Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science

Date of Defense

5-8-2012

Graduate Advisor

Kenneth P. Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee

Alice Hall, Ph.D.

Silva, Eduardo

Canfield, Robert

Abstract

The American occupation of Iraq revealed intense intra-society violence in Iraq that was not possible to take note of during decades of the state’s systematic practice of violence against society and the organized counter-violence in response to it. The occupation, along with the collapse of a regime without any viable governing alternative, and the historic ethno-sectarian tensions are attractive explanatory factors for the ongoing intra-society violence in Iraq. Yet, they fail to explain another civil war that took place in Iraqi Kurdistan a decade earlier. This forgotten war took place in an almost all Kurd/ all Sunni society, after three years of the de facto rule of a popular alternative to Saddam’s regime in the region, without the presence of any occupying forces, or a national divide over their role. This research is an attempt to investigate the role of modern Iraq’s land tenure structure in generating mass violence, and support for identity-based violent political mobilization, .It utilizes a field study that was conducted in Iraqi Kurdistan during the peak of its civil war, to measure the propensity for violent mobilization in rural communities over localized conflicts of land tenure, in an attempt to capture the underling interest-based realities that incubate violence and channel it into identity-based mobilization.

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