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Old 05-07-2015   #21
max161
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Default Assessing Revolution and Insurgent Strategy Project

Although I have posted this before on SWJ I will repost it for those who are interested in studying revolutions and insurgent strategies. This is a very useful resource for those who take the time to get to know it.

Assessing Revolution and Insurgent Strategy Project
http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/ARIS.html

Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare: 23 Summary Accounts
http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/CasebookV1S.pdf


Casebook on Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare, Volume II 1962 - 2009.
http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/Casebook%20V...004-27-12S.pdf


Human Factors Considerations of Underground in Insurgencies, 2d Edition, 2013, http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/HumanFactorsS.pdf


Undergrounds in Insurgent, Revolutionary and Resistance Warfare, 2d Edition, 2013, http://www.soc.mil/ARIS/UndergroundsS.pdf
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Old 05-07-2015   #22
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We will never get better at COIN, until we first get better at our understanding of insurgency.
Revolution, internal to a single system and non-war; resistance, the continuation of warfare by an undefeated populace in a clash between systems - and the fusion of the two when one goes abroad and attempts to create and secure a government more pleasing to that creator than to so many forced to live under it.

These are indeed great references, particularly when read for the facts they gather, organize and offer - and not for conclusions too often overly colored by the bias of our own culture, perspective and doctrine.

Highly recommended these as a cornerstone of references for all who study, think about, and engage in some way in these conflicts.
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"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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Old 05-07-2015   #23
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Default The effect of election fever

It struck me that this section could apply to the democratic political process, with different words:
Quote:
Political Struggle:

Dan Van - Action among your people - total mobilization of propaganda, motivational & organizational measures to manipulate internal masses and fighting units

Binh Van - Action among enemy military - subversion, proselytizing, propaganda to encourage desertion, defection and lowered morale among enemy troops.

Dich Van - Action among enemy's people - total propaganda effort to sow discontent, defeatism, dissent, and disloyalty among enemy's population.
A quick re-write: Mobilise your people and potential voters; keep interference to a minimum (domestic and external) and discourage your opponent's people and their voters.
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Old 05-07-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
It struck me that this section could apply to the democratic political process, with different words:

A quick re-write: Mobilise your people and potential voters; keep interference to a minimum (domestic and external) and discourage your opponent's people and their voters.
It is all about politics whether in peace, conflict, and war. That is the thread that connects all of these human situations.
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Old 05-07-2015   #25
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Democracy has four fundamental components:
1. Political in primary purpose,
2. Population - based,
3. Internal to a single system of governance, &
4. Legal in form.

Revolutionary insurgency shares the same fundamental components, except the 4th is "illegal" in form.

Thus, the fundamental distinction between revolution and democracy is legality.

Most revolutions occur when trusted, certain and legal participation in governance is denied to all or some identity - based portion of the population.
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"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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Old 05-21-2015   #26
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Default A film on the ANA: Tell Spring Not to Come This Year

I missed this film showing and talk @ The Frontline Club (London) and was reminded today:http://www.frontlineclub.com/tell-sp...national-army/

Quote:
directors Michael McEvoy and Saeed Taji Farouky follow an Afghan National Army (ANA) battalion for a year as they confront the transition of power in Helmand Province — one of the most unstable areas of the country.....The whole point was that for the past 14 years we’ve heard almost nothing from, not only the Afghans, but particularly the Afghan army. That’s why, he explained, there’s no voiceover in the film, which is told completely by Afghan soldiers. “It would be unjust for us to now speak on their behalf..said Taji Farouky.
A telling explanation:
Quote:
Why they fight
Even though a soldier in the film complains at one point that he hasn’t been paid for nine months, and another says he hasn’t been on leave in four or five months, the battalion appears to remain committed to their mission.
“Unemployment is obviously pretty big in Afghanistan. Many of the soldiers are from the north and they would join up in big groups of lads from their villages just to find work,” McAvoy said, adding that the ANA is one of the most stable employers in the entire country.
Although that’s a big part of why many join up, “there is a genuine sense of national pride: ‘We are Afghan, the Taliban are enemies of Afghanistan. We genuinely want to be here to defend our country,’” he said. “I think it’s simpler when you’re fighting in your own country and you feel like you’re defending your own home than if you go on some foreign campaign.”
It’s a testament that they stick on, he continued. “They’re not paid very well, they don’t go on leave for ages, the food sucks — big time. The U.S. stopped paying for their food budget and the ministry of finance turned to the ministry of defence and said ‘well, we haven’t got any money.’ So basically they just cut the food budget in half. By the end it was a piece of bread for breakfast, a plate of plain rice for lunch, and then for dinner some sort of watery soup with essence of meat.
There is a very short film clip and I have not been able to find a full version (those on YouTube are deleted or behind a "wall").

Strictly speaking the film is from 2014, so should be in another thread, ah well Moderator's discretion rules.
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Old 05-25-2015   #27
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Default Thanks davidbpfo

Be a very interesting video to look at, I suspect.

You were asking about my research in regard to the AFL, after Sean's latest paper. My impression, backed by more recent research than Sean's, is that while DynCorp did pretty well, the collective training that PA&E did not.

The experience of trying to maintain a cordon around Mamba Point, and having it broken, will not have helped.

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Old 05-25-2015   #28
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One cannot train a soldier to fight for what he does not believe in.

We always want to make these things objective and measureable. Create a government. Check. Create a military. Check. Employ military to preserve said government. Fail

There is a reason retention has always been horrible in Afghanistan. There is a reason the Taliban fighters fight rings around most ANA units. Legitimacy of the Taliban, and illegitimacy of GIRoA and the ANA. Legality does not equal popular legitimacy. Revolution and Resistance against foreign forces and the collaborating governments and forces they create in those foreign lands historically enjoy tremendous legitimacy across the rest of the society involved.

We need to stop believing that because what we bring is so good, that we will be exempt from this natural human response. The nature of our actions create the nature of the response. The character of our actions, and the character of what we seek to change does have a mitigating effect on the degree of that natural response. But nature is what nature is.

We see SecDef Ash Carter publicly criticizing the "Iraqi Military" for lacking the will to fight. That shows his own lack of understanding of this type of conflict. First, the state of Iraq and the Iraqi military have not existed in fact for months. What is left is a Shia remnant of that state. Second, this is a government WE created and a military WE created to preserve that government. To criticize these men and their lack of will, while not recognizing and appreciating the fundamental nature of the conflict and fundamental flaws of the system we created is our own failure. Our strategic failure of understanding far exceeds any failure of performance on the part of those we have seduced into those systems.
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"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)

Last edited by Bob's World; 05-25-2015 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 07-30-2015   #29
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Default District by District the Taliban advance

In Helmand Province Now Zad has fallen and from The Long War Journal a report which starts with:
Quote:
The Taliban overran the district center and several military and police installations in Now Zad in the southern Afghan province of Helmand yesterday. The fall of Now Zad is the latest in a series of setbacks for the Afghan security forces and government, which are struggling to maintain control of areas liberated from the Taliban just a few years ago.
Link:http://www.longwarjournal.org/archiv...d-province.php

A wider story from the BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33557320
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Old 08-10-2015   #30
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Default Sorry, Folks: Things Are Not Actually Going So Great

From the Lawfare blog:
Quote:
Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, we ran a provocative piece by Stephen Watts and Sean Mann (RAND analysts) in which they argued that in both its politics and in its development, Afghanistan is doing better than is commonly believed. Gary Owen, a civilian development worker who has spent the last several years working on the ground in Afghanistan, begs to differ. He paints a far gloomier picture of Afghanistan, arguing that the country and U.S. policy have a long way to go.
The first aricle:https://www.lawfareblog.com/afghanistan-after-drawdown

The second article:https://www.lawfareblog.com/sorry-fo...at-afghanistan

A couple of "tasters":
Quote:
Actually, it’s pretty clear how those forces will perform. In a word? Badly. Since the Afghans assumed control of the country’s security in 2014, more civilians have been killed, more soldiers have died, more Afghan troops have deserted than ever before, and security forces are still torturing one-third of their detainees.

Since most engagements occur among the population when one is countering an insurgency, this change in the rules of engagement means more innocent civilians are going to die as the result of actions by Afghan security forces. That’s borne out by the latest report on civilian casualties from UNAMA, which found that throughout the first half of 2015, Afghan forces caused more civilian casualties than the Taliban did. And when they’re not busy leveling villages, Afghan forces are dying in record numbers.
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Old 08-11-2015   #31
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While all of this is very unfortunate, it is certainly not unpredictable.

Governments and security forces established by a foreign power are going to be fundamentally lacking in popular legitimacy with a large segment of the society. Doubly true in a heavily patronage society like Afghanistan where life is so often an "all or nothing" affair. One is either in the right family or tribe to be rewarded by patronage, or one is not.

The have-nots are always waiting in the wings as a ready-willing and able guerrilla force to attach themselves to whatever foreign invader / manipulator happens to come along, be that Russia, Pakistan, Iran, the US or anyone else.

The US has tried three times now to employ a Democracy/Security Force Capacity strategy in support of de facto illegitimate governments of our design. Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a proven failure of a strategy.

I used to think the British model of raising local security forces under the auspices of British legitimacy was a bad model. I was wrong. Security forces need to be in support of legitimate government, and while one can lend their legitimacy to a host nation forces; one cannot lend their legitimacy to host nation government.

If the US had employed the British approach to raising local forces as US forces, I believe strongly that those units would have performed far better than the illegitimate ones we helped to train for their own illegitimate governments.

Better yet, if we would have had the vision and risk tolerance to allow self-determination of governance and diplomacy with whatever emerged to take place - we likely would have secured our interests in ways that avoided the conflicts all together.
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"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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Old 08-17-2015   #32
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Quote:
Late last week, a spokesman for the (US) Defense Department said that since January, a staggering 4,302 Afghan soldiers and police have been killed in action along with 8,009 wounded in what has by far been the bloodiest year for Kabul’s security forces since the ouster of the Taliban in 2002. Overall, 13,000 Afghan security forces have been killed over the past three years.
Link, via FP mailing:http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/13000...d-years/story?
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Old 08-17-2015   #33
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The current Afghan state has more legitimacy and more capability than any of its opponents. But may have major money issues if foreign support dries up.
The only way they can be defeated is if Western powers (aka US) has decided it is a better bet to have a Pakistan-run militia in power in Afghanistan (or if the US has decided a division of Afghanistan is somehow in their interest).
The US has that kind of leverage because it leads the support effort. Russia and Iran and India can support the Northern alliance but probably wont pay for the whole place.
Minus that kind of US treachery (no other word for it), this state will survive.
Bets?
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Old 09-08-2015   #34
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Default It all bodes very badly for Helmand

Hat tip to WoTR for recirculating a commentary by Ben Anderson, once with the BBC & other outlets, now with VICE, for his June 2015 report on a visit to Helmand Province; the video (5 mins):http://www.vice.com/read/watch-host-...fghanistan-869

The Q&A interview:http://warontherocks.com/2015/09/a-d...n-afghanistan/

I cannot readily find his film report, but this is his written report, which covers the ANSF, ALP and the Taliban:http://www.vice.com/read/notes-from-...s-province-102
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Old 09-10-2015   #35
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Default Over extended and time to pull back?

From WoTR:warontherocks.com/2015/09/how-to-lose-a-civil-war-lessons-for-afghanistan-and-syria/?

I had missed this detail, hence my emphasis:
Quote:
While Afghanistan’s situation is not yet as dire as that of Syria, Kabul’s decisions need to be shaped by a clearer recognition of what can be accomplished on the battlefield. The long-vacant position of defense minister needs to be filled with a permanent appointment.
Perhaps having a minister in Kabul means little given Afghan politics power lies elsewhere?
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Old 10-07-2015   #36
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Default What does the fall of Kunduz mean?

Hat tip to WoTR for this commentary by a RAND analyst, who has been "on the ground" and gives an excellent overview of the context:http://warontherocks.com/2015/10/the...-afghanistan/?

He ends with:
Quote:
What is readily apparent is that losing Kunduz city, even temporarily, has exposed a number of shortcomings within the Afghan government and security forces. In the aftermath of this, Afghan officials and their coalition partners need to ask some hard questions about where their efforts have gone wrong and what can credibly be done to recover from the most significant blow yet to the post-Taliban Afghan state.
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Old 10-21-2015   #37
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Default Helmand: shrinking GIRoA presence

A lurid headline in today's Daily Telegraph 'Taliban seize British stronghold in Helmand as security unravels', as:
Quote:
A Western official said Lashkar Gah.. was now “under serious military pressure”....As many as 400 fighters are advancing on Chah-e Anjir only around 10 miles from Lashkar Gah.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-unravels.html

The headline ignores the fact the UK left Helmand Province a year ago, so it is no longer a British stronghold.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-14-2015 at 07:10 PM. Reason: This was in a stand alone thread
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Old 12-14-2015   #38
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Default Who has what land?

A short ISW report (8 pgs), with a map of Taliban activity across much of Afghanistan and the link:http://understandingwar.org/backgrou...iban-and-isis?
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Old 12-22-2015   #39
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Once again lurid headlines on the contest for Helmand, this time over Sangin and the reported deployment of UK & US SOF, plus 300 NATO advisers (with no combat role):http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...g-Sangin.html?

Slightly more detail:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...pecial-forces?

Here is a key sentence:
Quote:
About 65 per cent of the province is now under insurgent control, the head of Helmand's provincial council, Muhammad Kareem Atal, said.
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Old 02-06-2016   #40
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Default A RAND COIN scorecard

I have never been persuaded of such devices, but RAND does keep on producing:http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1273.html

The two key points for me:
Quote:
Two factors remained absent in Afghanistan in 2015 but essential to success in historical COIN campaigns: disrupting flows of tangible support to the insurgents and a demonstration (and improvement) of commitment and motivation on the part of the Afghan National Security Forces, the primary COIN force since the coalition drawdown.
Three of the recommendations are laughable and have probably been said so many times before.

Would RAND or another other contractor "think tank" say "Enough, we've been there long enough, time to go"?
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