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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The United States, its allies, and international organizations are just beginning to come to grips with the civil dimensions of "failed state" wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Sudans, Syria, and Yemen. In each case, it is clear that the civil dimension of the war will ultimately be as important as the military one. Any meaningful form of "victory" requires far more than defeating the current extremist threat in military terms, and reaching some temporary compromise between the major factions that divide the country. The current insurgent and other security threats exist largely because of the deep divisions within the state, the past and current failures of the government to deal with such internal divisions, and the chronic failure to meet the economic, security, and social needs of much of the nation's population. In practical terms, these failures make a given host government, other contending factions, and competing outside powers as much of a threat to each nation’s stability and future as Islamic extremists and other hostile forces. Regardless of the scale of any defeat of extremists, the other internal tensions and divisions with each country also threaten to make any such “victory” a prelude to new forms of civil war, and/or an enduring failure to cope with security, stability, recovery, and development. Any real form of victory requires a different approach to stability operations and civil-military affairs. In each case, the country the U.S. is seeking to aid failed to make the necessary economic progress and reforms to meet the needs of its people – and sharply growing population – long before the fighting began. The growth of these problems over a period of decades helped trigger the sectarian, ethnic, and other divisions that made such states vulnerable to extremism and civil conflict, and made it impossible for the government to respond effectively to crises and wars.
  • Topic: Security, War, Fragile/Failed State, ISIS, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sundan
  • Author: Patrick Martin
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for the Study of War
  • Abstract: ISIS is waging a renewed offensive campaign in recaptured areas that could exploit vulnerabilities in the Iraqi Government’s ability to respond amidst accelerating political competition before upcoming elections.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Iraq
  • Author: Andrew Shaver, Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Scholars of civil war and insurgency have long posited that insurgent organizations and their state enemies incur costs for the collateral damage they cause. We provide the first direct quantitative evidence that wartime informing is affected by civilian casualties. Using newly declassified data on tip flow to Coalition forces in Iraq we find that information flow goes down after government forces inadvertently kill civilians and it goes up when insurgents do so. These results have strong policy implications; confirm a relationship long posited in the theoretical literature on insurgency; and are consistent with a broad range of circumstantial evidence on the topic.
  • Topic: War, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, Information Age, Civilians, Casualties
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Liam P. Walsh
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Beginning in 2013, the U.S. Army began an effort to “engage regionally and respond globally.” A central tenant of this strategy, building upon National strategic guidance, is the necessity to build partner capacity. Army units, through the regionally aligned forces concept, may find themselves conducting security force assistance (SFA) missions across the globe as a means to achieve these ways. However, after examining the Army’s SFA mission in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 2003-10, it becomes apparent that institutional and organizational shortcomings plagued the Army’s initial efforts in this critical aspect of the campaign. Many of these shortcomings remain in the Army today, particularly within the Army’s core formation—the brigade combat team (BCT). This monograph examines the Army’s role in conducting SFA in Iraq, drawing key lessons for the Army’s experience there, and then provides recommendations as to how the Army can better optimize the BCT to conduct SFA, while still retaining its core mission to fight and win America’s wars.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Dr. Christopher Sims
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The Human Terrain System embedded civilians primarily in brigade combat teams (BCTs) in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2007 and 2014 to act as a collection and dispersal mechanism for sociocultural comprehension. Set against the backdrop of the program’s evolution, the experiences of these social scientists clarifies the U.S. Army’s decision to integrate social scientists at the tactical level in conflict. Based on interviews, program documents, material from Freedom of Information Act requests, and secondary sources, this book finds a series of limiting factors inhibiting social science research at the tactical level, common to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Complexity in integrating civilians into the military decision-making cycle, creating timely research with a high level of fidelity, and making granular research resonate with brigade staff all contributed to inhibiting the overall effect of the Human Terrain System. Yet, while high operational tempo in contested spaces complicates social science research at the tactical level, the author argues that there is a continued requirement for a residual capability to be maintained by the U.S. Army.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America
  • Author: Jon Kyl, Jim Talent
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: When President Obama took office, the armed services of the United States had already reached a fragile state. The Navy had shrunk to its smallest size since before World War I; the Air Force was smaller, and its aircraft older, than at any time since the inception of the service. The Army was stressed by years of war; according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, it had been underfunded before the invasion of Iraq and was desperately in need of resources to replace its capital inventory.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Marina Ottaway, Danial Kaysi
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Within days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocratic country governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Democratization, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Terrorism, War, Fragile/Failed State, Sectarian violence
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Sam Khazai
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Iraq is in an ongoing struggle to establish a new national identity, and one that can bridge across the deep sectarian divisions between its Shi'ite s and Sunnis and the ethnic division s between its Arabs and its Kurds and other minorities. At the same time, it must build a new structure of governance, economic, and social order after a period of dictatorship, war, sanctions, occupation and civil conflict that began in 1979 and has continued ever since. It must cope with a steadily growing population, and diversify an economy that is so dependent on petroleum exports that they provide some 95% of its government revenues. This struggle can still end in a new round of serious civil conflict and even in the division of the country. At the same time, Iraq does have great potential and its political divisions and ongoing low - level violence do not mean it cannot succeed in establishing stability, security, and a better life for its people.
  • Topic: Democratization, Peace Studies, War, Counterinsurgency, Self Determination
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Sean Kane
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The two rising powers in the Middle East—Turkey and Iran—are neighbors to Iraq, its leading trading partners, and rapidly becoming the most influential external actors inside the country as the U.S. troop withdrawal proceeds. Although there is concern in Washington about bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Iran, their differing visions for the broader Middle East region are particularly evident in Iraq, where a renewal of the historical Ottoman-Persian rivalry in Mesopotamia is likely as the dominant American presence fades. Turkey aims for a robust Iraqi political process in which no single group dominates, sees a strong Iraq as contributing to both its own security and regional stability, and is actively investing in efforts to expand Iraqi oil and gas production to help meet its own energy needs and fulfill its goal of becoming the energy conduit from the Middle East to Europe. Iran prefers a passive neighbor with an explicitly sectarian political architecture that ensures friendly Shiite-led governments; sees a strong Iraq as an inherent obstacle to its own broader influence in the region and, in the nightmare scenario, once again possibly a direct conventional military threat; and looks askance at increased Iraqi hydrocarbon production as possible competition for its own oil exports. Baghdad meanwhile believes that it can become a leader in the Middle East but is still struggling to define an inclusive national identity and develop a foreign policy based on consensus. In its current fractured state, Iraq tends to invites external interference and is subsumed into the wider regional confrontation between the Sunni Arab defenders of the status quo and the “resistance axis” led by Shiite Iran. Turkey has an opening in Iraq because it is somewhat removed from this toxic Arab-Persian divide, welcomes a strong Iraq, and offers the Iraqi economy integration with international markets. Ankara could now allay Iraqi Shiite suspicions that it intends to act as a Sunni power in the country and not allow issues on which Turkish and Iraqi interests deviate to set the tone for their relationship. The U.S. conceptualization of an increased Turkish influence in Iraq as a balance to Iran's is limited and could undermine Turkey's core advantages by steering it towards a counterproductive sectarian approach. A more productive U.S. understanding is of Turkey as a regional power with the greatest alignment of interests in a strong, stable, and selfsufficient country that the Iraqis want and that the Obama administration has articulated as the goal of its Iraq policy. On the regional level, a strong and stable Iraq is a possible pivot for Turkish and Iranian ambitions, enabling Ankara and hindering Tehran. Washington may well have its differences with Turkey's new foreign policy of zero problems with its neighbors, but the Turkish blend of Islam, democracy, and soft power is a far more attractive regional template than the Iranian narrative of Islamic theocracy and hard power resistance. The United States should therefore continue to welcome increased Turkish-Iraqi economic, trade, and energy ties and where possible support their development as a key part of its post-2011 strategy for Iraq and the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Imperialism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: John K. Naland
  • Publication Date: 10-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Embedded provincial reconstruction teams (ePRTs) were small State Department- led units inserted into U.S. combat brigades in Iraq from 2007 to 2010 to support military counterinsurgency efforts at the local level. During major combat operations in 2007 and into 2008, ePRTs provided important support to military counterinsurgency efforts. As U.S. combat units wound down these efforts and withdrew from towns and cities, ePRTs did useful-but harder to quantify-work in mentoring local officials. Combat brigades and ePRTs generally worked well together. However, some units were unsure of how best to employ civilians. The military and civilians also sometimes had differing views on issues of short-term versus long-term goals. Despite problems, ePRT veterans believe that they had a positive effect in both supporting military counterinsurgency efforts and helping local Iraqi officials prepare for self-reliance. Interviewees identified a variety of operational problems that detracted from ePRT mission accomplishment. The Iraq ePRTs are now history, but as the United States continues to use civil-military teams in Afghanistan, these observed lessons need to be learned and acted upon.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam Mausner
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The security arena will face the most drastic changes in U.S.-Iraqi strategic relations over the next two years. Iraq must assume all responsibility for its internal and external security once the United States withdraws by December 31, 2011, unless it invokes the terms of the Strategic Agreement to seek additional US aid. Iraq must both deal with its own insurgents and with problems in its relations with neighboring countries like Iran, Syria, and the Gulf states. This makes the continued improvement of all elements of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) vital both to Iraq and to the stability of the region, during the period of US withdrawal in 2010-2011 and in the years that follow.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Much is at stake in the never-ending negotiations to form Iraq's government, but perhaps nothing more important than the future of its security forces. In the seven years since the U.S.-led invasion, these have become more effective and professional and appear capable of taming what remains of the insurgency. But what they seem to possess in capacity they lack in cohesion. A symptom of Iraq's fractured polity and deep ethno-sectarian divides, the army and police remain overly fragmented, their loyalties uncertain, their capacity to withstand a prolonged and more intensive power struggle at the top unclear. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has taken worrying steps to assert authority over the security apparatus, notably by creating new bodies accountable to none but himself. A vital task confronting the nation's political leaders is to reach agreement on an accountable, non-political security apparatus subject to effective oversight. A priority for the new cabinet and parliament will be to implement the decision. And a core responsibility facing the international community is to use all its tools to encourage this to happen.
  • Topic: Security, War, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Andrew Bennet, Andrew Loomis
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
  • Abstract: Focusing on the evolving views of the 77 U.S. Senators who voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002, we seek to explain why some political leaders changed their views markedly from 2002 to 2008 and others did not. We argue that in view of the great preponderance of evidence that the initial premises of U.S. intervention in Iraq were not fulfilled, Bayesian updating cannot by itself explain the persistence of divergent views on Iraq. It is also puzzling that a half-dozen senators persisted in their support of Bush's position on Iraq even though this may have contributed to their electoral defeat. We use a combination of political and psychological variables, including ideology, party affiliation, safety of the senator's seat, military service, cognitive style, and presidential aspirations to explain why some senators changed their public positions on Iraq within a year, others did so by 2006, still others in 2007, and some changed very little in more than five years. We combine these variables into a typological theory and test it against a qualitative analysis of 20 senators' views on Iraq. We conclude that our model is relatively successful in predicting not only when senators' views changed but what rationales they gave for why their initial expectations were not borne out. We also note several senators who prove important anomalies for our model, including Senators Lieberman, who was the only Democrat who did not move toward opposing Bush's policies, and McCain, who thus far has not moved toward the political center on Iraq despite having effectively secured his party's nomination.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Arabia
  • Author: Radha Iyengar, Luke N. Condra, Joseph Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: A central question in intrastate conflicts is how insurgents are able to mobilize supporters to participate in violent and risky activities. A common explanation is that violence committed by counterinsurgent forces mobilizes certain segments of the population through a range of mechanisms. We study the effects of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan to quantify the effect of such casualties on subsequent insurgent violence. By comparing uniquely detailed micro-data along temporal, spatial, and gender dimensions we can distinguish short-run 'information' and 'capacity' effects from the longer run 'propaganda' and 'revenge' effects. In Afghanistan we find strong evidence that local exposure to civilian casualties caused by international forces leads to increased insurgent violence over the long-run, what we term the 'revenge' effect. Matching districts with similar past trends in violence shows that counterinsurgent-generated civilian casualties from a typical incident are responsible for 1 additional violent incident in an average sized district in the following 6 weeks and lead to increased violence over the next 6 months. There is no evidence that out-of-area events—errant air strikes for example—lead to increased violence, nor is there evidence of short run effects, thus ruling out the propaganda, information, and capacity mechanisms. Critically, we find no evidence of a similar reaction to civilian casualties in Iraq, suggesting the constraints on insurgent production of violence may be quite conflict-specific. Our results imply that minimizing harm to civilians may indeed help counterinsurgent forces in Afghanistan to reduce insurgent recruitment.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Conflict, Violence, War on Terror, Civilians, Casualties
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Frank G. Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: America's ongoing battles in Afghanistan and Iraq have highlighted limitations in our understanding of the complexity of modern warfare. Furthermore, our cultural prism has retarded the institutionalization of capabilities needed to prevail in stabilization and counter-insurgency missions.
  • Topic: War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America
  • Author: Christopher J. Lamb, Matthew J. Schmidt, Berit G. Fitzsimmons
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: Mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles offer an excellent case study for investigating the current debate over the Pentagon's approach to developing and fielding irregular warfare capabilities. MRAPs first gained prominence for their ability to protect U.S. forces from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and because the Pentagon did not deploy them en masse to Iraq until almost 5 years of fighting had passed. More recently, following extraordinary efforts to field more than 10,000 MRAPs quickly, the program has been criticized as wasteful and unnecessary.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Nationalism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: William D. Anderson, Jr.
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: With the United States currently engaged in difficult and taxing counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, renewed emphasis has been focused upon the country's cap abilities and priorities vis - à - vis this type of warfare. Within the military, the Air Force has been especially and increasingly criticized for being too enamored with a Cold - War era conventionally minded force structure and for not shifting aggressively to meet the threats of COIN - style conflicts that many predict will be pervasive throughout the Global War on Terror.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Steven Simon
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Successive Israeli governments have held that a nuclear weapons capability in the region, other than Israel's own, would pose an intolerable threat to Israel's survival as a state and society. Iran's nuclear program—widely regarded as an effort to obtain a nuclear weapon, or put Tehran a “turn of a screw” away from it—has triggered serious concern in Israel. Within the coming year, the Israeli government could decide, much as it did twenty-eight years ago with respect to Iraq and two years ago with respect to Syria, to attack Iran's nuclear installations in order to delay its acquisition of a weapons capability.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, War, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Tehran, Syria
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 31 January, Iraqis will head to the polls in fourteen of eighteen governorates to elect new provincial councils. The stakes are considerable. Whereas the January 2005 elections helped put Iraq on the path to all-out civil war, these polls could represent another, far more peaceful turning point. They will serve several important objectives: refreshing local governance; testing the strength of various parties; and serving as a bellwether for nationwide political trends. In several governorates, new parties or parties that failed to run four years ago may oust, or at least reduce the dominance of, a handful of dominant parties whose rule has been marred by pervasive mismanagement and corruption. This in itself would be a positive change with far-reaching consequences as the nation braces for parliamentary elections later in 2009.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Islam, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As sectarian violence in Iraq has ebbed over the past year, a new and potentially just as destructive political conflict has arisen between the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government in Erbil. This conflict has manifested itself in oratory, backroom negotiations and military manoeuvres in disputed territories, raising tensions and setting off alarm bells in Washington just as the Obama administration is taking its first steps to pull back U.S. forces. A lasting solution can only be political – involving a grand bargain on how to divide or share power, resources and territory – but in the interim both sides should take urgent steps to improve communications and security cooperation, run joint military checkpoints and patrols in disputed territories and refrain from unilateral steps along the new, de facto dividing line, the so-called trigger line.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Ethnic Conflict, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Washington, Middle East, Arabia, Kurdistan