Small Wars Journal

counterinsurgency

Measuring Strategic Progress Against ISIS

In order to make a clear case that the aggregate efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS (or Daesh as they are called in some countries) are showing progress towards “defeating” ISIS, we must understand the nature of this movement as a competition between its local jihadist groups and existing government leaders and institutions, at all levels, for the allegiance or submission of the population. In other words, we must address it for what it is: a networked global insurgency.

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Philippine Forces Cleared this City of Islamist Militants in 2017. It’s Still a Ghost Town.

Philippine Forces Cleared this City of Islamist Militants in 2017. It’s Still a Ghost Town. Story by Shibani Mahtani and Regine Cabato, Photos by Hannah Reyes Morales, Video by Jason Aldag – Washington Post

At the edge of a bridge leading into the heart of the devastation from a 2017 siege against Islamic State-linked militants, an electric-blue billboard stands apart from the ruins.

“Marawi will rise again! Soon . . .” it proudly declares in rainbow-colored letters.

 

So far, it sounds like an empty promise.

 

More than a year since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city liberated, Marawi looks almost as it did when the bombs and bullets stopped flying in October 2017, following five months of urban combat.

 

Not a single new structure has been built. Almost none of the debris has been cleared. Snakes and mosquitoes infest the bright-green canopy of weeds engulfing the ruins. The odd stray dog has taken refuge inside battle-ravaged buildings.

 

About 100,000 people displaced from the Marawi violence are unable to return home, living with relatives or in camps across the southern island of Mindanao. This predominantly Muslim region has seen clashes for decades between Philippine security forces and various groups of insurgents and militants, including the Abu Sayyaf.

 

Marawi, however, stands apart…

Read on.

Preparing for the Future: Insurgents Get a Vote

As the U.S. Army looks forward to the next conflict, it must not lose sight of the current strategic challenges. Future adversaries will likely also adopt insurgent tactics, if not entire insurgent groups, in concert with their own modernizing forces in any conflict with the U.S.. Therefore, we must regrow the large-scale combat operations knowledge base in concert with, rather than at the expense, of COIN.

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Tailoring Expectations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Scenarios in Afghanistan

Here we are eighteen years later with a resurgent Taliban and US/NATO achievements not only not consolidated but more fragile than ever and the Afghan state weaker with an unusual President in the White House, a growing war fatigue in the west and a divided Washington over the fate of its military engagement in the country.

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Are Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras Under Insurgent Attack?

Failure of national authorities in Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras pose risks to the well-being of the United States. First, state failure in El Salvador and Honduras creates migrant flows seeking refuge in the United States as a safe-haven for families. Second, state failure in each of these countries could grow into complete collapse of state authority and the rise to power of authoritarian regimes such as in Cuba and Venezuela which will collaborate with geo-political rivals of the United States in contravention of the Monroe Doctrine. Third, instability of social orders, economics, and politics in the countries immediately to our south will decrease regional progress towards higher living standards, undermining quality of life in our part of the world

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The Decision to Depart and the Defeat of Violent Extremist Organizations

The President made it clear for some time that he is not in favor of these wars. His advisors, Senior Civilians, and Generals had almost two years to figure out how to disengage and they did not get it done. The President probably grew weary of hearing that if we depart, ISIS will resurge in the political vacuum.

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A Country Study of Communist Terrorism and Islamic Radicalization in Brazil: Implications for Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations in Counter-Guerilla Warfare

Al-Qaeda religious extremist theology is a negative social movement in Brazil. Additional factors such as poverty, discrimination, and government inefficiency will permit radical Islamists to multiply and the Al-Qaeda terroristic theology to become a dangerous social movement in Brazil. Human terrain analysis and sociological intelligence notes that Al-Qaeda has embedded themselves into benevolent and peaceful Islamic communities of Brazil. Failure to believe that Al-Qaeda is not active in Brazil is a major social problem and intelligence failure.

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The Ethiopian Civil War: A Failure in Counterinsurgency

The Ogaden War, though officially ending in 1978, sparked rapid militarization as well as political repression on a heightened level within Ethiopia, which in turn triggered the conflagration of the Civil War itself. Political radicalization doesn’t attack outwards but rather inwards. The Red Terror, having claimed up to possibly half a million lives.

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