Does the United States presence in Iraq increase or decrease violence?
Vogt, Zachary Ryan.
Thesis (M.A.L.S.)--Georgetown University, 2008.; Includes bibliographical references. Iraq's history is extremely turbulent. Even in the 1900s, coups transpired frequently and were usually bloody. After many coups in the 1900s, Saddam assumed power in a dictatorial fashion and followed Iraqi culture norms by using extreme nepotism when selecting personnel for his regime. Political changes were also frequent in ancient Iraqi history, but terrorism and widespread violence were not significant problems in the 1900s. After the US invasion, Iraq ostensibly fell into a conflict trap, which Paul Collier, director of the Development Research Group at the World Bank, defines as being prone to civil war or conflict, after civil war. How did Iraq get into the violent predicament it is in, and more importantly, does the US presence add to or detract from Iraq's ability to get out of the violent trap?; To answer the question above and gain an understanding of Iraq's present situation, this paper explores the beginnings of Iraqis and their culture which transcend time and continue to affect contemporary events. The research for this thesis focused on Iraq's deep rooted turbulent history, by showing the numerous times governments changed hands by depicting life in Iraq under and after Saddam by offering analysis of actions that have transpired in Iraq since Saddam's removal in 2003. Collier offers an analysis of civil wars, which is an asset to this evaluation of Iraq's present situation.; Iraq's volatile history and tribalistic culture reverberated through time and holds sway in contemporary events. The US ideology (democracy) was alien to Iraqis (tribalistic culture), which further exacerbated problems. Aside from tribalistic, sectarian, and religious difficulties that sparked extreme violence, Iraqis grew weary of their occupiers. While the US efforts were beneficial in some ways, US presence was found to exacerbate violence.; Despite the fact that Iraq has made significant strides politically, socially, and in regards to security, this paper concludes that the United States has more of a negative effect by continuing to occupy Iraq. This conclusion is based on trends throughout history and contemporary analysis of international efforts to shorten or stop civil wars. Even the latest draft agreement (Status of Forces Agreement) between the United States and Iraq calls for US troops to be out of Iraqi streets in towns and cities by the middle of 2009, and completely out of Iraq by January 1, 2012. The current US presence in Iraq does more harm than good. However, this thesis does not argue for an acute withdrawal. The exit strategy should be a meticulous, methodical, gradual procedure, contrary to the ostensible hasty actions that led to the initial invasion and the chaotic aftermath.
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