Switching Sides: Political Power, Alignment and Alliances in Post-Saddam Iraq




Maye, Diane Leigh

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The removal of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime in Iraq gave rise to a plethora of non-state actors, sub-state political factions, warring ethnic groups, and terrorist organizations all seeking to fill the political power vacuum. Using theories from academic literature on coalition building, neorealism, behavioral science, sociology, as well as complexity theory, this research project will use the U.S. and coalition intervention in Iraq to frame a within-case comparative historical analysis of how power was distributed within Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion and the complex interplay between shifting alignments and alliances between political factions, militant groups and occupation forces. This study argues that political factions will make alignments and alliances based on agent-based considerations in their formative stages and will quickly gravitate toward the authority of a charismatic leader. Over time, these political factions become institutionalized and behave in accordance with what neorealist political theory would predict.



Political science, International relations, Military studies, Alliances, Ba'ath Party, Charismatic leadership, Iraq, Political factions, Sunni