.

David S. Siroky , and John Cuffe . 2015. “Lost Autonomy, Nationalism and Separatism.” Comparative Political Studies 48 (1): 334.

Paul Staniland . 2012. “States, Insurgents, and Wartime Political Orders.” Perspectives on Politics 10 (2): 243–64.

Anna Stilz . 2011. “Nations, States, and Territory.” Ethics 121 (3): 572601.

Anna Stilz . 2014. “Territorial Rights and National Defence.” In The Morality of Defensive War, eds. Cécile Fabre and Seth Lazar . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 203–28.

Charles. Tilly 1985. “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime.” In Bringing the State Back In, eds. Peter B. Evans , Dietrich Rueschemeyer , and Theda Skocpol . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 169–91.

Jeremy M. Weinstein 2006. Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Christopher Heath Wellman . 2005. A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Andreas Wimmer , and Conrad Schetter . 2003. “Putting State‐Formation First: Some Recommendations for Reconstruction and Peace‐Making in Afghanistan.” Journal of International Development 15 (5): 525–39.

Stefan Wolff . 2013. “Conflict Management in Divided Societies: The Many Uses of Territorial Self-Governance.” International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 20 (1): 2750.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 28
Total number of PDF views: 522 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1570 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 15th November 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.