- The course of co-option: Co-option of local power-holders as a tool for obtaining control over the population in counterinsurgency campaigns in weblike societies. With case studies on Dutch experiences during the Aceh War (1873-c. 1912) and the Uruzgan campaign (2006-2010)
- Award date
- 14 December 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School of Historical Studies (ASH)
During the counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan co-option of local power-holders proved instrumental in establishing control over the population of highly fragmented, weblike societies. This marked the reinvention of such co-option, since it had been a standard tool of the colonial pacification campaigns in which modern counterinsurgency has its roots. Consequently, this dissertation seeks to obtain a profound understanding of co-option as a tool for counterinsurgency in weblike societies by scrutinizing experiences during colonial warfare as well as modern counterinsurgency. Doing so, however, requires us to first explore the theoretical dimension of this concept as this allows for the design of a conceptual framework for understanding the actual practice of co-option in the reality of counterinsurgency warfare (Part I). Next we delve into Dutch experiences during the colonial Aceh War (1873-c. 1912, Part II) and the recent campaign in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province (2006-2010, Part III). Both cases reveal that while co-option indeed provides a potential path towards control over a weblike society, it requires a sufficient long term follow-up in order to preserve this result beyond the counterinsurgency phase of a conflict. Additionally, this study concludes that practicing co-option in modern counterinsurgency, which makes only limited use of coercive measures in order to co-opt a mix of local power-holders, necessitates a departure from the liberal paradigm underlying current state building efforts. Instead western decision-makers and practitioners should embrace local patterns of legitimacy and demonstrate the will to exploit these in order to bring durable stability to war-torn weblike societies.
- The section 'Acknowledgments' (pp. 626-629) has been placed under a permanent embargo and is not included in this online version of the thesis.
Thesis (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Prologue (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Introduction (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Part I: An analytical framework for understanding co-option of local power-holders as a tool for obtaining control over the population in counterinsurgency campaigns in weblike societies (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Part II: The Aceh War (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Part III: The Uruzgan campaign (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Conclusion: The course of co-option in theory and reality (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
Bibliography (Embargo until 14 December 2018)
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