Britain and the War on Terror: Policy, Strategy and Operations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Britain and the War on Terror

Policy, Strategy and Operations, 1st Edition

By Warren Chin


250 pages

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Hardback: 9780754677802
pub: 2013-06-28
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Why did Britain come to play such a prominent role in the war on terror and why did the military instrument come to be the dominant theme in the British prosecution of what was an ideological and political struggle? This book is an analysis of Britain’s war against Al Qaeda and the phenomenon of international terrorism which marked a paradigm shift in the nature and conduct of war in the twenty-first century. At the heart of the book is an attempt to understand why Britain, which possessed a wealth of experience in the conduct of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and small wars, developed a strategic and operational design to defeat the Islamist threat which proved to be deeply flawed. In addressing this question the book explores the complex intellectual, doctrinal and geopolitical challenge posed by Al Qaeda and international terrorism and how and why the British response took the form that it did. In conducting this analysis the book raises important questions about the assumptions and perceptions of those in government who led the UK into this conflict, the nature of the civil military relationship in Britain and how well it functioned, and finally the competence of its security forces in being able to deal with this threat both domestically and overseas.


’A perceptive examination of the United Kingdom’s global war on terrorism. This study explains how the war against Islamist terrorism that British leaders anticipated failed to materialise, and why they fought the one they actually faced so poorly. An important addition to the growing literature on the wars of 9/11 and a cautionary tale of linking strategic ends to realistically available ways and means.’ Peter R. Mansoor, The Ohio State University, USA ’The Global War on Terror quickly also became Britain’s war. With crisp prose, sharp insight and clear-eyed judgement, Warren Chin shows how Britain found itself continually disappointed by the unanticipated costs of the war, the unexpected levels of resistance, and the strain placed on its armed forces. Above all, Chin excavates the distinctively British experience of the war, in which the Anglo-American relationship was pivotal to London’s calculations. Britain paid the blood price to buy influence in Washington. Chin’s account poses the question - was it worth the cost?’ Patrick Porter, University of Reading, UK

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Britain’s strategic framework for conducting the war on terror; Al Qaeda’s strategic framework: the three Riders of the Apocalypse - religion, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; Why did the Blair government decide to go to war with Iraq in 2003?; The British occupation of Iraq 2003-9; UK strategy and operations in Afghanistan 2006-10; The war on the home front: Al Qaeda and terrorism in the UK; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Dr Warren Chin is Senior Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department, King's College London, UK, and Visiting Scholar at the International Centre for Muslim and non Muslim Understanding, University of South Australia.

About the Series

Military Strategy and Operational Art

Military Strategy and Operational Art
The Ashgate Series on Military Strategy and Operational Art analyzes and assesses the synergistic interrelationship between joint and combined military operations, national military strategy, grand strategy, and national political objectives in peacetime, as well as during periods of armed conflict. In doing so, the series highlights how various patterns of civil-military relations, as well as styles of political and military leadership influence the outcome of armed conflicts. In addition, the series highlights both the advantages and challenges associated with the joint and combined use of military forces involved in humanitarian relief, nation building, and peacekeeping operations, as well as across the spectrum of conflict extending from limited conflicts fought for limited political objectives to total war fought for unlimited objectives. Finally, the series highlights the complexity and challenges associated with insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, as well as conventional operations and operations involving the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Scholars and practitioners in the fields of politico-military history, international relations, and national security policy are invited to contribute to this new series as well as faculty at senior and intermediate level service schools involved in professional military education.

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