Posted by: cousindampier | 10 November 2010

Two short notes on COIN

Interview with Col. Peter Mansoor – Small Wars Journal

There is one really important thing that people often overlook when analyzing the surge. And it is important to remind of that before talking about reconciliation as the key element to be applied in Afghanistan. The reason that reconciliation worked in Iraq is because of the surge. Because of the success of the surge, the insurgents finally realized that they were going to lose the war. And that made them amenable to reconciliation, enough to make a difference. Only when the Taliban think they are going to be defeated on the battlefield and in the minds of the Afghan people will they be willing to enter into agreements and to reconcile with the Afghan government. The two go hand in hand.

About a week ago (or thereabouts), Gen. Petraeus said that the Afghan Surge was forcing elements of the Taliban to seek peace. Given the timetable of the surge – and that it has one in general – is Petraeus forced to speed this process up?

Interview with Dr. David Kilcullen – Small Wars Journal

There is a host of interesting notes in here; primarily that Afghanistan should be viewed as a stability operation rather than a counterinsurgency. The usual stuff about the government being corrupt and oppressive applies, which leads to a focus being on reform and good governance rather than expansion of government control. How easy this is to do when Karzai takes bundles from Iran – and generally seems uninterested in governance reform – is a significant question.

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