It is a new phenomenon.Irregular warfare exists in highly specific operational environments, "microclimates," which need to be understood by intelligence analysts, military commanders, and policymakers. This presents several challenges.
First, these operational environments consist of a number of elements, including geography, ecology, history, ethnicity, religion, and politics. These are not topics to which the military intelligence community devotes much attention.
Second, for irregular warfare, these have to be seen in a detailed and nuanced context. It is specific local geography, history, and politics that are crucial. Arab history is one thing, the history of Christian-Druze conflict in Lebanon is another, and the role of specific families and family members yet another. Collecting, analyzing, and assimilating information at this level of detail is a formidable challenge for intelligence analysts and policymakers.