Explaining insurgency progression in Iraq, 2003–2011

Michelle Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many have attempted to answer the questions of “what went wrong in Iraq” arguing that insurgency developed because there was a lack of security. However, on the ground observations and empirical data collection are proving this to not necessarily be the case. This paper tackles what went wrong in Iraq and explains why we saw violence escalate into an insurgency during postwar reconstruction. This paper argues that individuals have certain expectations within a postwar environment, and those unmet expectations will lead certain individuals to join an insurgency. The argument of this paper empirically tests and supports the theoretical framework of relative deprivation, providing a clear explanation of what “actually” led people down a path towards insurgency. Finally, the empirical contribution of this paper is the presentation of primary data demonstrating that it was, in fact, a lack of services, followed by a lack of security, that motivated individuals towards insurgency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-281
Number of pages25
JournalDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict: Pathways toward Terrorism and Genocide
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019


  • Insurgency
  • Iraq
  • political violence
  • security
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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