The Emerging Theory of Insurgency

The core objective of the current research is to critically discuss the emerging theory of insurgency by making an insight into the works of Jonathan R. White and William E. Dyson. The thesis statement should be formulated as follows: neither White nor Dyson treat insurgency as an independent phenomenon, which is not necessarily interviewed with terrorism.

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As far as the first author is concerned, it might be appropriate to note that White (2009) analyzes the phenomenon of insurgency in the framework of terrorism. He makes no attempts to differentiate between those two concepts. In its broad sense, the term insurgency means an armed revolt against a sovereign power (authority) of a particular state, in which those participating in the revolt are not recognized by international law as combatants (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, n.d.). The aforesaid definition does not make possible to identify the concepts of insurgency and terrorism as the same. The fact is that not every insurgency employs terror, whereas not every terrorist act in a rebellion against the constitutional authority.

Given this, White (2009) offers a comprehensive definition of terrorism which will help to clarify the nature of insurgency and its relevance to terrorism. According to the author, terrorism should be examined from various perspectives such as historical, political, religious, and criminological (White, 2009, p. 9). Notwithstanding the diversity of approaches to terrorism, this concept may be simply defined as any conduct which includes following components: the use of force against innocent people for political purposes (White, 2009, p. 10). Following the reasoning of White (2009), it is possible to infer that insurgents will resemble terrorists only if they use force against innocent people because political motives. If there is no terror against innocent people (non-combatants), this will inevitably make insurgents fighters, but not terrorists.

Similar to White (2009), William E. Dyson (2008) sees no disparity between terrorism and insurgency. In his ‘Terrorism: an investigator’s handbook’, the author takes no efforts to analyze insurgency at all. The analysis of substitution of insurgency with the term terrorism makes possible to prohibit insurgency to the same extent as terrorism. Thus, it is forbidden to be a terrorist in the territory of the United States (Dyson, 2008, p. 53). The prohibition of insurgency as well as terrorism implies that no person can be a member of a terrorist group. Also, Dyson (2008) claims that every investigative instrument, which is regularly used to solve criminal cases, can also be applied in the process of terrorism investigation (p. 60). The aforementioned arguments suggest that Dyson (2008) approaches the phenomenon of terrorism from the criminological perspective. The author endeavors to show that terrorism is one of the many crimes prohibited and investigated on the territory of the United States.

All things considered, it is necessary to generalize that insurgency is much more complicated phenomenon which should not be reduced to instances of terror. The main shortcoming of both White and Dyson’s pieces of research lies in the authors’ inability to show the fundamental discrepancies between terrorism and insurgency.

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