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Chapter 4. Chapter 5. *FM Headquarters. Department of the Army. Washington, DC, 26 October Urban Operations. Contents. Page. PREFACE.
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Lawrence noted, "The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual compact storage media like cassettes, compact disks, and digital versatile disks DVDs have become more important in recent years. Thus, 20th century events transformed the purpose and character of most insurgencies. Most 19th century insurgencies were local movements to sustain the status quo. By the midth century they had become national and transnational revolutionary movements. Clausewitz thought that wars by an armed populace could only serve as a strategic defense; however, theorists after World War II realized that insurgency could be a decisive form of warfare.

This era spawned the Maoist, Che Guevara-type focoist, and urban approaches to insurgency. While some Cold War insurgencies persisted after the Soviet Union's collapse, many new ones appeared. These new insurgencies typically emerged from civil wars or the collapse of states no longer propped up by Cold War rivalries. Power vacuums breed insurgencies.

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Similar conditions exist when regimes are changed by force or circumstances. Recently, ideologies based on extremist forms of religious or ethnic identities have replaced ideologies based on secular revolutionary ideals. These new forms of old, strongly held beliefs define the identities of the most dangerous combatants in these new internal wars. These conflicts resemble the wars of religion in Europe before and after the Reformation of the 16th century. People have replaced nonfunctioning national identities with traditional sources of unity and identity.

When countering an insurgency during the Cold War, the United States normally focused on increasing a threatened but friendly government's ability to defend itself and on encouraging political and economic reforms to undercut support for the insurgency. Today, when countering an insurgency growing from state collapse or failure, counterinsurgents often face a more daunting task: helping friendly forces reestablish political order and legitimacy where these conditions may no longer exist. Interconnectedness and information technology are new aspects of this contemporary wave of insurgencies.

Using the Internet, insurgents can now link virtually with allied groups throughout a state, a region, and even the entire world. Insurgents often join loose organizations with common objectives but different motivations and no central controlling body, which makes identifying leaders difficult. Today's operational environment also includes a new kind of insurgency, one that seeks to impose revolutionary change worldwide. Al Qaeda is a well-known example of such an insurgency.

This movement seeks to transform the Islamic world and reorder its relationships with other regions and cultures. It is notable for its members' willingness to execute suicide attacks to achieve their ends. Such groups often feed on local grievances. Al Qaeda- type revolutionaries are willing to support causes they view as compatible with their own goals through the provision of funds, volunteers, and sympathetic and targeted propaganda. While the communications and technology used for this effort are often new and modern, the grievances and methods sustaining it are not.

As in other insurgencies, terrorism, subversion, propaganda, and open warfare are the tools of such movements. Today, these time-tested tools have been augmented by the precision munition of extremists — suicide attacks. Defeating such enemies requires a global, strategic response — one that addresses the array of linked resources and conflicts that sustain these movements while tactically addressing the local grievances that feed them.

Each insurgency is unique, although there are often similarities among them. In all cases, insurgents aim to force political change; any military action is secondary and subordinate, a means to an end. Few insurgencies fit neatly into any rigid classification. In fact, counterinsurgent commanders may face a confusing and shifting coalition of many kinds of opponents, some of whom may be at odds with one another. Examining the specific type of insurgency they face enables commanders and staffs to build a more accurate picture of the insurgents and the thinking behind their overall approach. Counterinsurgents have to determine not only their opponents' motivation but also the approach being used to advance the insurgency.

This information is essential to developing effective programs that attack the insurgency's root causes. Analysis of the insurgents' approach shapes counterinsurgent military options. Conspiratorial A conspiratorial approach involves a few leaders and a militant cadre or activist party seizing control of government structures or exploiting a revolutionary situation.

In , Lenin used this approach in carrying out the Bolshevik Revolution. Such insurgents remain secretive as long as possible. They emerge only when success can be achieved quickly. This approach usually involves creating a small, secretive, "vanguard" party 16 The U. Insurgents who use this approach successfully may have to create security forces and generate mass support to maintain power, as the Bolsheviks did. Military-Focused Users of military-focused approaches aim to create revolutionary possibilities or seize power primarily by applying military force.

For example, the focoist approach, popularized by figures like Che Guevera, asserts that an insurrection itself can create the conditions needed to overthrow a government.

Focoists believe that a small group of guerrillas operating in a rural environment where grievances exist can eventually gather enough support to achieve their aims. In contrast, some secessionist insurgencies have relied on major conventional forces to try to secure their independence. Military-focused insurgencies conducted by Islamic extremist groups or insurgents in Africa or Latin America have little or no political structure; they spread their control through movement of combat forces rather than political subversion. Urban Organizations like the Irish Republican Army, certain Latin American groups, and some Islamic extremist groups in Iraq have pursued an urban approach.

Protracted urban terrorism waged by small, independent cells requires little or no popular support. It is difficult to counter. Historically, such activities have not generated much success without wider rural support. However, as societies have become more urbanized and insurgent networks more sophisticated, this approach has become more effective. When facing adequately run internal security forces, urban insurgencies typically assume a conspiratorial cellular structure recruited along lines of close association — family, religious affiliation, political party, or social group.

Protracted Popular War Protracted conflicts favor insurgents, and no approach makes better use of that asymmetry than the 17 The U. The North Vietnamese and Algerians adapted it to fit their respective situations. And some Al Qaeda leaders suggest it in their writings today. This approach is complex; few contemporary insurgent movements apply its full program, although many apply parts of it.

It is, therefore, of more than just historical interest. Knowledge of it can be a powerful aid to understanding some insurgent movements. Mao Zedong's Theory of Protracted War Phase I, strategic defensive, is a period of latent insurgency that allows time to wear down superior enemy strength while the insurgency gains support and establishes bases.

During this phase, insurgent leaders develop the movement into an effective clandestine organization. Insurgents use a variety of subversive techniques to psychologically prepare the populace to resist the government or occupying power. These techniques may include propaganda, demonstrations, boycotts, and sabotage. In addition, movement leaders organize or develop cooperative relationships with legitimate political action groups, youth groups, trade unions, and other front organizations. Doing this develops popular support for later political and military activities. Subversive activities are frequently executed in an organized pattern, but major combat is avoided.

The 18 The U. These are executed to gain popular support, influence recalcitrant individuals, and sap enemy strength. In the advanced stages of this phase, the insurgent organization may establish a counterstate that parallels the established authority. A counterstate [or shadow government] is a competing structure that a movement sets up to replace the government. It includes the administrative and bureaucratic trappings of political power and performs the normal functions of a government. Phase II, strategic stalemate, begins with overt guerrilla warfare as the correlation of forces approaches equilibrium.

In a rural-based insurgency, guerrillas normally operate from a relatively secure base area in insurgent-controlled territory. In an urban-based insurgency, guerrillas operate clandestinely, using a cellular organization. In the political arena, the movement concentrates on undermining the people's support of the government and further expanding areas of control. Subversive activities can take the form of clandestine radio broadcasts, newspapers, and pamphlets that openly challenge the control and legitimacy of the established authority.

As the populace loses faith in the established authority the people may decide to actively resist it. During this phase, a counterstate may begin to emerge to fill gaps in governance that the host-nation HN government is unwilling or unable to address. Sadr's Mahdi Army provides security and some services in parts of southern Iraq and Baghdad under Sadr's control. In fact, the Mahdi Army created gaps by undermining security and services; then it moved to solve the problem it created.

Hezbollah provides essential services and reconstruction assistance for its constituents as well as security. Each is an expression of Shiite identity against governments that are pluralist and relatively weak. Phase III, strategic counteroffensive, occurs as the insurgent organization becomes stronger than the established authority. Insurgent forces transition from guerrilla warfare to conventional warfare.

Military forces aim to destroy the enemy's military capability. Political actions aim to completely displace all government authorities. If successful, this phase causes the government's collapse or the occupying power's withdrawal. Without direct foreign intervention, a strategic offensive takes on the characteristics of a full-scale civil war. As it gains control of portions of the country, the insurgent movement becomes responsible for the population, resources, and territory under its control.

To consolidate and preserve its gains, an effective insurgent movement continues the phase I activities listed in paragraph Effectively applying Maoist strategy does not require a sequential or complete application of all three stages. The aim is seizing political power; if the government's will and capability collapse early in the process, so much the better. If unsuccessful in a later phase, the insurgency might revert to an earlier one.

Later insurgents added new twists to this strategy, to include rejecting the need to eventually switch to 19 The U. For example, the Algerian insurgents did not achieve much military success of any kind; instead they garnered decisive popular support through superior organizational skills and astute propaganda that exploited French mistakes. These and other factors, including the loss of will in France, compelled the French to withdraw. The North Vietnamese Dau Trahn The Vietnamese conflict offers another example of the application of Mao's strategy. The North Vietnamese developed a detailed variant of it known as dau tranh "the struggle" that is most easily described in terms of logical lines of operations LLOs.

Besides modifying Mao's three phases, dau tranh delineated LLOs for achieving political objectives among the enemy population, enemy soldiers, and friendly forces. The "general offensive-general uprising" envisioned in this approach did not occur during the Vietnam War; however, the approach was designed to achieve victory by whatever means were effective. It did not attack a single enemy center of gravity; instead it put pressure on several, asserting that, over time, victory would result in one of two ways: from activities along one LLO or the combined effects of efforts along several.

North Vietnamese actions after their military failure in the Tet offensive demonstrate this approach's flexibility. At that time, the North Vietnamese shifted their focus from defeating U. These actions expedited U. Complexity and the Shifting Mosaic Protracted popular war approaches are conducted along multiple politico-military LLOs and are locally configured. Insurgents may use guerrilla tactics in one province while executing terrorist attacks and an urban approach in another. There may be differences in political activities between villages in the same province.

The result is more than just a "three-block war": it is a shifting "mosaic war" that is difficult for counterinsurgents to envision as a coherent whole. In such situations, an effective COIN strategy must be multifaceted and flexible. Identity-Focused The identity-focused approach mobilizes support based on the common identity of religious affiliation, clan, tribe, or ethnic group. Some movements may be based on an appeal to a religious identity, either separately from or as part of other identities.

This approach is common among contemporary insurgencies and is sometimes combined with the military-focused approach. Additionally, insurgent leaders often try to mobilize the leadership of other clans and tribes to increase the movement's strength. Composite Approaches and Coalitions As occurred in Iraq, contemporary insurgents may use different approaches at different times, applying tactics that take best advantage of circumstances.

Insurgents may also apply a composite approach that includes tactics drawn from any or all of the other approaches. In addition — and as in Iraq at present — different insurgent forces using different approaches may form loose coalitions when it serves their interests; however, these same movements may fight among themselves, even while engaging counterinsurgents. Within a single AO, there may be multiple competing entities, each seeking to maximize its survivability and influence — and this situation may be duplicated several times across a joint operations area.

This reality further complicates both the mosaic that counterinsurgents must understand and the operations necessary for victory. The primary struggle in an internal war is to mobilize people in a struggle for political control and legitimacy. Insurgents and counterinsurgents seek to mobilize popular support for their cause. Both try to sustain that struggle while discouraging support for their adversaries. Two aspects of this effort are 20 The U.

Mobilization Means A mixture of them may motivate any one individual. Persuasion In times of turmoil, political, social, security, and economic benefits can often entice people to support one side or the other. Ideology and religion are means of persuasion, especially for the elites and leadership. In this case, legitimacy derives from the consent of the governed, though leaders and led can have very different motivations. In Iraq, for example, an issue that motivated fighters in some Baghdad neighborhoods in was lack of adequate sewer, water, electricity, and trash services.

Their concerns were totally disconnected from the overall Ba'athist goal of expelling U. Coercion The struggle in Iraq has produced many examples of how insurgent coercion can block government success. In the eyes of some, a government that cannot protect its people forfeits the right to rule.

Legitimacy is accorded to the element that can provide security, as citizens seek to ally with groups that can guarantee their safety. In some areas of Iraq and Afghanistan, for instance, militias established themselves as extragovernmental arbiters of the populace's physical security — in some case, after first undermining that security. Insurgents may use coercive force to provide security for people or to intimidate them and the legitimate security forces into active or passive support.

Kidnapping or killing local leaders or their families is a common insurgent tactic to discourage working with the government. Militias sometimes use the promise of security, or the threat to remove it, to maintain control of cities and towns. Such militias may be sectarian or based on political parties.

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The HN government must recognize and remove the threat to sovereignty and legitimacy posed by extragovernmental organizations of this type. The dangers of militias are further described in paragraphs and Reaction to Abuses Though firmness by security forces is often necessary to establish a secure environment, a government that exceeds accepted local norms and abuses its people or is tyrannical generates resistance to its rule.

People who have been maltreated or have had close friends or relatives killed by the government, particularly by its security forces, may strike back at their attackers. Security force abuses and the social upheaval caused by collateral damage from combat can be major escalating factors for insurgencies.

Foreign governments can provide the expertise, international legitimacy, and money needed to start or intensify a conflict. For example, although there was little popular support for the renewal of fighting in Chechnya in , the conflict resumed anyway because foreign supporters and warlords had enough money to hire a guerrilla army. Also of note, nongovernmental organizations NGOs , even those whose stated aims are impartial and humanitarian, may wittingly or unwittingly support insurgents.

For example, funds raised overseas for professed charitable purposes can be redirected to insurgent groups. Apolitical Motivations Insurgencies attract criminals and mercenaries. Individuals inspired by the romanticized image of the revolutionary or holy warrior and others who imagine themselves as fighters for a cause might also join. It is important to note that political solutions might not satisfy some of them enough to end their participation.

Fighters who have joined for money will probably become bandits once the fighting ends unless there are jobs for them. This category also includes opportunists who exploit the absence of security to engage in economically lucrative criminal activity, such as kidnapping and theft. True extremists are unlikely to be reconciled to any other outcome than the one they seek; therefore, they must be killed or captured.

Causes A cause is a principle or movement militantly defended or supported. Insurgent leaders often seek to adopt attractive and persuasive causes to mobilize support.

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These causes often stem from the unresolved contradictions existing within any society or culture. Frequently, contradictions are based on real problems. However, insurgents may create artificial contradictions using propaganda and misinformation. Insurgents can gain more support by not limiting themselves to a single cause. By selecting an assortment of causes and tailoring them for various groups within the society, insurgents increase their base of sympathetic and complicit support. Insurgents employ deep-seated, strategic causes as well as temporary, local ones, adding or deleting them as circumstances demand.

Leaders often use a bait-and-switch approach. They attract supporters by appealing to local grievances; then they lure followers into the broader movement. Without an attractive cause, an insurgency might not be able to sustain itself. But a carefully chosen cause is a formidable asset; it can provide a fledgling movement with a long-term, concrete base of support. The ideal cause attracts the most people while alienating the fewest and is one that counterinsurgents cannot co-opt.

Potential insurgents can capitalize on a number of potential causes. Any country ruled by a small group without broad, popular participation provides a political cause for insurgents. Exploited or repressed social groups — be they entire classes, ethnic or religious groups, or small elites — may support larger causes in reaction to their own narrower grievances.

Economic inequities can nurture revolutionary unrest. So can real or perceived racial or ethnic persecution. For example, Islamic extremists use perceived threats to their religion by outsiders to mobilize support for their insurgency and justify terrorist tactics. As previously noted, effective insurgent propaganda can also turn an artificial problem into a real one. Skillful counterinsurgents can deal a significant blow to an insurgency by appropriating its cause. Insurgents often exploit multiple causes, however, making counterinsurgents' challenges more difficult.

In the end, any successful COIN operation must address the legitimate grievances insurgents use to generate popular support. These may be different in each local area, in which case a complex set of solutions will be needed. Mobilizing Resources Insurgents resort to such tactics as guerrilla warfare and terrorism for any number of reasons.


These may include disadvantages in manpower or organization, relatively limited resources compared to the government, and, in some cases, a cultural predisposition to an indirect approach to conflict. To strengthen and sustain their effort once manpower is mobilized, insurgents require money, supplies, and weapons. Weapons are especially important. In some parts of the world, lack of access to weapons may forestall insurgencies. Unfortunately, there is widespread availability of weapons in many areas, with especially large surpluses in the most violent regions of the world.

Explosive hazards, such as mines and improvised explosive devices, are likely to be common weapons in insurgencies. See FMI Insurgents can obtain weapons through legal or illegal purchases or from foreign sources. A common tactic is to capture them from government forces. Income is essential not only for insurgents to purchase weapons but also to pay recruits and bribe corrupt officials.

Money and supplies can be obtained through many sources. Foreign support has already been mentioned. Local supporters or international front organizations may provide donations. Sometimes legitimate businesses are established to furnish funding. In areas controlled by insurgents, confiscation or taxation might be utilized. Another common source of funding is criminal activity. Funding greatly influences an insurgency's character and vulnerabilities. The insurgents' approach determines the movement's requirements.

Protracted popular war approaches that emphasize mobilization of the masses require the considerable resources needed to build and maintain a counterstate. In comparison, the military-focused approach, which emphasizes armed action, needs only the resources necessary to sustain a military campaign.

A conspiratorial or urban approach requires even less support. Sustainment requirements often drive insurgents into relationships with organized crime or into criminal activity themselves. Reaping windfall profits and avoiding the costs and difficulties involved in securing external support makes illegal activity attractive to insurgents. Taxing a mass base usually yields low returns. In contrast, kidnapping, extortion, bank robbery, and drug trafficking — four favorite insurgent activities — are very lucrative.

For the Maoist Communist Party of Nepal, directly taxing the mass base proved inferior to other criminal forms of "revolutionary taxation," such as extortion and kidnapping. Drugs retain the highest potential for obtaining large profits from relatively small investments. In the s, insurgents in Suriname, South America, were asked why they were selling gold at half the market price; they responded that the quick profits provided seed money to invest in the drug trade, from which they "could make real money.

State failure precipitated by violent regime change further encourages criminal activity because of the collapse of law enforcement, the courts, and penal systems. Devoting exceptional amounts of time and effort to fund-raising requires an insurgent movement to shortchange ideological or armed action. The first has been involved in all sorts of criminal activity for many years; however, it remains committed to its ideological aims.

The second, through its involvement in the drug trade, has become the richest self-sustaining insurgent group in history; yet it continues to claim to pursue "Boli-varian" and "socialist" or "Marxist-Leninist" ends. FARC activities, though, have increasingly been labeled "narcoterrorist" or simply criminal by a variety of critics.

Throughout history, many insurgencies have degenerated into criminality. This occurred as the primary movements disintegrated and the remaining elements were cast adrift. Such disintegration is desirable; it replaces a dangerous, ideologically inspired body of disaffiliated individuals with a less dangerous but more diverse body, normally of very uneven character. The first is a security threat, the second a law-and-order concern. This should not be interpreted, of course, as denigrating the armed capacity of a law-and-order threat. Successful counterinsurgents are prepared to address this disintegration.

They also recognize that the ideal approach eliminates both the insurgency and any criminal threats its elimination produces. Though insurgencies take many forms, most share some common attributes. The proportion of each element relative to the larger movement depends on the strategic approach the insurgency adopts. A conspiratorial approach does not pay much attention to combatants or a mass base.

Military-focused insurgencies downplay the importance of a political cadre and emphasize military action to generate popular support. The people's war approach is the most complex: if the state presence has been eliminated, the elements exist openly; if the state remains a continuous or occasional presence, the elements maintain a clandestine existence.

Movement Leaders Movement leaders provide strategic direction to the insurgency. They are the "idea people" and the planners. They usually exercise leadership through force of personality, the power of revolutionary ideas, and personal charisma. In some insurgencies, they may hold their position through religious, clan, or tribal authority. Combatants Combatants sometimes called "foot soldiers" do the actual fighting and provide security.

They are often mistaken for the movement itself; however, they exist only to support the insurgency's broader political agenda and to maintain local control. Combatants protect and expand the counterstate, if the insurgency sets up such an institution. They also protect training camps and networks that facilitate the flow of money, instructions, and foreign and local fighters. Political Cadre The cadre forms the political core of the insurgency. They are actively engaged in the struggle to accomplish insurgent goals. They may also be designated as a formal party to signify their political importance.

The cadre implement guidance and procedures provided by the movement leaders. Modern non- communist insurgencies rarely, if ever, use the term "cadre"; however these movements usually include a group that performs similar functions. Additionally, movements based on religious extremism usually include religious and spiritual advisors among their cadre. The cadre assesses grievances in local areas and carries out activities to satisfy them. They then attribute the solutions they have provided to the insurgency.

As the insurgency matures, deeds become more important to make insurgent slogans meaningful to the population. Larger societal issues, such as foreign presence, facilitate such political activism because insurgents can blame these issues for life's smaller problems. Destroying the state bureaucracy and preventing national reconstruction after a conflict to sow disorder and sever legitimate links with the people are also common insurgent tactics.

In time, the cadre may seek to replace that bureaucracy and assume its functions in a counterstate. Auxiliaries Auxiliaries are active sympathizers who provide important support services. They do not participate in combat operations. Mass Base The mass base consists of the followers of the insurgent movement — the supporting populace.

Mass base members are often recruited and indoctrinated by the cadre. However, in many politically charged situations or identity-focused insurgencies, such active pursuit is not necessary. Mass base members may continue in their normal positions in society. Many, however, lead clandestine lives for the insurgent movement. They may even pursue full-time positions within the insurgency. For example, combatants normally begin as members of the mass base.

In tribal- or clan-based insurgencies, such roles are particularly hard to define. There is no clear cadre in those movements, and people drift between combatant, auxiliary, and follower status as needed. Employing the Elements The movement leaders provide the organizational and managerial skills needed to transform mobilized individuals and communities into an effective force for armed political action.

The result is a contest of resource mobilization and force deployment. No force level guarantees victory for either side. During previous conflicts, planners assumed that combatants required a 10 or 15 to 1 advantage over insurgents to win. However, no predetermined, fixed ratio of friendly troops to enemy combatants ensures success in COIN. The conditions of the operational environment and the approaches insurgents use vary too widely.

A better force requirement gauge is troop density, the ratio of security forces including the host nation's military and police forces as well as foreign counterinsurgents to inhabitants. Most density recommendations fall within a range of 20 to 25 counterinsurgents for every residents in an AO. Twenty counter- insurgents per residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective COIN operations; however as with any fixed ratio, such calculations remain very dependent upon the situation.

As in any conflict, the size of the force needed to defeat an insurgency depends on the situation. However, COIN is manpower intensive because counterinsurgents must maintain widespread order and security. Moreover, counterinsurgents typically have to adopt different approaches to address each element of the insurgency. For example, auxiliaries might be co-opted by economic or political reforms, while fanatic 25 The U. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual combatants will most likely have to be killed or captured.

These make up a framework that can be used to assess the insurgency's strengths and weaknesses. Although these dynamics can be examined separately, studying their interaction is necessary to fully understand an insurgency. The interplay of these dynamics influences an insurgency's approach and organization.

Effective counterinsurgents identify the organizational pattern these dynamics form and determine if it changes. For example, insurgents operating in an urban environment usually form small, cohesive, secretive organizations. In contrast, insurgents following a military-focused strategy often operate in a rural environment and exploit international support to a greater extent. A change in location or the amount of external support might lead insurgents to adjust their approach and organization. Leadership Leadership is critical to any insurgency.

An insurgency is not simply random violence; it is directed and focused violence aimed at achieving a political objective. It requires leadership to provide vision, direction, guidance, coordination, and organizational coherence. Successful insurgent leaders make their cause known to the people and gain popular support. Their key tasks are to break the ties between the people and the government and to establish credibility for their movement.

Their education, background, family and social connections, and experiences contribute to their ability to organize and inspire the people who form the insurgency. Some insurgent movements have their roots in a clash of cultures over power and preeminence. Others begin as the tangible manifestation of some form of political estrangement. In either case, alienated elite members advance alternatives to existing conditions.

As their movement grows, leaders decide which approach to adopt. The level of decentralization of responsibility and authority drives the insurgency's structure and operational procedures. Extreme decentralization results in a movement that rarely functions as a coherent body. It is, however, capable of inflicting substantial casualties and damage. Loose networks find it difficult to create a viable counterstate; they therefore have great difficulty seizing political power. However, 26 The U.

Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual they are also very hard to destroy and can continue to sow disorder, even when degraded. It takes very little coordination to disrupt most states. Many contemporary insurgencies are identity-based. These insurgencies are often led by traditional authority figures, such as tribal sheikhs, local warlords, or religious leaders. As the Indonesian Dar 'ul Islam rebellions of and demonstrate, traditional authority figures often wield enough power to single-handedly drive an insurgency.

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