Dr Aaron Edwards

Dr Aaron EdwardsHonorary Research Fellow

Contact Details

Personal Details

I have been a Senior Lecturer in Defence and International Affairs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst since 2008. Prior to this I was a project leader in the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Ulster University. I hold a BA (Hons.) in Modern and Contemporary History from Ulster University, an MA in Irish Politics and a PhD in Politics and International Studies, both from Queen’s University Belfast. I completed my PGCE (PCET) at the University of Southampton in 2011 and became a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the UK Higher Education Academy in 2012. During my time at Sandhurst I have taught Armed Forces personnel, police officers and government officials in almost two dozen countries worldwide, including Germany, Iraq, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Oman, Chile, Tonga, Sudan, Tanzania, Malta, Jamaica, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Albania, Nigeria, Uruguay, Egypt and Montenegro. I am a frequent contributor to the media on security-related matters.

Selected Publications

Books

  • Edwards, A. UVF: Behind the Mask (Newbridge, RoI: Merrion Press, 2017).
  • Edwards, A. Strategy in War and Peace: A Critical Introduction (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017).
  • Edwards, A. War: A Beginner’s Guide (London: Oneworld Publications, 2016).
  • Edwards, A. Mad Mitch’s Tribal Law: Aden and the End of Empire (Edinburgh and London: Mainstream Publishing/Transworld Books, 2014; 2015).
  • Edwards, A. Defending the Realm? The Politics of Britain’s Small Wars since 1945 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012).
  • Edwards, A. and C. McGrattan The Northern Ireland Conflict: A Beginner’s Guide (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2010).
  • Edwards, A. A History of the Northern Ireland Labour Party: Democratic Socialism and Sectarianism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009; 2011).
  • Edwards, A. and S. Bloomer (eds), Transforming the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: From Terrorism to Democratic Politics (Newbridge, RoI: Irish Academic Press, 2008).

 

Journal Articles:

• McCleery, M.J. and A. Edwards ‘A micro-sociological analysis of homegrown violent extremist attacks in the UK in 2017’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Special Edition on Homegrown Violent Extremism (published online 17 January 2019).

• McCleery, M.J. and A. Edwards ‘The 1988 Murders of Corporal David Howes and Corporal Derek Wood: A Micro-Dynamic Analysis of Political Violence during the Northern Ireland Conflict’, Critical Military Studies (published online 13 July 2017).

• Edwards, A. ‘A Triumph of Realism? Britain, Aden and the End of Empire, 1964-67’, Middle Eastern Studies, 53(1), (November 2016), pp. 6-18.

• Edwards, A. ‘On the Obfuscation of the Past’, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 27(3), (July 2015), pp. 354-362.

• Edwards, A. ‘“A whipping boy if ever there was one”? The British Army and the Politics of Civil-Military Relations in Northern Ireland, 1969-79’, Contemporary British History, 28(2), (June 2014), pp. 166-189.

• Edwards, A. ‘Deterrence, Coercion and Brute Force in Asymmetric Conflict: The Role of the Military Instrument in Resolving the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’’, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Special Edition on Conflict and Post-conflict in Northern Ireland, 4(3), (December 2011), pp. 226-241.

• Edwards, A. and C. McGrattan ‘Terroristic Narratives: On the (Re) Invention of Peace in Northern Ireland’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 23(3), (June 2011), pp. 357-376.

• Edwards, A. ‘When Terrorism as Strategy Fails: Dissident Irish Republicans and the Threat to British Security’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 34(4), (April 2011), pp. 318-336.

• Edwards, A. ‘The Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland: A Left-wing Voice in an Ethnically Divided Society’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 12(4), (November 2010), pp. 590-614.

• Edwards, A. ‘Misapplying Lessons Learned? Analysing the Utility of British Counter-insurgency Strategy in Northern Ireland, 1971-76’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 21(2), (June 2010), pp. 303-330.

• Edwards, A. ‘Abandoning Armed Resistance? The Ulster Volunteer Force as a Case-study of Strategic Terrorism in Northern Ireland’, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 32(2), (February 2009), pp. 146-166.

• Edwards, A. ‘“Unionist Derry is Ulster’s Panama”: The Northern Ireland Labour Party and the Civil Rights Issue’, Irish Political Studies, 23(3), (September 2008), pp. 363-385.

• Edwards, A. ‘Interpreting New Labour’s Political Discourse on the Northern Ireland Peace Process’, Peace and Conflict Studies, Special Issue on Political Discourse as an Instrument of Conflict and Peace: Lessons from Northern Ireland, 15(1), (Summer 2008), pp. 60-76.

• Edwards, A. ‘Drawing a Line under the Past’, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 20(2), (April-June 2008), pp. 209-217.

• Edwards, A. ‘Social Democracy and Partition: The British Labour Party and Northern Ireland, 1951-64’, Journal of Contemporary History, 42(4), (October 2007), pp. 595-612.

• Edwards, A. ‘Democratic Socialism and Sectarianism: The Northern Ireland Labour Party and Progressive Unionist Party Compared’, Politics, 27(1), (February 2007), pp. 24-31.

 

Book Chapters:

• Edwards, A. ‘Fighting Out Its Own Complex and Fatal Destiny’? On the Limitations on the Use of Force in Yemen’ in Clack, T. and R. Johnson (eds) Before Military Intervention: Upstream Stabilisation in Theory and Practice (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 79-97.

• Edwards, A. ‘Beating the Retreat on a Contested Past? The British Army and the Politics of Commemoration in Northern Ireland’ in Smyth, J. (ed.), Remembering the Troubles: Contesting the Recent Past in Northern Ireland (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017), pp. 77-95.

• Edwards, A. ‘British Security Policy and the Sunningdale Agreement: The Consequences of Using Force to Combat Terrorism in a Liberal Democracy’ in McCann, D. and C. McGrattan (eds) Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike and the Struggle for Democracy in Northern Ireland (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), pp. 87-99.

• Edwards, A. ‘The Security Forces and Truth Recovery in Northern Ireland’ in Dawson, G., S. Hopkins and J. Dover (eds) The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), pp. 300-315.

• Edwards, A. ‘Island of Division: Britain’s war against EOKA, 1955-59’ in Fremont-Barnes, G. (ed.) A History of Counter-insurgency: Volume 2 – From Cyprus to Afghanistan, 1955 to the 21st Century (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015), pp. 1-20

• Edwards, A. ‘The British in South Arabia: A Tale of Two Insurgencies, 1964-67’ in Fremont-Barnes, G. (ed.) A History of Counter-insurgency: Volume 2 – From Cyprus to Afghanistan, 1955 to the 21st Century (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015), pp. 125-146.

• Edwards, A. ‘Practice without Principles? Northern Ireland and the Struggle against the Provisional IRA, 1969-2007’ in Fremont-Barnes, G. (ed.) A History of Counter-insurgency: Volume 2 – From Cyprus to Afghanistan, 1955 to the 21st Century (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015), pp. 255-276.

• Edwards, A. “A Graveyard for the British”? Tactics, Military Operations and the Paucity of Strategy in Aden, 1964-67’ in Johnson, R. and T. Clack (eds) At the End of Military Intervention: Historical, Theoretical and Applied Approaches to Transition, Handover and Withdrawal (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 137-150.

• Edwards, A. ‘Gangsters? Thugs? Savages? Terrorists? Representations of ‘the Enemy’ in Britain’s Small Wars’ in Malvern, S. and G. Koureas (eds), Terrorist Transgressions: Gendered Representations of the Terrorist in Contemporary Culture (London: I.B. Tauris, 2013), pp. 205-225.

• Edwards, A. and S. Bloomer ‘Transforming Loyalist Communities: A Participatory Peace Research Approach’ in J.W. McAuley and G. Spencer (eds), Ulster Loyalism Since the Good Friday Agreement: History, Identity and Change (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011), pp. 104-115

• Edwards, A. ‘Interpreting New Labour’s Political Discourse on the Peace Process’ in Hayward, K. and C. O’Donnell (eds), Political Discourse and Conflict Resolution (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), pp. 46-61.

• Edwards, A. ‘The Northern Ireland Labour Party and Protestant Working Class Identity’ in Busteed, M., F. Neal and J. Tonge (eds), Irish Protestant Identities (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008), pp. 347-359.

• Edwards, A. ‘Talking to Terrorists: Political Violence and Peace Processes in the Contemporary World’ in Edwards, A. and S. Bloomer (eds), Transforming the Peace Process in Northern Ireland: From Terrorism to Democratic Politics (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008), pp. 195-211.


Selected Journalism

• Edwards, A. ‘Wet Work in Salisbury: Sergei Skripal and the Human Factor of Russian Active Measures’, War on the Rocks, 15 February 2019.

• Edwards, A. ‘The UVF plot to murder Martin McGuinness: Elaborate plan aborted’, Belfast Telegraph, 17 June 2017.

• Edwards, A. ‘Militant loyalism and the hunger strikes’, Irish Times, 5 July 2016.

• Edwards, A. ‘Yemen at War’, Open Democracy, 15 May 2015.

• Edwards, A. and C. McGrattan ‘When the guns fall silent, the battle over the past begins’, Discover Society, 4 March 2014.

• Edwards, A. ‘Britain’s ‘9/11 Wars’ in historical perspective: why change and continuity matter’, History & Policy, 20 March 2013.

Research

My primary research focus is on terrorism and insurgency. Much of my graduate and post-doctoral research focused on political identity in Northern Ireland, examining the conflict through the lens of comparative ethnic conflict. Since joining Sandhurst, however, my research interests have broadened to include studies of irregular warfare, the utility of strategy in ending wars and building peace, and civil-military relations.

Current Research Projects

I am currently completing a book on the use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources in Northern Ireland. Additional research projects include articles on the role of intelligence in Britain’s counter-insurgency campaigns in Malaya, Cyprus and South Yemen.

Supervision

I am interested in supervising students in the areas of Security Studies, Terrorism and Insurgency, and Ethnic Conflict.

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