Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Political Science

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 263 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Victory Asal

Committee Members

David L Rousseau, Mark A Baskin


counterinsurgency, international relations theory, Counterinsurgency, Low-intensity conflicts (Military science), Terrorism, Iraq War, 2003-2011

Subject Categories

International Relations


This dissertation examines the effectiveness of different counterinsurgency practices of states in 47 conflicts from 1945-2010. After discussing contemporary theories of counterinsurgency, it traces these theories to realist and liberal traditions of international relations to demonstrate how propose specific relationships with the civilian population as a means of ending social conflict. To evaluate these theories, I perform a Boolean analysis of counterinsurgency practices to determine which combinations of realist and liberal factors leads to counterinsurgent victory. Overall, I find that pure realist and mixed combinations are most likely to lead to victory, while pure liberal combinations fail to produce victory. I also evaluate the plausibility of a reflexive approach to counterinsurgency in a single case study of intrastate war between the United States and Iraqi insurgents in al-Anbar province.