Still, effective population-centric counterinsurgency is not as touchy-feely as commonly supposed. Yet, victory—achieving the desired political objectives—in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to elude the United States more than fifteen years into the Global War on Terrorism despite significant investments in blood and treasure. Rwanda Civil War 14. In fact, the outcome of the Revolution was really decided in 1782, when the British House of Commons voted by a narrow margin to discontinue offensive operations. By the 1770s, light troops (skirmishers lacking heavy weapons and armor who did not stand in the main battle line) made up 20 percent of most European armies. The process of colonization and resistance would do much to shape the modern world and would give rise to the most influential counterinsurgency doctrine of all time: the "oil spot" theory, coined by the French marshal Hubert Lyautey, who in fin-de-siècle Indochina, Madagascar, and Morocco anticipated the "population-centric" doctrine that U.S. forces implemented in Afghanistan and Iraq in the twenty-first century. Sweepstakes: Enter to win $4,000 in prizes →. The Taipings, in turn, tried to develop more powerful armies of their own, blurring the distinction between regular and irregular conflict. The Marxist terrorist groups of the 1970s, such as the Italian Red Brigades and the German Baader-Meinhof Gang, were never able to generate significant support bases of their own and languished along with their foreign backers. Al Qaeda and its ilk rewrote that playbook in the United States and Iraq. Most of the revolutionaries who followed were more extreme in their methods and beliefs than the American rebels, but, whether left or right, many of them copied the Americans' skillful manipulation of public opinion. Kosovo War 11. But their conquests led to the creation of the Umayyad and Abbassid caliphates, two of the greatest states of the medieval world, which were defended by conventional forces. A further factor dictated the transformation of nomads into regulars: the style of fighting practiced by mounted archers was so difficult and demanding that it required constant practice from childhood on for an archer to maintain proficiency. Guerrilla warfare during the Peninsular War, painted by Portuguese artist Roque Gameiro. Its military forces, particularly the Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Forces, have made significant adaptations after the onset of the insurgency in Iraq following the initial success of conventional operations there in 2003. Redcoats certainly knew enough to break ranks and seek cover in battle when possible, rather than, in the words of one historian, "remaining inert and vulnerable to enemy fire." The success of various raiders in attacking and conquering states from ancient Rome to medieval China gave rise to what one historian has called "the nomad paradox." Second, fighting irregular warfare requires an irregular battle plan: our forces must be agile and unpredictable, and we must manipulate the battle space in our favor. (Getty Images / Hulton Archive). The incidence of guerrilla warfare and terrorism did not decline with the demise of the European empires. By the time the Revolution broke out, in 1775, the British were well versed in irregular warfare and were countering it in Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. It involves much more than winning "hearts and minds" -- a phrase invented by Sir Henry Clinton, a British general during the American Revolution, and popularized by Sir Gerald Templer, a general during the Malayan Emergency, in the late 1940s and 1950s. Table of Contents General Topics on Irregular Warfare Historical Studies Military Philosophy Organization, Analysis, Doctrine and Training Air Power in the Irregular Warfare Environment Bibliographies Irregular Warfare Websites Counterinsurgency Counterinsurgency Manuals, Evaluations, Metrics and Theory United States Current Counterinsurgency Operations Afghanistan Iraq United … The average tribal society loses 0.5 percent of its population in combat every year. And by manufacturing and distributing countless weapons, from TNT to the AK-47, all over the world, the Europeans ensured that their twentieth-century opponents were far better armed than their predecessors had been. 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