Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The seven steps of highly effective counterinsurgents: A new RAND guide

There are seven steps usually seen in negotiating an end to an insurgency, according to a new RAND study, "From Stalemate to Settlement." It looks at Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Lebanon, Western Sahara, Mozambique, Indonesia, Kampuchea, Bosnia, Tajikistan, Burundi, Chechnya, and Congo. Only in one case were the seven steps followed exactly in the sequence ...

oatsy40/Flickr
oatsy40/Flickr
oatsy40/Flickr

There are seven steps usually seen in negotiating an end to an insurgency, according to a new RAND study, "From Stalemate to Settlement." It looks at Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Lebanon, Western Sahara, Mozambique, Indonesia, Kampuchea, Bosnia, Tajikistan, Burundi, Chechnya, and Congo. Only in one case were the seven steps followed exactly in the sequence here, the study says, but "each case unfolded in a manner close enough to this narrative that it is a useful comparative tool for understanding how to reach negotiated settlements." 

Those steps are:

Military stalemate Acceptance of insurgents as legitimate negotiating partners Brokered cease-fire (not always respected) Official intermediate agreement Power-sharing offer (or other concession, such as amnesty or elections) Moderation of insurgent leadership Third-party guarantor

There are seven steps usually seen in negotiating an end to an insurgency, according to a new RAND study, "From Stalemate to Settlement." It looks at Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Lebanon, Western Sahara, Mozambique, Indonesia, Kampuchea, Bosnia, Tajikistan, Burundi, Chechnya, and Congo. Only in one case were the seven steps followed exactly in the sequence here, the study says, but "each case unfolded in a manner close enough to this narrative that it is a useful comparative tool for understanding how to reach negotiated settlements." 

Those steps are:

  • Military stalemate
  • Acceptance of insurgents as legitimate negotiating partners
  • Brokered cease-fire (not always respected)
  • Official intermediate agreement
  • Power-sharing offer (or other concession, such as amnesty or elections)
  • Moderation of insurgent leadership
  • Third-party guarantor
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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