See American and British English spelling differences
) involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency
taken up against it.An insurgency
is a rebellion
against a constituted authority (for example an authority recognized as such by the United Nations
) when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents
(Oxford English Dictionary
second edition 1989 "insurgent B. n. One who rises in revolt against constituted authority; a rebel who is not recognized as a belligerent.") In the main, the insurgents seek to destroy or erase the political authority of the defending authorities in a population they seek to control, and the counter-insurgent forces seek to protect that authority and reduce or eliminate the supplanting authority of the insurgents.
Counter-insurgency operations are common during occupation
and armed rebellions
. Counter-insurgency may be armed suppression
of a rebellion, coupled with tactics such as divide and rule
designed to fracture the links between the insurgency and the population in which the insurgents move. Because it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish between an insurgent, a supporter of an insurgency who is a non-combatant
, and entirely uninvolved members of the population, counter-insurgency operations have often rested on a confused, relativistic, or otherwise......