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Two Sides of the Same Coin or Different Coins Altogether Counterinsurgency from Indigenous Government and Occupier Perspectives

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Mawell AFB United States

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This study investigates the similarities and differences between counterinsurgency COIN conducted by an indigenous government and an occupying force. It concludes the apparently successful Sri Lankan experience demonstrates indigenous governments possess distinctive advantages over an occupation force. This is a result of its more advanced knowledge of the culture, language, and geography of the operational environment. It also is a consequence of the widespread support of its domestic populace due to the shared existential threat it faces from insurgent attacks and extortion. Indigenous governments have a deeper understanding of the human terrain and as a result are able to conduct more effective social network analysis and take more decisive kinetic action than an occupation force. The utility of these lethal attacks are they purge insurgents from the population. After this is accomplished counterinsurgents can effectively utilize non-kinetic means to stabilize and reconstruct the area of operations. The key lesson occupying forces like the United States in Iraq or Afghanistan can learn from COIN prosecuted by an indigenous government like Sri Lanka is building a host nations capacity is the most effective means to prevail in COIN because they have intimate cultural, linguistic, and geographic knowledge of the area of operations. An appropriate mix of kinetic and non-kinetic tactics is also vital to ending the conflict and building a sustainable peace.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Government and Political Science

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