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Foreign FightersTransnational Identity in Civic Conflicts$
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David Malet

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199939459

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199939459.001.0001

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A History of Foreign Fighters

A History of Foreign Fighters

(p.33) 2 A History of Foreign Fighters
Foreign Fighters

David Malet

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an overview of foreign fighters over the past 1,000 years and offers an original dataset detailing their presence in modern civil wars since 1816. Transnational non-state military groups date back to at least the Crusades period. Laws restricting participation in them began with the United States early in its history, but have since been adopted by most countries and in international laws against mercenaries. This chapter argues that hired guns such as private security companies should not be counted as foreign fighters because they operate under state sanction rather than as rebels. The dataset finds at least 70 cases of foreign fighters in 331 modern civil wars. The foreign fighters have been increasing in number and win more of their conflicts than purely local insurgents do. Most of them have not been Islamists.

Keywords:   foreign fighter, civil war, mercenary

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