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Thread: Setting up effective, local security forces

  1. #41
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    The context of the quote was me explaining why the U.S. isn't enough of an empire to reap the benefits of imperial arrogance.
    Or the penalties of that arrogance.

    Either way, I don't see how that particular set of imperial methods is really applicable to today's non-imperial small wars.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    There can be many reasons why more activity happens outside a city rather than in[.]
    The days of an urban cadre in the Guatemalan civil war with which I am familiar were numbered indeed (and s/he knew it). On the other hand, I suspect that during the darkest days of the conflict guerrillas in the hills slept more soundly than did civilians in the cities and pueblos. Something like a third of the Guatemalan population was urban at that time, as compared to about two-thirds of the contemporary Iraqi population. And in Iraq, outside of the north there isn’t much in the way of highlands to abscond to. And of course the stability of governance in Iraq in 2007 didn’t approach that in Guatemala in 1983. So, as you say, lots of reasons.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Posted by Dayuhan

    I personally suspect that AQ and similar groups maintain a quite substantial urban apparatus... of course they would be trying very hard not to draw attention to themselves, and you'd expect them to have little or no contact with local militant groups other than with a few trusted individuals.
    Re-read my comments, I said as much and agree, but these are not strong holds where they live in the open and control the area. The urban area is generally hostile territory to overt (even clandestine) terrorists.

    I suspect part of the reason their activity is limited in the larger urban areas is due to security concerns.
    That comment was not intended to mean AQ is not active in the urban area, heck the urban areas are their targets. I suspect there are tens of AQ cells in London, New York, Paris, and elsewhere throughout the world, and they are very dangerous. However, this doesn't require the deployment of general purpose forces (like it did in Iraq, Algeria, etc.).

    Which is why I wrote:

    and if the scale of the AQ presence and activity in an urban areas is (dropped my thought, so completing it here in bold) relatively small and clandestine, then the appropriate response is generally small scale security assistance composed mainly of personnel from intelligence, special operations, and contractors with speciality skills. This is often enough to enable the affected state to defeat/suppress this threat.
    In sum I agree with you. What I am not getting is why it would be that much tougher for us to assist a partner with an Urban insurgency versus rural insurgencies (though in reality most are blended)? Urban areas are a tough battlefield, but so are the mountains and jungles, so regardless you have to adapt.

    If we occupy (not do FID) a country and try to control the populace ourselves then I agree that "may" (still situationally dependent, wasn't exceptionally tough in Germany or Japan) be brutal.

    My fault for failing to better clarify my intent.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 07-23-2012 at 02:08 AM. Reason: grammar

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    Default Re: Fuchs/Montagnards

    Regret (1) I stumbled onto this belatedly and (2) the sidetrack
    Nevertheless, Fuchs, to clarify: Both sides made ample use of Montagnards. We even had a name for the ones on the other side: "VCM." Their collaboration and guidance (literally) were essential to allowing NVA units to pop up "out of nowhere," as it were--on the coastal plain in northen Binh Dinh....

    A couple of the main ethnic groups from which US recruited, the Rhade and Jarai, were easy to attract because they feared and hated lowland Vietnamese---whether communist or GVN....and had formed FULRO, their own independence "Front." They saw an association with the US as a counterbalance to the hated ARVN. Their anti-Vietnamese sentiment did not play entirely into US hands, as they also sought strength from a noted, local, anti-Viet force--namely, the Khmer Rouge.....An interesting side note is the fact that Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's personal guard unit was, from the '60's until his end, composed solely of Jarai.

    Cheers,
    Mike.

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    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in Hilo View Post
    A couple of the main ethnic groups from which US recruited, the Rhade and Jarai, were easy to attract because they feared and hated lowland Vietnamese---whether communist or GVN....
    I know a fellow in my hometown who worked with Montagnards during the war and he told me one of his best guys had been with the ARVN until an in broad daylight incidence in which he turned his rifle on fellow ARVN—ethnic Kinh who wouldn’t leave off yelling various takes on “####ing Montagnard!” at him from across the street. Possibly a stolen and/or invented story, but indicative of a more general truth, I’m sure…
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

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    Posted by Mike in Hilo

    Both sides made ample use of Montagnards. We even had a name for the ones on the other side: "VCM."
    Interesting comments on the Montagnards. I'm currently reading Black Ops by Tony Geraghty "The Rise of SF in the CIA, the SAS, and Mossad" (jury is still out on the book).

    Mike if you have any insights on the following please share.

    In the Vietnam chapter he explains the ARVN disarmed the Montagnards in the late 50s and were not too happy we armed them again. He described a couple of situations where the program was transfered over to ARVN and it rapidly broke down because the Vietnamese didn't trust them; a pattern that widely repeated itself. The Vietnamese tried to reclaim their weapons, refused to go on patrol with savages, etc. All this I was aware of, but one bit of history I wasn't (or I forgot about) is that in September 1964 there was a Montagnard armed uprising. At one site they disarmed and detained their SF advisors and declared a rebellion against Saigon. At another site they killed 15 Vietnamese team leaders, at another site 11 Vietnamese SF soldiers were killed.

    These surrogate operations are generally dicey, but especially so when those we are arming and training are opposed to the government we're trying to keep in power. The expedient choice is not always the right choice.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    In sum I agree with you. What I am not getting is why it would be that much tougher for us to assist a partner with an Urban insurgency versus rural insurgencies (though in reality most are blended)? Urban areas are a tough battlefield, but so are the mountains and jungles, so regardless you have to adapt.
    I realize that we mostly agree; I was mostly trying to underscore the differences between dealing with an "AQ-type" group and with an insurgency... two quite different things. If the local security services have any level of competence, they shouldn't need much help beyond intel to roll up a network of terrorist cells. An actual insurgency would be a quite different proposition, and the need for outside help, the desirability to an outside power of moving against the insurgency and the type of help that might be useful would depend entirely on the specific characteristics of the insurgency and the situation.

    Urban areas are of course highly visible to the media and offer abundant potential for collateral damage, factors that have to be considered.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

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    I'm guilty of conflating AQ terrorist cells and insurgencies, that wasn't my intent, but felt the need to address both. Of course it isn't unheard of for AQ to co-opt an insurgency (Iraq) and to a lesser extent Afghanistan. By the way we also dealt with an urban insurgency that utlized terrorist cells in Vietnam.

    As challenging as this may be, I still don't think it compares to the true hybrid challenges our forces faced in Vietnam (fighting NV regulars, insurgents, suicide bombers "the sappers", electronic warfare, high end anti-aircraft weapons, major state actor support from Russia and China, etc.).

    Our biggest challenge today isn't the enemy, it is ourselves. We went into this fight with unrealistic goals, adapted a doctrine that is deeply flawed, etc. This is a scenario where we actually could do more with less.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Our biggest challenge today isn't the enemy, it is ourselves. We went into this fight with unrealistic goals, adapted a doctrine that is deeply flawed, etc. This is a scenario where we actually could do more with less.
    A statement that should draw loud "Amen, brother!" from the chorus AND the congregation.

    Challenge is getting to some degree of agreement on what less looks like. We are much better at making things bigger in ways that don't make much sense or work that well, but when things go south when one does less people feel like you just aren't trying hard enough.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  10. #50
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    A statement that should draw loud "Amen, brother!" from the chorus AND the congregation.
    You'll get one from me, especially on the "unrealistic goals"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    Challenge is getting to some degree of agreement on what less looks like.
    Before we even think about how to do more with less, we have to think about what we want or need to do. That seems to get overlooked a lot...
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

    H.L. Mencken

  11. #51
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Rural to Urban setting: FID doctrine

    My reply to Bill Moore's question (Post 37):
    what significant change and challenges do you think we would face with our FID doctrine if the focus shifted from the rural to the urban?
    I was not thinking of just the USA intervening and my SWC reading does not make me familiar with US FID doctrine. Caveats aside here goes.

    An urban setting for an insurgency / terrorist campaign absorbs manpower like a sponge, so using and adapting a local security element to the 'sepoy model' makes a lot of sense. You referred to 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1969-1998), at one stage the UK had 30k soldiers there - Operation Motorman, when police primacy had not been reached. Nearly all of them in two cities, Belfast & Londonderry.

    Secondly by time FID is deployed the host nation will have lost considerable control and governance will be weakened. Think of the favelas in Rio and some "no go" areas elsewhere. Citizen involvement in providing information to the state will be low, especially if intimidation is prevalent - not necessarily violent nor observable. In one period in 'The Troubles' Loyalists used cameras without film to intimidate; imagine the impact today of mobile-phones.

    F3EA will be problematic until many other factors act as enablers: informants, intelligence, surveillance etc. Enough time may not be given.

    Pinpoint accuracy of weapons systems, especially the use of explosives, will be limited in densely occupied spaces. They might not even be allowed by the host.

    Finally image is important, even crucial. Not for the 'armchair" observers, but the people affected by the presence of FID-users. It simply is a very different image if the security forces appear similar, even if with a few expatriate officers & NCOs.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Rural to Urban setting: NIC & others predict

    Abu M has a comment on urban operations today, prompted by a David Kilcullen article and the footnotes point to a SWJ article.

    So first the link to AbuM:http://www.cnas.org/blogs/abumuqawam....html#comments

    Then the Kilcullen piece:http://gt2030.com/2012/07/18/the-cit...an-resilience/

    The SWJ article 'Command of the Cities: Towards a Theory of Urban Strategy':http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...urban-strategy
    davidbfpo

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    Default Moderator adds

    A number of posts, including my own, have been on a related topic of future 'Small Wars' moving from the rural to the urban setting and may sit better in their own thread. Later I will try to identify previous threads on the theme.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    My reply to Bill Moore's question (Post 37):

    I was not thinking of just the USA intervening and my SWC reading does not make me familiar with US FID doctrine. Caveats aside here goes.

    An urban setting for an insurgency / terrorist campaign absorbs manpower like a sponge, so using and adapting a local security element to the 'sepoy model' makes a lot of sense. You referred to 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland (1969-1998), at one stage the UK had 30k soldiers there - Operation Motorman, when police primacy had not been reached. Nearly all of them in two cities, Belfast & Londonderry.

    Secondly by time FID is deployed the host nation will have lost considerable control and governance will be weakened. Think of the favelas in Rio and some "no go" areas elsewhere. Citizen involvement in providing information to the state will be low, especially if intimidation is prevalent - not necessarily violent nor observable. In one period in 'The Troubles' Loyalists used cameras without film to intimidate; imagine the impact today of mobile-phones.

    F3EA will be problematic until many other factors act as enablers: informants, intelligence, surveillance etc. Enough time may not be given.

    Pinpoint accuracy of weapons systems, especially the use of explosives, will be limited in densely occupied spaces. They might not even be allowed by the host.

    Finally image is important, even crucial. Not for the 'armchair" observers, but the people affected by the presence of FID-users. It simply is a very different image if the security forces appear similar, even if with a few expatriate officers & NCOs.
    I agree with this, the urban environment definitely presents its unique challenges. When I refer to foreign internal defense (FID), I'm generally refering to a few (maybe a couple hundred) advisors and trainers, so in theory it wouldn't be our guys dealing "directly" with these challenges. That is why I said it wouldn't be that much harder for "us".

    As for future wars moving ever more into the urban domain it definitely seems probable.

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    Default Reply to Bill Moore's of 22 July

    1) The 1964 episode received wide publicity through National Geographic Mag, which featured it in the January 1965 issue of the magazine. The story focused on successful US Army SF efforts to defuse the situation, without which events would likely have spun out of control.

    2) Re: those we're arming and training being opposed to the government we're trying to keep in power: Sounds like Sunni Sons of Iraq and their relationship with the Maliki government....

    Cheers,
    Mike.

  16. #56
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Learning from the Italians?

    This quote is from an academic conference on 'War and Peace' @ Leeds University recently and one paper appears very relevant:
    Nir Arielli (Leeds) gave a fascinating paper on the role played by Italian colonial troops in the suppression of anti-Italian colonial revolt. The key forces in the brutal repression of the revolt against Italian rule in Libya were in fact Eritrean (and Somali) Ascari. The question of the part which colonial forces have played in small wars and counter-insurgency operations is one which has been little studied and which offers the potential for new insights into social and political dynamics of empire as well as military structures...
    Link:https://defenceindepth.co/2017/07/12...ds-15-16-june/

    The author is a Professor @ Leeds University and his bio indicates this article contains more:
    'Colonial soldiers in Italian counter-insurgency operations in Libya, 1922-32', British Journal for Military History, 1, no. 2 (2015), pp. 47-66.
    Link:https://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/profile...43/nir_arielli

    The BJMH paper is available free via and will be read soon:http://bjmh.org.uk/index.php/bjmh/article/view/29/21

    Note Italian recruited Ascari (Askari) also featured in the 1936 invasion of Abysinia and the opposition to the 1941 Allied invasion of Abysina (Ethiopia), Eritrea and Italian Somailand; as covered in the book reviewed in:An obscure 'small war' in WW2

    There is a reverse aspect, the violent suppression in Abyssinia of opposition to Italian occupation and a new book covers that. From the publisher's summary:
    In February 1937, following an abortive attack by a handful of insurgents on Mussolini’s High Command in Italian-occupied Ethiopia, ‘repression squads’ of armed Blackshirts and Fascist civilians were unleashed on the defenceless residents of Addis Ababa. In three terror-filled days and nights of arson, murder and looting, thousands of innocent and unsuspecting men, women and children were roasted alive, shot, bludgeoned, stabbed to death, or blown to pieces with hand-grenades (est. 19k died). Meanwhile the notorious Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, infamous for his atrocities in Libya, took the opportunity to add to the carnage by eliminating the intelligentsia and nobility of the ancient Ethiopian empire in a pogrom that swept across the land.
    Link:http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/...baba-massacre/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-16-2017 at 10:27 AM. Reason: 31,411v when closed July 2012
    davidbfpo

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    Default A major hole in COIN scholarship

    Hat tip to WoTR for this commentary cum book review of Walter C. Ladwig III, The Forgotten Front: Patron Client Relations in Counterinsurgency (Cambridge University Press, 2017):
    The King’s College London professor takes direct aim at FM 3-24, and the West’s thinking on counterinsurgency, specifically its naiveté that the patron and client will share common political goals if the patron is doling out large sums of cash to the client.
    (Later) Ladwig shines a bright light on some of the deficiencies in counterinsurgency literature and the United States’ naiveté about its relationship with its clients. His goal is to improve the West’s performance in future counterinsurgency battles.
    Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/08/ho...ency-campaign/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-21-2017 at 08:02 PM. Reason: 35,110v 3.7k up since last post a month ago
    davidbfpo

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