Modern Irregular Warfare: Afghanistan and Iraq

James D. Kiras

in The Practice of Strategy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608638
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731754 | DOI:
Modern Irregular Warfare: Afghanistan and Iraq

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Chapter 12 explores the nature and character of strategy in two conflicts: Afghanistan (2001–present) and Iraq (2003–present). Treatments of contemporary wars often centre on particular policy decisions, the roles played by individual personalities, and the elusive nature of irregular warfare. By contrast, James Kiras seeks to place these wars in their proper context by outlining the characteristics that distinguish contemporary asymmetric wars from more traditional, conventional armed conflicts, asking if these wars are historically unique or just contextually different. Kiras provides a brief historical survey and assessment of the two case studies, identifies the unique challenges that contemporary wars pose for both sides, and examines the dynamics of strategy as it applies to these conflicts. In particular, by assessing the individual strategies of the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and the US‐led coalitions, he explores how adversaries adapt to one another and try to use their strengths against their opponents' weaknesses.

Keywords: irregular warfare; asymmetric war; strategy; Afghanistan; Taliban; Iraq; Saddam Hussein; policy; USA; armed conflict

Chapter.  14260 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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