Readings

This section of the website provides reports and references that were: (1) useful to ESOC researchers in thinking through identification and research design issues on various studies; and (2) are hard to find or do not show up with simple web searches. Users who know of additional useful readings are encouraged to suggest them by contacting us.

Results sorted by Country

Afghanistan

Are airstrikes an effective tool against insurgent organizations? Despite the question's historical and contemporary relevance, we have few dedicated studies, and even less consensus, about airpower's effectiveness in counterinsurgency wars. To answer this question, I draw on declassified United States Air Force records of nearly 23,000...

Are civilian attitudes a useful predictor of patterns of violence in civil wars? A prominent debate has emerged among scholars and practitioners about the importance of winning civilian "hearts and minds'' for influencing their wartime behavior. We argue that such efforts may have a dark side: insurgents can use pro-counterinsurgent attitudes...

Information about insurgent groups is a central resource in civil wars: counterinsurgents seek it, insurgents safeguard it, and civilians often trade it. Yet despite its essential role in civil war dynamics, the act of informing is still poorly understood, due mostly to the classified nature of informant “tips.” As an alternative research...

How do approaching elections affect the security policy states conduct? We build on classic political economy arguments and theorize that one problem likely faced by democratic policy makers near elections is that of time inconsistency. The time-inconsistency problem arises when the costs and benefits of policy are not realized at the same time...

MALSE is studying the originally Russian-language records of the Soviet Union’s long involvement in Afghanistan, including the ten years of intense military conflict as well as nearly a century of Russian/Soviet strategic political, economic and cultural engagement in the region. The Archives of the Soviet Communist Party and Soviet State at...

The first USAID Evidence Summit brought together members of the research community and USAID staff to examine evidence around what has and has not been effective in countering insurgency and violent extremism throughout the world.

Jonathan P. Caulkins, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Jonathan D. Kulick. March 2010. Center on International Cooperation, New York University
This report by Jonathan Caulkins, Mark Kleiman, and Jonathan Kulick contributes to the ongoing debate about counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan, and in relation to counter-insurgency operations by adding...

John F. Kerry. Majority Staff Report Prepared for the Use of the U.S Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, One Hundred Twelfth Congress, First Session, June 8, 2011. Also available at Abstract: This report takes a close look at how the United States is spending civilian aid dollars in Afghanistan to make sure we are pursuing the most...

Iraq

The Iraq Family Health Survey (IFHS) 2006/7 issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MoH) is a nationally representative survey of 9,345 households and 14,675 women of reproductive age and covers all governorates in Iraq. This is the second nationally representative health survey since the Family Gulf Survey in 1989, although it is the first...

Food security reports on Iraq are issued by WFP as an attempt to investigate and understand the causes of poverty and hunger and establish means to achieving progress on poverty eradication. By joint efforts of COSIT in the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation (MoPDC), Sulaymani Statistics Directorate, the Ministry of Health’s...

Dale Kuehl. Military Review (March-April 2009) pp. 72-80.
Abstract: Critics of the Army’s focus on counterinsurgency operations (COIN) have argued recently that the Army has developed a dogmatic approach to COIN. In particular, they question the assertion in Field Manual (FM) 3-24, Counterinsurgency, that the insurgents’ ability to...

Mexico

Violence is an inherent feature of the trade in illicit drugs, but the violence generated by Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) in recent years has been unprecedented and remarkably brutal. The tactics—including mass killings, the use of torture and dismemberment, and the phenomena of car bombs—have led some analysts to speculate...

Pakistan

Abstract: Based on a country-wide survey of 40 civil society organizations in Pakistan, this paper demonstrates that the policy of channeling development aid through NGOs in the South in the name of generating social capital and strengthening civil society is having a reverse impact: organizations reliant on development aid have no members. The...

Philippines

Peter Kreuzer (2005) Peace Research Institute Frankfurt Report No. 71
Abstract: Since 1972, a Muslim guerrilla has been waging a civil war in the southern Philippines, which has proved to be remarkably resistant to all attempts of peace. Still, under martial law, an initial agreement between the state and the guerrilla was reached, which...

International Crisis Group (2011) Asia Report N°202
Abstract: The Philippine government is unable to control and develop large parts of the country because of the longstanding communist insurgency. The conflict has lasted more than 40 years and killed tens of thousands of combatants and civilians. Planning their attacks and securing...

International Crisis Group (2008) Asia Report N°152
Abstract: U.S.-backed security operations in the southern Philippines are making progress but are also confusing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency with dangerous implications for conflict in the region. The “Mindanao Model” – using classic counter-insurgency techniques to achieve...

Paul Oquist. September 2002. Fifth Peace Assessment Mission Report, UNDP PARAGON Regional Governance Programme
Abstract: This document consists of two highly interrelated reports. One is the Regional Peace and Development Learning Experience Study in Asia’s first report on the Philippines. It focuses on the reasons for the extreme...

Soliman M. Santos, Jr. and Paz Verdades M. Santos, with Octavio A. Dinampo, Herman Joseph S. Kraft, Artha Kira R. Paredes, and Raymund Jose G. Quilop. Edited by Diana Rodriguez (2010) The South–South Network for Non-State Armed Group Engagement, and the Small Arms Survey
Abstract: This volume provides the political and historical detail...

International Crisis Group (2004) Asia Report N°80
Abstract: Persistent reports of links between the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network overshadow and put at risk the peace process between the MILF and the Philippine government. While the MILF leadership continues to deny any ties...

Vietnam

This release consists of six declassified histories volumes and describes the CIA's role in Indochina during the Vietnam War. These histories written by Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., are based on extensive research in CIA records and on oral history interviews of participants. The release totals some 1,600 pages and represents the largest amount of...

U.S. Army Military History Institute (1971)
Abstract: From the preface, "The purpose of this outline history and supporting annexes is to briefly analyze the role of USASF participation in the CIDG program. Essential to this analysis is an examination of the role of the USASF-advised ClDG program within the overall Vietnamese conflict...

Douglas Eugene Pike (1970) MIT Press

Abstract: As this is being written, early in 1970, the so-called Viet-namization process is well under way in South Viet-nam. What is going on is the assumption of responsibility by the South Vietnamese for all aspects of the war, accompanied by the orderly - but not precipitous - disengagement of U.S...

Douglas Eugene Pike (1970) MIT Press

Abstract: As this is being written, early in 1970, the so-called Viet-namization process is well under way in South Viet-nam. What is going on is the assumption of responsibility by the South Vietnamese for all aspects of the war, accompanied by the orderly - but not precipitous - disengagement of U.S...

Others

What explains mass desertion from armies fighting conventional wars? To date, our theories of military effectiveness have largely ignored the question of why soldiers abandon the fight. I argue that wartime desertion is tied to the prewar nature of the collective identity that a regime uses to legitimate its rule: the more exclusionary toward...

From mobilizing masses to monitoring rebels, information and communication technologies (ICT) are transforming political conflict. We reflect on the contributions made by the articles of this special issue to the emerging ICT–political conflict research agenda, highlighting strengths of these articles, and offering suggestions for moving...

Process tracing is an invaluable tool in the civil war scholar’s toolkit. Or, rather, it should be, for it provides the ability to move beyond statistical association toward causal inference about why (and how) outcomes are produced in civil war settings. Yet scholars have largely neglected its use. Instead, great pains have ben taken to...

Scholars disagree about the impact of state abuses of physical integrity rights on the intensity of violence against the state: some argue abuses deter rebel activity while others argue they create grievances that lead to higher levels of violence. Identifying the causal relationship between significant state human rights abuses (killing of...