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Topics / Arab Region Transitions

Hybrid Actors Named One of Foreign Affairs’ Best Books of 2020

Published by the Century Foundation, the Corporation-supported book analyzes armed nonstate actors that continue to impede state authority in the Middle East

A new book supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York has been recognized as one of Foreign AffairsBest Books of 2020.

Hybrid Actors: Armed Groups and State Fragmentation in the Middle East, published by the Century Foundation, a Corporation grantee, looks at a specific group of hybrid actors or “nonstate actors.” These armed entities sometimes operate in concert with the state and sometimes compete with it, represent “an enduring feature of the landscape in the Middle East and North Africa,” and act as possibly “the single greatest impediment to the reconstitution of state authority.”

The book develops the concept of the hybrid actor, explores case studies of armed groups and movements (like those of Hezbollah of Lebanon and the National Defense Forces of Syria), investigates the role of state sponsorship in the creation and evolution of these hybrid actors, and recommends how policymakers can use the hybrid concept to their benefit and incorporate these actors into their legal frameworks.

According to a review by Foreign Affairs, Hybrid Actors is “a timely and provocative discussion about a particularly challenging kind of armed nonstate actor in the Middle East.”

The book was written with support from the Corporation as part of the Century Foundations multiyear initiative on “The Future of Governance in Eroded States: Managing Fragmentation and Its Consequences in the Middle East.”

Top: Picture of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah along with the flag of the movement is seen on a section of the 11km concrete wall built by Israelis in 2018 in southern Lebanon on the border of Israel on October 1, 2020, in Kafr Kila, Lebanon. (Credit: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)