This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Redefining US Security Missions: The Effectiveness of Security Forces during Military Operations




Abdul-Hamid, Basma

Type of Degree



Political Science


This study examines how an Arab state’s use of force influences responses based on popular perception of institutional legitimacy. The study argues the duration of armed civil conflict within Arab states signals rejection of a dysfunctional authoritarian government. In essence, regardless of the cause of onset, the duration of armed civil conflict is linked to perceptions of the state’s internal legitimacy. Therefore, the aim of this study is to understand how an Arab state’s or intervening force’s exercise of authority to attain people’s compliance affects the population’s political behavior. The first underlying assumption is contextual interpretations by the belligerents engaged in armed civil conflict are just as influential as structural and functional factors in driving political behavior. The second assumption is when intrastate conflict erupts between the state and its people institutional functionality is linked to the state’s authority. The final assumption is a policing approach to security influences political behavior differently than a military approach. Historical records show the British in Iraq restored order in a shorter period of time and with fewer casualties, so this study investigates how the British achieved such outcome. The study compares the British (1919-1921) and French (1925-1927) responses to an outbreak of armed civil conflict within their protectorates, to ascertain how the British policing approach was more authoritative than the French approach. Results of these comparisons are then used to assess the security approach applied in the initial years of the US military campaign in Iraq, between 2003 and 2005. The case-studies are compared using Mill’s most similar and most different analytical frameworks. The qualitative method of process-tracing links possible causal pathways with observed outcomes. Findings show a professionalized policing approach increases non-combatants’ cooperation with authority, reduces the duration of intrastate conflict, and reduces the number of casualties from armed civil conflict. The caveat is police professionalism must reflect structural, functional and symbolic legitimacy.