Wars and Warfare

Ask CFR Experts

Is it true that arming rebels has little or no record of success in modern history?

Asked by Stephen Winningham, from London

Actually, arming rebel groups has had a pretty good record of success. In fact, as I point out in my book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, there is no more consistent determinant of the success or failure of any insurgency than the degree to which it receives outside support.

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See more in Wars and Warfare; Defense Strategy

Op-Ed

How Barack Obama Has Tried to Open Up the One-Sided Drone War

Author: Micah Zenko
Financial Times

Micah Zenko examines U.S. President Barack Obama's May 23, 2013 speech on drone strike and counterterrorism policies. "The enduring impact of Mr. Obama's speech will not be what he says, but whether the new policies are reflected in how drone strikes are conducted, and whether his administration will finally and faithfully engage with the public, more than a decade after the operations began," Zenko writes.

See more in United States; Drones; Wars and Warfare

Must Read

The New Yorker: The Thin Red Line

Author: Dexter Filkins

"The Administration has given the Syrian opposition more than six hundred and fifty million dollars in nonmilitary aid, but Obama has consistently opposed arming the rebels or intervening militarily on their behalf. The United States has taken a tenuous position: not deep enough to please the rebels or its allies in Europe, or to topple the regime, or to claim leadership in the war's aftermath—but also, perhaps most important, not so deep that it can't get out."

See more in Wars and Warfare; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria

Primary Sources

Learning from Iraq: Final Report from Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, March 2013

Author: Stuart W. Bowen

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen produced this final report for Congress, released March 6, 2013. The report details how much money was spent and which programs it funded over the nine year reconstruction in Iraq, and seven lessons the United States can learn about stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Other quarterly reports to Congress and the legislation that created SIGIR are also available.

See more in Nation Building; Wars and Warfare; Iraq