Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Islamic State and the Return of Revolutionary Warfare


The rise of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is not well understood at this point. This paper starts by comparing the Islamic State to the Vietnamese Communists in a revolutionary warfare framework and makes a causal argument that the Islamic State’s defeat of the Sahwa (Awakening) movement in Iraq was the key to its successful establishment of control of most Sunni areas and the mobilization of its population for support. Islamic State operational summaries and captured documents are used to quantitatively establish the impact of the subversion campaign against the Sahwa and Iraqi Government and trace the efforts of operatives in tribal outreach and recruiting. This research provides a valuable insight into the return of a powerful method of insurgency as well as a glimpse into the vast clandestine network that provides the strength of the Islamic State movement.

Paper link: (To Be Published, Aug 2016)

Research Data for replication purposes:ISI Awak Campaign Database_Website

Posted: 19 July 2016