The growing power of armed groups in the Middle East has raised an old question: how do militants recruit new constituents? Researchers have long debated the relative merits of ideology versus services as drivers of militant groups (an argument dubbed “greed vs. grievance”).

Developments in Iraq and Lebanon have given us a better understanding of the interplay of ideas and material rewards for militia recruitment. Legacy militia groups like Hezbollah have been joined by relative newcomers like Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (“Hashd al Shaabi”) at the epicenter of power. On this podcast, Renad Mansour, a leading expert on Iraq’s paramilitaries, joins Sima Ghaddar, a keen observer of Hezbollah, to discuss the new insights about paramilitary recruitment and loyalty that they’ve learned from Iraq and Lebanon.

Participants include:

  • Sima Ghaddar, policy associate, The Century Foundation
  • Renad Mansour, research fellow, Chatham House
  • Thanassis Cambanis, senior fellow, The Century Foundation