THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION ON THE RISE OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ. A Master s Thesis. by BURAK AĞALDAY - PDF

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BURAK AĞALDAY THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION Bilkent University 2016 THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION ON THE RISE OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ A Master s Thesis by BURAK AĞALDAY Department of International

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BURAK AĞALDAY THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION Bilkent University 2016 THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION ON THE RISE OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ A Master s Thesis by BURAK AĞALDAY Department of International Relations İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University Ankara June 2016 To my parents THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION ON THE RISE OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ The Graduate School of Economics and Social Sciences of İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University by BURAK AĞALDAY In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS İHSAN DOĞRAMACI BİLKENT UNIVERSITY ANKARA June 2016 ABSTRACT THE IMPACT OF 2003 US-led INVASION ON THE RISE OF TERRORISM IN IRAQ Ağalday, Burak M.A., Department of International Relations Supervisor: Asst. Prof. Dr. Can Emir MUTLU June 2016 The thesis argues that the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq has created the contributing factors for the rise of radicalism and the rise of violent organizations in Iraq. In this study, military and political aspects of the US practices in Iraq after the invasion are scrutinized to highlight the contributing factors that have led to radicalism and emergence of an alleged state, the ISIS, and violent organizations. The study illustrates how the US-led invasion for War on Terror has turned out to be a contributing factor for radicalism and terrorism. Firstly, the conditions that promote terrorism are highlighted depending on the large-n studies in the literature. Secondly, how the US political and military practices in Iraq have paved the way for these conditions are analyzed based on two indicators, namely political discrimination and seeking for revenge. In addition, the problem that how these two indicators influenced people s decision to join the violent organizations is highlighted. As a result of this study, I find that the US involvement in Iraq in the name of War on Terror has contributed to the rise of terrorism. Keywords: Iraq, ISIS, Middle East, Terrorism, United States I ÖZET 2003 IRAK İŞGALİNİN TERÖRİZMİN ARTMASINA ETKİSİ Ağalday, Burak Yüksek Lisans, Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü Tez Yöneticisi: Yrd. Doç. Dr. Can Emir MUTLU Haziran 2016 Bu çalışma, ABD önderliğinde 2003 yılında gerçekleştirilen Irak işgalinin, ülkede artan radikalleşme ve yükselen şedit örgütler için zemin hazırladığını ortaya koymayı hedeflemektedir. Çalışmada, IŞİD ve diğer örgütlerin doğuşuna ve radikalleşmenin yükselmesine katkı sağlayan faktörlerin aydınlatılması amacıyla ABD uygulamalarının askeri ve politik yönü mercek altına alınmıştır. Böylelikle, ABD nin Teröre Karşı Savaş amacıyla gerçekleştirdiği işgalin, nasıl radikalizm ve terörizmi tetikleyen bir değişkene dönüştüğünü açıklamayı amaçlamıştır. İlk olarak, terörü besleyen koşullar geniş katılımlı çalışmalardan yola çıkılarak tartışılmıştır. ABD nin askeri ve siyasi uygulamalarının bu koşulları nasıl ortaya çıkardığı, siyasi dışlama ve intikam alma duygusu gibi iki değişken üzerinden irdelenmiştir. Bu kapsamda, bu iki değişkenin şedit örgütlere katılım konusunda insanların kararlarını nasıl etkilediği tartışılmıştır. Sonuç olarak, Teröre Karşı Savaş adı altında gerçekleştirilen ABD işgalinin terörizmin artmasına katkı sağladığı görülmüştür. Anahtar Kelimeler: ABD, Irak, IŞİD, Ortadoğu, Terörizm II ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis is dedicated to my mother who always encourages me to follow the way that I am happy with, and who always asks how many years left to complete my studies which makes me laugh each time. Her presence and simple questions inspire me and allow me to leave the complexities of the world. The thesis is dedicated to my mother since I want her know that I completed one more degree and there is still a long way to go which will push her to ask me again What will you be at the end? This thesis is also dedicated to my father who passed away years ago, and left his legacy of being open-minded and productive for me. His ideas will always stay alive and flourish as long as my descendants and I keep breathing. I would first like to thank my advisor, Can Emir MUTLU, for his kind assistance to my thesis. Beyond that, I am very glad to write my thesis with him as he drained all the academic dogmas in my mind and stimulated me into producing unorthodox ideas. He guided me in an academic equilibrium that I produced my own work through his spot-on critical questions. I would also like to thank my family for their financial support and continuous encouragement during this period. Special emphasis should be given to my elder brother, Bünyamin, whose assistance is the fulcrum of this study and to my fiancée, Ayşe, for her patience in this period. III TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT... I ÖZET... II ACKNOWLEDGMENTS... III TABLE OF CONTENTS... IV LIST OF FIGURES... VI CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION Methodology The Significance of the Thesis... 7 CHAPTER 2: STATE OF THE ART OF THE LITERATURE ON TERRORISM On Radicalization On Terrorism On Structural Causes of Terrorism On Psychological Causes of Terrorism On Critical Approaches to Terrorism Studies A Quick Glance at the Literature on Terrorism CHAPTER 3: A HISTORY OF IRAQ Baath Rule The Saddam Era ( ) Ethnic, Sectarian and Ideological Conflict in Iraq The Kurds The Shiites Concluding Remarks Foreign Policy of Iraq CHAPTER 4: IRAQ ON THE EVE OF 2003 INVASION The Invasion and the Politics in Iraq IV 4.2. Violent Groups Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the ISIS Analytical Conclusion CHAPTER 5: THE IMPACT OF THE INVASION ON RISING TERRORISM Whither Terrorism? Is Revenge-seeking What People Make of It? Stay but Obey! CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION REFERENCES V LIST OF FIGURES 1. The Number of Terrorist Incidents in Iraq between VI CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons [...] History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight. (Bush, 2002) The speech quoted above introduces the genesis of 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. After the September 11 Attack, President of the USA, George W. Bush, stated the foreign policy orientation of the US in the first decade of the 21 st century by assigning his country as a responsible power in fighting terrorism in the name of democracy. The US, alongside with the UK, invaded Iraq on March, The occupation lasted nearly a decade and ended in In this period, the world witnessed great catastrophes in Iraq which does not require any substantiation. More than 150,000 civilians lost their lives (Iraq Body Count, n.d.). About 4 million people have been internally displaced or fled Iraq by 2007 (UNHCR, 2007). The US spent nearly $3 trillion for the war in Iraq by 2008 (Stiglitz & Bilmes, 2008). The number is greater than the GDP of 183 members of the UN and approximately 1 equal to total GDP of 127 countries in the world million people can be paid $1000 per month for a year considering that one billion people live under $ 1.25 per day in the world. The statistics of the war and the visualization of economic consequences are to indicate the level of disaster in Iraq. Putting the tangible results aside, it is difficult to speculate on indirect impacts of the war. The rise of terrorist organizations, sectarian conflicts, tribal rivalry, political instability and crime rates have somehow been related to the US invasion indirectly. The September 11 Attack has started a new era in the political history; the remaining superpower of the unipolar world system has been challenged not by nation-states but by a violent organization. The other significant aspect of this attack is that the defensive policies of the violent organizations in 20 th century have transformed to offensive acts against so-called aggressor states such as the US. In the last decade, how the US has retaliated against the attacks has led people and scholars to a controversy on the innocence of the attack. The US-led coalition invaded Iraq, which was seen as a dangerous regime and the supporter of Afghanistan-based organization Al-Qaeda by the Bush administration, without legitimate reason accepted by the United Nations (UN) and United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Conspiracy theories, which blame the US for the September 11 Attack and shed light on the US s political economic interests in the Middle East, have revived persuasively. Whether these conspiracy theories are correct or not are beyond the scope of the thesis. The reality is that the September 11 Attack actually happened and the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in the name of War on Terror. In 1 The calculation is made based on the World Bank statistics on GDP at market prices. The countries are sorted in ascending order and the first 127 countries GDP are aggregated. 2 2003, the US and the UK, which were left to their own devices by the international society, intervened in Iraq to overthrow the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Husain. The invasion and its consequences have inspired curiosity in the academia, as well. The number of women murdered and raped has become focal point of the feminist studies (Enloe, 2010). The ethical and legal bases of the invasion have drawn the attention of scholars studying the international law (Yoo, 2003). A new field for security studies has emerged (Byman & Pollack, 2008). The nexus between the invasion and Iraqi oil reserves has raised a topic for political economists (Jhaveri, 2004). The international relations theorists have focused on the explanation of the war from the perspective of power relations, spread of democracy, identity and hegemony (Halper & Clarke, 2005; Mearsheimer, 2005). As a result, the US-led invasion of Iraq sparked the zeal of academics in all field of social and human sciences since it is a new area of study and contains variegated phenomenon to conduct research. In the thesis, I study the indirect impact of the Iraq war influenced by the US political and military practices. Although the US invaded Iraq to obliterate terrorism and socalled evil regimes, the process has ended up with the emergence of new violent organizations in Iraq such as the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-sham), which currently controls half of the Iraqi territory. Therefore, how the US invasion has contributed to the emergence and acceleration of terrorist groups in Iraq is the main focus of the thesis. In this respect, I focus on two indicators discussed in the literature, namely the political discrimination and seeking for revenge. The effects of these indicators on people s decision to join the violent groups are studied to tender the contribution of the US invasion to rising terrorism. 3 In Chapter 1, I introduce the literature on definition and causes of terrorism. Defining terrorism is significant in the sense that claiming whether terrorism has increased after the invasion requires the meaning I attribute to terrorism. Presenting a wide spectrum of definitions of terrorism from the literature also allow me to build a comprehensive meaning of terrorism. In addition, various definitions help the readers understand diverse results of similar quantitative and qualitative analysis on causes of terrorism since the meaning attributed to terrorism may affect the results to a great extent. In the section, I also introduce the studies on causes of terrorism under four subtitles, namely structural, psychological, rational and critical approaches. In Chapter 2, the historical background of Iraq before 2003 is examined to flash the change and continuities in Iraqi state. In this section, political, economic and societal conditions of Iraq before the invasion take place. The historical background is limited to the Ba athist Regime having started in The reason to limit the time frame with the Ba athist Regime is that the political, economic and societal dynamics of modern Iraq are very much influenced from the regime. Chapter 3 presents the studies on Iraq after the invasion. The US s political and military practices, the profiles of violent organizations, political, economic and societal dynamics of Iraq after the invasion are saved for the third section of the thesis. The section contains the issue of how the Sunni tribes were discriminated in rebuilding the Iraqi state and which practices were performed by the US military in Iraq. Therefore, the studies presented in the section provide basis for the discussion section. In Chapter 4, I discuss the impacts of the US s political and military practices on rising terrorism in Iraq based on two indicators, which are policies leading to seeking 4 for revenge and political discrimination in rebuilding process of Iraqi state institutions. Synthesizing the studies discussed in the first three sections, I contribute to the literature in the last section through the two indicators I discuss and the data I gather from primary and secondary sources. In general, I assume that two indicators I picked from the literature have impact on people s decision to take part in violent organizations in Iraq as they have in other areas discussed in the literature. Basic limitation of the thesis is the current situation in Iraq which prevents researchers from conducting in-depth field research and accessing the primary sources. In this regard, the thesis is limited to the literature and relies on secondary sources. The time frame ranges from Ba athist Coup D etat of 1968 to 2011 when the US officially withdrew from Iraq. The reason is that the state institutions which were affected by the invasion were formed after the emergence of the Ba athist Regime, particularly under the leadership of Saddam Husain. In addition, since I study the impact of the US practices on terrorism in Iraq, the scope is limited with the withdrawal of the US from Iraq Methodology The thesis seeks to highlight the significance of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq on the rising terrorism in Iraq. The military and political policies of the US are the main indicators to illustrate how the misleading policies can create conditions of possibility for terrorism instead of terminating it. In that sense, two indicators are scrutinized which are the political discrimination of certain Iraqi groups by the US in 5 the process of rebuilding the Iraqi political institutions, and the security mistakes by the US forces in suppressing the insurgency. Political discrimination is discussed in relation to replacement of the Sunni bureaucracy and military with the Shiite cadres and loyal Sunnis. I discuss the parallel between the previous ruling elites of Iraq been kept out of the new Iraqi state and the profile of rulers of the violent organizations in Iraq to underline the relationship between the misleading policies and rising terrorism. The security mistakes by the US forces in suppressing the insurgency play a significant role in supporting the creation of psychological factors contributing to terrorism. The soldiers manners against the Iraqi population have contributed to the humiliation and seeking for revenge against the perpetrators not only by Iraqi people but by other so-called jihadist organizations as well. This has increased the number of foreign fighters as well as Iraqi people joining the violent organizations in Iraq. In that respect, the entries in forums, coverage in the media, the official books and magazines of the violent organizations in Iraq, NGO s reports and the interviews with the fighters are indicated as proofs to humiliation and seeking for revenge. How to refer the insurgent groups or alleged terrorist organizations is a critical point in terms of the credibility, reliability and transparency of the thesis. If I call the ISIS or another violent organization in Iraq as an insurgent group, then I will probably be accused of being biased or subjective. On the other hand, in case they are referred as terrorist organizations, the thesis is likely to receive appraisal. I personally do not favor either standpoints. For this reason, violent groups is an appropriate phrase to refer to the organizations in Iraq due to their methodology. The phrase also provides a broad umbrella going beyond ethnic and sectarian definitions. Therefore, any 6 organization which harms civilians for any kind of aim will be called violent organization throughout the thesis. The impacts of the US s policies on rising terrorism in Iraq are qualitatively discussed. Two indicators for rising terrorism, which are the main focus of the thesis, are derived from the qualitative and quantitative studies in the literature. Therefore, the theoretical frame of the thesis is based on the previous studies on the causes of terrorism. For the political discrimination in Iraq following the invasion, I utilize the historical studies to illustrate how certain groups were kept out of the political process. To identify the impact of humiliation and revenge-seeking, I analyzed the discourse in all the statements made by any member of the ISIS until In addition, I searched for some terms such as revenge, humiliate, humiliation, and vengeance in news databases. I presented the statements of Iraqis in the news to support my argument The Significance of the Thesis The stated objective of the War on Terror was to eliminate terrorism and to topple down the regimes supporting the violent organizations. However, the current situation in Iraq and in the Middle East in general demonstrates shortcomings in achieving this objective. Iraq s political unity is being challenged by terrorist groups such as the ISIS. The political order inherited from the US is yet to be stabilized due to tribal rivalry. Crime rates are accelerating. Iraq s economy shrank despite its oil reserves. Therefore, it is difficult to claim that the US has succeeded in democratizing Iraq and eliminating terrorism. In this respect, I argue that 2003 USled invasion has contributed to rising terrorism in Iraq due to the US s political and military misled practices. Even though, there would be many causes for the dramatic 7 increase of terrorist incidents in Iraq, the thesis presents a multidisciplinary analysis of this increase by underlying the significance of two variables, one psychological and one structural cause. The thesis is significant because of two reasons. The literature on revenge seeking as a contributing factor for terrorism is under developing. This thesis might fulfill the gap in the literature. Secondly, the thesis contributes to the literature on undesired effects of invasions in spreading democracy by indicating that mismanaged invasions would create reverse results than expected. 8 CHAPTER 2 STATE OF THE ART OF THE LITERATURE ON TERRORISM In this chapter, I review the literature on the definitions of radicalism, terrorism, and the roots of terrorism. Going through the literature on these subjects will reveal the gap that the thesis aims to fill. My objective in the chapter is to discuss variegated definitions and understandings of terrorism alongside with radicalism. I also introduce the spectra of roots of terrorism in the literature. The roots of terrorism are categorized under three subtitles, namely structural, psychological and rational approaches. Finally, I highlight more recent approaches to terrorism studies. Why do people radicalize? How does terrorism flourish? Why do individuals join violent organizations? Which conditions contribute to terrorist organizations' recruitment process? What happened in the last century and in the last decade has brought the terrorism studies to the kernel of the social s
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