Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Paul R. Viotti, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Goetz

Third Advisor

David Goldfischer


Genocide, Humanitarian intervention, Humanitarianism, Military, United Nations, United States


Late in the summer of 2014, tens of thousands of persecuted minorities fled a genocidal onslaught and took refuge on Mt. Sinjar in Iraq. Stranded by indiscriminate ISIS mortar fire, the group known as the Yezidi faced dehydration and exposure to extreme temperatures on the barren mountain. Ten days later the majority of the trapped Yezidi individuals had escaped through a protected corridor on the ground. This paper analyzes the international response to the Complex Emergency (CE) through network analysis as an alternative to existing civil-military frameworks. Complex Adaptive System (CAS) analysis is used to explain actions in a non-hierarchical environment. Salient strategies that worked to produce a positive humanitarian outcome at Mt. Sinjar are identified. The results suggest that only the humanitarian community was effective in assessing the onset of the crisis, while the task of protecting civilians against a murderous military force was left to the United States. The media was briefly able to exert enough pressure on the attentive public and elites in the US to respond to the crisis, through what has been labeled the "CNN effect"

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Trevor Jones

File size

108 p.

File format





International Relations, Social Research, Political Science