The Central Intelligence Agency has run guns to insurgencies across the world during its 67-year history — from Angola to Nicaragua to Cuba. The continuing C.I.A. effort to train Syrian rebels is just the latest example of an American president becoming enticed by the prospect of using the spy agency to covertly arm and train rebel groups.
An internal C.I.A. study has found that it rarely works.
I'm not that surprised that a study of CIA support for insurgencies shows a lack of victories. That may reflect a use of support for insurgents as an alternative to US action rather than as a supplement to US action.
I'd be happier if we focused on replicating the factors that help insurgencies win.