A Quarterly, Peer Reviewed Online Journal

The Combating Threats Exchange staff are happy to bring you the May 2013 issue of CTX.

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Al-Sahawa: An Awakening in Al Qaim

On 2 May 2005, Chief of Police Major Ahmed Adiya Asaf was walk-ing along Main Street in the market area of Husaybah, a town in the Al Qaim district of northwestern Iraq, when seven men attacked, shot, and beheaded him. For the people of the Albu-Mahal tribe, the beheading of MAJ Ahmed was the last straw

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Inside Anbar

This article is about the counterinsurgency experiences of two United States Special Forces Soldiers, William and Robert, and their operational detachments, which fought in al Anbar during the period from February 2004 to April 2007. It is a condensed version of several chapters of a thesis I wrote four years ago while attending the Naval Postgraduate School.

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Maoist Insurgency in India: Emerging Vulnerabilities

The Maoist movement in India started in the late 1950s as a peas-ant uprising in the wake of an independence struggle in Naxalbari, a small village on the Indo-Nepal border, hence the name Naxalism. The Naxalites were a group of far-left radical communists who promoted Maoist political sentiment and ideology to fight exploitation by landlords in India’s feudal postcolonial socioeconomic system. ...

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The U.S.–Yemeni Joint Counterterrorism Exercises:The Other Side of the COIN​​​​​​​Media heading

After the bombing of the USSCOle in the Port of Aden on 12 October 2000, the Republic of Yemen became a potential ally of the United States in U.S. counterterrorism campaigns. To ensure the Yemeni government’s ability to combat terrorism on its own soil and prevent such attacks from occurring again, the United States provided the Yemeni Special Forces with light equipment and engaged in a series of joint exercises with them.

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This interview is taken from the collection of the Combating Terrorism Archive Project. LTC Mike Richardson spoke on 25 February 2013 with MAJ Nils French, an Engineer officer in the Canadian Army, about some of his experiences while deployed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, throughout most of 2009.

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ETHICS AND INSIGHTS: How Can Leaders Maintain Ethical Command Climates?

The field grade officers I teach often ask how they can set and maintain ethical command climates in their specialized small units, especially when they are operating far from the flagpole, and for long periods of time. Leaders can find this aspect of command difficult even when they have eyes on their people daily and maintain good contact with “higher”...

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THE MOVING IMAGE Zero F*&%#!@G Thirt​​​​​​​y

If you’re thinking about joining the Central f*&%#!@g Intelligence Agency as a f*&%#!@g analyst, to make big f*&%#!@g things happen, take a few tips from the motion picture Zero Dark Thirty. If stomping your feet and making pouty faces doesn’t get you what you want, threaten your boss with a congressional investigation—a sure route to promotion...

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STATE OF THE ART Painting Guerrillas or Guerrilla Painting?​​​​​​​

Military historian Max Boot started and ended his presentation at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School by showing a widescreen image of the cover of his book, Invisible Armies. The cover reproduces a colorful painting by the most famous painter of the Greek Revolution, Theodoros Vryzakis (1814–1878), titled “The Destruction of Dramali at Dervenakia"...

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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