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Thread: The overlooked, underrated, and forgotten ...

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default The overlooked, underrated, and forgotten ...

    ... small wars, of course! My own list is below, but what are yours? What insights and knowledge can we gain from the experiences of insurgents and counterinsurgents in these unjustifiably overlooked wars?

    My top ten, in no particular order, restricted to the gunpowder age:

    The Rif War (1911-1927)

    Egypt in Yemen (1962-1967)
    Syria in Lebanon (1976-1990)
    Sri Lankan civil war (1983-present)
    Haitian Revolution (1791-1804)
    Vendee Revolt (1793-1796)
    Second Chechen War (1999-present)
    Ukrainian/Makhnovist insurgency (1917-1921)
    Mozambican war of independence (1964-1975)
    Indonesian war of independence (1945-1950)

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    alot -
    Afghanistan I Civil War: Mujahideen, Taliban 1978 2001

    Algeria I War of Independence 1954 1962

    Algeria II Opposition to Bella 1963 1963

    Algeria III Fundamentalists 1992 .

    Angola I War of Independence 1961 1974

    Angola IIa Angolan Civil War 1975 1994

    Angola IIb UNITA Warfare 1998 2002

    Argentina Coup 1955 1955

    Azerbaijan/USSR Nagorno-Karabakh 1988 1994

    Bangladesh Chittagong Hill 1972 1997

    Bolivia I Popular Revolt 1946 1946

    Bolivia II Bolivian Revolution 1952 1952

    Brazzaville Ia Elections 1993 1993

    Brazzaville Ib Factional Warfare 1997 1997

    Burma I Communist Revolt 1948 1989

    Burma II Karens 1948 .

    Burma III Shan 1959 .

    Burma IV Kachins 1960 1994

    Burundi Ia Hutu Coup Attempt 1965 1965

    Burundi Ib Hutu Rebellion 1972 1972

    Burundi Ic Hutu/Tutsi 1988 1988

    Burundi Id Hutu/Tutsi 1991 1991

    Burundi Ie Hutu/Tutsi 1993 2003

    Cambodia Ia Khmer Rouge 1970 1975

    Cambodia Ib Viet Intervention 1978 1991

    Cameroon War of Independence 1955 1960

    Chad FROLINAT 1965 1997

    Chile Army Revolt 1973 1973

    China I Com Rev: Final Phase 1945 1949

    China III Cultural Revolution 1966 1969

    China IIa Tibet 1950 1951

    China IIb Tibet 1954 1959

    Colombia I La Violencia 1948 1958

    Colombia II FARC 1964 .

    Costa Rica Civil War 1948 1948

    Cuba Cuban Revolution 1956 1959

    Cyprus Ia Greek/Turk Clashes 1963 1964

    Cyprus Ib Coup/Turk Invasion 1974 1974

    Domin Republic Dominican Civil War 1965 1966

    Egypt Free Officers' Coup 1952 1952

    El Salvador FMLN/FDR 1979 1992

    Ethiopia I Eritrea 1961 1993

    Ethiopia II Tigray 1975 1991

    Ethiopia III Ogaden 1977 1978

    Georgia I South Ossetia 1990 1992

    Georgia II Abkhazia 1992 1993

    Greece Greek Civil War 1944 1949

    Guatemala I Coup 1954 1954

    Guatemala II Guatemalan Civil War 1960 1996

    GuineaBissau I War of Independence 1963 1974

    GuineaBissau II Coup 1998 1999

    India II Hyderabad 1948 1948

    India III Naga Revolt 1956 1997

    India IV Sikh Insurrection 1982 1993

    India Ia Part/Kash/In-Pak War 1946 1949

    India Ib Kashmir 1965 1965

    India Ic Kashmir 1988 .

    Indonesia I War of Independence 1945 1949

    Indonesia III Acheh Revolt 1953 1959

    Indonesia IV PRRI Revolt 1958 1961

    Indonesia V PKI Coup Attempt 1965 1966

    Indonesia VI East Timor 1975 1999

    Iran I Kurds/Mahabad 1946 1946

    Iran IIa Iranian Revolution 1978 1979

    Iran IIb NCR/Mojahedin 1981 1982

    Iraq I Army Revolt 1958 1958

    Iraq II Mosul Revolt 1959 1959

    Iraq IIIa Kurds 1961 1970

    Iraq IIIb Kurds 1974 1975

    Iraq IIIc Kurds 1980 1991

    Iraq IV Shi'ite Insurrection 1991 1993

    Israel/Palest Unrest/War of Indep 1945 1949

    Jordan Palestinians 1970 1971

    Kenya I Mau Mau 1952 1956

    Korea Korean War 1950 1953

    Laos Pathet Lao 1959 1973

    Lebanon Ia First Civil War 1958 1958

    Lebanon Ib Second Leb Civ War 1975 1990

    Liberia NPFL 1989 1997

    Madagascar MDRM/Independence 1947 1948

    Malaysia Malayan Emergency 1948 1960

    Moldova Trans-Dniester Slavs 1991 1997

    Morocco I War of Independence 1952 1956

    Morocco II Western Sahara 1975 1991

    Mozambique I War of Independence 1964 1975

    Mozambique II RENAMO 1976 1992

    Namibia War of Independence 1966 1990

    Nicaragua Rev/Contra Insurgen 1978 1990

    Nigeria I Biafra 1967 1970

    Nigeria II Maitatsine 1980 1984

    Pakistan I Bangladesh 1971 1971

    Pakistan II Baluchi Rebellion 1973 1977

    Paraguay Coup Attempt 1947 1947

    Peru Shining Path 1980 1999

    Philippines I Huks 1946 1954

    Philippines II NPA Insurgency 1969 .

    Philippines IIIa Moro Rebellion 1972 1996

    Philippines IIIb Moro Rebellion 2000 .

    Romania Romanian Revolution 1989 1989

    Russia Ia First Chechen War 1994 1996

    Russia Ib Second Chechen War 1999 .

    Rwanda Ia First Tutsi Invasion 1963 1964

    Rwanda Ib Tutsi Invasion/Genoc 1990 1994

    Sierra Leone RUF 1991 2002

    Somalia Clan Warfare 1988 .

    South Africa Bl/Whit, Bl/Bl 1983 1994

    South Korea Yosu Sunch'on Revolt 1948 1948

    Sri Lanka II Tamil Insurgency 1983 .

    Sri Lanka Ia JVP I 1971 1971

    Sri Lanka Ib JVP II 1987 1989

    Sudan Ia Anya Nya 1955 1972

    Sudan Ib SPLM 1983 2005

    Syria Sunni v. Alawites 1979 1982

    Tajikistan Tajik Civil War 1992 1997

    Tunisia War of Independence 1952 1956

    Turkey Kurds 1984 .

    USSR I Ukraine 1942 1950

    USSR II Lithuania 1944 1952

    Uganda I Buganda 1966 1966

    Uganda II War in the Bush 1980 1986

    Vietnam I French-Indochina War 1946 1954

    Vietnam II Vietnam War 1957 1975

    Yemen Southern Revolt 1994 1994

    Yemen North I Coup 1948 1948

    Yemen North II N. Yemeni Civil War 1962 1970

    Yemen South S. Yemeni Civil War 1986 1986

    Yugoslavia I Croatian Secession 1991 1995

    Yugoslavia II Bosnian Civil War 1992 1995

    Yugoslavia III Kosovo 1998 1999

    Zaire/Congo I Katanga/Stanleyville 1960 1965

    Zaire/Congo II Post-Mobutu 1996 .

    Zimbabwe Front for Lib of Zim 1972 1979

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    Council Member charter6's Avatar
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    The Hukbalahap war in the Philippines is a huge one. It should be one of the great examples of how to do COIN properly, but it's relegated to the margins because Malaya was roughly contemporaneous and made a bigger splash.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Looking backwards to learn for today

    Not in priority:

    Indonesian Confrontation - campaign in Borneo (1960's)

    Dhofar Province, Oman (1965-1975 note Oman, helped by Iran and UK)

    Imperial campaigning along North West Frontier (till 1947)

    Rhodesia / Zimbabwe War (1966-1979)

    Post-1947 campaigns in India (little known and still current)

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    ... small wars, of course! My own list is below, but what are yours? What insights and knowledge can we gain from the experiences of insurgents and counterinsurgents in these unjustifiably overlooked wars?

    My top ten, in no particular order, restricted to the gunpowder age:

    Syria in Lebanon (1976-1990)
    In summary, the lessons:

    1. Stay there a long time (at least a quarter century).
    2. Switch (local) sides often. Arm everyone at one time or another.
    3. Shell population centers to signal displeasure. Enforce curfews with summary executions.
    4. Stultify domestic political discourse with heavy secret police presence.
    5. Assassinate recalcitrant political leaders (Junblat), but not too many (Hariri) or it all backfires.
    6. Allow your officer corps to enrich themselves by facilitating drug and trade smuggling--it keeps them happy, offsets low military wages, pleases local farmers too, and really keeps electronics prices low in Damascus.
    7. Risk/threaten to restart civil war if policy goes wrong.


    As successful as Syrian stabilization operations were in their day, I vote we don't copy this one!

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    Council Member charter6's Avatar
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    Katangese Secession in early post-independence Congo? Great mercenary stories from that one, and it definitely has had long-term impact on that part of the world.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charter6 View Post
    Katangese Secession in early post-independence Congo? Great mercenary stories from that one, and it definitely has had long-term impact on that part of the world.

    Yep. Good friend of mine, now deceased, helped plan and execute it with Tshombe. And then repeated the act in 1964. that would be Fred Vandewalle, Tam Tam #1. le Tam Tam was the newsletter he used to send out to all of those old Congo hands. His book, L'Ommengang on the Simba rebellion is excellent if you can read French and find a copy.
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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Egads, I had this as a question on a midterm this semester. I would have given a tooth for this list about a week ago.
    Sam Liles
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    Council Member charter6's Avatar
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    Tom, the big secret I'd give an arm and a leg to find out more about is the Tshombe 1968 rescue rumor -- that a bunch of mercenaries rescued him somehow and brought him to Rhodesia, although he died shortly thereafter.

    I think it became the basis for the movie "The Wild Geese", which is one of those classic late '70s action flicks.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    I remember the flick. It was big in the skydiving community at Ft Bragg. As for a rescue, I just don't know. Certainly is possible although I always found the actual mercs were of much lesser quality than protrayed by film or Mike Hoare. Makes great myth and film. But for the guys like Fred VdW or DV Rattan who were with these guys up close; they were very much a mixed bag.

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Amazing list Goesh

    Just a couple to add to it;

    The Lower Canada Rebellion 1837
    The Red River Rebellion 1869-70
    The Metis or North-West Rebellion 1885
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    Quote Originally Posted by charter6 View Post
    The Hukbalahap war in the Philippines is a huge one. It should be one of the great examples of how to do COIN properly, but it's relegated to the margins because Malaya was roughly contemporaneous and made a bigger splash.

    That's were Edward Lansdale earned his status COIN expert and propelled him to Vietnam.

    I just read Edward Lansdale's Cold War:Culture, Politics, and the Cold War by Jonathan Nashel. It's interesting becuase it talks a bit about all the ways Lansdale is remembered and all the ways his legacy is used by different communities.

    Also what about King Philip's War? I believe that was the bloodiest conflict per capita ever fought on North America.
    Last edited by relative autonomy; 11-16-2007 at 02:38 PM.

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    Also the so-called "Indian Wars" of US history

    Pequot War (1635-1637)
    King William's War (16891697)
    Queen Anne's War (17021713)
    Chickamauga Wars (17761794)
    NW Ordinance War (1787-1795)
    Sullivan's Expedition (1779)
    "Tecumseh's Wars"
    a. First Creek War (1813-1814),
    b.First Seminole War (1818-1819)
    Black Hawk War of (1832
    Second Creek War (1836)
    Second Seminole War (18351842)
    The Cherokee War (1838-1839)
    Great Raid of 1840
    Antelope Hills Expedition (1858)
    Red River War (18741875)
    Puget Sound War (18551856)
    Dakota War of 1862 (1862)
    Colorado War (18631865)
    Red Cloud's War (18661868)
    Comanche Campaign (18681874)
    Black Hills War (18761877)
    Nez Perce War (1877)
    Pine Ridge Campaign (1890)

    I think these wars are especially important for Americans to consider today. If the begining of the UK and France's COIN experience was in their colonial, then the American equivalent for Americans in, frankly, the conquest of the Native of American tribes. 26 of 30 US Generals who served in the Philippines between 1898 and 1902 served in the final "Indian Wars."

    John Nagl, in Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, talks about how the US fought some many for these wars but American generals, wanting to feel like equals to European Generals, still emphasized standard main force tactics and didn't really codify much in the way of any foundational and uniquely American COIN doctrines. Still the histories of these wars are interesting and overlooked.

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    Yes, I should have mentioned Louis Riel, every bit the equal of Sitting Bull in his oratory skills and ability to cross cultural barriers with a message - he remains a hero to the Metis, at least up in N Dak that I'm aware of anyway and no doubt many First Nation folks up there hold him in high esteem as well

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    Default Imperial small wars

    One of the things that's been troubling me in many of the analyses of various COIN ops is "desired endstate".

    Many of the TTP proffered by various COIN experts of the past are applicable when the endstate is permanent (or relative permanent) administration, but not when you're trying to establish an independent entity capable of governing itself and not bothering its neighbors.

    Indian Wars TTP quite often worked because the future of the various tribes was irrelanent to the endstate. Eventually, "real 'merkins" were going to dominate all of the natives and totally subjugate them permanently. For colonial powers, the endstate was similar, even if not so extreme -- UK, France, NL intended to administer colonial areas indefinitely, so their relationship to the indigenous populations and their development of enduring institutions was different than it was in, say, Malaya, where the intent to grant independence was declared relatively early on.

    This is also one of the critiques I have for LTC Campbell's excellent paper on Making Riflemen from Mud. What works in situations where you want to leave may be different from those situations where you want to stay.

    Sorry for the ramble.

    Hope this makes sense.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relative autonomy View Post
    I think these wars are especially important for Americans to consider today. If the begining of the UK and France's COIN experience was in their colonial, then the American equivalent for Americans in, frankly, the conquest of the Native of American tribes. 26 of 30 US Generals who served in the Philippines between 1898 and 1902 served in the final "Indian Wars."

    John Nagl, in Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, talks about how the US fought some many for these wars but American generals, wanting to feel like equals to European Generals, still emphasized standard main force tactics and didn't really codify much in the way of any foundational and uniquely American COIN doctrines. Still the histories of these wars are interesting and overlooked.
    I quite agree, in particular with respect to the postwar Indian campaigns. It's interesting to look at the differences between campaigns before and after the Civil War...especially in terms of how much needed to be relearned.
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    Hi Old Eagle,

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Eagle View Post
    One of the things that's been troubling me in many of the analyses of various COIN ops is "desired endstate".

    Many of the TTP proffered by various COIN experts of the past are applicable when the endstate is permanent (or relative permanent) administration, but not when you're trying to establish an independent entity capable of governing itself and not bothering its neighbors.
    I think you have hit upon a really cogent point, and one that has been bothering me for some time. The only analogs I have been able to come up with either failed (e.g. the Spanish Civil War, the Russian Civil War) or were cases of propping up or creating "puppet states" (e.g. various Roman campaigns, various British East India company campaigns). About the only other examples I can think of that might be analogs involved the replacement of a current regime with a legitimate, but displaced, local regime (e.g. Spain during the Napoleonic Wars).
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Hi Old Eagle,



    I think you have hit upon a really cogent point, and one that has been bothering me for some time.
    Me too, but when I hear "Officers who wish to remain anonymous are suggesting that democracy may not work in Iraq," I suspect that the COIN experts have figured out there's a reason why it hasn't been done before.
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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi RA,

    Quote Originally Posted by Rank amateur View Post
    Me too, but when I hear "Officers who wish to remain anonymous are suggesting that democracy may not work in Iraq," I suspect that the COIN experts have figured out there's a reason why it hasn't been done before.
    "Democracy is a wonderful thing or will be once we have someone in power who will tell us how to make it work" (paraphrase - anonymous Russian taxi driver to Robert Heinlein).

    I really think it is important to separate out the process from the form since the deal with related, but different, cultural factors. Insisting on a "democracy", and a particular form of it at that, was, IMO, one of the greatest blunders in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In my mind, a lot of it comes down to concepts of "legitimacy", which is a slippery cultural perception.
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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I really think it is important to separate out the process from the form since the deal with related, but different, cultural factors. Insisting on a "democracy", and a particular form of it at that, was, IMO, one of the greatest blunders in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In my mind, a lot of it comes down to concepts of "legitimacy", which is a slippery cultural perception.
    Could one really call the "democracies" in question a genuine "blunder" when the Afghan government still retains legitimacy throughout the country and the current Iraqi government in its present form was never the intended result of U.S. policy, but rather one they were forced into by the Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, and which came about through a series of negotiations between Sistani, the U.N., as well as the U.S.?

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