Countering Insurgency and the Myth of “The Cause”


It is possible for an insurgency to develop from a single cause, for the insurgents to identify and communicate this unifying cause to the population, and for the insurgents to remain steadfastly focused even as counterinsurgents undermine their organization and redress the cause. But often the case that there is no single cause, that popular support is mobilized by appealing to multiple motivations, and that by the time counterinsurgents resolve the initial grievance, the insurgency has found alternative justifications to mobilize popular support. Since insurgent leadership is often competent and adaptive, it would be wise to consider the latter scenario against any counterinsurgency strategy. Yet, even when this is acknowledged in the counterinsurgency literature, the theory is remarkably silent how this affects the choice of operational approach This paper addresses this gap and offers a framework for more accurately mapping, understanding, anticipating, and addressing the multiple causes that draw adherents to insurgency and allow for its perpetuation.

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Cox and Ryan_Countering Insurgency and the Myth of The Cause_2015

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