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Women On the Frontline: Armed Terror Groups and Wartime Violence Against Women in Iraq
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aftermath of the invasion in Iraq has had catastrophic consequences for the women and girls in Iraq. Violence against women in conflict settings varies considerably, not only across wars but also within them.

This thesis aims to explore potential causes in the use of gender-based violence by armed terror groups. The theoretical framework of this thesis examines the process of identifying and framing the enemy and to explain the concept of “us and them” in relation to armed conflicts and connect this to the use of systematic and opportunistic violence against women.

This thesis will conduct a method of structured, focused comparison and process tracing. The cases will be empirically examined using the same set of questions on the two armed terror groups used for this thesis: Al Qaeda (AQI) and the Islamic State in Iraq.

The main findings demonstrate that the difference in the use of gender-based violence between the specified cases builds on the notion of who they identify as the enemy or “the other”. When identified as such, the exposed violence towards the enemy is excessive. In this study, both terror groups use gender-based violence as a strategy of war, however the proportions differ. Al Qaeda uses opportunistic violence against women as a means of control, since it is not an objective of the movement. On the other hand, the Islamic state uses systematic violence against women, since it is justified by regional leaders and implemented into “the new normal”. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 55 p.
Keyword [en]
violence against women, gender-based violence, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, AQI, ISIS, ISIL, IS, GBV
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303543OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303543DiVA: diva2:972264
Subject / course
Peace and Conflict Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies
Available from: 2016-09-20 Created: 2016-09-20 Last updated: 2016-09-20Bibliographically approved

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