Implausible Sovereigns and Public Health: Violent Non-State Actors’ Response to COVID-19

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Abstract: The havoc and disarray among governments and societies caused by the COVID-19 outbreak also invited opportunities for violent non-state actors to exploit for their advantage, from governments’ failure to provide an adequate public health response or the denigration of security apparatuses due to the outbreak. Focusing on the early months of the outbreak, this study examines three courses of actions taken by those actors and the potential explanation for the variation in responses. The responses examined are actors offering public health response as a surrogate for the state, the extension of hostilities, and the request for a ceasefire. Looking at a sample of 68 organizations we suggest that the actors’ governance levels, specifically, their prior provision of social services, are the best predictor for the likelihood of them to offer public health support or conduct attack during the period examined.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Wars & Insurgencies
StatePublished - 2021


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