Revisiting the 2007 Surge in Iraq


  • Dr. Anton Minkov Defence Research & Development Canada
  • Dr. Peter Tikuisis Defence Research & Development Canada


The 2007 surge in Iraq is considered one of the most significant military events in recent history given that it coincided with a marked decrease in violent attacks. However, revisiting “significant activity” (SIGACT) data reveals that violence had generally peaked before the surge. This study presents also an examination of other factors that might explain the earlier decline in violence, before the surge was even announced. It is difficult to pinpoint the trends that were most prominent, but they all likely contributed to a shift in the momentum of the security situation in the fall of 2006, before the surge was even announced. Thus, our analysis suggests that the surge was an unnecessary gambit. This paper aims to caution strategic policy decision-makers against misinterpreting the efficacy of surge capability in a complex and dynamically changing security situation.

Author Biographies

Dr. Anton Minkov, Defence Research & Development Canada

Anton Minkov is a Defence Scientist, Strategic Analyst with the Centre for Operational Research and Analysis (CORA), part of Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC). Dr. Minkov holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies (major in history) from McGill University. He has taught history of the Middle East at Carleton University and University of Ottawa. He is the author of Conversion to Islam in the Balkans (Brill, 2004) and has written extensively on security and history of the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Dr. Peter Tikuisis, Defence Research & Development Canada

Peter Tikuisis is an Emeritus Defense Scientist in the Socio-Cognitive Systems Section at DRDC Toronto. Dr. Tikuisis’ expertise involves theoretical, analytical, and experimental research in conjunction with mathematical modeling.  Since 2006 his work has expanded into the areas of terrorism, state instability and military operational research. He holds PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and is also an adjunct professor at Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.