Losing the Population; the Impact of Coalition Policy and Tactics on the Population and the Iraqi Insurgency   [open pdf - 516KB]

"This paper examines the initial phases of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and evaluates the impact of Coalition policy and tactics on the population and the Iraqi insurgency. The Coalition has faced unanticipated challenges and violence in Iraq for three primary reasons: First, an inability to provide security for the Iraqi population, second, the rapid collapse in Iraqi confidence in the Coalition, and finally, the availability of uncontested physical and information space for opposition mobilization. These three key developments occurred due to a mismatch between Coalition policies and tactics implemented in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. At the macro level of analysis, Coalition policies and tactics are evaluated using criteria established by a first-hand authority on Arab revolt: T.E. Lawrence, who fostered revolt in Mesopotamia in WWI. At a more specific level of analysis, the author examines, through the lens of social movement theory, the creation and growth of opposition in Sunni areas, as well as the immediate threat posed by the Sadr II Movement. This paper concludes that the rapid decline of popular support for the Coalition between April and August 2003 emanated from Coalition policies and tactics that did not emphasize security for the population. In turn, these security policies created and enabled opportunities and space in which opposition to the Coalition could mobilize with relative impunity."

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