Small Wars Journal

irregular warfare

What Fox News Hasn't Told You about Qatar and Iran SWJED Tue, 12/10/2019 - 9:21am
… All of this leads to the reasonable conclusion that not only was Qatar likely informed by Iran about the plan to attack the Aramco sites in September, but likely had coordinated with Iran and helped make it happen smoothly.

Rethinking Bernard Fall’s Legacy. The Persistent Relevance of Revolutionary Warfare (Part I)

SWJ interview with Nathaniel L. Moir, Ph.D., an Ernest May Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Policy at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Moir is completing a book manuscript on Bernard Fall for publication.

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Will a Prisoner Swap with the Taliban Push the Afghan Peace Process Forward?

It’s been over two months since President Trump announced a halt to U.S.-Taliban peace talks. In a move that could revive the moribund peace process, the Afghan government and Taliban completed a prisoner exchange that had been announced last week but then delayed. An American and Australian professor held by the Taliban were freed in return for three senior Taliban figures. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s September 28 presidential election remains undecided, further complicating peace efforts.

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In Libya, Peace is Possible if Foreign Interference Ends

"If foreign powers ceased their involvement in Libya, the country’s protracted civil war could come to an end quickly, said Mohamed Syala, the foreign minister of the Government of National Accord, in an interview with the U.S. Institute of Peace. The role of outside powers in Libya’s conflict has garnered renewed international attention in recent weeks as Russia has ramped up its support for Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar’s forces."

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Pass On What You Have Learned SWJED Mon, 11/18/2019 - 4:55am
Many of the troopers and leaders who were part of the early deployments of the “Global War on Terrorism” have since departed the military. But I know many remain, though for a lot of them, I suspect their experiences consist of deployments involving security force assistance or limited patrols with limited goals as host-nation forces were pushed to take on more responsibility. Despite this, the troopers who are still in our military have valuable lessons that should be passed on to those with less experience.

Being a Proxy: The History of Cooptation Offers Lessons to Learn - Are the Kurds Learning Them?

They know the drill. Emerging threats, foreign intervention, local alliances, and historic letdowns. Abandonment should not come as a surprise. Great powers have instrumentalized Kurdish nationalism for grand strategy, but cooptation implies agency from the proxy—a willingness to offer its strategic advantages for support or protection. U.S. withdrawal in face of the Turkish incursion in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria shines a light on the challenges of proxy warfare.

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Doomed from the Skies, Damned on the Ground

Every U.S. airstrike resulting in civilian casualties nullifies the eighteen-year long endeavors of reconstruction and nation building aimed at winning the hearts and minds of Afghans in the perpetual War on Terror. The airstrikes have alarmingly augmented the xenophobia of Afghans towards the foreign troops and especially those of the United States.

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A Month After U.S. Withdrawal, What is the State of Play in Syria?

In the month since President Trump’s October 6 phone call with Turkish President Erdogan and the announced U.S. withdrawal from northeast Syria, the picture on the ground has changed immensely. Moscow has emerged as the key power broker in Syria. The Kurds, looking for protection from Turkish forces, are in Russian-brokered talks with the Assad government. These discussions could pave the way for an expanded Syrian government presence in the northeast for the first time in years.

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Israel, America's Presidential Election and the Law of Armed Conflict

Already, back in 2014, US Senator Bernie Sanders fancied himself an informed scholar on the complex laws of war. Then as now, however, the Senator's seat-of-the-pants judgments concerning Israeli counterterrorism were evidently contrived and woefully incorrect. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, this recurrent American presidential aspirant, by accusing Israel of using "disproportionate force" against Palestinians, still ignores the (1) critical regional context of Israel's self-defense responses to terrorism, and (2) the authentic legal meaning of "proportionality."

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