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Old and New Insurgency Forms


Robert J. Bunker

While the study of insurgency extends well over 100 years and has its origins in the guerrilla and small wars of the 19th century and beyond, almost no cross modal analysis—that is, dedicated insurgency form typology identification—has been conducted. Until the end of the Cold War, the study of insurgency focused primarily on separatist and Marxist derived forms with an emphasis on counterinsurgency practice aimed at those forms rather than on identifying what differences and interrelationships existed. The reason for this is that the decades-long Cold War struggle subsumed many diverse national struggles and tensions into a larger paradigm of conflict—a free, democratic, and capitalist West versus a totalitarian, communist, and centrally planned East.
With the end of the Cold War and the resulting ideological and economic implosion of the Soviet Union, post-Cold War insurgency typologies began to emerge because a need existed to understand where this component of the new global security environment was heading. Over 2 decades of research and writing have been focused on this endeavor by what is a relatively small number of insurgency practitioners and/or theorists. In addition, the works of some contemporary terrorism scholars are also relevant to this topical area of focus.
For this monograph to identify what can be considered new forms of insurgency that are developing, an appreciation for and understanding of earlier insurgency forms must also be articulated. With these thoughts in mind, this monograph will initially discuss what an insurgency is and some Western viewpoints on it, describe how terrorism analysis can potentially serve an indications and warnings (I&W) function, provide a literature review of the post-Cold War insurgency typologies that exist, create a proposed insurgency typology divided into legacy, contemporary, and emergent and potential insurgency forms, and finally provide strategic implications for U.S. defense policy as they relate to each of these forms. The work will also utilize a number of tables for organizational purposes and an endnotes section for scholarly citation requirements.
Thirty different forms of terrorism and insurgency, divided into legacy, contemporary and emerging forms, are identified and analyzed.