23 Apr '13, 7am

A Ball of Mirrors: Iraq’s Lessons for Future Counterinsurgencies by @haidermullick #MorningSWJ

A Ball of Mirrors: Iraq’s Lessons for Future Counterinsurgencies by @haidermullick #MorningSWJ

Despite a plethora of remedies, insurgencies are like running streams: it’s hard to know exactly what worked, for how long or for how many. Centuries ago Iraqi philosopher Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) provided the best analogy for the complexity of counterinsurgency. Imagine a mirror shaped as a ball; now try to find the point on the mirror where the light will be reflected toward the eye of an observer. This Alhazen’s problem is exactly what most counterinsurgents face: they know their inputs: hearts, minds and guns (start point of light source); they experience the outputs: failure or success (end point of reflected light); they have an idea of the place and people (the diameter of the ball of mirrors), but they don’t know when, where and how insurgents will fight back (exact point of light reflection on the ball of mirrors). Unlike a certain mathematical solution (sum of fo...

Full article: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/a-ball-of-mirrors-ir...

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