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THE CULTURE AND CONFLICT REVIEW Click for an RSS Feed for the Latest Articles

Issue: Vol. 4, #2 - Summer 2010

The Culture & Conflict Review is an online peer-review journal produced by the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies, bringing you analysis of current events, policy, operations, and human terrain in South and Central Asia as well as other regions of the world. Premised on the belief that the United States must understand the culture and human terrain of other nations and peoples, we offer commentary and analysis on issues of current interest to policy makers, military commanders, academics, and the general public. We are particularly interested in issues addressing culture, anthropology, regional and identity politics, and the contemporary role of U.S. forces in areas of conflict. New issues of The Culture & Conflict Review are published on a quarterly basis.

Welcome to The Culture & Conflict Review

Welcome to the Summer 2010 edition of The Culture & Conflict Review! We are pleased to present you with an engaging selection of new articles on several timely and important topics.

In this edition of the Review, we present the following new articles:

As well we are pleased to present an Arabic translation of an article from our Spring 2010 edition of the Review:

We are also pleased to share with you the following student theses on issues relating to insurgency, counterinsurgency, and political stability in the AfPak region:

Lastly, we are pleased to share with you some recent news coverage of CCS and its Director, Thomas H. Johnson:

  • "Troops seek to replicate gains made in Afghan village," by Drew Brown, Stars and Stripes, July 12, 2010:

    Now U.S. soldiers, who took over operations here in April, are trying to replicate the Canadian “key village” approach in other areas throughout Dand district, on the southern outskirts of Kandahar city. American commanders say they see signs of success, with Afghan village elders and tribal leaders cooperating closely with them on security, governance and development issues in ways that are rarely seen in southern Afghanistan. But the architect of the “key village” strategy says it’s unlikely to work as a model for counterinsurgency elsewhere in Afghanistan. “The problem is that it’s years too late,” said Thomas H. Johnson, a research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. “It’s at least eight years too late in most places.”
  • Fatalities escalate in Afghanistan war,” by Gretel C. Kovach, San Diego Tribune, July 30, 2010:

    But the Taliban have also gained in power and number, and pushed beyond their traditional base in southern Afghanistan into virtually every province in the country, said Thomas H. Johnson, director of the Program for Culture & Conflict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where top Marine officers and other service members study for advanced degrees. “The Taliban are extremely emboldened. They perceive that they are winning this conflict and that it is only a matter of time before the international forces leave,” Johnson said. The Taliban publicly congratulated the Dutch this week for their planned pullout of troops from Afghanistan, Johnson noted. “They recognize there are chinks in the armor, if you will, in the NATO forces.” Johnson, who has researched Afghanistan for two decades and travels there periodically, said that after nine years of war, “the Afghans have lost patience, and some view us as occupiers. “If history suggests anything, invaders viewed as occupiers do not do well in this country.”
Reports from Kandahar indicate widespread hostility to the “surge”. Thomas Johnson, an adviser to Canada’s Task Force Kandahar, told reporters last week that he was amazed by the number of children throwing rocks and tomatoes and making obscene gestures at passing foreign troops. “I think that might be a leading indicator of other thoughts and conversations that are occurring in families . . . that we’re being viewed as the occupier,"
Thomas Johnson, director of the program for culture and conflict studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and an advisor on counter-insurgency to Vance, says he is amazed at the number of children throwing rocks and making obscene gestures at the troops as they drive past. "I haven't seen that in my years of travel," says Johnson. "Every once in a while you see one child throwing a rock here or there, but I think that might be a leading indicator of other thoughts and conversations that are occurring in families - that people are starting to feel, 'Hey, you're 10 years in and we're still waiting for some of the promises;' that we're being viewed as an occupier."
La popolazione afghana comincia a dare segni d’insofferenza nei confronti dei soldati dell’Isaf. È quanto stanno riscontrando i soldati canadesi e i loro “consiglieri” di stanza in Afghanistan. «È come se la popolazione ci stesse lanciando un messaggio - ha detto Thomas Johnson, un consigliere del comando dei canadesi di Task Force Kandahar - È come se ci stessero dicendo: “Hey, dopo dieci anni di permanenza stiamo ancora aspettando che manteniate le vostre promesse”». L’impressione, ha aggiunto Johnson, è che per la prima volta i soldati siano percepiti come invasori. Non di rado, infatti, vengono fatti bersaglio di sassaiole da parte dei bambini o del lancio di frutta marcia.

On behalf of all of us at the Program for Culture and Conflict Studies (CCS), please enjoy our latest edition of the The Culture and Conflict Review. As always, we welcome your comments, suggestions and articles for future editions.

We'll see you again when we present our Fall 2010 edition!

Editorial Staff

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