Title

Searching for Success in Asymmetrical Conflicts

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

As the threat of ISIS spreads in the Middle East and North Africa, the nations of the world find themselves involved in numerous asymmetric conflicts of both low and high intensity. Among the most noticeable counterinsurgency efforts involve the United States in Afghanistan and the Syrian government within their own civil war. Despite these prominent cases, this paper focuses on several different asymmetric, inter-state conflicts, which do not involve external actors and occurred during the period of 1998-2008. The purpose of doing so is to attempt at distinguishing the actual capabilities of the host government at conducting a counterinsurgency, not evaluate the ability of the United States or other Western nations. Drawing on government reports as well as other documentary and academic sources, this paper examines these conflicts, chosen at random from the databases of the World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy, and sets them against the argument of the potential relationship between power and democracy to reveal if one element is better at producing a more successful counterinsurgency strategy than the other. This paper illustrates that each of the six different nations examined took differing approaches to their local insurgencies and each of these approaches met with differing levels of success. Finally, this paper was able to conclude that, while more research is needed before expansive policy recommendations can be produced; the Realist theory of international relations was able to accurately predict the capability of the weakest states. This paper ultimately encourages the further exploration of the lessons learned in these conflicts as a means to one day develop a more universally successful counterinsurgency strategy.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 9:20 AM Apr 17th, 9:40 AM

Searching for Success in Asymmetrical Conflicts

UC 326

As the threat of ISIS spreads in the Middle East and North Africa, the nations of the world find themselves involved in numerous asymmetric conflicts of both low and high intensity. Among the most noticeable counterinsurgency efforts involve the United States in Afghanistan and the Syrian government within their own civil war. Despite these prominent cases, this paper focuses on several different asymmetric, inter-state conflicts, which do not involve external actors and occurred during the period of 1998-2008. The purpose of doing so is to attempt at distinguishing the actual capabilities of the host government at conducting a counterinsurgency, not evaluate the ability of the United States or other Western nations. Drawing on government reports as well as other documentary and academic sources, this paper examines these conflicts, chosen at random from the databases of the World Bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy, and sets them against the argument of the potential relationship between power and democracy to reveal if one element is better at producing a more successful counterinsurgency strategy than the other. This paper illustrates that each of the six different nations examined took differing approaches to their local insurgencies and each of these approaches met with differing levels of success. Finally, this paper was able to conclude that, while more research is needed before expansive policy recommendations can be produced; the Realist theory of international relations was able to accurately predict the capability of the weakest states. This paper ultimately encourages the further exploration of the lessons learned in these conflicts as a means to one day develop a more universally successful counterinsurgency strategy.