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Waging Insurgent Warfare: Lessons from the Vietcong to the Islamic State

Since the end of World War II, there have been 181 insurgencies around the world. In fact, most modern warfare occurs in the form of insurgencies, including in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. In spite of their prevalence, however, we still know relatively little about how insurgencies function. With more than three dozen violent insurgencies taking place today, Seth G. Jones offers detailed insights into the dynamics and operations of such groups.

This book talk will examine the history of insurgent warfare and discuss implications for today, particularly for such groups as the Islamic State. In Waging Insurgent Warfare, Jones brings together examples from current events and recent history to identify the factors that contribute to the rise of an insurgency, the key components involved in conducting an insurgency – from selecting an organizational structure to securing aid from an outside source – and the elements that contribute to the end of insurgencies. Through examining the strategies, tactics, and campaigns that insurgents use, as well as how these factors relate to each other on the ground, he offers a comprehensive understanding of the ways in which insurgent groups function.

Seth G. Jones is Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation as well as an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He served in several positions at U.S. Special Operations Command, including as a plans officer and advisor to the commanding general for U.S. Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan (Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan).