Ottoman Counterinsurgency: The Path Less Studied

In late 2020 I self-published The COIN of the Islamic Realm: Insurgencies & the Ottoman Empire, 1416-1916. Despite it being the ONLY study of its kind–one that looks at the COIN of the world’s most powerful Islamic state across space and time–it’s been largely ignored. Why? Well, I sent a copy to Joint Special Operations University (where I used to lecture on terrorism) and their reviewer deemed it “too political” for even a review. No explanation as to what my particular scarlet letter was–although I suspect it was that I dared to 1) point out that most of the groups on the State Department (and other governments’) terrorist list are Muslim ones; and 2) defend the Trump Administration’s approach to the topic. That’s too bad. One would think that policy-makers and students of COIN would find valuable an examination of how a Muslim polity responded to attacks, both ideological and kinetic, by co-religionists within the Empire. But because I dare speak the truth, and don’t knee-jerk condemn the 45th POTUS, my research is not worth considering.

Remind me who it is that’s “too political?”

In any event, two stalwart and perceptive experts did take time to read my book, and review it. Last year strategy maven Zenpundit did so on his site. His approach is geared toward COIN as a policy. Then a few weeks ago Dr. John Zmirak allowed me to do an overview of the book at The Stream, under the title “How Islamic Regimes Keep Control Over Christians and Muslims Radicals.” John’s questions to me probed more the historical and cultural aspects of the Ottomans in terms of their domestic policies against marginalized groups. Together, these two reviews present an accurate and fair assessment of my book, and I thank both of these men for doing that.

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