Paths to Victory

Paths to Victory: Detailed Insurgency Case Studies

Christopher Paul
Colin P. Clarke
Beth Grill
Molly Dunigan
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 506
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  • Book Info
    Paths to Victory
    Book Description:

    In-depth case studies of 41 insurgencies since World War II break each conflict into phases and examine the trajectory that led to the outcome (insurgent win or counterinsurgent win). Detailed analysis of the findings, including those from an original set of 30 insurgencies (for a total of 71 historical cases), is available in the companion volume, Paths to Victory: Lessons from Modern Insurgencies.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8342-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xxx)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxviii)
  9. Detailed Overviews of 41 Insurgency Cases

    • UK in Palestine, 1944–1947 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 1-13)

      In 1923, following its confirmation by the League of Nations, the British Mandate for Palestine became the legal commission for the administration of Palestine. It was British limitations on Jewish immigration into Palestine—which had been established as a Jewish homeland under the terms of the mandate—that spurred three underground Jewish organizations to launch an insurgency against the mandatory government. As many as 100,000 British soldiers, plus mandatory police and British Special Air Service (SAS) forces, were involved in the conflict. The counterinsurgents’ tactics included extensive cordon-and-search operations, massive numbers of arrests and detentions, and the imposition of martial...

    • Greece, 1945–1949 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 14-22)

      As the Nazi occupation of Greece during WWII drew to a close and the Greek government in exile returned, the country’s predominant communist insurgent group, the National Popular Liberation Army (ELAS), decided not to demobilize. Instead, it attempted to seize power in Athens to avoid a return to the prewar political status quo. The British quickly came to the government’s rescue, defending Athens with 75,000 British troops and forcing a quick and apparently successful surrender by the insurgents. However, many of the insurgents merely went underground only to reemerge almost two years later to lead the Democratic Army of Greece...

    • Indochina, 1946–1954 Case Outcome: COIN Loss (Mixed, Favoring Insurgents)
      (pp. 23-30)

      French efforts to reclaim their lost colony after the conclusion of WWII appeared to get off to a good start but ultimately became too costly (in blood, treasure, and concessions). While the French maintained air and conventional battlefield superiority throughout the conflict, Viet Minh insurgents learned to expose themselves to that technical superiority only when the French could be significantly outnumbered, leading to a mixed conflict of constant low-intensity guerrilla warfare punctuated by short, sharp, and numerically overwhelming conventional engagements. Jungle and mountain terrain decisively supported this approach.

      The conflict turned to favor the insurgents after the Chinese Revolution in...

    • Philippines (Huk Rebellion), 1946–1956 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 31-39)

      An agrarian peasant movement aimed at reducing economic and social inequality, the Hukbalahap (“Huk,” for short) insurgency was initially successful in winning extensive local support and perpetrating guerrilla attacks and robberies against a newly independent Philippine government. However, the Huks’ increasing violence and the addition of common criminals to their ranks led the government to appoint a liberal congressman and former provincial military governor, Ramon Magsaysay, to the post of secretary of defense in September 1950. Magsaysay’s appointment marked a turning point in the conflict, and he instituted sweeping reforms that succeeded in drying up civilian support for the insurgency,...

    • Colombia (ʺLa Violenciaʺ), 1948–1958 Case Outcome: COIN Loss (Mixed, Favoring Insurgents)
      (pp. 40-50)

      “La Violencia” in Colombia was a distinctive case in which an internal political conflict rose to the level of all-out civil war for a decade before culminating in a negotiated powersharing agreement. Beginning as an ideologically and politically motivated insurgency/revolution fought by Liberal Party members and supporters against the suppression of their political power by Conservatives in the government, La Violencia morphed into an economically motivated conflict involving extensive rural banditry. The COIN force, composed of both the national police and the armed forces, employed a number of good practices at times, such as measures designed to win popular support....

    • Malaya, 1948–1955 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 51-63)

      The British had already begun to cede government control back to the Malayan states following WWII, establishing a system whereby the states retained sovereignty under British protection. Still dismayed at the extent of their disenfranchisement under the new government, however, Chinese communists launched a Maoist guerrilla war to expel the British from the country in 1948. Beginning the conflict with an understrength military and police force, the British immediately created a sizable special constabulary, employing conventional tactics and large-scale jungle sweeps that proved largely ineffective. However, the COIN force ultimately adapted to shifts in insurgent strategy over the course of...

    • Kenya, 1952–1956 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 64-74)

      The Mau Mau Rebellion was a brutal campaign that affected all of Kenya’s Kikuyu people. The rebellion was an anticolonial struggle aimed at expelling the British colonial government from Kenya due to grievances over land rights, pay for African workers, and the underrepresentation of the Kikuyu people in politics. Entailing gross humanitarian abuses on both sides throughout all phases of the conflict, the main COIN strategies employed involved large-scale sweeps, arrests, detentions, and resettlement programs that were quite indiscriminate in nature. While the COIN force enjoyed the support of a majority of the Kikuyu people at the outset of hostilities,...

    • Algerian Independence, 1954–1962 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 75-93)

      The French-Algerian conflict, which has been described as the “last, the greatest and the most dramatic of colonial war,” was launched in 1954 with a series of uncoordinated bombing attacks by 300 members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) guerrilla movement. 195 Initially dismissed as “traditional banditry,” the FLN attacks drew an increasingly forceful response from the French army as the insurgency gained strength and began targeting civilians in the French settler community, known ascolons, or colonists. In response, the French military increased its presence in the region and imposed brutal COIN tactics against Algeria’s native Muslim population and...

    • Cyprus, 1955–1959 Case Outcome: COIN Loss (Mixed, Favoring Insurgents)
      (pp. 94-103)

      The National Organization of Cypriot Struggle (EOKA), a nationalist, anticolonialist insurgent organization composed of Greek Cypriots, launched a guerrilla conflict against the British colonial government in Cyprus in April 1955. Its aim was to compel the British colonial government to disperse its forces and cede Cyprus to Greece. Greek Cypriots were the predominant ethnic group in Cyprus at the time, and EOKA was a predominantly youth-based movement that had the support of more than 80 percent of the population and was also popular in neighboring Greece. Due to this extensive public support, the insurgents were able to prevail despite the...

    • Cuba, 1956–1959 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 104-110)

      Leading a socialist insurgency in Cuba beginning in 1956, Fidel Castro presented himself as aiming to restore a legitimate democratic system on the island. He was successful due to both internal and external factors. Internally, Castro’s mastery of propaganda and his appreciation of the importance of local support for an insurgency paid off, and he continually won both local civilians and Cuban army personnel over to his side. In contrast, the COIN force opposing Castro was poorly trained, corrupt, and suffering from low morale, which led it to engage in activities that alienated the population. External support to the COIN...

    • Oman (Imamate Uprising), 1957–1959 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 111-117)

      Long-standing tensions between sultanate rulers in the coastal regions of Oman and rebellious tribes in the interior of the country fueled a separatist insurgency led by the religious Imamate in 1957. Saudi Arabia and Egypt supported the imamate forces, enabling them to maintain the upper hand in the conflict until the British intervened to shore up the sultan’s limited defenses. The British initially contained the rebels’ advance by offering minimal ground troops and air support to the Omani armed forces. Later, when the rebels retreated and began an intensive guerrilla campaign from their safe haven in the northern Jebel Akhdar...

    • Indonesia (Darul Islam), 1958–1962 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 118-124)

      The Darul Islam insurgency was a politically and religiously motivated rebellion that challenged the centralization policies of the newly independent Indonesian government and sought to establish sharia law. From 1950 to 1958, Darul Islam conducted an effective guerrilla campaign in the province of West Java that threatened to spread to other regions of the country. The Indonesian government, under increasing political pressure, was able to change the course of the conflict in 1959 by adopting a comprehensive pacification strategy that combined civic action with cordon-and-search tactics and the forced engagement of the local population in security operations through a technique...

    • Tibet, 1956–1974 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 125-133)

      The National Volunteer Defense Army (NVDA) at first posed a significant challenge to a heavy-handed Chinese occupying COIN force and, later, occupying government. While the COIN force practiced excessively brutal and demeaning tactics to assimilate Tibetans into the Chinese way of life, the relative deprivation of the population precluded any possibility of civilian assistance to the insurgents. External support from the United States and India prolonged the conflict and bought time for an insurgent win. However, a series of Tibetan tactical and operational errors, exacerbated by intermittent cutoffs, a repurposing of external aid, and the overwhelming force employed by the...

    • Guatemala, 1960–1996 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 134-146)

      For a 36-year period between 1960 and 1996, Guatemala suffered the effects of a bloody insurgency in which approximately 200,000 people were killed or forcibly “disappeared,” with an additional 2 million internally displaced or exiled as refugees. The COIN force consisted of the Guatemalan government and armed forces, the traditional elite, and landowners, while the insurgents were a mix of leftists, nationalistic-socialist reformers, middle-class intellectuals, and peasants. Guatemala’s COIN campaign employed extremely brutal tactics against the insurgents and their base of support, particularly the country’s indigenous population. Right-wing paramilitaries routinely raped, murdered, and mutilated civilians at will. Eventually, a war-weary...

    • Laos, 1959–1975 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 147-156)

      Lamented as “the forgotten war,” the insurgency in Laos was heavily influenced (and often overshadowed) by the conflict in neighboring Vietnam. A victim of geography, Laos experienced half-hearted fighting between different factions and may well have worked itself out in a lasting compromise if not for pressure from North Vietnamese communists to control areas of the country for the infiltration of troops and materiel into South Vietnam (the Ho Chi Minh Trail) and U.S. efforts to oppose the communist presence and influence.

      Beginning in earnest in 1959, fighting pitted variously rightist Royal Lao government forces supported by Hmong guerrillas against...

    • Namibia, 1960–1989 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 157-163)

      To quell a burgeoning insurgency in southwestern Africa, South Africa initially deployed the South African Police Service, even as South African COIN forces were stretched thin by the African National Congress (ANC)–led insurgency within the country’s own borders. The first decade of the war involved low-level but consistent fighting and an increasingly assertive insurgent force. Terrain significantly aided the guerrillas in their ability to elude South African security forces that were operating beyond their traditional zones of comfort. At the end of Phase I, the South African military took over responsibility for prosecuting the war and employed a significant...

    • South Africa, 1960–1990 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 164-176)

      Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) fought against the apartheid government of white minority rule in South Africa over a period of more than 30 years, from 1960 to 1994. The ANC and its armed wing, Umkhunto we Sizwe (MK), or “Spear of the Nation,” waged a protracted campaign of sabotage, assassination, and bombing against a militarily superior SADF. In the early stages of the conflict, the ANC was unable to establish a robust presence within South Africa itself, so instead the insurgents operated from bases in external countries favorable to the ANC, including Angola, Namibia, and Mozambique,...

    • South Vietnam, 1960–1975 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 177-197)

      Historical accounts of the conflict in Vietnam vary widely in the points emphasized and the explanations offered. Disputes are facilitated by the personal experiences of many direct observers who saw or participated in sometimes very different slices of the conflict at different times, at different operational levels, and in different parts of the country. What, if anything, could have been done to change the outcome of the war (and who is to blame for the outcome) remains fairly hotly contested. What the outcome was, however, is not contested: U.S. forces withdrew in 1973, and the Saigon government fell to the...

    • Eritrea, 1961–1991 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 198-212)

      Ethiopia gained control of the former Italian colony of Eritrea and unilaterally annexed the region in 1962, which led to the outbreak of an insurgency. Initially limited to a small group of guerrilla fighters supported by Arab nationalist regimes, the insurgency developed into a broad-based secessionist movement supported by both the Muslim and Christian Eritrean communities. This broadening of the conflict occurred after the Ethiopian government launched a brutal COIN campaign that resulted in a high number of civilian casualties and significant population displacement. By the mid-1970s, the insurgency posed a serious threat to the Ethiopian regime and contributed to...

    • Iraqi Kurdistan, 1961–1975 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 213-225)

      After decades of contention between the Kurdish minority in northern Iraq and the central government, a rebellion was sparked in 1961 by growing frustration with the nationalist Iraqi government’s failure to deliver on its promise to provide the Kurds with political autonomy. Initially, Kurdish guerrillas, known aspeshmerga, launched limited small-scale attacks on government forces. The Iraqi army responded with conventional counteroffensives, which served to widen the war and alienate the population. Despite various attempts to reach a cease-fire, fighting grew more intense as both sides benefited from greater levels of external support from the Soviet Union, Iran, and the...

    • Angolan Independence, 1961–1974 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 226-232)

      The Angolan war of independence began in earnest in 1961 and continued unabated for the next 13 years. (A follow-on insurgency began immediately afterward and lasted for an additional 27 years.) The insurgency was divided among three separate insurgent groups for most of the first phase but still managed to inflict significant damage on the Portuguese COIN force. In Phase II, the COIN force implemented military and political reforms, separated the insurgents from the population, instituted development programs, and enlisted locals into the security forces. Toward the end of the insurgency, the COIN force had reduced troop casualty rates and...

    • Guinea-Bissau, 1962–1974 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 233-240)

      Led by Amílcar Lopes Cabral, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) waged an insurgency to overthrow Portuguese colonial rule in Guinea-Bissau. Of Portugal’s three African COIN campaigns, Guinea-Bissau was considered the least valuable, and, as a result, troops fighting there were often left wanting for supplies and resources. The insurgents enjoyed several important advantages, including external sponsorship from a number of countries and safe havens in neighboring French Guinea (Guinea-Conakry). Relentless attacks by PAIGC guerrillas confined the Portuguese to large garrisons, further alienating the COIN force from the population. Despite a change in leadership...

    • Mozambican Independence, 1962–1974 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 241-249)

      Mozambique was one of three concurrent insurgencies that Portuguese colonial forces battled throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. In the first phase of this conflict, General António Augusto dos Santos prosecuted a low-intensity population-centric COIN campaign characterized by psychological warfare and limited operations. In Phase II, General Kaúlza de Arriaga switched course, taking a comprehensive approach that included development, resettlement, recruitment of indigenous troops, and an increase in airborne search-and-destroy operations in an attempt to win the war decisively and bring the conflict to a victorious end for the Portuguese. Despite a largely successful COIN campaign, the 1974 Carnation Revolution...

    • Yemen, 1962–1970 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 250-264)

      An insurgency was launched in North Yemen after the country’s ruling imam was overthrown in a coup by Egyptian-trained military officers in 1962. Seeking to restore the old order, the imam rallied tribal forces, with support from Saudi Arabia, to launch a guerrilla campaign against the new republican government, which maintained a weak hold on the country. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser responded to the growing insurgent threat to a fellow revolutionary regime by providing an increasing level of military support to the Yemeni government. Initially supplying military advisers and special forces teams, Egypt sent 60,000 troops to Yemen by...

    • Uruguay, 1963–1972 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 265-273)

      A Marxist-Leninist urban insurgency perpetrated by the Tupamaros in Uruguay, this conflict was motivated by the rapid decline of the country’s previously successful economy in the early 1960s.690The innovative Tupamaros—who at first were masters at solidifying public support and turning the populace against the government—were easily able to overcome Uruguay’s inept COIN force, which was composed of police and, later, paramilitary forces, during the first two phases of the conflict. However, the insurgents’ increasingly aggressive tactics in the later years of the war led to an increase in popular support for the COIN effort and aided in...

    • Oman (Dhofar Rebellion), 1965–1975 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 274-286)

      The Dhofar rebellion began as a separatist movement by tribes seeking independence from the repressive rule of the reactionary Sultan Said ibn Taimur. After a Marxist government gained power in neighboring South Yemen, the insurgency adopted a communist ideology, and the conflict evolved into a regional war involving multiple external actors. Great Britain, Iran, and Jordan supported the sultan, while South Yemen, China, and the Soviet Union supported the “communist” insurgents. Despite extensive external support, the Omani military was unable to contain the rebellion due to the sultan’s refusal to modernize his forces or to provide even the most basic...

    • Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, 1965–1980 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 287-298)

      The Rhodesian conflict began when the British colony of Southern Rhodesia unilaterally declared its independence and asserted its right to maintain white-minority rule. This declaration prompted the country’s two major black African nationalist parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), to launch a rural guerrilla insurgency to achieve political rights for the black majority. Initially, the guerrillas launched small-scale attacks against white settlers from bases in Zambia. The insurgency then expanded as ZANU and ZAPU established training and logistical bases along the eastern and western borders of the country and drew support from...

    • Argentina, 1969–1979 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 299-308)

      Initially a socialist insurgency aimed primarily at restoring the power of exiled president Juan Perón, the insurgency in Argentina evolved into revolt against the government of the reinstated Perón and eventually became much more focused on military goals in lieu of political aims. Throughout the conflict, the country’s political system morphed from military government to an elected socialist government, before shifting back to a military regime with the ousting of Isabel Perón’s administration in 1976. Through these transitions, the government’s COIN strategy shifted from one of relative leniency focused on legal mechanisms to one that adopted increasingly illegal, brutal tactics,...

    • Cambodia, 1967–1975 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 309-317)

      As the conflict in neighboring Vietnam led North Vietnamese forces to make more and more use of logistics lines passing through Cambodia, and under U.S. pressure to join forces with the South Vietnamese, Cambodia’s mercurial Prince Norodom Sihanouk walked a tightrope of pseudo-neutrality, allowing the North Vietnamese to operate unopposed in his country’s hinterland but refusing to be drawn further into the war. Sihanouk’s balancing act ended up alienating many key stakeholders, both within and outside Cambodia, and came to an end in 1970, when his government fell to a coup.

      The new government declared war against the communists and...

    • Northern Ireland, 1969–1999 Case Outcome: COIN Win (Mixed, Favoring COIN)
      (pp. 318-330)

      The Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) waged a three-decade-long insurgency against the British Army and various Protestant paramilitaries during a period widely referred to as “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Support for the PIRA by Northern Ireland’s Catholic minority, the Republic of Ireland, and the United States increased substantially following a clumsy and inchoate British COIN campaign in the first seven years of the conflict. In the late 1970s, the police assumed primacy over the army, and the COIN force focused on improving its intelligence capabilities. As a military stalemate settled in, efforts to transition away from violence and toward...

    • Jordan, 1970–1971 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 331-339)

      The Palestinian insurgency in Jordan was strongly influenced by political forces in the Middle East in 1970. The conflict evolved after the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, which led the Palestinian national liberation movement and itsfedayeenmilitia to establish their headquarters in Jordan. As thefedayeengained political and military power, they posed a challenge to the legitimacy of the Hashemite regime, leading King Hussein to initiate a COIN campaign culminating in a full military assault on Palestinian strongholds in Amman and northern Jordan. Ten days of intense fighting followed, during which thefedayeenreceived only limited reinforcement from neighboring Arab...

    • Bangladesh, 1971 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 340-345)

      The 1971 insurgency in Bangladesh was a separatist conflict launched in response to the Pakistani government’s efforts to subjugate the Bengali people socially, economically, politically, and militarily. The impetus for the conflict was the overwhelming victory of an East Pakistani (Bengali) political party in the country’s first general election, which spurred the West Pakistani leaders of the country to arrest the leader of the winning party and launch a military offensive throughout East Pakistan. The Bengali response, to declare Bangladesh an independent state and foment an insurgency, was met with overwhelming force, indiscriminate killing, torture, looting, the destruction of villages,...

    • Philippines (MNLF), 1971–1996 Case Outcome: COIN Win (Mixed, Favoring COIN)
      (pp. 346-354)

      The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a Muslim separatist movement in the southern provinces of the Philippines, waged an on-and-off insurgency against the government of the Republic of the Philippines for approximately 15 years. Although its original aims included the establishment of an independent Muslim state in the province of Mindanao, it soon shifted its goals to the withdrawal of government troops from the southern Philippines, the return of lands taken from the Moros (Muslim Filipinos), increased autonomy, and the ability to implement Islamic law in Muslim-dominated areas. The government initially responded to MNLF activity with the imposition of martial...

    • Baluchistan, 1973–1978 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 355-362)

      The 1973 conflict in Baluchistan was the fourth in a series of separatist insurgencies in the region since its incorporation into Pakistan in 1947. The Baluch People’s Liberation Front (later, the Baluch Liberation Front, or BLF) had widespread support from the Baluch people and employed standard guerrilla tactics to cut off major supply lines and transportation routes between Baluchistan and neighboring provinces. However, the insurgents were unable to prevail against the larger and better-equipped COIN force composed of Pakistan’s army and a special forces units, which successfully employed overwhelming force to crush the insurgency. Interestingly, the “crush them” concept worked...

    • Angola (UNITA), 1975–2002 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 363-373)

      Shortly after the end of Angola’s war of independence, the country descended into bitter fighting as the victors against the Portuguese failed to agree on which group would rule the postcolonial government. The United States and South Africa supported Jonas Savimbi and his National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) insurgents against the Cuban- and Soviet-backed People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) COIN forces. This conflict was a classic Cold War proxy battle and a centerpiece of the Reagan Doctrine to contain and confront communism around the globe. By the end of the 1980s, as Soviet...

    • Indonesia (East Timor), 1975–2000 Case Outcome: COIN Loss
      (pp. 374-382)

      The conflict in East Timor began soon after Portugal ended its colonial rule and departed from the region, leaving a Marxist-leaning group, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), as the strongest party in the Timorese independence movement. Indonesia responded to this potential communist threat by invading and annexing the region in July 1976. This conventional intervention by the Indonesian army evolved into a brutal COIN campaign over the next two decades that resulted in the deaths of as many as 200,000 civilians but failed to crush the insurgency. It was only in the mid-1990s that the course...

    • Lebanese Civil War, 1975–1990 Case Outcome: COIN Loss (Mixed, Favoring Insurgents)
      (pp. 383-393)

      The Lebanese Civil War lasted from 1975 to 1990 and quickly led to the breakdown of government structures as Lebanon was engulfed by anarchy, earning the nickname the “militia republic.”964The multidimensional nature of the conflict saw “several phases, each marked by complex shifting alliances and dozens of failed cease-fire agreements.”965In 15 years of fighting, the war included both large-scale massacres of civilians (the most notable of which was the infamous slaughter of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982) and vast numbers of internally displaced persons and refugees. Besides the myriad Lebanese actors involved in...

    • Western Sahara, 1975–1991 Case Outcome: COIN Win (Mixed, Favoring COIN)
      (pp. 394-402)

      The conflict in Western Sahara began in 1975 after Spain withdrew as a colonial power, allowing Morocco to occupy the region (where it staked a historical claim).987Morocco’s occupation was contested by the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) movement that had been formed to fight for independence from Spain. Initially, the Polisario launched an effective guerrilla campaign against the Moroccan army, with external support from Algeria and Libya. By the mid-1980s however, the COIN force was able to gain the upper hand by attracting significant military assistance from the United...

    • Indonesia (Aceh), 1976–2005 Case Outcome: COIN Win (Mixed, Favoring COIN)
      (pp. 403-414)

      The Aceh conflict began as a limited insurgency triggered by the centralization policies of the Indonesian government and the imposition of petroleum rents in the mid-1970s. Over the next three decades, the insurgency evolved into a broader conflict of ethnic separatism prompted largely by the human rights abuses perpetrated by Indonesian COIN forces. Only after the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998 did the separatist group known as the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) gain widespread public support and become locked into battle with Indonesian COIN forces in an effort to achieve independence.

      Initially, the Indonesian government responded to the...

    • Mozambique (RENAMO), 1976–1995 Case Outcome: COIN Win (Mixed, Favoring COIN)
      (pp. 415-422)

      From 1976 to 1995, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) waged a protracted campaign of violence against the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) in an insurgency that wracked the country and dragged in several outside actors, including Rhodesia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Over a 17-year period, insurgent and state-sponsored violence contributed to more than 1 million casualties, resulted in massive refugee flows and internal population displacement, and paralyzed the country’s economy.1035Even against a lackluster COIN force, the insurgents were never able to muster enough strength to overtake Maputo, the capital. The most intense period of fighting ended in October 1992, when...

    • Sri Lanka, 1976–2009 Case Outcome: COIN Win
      (pp. 423-440)

      Years of discrimination by the Sinhala majority against the Tamil minority boiled over in Sri Lanka during the Black July riots of 1983. Shortly thereafter, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) emerged as the most capable Tamil insurgent group, prepared to wage a campaign of violence and terror against the Sri Lankan state and non-Tamil civilians. Over time, the LTTE distinguished itself as perhaps the most capable insurgent force in modern history. By the third phase of the conflict, the group boasted a navy, an air force, and an elite suicide commando unit used to assassinate heads of state...

  10. References
    (pp. 441-468)