Causes of improvement in the security environment of Iraq, 2006-2009
Wheeler, Seth A.
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Popular consensus exists that the 2007 surge of U.S. forces in Iraq led to an improved security environment. The surge was designed to reduce violence and improve security by protecting the Iraqi population - a change in strategy. According to the consensus, the security environment improved due to the surge, measured by the decreasing number of attacks. For this thesis, the security environment consists of the number of attacks and their lethality, supported by data from the Congressional Research Service. This thesis compares the timelines of the surge forces with the numbers of attacks, the lethality of those attacks, and with factors other than the surge that may have improved the security environment. This thesis argues that the surge and associated strategy may have hastened improvement to the security environment, but they were neither necessary nor sufficient for the improvements in the security environment. Several theories and conflict models offer insight into how improvement in the security environment occurred: through efforts that countered insurgent sanctuary and social support, and consequently decreased the lethality of insurgent attacks. This analysis reveals that the political efforts of the Iraqi government and grass roots movements were the necessary and sufficient conditions for improvement.
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