Third generation gangs revisited the Iraq insurgency
Haussler, Nicholas I.
Baylouny, Anne Marie
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The insurgency in Iraq has continued despite the determination of U.S. and Iraqi forces. U.S. counter-insurgent strategy has operated from the premise that the main thrust behind anti-U.S. activities is a combination of Sunnis desiring a return to their former privileged position and tribal collective actors with long-standing grievances fuelled by radical Islam. Yet an analysis incorporating insights from gang theory illuminates the diverse, practical, and local motivations of those involved in insurgent networks. Gang theory is uniquely suited to illuminate the street-level dynamics that drive insurgent violence. Through this, a more precise picture of the relevant networks and their operative motivations can be drawn, allowing finer tuned policies targeted to the differentiated factors behind non-state violence. I first consider the origins of and interactions between the armed groups operating in Iraq for discernable trends in development, paying particular attention to factors consistent with gang models. I then alter the gang model for the context of Iraq, and present an integrated model that articulates the likely effects of state-insurgent interaction on stability and security there. I conclude with recommendations demonstrating the model's relevance for strategic use in other regions.
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