Accession Number:

ADA464212

Title:

Subversion and Insurgency

Descriptive Note:

Occasional paper

Corporate Author:

RAND NATIONAL DEFENSE RESEARCH INST SANTA MONICA CA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2007-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

31.0

Abstract:

Persistent insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the emergence of what some analysts have described as the global jihad, have helped renew interest in the question of how insurgents employ subversion. But despite this renewed recognition that terrorists and insurgents employ subversion, little systematic attention has been devoted to the topic in recent years. Subversion is an important element of the insurgent repertoire, and if the U.S. armed forces, the intelligence community, and civilian agencies expect to wage effective counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, they will have to develop more sophisticated approaches to counter subversion. This paper will begin with a discussion of definitions of subversion. Next, it will use a set of case studies to explore in more depth the elements of subversion identified in the first section. The paper will go on to present a set of preliminary ideas for combating subversive activities in the context of the emerging long war against violent Islamic extremism. It will conclude with a brief discussion of how U.S. support for countersubversion within authoritarian regimes can conflict with other important U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as the promotion of human rights. While terrorism and insurgency share some significant features, they are distinct phenomena. As many analysts have noted, terrorism is a tactic strategy, while insurgency is a political-military one. However, the line between terrorism and insurgency is easily blurred, since most insurgent groups also engage in terrorism to a greater or lesser degree. The three groups considered in these case studies -- the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam LTTE, the National Liberation Front for the Liberation of Vietnam NLF, or Viet Cong, and Farbundo Marti National Liberation Front FMLN in El Salvador -- are organizations to which both terms have been applied.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE