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Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond
     

Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond

by Abdulkader H. Sinno
 

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While popular accounts of warfare, particularly of guerrilla wars and insurgencies, favor the roles of leaders or ideology, social-scientific analyses of these wars focus on aggregate categories such as ethnic groups, religious affiliations, socioeconomic classes, or civilizations. Challenging these constructions, Abdulkader H.Sinno closely examines the fortunes of

Overview

While popular accounts of warfare, particularly of guerrilla wars and insurgencies, favor the roles of leaders or ideology, social-scientific analyses of these wars focus on aggregate categories such as ethnic groups, religious affiliations, socioeconomic classes, or civilizations. Challenging these constructions, Abdulkader H.Sinno closely examines the fortunes of the various factions in Afhanistan, including the mujahideen and the Taliban, that have been fighting each other and foreign armies since the 1979 Soviet invasion. Focusing on the organization of the combatants, Sinno offers a new understanding of the course and outcome of such conflicts.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond is an original, penetrating, and important book; Abdulkader H. Sinno marries organizational theory to analysis of nonstate actors in situations of civil war or state disruption. This is strikingly innovative not only in respect to Afghanistan (where nothing like this has been attempted previously) but also in respect to complex transitions more generally. This is a book that no serious student of transitions from conflict can afford to ignore."—William Maley, Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, The Australian National University

"In Organizations at War in Afghanistan and Beyond, Abdulkader H. Sinno makes an original contribution to the study of civil war. He takes a specific case—that of Afghanistan—and uses organizational structure as a basis for explaining how events unfolded. Readers will be especially fascinated by the narrative of what occurred in Afghanistan prior to the Taliban's rise to power. This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in either international politics or the study of organizations."—Patrick James, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Studies, University of Southern California

"Sinno does a remarkably thorough job of analyzing the Afghan insurgency and tribal interactions from 1978 through the present. This section is insightful, thoughtful, and exceptionally valuable; he reveals a deep knowledge of Afghan politics and rivalries, personalities, and agendas. Sinno's organizational theory approach to explaining success and failure of rival groups during this period is persuasive. His tables and analysis are clear and direct and provide an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to understand the complexities of events in Afghanistan from the end of the Soviet occupation through the collapse of the Najib regime and the rise of the Taliban. It is doubtful that there is an analysis of events in Afghanistan that is better, more complete, and more useful to a military commander, diplomat, or Provincial Reconstruction Team chief than what can be found in chapters six through eight of this book. This analysis should open some eyes and minds to reassessing the purpose and direction of the current operational activities in Afghanistan."—Keith D. Dickson, Joint Forces Quarterly

"Sinno's finding should end the current search of U.S. policymakers for a 'moderate Taliban' that can be broken off from the insurgency. . . . For the Taliban remains a formidable organization, and his book is a formidable account of why."—Barnett Rubin, Perspectives on Politics

"Sinno knows a lot about Afghanistan and offers significant insights about organizations and strategy on which others will want to build."—Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"This book is a fascinating and serious piece of scholarship that carries implicit policy warnings. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"Sinno has produced an insightful book. His emphasis on organizational theory will arm those who study conflict with a valuable perspective."—H. R. McMaster, Survival

"The book accomplishes a crucial social science goal: it develops a parsimonious and generalizable theory that explains a wide range of behavior, without the need to resort to other variables (such as religion, ethnicity, ideology, or unique factors of anthropology or history). Sinno concludes with a set of predictions about other cases, using his findings to provide useful advice for policymakers. While he only mentions in passing the relevance of his findings for the Middle East, it is striking how well his arguments seem to explain ongoing conflicts everywhere from the Palestinian territories to Iraq. For all of these reasons, this book has great value."—Kimberly Marten, Political Science Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801446184
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
02/27/2008
Series:
1/29/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Abdulkader H. Sinno is Associate Professor of Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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