What after counter-insurgency? Raiding in zones of turmoil

Efraim Inbar, Eitan Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article argues that the option of a military raid is becoming more relevant in the contemporary strategic environment. Two developments lead to this conclusion: the increase in the number of so-called failed states and subsequently ungoverned areas; and the western inadequate response in the attempts to create zones of stability with clear strategic addresses. The efforts for statebuilding in Iraq and Afghanistan have failed, and the US and its allies have realized that foreign interventions, even after the commitment of much treasure and blood, are ineffective. This means that the West must adapt its strategic thinking to the new developments and devise ways to deal effectively with the situation. This article explores the concept of strategic raid and elaborates on its theoretical underpinnings. The raids discussed here are military operations conducted in order to weaken and/ or deter a non-state actor, at least temporarily. In the absence of diplomatic and economic leverage, the aim is limiting the actor’s ability to harm others. The use of force is designed to degrade the military capabilities of the non-state adversary and to influence its resolve. Subsequently, it discusses a few historical examples of raiding strategy and then analyses two contemporary cases, Israel and the United States, in order to demonstrate the utility of raids today. Finally, the relevance of raiding strategy for other states in the contemporary strategic environment is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1441
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

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© 2016 The Author(s).


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