US Political Transition Policy and Post-2003 Violence in Iraq
Barsness, Jonathan A.
Moghaddam, Fathali M.
In attempting to understand post-invasion violence, particularly in the years 2005 - 2007, policymakers, government officials, military personnel, and scholars have identified numerous and legitimate factors that contributed to overall instability within Iraq. What has been lacking, however, is a study that considers the linkages between levels of violence and the political transition process. Given the ongoing instability in Iraq, this research explores the connection between levels of violence, dissatisfaction among Iraq's diverse ethnic, religious, and sectarian groups, and the political transition process. In assessing the volatility of Iraqi society, this analysis reveals the impact and importance of the US-directed political transition process, including efforts to: (a) establish an Iraqi Interim Government and hold elections; (b) structure security policy; (c) influence the development of the Iraqi constitution; and (d) integrate or isolate key religious and political leaders into the emerging political system. Upon a critical examination of the above factors, this study argues that the inability of the United States and Coalition partners to quickly and effectively implement an inclusive political transition process increased the probability of violence and instability throughout Iraq.
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