Insurgency and the enemy within

Sunday, July 27th, 2014 By

Soldiers conducting counter insurgency operations.

Soldiers conducting counter insurgency operations in support of Operation Eduring Freedom. (Photo: DVIDSHUB/Flickr/CC-BY)

Insurgent units are known for guerrilla tactics. They usually employ surprising and unconventional warfare. They slowly increase the losses on a foreign force, but more importantly, they sap at their enemies’ will. Their long-term goal is not to attain a military victory, but rather a political one. The armed conflict is a mere avenue to forward certain political goals. Thus, the insurgency does not suffer logistical problems, like a regular army, or issues regarding morale.

Dissonance of policy makers

The planners, tacticians and strategists for the U.S. military effort in conflict regions, like Iraq and Afghanistan, are insensitive to the nature of the threat that confronts them. The strategies, approaches and methods they have developed and are applying do not effectively counteract insurgencies. To deal with this particular kind of adversary entails a deeper understanding of their nature and pathology. However, insurgent strategy is seldom carefully analyzed. This culture of dissonance is the downfall of long-term military efforts in these regions. This blindness to certain social truths that have strategic implications has plagued U.S. conflict policies.

The hidden enemy

It was revealed in a recent Senate Report that the organizations in Afghanistan that the U.S. forces hired to increase the security in their installations and bases were involved with insurgents. This is a significant breach of security that amounts to the efforts on the ground being constantly undermined by the same people the U.S. forces entrusted with their safety. This introduces a whole new dimension to the conflict the U.S. is embroiled in. The enemy now has a direct and significant means by which to inflict damaging losses to the U.S. forces.

Necessary measures

Increasing the necessary security by checking on local organizations is vital, even if it requires installment loans or short term loans, among other forms of credit. However, there is greater importance in having a shift in strategy as well as how the insurgency is perceived. The delusion of American invincibility has to be set aside and reality must be confronted. This distortion deceives policy-makers as to the real status quo and the genuine enemy. This, in turn, could hamper effective strategy-making.


BBC News

Small Wars Journal (PDF)

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