This course explores the characteristics, causes, and consequences of insurgency wars. Irregular warfare between insurgent and state forces has been the dominant form of armed conflict since the end of World War II. Yet, international relations scholars paid little attention to these “small wars” before U.S.-led operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This course provides an overview of the history behind insurgency wars and debates the primary theories that try to explain guerrilla and counterinsurgent behavior. We will explore the underlying political, social, economic, and cultural factors that lead to rebellion, the competing strategic approaches to conducting insurgency and counterinsurgency, the immediate and long-term consequences of this type of political violence, and policy options for intervention prior and during small wars. Our empirical focus will be on conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular attention to the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
Instructor: Jason Klocek