Sunday, September 19, 2004

Christian Science Monitor: "Classic Guerrilla War Forming In Iraq"

from the September 20, 2004 edition -

"Recent upsurge in attacks against authorities and US forces has parallels, and differences, with past insurgencies."

By Brad Knickerbocker | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

"War is never by the books. Adversaries learn and adapt. The political climate shifts on both sides. Loyalties and alliances couple and decouple. The civilian populace - caught in the crossfire - often remains passive just to survive.

To many experts, the conflict in Iraq has entered a new phase that resembles a classic guerrilla war with US forces now involved in counterinsurgency. And despite the lack of ideological cohesion among insurgent groups, history suggests that it could take as long as a decade to defeat them.

'Guerrilla warfare is the most underrated and the most successful form of warfare in human history,' says Ivan Eland, a specialist on national security at the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. "It is a defensive type of war against a foreign invader. If the guerrillas don't lose, they win. The objective is to wait out your opponent until he goes home.'

From the Filipino insurrection during the Spanish-American War to Vietnam to El Salvador, American troops have had plenty of experience in fighting home-grown enemies that look nothing like a conventional army. As have France in Algeria, Britain in Malaysia and Northern Ireland, Israel in the occupied territories.

Though 'counterinsurgency' calls up memories of Vietnam, there may be as many differences as similarities."

Complete story at: