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Thread: Recognizing Distinct Types of Insurgency - "Know the type of conflict you are in."

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default Recognizing Distinct Types of Insurgency - "Know the type of conflict you are in."

    There is an old saying in the infantry: "Every form of maneuver is frontal assault for the lead squad."

    While that is true, and largely unavoidable, once one steps back and looks as the larger picture, the true essence of the maneuver being employed is revealed. But it sure looks and feels like a frontal assault for that lead squad.

    This leads to the problem (and point of strategic disagreement I have with my good friend Bill Moore - we argue this over beers as well as on line) - everything that looks like war is not war. War is a specific form of violence between two or more separate political entities. As many brilliant military theorists note, "the nature of war is constant as it is rooted in human nature; but the character of war varies widely" (case by case for myriad factors of history, geography, cultures, technology, etc).

    It is not about what the illegal actor wants that is important, it is WHY they want it. That is what determines both the nature of the problem and the nature of the cure. We tend to be far too symptomatic in our analysis. If something looks like problem A, apply solution A. The reality is that several types of problem might look like our symptomatic type A, each demanding a unique solution. This is the principle flaw in the AQAA construct and why the logic behind it has driven our strategic failure to date in dealing with illegal challenges to governance and stability

    For example three broad categories of motivation for posing an illegal challenge to governance with very distinct natures demanding equally distinct solutions are:

    1. Revolutionary insurgency to coerce change or illegally overthrow a domestic system of governance coming from an internal base of popular support. Largely a form of civil emergency, demanding a lead effort on the part of governance

    2. Resistance insurgency to defeat or expel a foreign occupation (either physical or by manipulative policies). Typically a continuation of warfare demanding a lead effort on the part of military to defeat this segment of the population as one has likely already done with the government and security forces.

    3. Profit motivated criminal activities designed to exploit some illicit market space with significant popular demand. This demands a blend of law enforcement and law reform to find the mix best for sustainable stability.

    All three forms of motivation may be in the same place, the same organizations, and the same individual; and a smart governmental response appreciates the blend and creates an appropriately blended response as well. It is also important when studying motivations to stay at the macro level. Study why 1000 men join the insurgency, and one has 1000 stories. Step back and assess the macro motivation of the overall insurgency to assess the nature of the conflict at hand.

    Resistance insurgency (not as USASOC and SOCOM define it in their UW doctrine) is a form of war. For me resistance is a unique form of insurgency that occurs in the context of war between two or more distinct political entities. The people often are the only ones left in the fight in rear areas as the formal forces are pushed back (think partisan warfare against the Nazis in their rear areas as they pushed the Soviets back); or the final gasp of a state once the Government surrenders and the formal forces are defeated (think the French resistance in France following their defeat by Nazi Germany and prior to their liberation by the Allies). This is a form of insurgency that is a form of war. The critical factors are the primary purpose for action, AND the nature of the relationship between the parties involved.

    But many of the French and Ukrainian resistance fighters against the Nazi German invasion also had a separate line of insurgency motivation to fight. Revolutionary insurgency motivation against the illegitimate Vichy regime working for the Germans in France; and against the Soviet governance in Eastern Europe.

    Revolutionary Insurgency often looks exactly like Resistance Insurgency - but is fundamentally different in nature. Revolution is internal to a single political system, and as such is more accurately a form of democracy than a form of war. Revolutionary insurgency must possess four components or it is something else.

    1. It must be political in primary purpose.
    2. It must be internal to a single political system.
    3. It must rise from a base of support within a significantly aggrieved identity-based population within that political system (i.e., not a coup led by a disgruntled Colonel to quickly topple a government).
    4. It must be illegal in form under the laws of the political system where it takes place.

    Some key implications of these four core characteristics of Revolutionary Insurgency:
    1. The only difference in nature between revolution and democracy is legality.
    2. Violence is a tactical choice, and in no way affects the nature of the problem; so revolution can be violent or non-violent, it is still equally revolution if the four core components are present.
    3. What is Revolution in Egypt or China (for example), is merely citizens expressing their concerns acting within their constitutional rights in the United States.
    4. The fastest way to reduce revolutionary energy is to grant degrees of political empowerment to the population writ large, or extend those empowering mechanisms to the identity-based population acting out that may well be denied equal access to those mechanisms (need for the Voting Rights Act as part of the US response to the Civil Rights Movement). This must be done in a manner that makes sense in the context of the culture of the people involved (the US running elections in Iraq and Afghanistan; and helping to write constitutions for those places based upon OUR culture is not a good example of this).
    5. Revolution can become war once the "cell divides" and a new political system emerges around the revolutionary leadership. (Current example, ISIL was a revolutionary insurgency against the governments of Syria and Iraq; but has separated and formed a distinct new political system; and now this is war between distinct states. This calls for an added caution - if we do "defeat" ISIL, the problem does not go away, it just reverts into a powerful, fragmented collection of revolutionary insurgencies).
    6. If the primary purpose for action is to make profits through organized crime, and threats to governance are merely a side effect, or supporting line of operation to support that profit motivated illicit business, it is not revolution (or insurgency at all, IMO, as it requires a very distinct solution blending law enforcement and law reform to address, and is about profit, not politics).

    So, after over a decade of debating COIN, perhaps it is finally time to pause and consider if we understand insurgency as well as is necessary to find the results we seek.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default We Have Fallen Into Karpmans Triangle Trap

    It is a religious insurgency ( I.e. AQI and other Islamic radicals are trying to take over main stream Islam) we (USA) keep stepping in the middle of and say it is in our interest to do so when it is clearly not. Karpmans Triangle is deadly trap and we have fallen in to it.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Slap,

    What is a "religious insurgency"?? I mean, I get it, that it that often the identity-based population group that is oppressed or discriminated against by the governance over them to the point they feel compelled to act out illegally to force political change is along religious lines, but to call that "religious insurgency" is to shift the focus from the problems of governance to a defining characteristic of one of the parties.

    Historians often focus on the superficial. So if the rebelling population is Catholic and the population in power is Protestant, (as in Northern Ireland) they focus on that religious distinction, and not on the fact that Protestant England invaded and colonized Catholic Ireland and the resultant resistance against that perceived illegitimate foreign presence.

    Historians often use terms loosely as well. The will use terms like "revolution," "insurrection," "emergency," "resistance," "insurgency," "rebellion," etc as if they all mean exactly the same thing, and I suspect just going with the one that sounds the best poetically.

    As to radical Islam? One has to take a radical stance in one's rhetoric if one is going to take on the establishment. You can't just say "we stand for the same perspective as the government, but come risk your life and fortune to join us in an illegal challenge against that government."

    Protestants were once the radicals. Now they are the WASPs that are synonymous for conservative and boring. This is why fixating on how a message is being corrupted for the purposes of running an insurgency is so dangerous. But I know why governments do it. Far better to get everyone focused on and excited about the outrageous aspects of the challenger's message, than to have them focus on the reasonableness of much of the political rationale for the insurgency itself.

    So, I'll go on record right here. There is no such thing as "religious insurgency." (Other than the movement led by Jesus, that was totally focused on changing religion, and pointedly had no beef with the occupying Romans or Herod the Jewish agent of the Romans). Many insurgents use religion in their ideology, but that is the sales pitch, not the driver of the challenge.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 03-03-2015 at 10:13 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Read Galula

    Galula said that are several types of insurgencies of which, a religious insurgency is one type. I can't remember the page number but it is near the front of his book.

    The radical insurgency inside Islxam started in 1979 with the seizure of the holy mosque in Mecca and everything else we see today is an extension of that event.

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    I will back up one step and start at the beginning. War is always the same and it is based in human psychology, but it goes back farther than politics. I define war as deadly or potentially deadly organized violence committed by a subset of one group, whose actions are morally sanctioned by that group, against a discrete and identifiable other group with a specific objective or goal.

    Now, the key at this point is that war, having its foundation in human nature, it has to have a purpose in human development. Since intergroup conflict, or primitive war, was a normal activity for humans in our ancient past (or among the surviving hunter-gatherers), what was their motivation? As it turns out, it was their basic need to survive and reproduce. Conflicts were the result of territorial incursions, retaliation for attacks, and to take women. Other humans invading your territory meant reducing the natural resources your group has to survive on. Letting an attack go unaddressed meant that your group was easy prey. Women were needed to bear children and war tended to be a male dominated activity. At a very basic level, it was the need to survive and reproduce that drove conflict.

    It makes sense that human needs were the drive behind human warfare. Human needs motivate human activity . Satisfying needs is necessary for human existence. War was an adapted strategy for humans. “A number of distinct, but overlapping evolutionary approaches to understanding collective violence (with a particular focus on war) have been developed in the last two decades. These approaches share a common assumption that warfare has been selected for in human evolutionary history, although they differ in terms of the hypothesized evolutionary function, and particular evolutionary trajectory of collective violence (citations omitted).” It is reasonable to assume that an adaptive strategy must somehow enhance survival. Therefore it makes perfect sense that a social animal would engage in a societal version of conflict to defend what they need to survive or even take from others the necessities of life if the opportunity presents.

    So, war will not be about money, but it can be for power. It can be about anything that is a basic need - survival, reproduction, security, self-esteem, self-expression, autonomy. These are what we go to war over. So however you characterize it, its source needs to be found here. Also, war, as conducted by tribal groups, is a sanctioned activity. Crime is not.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 03-04-2015 at 02:32 AM.
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    Default Force Or Fraud

    War is the use of force or FRAUD to obtain an object or goal. This obsession with just a use of force is why we keep loosing. We continue to wear blinders and cannot see the use of outright FRAUD as a Weapon. Every good cop knows this but few soldiers ever get it.
    Last edited by slapout9; 03-04-2015 at 02:36 AM. Reason: stuff

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    One other point. Assuming that humans psychological motivation for the collective act that is war is based in some need, there can be no "religious" war or insurgency. There can be a war based on identity and self-esteem - "our God is the one true God and yours is false" - but religion is not the true driving force. There is no human need for religion. So as long as that is what you are looking at you will never find the true origin of the motivation of the various actors.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Galula said that are several types of insurgencies of which, a religious insurgency is one type. I can't remember the page number but it is near the front of his book.

    The radical insurgency inside Islxam started in 1979 with the seizure of the holy mosque in Mecca and everything else we see today is an extension of that event.
    Slap, religion is one of the primary types of ideology employed in insurgency, but remember, Galula was a counterinsurgent, not an insurgent. He looked at the problem through the biased eyes of a foreign colonist. He grew up a Frenchman in Africa, and in his book he also said that the insurgency was never against France, only against the ineffective colonial regimes France had put in power. In short, for all of the good in Galula, he was just a man with bias and opinions just like you and I. I think he missed the ball on that particular insight.

    As to the Middle East, the political revolts of the modern era against governance began long before 1979. Look to the Constitutional Revolutions in Turkey and Iraq in 1906-08; or the broad resistance energy against the Ottomans that Lawrence tapped into across the Arabian Peninsula and Levant in WWI. By 1979 the concerns with the how Saudi governance was heading were growing. One cannot separate governance from religion in the Middle East, but what you are pointing to are illegal challenges to governance.

    But I could be missing something. Lets find an example purely about religion in deed, not just message, and lets discuss.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Remember, a main point of this thread is to discuss that most insurgency is not war at all. Resistance between two distinct political systems fits the war paradigm; but revolution within a single political system simply does not share the same nature that is common to war, even though it often shares the same characteristics. We need to deal with things for what they are, not for what they look like.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Remember, a main point of this thread is to discuss that most insurgency is not war at all. Resistance between two distinct political systems fits the war paradigm; but revolution within a single political system simply does not share the same nature that is common to war, even though it often shares the same characteristics. We need to deal with things for what they are, not for what they look like.
    I would agree. Revolution does not fit into the definition of war, as long as it is fought within the same group. Not sure how to define it.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default 1979 Was About Religion

    The 1979 siege at Mecca was about Islam not being pure enough....was it not? So radical Islamist wanted to take over what I call mainstream Islam and convert it a pure form of Islam. At least in their eyes. So that seems like a religious insurgency to me. It was not about governance as much as about Islam IMO.
    Last edited by slapout9; 03-04-2015 at 03:29 AM. Reason: stuff

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    I would agree. Revolution does not fit into the definition of war, as long as it is fought within the same group. Not sure how to define it.
    Of course you can't define it, and you can't define war. You think war is this, and Bob can think I it is something else, and I can think it is completely something different. Slap thinks it includes fraud, which seems a bit of a stretch, but since doctrinal explanations no longer (if they ever did) address reality they have little utility outside of their legal context. In the U.S., and in the U.S. only, the government has certain war time powers it can leverage if war is actually declared.

    We could all sit around a table drinking beer and find we actually agree with each other on many things, but we each call these things different names. This isn't a minor issue, the military can't be a true profession until it develops a lexicon that the entire force recognizes AND it adapts to the world as it really is. Falling back on Thucydides, Clausewitz, Mao, etc. is a start, but history didn't stop.

    For the time being I'm sticking with the definition of war in JP-1, but even that falls short.

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    Default It was the counter-insurgents who changed course

    I think this book review fits here, as it refers to a governing elite amidst an insurgency and a 'border war(s)' chaning course:
    The regime had an efficient army and a repressive police force. Insurgency was minimal, despite hostile frontline states across the borders in Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Trade sanctions had reinforced Pretoria in its self-righteous isolation, incidentally ridding the country of foreign profit-takers. South Africa’s economy was Africa’s strongest. The sports boycott was irritating, but not remotely such as to induce Afrikaners to capitulate to a black majority....I could see no reason why this should change any time soon. The whites were entrenched....Then suddenly in 1989-91 came a revolution.

    What happened next was equally crucial. De Klerk had a Damascene conversion, boldly and emphatically turning to reform. He realised that apartheid was losing intellectual and moral sway over the white minority. He could see the game was up. So-called “separate development” was administrative chaos, with black immigrants pouring into the lucrative mining sector and spreading south into the Cape Province. Most whites sensed change had to come, but they were terrified of what it might mean.
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...renwick-review
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Of course you can't define it, and you can't define war. You think war is this, and Bob can think I it is something else, and I can think it is completely something different. Slap thinks it includes fraud, which seems a bit of a stretch, but since doctrinal explanations no longer (if they ever did) address reality they have little utility outside of their legal context. In the U.S., and in the U.S. only, the government has certain war time powers it can leverage if war is actually declared.

    We could all sit around a table drinking beer and find we actually agree with each other on many things, but we each call these things different names. This isn't a minor issue, the military can't be a true profession until it develops a lexicon that the entire force recognizes AND it adapts to the world as it really is. Falling back on Thucydides, Clausewitz, Mao, etc. is a start, but history didn't stop.

    For the time being I'm sticking with the definition of war in JP-1, but even that falls short.
    But Bill, this is the root of the problem. Until we can decide on a definition we are going no where. The JP-1 defines war as a socially sanctioned violence to achieve a political purpose. By this definition, when O'Rielly claimed that he was in a war zone during violent street protest in Argentina where the people were seeking relief for political grievances, he was absolutely right - he was in the middle of a war.

    Until we define our terms we will simply talk past one another.

    My biggest problem with most of these discussions is that they are largely merely philosophical. There is very little "science" in Military Science. It is mostly history - arguing about this conflict or that. It never digs down to find a common root in all war.

    This is why I feel that, before we start this conversation on how to categorize wars, we need to properly define war. Perhaps that is another thread, but I still feel it is important.

    ... while I am ranting, there is also precious little science in Political Science, so tying our definition to the political realm is only marginally helpful, and largely useless in insurgencies and revolutions.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 03-04-2015 at 11:57 AM.
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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    This leads to the problem (and point of strategic disagreement I have with my good friend Bill Moore - we argue this over beers as well as on line) - everything that looks like war is not war. War is a specific form of violence between two or more separate political entities. As many brilliant military theorists note, "the nature of war is constant as it is rooted in human nature; but the character of war varies widely" (case by case for myriad factors of history, geography, cultures, technology, etc).
    Colonel,

    The paragraph above points to a logical inconsistency that has bothered me for some time. As you note, the "the nature of war is constant as it is rooted in human nature; but the character of war varies widely". Yet you return to the idea war is a between “two or more separate political entities”. My caution is in the use of “political entities” versus a more generic “separate, discrete, identifiable groups” may severly limit how some people see war.

    My reasoning is that, while war's nature has remained constant from the time two groups of hunter-gatherers attacked each other over access to some necessary resource (like women), the “political” realm is a relatively recent addition and has changed radically over our 15,000 years of civilized existence. For example, the Westphalian State is only a recent addition, less than 500 years old, yet it seems like the majority of people are stuck to the Clauswitzian dogma that war has to be between an extension of state politics. Using the term “political” creates a mental cage for some people that makes it hard to understand ethnic or religious violence – where war is based in a clash of identities, not politics.

    Using the same logic, a revolutionary conflict can become a war once the disgruntled individuals coalesce into a group that no longer identifies with the larger society. I would argue that this is what happened in the American Revolution, where the population slowly changed from believing they were good English citizens whose rights as Englishmen were being trampled, to Colonist who had an identity separate from the Crown. You can see how this played out after we won independence and the need for a separate identity cause us to change the spelling of certain words, like color (from colour), so that we could have a clearly identifiable language of our own.

    Just a thought.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 03-04-2015 at 01:29 PM.
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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    When I say "political entities" or "political systems" I am not comfortable myself that those are the best terms, but to be clear, I do not mean this is limited to "states" or that the political system is run by some formal government, but that it is under a single system of governance.

    Harry Summers derived a simple social trinity from Clausewitz in his "On Strategy" of "Government-Army-People." And yes, I realize this is related to, but is not, Clausewitz's "Remarkable Trinity," yet I think it does provide a simple model for what I mean by a single political system or political entity.

    This can certainly describe a state, but it can also describe a tribe, and in fact, probably describes both the Hatfield clan and the McCoy Clan. So, violent conflict between any two or more such systems shares a common nature that we describe generally as "war."

    But what if the conflict is within any one of those systems? Illegal competition (as defined by the rules and laws of that system) to coerce change upon, or overthrow of, the leadership (or "government") of that system. This is a thing of a very different nature than conflict between two separate and distinct systems.

    As an internal insurgency (revolution) gains success, at some point the political system may well divide as any living cell does, into two or more distinct systems, each with their own complete systems of governance, population and security forces. At this point, if the contest continues, what was once revolutionary non-war becomes war. Defeat the governance of an emerging system, as we propose with our counter-ISIL strategy, and one does not "win" the war, all one does is convert the conflict from war back into revolutionary non-war once again.

    When we don't identify this critical distinction, we do not plan for, recognize, or respond appropriately to these critical transitions in the nature of a conflict.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    The 1979 siege at Mecca was about Islam not being pure enough....was it not? So radical Islamist wanted to take over what I call mainstream Islam and convert it a pure form of Islam. At least in their eyes. So that seems like a religious insurgency to me. It was not about governance as much as about Islam IMO.
    Slap, I read a pretty good book on this a couple years ago, and as I recall without going back to do the research, the '79 movement in KSA that took the Holy Mosque in Mecca (and the separate but parallel movement to expel the Americans from Iran) were both extremely political in nature.

    In the Kingdom the leader of the movement employed an Islamic ideology, and identified a young man who had the characteristics described in the Koran as prophet who would liberate the people to serve as the central selling point in his movement. The people who believed political change was necessary to that point had been deterred by law, state power, etc. But with the coming of this prophet they believed it was time to act. Power manipulation for political purpose, wrapped in religion. But at the heart, it was a political challenge and revolutionary non-war.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    When I say "political entities" or "political systems" I am not comfortable myself that those are the best terms, but to be clear, I do not mean this is limited to "states" or that the political system is run by some formal government, but that it is under a single system of governance..
    Sir,

    I assumed as much. I can tell from you trouble defining revolutions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Harry Summers derived a simple social trinity from Clausewitz in his "On Strategy" of "Government-Army-People." And yes, I realize this is related to, but is not, Clausewitz's "Remarkable Trinity," yet I think it does provide a simple model for what I mean by a single political system or political entity..
    I still don't like the over-reliance on the Saint Clausewitz' trinity, so I will propose something different. Imagine a venn diagram with one large circle that represents the entire population of people, regardless of who they are. Marke that circle "all people." Inside of that place a smaller circle that represents the "people." What seperates this group of people from the larger domain of "all people" is some internally derived identity. It can be ethnic, religous, or political, but it is how these people seperate themselves from the larger domain of "all people." Inside of our circle marked "people" is a smaller circle marked "Army." The Army is that subset of the people who have been morally sanctioned to commit violance in the name of the people. I think this does a better job than a trinity, and it does not lock us into the Clausewitzian dogmatic defintion of war as an extension of policy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    As an internal insurgency (revolution) gains success, at some point the political system may well divide as any living cell does, into two or more distinct systems, each with their own complete systems of governance, population and security forces. At this point, if the contest continues, what was once revolutionary non-war becomes war. Defeat the governance of an emerging system, as we propose with our counter-ISIL strategy, and one does not "win" the war, all one does is convert the conflict from war back into revolutionary non-war once again.

    When we don't identify this critical distinction, we do not plan for, recognize, or respond appropriately to these critical transitions in the nature of a conflict.
    I agree, and that is one of the reasons we cannot find a good defintion of "winning." We have definitionally backed ourselves into a neverending war.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    One thing I do believe strongly when it comes to defining things is that if one is creating something one can define that thing to whatever it is we want it to be; but, if instead we are seeking to understand some natural thing existing in nature, it is what it is, and will not conform itself to our cultural or institutional bias, or become what the senior man in the room declares it to be.

    Popes and Generals are often made fools in this regard.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    One thing I do believe strongly when it comes to defining things is that if one is creating something one can define that thing to whatever it is we want it to be; but, if instead we are seeking to understand some natural thing existing in nature, it is what it is, and will not conform itself to our cultural or institutional bias, or become what the senior man in the room declares it to be.

    Popes and Generals are often made fools in this regard.
    Truer words ...

    ... the reason I largely no longer bother with this stuff. My head is too bloodied from smaking it against tables and walls.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 03-04-2015 at 04:04 PM.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

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