Moving beyond terror groups to examine non-state actors including warlords, gangs and private security companies, Violent Non-State Actors: • Guides you through the core theories and concepts, taking a multidisciplinary approach • Examines different explanations for the emergence of violent non-state actors as well as strategies for dealing with them • Weaves in international case studies from groups including the Islamic State, Los Zetas, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, as well as discussion questions, further reading and definitions of key terms A must read for upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate students in politics, international relations, security and terrorism studies.

Private Security Companies and Paramilitary Units

Private Security Companies and Paramilitary Units

Key Terms

  • Blackwater
  • Contras
  • DynCorp
  • Plausible deniability
  • United Self-Defence Forces (AUC)

This chapter provides an introduction to private security companies (PSCs), paramilitary units and death squads. The former are hired by states to achieve stability. They are mostly motivated by profits but they are more political than they first appear. The latter two are contracted covertly by states to do their dirty work. Both usually fight at the behest of a government, but their motivations are largely economic. These actors merit attention in order to better understand how they negatively or positively contribute to security. The chapter will offer examples of US PSCs and the now defunct South African group, Executive Outcomes.


PSCs are non-state actors that are recruited by ...

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