Date of Award

5-10-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Louis-Alexandre Berg

Second Advisor

Dan Altman

Third Advisor

John Horgan

Abstract

Are U.S. airstrikes on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula effective at reducing al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula initiated attacks? Airstrikes have been a popular counterterrorism tool in the Obama and Trump administrations. However, the effectiveness of airstrikes has been contentious. Using ACLED data from 2016-2019 I estimate a series of negative binomial regressions. I first assess the effect of airstrikes generally and find that airstrikes are effective at reducing AQAP attacks. I then disaggregate my airstrike variable to examine the effects of militant casualties, leadership casualties, and civilian casualties independently. I find that civilian casualties and leadership casualties have no effect on AQAP attacks while militant casualties have reduced AQAP attacks.

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