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Not Can I, but Should I: Analyzing the Pre-Existing Conditions Surrounding Successful Third-Party Intervention Into Intrastate Conflicts

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The purpose of this study is to identify the conditions that support successful third-party intervention into foreign intrastate conflicts on behalf of resistance movementsspecifically, movements aiming at revolution or regime change. While the United States successfully intervened into and even generated resistance movements during the Cold War, most of its interventions failed to achieve strategic objectives. That trend continues today most saliently, the U.S. military is still present in Afghanistan after nearly two decades, with no successful conclusion in sight. The ongoing war in Afghanistan is the product of strategic decision-making that focused on achieving a specific outcome without considering the pre-existing conditions necessary to achieve success. In order to deter such an outcome, decision-makers must develop more trenchant decision calculus surrounding third-party intervention. To identify the pre-existing conditions that facilitate success, this thesis uses quantitative analysis of intrastate conflicts to determine the effects of political, military, economic, social, and informational condition types upon rebel victory and loss government victory and the level of violence within the conflict. Three case studies serve as a means to apply the empirical results and to draw salient conclusions based upon actual conflicts.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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