Regimes and Revolt: Authoritarian Ways of Counterinsurgency

Posted: January 21, 2016 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

The Tactical Hermit


Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from the author’s article in the Journal of Strategic Studies, “‘The People are Revolting’: An Anatomy of Authoritarian Counterinsurgency.”

Scores of dead civilians, smoldering wastelands where villages used to be, a cowering people, and a regime thriving on tyranny and fear — these are the images evoked by the mention of “authoritarian counterinsurgency.” Most recently, in Syria, Bashar al-Assad’s brutal and uncompromising campaign against his own people provides an unnerving illustration of its execution. Russia’s bloody entry into this war, on the side of Assad, has only sharpened the juxtaposition of authoritarian counterinsurgency and the approach attempted, however ineffectively, by Western, democratic states. Whereas democracies strive to win hearts and minds, authoritarian states “waste them in the shithouse,” as Vladimir Putin put it in 1999. Whereas democracies are constrained by law, authoritarian states act with impunity. And…

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