It Takes More Than a Network: The Iraqi Insurgency and Organizational Adaptation

It Takes More Than a Network: The Iraqi Insurgency and Organizational Adaptation

It Takes More Than a Network: The Iraqi Insurgency and Organizational Adaptation

It Takes More Than a Network: The Iraqi Insurgency and Organizational Adaptation

Synopsis

It Takes More than a Network presents a structured investigation of the Iraqi insurgency's capacity for and conduct of organizational adaptation. In particular, it answers the question of why the Iraqi insurgency was seemingly so successful between 2003 and late 2006 and yet nearly totally collapsed by 2008. The book's main argument is that the Iraqi insurgency failed to achieve longer-term organizational goals because many of its organizational strengths were also its organizational weaknesses: these characteristics abetted and then corrupted the Iraqi insurgency's ability to adapt. The book further compares the organizational adaptation of the Iraqi insurgency with the organizational adaptation of the Afghan insurgency. This is done to refine the findings of the Iraq case and to present a more robust analysis of the adaptive cycles of two large and diverse covert networked insurgencies. The book finds that the Afghan insurgency, although still ongoing, has adapted more successfully than the Iraqi insurgency because it has been better able to leverage the strengths and counter the weaknesses of its chosen organizational form.

Excerpt

Between 2003 and 2008, there were no fewer than ninety named insurgent organizations in Iraq engaged in a struggle against the U.S.-led Coalition and a nascent Iraqi government. Some of these groups were indigenous to Iraq while others were composed almost solely of foreign fighters. Some of these groups existed prior to the invasion, and others formed only in the post-2003 period. in this five-year timeframe, these organizations—and doubtless equally as many unnamed other groups—executed no fewer than thirteen thousand attacks across the major cities and provinces of Iraq. Many of these attacks were conducted against Coalition forces but many were also conducted against the Iraqi National Police (INP), the Iraqi Army, and Iraqi businessmen, educators, store owners, politicians, and civilians.

The actual size of the Iraqi insurgency is difficult to estimate. But it is safe to say that its population easily numbered in the tens of thousands and may have even approached 100,000 active members at its zenith. Estimating the size of the insurgency’s support network is equally challenging. a 1963 Special Operations Research Office study of insurgent and guerrilla undergrounds (consisting of supporters providing supplies, shelter, finance, logistics, and so forth) in France, Yugoslavia, Algeria, Malaya, Greece, the Philippines, and Palestine revealed that in all cases undergrounds were much larger than the supported insurgency or guerrilla movement. the undergrounds in these conflicts ranged in size from being 2–1 (Palestine) larger to 27–1 (Greece) larger than the supported group. Using this range as an estimative tool, if the Iraqi insurgency had 10,000 members, it may have had, potentially, 20,000 (minimum) to 270,000 (maximum) underground supporters. If the upper range of the insurgency’s mem-

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