For the last three decades of the twentieth century, soldiers and academics confidently proclaimed the death of counterinsurgency (COIN) as a major form of warfare. They asserted that the vast majority of COIN campaigns occurred at the end of the colonial era as nationalist insurgents ushered European powers out of Africa and Asia. The passing of empires meant the end of this most vexing form of warfare, so the reasoning went. The United States, in particular, turned its back on unconventional conflict, embittered by the experience of Vietnam and committed to the defense of Western Europe and South Korea. The end of the Cold War had little impact on this mindset, especially when the first Gulf War seemed to vindicate faith in conventional arms. The complex humanitarian missions of the 1990s bore a striking resemblance to COIN for those who wished to look beneath the surface differences. The Somalia debacle, however, reinforced the conviction that irregular operations should be avoided, not studied. Only the inescapable realities of Afghanistan and Iraq have forced the rediscovery of effective COIN methods and then only after much blood and treasure had been wasted. This article traces the evolution of COIN and argues that it will remain a prevalent form of warfare for the foreseeable future.
Al-Qaeda has had greater success in East Africa and the Horn than any other part of sub-Sahara Africa. Relative proximity to the Middle East and a series of local factors account for this situation. Al-Qaeda carried out the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and bombed an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya north of Mombasa in 2002. Local and international authorities foiled a number of other al-Qaeda plots in the region. Osama bin Laden had his headquarters in Sudan from late 1991 until Sudan forced him to leave in mid-1996. Subsequent al-Qaeda efforts, which were already well advanced in Kenya and Somalia, tended to emanate from those two countries. But while acknowledging there is a real al-Qaeda problem in the region, there is a tendency by the US, a few countries in the region, and al-Qaeda itself to exaggerate its impact and influence. This only plays into the hands of al-Qaeda and focuses scarce US resources primarily on the short-term goal of tracking down al-Qaeda while reducing attention and resources for dealing with the long-term reasons why al-Qaeda has been able to function in the region. Eliminating al-Qaeda is important but it will not be accomplished solely by military action against suspected al-Qaeda operatives. It is time to confront this as a long-term challenge that addresses more effectively its root causes.
The role of the European Union (EU) Peace II Fund and the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) in building the peace dividend in Northern Ireland is examined through the perspectives of community groups, funding agencies, local strategic partnerships, civil servants, and development officers. The findings presented in this article explore the role of economic assistance in building peace in Northern Ireland through a public opinion survey of 1,023 citizens and by examining the perceptions of 98 participants from Northern Ireland, the Border Area, and Dublin with direct experience of the protracted ethnopolitical conflict and the role of international funding assistance. The focus of this article is to evaluate the dimensions of ‘awareness’ and ‘process’ in the funding application process for both the EU Peace II Fund and IFI Fund.