Insurgent groups have endlessly threatened the serenity and stability of several countries. It is notable that since the beginning of civilization, insurgencies have been taking place. It is only that their strategies have evolved over the decades. Presently, most insurgent groups operate through defined organizational structures and leadership. The insurgent organizations sometimes receive support in diverse forms from their sympathizers as well as wealthy people. It is important to recognize that some organizations and institutions have normally supported insurgent groups. The insurgent groups seeking to terrify both populations and nations normally manage insurgencies. However, some insurgent groups have inadequate supply of financial and equipment thus making them potentially weak. The weak insurgent groups normally rely on the geographic conditions to help them undertake their operations.
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Important Geographic Conditions
It is notable that diverse aspects of the landscape are crucial for insurgencies. Counterinsurgency experts such as David Galula have discussed the most significant geographic conditions that aid insurgencies (Galula & Nagl, 2006). Galula identifies simple and complex geographic conditions according to their advantageousness to insurgencies. The simple geographic conditions are considered to be favoring counterinsurgent groups and are not beneficial to insurgencies (Galula & Nagl, 2006). The complex geographic conditions are normally advantageous to insurgencies.
Galula suggested that eight geographical factors are crucial to insurgencies. They include “location, size, international boundaries, terrain, climate, population, and configuration” (Galula & Nagl, 2006). The geographical areas, which lack physical barriers, are highly beneficial to insurgencies. The reliance on geographic conditions to stage insurgencies cannot be overemphasized (Kalyvas, 2008). Counterinsurgency experts have argued that most insurgencies have not been successful because the geographical conditions have diminished the effectiveness of insurgent groups.
The insurgent groups cannot target a country that is separated by ordinary barriers such as dangerous mountains easily. There are insurgencies that have also failed because populations are in opposition of the insurgent groups activities. In such cases, the counterinsurgencies have proved to be easy (Spencer, 2009).
The geographical size of a nation also affects insurgencies. The governments in charge of larger countries normally experience challenges in their attempt to control all regions. The governments of such countries however strong they are may find it had to respond to insurgencies particularly in areas where their presence is low (Kalyvas, 2008).
Counterinsurgency experts have argued that countries, which are easily divided into sections hinders insurgencies.
International boundaries normally play a crucial role in insurgencies. The longer boundaries are beneficial to insurgent groups. Furthermore, insurgencies have been successful in areas where the countries in the boundaries are sympathizers of the insurgent groups.
Insurgencies also seem to be much easier in bad terrains, which are rugged, mountainous, boggy, and densely forested among others (Galula & Nagl, 2006). This is because such terrains make it difficult for the counterinsurgents to attack. However, areas that are experiencing harsh climatic conditions are advantageous to counterinsurgents that have logistical and equipment capacity to maneuver the risky environments (Spencer, 2009).
Insurgencies are likely to be successful in cases where the population of insurgents is high. The countryside where populations are scattered are also beneficial to insurgencies (Spencer, 2009). The insurgents are likely to achieve more success in the rural areas than cities. This is because people in town centers are easier to control than a similar number of people living in the rural areas.
In summary, there are geographical conditions, which are of importance to insurgents. It is notable that some aspects of geography may be advantageous to the insurgents while others may not. This paper has discussed the key geographic conditions as well as their relevance to insurgencies.
Galula, D., & Nagl, J. A. (2006). Counterinsurgency warfare: Theory and practice. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.
Spencer, E. (2009). The difficult war: Perspectives on insurgency and special operations forces. Kingston: Canadian Defense Academy Press.
Kalyvas, S. N. (2008). The logic of violence in civil war. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.