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James S. This monograph examines the British experience in building and training indigenous police and military forces during the Malaya and Cyprus insurgencies. The two insurgencies provide a dramatic contrast to the issue of training local security forces. In Malaya, the British developed a very successful strategy for training the Malayan police and army. In Cyprus, the British strategy for building and training local security forces generally was ineffective.

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The author argues that some important lessons can be drawn from these case studies that apply directly to current U. What level of training do security forces need to conduct effective counterinsurgency operations? What is the role of the police in counterinsurgency? What is the role of home guards or irregular security organizations?

What kinds of training programs produce effective police and military leaders? These are very relevant questions today as the U. Currently, U. In all of these countries, the U.


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Since insurgencies grow out of large-scale dissatisfaction with the government, the social, political and economic problems that provide the fuel for insurgency need to be addressed. There needs to be a unity of effort by the government forces, that is, close coordination between the military and civilian agencies at every level. Effectively fighting the insurgents, who usually live among and draw support from the civilian population, requires good intelligence.

Military and police action without good intelligence is largely a wasted effort. Military and civic action campaigns need to proceed simultaneously, and be coordinated with each other. The government needs to wage an effective media campaign to reassure the population and undermine support for the insurgents.

Military and police power needs to be applied carefully and with discrimination. As the British and Americans carried out their post-war counterinsurgency campaigns the French fought two major campaigns in Indochina — and Algeria — To address the conditions posed by these conflicts several French officers developed their own line of counterinsurgency theory.

Trinquier, who had served in several counterinsurgency campaigns, outlined some useful tactics for dealing with urban rebellion, including a discussion of how to seal off a city district, collect comprehensive data on the population, and register the population as a means to limit the ability of insurgents to move within the country. First of all, Trinquier viewed counterinsurgency primarily in military terms. Establishing a military presence and crushing the insurgents by force was his first priority.

In contrast to the British and American view that military action should be carried out simultaneously with civic action programs, Trinquier argued first for military action to crush the insurgents. Only then would the government carry out its civic action programs. Essentially, Trinquier believed in strong-arming the population into compliance with French rule.

Excellent operational techniques and tactics could not substitute for a national strategy that never had a chance for success. Britain in Malaya followed a more realistic strategy of allowing independence, but ensuring that the independent Malaya would be stable and pro-British. In Vietnam from to the US government and military signally failed to apply lessons from recent successful counterinsurgency campaigns. While there were many unique aspects to Vietnam many were also remarkably similar to the conditions in the Philippines and Malaya.

In all these cases the counterinsurgent was working with similar rural societies and the rebel forces had a similar ideology, organization and tactics. In the early s Edward Lansdale, now an Air Force general, and Sir Robert Thompson, appointed as chief of the British advisory mission to Vietnam from to , urged the US military to undertake a concerted counterinsurgency campaign in that country.

Scott Thompson and Donaldson D. In it are articles by Maj. Gen Edward Lansdale on counterinsurgency and an article on the small but successful US program to train local self-defense forces by Col. However, Thompson also pointed out that some potentially effective counterinsurgency programs were weak because the effort was too thin and spread out and that programs to build the economic and social infrastructure lacked coherence. See pp. Where Westmoreland had focused on fighting a conventional war against the North Vietnamese units, Abrams made securing the South Vietnamese rural population the primary American mission.

The new strategy, aimed at undermining the Vietcong insurgency, soon showed dramatic results. Vietcong insurgent presence in the countryside diminished as the rural areas became more secure and more prosperous. By the Vietcong insurgency in the countryside was essentially defeated. But the Abrams strategy came too late to change the course of the war. American public opinion had turned against the Vietnam War by the summer of and the American public was insisting on reducing the US forces in Vietnam.

In taking over direction of the war effort in , the Americans had ignored the vital mission of helping the South Vietnamese build sound institutions. When the Americans pulled out of Vietnam in the South Vietnamese government and military were not strong enough to resist the North Vietnamese.

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In April South Vietnam fell, not to the Vietcong insurgents, but to a conventional armoured Blitzkrieg carried out by North Vietnamese conventional forces. After the Vietnam War most of the American military leaders—the same leaders that refused to employ a counterinsurgency strategy in Vietnam—took away the false lesson that counterinsurgency strategies did not work.

In the aftermath of Vietnam, a remarkable counterinsurgency success in El Salvador went almost unnoticed in the US military establishment. From to the US provided military advisors and trainers to El Salvador, as well as several billion dollars in military and economic assistance, and helped that country defeat a strong Marxist insurgency.

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CANADA: Counterinsurgency Manual Shows Military’s New Face

At the start of their involvement the American advisors determined that the Salvadorans had to initiate broad reforms in the military and civilian spheres; that the economic problems of the nation had to be addressed; that Salvadoran security forces had to be retrained and reformed; and that an emphasis had to be placed upon civic action and human rights throughout all levels of government—something alien to the tradition of military dictatorship that had long prevailed in El Salvador. After Vietnam the US Congress would not allow the US military to commit large conventional forces to the conflict, so the US support to El Salvador was restricted to advisors, trainers, equipment and supplies.

The military advisors and State Department officials on the ground used American aid as a lever to push the Salvadoran government to accept the changes that were needed to defeat the insurgents. The El Salvador experience added to the corpus of Western counterinsurgency theory. See also pp. The authors provide a matrix of requirements needed to oppose insurgency successfully.

It should be noted that at the same time that some Americans were learning lessons in El Salvador, the British military was gaining broad experience in counterinsurgency in Northern Ireland.

CANADA: Counterinsurgency Manual Shows Military's New Face | Inter Press Service

Tactically and operationally it was a very different kind of war from the campaigns recently fought by British troops in Aden and Oman. In Northern Ireland the British forces had to operate in an urban environment and develop a sophisticated human intelligence system capable of tracking down the small IRA terrorist cells. While the Maoist model of insurgency still remains common—witness the ongoing Marxist insurgency in Colombia—groups in the Middle East developed a new insurgent strategy and organization to carry on the fight against Israel during the s and s.

In Palestinians in the territories occupied by Israel rose up in a rebellion called the Intifada , which has been conducted at varying levels of intensity ever since. In contrast to the highly centralized leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO , some of the Palestinians developed a new and very loose form of organization. The Intifada became a popular rebellion organized through a network of small local groups. The local committees and the leaders of the United National Command of the Intifada followed a different path than the guerrilla leaders in the past who emphasized personal charisma and leadership.

With an insurgent leadership that was difficult to identify, the usual Israeli tactic of arresting the local and national PLO leaders failed to cripple the organization. The new form of guerrilla organization proved highly resilient against all the Israeli efforts to suppress it. Thomas X. See Lt. After the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to defeat the PLO in , the Israelis faced a new style of insurgent group in the form of Hezbullah, the organization of the Lebanese Shiites that led the resistance to Israel in the occupied zone of southern Lebanon.

Hezbullah was originally organized around Shiite clerics, and based its popularity on being a combination of an ethnic and a religious organization.

As with the Palestinian Intifada , Hezbullah is loosely organized into many semi-independent cells under a large central council. Military activity is kept on a small scale, with most military raids against the Israelis carried out by no more than a squad.


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Beginning in the early s, Hezbullah pioneered the use of suicide bombers as a standard tactic against the Israeli forces. The decentralized nature of the Hezbullah organization also made it difficult for the Israelis to strike any decisive blows against the leaders or military forces. After 18 years of desultory warfare in southern Lebanon, the Israeli public was frustrated with the ongoing conflict and in Israel simply pulled its forces out of Lebanon.

Hezbullah was left in effective control of the southern third of the country. The conflicts in the Middle East inspired a small group of thinkers within the US military to analyze the new tactics and strategies developed by Hezbullah and the Palestinians.

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One of the leading thinkers looking at the changes in insurgency conflict was Colonel T. In Hammes refined his analysis in The Sling and the Stone , which laid out the challenge of modern insurgency as that the US and Western powers are facing today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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From to the US military leadership was generally slow to respond and adapt to the challenge of fighting insurgents. After the remarkable victory over Iraq during the Gulf War of there appeared a kind of euphoria among many of the top US military leaders. Decades of training and preparing for the high-tech conventional war had paid off handsomely.

For most of the US military, and most of the American public, the Gulf War seemed to prove that American technology presented such an overwhelming advantage that the US could apply the same formula to defeat almost any potential enemy quickly, efficiently, and decisively — and at minimal cost. Largely because such fallacious thinking was so prevalent in the US military in the s there was little planning for the occupation of Iraq.

For a long time after the start of the insurgency, the US military and civilian leadership failed to understand the conditions in Iraq. On the historical troop requirements needed for interventions and stability operations, see James T. Quinlivan points out that Northern Ireland, Malaya, Bosnia, and a host of other stability operations required as many as 20 soldiers per 1, civilians to effectively control the population.