The British Approach to Counterinsurgency: From Malaya and Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan

The British Approach to Counterinsurgency: From Malaya and Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan

by P. Dixon
     
 

Britain's 'hearts and minds' approach to counterinsurgency was credited with rare successes against insurgencies in Malaya (1948-60) and Northern Ireland (1969-2007). The army's approach to peacekeeping in Yugoslavia during the nineties was also deemed effective. The British military's less coercive approach to counter-insurgency influenced the development of US

Overview

Britain's 'hearts and minds' approach to counterinsurgency was credited with rare successes against insurgencies in Malaya (1948-60) and Northern Ireland (1969-2007). The army's approach to peacekeeping in Yugoslavia during the nineties was also deemed effective. The British military's less coercive approach to counter-insurgency influenced the development of US counterinsurgency thinking on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paradoxically, just as Britain was seen to be influential on US counterinsurgency thinking, the Army appeared to be failing to create stability in Southern Iraq and had to withdraw. The 'good war' in Afghanistan failed to restore Britain's reputation for success in counterinsurgency operations.

This timely book challenges orthodox British 'hearts and minds' counterinsurgency theory. Regional experts suggest that Britain's classic, sixties counterinsurgency theory-drawing on the 'lessons' of Malaya - could not explain Britain's success in Northern Ireland or provide a useful guide to the complexities of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thematic specialists raise questions about the suitability of the military for humanitarian interventions. The book also includes analysis of the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the militarisation of domestic British society, particularly its implications for British democracy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"For the non-specialist reader, this book provides a wealth of historical background that helps to explain why the 'insurgency narrative' has been catastrophically inappropriate, especially in Afghanistan." - New Humanist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780230293472
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Edition description:
2012
Pages:
442
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

HUW BENNETT Lecturer in Defence Studies at King's College London, UK, teaching at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham, UK
SIR SHERARD COWPER-COLES Career diplomat, currently working for BAE System advising on business development in the Middle East and south-east Asia
HILARY CORNISH Research student at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
BRICE DICKSON Professor of International and Comparative Law at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland
CLAIRE DUNCANSON Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
KARL HACK Chair of the Open University's new history course 'Empires 1492-1975'
DAVID HUNT Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA
GLEN RANGWALA Lecturer in Politics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, UK

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