Guerrilla

The Evolution of Irregular War by Max Boot FP

Guerrillas often present a further paradox: even the most successful raiders have been prone to switch to conventional tactics once they achieve great military success. The Mongols eventually turned into a semiregular army under Genghis Khan, and the Arabs underwent a similar transformation. They fought in traditional Bedouin style while spreading Islam across the Middle East in the century after Muhammad’s death, in 632. But their conquests led to the creation of the Umayyad and Abbassid caliphates, two of the greatest states of the medieval world, which were defended by conventional forces. The Turkish empire, too, arose out of the raiding culture of the steppes but built a formidable conventional army, complete with highly disciplined slave-soldiers, the janissaries. The new Ottoman army conquered Constantinople in a famous siege in 1453 and, within less than a century, advanced to the gates of Vienna….
What makes counterinsurgency all the more difficult is that there are few quick victories in this type of conflict. Since 1775, the average insurgency has lasted seven years (and since 1945, it has lasted almost ten years). Attempts by either insurgents or counterinsurgents to short-circuit the process usually backfire. The United States tried to do just that in the early years of both the Vietnam War and the Iraq war by using its conventional might to hunt down guerrillas in a push for what John Paul Vann, a famous U.S. military adviser in Vietnam, rightly decried as „fast, superficial results.” It was only when the United States gave up hopes of a quick victory, ironically, that it started to get results, by implementing the tried-and-true tenets of population-centric counterinsurgency. In Vietnam, it was already too late, but in Iraq, the patient provision of security came just in time to avert an all-out civil war.

 

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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