Saturday, March 24, 2007

CANADA: Counterinsurgency Manual Shows Military's New Face

By Jon Elmer*

TORONTO, Mar 22 (IPS) - Following closely behind their counterparts in the United States and Britain, Canada's Department of National Defence is preparing a comprehensive counter-insurgency field manual for its soldiers and officers.

The manual will guide Canadian Forces doctrine and training well into the future, according to a draft edition obtained by IPS.

A 250-page publication, the field manual outlines the principles and practices of fighting the kind of insurgencies that have come to define warfare for the Western powers in the 21st century, in places like Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq. The manual has been two years in development and is scheduled for release later this year. In it, insurgent wars are characterised by their tendency to be local and often popular movements, rather than the traditional military conflicts between states. This type of irregular warfare has confounded U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, where growing insurgencies have taken a bloody toll on local populations as well as Western troops, and signs of success are few and far between.

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