Retribution or Reconciliation? Attitudes Toward Rebel Collaborators in Iraq

47 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2019

See all articles by Kristen Kao

Kristen Kao

Göteborg University

Mara Redlich Revkin

Yale University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: September 4, 2019

Abstract

Rebel groups require the cooperation of many civilians who are commonly perceived as “collaborators” after conflict ends. The limited empirical work in this area focuses on fighters, ignoring the need for more nuanced understandings of proportional justice for civilian collaborators. Through a survey experiment in an Iraqi city that experienced governance by the Islamic State, we find that social identity—expected to trigger in- group favoritism—is a weak determinant of preferences for punishment and forgiveness compared to the type of collaboration itself. Our results also fail to provide support for the hypothesis that exposure to violence drives a desire for revenge. Instead, the perceived volition behind an act is important, although its effect varies depending on the type of collaboration. Our research offers uniquely fine-grained data and insights into the factors that shape perceptions of individual rebel culpability, with important policy implications for balancing accountability with the need for reconciliation.

Keywords: Transitional Justice, Rebel Governance, Survey Methodology, Iraq

Suggested Citation

Kao, Kristen and Redlich Revkin, Mara, Retribution or Reconciliation? Attitudes Toward Rebel Collaborators in Iraq (September 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448068 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448068

Kristen Kao (Contact Author)

Göteborg University ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Mara Redlich Revkin

Yale University, Department of Political Science ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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