The Handbook on the Political Economy of War
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The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

Edited by Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers

By defining political economy and war in the broadest sense, this unique Handbook brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars from economics, political science, sociology, and policy studies to address a multitude of important topics. These include an analysis of why wars begin, how wars are waged, what happens after war has ceased, and the various alternatives to war. Other sections explore civil war and revolution, the arms trade, economic and political systems, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Policymakers as well as academics and students of political science, economics, public policy and sociology will find this volume to be an engaging and enlightening read.
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Chapter 6: What is Guerrilla Warfare?

Anthony James Joes


Anthony James Joes 6.1 GUERRILLAS VERSUS TERRORISTS Because the terms “guerrilla” and “terrorist” are often, and incorrectly, used interchangeably, it will be useful to distinguish those terms. It is true enough that elements of most, if not all, present and past guerrilla movements have engaged in what many observers would label terrorist acts at one time or another. But the essential difference between the two types of activity is crucial. No definition of terrorism would come close to satisfying everyone, or even most people, but in this context we will employ the usage of Bard O’Neill (2005, p.33): terrorism means “the threat or use of physical coercion against noncombatants, especially civilians.” Guerrillas, on the other hand, are those who, whatever else they may do, deliberately fight against ostensibly more powerful armed forces by making unexpected attacks against vulnerable military targets and who are sustained, in the ideal, by good intelligence, secure bases, popular support and high morale (Joes 2004, p.10). Guerrillas can do anything that terrorists can, but the reverse is definitely not true. The crucial differentiation lies in the approach to fighting: the main and sometimes exclusive target of guerrillas (from the Spanish for “small war”) is the security forces of the opponent. Thus, the fundamental distinction between the two types is the role that deliberately sought armed combat plays in their method of operation. 6.2 SOME WELLSPRINGS OF GUERRILLA CONFLICTS An older generation of Americans associates the term “guerrilla” with the term “Communist,” for reasons easy to understand....

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