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‘Hearts and Minds’: British Counter-Insurgency from Malaya to Iraq

21 September 2007, 8:00 to 16:00

Tribal negotiations

Britain’s ‘Hearts and Minds’ model for counterinsurgency has been well established since the late 1940s, and the successful operations in Malaya (1948-1960) and Northern Ireland (1969-2007) have been held up as examples to be applied to current insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. This conference looks to stimulate debate about Britain’s post war counterinsurgency record and question whether the model is applicable to conflicts today.

The British Army’s long experience of dealing with counterinsurgency has already influenced both the British and US military’s current doctrine. The ‘ink spots’ approach in Afghanistan, attempting to win over the local population by creating secure zones, has been adapted from the Malayan insurgency of the 1950s. Moreover in Iraq, the British Army has used ‘minimum force’ and operated among the people rather than in armoured vehicles, from direct experience of urban warfare in Northern Ireland.

The US military had not significantly revised counter-insurgency strategy since the Vietnam War until December 2006, when it published a new field manual, Counterinsurgency. Formulated under the supervision of General David Petraeus, current Commander of US Ground Forces in Iraq, this new doctrine implemented aspects of the British post-war counter-insurgency model. But how does the British counter-insurgency theory match up to the practice of troops on the ground?

To register, please download the booking form from here

Confirmed speakers include

  • General Sir Mike Jackson GCB CBE DSO ADC Gen, Former Chief of General Staff, UK
  • Professor Hew Strachan MA, PhD, FRSE, FRHistS, Hon D.Univ (Paisley), Chichele Professor of the History of War
  • Professor Charles Townshend MA DPhil (Oxon), Professor of International History, Keele University
  • Dr Karl Hack, Open University
  • Professor Brice Dickson, Professor of International and Comparative Law, Queen’s University and formerly Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
  • Dr Eric Herring, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Universities of Bristol

This event is in association with Kingston University

For all general queries, please contact the event manager, Rachel Bowden at rachelb@rusi.org or +44 (0) 207 747 2648

If you have any queries regarding the programme or sponsorship, please contact Louise Heywood at louiseh@rusi.org or +44 (0) 207 747 2630

 

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