Waging Insurgent Warfare

Lessons From the Vietcong to the Islamic State

by Seth G. Jones

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Since the end of World War II, there have been 181 insurgencies around the world. In fact, most modern warfare occurs in the form of insurgencies, including in such high-profile countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. However, in spite of their prevalence, we still know relatively little about how insurgencies function. With more than three dozen violent insurgencies currently taking place today, a deeper understanding of insurgent groups is more important than ever.

In Waging Insurgent Warfare, Seth G. Jones offers new insights into the dynamics of insurgent groups. Jones weaves together examples from current events and recent history to identify the factors that contribute to the rise of an insurgency, the key components involved in conducting an insurgency — from selecting an organizational structure to securing aid from an outside source — and the elements that contribute to the end of insurgencies. Through examining the strategies, tactics, and campaigns that insurgents use, as well as how these factors relate to each other on the ground, Jones provides a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which insurgent groups operate. Empirically rich and historically informed, Waging Insurgent Warfare features data on over one hundred factors for every insurgency that has taken place between 1946 and 2015.

While the primary emphasis revolves around insurgency, the findings in this book also have important implications for waging counterinsurgent warfare. Bringing together the existing body of knowledge on insurgencies, Jones provides a practical, accessible resource to help understand insurgent warfare. The definitive resource on insurgency, Waging Insurgent Warfare will appeal to anyone with an interest in insurgency, counterinsurgency, or modern war.

To understand the data collection and analysis processes used for writing Waging Insurgent Warfare, a codebook and the raw application data are available for download.

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