Ir­reg­u­lar war­fare

The Washington Times Weekly - - International Perspectives -

The Air Force just pub­lished its new doc­trine state­ment for the war on ter­ror­ism, for­mally iden­ti­fy­ing how it wages “ir­reg­u­lar war­fare” and tra­di­tional war fight­ing.

The doc­trine is part of the ser­vice’s ef­fort to find its niche in what has been largely a ground forces con­flict against al Qaeda ter­ror­ists and ex­trem­ists world­wide and in­sur­gents in Iraq.

In an ap­pen­dix on un­der­stand­ing in­sur­gen­cies, the re­port notes that they share com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics, in­clud­ing the use of re­li­gion.

“In­sur­gent groups of­ten em­ploy re­li­gion as a ba­sis to por­tray their move­ment fa­vor­ably and mo­bi­lize fol­low­ers in pur­suit of their po­lit­i­cal goals,” the re­port said, not­ing the Marx­ist-led Pro­vi­sional Ir­ish Repub­li­can Army “fre­quently used Ro­man Catholic iconog­ra­phy in its publi­ca­tions and procla­ma­tions, al­though many of its mem­bers were not de­vout Catholics.”

Re­gard­ing al Qaeda, re­li­gious ide­ol­ogy is the source of the group’s po­lit­i­cal goals as it seeks to “re-es­tab­lish a world­wide Mus­lim Caliphate.”

“For many Mus­lims, this in­vokes the golden age of Is­lamic civ­i­liza­tion and helps mo­bi­lize sup­port for al Qaeda among some of the most tra­di­tional Mus­lims while con­ceal­ing the fact that al Qaeda’s lead­ers en­vi­sion the ‘re­stored Caliphate’ as a to­tal­i­tar­ian state sim­i­lar to the pre-2002 Tal­iban regime in Afghanistan,” the re­port stated.

High­light­ing the dif­fi­culty for gov­ern­ments en­gaged in ir­reg­u­lar war­fare, the re­port states that coun­ter­ing in­sur­gents in­volves both a po­lit­i­cal strug­gle and vi­o­lent con­flict.

“In­sur­gents win when they pre­vail in only one of th­ese two strug­gles; the gov­ern­ment on the other hand must win both strug­gles or they lose,” the re­port stated.

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