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The Three Circles of War: Understanding the Dynamics of Conflict in Iraq Hardcover – July 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


“Throughout history, withdrawals from the battlefield have proved complex and fraught with danger. Time and again, nations have ensured future warfare by misunderstanding conflicts just ended. As the American drawdown in Iraq proceeds, Gregg, Rothstein, and Arquilla put us on the path toward wisdom—and what may pass for peace—by properly defining the dynamics of the Iraq War.”—Robert Andrews, former special assistant to secretary of the Army, former assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, & former Special Forces officer in Vietnam
(Robert Andrews 2010-05-17)

The Three Circles of War is a much-needed assessment of the evolving character of the Iraq War. The editors have assembled a first-rate team of contributors who illuminate the complex nature of the war. In so doing, they highlight the challenges inherent in understanding contemporary conflicts.”—Thomas Mahnken, professor of strategy, U.S. Naval War College and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for policy planning
(Thomas Mahnken 2010-05-17)

The Three Circles of War offers not only a thoughtful analysis on a wide range of critical issues that affected the war in Iraq, but issues that will continue to affect the wars we fight in Afghanistan and beyond. In short, this important volume should be read by anyone who wants to understand the complexities of modern-day armed conflicts, and particularly by those in the U.S. national security system with responsibility for meeting these irregular warfare challenges.”—Richard Schultz, professor of international politics, Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy & coauthor of Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat
(Richard Schultz 2010-05-17)

About the Author

Heather S. Gregg is an assistant professor at the Naval Postgraduate School’s department of defense analysis. Dr. Gregg is a contributing author of the RAND reports Beyond Al Qaeda (2006) and After Saddam: Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq (2008).

Hy S. Rothstein is a senior lecturer of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He served in the U.S. Army as a Special Forces officer for more than twenty-six years. He is the author of Afghanistan and the Troubled Future of Unconventional Warfare (Naval Institute Press, 2006).

John Arquilla is a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy, with David Ronfeldt (RAND, 2002), and Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military (National Book Network, 2008).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597974994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597974998
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,057,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Joel R. VINE VOICE on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"The Three Circles of War" is a compendium of academic essays on various aspects of the war in Iraq. The book's editors, Heather Gregg, Hy Rothstein, and John Arquilla, each hold teaching credentials at the US Naval Postgraduate School. The premise of the book is that there are three separate wars being fought in Iraq. The first war was the interstate war fought between the United States and Iraq. As the conventional war concluded, the conflict morphed into an Al Qaeda inspired insurgency combined with an Iraqi civil war fueled by differences between the Sunnis and Shias. The book's authors and editors offer their expertise on how these circles of war have affected combat operations and the rebuilding efforts.

Glenn Robinson, a contributing author, provides the reader with a very brief introduction to the political situation in Iraq. This was one of the most concise summaries I have read on the numerous parties (both major and minor) that are currently affecting the political landscape in the country.

Next, the editors provide three essays on the political developments, economic viewpoints and efforts on the reconstruction of indigenous security forces. These essays focus the combined Iraqi & American reconstruction efforts within Iraq.

I found the next section on understanding the adversaries to be the most valuable portion of the book. One of the adages in law enforcement is to "follow the money." Michael Freeman offers his expertise in his essay regarding the financing for the insurgency and the terrorists. Closely tied to fund-raising is how to share success stories with willing contributors. The world watched Desert Storm through Ted Turner's new television station CNN.
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