Too-quick Reaction Force?

Some of you blog-frequenters may have seen these posts by Edward Carpenter at the Duck of Minerva over the past week or so. I read it, expecting some really interesting commentary on the way that recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have been waged tactically and operationally. I got a bit of that, but mainly, I found a rather blunt and frankly worrying proposal for a standing Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to stage “short-term, limited intervention[s] on the side of existing governmental bodies,” or “prop-up and mop-up” campaigns in the face of networked insurgencies seeking to overthrow the government. Continue reading

Context and Prediction in Violent Conflict — The Islamic State

Stathis Kalyvas has written a useful piece on uncertainty surrounding the Islamic State’s logic and strategy. In it, he argues that it is exceedingly difficult to predict outcomes in substate violence and civil war, and that the current conflicts in the Middle East are no different. Insurgent, revolutionary, and/or radical groups generally do not pick one single tactic and stick to it from start to finish at all levels. Continue reading