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The Rebel and the Politician: Developing a Typology of Insurgent Civil–Military Relations

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The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought returned focus to civil–military relations in complex, fluid, and “asymmetric” environments. The close integration of politics and violence has led to renewed calls for more careful civilian control and involvement in strategy-making and operational design. While scholars and practitioners have struggled with this pressing task, so have the insurgent organizations that the United States and others have been fighting against. And, in some ways, rebels have been more successful in harmonizing military and political efforts. Yet, there is little research into the form and implications of their civil–military balance. This article constructs a typology of rebel civil–military relations that maps the overlap of an intensive form of civilian control, political integration, and the degree of military professionalization. 

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