The article provides an analytical approach to capturing the population‐centric view of insurgency and allows for the inclusion of politics in describing its earliest stages. The outcome of the politico‐military contest over population support now becomes not only a function
of the proposed governing policies of the two contestants, the government and insurgents, but also a function of such factors as the sensitivity of the population to the proposed policies and efforts of the two parties, the effectiveness of their mobilization efforts, and the strategic value
of the region to insurgents. We also look at two different scenarios in which the government can and cannot mobilize against the insurgency and establish conditions in which a government may actually choose not to mobilize against a possible domestic threat. We also determine conditions under
which insurgents may engage in less rent extraction than the government in order to increase their chances of gaining population support.