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Restorers of Hope: Shaping Conditions for Success Against Al-Qaeda's Regional Insurgency

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Research paper

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Al-Quedas goal is to create an Islamist region ruled by religious authorities. Their attack against the United States was designed to remove U.S. influence and involvement in their insurgency. They will attempt to mobilize the people with propaganda and terrorism to topple the governments in the region. The key to defeating an insurgency is to realize that the people are the battlefield, and winning their support involves protecting them from the insurgent, while fostering changes to address the issues that sparked the insurgency and to provide hope. U.S. Army Civil Affairs soldiers have the regional alignment, cultural awareness, language abilities and civilian-acquired skills required to conduct Civil-Military Operations CMO in counterinsurgency operations. Two critical missions that they can perform for counter-insurgency are Population and Resources Control PRC and Humanitarian Assistance HA. In the case studies of the Malay Emergency of 1948, the United States Marine Corps Combined Action Program of 1965, and Operation Home Depot in 2002, CMO were key to success. Each highlighted the importance of taking the fight to the enemy with armed forces, but more importantly, conducting PRC and HA to win the hearts and minds of the population and isolate the insurgents from the population, both physically and psychologically. The dual approach of combat operations and CMO can defeat Islamist terrorism by destroying the roots of support. It can also foster democracy and capitalism through their interaction with the Muslim culture. Civil Affairs units should be assigned to conventional units down to battalion-level, and with other Special Operations Forces, to maximize their interaction with both civilians on the battlefield, and agencies that want to assist the developing nations. Additionally, they should be assigned on a permanent basis at geographic commands.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Unconventional Warfare

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