Author's School

University College

Author's Department/Program

International Affairs


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Ewan Harrison


In Spring 2007 President Bush ordered additional American troops to Iraq as part of a troop Surge to wage a counter-offensive based on the tactics of the newly developed Petraeus Doctrine. This thesis analyzes the events leading up to and surrounding the Surge and the role of the Petraeus Doctrine the successful defeat of the insurgency and strengthening the Iraqi Government and Security Forces enabling the Americans to being an orderly withdrawal. The Petraeus Doctrine did play a vital role in the defeat of the insurgency, but it was not the primary cause for the Surge’s success and merely took advantage of an emerging situation on the ground that made Baghdad ripe for a counter-insurgency campaign. This situation was the result of a number of factors: a long war that had abandoned idealism for pragmatism and the utter failure of conventional Hard Power that left a military willing to try anything; improved Iraqi Security Forces that were the product of a long-term training program; domestic pressures in the media and Congress that forced the Bush Administration to acknowledge how badly things had deteriorated and have no choice but to do something; the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad that had shifted the violence from neighbor-on-neighbor to neighborhood-on-neighborhood; and an insurgency that had overplayed its hand combined with American domestic politics to make the Americans a more temporary and appealing option than the insurgencies. Ultimately the Petraeus Doctrine played a supporting role in the Surge by taking advantage of conditions on the ground, but did not create it.


International Affairs

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