Small Wars Journal
  • “It takes a brave man to be a coward in the Red Army.”
    -- Joseph Stalin
  • “With no other security forces on hand, U.S. military was left to confront, almost alone, an Iraqi insurgency and a crime rate that grew worse throughout the year, waged in part by soldiers of the disbanded army and in part by criminals who were released from prison.”
    -- John Spratt
  • "In 1991 the Gulf War showed everyone how not to fight us, but the 2003 invasion of Iraq showed everybody how to fight us."
    -- David Kilcullen
  • “For Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle, founders and editors of Small Wars Journal. They gave the counterguerrilla underground a home, at a time when misguided leaders banned even the word ‘insurgency,’ though busily losing to one. Scholars, warriors, and agitators, Dave and Bill laid the foundation for battlefield success: our generation owes them a debt of gratitude.”
    -- David Kilcullen ('Counterinsugency' Dedication)
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    -- Old MOUT Adage

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SWJ is rebuilding our team following our tragic, unexpected loss of Dave, has an enduring vision that is still way too necessary, and will ease out of our operational pause. El Centro remains fully mission capable, and the rest of our operation will catch up.

"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

Small Wars Journal publishes original works from authentic voices across the spectrum of stakeholders in small wars. We also link you to relevant goings on elsewhere.  Login with your SWJ Username to comment, or Register, it's free. You can start your own threads in the Small Wars Council discussion board, but note that the board requires a separate Council Username. Follow SWJ on Twitter @smallwars.

Journal

by Anna Sergi, by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Thu, 06/04/2020 - 10:34pm | 0 comments
The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities and challenges for transnational organized crime groups, and mafias worldwide. This strategic note assesses the situation among the Italian mafias, including the Sicilian mafia, camorra, and ‘ndragheta.
by Alexandra Phelan, by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Tue, 06/02/2020 - 11:50pm | 0 comments
The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities and challenges for Criminal Armed Groups (CAGs)—criminal cartels, gangs, maras, and mafias—worldwide. This strategic note assesses the situation among Colombia’s revolutionaries (the FARC –Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, ELN – Ejército de Liberación Nacional, and dissident factions, and BACRIM – bandas criminales.
by Octavian Manea | Tue, 05/26/2020 - 4:07pm | 0 comments
SWJ interview with Dr. David Kilcullen, author of the newly published Dragons and the Snakes - How the Rest learned to fight the West, Oxford University Press, March 2020. He is a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University and a professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of New South Wales.
by Nathan P. Jones | Sat, 05/23/2020 - 6:52pm | 0 comments
SWJ–El Centro Fellow Nathan P. Jones reviews the new Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) Mexico and Central America Dataset.
by Robert Bunker, by Angelo Thomas | Sat, 05/23/2020 - 2:50pm | 0 comments
This research note seeks to provide some initial and exploratory insights—primarily but not exclusively via imagery interpretation—into 18th Street dark spiritual activities. 18th Street (Barrio 18) linkages to dark spirituality will be addressed from within the context of both United States (CONUS) and outside of the country (OCONUS) perspectives, with the latter focusing on the gang’s presence in the Northern Triangle of Central America (NTCA).
by David Kuhn, by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Thu, 05/21/2020 - 6:09pm | 0 comments
Search and seizure operations were conducted by Mexican federal agencies in San Andrés Cholula, Puebla state on 25-26 April 2020 due to an anonymous tip. These operations resulted in the seizure of a ‘terrorist arsenal’ (arsenal terrorista) of weapons and equipment including the components required to make weaponized drones. This arsenal is thought to be linked to ongoing organized crime bombings in Guanajuato state—with possible Cártel de Santa Rosa de Lima (CSRL) ties—and represents one more data point concerning the growing weaponized drone capabilities of the Mexican cartels and criminal gangs.
by John P. Sullivan, by Robert Bunker | Mon, 05/18/2020 - 3:37pm | 0 comments
Gangs in the Cape Town region have enacted a truce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa is in the midst of a lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak that is also leading to food shortages. The truce involves gangs throughout the Cape Flats, including Manenberg. The participating gangs are joining together to distribute food, soap, and essential goods in an effort to provide relief to the communities in which they exist.[
by Scott Crino, by Andy Dreby | Sun, 05/10/2020 - 4:39pm | 0 comments
Libya experienced a steep increase in fighting last month. The April fighting produced significant lessons learned, especially with respect to drones and counter drone technology. These included the employment of unmanned “kamikaze” loitering munitions by the GNA and HAF, the appearance of handheld counter drone systems, and advanced commercial-off-the-shelf flight components being used to support reconnaissance and surveillance.
by Robert Bunker, by Pamela Ligouri Bunker | Sun, 05/10/2020 - 3:26pm | 0 comments
This research note provides an update concerning new radical Islamist English-language online magazines appearing since the ebook publication of The Islamic State English-Language Online Magazine Rumiyah (Rome).
by Robert Bunker, by John P. Sullivan | Fri, 05/08/2020 - 6:37pm | 0 comments
Various organized crime entities throughout Latin America, Europe, and Africa—including gangs, cartels, and mafias—are increasingly responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. These include accounting for a shift in their illicit revenue streams and exploring new economic opportunities that are emerging. In the area of humanitarian response, a large number of the Mexican cartels are now actively engaging in these activities for their public relations and propaganda value in supporting their ‘protector of the community narratives’ targeted at the local citizenry under their control. These cartel activities are not without precedent and have taken place in Mexico in the past—though not as widespread and pronounced as they are now—and further reinforce ongoing criminal insurgency analysis related to this phenomena linked to Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘social banditry’ construct. 

Blog Posts

by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 06/05/2020 - 11:30am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Fri, 06/05/2020 - 9:42am | 0 comments
A roundup of the days news
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 06/04/2020 - 10:26am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Thu, 06/04/2020 - 10:06am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by SWJ Editors | Thu, 06/04/2020 - 5:53am | 0 comments
A great summary from an old friend of SWJ, Charlie Dunlap. 
by SWJ Editors | Wed, 06/03/2020 - 3:28pm | 1 comment
A film to commemorate the 76th anniversary of D-Day
by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 06/03/2020 - 11:59am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Wed, 06/03/2020 - 10:45am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 06/02/2020 - 10:29am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Tue, 06/02/2020 - 9:51am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day's news.
by Dave Maxwell | Mon, 06/01/2020 - 11:38am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Mon, 06/01/2020 - 10:35am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 05/31/2020 - 12:25pm | 1 comment
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sun, 05/31/2020 - 10:11am | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.
by Dave Maxwell | Sat, 05/30/2020 - 1:04pm | 0 comments
A roundup of the day’s news.