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Strategy in the Contemporary World

Strategy in the Contemporary World (6th edn)

John Baylis, James Wirtz, and Colin Gray
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date: 28 September 2023

p. 18311. Irregular Warfare: Terrorism and Insurgencylocked

p. 18311. Irregular Warfare: Terrorism and Insurgencylocked

  • James D. Kiras


This chapter examines two types of irregular warfare: terrorism and insurgency. It first considers the problematic definitions given to irregular warfare, terrorism and insurgency before discussing the theory and practice of irregular warfare. In particular, it highlights the role of time, space, legitimacy, and/or support in insurgent and terrorist campaigns. It then analyses counterinsurgency and counterterrorism in theory and practice, focusing on three important elements of successful campaigns against insurgents and terrorists, namely, location, isolation, and eradication. It also explores contemporary and future irregular threats and how they are driven by a combination of culture, religious fanaticism, and technology. Finally, it comments on the role to be played by information technology in irregular wars of the future, which some observers expect to be fought in cyberspace.

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