Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Margaret Hermann


Decision Making, Foreign Policy, Leadership, Middle East

Subject Categories

Political Science


In this dissertation, I address some limitations of the literature on the diversionary theory of war through some significant revisions. My revisions are intended to extend the scope and expand the content of the literature in order to transform the theory from a theory of war to a foreign policy theory. In addition, I try to contribute to the theoretical development of the literature by bringing the leader back into the diversionary theory and incorporating it into the current literature on foreign policy leadership studies. The dissertation focuses on Middle Eastern leaders who used diversionary strategies during the First Gulf War in 1991 and in its immediate aftermath. Some of the foreign policies of Hafiz Assad of Syria, King Hussein of Jordan, and Saddam Hussein of Iraq during this period have been interpreted as intended to divert the attention of their people and unify their people around their flags. These foreign policies will be analyzed in relation to the leadership traits of the three Middle Eastern political leaders.


Open Access