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Title: The Fire Behind the Flame: Interest Alignment and US Targeted Killings under Bush and Obama
Issue Date: 2-Apr-2018
Citation: SHARIFA FADILLAH BTE YAA'COP (2018-04-02). The Fire Behind the Flame: Interest Alignment and US Targeted Killings under Bush and Obama. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: What explains the US’ increased use of targeted killings in combatting terrorism? Targeted killings using armed drones has increasingly become a symbol of America’s war on terror. Drone attacks became a frequent phenomenon in states such as Yemen and Pakistan since 2011 and 2008, respectively, following years of infrequent lethal strikes. Most theories looking at the expanded US targeted killings program have focused predominantly on domestic forces: the influence of domestic politics, advancement in drone technology and the feasibility of detainment. While valid, there still exist ambiguities within the literature that remain unexplored. In particular, the role of exogenous forces in influencing the use of targeted killings has been largely overlooked. This paper, thus, proposes the interest alignment thesis, which offers an alternative perspective - one that is based on external factors. Accordingly, I argue that the emergence and prevalence of divergence of interests have engendered the US’ increased use of targeted killings. To test the argument, I conduct in-depth process-tracing in two cases - Yemen and Pakistan - for the period 2001 to 2016. The empirical evidence supports my argument. When interests first diverge, there was an increase in the use of targeted killings. When this divergence persists, the frequency of drone strikes remains high. The findings of this paper have both academic and policy-making implications.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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