Security through Sociology: The North Caucasus and the Global Counterinsurgency Paradigm

Security through Sociology:  The North Caucasus and the Global Counterinsurgency Paradigm
Theodore P. Gerber and Sarah E. Mendelson

Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 32, Issue 9, September 2009.

Abstract: 
The global counterinsurgency strategy to combat terrorism emphasizes responding to the social and economic needs of communities where terrorists may find support.  Public opinion data can help in that strategy, as shown by a 2006 survey of 1,200 young males from three provinces in Russia’s North Caucasus.  Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, the survey shows few signs of burgeoning radical Islam or ethnic animosity.  Instead, economic conditions and poor governance are primary concerns.  The region provides both an opportunity and threat:  policymakers can and should address the region’s needs; if not, radical Islamist groups can turn it into a flashpoint for terrorism.