Transformation Through Training Issue No 7 July 2015 33 understand the difference between the two is that insurgents try to hit the rival armed and security forces as a whole while terrorists execute individual hits mainly directed against civilian targets. However the main difference is that terrorists seek to impose a change in the political status mainly through the use of indirect force while insurgents try to achieve the same goal in a straightforward way. That means that insurgency has more to do with military power and tactics thus an insurgents want to have absolute control over the targeted area. Putting it in a less complex way insurgents will use terrorism armed violence against unarmed people to intimidate and influence while in parallel they will also use guerilla hit and run tactics to target the governments vulnerabilities and convey their message. Insurgency and terrorism often coexist which creates a chaotic security environment especially for those involved in COIN.6 Lessons learned from Iraq and Afghanistan Understanding the environment The use of the term environment in COIN is used so as to describe all aspects that pose a direct or an indirect influence in accomplishment of the mission. In all military operations the study of the environment is of high value. However in case of COIN it has a unique meaning since it is related to elements that traditionally are considered as non-combatant. To be more specific the study of corruption in Afghanistan or the gender discrimination in Iraq are closer to the field of social sciences rather than to military matters but in our case it is important to underline that the COIN campaign requires methods quite different than those applied to a conventional conflict. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan highly indicated that success requires more than armed security as it heavily depends on influence and persuasion thus demands the ability to understand and communicate with local society through their culture. Just because an Afghan says yes and nods his head does not necessarily mean that he agrees with you - he may just want you to stop talking. Culture is the way people behave and it is very hard to be determined. Members from different societies often have different perception of life religion justice social status sexual orientation and gender norms even different notions of rationality.7 History provides many examples of where failure to know understand or apply the culture of others often led to disastrous results.8 Arab cultural awareness includes a variety of key elements all equally important such as tribalism and authoritarianism9 hierarchy institutions roles and statuses values and beliefs elders gender religion public protocol promises and other. Even corruption plays a unique role in the Arab tradition and culture. As Colonel Juan Ayala a senior adviser to an Iraqi Division wrote Corruption exists. The Iraqis know that we know. They know we would never condone it or report it if we saw it It has been part of life since the sands of Mesopotamia Seeking corruption would distract mission focus severely strain sensitive personal relations and worse compromise our force protection posture meaning there would be retaliation.10 Insurgentsbydefinitionwillalways be one step ahead in terms of local knowledge communication and understanding the interests of native communities. Cultural knowledge enables counterinsurgents ability to identify in depth the needs of the local population and plan their next steps accordingly. Moreover counterinsurgents will be able to avoid one of the most typical mistakes made by U.S. planners in Iraq which was to impose their ideas of normalcy on a foreign cultural problem.11 Therefore commanders small unit leaders and soldiers are highly encouraged to improve their cultural skills through personal training engagement with indigenous key personnel relationship building patrolling and other interaction with natives so as to offset insurgents advantages.12 After all COIN is fundamentally a competition between many groups and is always more than two-sided. COIN Planning and Design COIN has to be designed planned and executed as any other military operation on condition that its special characteristics and dynamics should be prioritized accordingly. The initial strategy against insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan was not new. Actually it was similar to the doctrine employed at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries during the colonial wars to pacify acquired territories occupy the territory and establish numerous garrisons eliminate armed opposition and then withdraw the troops.13 Initially there was not any particular interest within the campaign planning to incorporate concepts such as civilian-military cooperation CIMIC psychological operations PYSOPS public affairs and social political internal relations of the country. Nevertheless these tactics did not allow the army to occupy a sizeable part of the territory the insurgent attacks remained constant and the population remained mostly negative. It was not until recently when coalition forces realized that success is gained mainly by targeting the populace not the insurgents. In other words success The aim of this essay is to identify and indicate what is considered to be an effective counterinsurgency COIN methodology for Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of lessons learned LL. Moreover this essay will demonstrate possible ways of how all knowledge gained from past and contemporary experiences can be implemented and used in an attempt to facilitate COIN planning procedures and overcome problems in the future. In order to achieve this it is important for the readers to familiarize themselves with the topic through a short knowledge update starting with some important definitions. Thereafter this essay will proceed further to a deeper analysis by using a logical methodology based on a step by step study through the lens of the COIN principles as they have been adopted by the traditional COIN theory.