Waging Insurgent Warfare: Lessons from the Vietcong to the Islamic State
Oxford University Press
Seth G. Jones
3 Nov 2016
Since the end of World War II, there have been 181 insurgencies around the world. Today, there are over three dozen violent insurgencies, including in such high-profile countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. These insurgencies have been led by a range of groups, from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In fact, most warfare today occurs in the form of insurgencies. If we are to understand modern warfare, we need to understand insurgencies. While numerous books have been written on the subject of insurgencies, there is no book that brings together all of what we know into one accessible volume that policymakers can understand and use. Waging Insurgent Warfare is that book. Seth G. Jones, who has been deeply involved in the Afghanistan war over the last decade, aims to help policymakers, scholars, and general readers better understand how groups start, wage, and end insurgencies. He weaves together examples from today and from recent history into an analytic synthesis that focuses on several sets of questions. First, what factors contribute to the rise of an insurgency? Second, what are the key components involved in conducting an insurgency? As he explains, insurgent groups need to decide on a strategy, employ a range of tactics, select an organizational structure, secure outside aid from state and non-state actors, and conduct information campaigns. They then have to routinely re-assess these decisions over the course of an insurgency. Third, what factors contribute to the end of insurgencies? Finally, what do the answers to these questions mean for the conduct of counterinsurgency warfare? Waging Insurgent Warfare is not only a practical handbook for understanding insurgent warfare, but it also has implications for waging counterinsurgent warfare. Highly readable, empirically sophisticated, and historically informed, Waging Insurgent Warfare will become a standard work on the topic.