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Despite intense media interest in Israel and Serbia, these are not particularly unique cases. Instead, they are members of a larger group of states that define their communities more narrowly than their actual populations, relying on ascribed characteristics such as nationality, religion, or ethnicity. In such cases, a dominant group captures the state apparatus, using the bureaucracy, legislature, and armed forces to promote in-group privileges. Consequently, such states are wracked by struggles over collective dignity, identity, and resources. These disputes turn especially bitter when out-groups seek territorial autonomy or independence. Examples include Kurdish rebels in Turkey, Kashmiri separatists in India, Chechen insurgents in Russia, and indigenous peoples in Mexico. Like Serbia and Israel, these states all enjoy some measure of internal democracy

and accountability, but they are also discriminatory in allocating resources, public services, and social respect. In seeking to capture both the democratic and discriminatory aspects of such states, scholars have used terms such as "semi-democracies" or "ethnocracies," with the latter describing polities where exclusion is constructed along ethnic lines.[12]

All states seek to monopolize the use of force in their territory, and the rulers of semi-democratic states are no different. As a result, they feel compelled to use substantial violence to efficiently dispatch physical challenges to their rule. At the same time, however, these rulers encounter pressures from domestic and international audiences urging greater restraint. These audiences are influenced by local and international laws and norms, which cumulatively require states to subject their use of force to scrutiny and regulations. Domestic constituencies urging the state to play by the rules of the game are strengthened by a dense network of international human rights activists, nongovernmental groups, United Nations (UN) bodies, and bilateral agencies.

Although human rights critics cannot halt excessive or illegal state violence, they can raise popular awareness and impose modest penalties on some human rights abusers. International tribunals are prosecuting war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and individual governments, from Chile to Spain, Belgium, Ethiopia, Senegal, and Chad, have launched investigations of generals and politicians suspected of abuses, including some unrelated to their own country's experience. Human rights terminology is increasingly prominent in foreign news reporting, often rivaling economic and political interpretations of ongoing events.[13] Human rights–inspired intervention by Western militaries in Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Congo, and Sierra Leone, along with international human rights pressure in dozens of other conflicts, attests to the theme's growing salience.

The effect of international human rights oversight is greatest on small or moderately powerful states such as Serbia and Israel, dependent as they are on international flows of aid, trade, and legitimacy. When excluded populations resist, these states discover that repression is an increasingly complex affair, especially in an era of instantaneous global communications. How can one both suppress insurgencies and at the same time project a legitimate image to domestic and international observers? Countries such as Israel, Mexico, Turkey, India, and others constantly wrestle with this dilemma, seeking to evade criticism while simultaneously conducting effective repressive campaigns. Their dilemmas are exacerbated by a recent wave of global democratization, which has

made small and moderately powerful states increasingly vulnerable to domestic human rights pressure. Negotiating the contradictory imperatives of repression and legitimacy, states are trapped in what Isaac Balbus has called the "dialectic of legal repression."[14] Across time and space, coercive forces negotiate this dialectic in different ways, leading to dissimilar and often unanticipated outcomes.

During counterinsurgency operations in the early 1990s, for example, Turkish security forces burned Kurdish villages to crush the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, but did not kill large numbers of civilians or drive them across international borders.[15] Forced dislocation within Turkey without large-scale massacres was Turkey's de facto compromise between its contradictory cravings for both security and legitimacy. As a result, the fate of Turkey's Kurds has been very different from those of Iraq, who were killed in large numbers during the Iraqi Anfal campaign of the late 1980s. Iraq was not a semi-democracy and was relatively indifferent to international pressures because of its oil wealth. Unburdened by the need to cater to domestic or international critics, the Iraqi regime, unlike that of Turkey, had few constraints on its behavior.

Serbia and Israel, like other medium-sized semi-democracies, were trapped within the dialectic of legal repression during the late 1980s and early 1990s. On the one hand, both states had constructed discriminatory systems privileging one group over another, especially in times of war and crisis. Israel was organized as the state of the Jews, rendering the position of Arabs quite precarious, while Serbia was increasingly organized as the state of the Serbs, threatening the welfare of Muslim Slavs, ethnic Albanians, ethnic Croats, and others. Given nationalist politics in each country, it would have been hard for either government to ignore resistance from ethno-national outsiders, especially when those same groups appealed to international powers for support. In both cases, leaders saw violence as a necessary response to pressing security threats.

At the same time, both countries had domestic critics and international obligations, forcing them to consider norms governing the use of force. Although ruled by a populist and authoritarian regime, Serbia had, ever since 1990, enjoyed vigorous elections, as well as a moderately free press. And while Israel dominated Palestine through its military, it was also a democracy of sorts within its de jure borders, granting full rights to Jews, and many rights to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Israel's democratic elements had a longer pedigree than those of Serbia, but Israel did not have Serbia's forty-year legacy of multicultural communism. Both Serbia and Israel, moreover, were exposed

to international human rights pressures, since both saw themselves as part of the West, and both sought access to economic, political, and cultural flows from the wealthy, trend-setting global core.

In both cases, the dilemmas created by the dialectic of legal repression were profound. Neither Serbia nor Israel was entirely committed to any one violent repertoire, adopting different methods in different geographic regions, often at one and the same time. The Serbian and Israeli coercive apparatuses, like most complex organizations, did not present a single, unified face to the world; instead, they were often bundles of diverging policies.[16]

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