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Thread: An Adaptive Insurgency: Confronting Adversary Networks in Iraq

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    Default An Adaptive Insurgency: Confronting Adversary Networks in Iraq

    From Jeffrey White at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

    An Adaptive Insurgency: Confronting Adversary Networks in Iraq
    ...What makes the networks in Iraq such a difficult target? At the core of the difficulty in dealing with the insurgency lies the fundamental nature of the insurgent networks themselves—social organizations, or organisms, more or less well adapted to the social environment, or “landscape,” of Iraq, especially Sunni Arab Iraq. The adaptive nature of these networks has made them resilient, capable of accommodating substantial military and political changes in the environment, and able to
    survive. This paper broadly suggests what will work and not work in combating the insurgents. It makes the argument that only by changing the environment, or “landscape,” in which the insurgents operate beyond their capability to adapt to the change, can the insurgency be controlled. This approach goes beyond “oil spot,” and “clear, hold, build,” although those strategies do aim at changing aspects of the insurgents’ operational environment. It is closer to “winning hearts and minds.” But the adaptive capacity of the insurgents may surpass the ability of even this approach...

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    This article from the last issue of Parameters makes for a good follow-on read to the paper I linked above:

    Structural Vulnerabilities of Networked Insurgencies: Adapting to the New Adversary
    ...The purpose of this article is not to propose a comprehensive strategy for a modern counterinsurgency. Instead, it examines one component of such a plan—understanding and exploiting the insurgent’s structural vulnerabilities. It does not exhaust this analysis; the conclusions drawn here are demonstrative of the possibilities inherent in this methodology.

    Throughout this article, the conflict in Iraq is used as an illustrative example of a modern insurgency. The Iraqi insurgency is thus far the most advanced embodiment of netwar, where small groups coordinate, communicate, and conduct their campaigns in an internetted manner, without a precise central command. As such, this conflict is a powerful predictor of the future of insurgency....

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