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View Poll Results: Evaluate Kilcullen's work on counterinsurgency
Brilliant, useful 26 45.61%
Interesting, perhaps useful 26 45.61%
Of little utility, not practical 1 1.75%
Delusional 4 7.02%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-17-2015   #441
max161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
We've been talking about ISIS as the government of the de facto Sunni Arab state for months now. No news there. All this says is that Dave reads SWJ too...
Actually what it may show is how long it takes to get a peer reviewed article published in an academic journal. I will bet that he wrote the article many months ago.
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Old 05-17-2015   #442
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Fair point. Crowd sourced discussions enjoy an agility that staid academic peer-review processes cannot compete with.

I suspect the peer-review process also slows the ability to get new ideas into the conversation as well. Like doctrine, the "right" answer is not always the best answer.

I don't know that COIN or CT strategies had much of a negative strategic effect on AQ, but agree that they are not likely to have much effect on ISIS as the government of an emergent de facto Sunni Arab state - other than fragment it back into a loose collection of disparate, competing revolutionary insurgent groups.

The primary piece missing from the US approach to ISIS so far is, IMO, the offering of a viable political alternative to the Sunni Arabs of Syria and Iraq. A re-establishment of the very system they felt compelled to revolt against is unlikely to separate ISIS from their base of popular support.

This was revolution, now it is state on state war, and with success against ISIS it will be revolution once again. Last time we suppressed the symptoms and called it success. We should try for a more durable effect this time around.
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Old 05-18-2015   #443
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I think Kilcullen argument that the Islamic State is in fact a state based upon the Montevideo Convention is debatable.

Kilcullen wrote,

Quote:
But consider the definition of a state in international relations, which is generally agreed to require the fulfilment of four criteria: (1) a state must control a territory, (2) that territory must be inhabited by a fixed population, (3) that population must owe allegiance to a government, and (4) that government must be capable of entering into relations with other states
.

Does IS control the territory anymore than any occupying military power? Is the population fixed or held captive? Does the population writ large owe allegiance to IS? Point 4 is debatable, I recall reading elsewhere a state must recognized by other states to qualify for state status and the legal rights associated with that status. The Montevideo Convention doesn't require this specifically, but it is rather difficult to enter into relations with another state if that entity is not recognized as a state.

A short, but decent description of this debate can be found at the following link.

https://thenewinternationallaw.wordp...makes-a-state/

Quote:
Arguments can go round and around about the importance of recognition over fulfilling the Montevideo elements. The question still remains: what is it that makes a State? Articles 3 and 6 of the Montevideo convention make it clear that the recognition of an entity of as a State is not what makes it a State. However, even that convention makes room for recognition as an element in its requirement that the new State be able to enter into international relations. I propose that “Statehood” is the product of a balance between the Montevideo criteria and recognition. The more you have of one (criteria or recognition) the less you need of the other. However, in all cases, you need a little of both to be a State.
If we accept that the Islamic State is an actual state, then one could argue there would be a legal requirement to declare war upon it based upon self-defense and have that war sanctioned by the UN? I really don't think any real state wants to go there. I do agree with Kilcullen that IS is certainly state building, and may in fact achieve a non-debatable state status in the future. It is getting increasingly difficult to recognize Iraq and Syria as a legitimate authorities over their Sunni population.

Yet Kilcullen writes,

Quote:
Western countries have a clear interest in destroying ISIS, but counter-insurgency should not even be under discussion. This is a straight-up conventional fight against a state-like entity, and the goal should be to utterly annihilate ISIS as a state.
I suspect that implies re-establishing Syrian and Iraqi control over their lost territories? That doesn't sound like a recipe for success.
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Old 05-19-2015   #444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max161 View Post
Actually what it may show is how long it takes to get a peer reviewed article published in an academic journal. I will bet that he wrote the article many months ago.
Perhaps, and of course there is value to the peer review system, the article at the link below indicates that this process can be abused. Does it serve as a filter to kill new ideas that challenge existing paradigms? Historically the Catholic Church filled this role to impede scientific thought. I can't help but wonder if the peer review process has resulted in the mess we have found ourselves in with our current thinking on insurgency? Any information on how the peer review system is supposed to work, and why it is valuable would be appreciated.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/m...31427452343393

Quote:
Peer review is the vetting process designed to guarantee the integrity of scholarly articles by having experts read them and approve or disapprove them for publication. With researchers increasingly desperate for recognition, citations and professional advancement, the whole peer-review system has come under scrutiny in recent years for a host of flaws and irregularities, ranging from lackadaisical reviewing to cronyism to outright fraud
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Old 07-08-2015   #445
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Default Islamic State: time to recognise a failing strategy

A short article via ASPI, an Australian policy institute, which ends with:
Quote:
Thus, the current approach—in which the United States and its allies, including Australia, seem to be trying to fight the Islamic State without actually fighting—is not only doomed to failure but also likely to have dire knock-on effects. More than a year into the campaign, recognising this failure is the critical first step in crafting a workable strategy going forward.
Link:http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/isl...ling-strategy/
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Old 01-15-2016   #446
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Default Coming soon in paperback: Blood Year IS and the Failures of the War on Terror

Just had an email notification from the publishers, Hurst (London) that this book is due out next month in paperback:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/blood-year/

From the publisher's description:
Quote:
Blood Year is an unsparingly honest, self-critical analysis of the collapse of western counterterrorism strategy, by one of its original architects.....So Kilcullen’s frank assessment — that the strategy he helped design has failed, that it has not made us safer, and has contributed to new threats, including ISIS — makes this short book mandatory reading for anyone interested in how terrorism is confronted. The most startling part of his analysis is that there may be worse dangers than ISIS incubating in various parts of the world.
The book appears to be based on his essay published last year, it has the same title and is behind a paywall. There is a two minute podcast though:https://www.quarterlyessay.com/essay/2015/05/blood-year
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Old 02-07-2016   #447
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Default The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread)

Think IS is Bad? There Could be Worse Threats to Come

His latest thoughts:
Quote:
His [Kilcullen’s] assessment will be sobering. “Whoever is the president in January 2017 is going to deal with a situation substantially worse than now,” he says. “We could be looking at an Isis blitzkrieg in 2016. You’re looking at spikes in unrest in Europe. It’s hard to see how anything could be better in 2017.”
The tendency of the Obama administration to pretend everything is fine is as out of touch as Republicans who “think the world is going to end”.
“We have to acknowledge that this string of engagements since 9/11 have been a string of defeats,” Kilcullen says.
In Syria the West has to commit more military forces to defeat Isis there on the ground by putting “flesh against steel”.
America, he fears, has forgotten how to translate military victory into political stability. Even one of Obama’s signal achievements — killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011 — made things worse, he argues.
Bin Laden was isolated and marginalised but the Obama administration could not resist succumbing to “hubris and complacency”…

Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-07-2016 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 02-08-2016   #448
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Default His book: good price and worldwide free shipping

If you register with the UK publisher, Hurst, you get the book 'Blood Year' for £8.99p with free worldwide shipping:http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=...6&e=80d42c7c0a
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Old 02-18-2016   #449
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Default David Kilcullen: Rise of Terror, Displacement is the "New Norm"

David Kilcullen: Rise of Terror, Displacement is the "New Norm"

Entry Excerpt:



--------
Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.
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Old 02-24-2016   #450
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Default 21st Century Urban Warfare

The book tour has started, I've seen notices for at least two events in London.

Meantime and hat tip to WoTR for this hour long interview of David Kilcullen, entitled '21st Century Urban Warfare' moderator by an ICRC lawyer:http://warontherocks.com/2016/02/spe...urban-warfare/
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Old 03-02-2016   #451
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Default London TV interview

A short five minute C4 News interview:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkncP8gkXPg

Some pithy quotes within.
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Old 03-31-2016   #452
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Default The war on terror has failed: video

RUSI have now released David Kilcullen's short talk earlier this month (17 mins):https://rusi.org/event/blood-year-is...res-war-terror

From the RUSI intro:
Quote:
In his lecture, Dr Kilcullen gave an unsparingly honest, self-critical analysis of the collapse of western counterterrorism strategy and the subsequent rise of Islamic State.
Dr Kilcullen contends that the strategy he helped design has failed, and that it has not made us safer and has contributed to new threats, including Islamic State. The most startling part of his analysis is that there may be worse dangers than ISIS incubating in various parts of the world.
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