Inducing alignment the dynamic impact of repression and mobilizing structures on population support
Thomas, Phillip W.
Decker, Brian E.
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This thesis provides an alternative to the surge theory as a basis for understanding the dramatic change in the security situation in Anbar, Iraq. Typological theory is used to develop a conceptual framework of strategic interaction that explains how different combinations of government and insurgent repression types lead to the alignment of the affected population. Process tracing is used to test our hypotheses of population alignment, to make inferences about how the population reacted to the repression tactics of the government and the insurgent, and ultimately, to construct an explanation for the defeat of AQI through the alignment of the tribal population in the Anbar province of Iraq. Game theory compliments process tracing by verifying the internal logic of the typology and observations. In addition, the development of an agent-based model (ABM) verifies the internal logic and extends the external validity of the author's substantive theory. The model replicates and reproduces the dynamic history of mechanisms and processes by manipulating the parameters that alter the affects of the interaction of repression tactics on population alignment. Then, theoretical predictions are tested against observations from the case study of the Anbar Awakening to assess the degree of congruence between the projections of the conceptual framework and the longitudinal variation of observations. The docking procedure of this research design confirms the utility of channeling for the counterinsurgent against insurgent coercion. However, the findings suggest that this dynamic is heavily dependent on intermediating mechanisms, such as the insurgent's social embeddedness and the population's incentive structures. Lastly, the feasibility and potential areas of applications for the models is provided.
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