Al Qaeda in Iraq demobilizing the threat
Kraner, Timothy A.
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The war in Iraq is neither won, nor lost. To achieve US objectives in Iraq it is critical to understand not only the Iraqi Sunni components of the ongoing conflict, but also the Salafi-Jihadist elements as well. This thesis uses a social mobilization approach to study of the Salafi-Jihadi insurgent group, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) describing the group's political opportunities, mobilizing structures, frames and repertoires of action. The result of this analysis shows an internationally-supported ideologically-motivated, militant group with few Iraqi-specific political or social strengths. This thesis applies this knowledge to established counterinsurgency methods to highlight organizational strengths and weaknesses in comparison to a normative counterinsurgency effort. This relational analysis views the conflict through a six dimensional framework to examine where the insurgents have significant strength and where they are vulnerable to counterinsurgency actions. We then examine the current status of the counterinsurgency operations and stabilization effort in Iraq. Trend-analysis tracks changes in key indicators through time underscoring areas for concern and areas of positive movement. Based on the nature of AQI and the current trends, this thesis will draw general conclusions and provide recommendations based on the AQI threat designed to undercut its strengths and exploit its weaknesses.
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