The Evolution of Insurgencies and Their Counter-Insurgencies

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Brandon Rud

Mau Mau and Iraq

December 3, 2008

The evolution of insurgencies and their counter-insurgencies

There has been many insurgencies throughout history and many have had different reasons but all counter insurgencies have had one goal, to stop the insurgencies. Though insurgencies have evolved and become more violent, counter insurgencies have evolved and become less violent. The only difference between most insurgencies and counter insurgencies is how they were carried out and the tactics that were used throughout history to defeat the insurgencies. All of the different tactics show how the counter insurgencies have evolved throughout history and how some of the older tactics are not considered humane or acceptable to use today in current counter insurgencies. Though older counter insurgency strategies aren't considered acceptable many insurgencies are still being defeated with new strategies, though it is a lot harder than it once was before. Though strategies of the past are still around today such as the use of torture they are things that will probably always be around to intimidate insurgents and break them. So how have insurgencies and counter insurgencies evolved throughout history?
The insurgency in Kenya in 1945 was not a very effective insurgency for the fact that it was defeated by the British. This was probably because of the fact that counter insurgency tactics at this time involved the screening of Mau Mau rebels and they were usually tortured during these screenings until they got them to renounce their oaths that they had made and the British would get information that would help them identify Mau Mau leaders and local activists 1. The British were very violent in dealing with this insurgency since they could easily do it without anyone knowing what was going on back home in Britain. This was also very advantageous to the British because they could use violent tactics in dealing with the Mau Mau rebels without angering other countries or their own2. This is a big reason why these tactics that were used by the British aren't used as much today in current insurgencies since it would cause a uproar especially if the United States used them in Iraq with all of the media coverage that is over there. This would surely anger countries around the world today, especially the United States since mistreatment to other soldiers or torture is highly unacceptable. The only thing is that though it is something that has some what declined, the use of torture to extract information from insurgents will most definitely always be a tactic that will be used by counter insurgencies. This brute tactic sadly is sometimes the only way to gain vital information needed to defeat an insurgency. This again shows how we have evolved to more civil and more humane counter insurgencies today for the most part but there are certain tactics that will most likely always be used in successful counter insurgencies. Though the British counter insurgency was very successful it was also very violent and horrible how they tortured Mau Mau rebels just so they could get information on where leaders where so that they could take down the insurgency 3. The fact still remains though that this helped them defeat the insurgency by using extreme violence and force, which today is criticized by people and frowned upon by most countries.

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