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  • Author: Phil Williams
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: After the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the United States encountered a series of strategic surprises, including the hostility to the occupation, the fragility of Iraq's infrastructure, and the fractious nature of Iraqi politics. One of the least spectacular but most significant of these surprises was the rise of organized crime and its emergence as a postconflict spoiler. This development was simply not anticipated. Organized crime in Iraq in the months and years after March 2003 emerged as a major destabilizing influence, increasing the sense of lawlessness and public insecurity, undermining the efforts to regenerate the economy, and financing the violent opposition to the occupation forces. In 2003, the theft of copper from downed electric pylons made the restoration of power to the national grid much more difficult. In 2008, the capacity to generate funds through criminal activities enabled al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to continue resisting both the U.S. military and the Iraqi government. Moreover, with the planned U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, organized crime in the country will continue to flourish by maintaining well established crime-corruption networks. It might also expand by exploiting the continued weakness of the Iraqi state.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Author: Corri Zoli, Nicholas J. Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: It was only a matter of time before the elevated language of post-9/11 security discourse, and the phrase the global war on terrorism itself, was bound to reap both practical applications and studied reversals. Without the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and each country's challenging reconstruction projects, one might expect idealist solutions to this historical juncture. Only 8 short years ago, the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS 2002) offered just that, the virtues of pressing for freedom and democracy against a new breed of post-Cold War threats. In now memorable language, the policy document linked "the great struggles" of the 20th century "between liberty and totalitarianism" to a "single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise." Displaying the "black and white" worldview of unchallenged power, NSS 2002 grouped 21st-century nations together that "share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom," arguing that these values would "assure their future prosperity." Such values, it noted, are "right and true for every person" in "every society," and, in turn, "the duty of protecting" them "against their enemies" is the "common calling of freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages"-a role spearheaded by the United States insofar as it enjoyed "unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence."
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq