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A Counter-Social Movement Approach to Deconstructing Daesh

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Current operational approaches against Daesh are predicated upon its categorization as either a state or terrorist organization. When viewed as a state, Daesh seems most likely to succumb to the application of decisive action as described in US Army unified land operations doctrine. For those who see Daesh as a terrorist organization, Army counterinsurgency doctrine seems to offer the best approach. If, however, Daesh does not fit neatly into either of these categories, one must question the effectiveness of combating Daesh according to either of these operational approaches. As an alternative, the US military could view Daesh as a transnational social movement organization SMO, and by doing so, planners could develop a more effective operational approach to counteract movements like Daesh. This argument hinges on analyzing Daesh according to the political process model PPM of social movement theory SMT to determine lines of effort LOE against which US military forces could best apply resources to counteract the SMO. This study is divided into four sections. The first section constitutes an overview of SMT as a form of contentious politics. The second section presents a comprehensive history of Daesh. The third section explicitly applies the PPM to Daesh. The final section analyzes the US governments counter-Daesh strategy, and offers, as an alternative based upon the PPM, a set of LOE against which resources could best be applied to effectively counteract the movement.

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017



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Approved For Public Release;

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