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MAJ Nikolaos Charalampopoulos GRC Army JFTC Training Division Major Lessons from COIN efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and How to Use Them in the Future 32 Transformation Through Training Issue No 7 July 2015 Introduction Nowadays majority of military conflicts happening on our planet have a form of irregular war while classic warfare between conventional forces is rather an exception. This observation has led a number of strategy analysts and practitioners alike to conclude that in the future we will experience a new form of guerilla war also known as low intensity conflict. There is a rich bibliography dealing with this type of conflict however the use of this special term was invented by USArmy staff officers back in 1981 in a rather failed attempt to develop a new counter-revolutionary doctrine based on experiences gained from the Vietnam guerilla campaign.1 Besides the use of the adjective low did not mean to decrease the importance and the lethality of such a conflict but it was used in order to demonstrate and describe the differentiation in terms of power. At the same period of time the term classical counterinsurgency was introduced through a variety of theoretical approaches in order to describe the military actions taken during the colonial wars.2 Today in the aftermath of the war conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan COIN has become fashionable again. The US Army in its relevant field manuals defines insurgency as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict3 or in a similar way insurgency is an organized protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and the legitimacy of an established government occupying power or other political authority while increasing insurgent control.4 On the other hand COIN is military paramilitary political economic psychological and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.5 The constant theme in the afore- mentioned definitions is the relationship between politics and violence. Moreover their main characteristics is that both insurgency and COIN fall under the same subtotal of conflict known as irregular warfare while in parallel their central issue is all about political power. Therefore an insurgency is a politico-military struggle with the primacy of the political element. Insurgency and COIN are defined by their highly lethal and extraordinary complex character but at the end of the day insurgency and COIN are about political power and who owns it. At this point further to the definitions it is worth mentioning that there is no clear borderline between insurgency and terrorism. In many cases public opinion can hardly distinguish a terrorist from a rebel or an insurgent from a freedom fighter. Undoubtedly there are conceptual and ideological differences between insurgency and terrorism but it would be useful to identify the differences between those two forms of asymmetric threats since an insurgency is considered as a greatest threat to the established power rather than terrorism. The easiest way to