chapter
Introduction The strategic art of confronting armed groups
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For states, it is acutely important to master the strategic art of

dealing with non-state armed groups. Most wars of the past

30 years have been intra-state, albeit with varying amounts of

outside interference. Often, a point comes when the govern-

ments involved conclude that military victory is not imminent

and so attempt to open some sort of political track. Even after this

realisation, securing a satisfactory outcome is hard. States can

fail to articulate achievable long-term objectives. And they can

fail to formulate and implement a strategy that marries coercive

measures with political overtures. Many states find themselves

wandering a strategic wilderness, neither winning on the battle-

field nor resolving the conflict at the negotiating table.