Insurgency: Intentional Targeting of Civilians - Essay Example

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The world witnessed several cases of insurgencies over the past few decades. Very often the difference between terrorism and insurgency blurs although both share certain common features like violent struggle that intends to overthrow the existing authority…
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Insurgency: Intentional Targeting of Civilians
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Insurgency: Intentional Targeting of Civilians

Hence, insurgency could be termed as a localized form of terrorism. The powerful mobilization during the past decade in Iraq, Darfur, and New York City was remarkable in this regard. However, an intentional targeting of civilians has been evident in many conflicts over the last six years. Many of the recent events were notable for extreme violence that involved mutilation, rape, and murder. A detailed analysis is necessary to identify why insurgent groups choose to target civilians so intensely as what happened in Peru, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. How has the targeting of civilians affected the wars also requires extensive research. To illustrate, the Liberian Peace Movement was historic in every aspect as compared to many other insurgencies reported so far. As Nordlinger describes, the 14 year civil war came to an end as the women insurgents succeeded to overthrow the Liberian President Charles Taylor and initiated their own government in 2005 (402). The unique aspect of the movement was that thousands of women, who started their protest by praying together in a fish market, finally became a powerful political force and made their strike a phenomenal success. The historic event is well illustrated in the award winning documentary film ‘Pray the Devil back to Hell’ directed by Gini Reticker and produced by Abigail Disney. It is good enough for one to understand the extensive history of the movement that led to the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, the first female president in Africa. The event points to the fact that all insurgencies do not essentially involve warfare, and hence are not unscrupulous. It depends on how government perceives insurgency. It is relevant to quote from Jones in this context. “Insurgency is the natural result of powerful human dynamics that shape the relationships between those who govern, and those who are governed. Notably, many of the strategic challenges dominating the news and foreign policy discussions today are shaped by, or interact with, a wide range of suppressed and active insurgencies around the world” (Jones). Evidently, it is difficult to define insurgency in terms of ethical norms. For example, as Jones points out, insurgency is often defined ‘in convenient terms’ by governments when they are challenged by such movements. Analyzing the ethical side, the civilians do not support all insurgencies but surely those which they feel as ‘the need of the time.’ Though normally their exposure to armed force insurgent groups is negative in most of the regions as they always witness and face the deadly attacks of the armed insurgents, in some cases they have helped the armed insurgents. Civilians’ support to the Syrian Army in Lebanon’s attack on Hezbollah centers is an example in this context. The support of Hezbollah remained vital for the Syrian Army to suppress the Alawite sect that controlled the state since the early 1960s. Sierra Leone Civil War is another civil insurgency to be discussed as it has left remarkable impact on the civilians. Though these kinds of civil wars and insurgencies are against the government, the civilians are the worst affected. Many of them lose their lives while many others lose their possessions. Additionally, the civilians, despite the fact that they are not actively participating in the insurgencies are sorely affected. Sierra Leone Civil War is an example for this. This civil war was, like other civil Read More
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