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How Insurgencies End

How Insurgencies End

Ben Connable
Martin C. Libicki
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 268
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  • Book Info
    How Insurgencies End
    Book Description:

    RAND studied 89 modern insurgency cases to test conventional understanding about how insurgencies end. Findings relevant to policymakers and analysts include that modern insurgencies last about ten years; withdrawal of state support cripples insurgencies; civil defense forces are useful for both sides; pseudodemocracies fare poorly against insurgents; and governments win more often in the long run.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4983-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-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-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Insurgency has been and will continue to be a consistent feature of the security environment. Within the coming decades, U.S. policymakers and strategic planners will almost certainly face dilemmas and decisions similar to those faced in the days and months leading up to Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. To enable better planning for these likely challenges, it is critical to understand how insurgencies end.

    This understanding will help answer the most-important questions posed at the leading edge of the national-security decisionmaking process: Is the prospective operation viable? Is it worth the anticipated risk to international prestige and treasure? Do...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Classifying Outcomes and Selecting Cases
    (pp. 13-24)

    This chapter briefly explains the reasoning that led us to identify four possible outcomes for insurgencies and to identify visible trends particular to each outcome. Understanding these selected outcomes and identifying the inevitable qualitative strengths and weaknesses of the defined terms will arm the reader to decipher the results of this study.

    At first glance, classifying outcomes would seem easy: One side—government or insurgent—wins, and the other loses. In practice, outcomes are often more difficult to characterize. For example, if the government gives insurgents amnesty and then allows the insurgent’s proxy political party to enter legitimate politics, who...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Assessments of Insurgency Endings: Time and External Factors
    (pp. 25-76)

    Assessments explaining the key findings and indicators are presented in this and the following chapter. Each assessment is supported by one or more examples drawn from the broader selection of 89 cases and previous case studies researched at RAND (Rabasa, Warner, et al., 2007). In this way, the quantitative data are anchored in qualitative detail. The data resulting from the survey process are derived from the knowledge and opinions of the individual researchers participating in the survey.¹ Therefore, the assessments of insurgency endings are inexact. Even though functional-area experts carried out the study, the somewhat subjective nature of this research...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Assessments of Insurgency Endings: Internal Factors
    (pp. 77-126)

    Hierarchical insurgencies are those organized in accordance with military “line and block” charts, establishing relatively clear, vertical chains of command, while networked insurgencies adhere to a flat organizational structure with vague leadership roles for peripheral subgroups (see Figure 4.1).¹ Networked organizational diagrams are horizontal or cloudlike, but often with a small, centralized leadership chain. In terms of structure, we identified that most insurgent groups are hierarchies—as one might expect from a quasi-military organization. With the emergence of networked international terrorism, a presumption has arisen that networking is a useful innovation for insurgents, making them more resilient and flexible, and...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Assessments of Insurgency Endings: Other Factors
    (pp. 127-150)

    This chapter addresses topics that we did not distinctly address in the quantitative portion of the study but found to be qualitatively critical to understanding insurgency endings.

    We originally approached the topic of force ratios by comparing the proportion of counterinsurgents to insurgents.¹ Our finding showed that a dominating force presence (9:1 or greater) correlated strongly with success for the counterinsurgent and that taking on an insurgency with a 1:1 (or even 2:1) force ratio was imprudent. One might assume from this finding that more forces are better. However, we relegated this finding to the appendixes because it is vulnerable...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions
    (pp. 151-156)

    Our conclusions reflect both the intersection and dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative approaches to case-study research. While it would not have been possible to draw generalized conclusions about insurgency endings without a close examination of a sizable data set, the lack of control over the data necessitates educated interpretation to a degree that might bring discomfort to those familiar with strict scientific examination. This middle-of-the-road approach prevents us from offering conclusive or predictive findings: None of our quantitative analysis stands alone, while our broader analysis stands as a singular interpretation of the history of modern insurgency endings. Further, we recognize...

  15. APPENDIX A Case Studies: Methodology
    (pp. 157-164)
  16. APPENDIX B Supplemental Findings
    (pp. 165-194)
  17. APPENDIX C Multivariate Regression Analysis
    (pp. 195-198)
  18. APPENDIX D Insurgencies Not Examined for This Publication
    (pp. 199-202)
  19. APPENDIX E Categories Used for the Spring 2006 Survey
    (pp. 203-208)
  20. APPENDIX F Unavoidable Ambiguities
    (pp. 209-214)
  21. APPENDIX G Questions Used for the Autumn 2006 Survey
    (pp. 215-218)
  22. Glossary
    (pp. 219-222)
  23. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-244)