Browsing All Posts filed under »Counterinsurgency«

From the Archives: The New Year’s War in Gaza

November 16, 2012


With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza. Some of the observations are understandably dated, but I think the piece is still relevant. At eleven o’clock Saturday morning, on December 27th 2008, the New […]

How do you solve a problem like the Haqqanis?

September 13, 2011


I came to study Afghanistan because of a Big Idea, which was counterinsurgency. One of the earliest things I wrote about the war, in the summer of 2009, was an article about how wonderful this new doctrine was and the ways in which it would win us this war. Had I written it now, I […]

Afghanistan: A timeline

August 12, 2011


I was surprised to discover recently that there is no comprehensive, publicly available timeline of the war in Afghanistan. This was also annoying, as it meant I had to construct my own. Here is what I have so far, but will continue to build it and hope others will contribute too. My aim is cover […]

Afghanistan and the Great (Blame) Game

May 26, 2011


The former UK representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, has written a new book about his time in the region. I’m usually sceptical of contemporary political memoirs, but I thought I’d take a chance with this one, and it arrived this morning. His views about the conflict have been trailed in The Guardian […]

Making sense of the 2015 withdrawal

March 6, 2011


The Foreign Affairs Committee published a report this week on Afghanistan and Pakistan, looking at how the United Kingdom has handled the conflict – especially the Coalition government. I have been following the inquiry since it began last summer and was excited to finally get my hands on its conclusions. From what I’ve read, regional […]

Michael Burgoyne: Old Luk-Oie and military adaptation

February 9, 2011


I am pleased to publish a guest post by Michael Burgoyne, as he has been more than helpful to me with some of my writing. Michael is a Major in the United States Army and author of The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa. Incidentally, his co-author Jim Marckwardt will be discussing full spectrum operations at the […]

Afghanistan, the Conservatives and the Special Relationship

January 26, 2011


Why does David Cameron support the war in Afghanistan? I have touched on this here and here, but one reason not yet addressed is the importance of the United States. Though not crucial to them, the Special Relationship is vital for us; and Hew Strachan believes this is the reason for our involvement in the […]

Cutting off your nose to spite your face

December 19, 2010


To me, Afghanistan is perhaps the most intellectually exciting conflict that there has been for a while now. It captures all the problems of warfare in the 21st Century, as well as being the sum total of decades of internal conflict and great power politics. The downside to this complexity is figuring out a solution. […]

Tim Mathews: Time to talk, time to kill

December 13, 2010


This week will likely be dominated by Afghanistan, with Andrew Exum launching his new paper at CNAS tomorrow and the White House releasing its December review on Thursday. Perhaps as a last minute pitch to the review, a number of experts signed an open letter to President Obama last week calling for negotiations with the […]

Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and military Orientalism

December 1, 2010


A new briefing paper analysing the relationship between al-Qu’aida and the Taliban was released today by the think tank Quillam. It was a welcome addition to my workload. My regular readers will know I’m working on a paper about Afghanistan and the UK Conservative Party, and understanding that relationship is important in dealing with their […]

Don’t bring in the Bismarck unless you know what you’re doing

October 4, 2010


There are few things more dangerous than a historical analogy. It must be made carefully, the scenarios mirroring one another as much possible if people like me aren’t going to ridicule it. And if the comparison is with a period the reader fancies himself knowledgeable on, each sentence better be referenced by at least six […]

Adam Elkus: The Power of the State, Policy and Operational Technology

September 27, 2010


As I wrote last week, my Afghanistan paper will be eating up my time now and anything I write on here will probably be running commentary. To spice things up a bit, though, I have asked some friends to submit posts and Adam Elkus has written about the relationship between policy and technology in countering […]

Afghanistan: An unwinnable war?

September 23, 2010


I am always annoyed when someone says a war is unwinnable; it annoyed me when it was said about Iraq with much sanctimony and it annoys me now when said about Afghanistan. No war is unwinnable; to succeed depends on figuring out the kind of conflict you’re fighting, organising yourself accordingly and doing it better/faster […]