Contents: 1. Introduction. 2. State-Nonstate Alliances in Civil War: A New Balance-of-Interests Theory. 3. Saving the House of Islam: Pakistan's "Volunteers" in the War of 1971. 4. "Guns Plus Interest:" Renegades and Villagers in India's Kashmir War. 5. Tribal "Awakenings" in Pakistan and India. 6. All the State's Proxies in Turkey and Russia. Conclusion. Notes. Index.
In Gambling with Violence, Yelena Biberman 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, Biberman introduces 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, her book sheds light on how militias, alliances, and South Asian security connect today.