A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Terrorism Exchange staff are happy to bring you the May 2012 issue of CTX.

Asset Publisher
The Learning from Our Enemies: Sri Lankan Naval Special Warfare against the Sea Tigers

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was one of the most effective—and brutal—insurgent movements of recent times. With the strategic goal of seceding from Sri Lanka and establishing a separate state to be known as “Tamil Eelam,” the LTTE waged a bloody war for 30 years, until the Sri Lankan military finally defeated it in May 2009...

Read More

Airpower in Irregular Warfare: The Sri Lankan Experience

Airpower is strategically important in conventional warfare. The ability to bypass an enemy’s land and naval forces and directly target its political, economic, and industrial hubs can prove tremendously advantageous in state-on-state war-fare. Yet, the application of strategic air power in the context of irregular conflicts is problematic for even the world’s most sophisticated militaries.

Read More

Operation “Jatagani”:Working to Win the Hearts and Minds of the Afghan People

For almost 11 years, coalition forces in Afghanistan have been battling an insurgency in a very complicated environment that includes Islamic religious fanatics, warlords, and common criminals. Kinetic actions are not enough to prevail. In this protracted war, winning the support of the population is imperative...

Read More

The Killing Technology Next Door: Can South Sudan Learn from the Assassination of Darfur’s JEM Leader

The deliberate killing on December 25, 2011, of the leader of Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Khalil Ibrahim, inspired mixed reporting at first. In their initial reports, the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), claimed that Khalil died due to the wounds he sustained during a clash between his forces and the SAF while fighting his way toward Kordofan to join the Sudan Peo-ple’s Liberation Movement-North, which was already fighting the SAF in that area...

Read More

Exploitable Vulnerabilities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

The leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran has empowered Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), or Pasda-ran, to such an extent that the IRGC has become the center of gravity not only for the security, but also for the economy of the regime. This power, enabled by a lack of credible political checks and balances or separation of powers, is a critical strength for the Pasdaran and the current regime...

Read More

State of the Arts: From yBa to Al Qaeda: A Spectrum of Postmodern Spectacular

On the eve of September 11th’s first anniversary, Damien Hirst, the acclaimed and highly successful golden boy of the art establishment’s yBa (young British artists) “high art lite” collective, made the following remark: “The thing about 9/11 is that it’s kind of an artwork in its own right...

Read More

The Written Word: Lions of Kandahar, The Story of a Fight Against All Odds

Author Rusty Bradley is a former non-commissioned officer who, after earning his commission through Officer Candidate School, passed Special Forces selection and then successful-ly negotiated the SF Qualification course. In Lions of Kanda-har: The Story of a Fight Against All Odds, Bradley describes events that happened during his third tour in Afghanistan in 2006...

Read More

The Moving Image: Before Iraq & Afghanistan, There Was Ireland

Modern insurgents rarely fight only one enemy for the territory they contest. Besides the counter-insurgents—be they state security forces, foreign occupation troops, or both—the insurgents often have to battle other insurgents, to settle whose political vision for their post-revolutionary government will prevail. These power struggles sometimes continue after the counter-insurgent is bested, and a new cycle of civil war ensues...

Read More

Ethics & Insights: Moral Courage Take Two

I recently received an email from a student in which he made the following observation: of the ten highest military service awards America bestows, the qualifying criteria for each involves either physical courage and brav-ery, or extended periods of service with extreme responsibility. Not one, my student observed, is for demonstrating moral courage...

Read More


This journal is not an official DoD publication. The views expressed or implied within are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any governmental or nongovernmental organization or agency of the United States of America or any other country.


Copyright © 2023 by the author(s), except where otherwise noted. The Combating Threats Exchange journal (CTX) is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research, or educational purposes free of charge and without permission, except if otherwise noted. Any commercial use of CTX or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published herein rests with the author(s) of the article, unless otherwise noted.


  • SALLY BAHO, Copy Editor
  • LAYOUT AND DESIGN, Graduate Education Advancement Center, Naval Postgraduate School


  • VICTOR ASAL, University of Albany SUNY
  • CHRIS HARMON, Marine Corps University
  • TROELS HENNINGSEN, Royal Danish Defense College
  • PETER MCCABE, Joint Special Operations University
  • RAJAN RAVINDRAN, Indian Army (Ret.)
  • IAN C. RICE, US Army (Ret.)
  • ANNA SIMONS, Naval Postgraduate School
  • SHYAMSUNDER TEKWANI, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies
  • CRAIG WHITESIDE, Naval War College


  • AMINA KATOR-MUBAREZ, Naval Postgraduate School