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Networks of DominationThe Social Foundations of Peripheral Conquest in International Politics$
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Paul MacDonald

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199362165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199362165.001.0001

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“Put an Iraqi Face on It”

“Put an Iraqi Face on It”

Social Ties and the Occupation of Iraq

(p.182) Chapter 6 “Put an Iraqi Face on It”
Networks of Domination

Paul K. Macdonald

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the case of the United States occupation of Iraq. It argues that the relative paucity of ties with local elites harmed US efforts to transform Iraq into a stable democracy. The United States struggled to find reliable Iraqi collaborators and intermediaries who could help in nation-building efforts. The lack of access to local resources and information hampered coalition efforts to raise Iraqi security forces, guide economic reconstruction, and conduct effective counterinsurgency operations. While political divisions among leading Iraqi elites provided opportunities for United States to recruit temporary allies, the paucity of reliable pre-war ties with local elites limited the durability and intensity of these relationships. The United States’ military dominance proved decisive in conventional operations, yet its tenuous social position crippled its ability to translate these battlefield gains into favourable political outcomes.

Keywords:   Iraq occupation, nation-building, counterinsurgency

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