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Old June 18th, 2012, 09:20 AM   #1

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Counter-insurgencies; successful, unsuccessful and what is the key?


First up, no Iraq or Afghanistan (2000 onwards) because that falls outside the remit of this site.

Successful counter-insurgencies? I'd say Ireland 1919-1923/Northern Ireland 1969-1995, Malaya, Cyprus, Kenya, El Salvador, Honduras, I'm sure people can suggest others.

Vietnam is controversial. Arguably the Allies won the counter-insurgency campaign, decimating the Viet Cong at the Tet offensive and the Phoenix programe never allowing them to get back on their feet. From then on it was more of a guerilla action fought by the NVA.

So what is the key?

1. Clear political aim. You have to be able to explain to people why you're doing what you're doing and what the up side is for them

2. Propaganda. You must be able to win over the hearts and minds of the population and counter the enemie's propaganda

3. Adaptablility, you must ape the tactics of the enemy, counter them effectively and use the enviroment to your advantage

4. Intelligence; in an insurgency the enemy will always seek to use the general population for cover, vital to separate the sheep from the wolves

Any others?
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Old June 18th, 2012, 10:38 AM   #2

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its in effect a guerrilla war so it will be along drawn out affair of who will being will brake first and give up. for the guerrilla force its not really about how many of the enemy they kill or how big their attacks are but about conserving their resources to last as long as possible. make small attacks now and then to show that your still a presence until eventually the occupying army gets tied or maybe comes under pressure at home that it has to leave.
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Old June 18th, 2012, 11:30 AM   #3

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Isolate the enemy. either seperate them from their supplies or play thePR game and make them so unpalatable that their own people wont supply them.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:27 AM   #4

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counterinsurgency is not primarily military, but a combination of initiatives in the military arena, and social policy under the tight control of a single authority. Ideally, a successful counterinsurgency effort is not only a effective military action, but also in real reform led by a government that seeks to gain sympathy and loyalty of its people. There should be an integrated civil-military approach. This type of reform can reduce the injustices that gave legitimacy to the insurgency in the view of his supporters. The government should take actions consistent in the political field, working on security and improvement of living (even the most remote locations), generate economic progress and in many cases promote political representation. A diplomatic foray should also be held to garner international support and end external support the guerrillas, if it exists.

Gather information about the presence of the enemy in the region, through:
A specialized unit that infiltrates the enemy area and establishes a base of operations;
Interrogation of prisoners;
having informants;
Aerial reconnaissance, satellite and even if conditions;
Electronic media, such as motion sensors, tapping phones and radio;

Confronting the rebel forces by larger units, based on intelligence gathered;

Effective occupation by regular forces and law enforcement of the insurrectionary forces territory .

Something very important which must be taken into account in counterinsurgency operations is that casualties among the civilian noncombatant population must be extremely minimized. The guerrilla forces take advantage of the use of excessive force against civilians to garner support among the population and recruit new fighters.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:54 AM   #5

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I think the Malaya campaign highlighted some of the positives in this arena:

- "hearts and minds" - Winning the support of local population.
- Population control - Removing a barrier the insurgents can utilise/hide behind.
- Search and control - Controlling an area and searching it throughly
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Old November 26th, 2012, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirOrmondeWinter View Post
First up, no Iraq or Afghanistan (2000 onwards) because that falls outside the remit of this site.

Successful counter-insurgencies? I'd say Ireland 1919-1923/Northern Ireland 1969-1995, Malaya, Cyprus, Kenya, El Salvador, Honduras, I'm sure people can suggest others.

Vietnam is controversial. Arguably the Allies won the counter-insurgency campaign, decimating the Viet Cong at the Tet offensive and the Phoenix programe never allowing them to get back on their feet. From then on it was more of a guerilla action fought by the NVA.

So what is the key?

1. Clear political aim. You have to be able to explain to people why you're doing what you're doing and what the up side is for them

2. Propaganda. You must be able to win over the hearts and minds of the population and counter the enemie's propaganda

3. Adaptablility, you must ape the tactics of the enemy, counter them effectively and use the enviroment to your advantage

4. Intelligence; in an insurgency the enemy will always seek to use the general population for cover, vital to separate the sheep from the wolves

Any others?

Yes - patience/endurance. Successful counter insurgency takes time, and you have got to have the endurance to stick it out.

One classic example from history is Charlemange's campaign against the heathen Saxons. It took him 30 years to succeed, longer than a person's average life span back then, but eventually he succeeded. A hundred years later, he succeeded so well that the former pagan Saxons had taken over leadership of the Holy Roman Empire (such as it was), and had become the leading defenders of Chistiandom against the pagan Magyars.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirOrmondeWinter View Post
First up, no Iraq or Afghanistan (2000 onwards) because that falls outside the remit of this site.

Successful counter-insurgencies? I'd say Ireland 1919-1923/Northern Ireland 1969-1995, Malaya, Cyprus, Kenya, El Salvador, Honduras, I'm sure people can suggest others.

Vietnam is controversial. Arguably the Allies won the counter-insurgency campaign, decimating the Viet Cong at the Tet offensive and the Phoenix programe never allowing them to get back on their feet. From then on it was more of a guerilla action fought by the NVA.

So what is the key?

1. Clear political aim. You have to be able to explain to people why you're doing what you're doing and what the up side is for them

2. Propaganda. You must be able to win over the hearts and minds of the population and counter the enemie's propaganda

3. Adaptablility, you must ape the tactics of the enemy, counter them effectively and use the enviroment to your advantage

4. Intelligence; in an insurgency the enemy will always seek to use the general population for cover, vital to separate the sheep from the wolves

Any others?
How brutal are you prepared to be?

When a ruling power terrorizes the terrorists, they almost always win.
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Old November 26th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #8

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I agree with winning the hearts and minds of the people in order to win in a guerrilla warfare, and I have personal experience about that as citizen of the Philippines where in my country there are still an on going conflict by the Philippine Government against the communists insurgents known as the New Peoples Army (NPA), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF, lol) formerly with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF, another front, lol) and the Abu Sayyaf that's deeply connected with Al Qaeda.

The reason why it hadn't ended yet, is simple, corruption, because the intelligence funds to the generals are not subject to audit and supplies are also padded, so some of the owners of Ferrari and Porche in Manila are sons of Generals.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 08:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirOrmondeWinter View Post
Vietnam is controversial. Arguably the Allies won the counter-insurgency campaign, decimating the Viet Cong at the Tet offensive and the Phoenix programe never allowing them to get back on their feet. From then on it was more of a guerilla action fought by the NVA.
It cannot be said that America won the counter-insurgency campaign. The VC were decimated in Tet, but they were still able to muster enough fighters to keep four battalions from the 9th Infantry quite busy in Cholon, in May of the very same year. Furthermore, the insurgency was not destroyed, because the VC destroyed in Tet and the May offensive were replaced by NVA. NVA insurgents were able to keep up the pressure for the rest of the American occupation. The insurgency achieved its goals (at very high cost, however), because they forced the US to finally leave.

How could American counter-insurgency efforts have succeeded? Perhaps, if they had controlled the corruption of their puppet government in the South, if they had forced Diem to enact meaningful land-reforms, and so on. After Dien Bien Phu, once the communists had achieved this costly victory, it is unlikely that they ever would have ever submitted to any level of violent coercion, because of the confidence that comes from such a victory. It is difficult to win a war of attrition when the enemy is willing to sacrifice almost every single soldier, and you are only willing to sacrifice a certain percentage.

I think the military method is the worst way to suppress a popular insurgency. Political and psychological methods are more appropriate. "Winning of hearts and minds": that is best done through propaganda, rather than arms. However, propaganda only works when it is backed by real action. If you try to propagate the idea that you are in support of freedom for the peasant, the peasant will not believe you if you establish a puppet-regime that obstructs him at every path, which is Catholic (not Buddhist), which refuses to even consider the kind of land-reforms that he really wants. Give him a little real reform (not ersatz propaganda reform), and you might win him over. The VC could have possibly been pried lose from the NVA by such a method (Southern Vietnamese were naturally distrustful of those from the North). Instead, with our brutal military tactics, we drove them into the arms of the NVA.

Last edited by Student; November 27th, 2012 at 10:00 AM.
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Old November 27th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #10

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http://www.historum.com/war-military...perations.html

Similar thread.

Anyway for anyone interested this is a very nice indian centre for land warfare studies [claws]paper that dealt with this in depth from which i posted these.

https://www.google.co.in/#hl=en&scli...w=1024&bih=632
Its the first google search download.Its quite short[can be read in about a hour,deals with COIN operations in the second half]
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