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Rethinking Insurgency

Author: Steven Metz; ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.
Publisher: Ft. Belvoir Defense Technical Information Center JUN 2007.
Edition/Format:   eBook : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The September 11, 2001, attacks and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom revived the idea that insurgency is a significant threat to the United States. In response, the American military and defense communities began to rethink insurgency. Much of this valuable work, though, viewed contemporary insurgency as more closely related to Cold War-era insurgencies than to the complex conflicts that characterized  Read more...
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Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Steven Metz; ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.
OCLC Number: 227936653
Notes: ISBN 1-58487-297-7.
Description: 78 p.

Abstract:

The September 11, 2001, attacks and Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom revived the idea that insurgency is a significant threat to the United States. In response, the American military and defense communities began to rethink insurgency. Much of this valuable work, though, viewed contemporary insurgency as more closely related to Cold War-era insurgencies than to the complex conflicts that characterized the post-Cold War period. This suggests that the way that the military and defense communities think about insurgency must be rethought. Contemporary insurgency has a different strategic context, structure, and dynamics than its forebears. Insurgencies tend to be nested in complex conflicts that involve what can be called third forces (armed groups that affect the outcome) and fourth forces (unarmed groups that affect the outcome, such as the media), as well as the insurgents and the regime. Because of globalization, the decline of overt state sponsorship of insurgency, the continuing importance of informal outside sponsorship, and the nesting of insurgency within complex conflicts associated with state weakness or failure, the dynamics of contemporary insurgency are more like a violent and competitive market than war in the traditional sense where clear and discrete combatants seek strategic victory. This suggests a very different way of thinking about counterinsurgency. At the strategic level, the risk to the United States is not that insurgents will "win" in the traditional sense. It is that complex internal conflicts, especially ones involving insurgency, will generate other adverse effects: the destabilization of regions, resource flows, and markets; the blossoming of transnational crime; humanitarian disasters; and transnational terrorism. Given this, the U.S. goal should not automatically be the defeat of the insurgents by the regime, but the most rapid conflict resolution possible. Protracted conflict, not insurgent victory, is the threat.

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