Reinoud Leenders – Outsourcing State Violence: The National Defence Force, "Stateness" and Regime Resilience in the Syrian War – 10 May 2017

About the lecture

From the beginning of the popular uprisings that escalated into the Syrian conflict, the Syrian regime outsourced part of its state-violence to core militias, partly to address the regime’s manpower shortages. This lecture describes the formation and deployment of the largest of such militias, the National Defence Force (NDF), as it made a significant contribution to the regime’s military advances.  The regime’s devolution of its violence to militias including the NDF brought about a sharp contraction of its ‘stateness’ but this did not constitute ‘state failure’ or its collapse. In this context the regime’s elaborate measures to manage or counter the risks and downsides of deploying non-state militias underscore its general adaptability in its authoritarian governance.

About the speaker

Reinoud Leenders is a Reader in International Relations and Middle East Studies in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. He has formerly worked for the International Crisis Group based in Beirut, and holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Over the past few years he has published several articles on Middle East Politics in general and on Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in particular. His work deals with the political economy of corruption, authoritarian governance, forced migration and conflict. More info: personal webpage




Aula M.002, 15u - 17u, 10 mei 2017. 

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