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Patterns of Violence Directed against Civilians in Small Ethnic Enclaves during War in Iraq (2003–2009)

Non-State Violent Actors and Social Movement Organizations

ISBN: 978-1-78714-191-9, eISBN: 978-1-78714-190-2

Publication date: 18 April 2017

Abstract

This study investigates patterns of violence employed by insurgents killing civilians living in small ethnic enclaves located in Ninewa Province, Iraq from 2003 to 2009. The ethnic minorities in these communities include: (1) Yazidis in Sinjar District, (2) Chaldo-Assyrian Christians in the Ninewa Plains and, (3) the Turkmen enclave of Tal Afar. To date, there has been little investigation into violence directed toward small ethnic enclaves during civil war, though some have suggested that ethnic enclaves might insulate civilians from violence (Kaufmann, 1996). Using fatality data from the Iraq Body Count, this study compares the patterns of insurgent violence directed toward these enclave communities to co-ethnic and mixed-ethnic communities. The experiences of the enclaves were varied – some were largely insulated from attacks – but when attacked, the average number killed was greater and more indiscriminate as compared to communities with significant Arab populations. One possible explanation for these differences is that insurgents did not regard these citizens as being “convertible,” which caused them to employ violence in a more indiscriminate manner. When insurgents did act to secure control of enclave communities, they used indiscriminate forms of violence against civilians, as compared to more selective forms of violence employed when controlling co-ethnic communities.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

Support for this research was provided by the grant from the College of Arts and Letters, James Madison University. A version of this chapter was presented at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in 2012 and during a JMU Sociology Department Faculty Roundtable where participants offered valuable feedback. The anonymous reviewers at RSMCC and Julie M. Mazzei also offered several suggestions that much improved the study.

Citation

Poulson, S.C. (2017), "Patterns of Violence Directed against Civilians in Small Ethnic Enclaves during War in Iraq (2003–2009)", Non-State Violent Actors and Social Movement Organizations (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 41), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 69-105. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X20170000041014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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