Yelena Biberman is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and an assistant professor of political science at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She brings to the Council expertise on unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and militias in Pakistan and India. Her book, Gambling with Violence: State Outsourcing of War in Pakistan and India, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019.  

Biberman’s research has appeared in academic journals, such as the Journal of Strategic Studies, Asian Security, Modern Asian Studies, Political Science Quarterly, Terrorism and Political Violence, and Perspectives on Terrorism, and as well as in policy and mainstream media, such as the Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Military Review, Political Violence @ a Glance, Greater Kashmir, and Moscow Times. Her work has been supported by numerous grants, including from the Atlantic Council, United States Institute of Peace, Fulbright Fellowship, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and Smith Richardson Foundation.

She received her BA from Wellesley College (with coursework at Oxford University), master’s from Harvard University, and PhD from Brown University. She has also worked as a journalist in Moscow, Russia.

Recent Publications

Book

Gambling with Violence: State Outsourcing of War in Pakistan and India, New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Articles

China and Pakistan Have Struck a Devil’s Bargain with Militants” (with Jared Schwartz), Foreign Policy, April 5, 2019.

Pakistan Is Ready for Stability in Afghanistan” (with Jared Schwartz), East Asia Forum, Australian National University, March 29, 2019.

Ending Terror in Kashmir,” Political Violence @ a Glance, February 22, 2019. [Reprinted in Sri Lanka Guardian]

Global War on Dangerous Ideas” (with Samir Ahmad), Greater Kashmir, January 20, 2019.

Militia Welfare: Resource Endowment and Public Goods Provision by Armed Nonstate Groups in Pakistan and Nigeria” (with Megan Turnbull), Political Science Quarterly 133, no. 4 (Winter 2018-19): 695-727.

Self-Defense Militias, Death Squads, and State Outsourcing of Violence in India and Turkey,” Journal of Strategic Studies 41, no. 5 (2018): 751-781.

Genocidal Violence, Nation-Building, and the Bloody Birth of Bangladesh” (with Rachel Castellano), Asian Security 14, no. 2 (2018): 106-118.

Pakistani Militants Have Created Their Own Political Party. Can It Actually Win Votes?” (with Niloufer Siddiqui), Washington Post, Monkey Cage, May 7, 2018.

How We Know What We Know About Pakistan: New York Times News Production, 1954-1971,” Modern Asian Studies 51, no. 5(2017): 1598-1625.

An Opportunity for Regional Leadership in South Asia,” New Atlanticist, February 7, 2017.

Terrorist Prison Breaks” (with Trevor Cloen and Farhan Zahid), Perspectives on Terrorism 12, no. 1 (2018).

Channeling Islam: Religious Narratives on Pakistani Television and Their Influence on Pakistani Youth” (with Sahar Gul and Feryaz Ocakli), Asian Affairs: An American Review 43, No. 3 (2016): 78-97.

Why Terrorists Target Children: Outbidding, Desperation, and Extremism in the Peshawar and Beslan School Massacres” (with Farhan Zahid), Terrorism and Political Violence 31, no. 2 (2019; online February 2016): 169-184.

Bridging the Gap between Policing and Counterinsurgency in Pakistan” (with Farhan Zahid and Philip Hultquist), Military Review (November-December 2016): 37-43.

When the Strong Weaponize the Weak: States and Guerrilla Warfare,” Sustainable Security (Oxford Research Group), October 19, 2016.

Between Radicalization and Violence” (with Gage Willand), Political Violence @ a Glance, June 23, 2016.

Peace by Assassination?Political Violence @ a Glance, May 25, 2016.

 “Violence by Proxy: Russia’s Ex-Rebels and Criminals in Chechnya” (pp. 135-150), in State Terror, State Violence: Global Perspectives, Ed. Bettina Koch (Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016).

The Problem with Proxies: Ideology is No Substitute for Operational Control” (with Orr Genish) Small Wars Journal, September 27, 2015.

Reimagining Pakistan’s Militia Policy,” Atlantic Council Issue Brief, April 27, 2015.

In Pakistan, Domestic Threats Begin to Overshadow India,” Washington Post, January 6, 2015.

Are There Lessons from Pakistan for Future of Fighting in Ukraine?Washington Post, Monkey Cage, May 27, 2014.

One Shield, Two Responses: Anti-U.S. Missile Defense Shield Protests in the Czech Republic and Poland” (with Feryaz Ocakli), Politics & Policy 43, No. 2 (April 2015): 197-214.

The Politics of Diplomatic Service Reform in Post-Soviet Russia,” Political Science Quarterly 126, No. 4 (Winter 2011-2012): 669-680.

Bureaucratic Partisanship and State Building: The Case of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry,” Problems of Post-Communism 58, No. 2 (March/April 2011): 17-27. [Awarded 2011 Millar Prize]

Generation Putin,” Foreign Policy, January 22, 2008.

Pakistani Militants have Created their Own Political Party. Can it Actually Win Votes?” (with Niloufer Siddiqui), The Washington Post, 2018.

Militia Welfare: Resource Endowment and Public Goods Provision by Armed Nonstate Groups in Pakistan and Nigeria” (with Megan Turnbull), Political Science Quarterly, forthcoming.

How We Know What We Know About Pakistan: New York Times News Production, 1954-1971,” Modern Asian Studies (2017).

Genocidal Violence, Nation-Building, and the Bloody Birth of Bangladesh (with Rachel Castellano), Asian Security (2017).

Self-Defense Militias, Death Squads, and State Outsourcing of Violence in India and Turkey,” Journal of Strategic Studies (2016).

Channeling Islam: Religious Narratives on Pakistani Television and Their Influence on Pakistani Youth” (with Sahar Gul and Feryaz Ocakli), Asian Affairs: An American Review 43, No. 3 (2016): 78-97.

Bridging the Gap between Policing and Counterinsurgency in Pakistan” (with Farhan Zahid and Philip Hultquist), Military Review (November-December 2016): 37-43.

When the Strong Weaponize the Weak: States and Guerrilla Warfare,” Sustainable Security (Oxford Research Group), October 19, 2016.

Between Radicalization and Violence” (with Gage Willand), Political Violence @ a Glance, June 23, 2016.

Peace by Assassination?” Political Violence @ a Glance, May 25, 2016.

Why Terrorists Target Children: Outbidding, Desperation, and Extremism in the Peshawar and Beslan School Massacres” (with Farhan Zahid), Terrorism and Political Violence (2016).

“Violence by Proxy: Russia’s Ex-Rebels and Criminals in Chechnya” (pp. 135-150), in State Terror, State Violence: Global Perspectives, ed. Bettina Koch (Wiesbaden: Springer, 2016).

One Shield, Two Responses: Anti-U.S. Missile Defense Shield Protests in the Czech Republic and Poland” (with Feryaz Ocakli), Politics & Policy 43, No. 2 (April 2015): 197-214.

The Problem with Proxies: Ideology is No Substitute for Operational Control” (with Orr Genish), Small Wars Journal, September 27, 2015.

Reimagining Pakistan’s Militia Policy,” Atlantic Council Issue Brief, April 27, 2015.

In Pakistan, Domestic Threats Begin to Overshadow India,” Washington Post, January 6, 2015.

Are There Lessons from Pakistan for Future of Fighting in Ukraine?Washington Post, May 27, 2014.