POL SCI 121A Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Iran Hostage Crisis, Astroturf, Mohammad Mosaddegh

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6 Nov 2014
School
Professor
Lecture 5
Political Science 121A
Thursday October 16th
Lecture Notes
Covert Fircs
Support / Aid a military Coup d'etat
assassination
provide training/military support to a rebel group/ exiles which want to remove the
government
encourage/fund mass anti-government demonstrations and strikes
country may be a dictatorship where people answer untruthfully to not get killed
AstroTurf demonstration
CIA could rent a crowd, go to community leaders of that country and pay their
followers to demonstrate against the government
propaganda that the government is awful
Record
Covert fircs are more frequently done
since 1945 have tried 11 overt FIRCS and 23 covert FIRCS
some recent covert attempts (unsuccessful) in Iraq 1995-1996 and Cuba 2011
Success Rate
However covert FIRCS, unlike FIRCS, frequently fail (success rate 55 percent) because
of less resources used
and dependence upon (in some cases) on sometimes 'incompetent' locals
Reasons
why does the U.S. sometimes choose to do covert FIRCS rather than overt FIRCS
Overt FIRCS make the U.S. less popular (in the short term) around the
world
Covert FIRCS are cheaper then overt FIRCs (cost of immediate
operation)
less force than overt FIRCS
to do a covert FIRC there is no need of the support of the American
public
lower chance of the President being accountable for paying a political
price
president being accountable for a covert firc that failed or had negative
"side effects" a few years later
Overt FIRC is a war or a major military operation
usually takes months of hard campaigning by the president
Covert FIRC (secret) doesn’t require American public support only some
senior members of Congress
Flaws
Nevertheless, covert FIRCs have a major downside compared to overt FIRCs (besides
higher chances of failure)
if overt FIRC is subsequently exposed it can create frequently long term lasting damage
to U.S. image within that country and/or around the world - far more then most overt FIRCs
usually do
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