The Types and Modes of Insurgency



The Clausewitzian definition of stateless and other forms of warfare as ‘the pursuit of political goals by means of organised violence’ begs two obvious clarifying questions — what are the goals and how is organised violence being used to achieve them? In the case of insurgent stateless warfare the answer to the question ‘what are the goals’ also answers the key analytical question of what are the types of insurgency. The answer to the ‘how’ question is more complicated because it involves three different subsidiary questions. The first is the key question in all forms of warfare — how do they plan to win? — and refers to the strategy that is being used. The second question is peculiar to stateless warfare and asks about the operational format that is being used, specifically whether it is bandit-like or gangster-like. The third question is relevant to all forms of warfare and asks whether or not the organised violence targets civilians. However, it is a particularly important question in modern stateless warfare, where it is a matter of which ‘mode’ of operations is being used by the insurgents. This issue is second only to ‘type’ in its analytical importance and arguably is second to none in its moral importance. So this analytical chapter focuses on the mode as well as type of insurgency before going on to provide a systematic and conceptual profile of insurgency as a distinctive type of non-state war.


Military Force Separatist Type Foreign State Administrative Leader Ideological Variant 
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© Paul Brooker 2010

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