Erica De Bruin, assistant professor of government, published an online article in Foreign Affairs titled "Coup-Proofing for Dummies: The Benefits of Following the Maliki Playbook" on July 27.
The article examines the trades-offs rulers face between coup prevention and military effectiveness. In an effort to "coup-proof" his regime, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has divided and politicized Iraq's security forces, undermining military effectiveness. As a result, he's taken much of the blame for Iraq's poor performance against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Yet De Bruin argues that Maliki's actions are rational. For individual leaders, the consequences of a coup are much more serious than those of military defeat. And the evidence suggests that coup-proofing works. This means that the problem of how to improve military effectiveness in Iraq won't go away when Maliki leaves office.