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A Great Perhaps? Colombia: Conflict and Convergence

David Kilcullen

Counter Insurgency; Urban Development Expert, Australia/US

David Spencer

Dickie Davis

Special Advisor, The Brenthurst Foundation

Greg Mills

Director, The Brenthurst Foundation

Book / Publication · Published 17 November 2015


Hurst Publishers | 12 November 2015 | Hardback | 230pp | £30 | ISBN: 9781849046282

No country has managed as rapid and positive a turnaround in governance and security conditions this century as Colombia. A Great Perhaps? explains the drivers behind the success of Colombia's recent transformation.

In 1999, FARC and ELN rebels were at the gates of Bogotá, and Colombia was a country synonymous with the antics of Pablo Escobar, known for rapacious corruption, weak government, drug smuggling and criminality. Fifteen years later the guerrillas, seriously weakened, have been persuaded to attend peace talks in Havana, and the Colombian economy had been a top performer in Latin America.

This book explains the steps the Colombian government has taken to manage such a rapid and positive turnaround, written by four international specialists with policy and practical expertise in counterinsurgency campaigns in Colombia and elsewhere.

To date, there has been no comprehensive examination of the different elements employed by the government to combat the guerrillas, win local and international political and military support, extend government authority to the 75 per cent of the countryside where it was seldom felt, and turn the Colombian economy around.

Based on field-work in Colombia's regions, the book provides a history of the conflict, compares it to other historical and contemporary case-studies, examines the war from the perspectives of the government and the guerrillas, delves into the development of special Colombian capabilities (notably in intelligence and the use of airpower and special forces), and explains the economic dimension in terms both of historical exclusion and ongoing attempts at growth and inclusion. Finally, it concludes with an assessment of the country's prospects.

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