RUSI JournalVolume 158Issue 3members only

The Five Fallacies of Clear-Hold-Build


The current approach to counter-insurgency relies on a clear-hold-build axiom that has proved repeatedly unsuccessful: a different understanding of the questions underpinning the doctrine can help rectify some of its fallacies

Central to the counter-insurgency campaigns conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade has been the concept of ‘clear-hold-build’ – the notion that government legitimacy can be spread like ink across a page by, first, clearing an area of insurgents; second, holding that area securely; and, third, building infrastructure and undertaking local development projects. In this article, David H Ucko explores five fallacies surrounding the concept to show that it cannot

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