Small Wars Journal

Routledge Handbook of U.S. Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare Operations

Sun, 07/11/2021 - 7:52am
34 essays by spanning the war on terrorism.  Access the entire book in PDF or read it online HERE.
Routledge Handbook of U.S. Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare Operations
Edited By Michael A. Sheehan, Erich Marquardt, Liam Collins
‘A unique, exceptional volume of compelling, thoughtful, and informative essays on the subjects of irregular warfare, counter-insurgency, and counter-terrorism – endeavors that will, unfortunately, continue to be unavoidable and necessary, even as the U.S. and our allies and partners shift our focus to Asia and the Pacific in an era of renewed great power rivalries. The co-editors – the late Michael Sheehan, a brilliant comrade in uniform and beyond, Liam Collins, one of America’s most talented and accomplished special operators and scholars on these subjects, and Erich Marquardt, the founding editor of the CTC Sentinel – have done a masterful job of assembling the works of the best and brightest on these subjects – subjects that will continue to demand our attention, resources, and commitment.’General (ret.) David Petraeus, former Commander of the Surge in Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA
‘Terrorism will continue to be a featured security challenge for the foreseeable future. We need to be careful about losing the intellectual and practical expertise hard-won over the last twenty years. This handbook, the brainchild of my late friend and longtime counter-terrorism expert Michael Sheehan, is an extraordinary resource for future policymakers and CT practitioners who will grapple with the evolving terrorism threat.’General (ret.) Joseph Votel, former commander of US Special Operations Command and US Central Command
‘This volume will be essential reading for a new generation of practitioners and scholars. Providing vibrant first-hand accounts from experts in counterterrorism and irregular warfare, from 9/11 until the present, this book presents a blueprint of recent efforts and impending challenges. Terrorism is a perpetual threat, one that never goes away, but requires expertise and attention to compress its scale and scope. These essays provide the way forward.Nancy Collins, author of Grey Wars and senior fellow of the Modern War Institute, West Point
‘The post-9/11 literature on counterterrorism has been dominated by academics and policy practitioners. The Routledge Handbook of U.S. Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare Operations widens the existing scope of scholarship on terrorism and counterterrorism by adding a critically important operational perspective to the discussion. Conceived by the legendary Ambassador Michael Sheehan, the handbook assembles a stellar cast of contributors in a unique volume that will enlighten and inspire all those who take part and interest in the ongoing effort to stem one of the most pressing security challenges of our time – from scholars to decisionmakers, and from policy practitioners to military operators.’Assaf Moghadam, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel, author of Nexus of Global Jihad: Understanding Cooperation among Terrorist Actors
‘The Routledge Handbook of US Counterterrorism and Irregular Warfare Operations consolidates and advances our understanding of the American experience at war since the mass murder attacks of September 11, 2001. It is a book that should be read and discussed beyond the military, as the contributors’ findings are consistent with Sir Michael Howard’s observation that, in war, the causes of victory or defeat are often found far from the battlefield.’Lt.-General (ret.) H.R. McMaster, former US National Security Advisor and author of Dereliction of Duty and Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World

Introduction 1

Liam Collins


The threat and regional security issues 9 

1 The evolution of Islamist terrorism in the 20th century 11

James J.F. Forest 

2 The ideology behind al-Qaida and the Islamic State 27

Daniel Rudder and Christopher Heffelfinger 

3 The evolution of al-Qaida: 1988 to present day 41

Seth G. Jones 

4 The history of the Islamic State: from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 54

Brian Fishman 

5 Contemporary conflict and political violence in the Levant 71

Benedetta Berti


6 Jihadi militancy and Houthi insurgency in Yemen 83

Elisabeth Kendall 

7 The roots of terrorism in North and West Africa: AQIM and Boko Haram 95

Alice Hunt Friend 

8 Al-Shabaab and the Horn of Africa 105

Ken Menkhaus 

9 The history of terrorism in Southeast Asia 117

Peter Chalk

10 The Taliban and the modern history of Afghanistan 134

Rob Johnson

11 The modern history of Iran and the birth of the Shia proxy model 148

Alex Vatanka

12 Terrorism, insurgency, and criminal insurgency in Latin America 159

Román D. Ortiz


Operational case studies 173

13 El Salvador: Operations and Planning Assistance Training Teams and a minimalist approach to counterinsurgency 175

Cecil E. Bailey

14 Plan Colombia and the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group 190

Kevin M. Higgins

15 The story of the U.S. role in the killing of Pablo Escobar 203

Mark Bowden

16 The Iran-Contra Affair and the Afghan Task Force: lessons in covert action 212

Jack Devine and Amanda Mattingly

17 The horse soldiers: lessons from expeditionary unconventional warfare 223

Mark E. Mitchell

18 Special Operations Forces and Afghan Local Police programs 239

Donald C. Bolduc and Chris Hensley

19 U.S. civilian architecture for stabilization and counterinsurgency in Northern Afghanistan (2012–2013) 254

Keith Mines

20 Dismantling al-Qaida in Iraq 267

Liam Collins

21 Operation Enduring Freedom–Philippines: lessons in special warfare 280

David S. Maxwell

22 Operation Serval: a swift intervention with a small footprint in Mali 293

Michael A. Sheehan and Pascale C. Siegel

23 U.S. counterterrorism policy in Yemen from 2010–2020 307

Luke Hartig

24 Defeating the Islamic State: Special Operations Forces in Syria 323

Anthony Messenger, Nick Lewis-Walls, Mike Parker, Bert Pedrigi, and David P. Kearns



Government instruments in countering terrorism and waging irregular warfare 349

25 The Joint Terrorism Task Force: investigating to disrupt and prosecute terrorists 351

Ali Soufan

26 Creating the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau 364

Michael A. Sheehan

27 The inside story of how the NYPD’s Intelligence Division adapted in the wake of 9/11 377

David Cohen

28 Lessons learned from four high-casualty terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11 390

Paul Cruickshank

29 Social media recruitment of Americans: a case study from the Islamic State 413

Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens and Seamus Hughes

30 Countering extremist organizations in the information domain 423

Joseph Mroszczyk and Max Abrahms

31 Theater Special Operations Command: the operational employment of U.S. Special Operations Forces 436

Charles T. Cleveland and Liam Collins

32 Theater command in Afghanistan: taking charge of “The Other War” in 2003–2005 447

David W. Barno

33 America’s drone wars outside of conventional war zones 460

Peter Bergen and A.G. Sims

34 The United Kingdom’s approach to counterterrorism 477

Robin Simcox and Hannah Stuart 

Conclusion 492

Hy Rothstein

Index 502