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The 2007 Surge in Iraq: An Alternative View

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Technical Report

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Defence Research and Development Canada - CORA Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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The 2007 surge increase in US troops in Iraq is considered one of the most significant military events in recent history given that it coincided with a marked decrease in violent attacks. Among the number of studies that have assessed the efficacy of the surge, most recently it was suggested that the synergy between the surge and the standup of the Sunni militias Sons of Iraq was the key factor for the decline of violence. However, revisiting the data reveals that violence had generally peaked before the surge and that the standups lagged peak violence by several months. This study presents a critical examination of other factors that might explain the decline in violence. It is difficult to pinpoint the trends that were most prominent, but they all likely contributed to a shift in the momentum of the security situation in the fall of 2006, before the surge was even announced. Thus, our analysis suggests that the surge was an unnecessary gambit.

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