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National Security Concerns And The Kurdistan Region In A New Middle East: From Rebellion To Statehood: The Influences Of Power, Threat Enviornment And Opportunity Structures On The Choice Of Becoming An Independent State
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL).
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Under which conditions do some nations and de facto state actors with relative power assert their statehood and independence? What factors should we focus on when we assess such cases? How much can we relate a nation’s choice and path to statehood and independence to its national security concerns? The aim of this case study has been to answer the questions asked above and explain why nations during some periods do not choose to declare independence and form their own state and during other periods they aim to do so. The case of the Kurdistan region of Iraq has been selected and studied both due the drastic regional changes in the Middle East since Saddam Hussein’s fall and the rise Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. During 2003-2005, the US invaded Iraq, toppled Saddam Hussein and destroyed the Iraqi army. Unlike the expectations that the Kurds would declare independence, they did not do so. However, 14 years after the fall of Saddam Hussein and establishment of the new Iraq, the Kurds aim to declare independence and form their own state. Hence, the puzzle is why not then and 14 years later? Inspired by realism, nationalist movement theory and rational strategic actor, three interrelated hypotheses have been tested and verified, which lay ground for a theoretical and explanatory model for this and similar cases within the fields of security studies and international relations. Process tracing has been used as an additional analytical tool in order to detect critical junctures and the chain of events that have produced the two different outcomes. The empirical material is mainly based on a fieldwork conducted in the Kurdistan region followed up by 12 individual qualitative interviews with a number of highly ranked Kurdish political and military officials including the President of the Kurdistan region, the Foreign Minister of the Kurdistan region, a senior Foreign and Security Advisor, three Peshmerga Generals and six members of both Kurdistan and Iraqi Parliaments. Building on the previous research, the findings of this study suggest that the choice and decision for becoming an independent and sovereign de jure state is closely related to a nation’s national security concerns and it is the same factors that causes a nation to declare/not declare independence during different periods of time. They are: (1) changes in power relations and access to a certain degree of indirect/direct external support and cooperation, (2) the existence/non-existence of national security threats and threat environments and (3) the rise of opportunity structures, strategic thinking and the ability to mobilize resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
National Security, Power, Threat environment, Strategy, Military, Kurdistan, Independence, Statehood, Opportunity, Cooperation, Resources, Middle East, Terrorism, Iraq
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-7009DiVA: diva2:1138564
Subject / course
Political Science with focus on crisis management and security
Educational program
Master's programme in Politics and War
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-09-25 Created: 2017-09-05 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved

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M.A Thesis(888 kB)20 downloads
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6168e4dde58d60f3abaf1817e155b95f3d7b41f7ab8c90261252dcbf17f61a4dff974bec3e083b5e53995a6524d94ad9e7e720fe3deecec8c7e5576eab3f0bee
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Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL)
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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