Two new books offer a glimpse of how advances in technology will change how small wars are fought.
Latest in counterinsurgency
Is India forgetting how to fight insurgent groups?
Editor’s Note: When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, it found itself woefully unprepared for the insurgency that followed. It took years—and many lives lost—for the U.S. military to relearn how to fight insurgents, but the results were stunning. By the end of the decade, al-Qaeda in Iraq and other violent groups were on the run, and it looked like Iraq was on the path to stability. Zach Abels at the National Interest, however, warns that much of this valuable knowledge is being lost.
Will Todman discusses the Assad regime's use of siege tactics in the Syrian conflict and what the success of these sieges could indicate about the future of modern authoritarian counter-insurgency.
David Ucko argues that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, authoritarian regimes often attempt to "win hearts and minds" to defeat insurgencies -- with mixed success.
John Mueller and Mark Stewart argue that, since 9/11, the definition of terrorism has expanded to include acts we would have historically classified as insurgent violence – to the point that it limits our ability to fully understand the threat we face.
The Islamic State has been labeled many things: a terrorist group, a cult, even a state. Daniel Byman argues that no one label quite fits the group and that failing to recognize all of its faces will severely limit our ability to defeat it.
Law, Science, Liberalism and the American Way of Warfare: The Quest for Humanity in Conflict, by Stephanie Carvin and Michael John Williams (Cambridge UP 2015)
Editor’s Note: The United States and its allies outsource most of their counterterrorism. Allies like Egypt and Jordan and frenemies like Pakistan do much of the heavy lifting, using their armies and intelligence services to fight jihadist terrorist groups and insurgencies. Florence Gaub, a senior analyst at the EU Institute for Security Studies, argues that Arab states are dangerously bad at the political side of counterinsurgency and their military campaigns often fail or even make things worse as a result.
Parwan, Friday, November 19, 2010 -- The week’s posts up until now—written on a Blackberry while we moved or found small spaces of time between engagements—position me finally to move from the definitional and philosophical matters I pondered yesterday in Khost to Jack’s September question: Do I consider counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan to be “lawfare.” The BLUF (“bottom line up front”), an expression used by each of the U.S.