On Security

Applying Long War Theory to Insurgencies

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
Aug 21, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Jean-Louis Messonier's painting shows Napoleon Bonaparte heading a weary party during the defense of France.

Jean-Louis Messonier's painting shows Napoleon Bonaparte heading a weary party during the defense of France. Insurgent groups seek to defeat stronger opponents by wearing them down.

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In each of Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Levant, a seemingly defeated force has continued to fight after suffering considerable losses on the battlefield and ceding most, if not all, of its former territory. But far from compelling such groups to abandon the fight, the defeats represent only temporary reverses, for all are pursuing a long war strategy in which setbacks can ultimately be overcome with patience, persistence and fortitude....

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