Global Counter-Insurgency: Without Strategy

Successes like the capture of Saddam Hussein are morale boosters for security forces in Iraq and may help to ensure victory for President George Bush in his re-election bid.

The World Today Published 1 February 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 4 minute READ

John Mackinlay

Hopefully they will also demonstrate to the Iraqi people that the coalition is gradually progressing at a tactical level. However, this flush of success also encourages the coalition to continue to operate without a campaign plan. 

On both sides of the Atlantic, leaders have failed to reveal a genuine counter-insurgent strategy for Iraq or, on a global scale, for the threat of radical Islamic activism. The two are linked and the absence of a strategic concept in Iraq is a microcosm of a larger global failure.

On the face of it the statistics of iraq’s restoration seem promising. Lawlessness, looting and civil disorder are decreasing month by month and figures for oil, electricity production and the economy are commensurately improving. But these successes are tactical, arising from a response to initial chaos, the results of individual actions by each sector of the reconstruction effort. Ultimate success depends on a more solid strategy.

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