First Advisor

David Kinsella

Date of Publication

Winter 3-21-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Counterinsurgency -- India -- Religious aspects -- Case studies, Religion and international relations -- India -- Case studies, Social conflict -- India -- Religious aspects -- Case studies, War -- Religious aspects -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 115 pages)


With the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, the intersection of religious ideals in war has been at the forefront of the American discussion on war and conflict. The New York attacks were followed by the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan in October of 2001 in an attempt to destroy the religious government of the Taliban and capture the Islamic terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, and then followed by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, both in an attempt to fight terrorism and religious extremism. In both instances, American forces became embroiled in counterinsurgency operations against insurgent fighters who identified themselves in terms of religion and ethnicity. More recently, all of the regional and nuclear powers are engaged in conflicts against insurgents identified as religious in some form. The purpose of this research is to present tactical and strategic policies that can be implemented when ethno-religious violence occurs in and around religious sites, ensuring that operations at these sites will contribute to successful mitigation of violence in the wider conflict. Based on concepts from classical and contemporary counterinsurgency thought, a set of variables that contributes to successful counterinsurgency operations at religious sites was selected in order to understand successes and failures at previous operations. The results from these comparative studies were then used to develop a theoretical framework that contributes to successful counterinsurgency operations at religious sites. The comparative studies chosen for this research includes four cases from India, with the finding then applied to case studies from Thailand, and Israel. Like India, Thailand and Israel are facing insurgent movements that identify themselves along various ethnic, religious, and national constructs. The findings clearly show that there is a set of operational variables that apply to counterinsurgency operations at religious sites and contribute to tactical and strategic success. Conclusions are drawn that success or failure of counterinsurgency operations at religious sites is not solely tied to a military versus law enforcement approach to the conflict. Contrary to this theory, it is how the operation is carried out, rather than how the counterinsurgents are formed, that contributes to a successful operation.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier