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Thread: "Occupation by Policy" - How Victors Inadvertantly Provoke Resistance Insurgency

  1. #41
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    LOO=Line of Operation

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    Bob, I understand your response to my comments. Fair enough.

    Posted by Outlaw 09

    Will give you an example on Iran---in the 60s through the late 70s the Shah sent a number of Iranian students to study in Berlin at the cost of the Iranian government---the students who were initially shy became in a short time "radicalized" by the German student movement which was by the way in 67/68 taking on the dictatorship of the Shah went most US students had never even heard of the Shah or his SAVAK. The first German student shot by the Berlin Riot Police in 67 was demoing against the Shah during his visit to Berlin
    Besides being incredibly interesting, I think this comment points to the importance of ideology and transference of ideas. It is ideology, religion, and other ideas that shake the world more than anything else, so we can't dismis them. I also think we have the best intentions when we try to establish democratic governments in the midst of chaos, but with few exceptions (e.g. the country has an educated population and history of democracy) it will fail for reasons that seem obvious in hindsight, and possibly in foresight. Why were the communists and jihadists able to establish functional (good enough) government structures rather quickly? Say what you want about Kilkullen, but a point I think he got right in his new book is that people desire order, they want to know what the rules are so they can establish a new norm that is somewhat predictable. Sharia law and communism provides that structure in my opinion (I'm not talking legitimacy) fairly quickly because the laws/expectations are pretty clear. What do we do? We attempt to impose democracy in a chaotic situation where people are seeking order more than a voice, so we throw more disorder on top of disorder.

    While not politically correct, occupation powers (not arguing the morality of being an occupying power) should establish fairly strict population control measures, and facilitate a strong government that can continue to impose this order. Then over time after order is established gradually encourage and assist that government transition to something that more effectively addresses the demands of its people.

    We can't fix our policy makers, I wish we could, but we can execute in ways that are more effective at the operational and strategic level.

  3. #43
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    I agree with carl about living documents.....that is nothing but a drug deal about to go very bad.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Let's look at a specific and current example.

    I have long contended that the Center of Gravity for the War on Terrorism (or whatever we call it this week) has been, and remains, the nature of the relationship between the Government of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the United States.

    There are many clues pointing to this as the COG:
    1. The vast majority of AQ's Core and the 9/11 attackers are Saudi.
    2. The primary target of AQ being taking down the Saudi family's rule of Arabia.
    3. The Saudi-US relationship dating back to 1944 when FDR committed to Ibn Saud that the US would be the protector of the Saudi Kingdom and retain his family in power.
    4. The role of the Saudi Kingdom as the protector of Islam and the holy mosques at Mecca and Medina.
    5. My understanding of Insurgency. Revolutionary Insurgency conditions between Saudi members of AQ and the KSA; and Resistance Insurgency conditions between Saudi Members of AQ (and their many sympathizers) and the US due to the widely held belief that the Saudi family has been far less willing to listen to the reasonable grievances of the people due to their commitment of protection from the US than they would be if there were no such external source of protection.

    Now fast forward to today. What relationship is evolving faster than any other relationship the US has in the ME? Not out of design; not out of us sitting down face to face and discussing new terms; but rather out of reaction to decisions the US is making elsewhere in the ME. Our relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis clearly no longer trust the certainty of this 1944 promise of protection and are increasingly taking matters into their own hands to secure their future. Ironically, even to the extent of working with their sworn enemy, AQ, in Syria.

    What have we done that has soured this Cold War relationship?
    1. We invaded Iraq and took out Saddam, thereby destroying that strong buffer between Shia Iran and Sunni Arabia. Net result, we delivered Iraq into the Iranian Sphere of Influence and allowed them to flank the Arabian Pen. on the north.
    2. We turned our back on Mubarak. Who might we turn on next? The Saudi's and the Gulf State leaders reasonably believe it could be them, as they know they are willing to be even more ruthless than Mubarak toward their own people if need be to stay in power.
    3. We waffled on Syria. Saudis and the Gulf States launched their own UW campaigns to support the revolution, working hand in glove with AQ who was already there.

    So, while we may well be defusing the COG a bit by accident, that is no way to wage policy. We essentially "occupied by policy" the KSA, not by controlling the Saudi family, but rather by protecting them and enabling them to ignore their people's evolving needs and concerns. We created conditions of resistance insurgency that have been a powerful recruiting tool for AQ and others to enlist members willing to conduct acts of transnational terrorism, to include, of course, the 9/11 attackers.

    My recommendation is that we sit down with the Saudis, President to King, and let them know what the new terms are in no uncertain way. Letting them guess is leading to them guessing the worst. That isn't good.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (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)

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bob:

    I am in full agreement that the relationship between the US and Saudi gov has made for a world of trouble and may continue to do so. Some of the things you cite and conclusions you make I disagree with. I still think the whole 'resistance insurgency' and 'occupation by policy' bits are too strained and tenuous to be useful but you're right about Saudi Arabia being trouble as things stand as they are. We should rejigger the whole thing.

    What should we tell them the new terms are?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    http://warontherocks.com/2013/12/reb...ref_map=%5b%5d

    A quote from an article posted to the blog today that is very relevant to the topic.

    Every foreign force that comes crashing in thinks it’s intervening in ‘a country,’ but it’s actually taking sides in an ongoing contest among Afghans about what this country is. . .The foreign power essentially tries to swing the pot by grasping its handle, but the pot shatters, and the foreign power is left holding only a handle.

  7. #47
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Bob:

    I am in full agreement that the relationship between the US and Saudi gov has made for a world of trouble and may continue to do so. Some of the things you cite and conclusions you make I disagree with. I still think the whole 'resistance insurgency' and 'occupation by policy' bits are too strained and tenuous to be useful but you're right about Saudi Arabia being trouble as things stand as they are. We should rejigger the whole thing.

    What should we tell them the new terms are?
    Carl,

    In broadest terms, I think we need to evolve in our approach to being less of an arbitrator of outcomes we believe will be best for us, to being more of a mediator of terms that the people believe will be best for them.

    That means assuming a degree of risk we have up to now been unwilling to assume (after all, we have the means in our war fighting military on hand to force the outcomes we want, why allow things to go to chance?).

    Control is over-rated. Certainly Containment was a very controlling strategy, so we developed some bad habits over several generations. Many now see this as normal and proper. It isn't. Certainly not in the emerging strategic environment where people are increasingly empowered and informed.

    Influence needs to be our goal, and that demands we be far more pragmatic about who some particular people want (e.g., MB in Egypt), and much more plugged into what the people are thinking and feeling about their governance and about us.

    For US SOF, (OK, this is my opinion, and not anything official) this means the main effort shifts from JSOC and CT over to the more diverse aspects of SOF that are primarily part of USASOC and the other service SOFs and under the C2 of our various theater SOCs. Primary mission would not be to build partner capacity, but rather simply (and critically) to develop the informal and formal understanding, relationships and influence necessary to appreciate how the people feel, to know who they blame, and to be postured to shape in the right direction in appropriate ways when necessary. Typically that will be through some partner with shared interests and direct relationships with said populations. CT will fall into the shadows as a minor, but vital, capacity to mitigate the rough edges when necessary - but again, in ways that are far less caustic than our approaches over the past several years.
    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)

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    Bob's World cited in part and with my emphasis:
    For US SOF, (OK, this is my opinion, and not anything official) this means the main effort shifts from JSOC and CT over to the more diverse aspects of SOF that are primarily part of USASOC and the other service SOFs and under the C2 of our various theater SOCs. Primary mission would not be to build partner capacity, but rather simply (and critically) to develop the informal and formal understanding, relationships and influence necessary to appreciate how the people feel, to know who they blame, and to be postured to shape in the right direction in appropriate ways when necessary. Typically that will be through some partner with shared interests and direct relationships with said populations. CT will fall into the shadows as a minor, but vital, capacity to mitigate the rough edges when necessary - but again, in ways that are far less caustic than our approaches over the past several years.
    Robert,

    That is a very grand objective. I am not persauded that SOF are the best body to undertake such a task alone, nor that diplomats and spooks are too. Maybe it would work in parts of the developing world, where non-military agencies find it too hard to operate.

    Can you indicate if US SOF have achieved such an objective before?

    Before 1979 in Iran the USA had well developed official relationships within Iranian officialdom, but almost none beyond that (shared with many other nations, who feared upsetting the Shah and his regime if they did). IIRC the USA sent a senior army general to Teheran, who had served there, to talk with the army commanders - to not use force against the rising protests.

    I do wonder if the Allied WW2 experience, by no means not all good, of political warfare has been forgotten. Yes there was a strong element of "cloak & dagger" and 'black' psyops hence OSS & SOE are well known names, few have heard of PWE (Political Warfare Executive).

    Put yourself in the role of the potential host, a nation-state regime, which is aware that the USA wishes to deploy SOF tasked to such a mission; why on earth would they accept them?

    Since you earlier referred to KSA, it would be interesting to see if the advocated SOF mission led to the ending of US & UK missions within the KSA military.
    davidbfpo

  9. #49
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Bob:

    This is what I understand you to mean. Put people in the country, long term, decades even, so that they may gain a true understanding of the place and the people in it. I say long term because it would not be possible in my view to gain the understanding of the place needed unless our people spent a long, long time there.

    The first object of this is simple intel, but truly deep intel. Another objective would be to influence events and this influence would be effected by the people who have been there a long time. This is all to the good but it sort of breaks down for me at this point.

    First, can American military people do this or will personnel policies prevent it? It seems that guys are moved around very frequently and that won't do if truly deep knowledge is to be gained.

    Stan and his experience would seem to be the kind of thing you are looking for. That brings up another problem. Stan knew what he was about and he knew what Zaire was about. But he was a Sgt. Would a man of such relatively low rank be able to exert any influence? I wonder. It seems to me there would be a lot of 'Oh he's only an enlisted man.' that would get in his way. And that would not only be with the locals, that would be with our own people. Would they listen to an enlisted guy, or any military guy who wasn't a high officer.

    The part that really trips me up is the influencing part. How would that be done? Would it be moral suasion, force of personality or would it be something more substantial like the money inflow. It seems to me that we could have guy who was best friends in the world with a big shot in one of these countries and it would be for nothing unless our guy had something to give or take away.

    As far as Saudi Arabia goes I'm not sure such an arrangement as you propose could really do us measurable good, like doing something to stop the private Saudi funds financing AQ, unless we could pressure them. We are coming into a very strong position, North American continental energy independence, so we can influence them, but I think it would take more than talk.

    Another situation that is getting worse is the persecution of Christians in some of the countries of the Muslim world. That is one of those situations where the energetic people of the country; it might be that is what they really want. How would we change that short of something stronger than talk, if it can be changed at all?

    I seek your opinion on the question of persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. Do people talk about that? Is it even seen as a problem and if it is, can or should anything be done about it?

    So I can see merit in the general idea, but I question its practicability even given that the perceived ability to 'get things' is inherently less.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    5. My understanding of Insurgency. Revolutionary Insurgency conditions between Saudi members of AQ and the KSA; and Resistance Insurgency conditions between Saudi Members of AQ (and their many sympathizers) and the US due to the widely held belief that the Saudi family has been far less willing to listen to the reasonable grievances of the people due to their commitment of protection from the US than they would be if there were no such external source of protection.
    I think there's a great deal assumed here that is not supported by evidence or reasoning.

    The idea that AQ is a reactive organization conjured up in response to American policy is widespread - the word "backlash" comes up rather often - but repeating something doesn't make it so. It is a peculiarly American conceit to assume that others have no capacity for agency, and can only be either manipulated by American policy or lash back against it. In reality many of those others have their own proactive goals, usually associated with power, and are perfectly capable of pursuing them on their own, without lashing back against anything. AQ wants power. They want to rule. Certainly they tap into a deep reserve of Arab and Muslim discontent, but I've seen few coherent arguments to suggest this is a backlash against US policy, or that any possible permutation of past American policy would have had the capacity to alter that.

    Certainly AQ seeks to overturn and replace Arab governments, most particularly that of Saudi Arabia, but it's important to note that this element of their platform receives very little support among the populaces of these countries. Saudis are more than willing to cheer on AQ and to contribute money and fighters, when AQ fights foreign intruders in Muslim lands, or counts coup against anything associated with "the west". When AQ tried to bring the fight home and generate a rebellion against the Saudi monarchy, the effort fell completely flat: they never generated anything remotely approaching the critical mass needed to muster a credible insurgency or seriously threaten the government. People simply didn't buy the message: Saudis are quite willing to support and celebrate AQ as long as they fight somewhere else, but they have zero interest in being ruled by AQ. That doesn't mean they love the monarchy, of course, it just means that they don't see AQ as a viable alternative. It also doesn't help that the most consistently aggrieved section of the Saudi populace is the Shi'a, who of course are not about to jump on the AQ bandwagon.

    There are certainly many Saudis who have grievances with their government, nut AQ is in no way a manifestation of popular anti-government sentiment. They tried to cast themselves in that role, but were categorically rejected.

    Perhaps the weakest contention in your argument is the claim that US support has somehow enabled the Saudis to ignore popular grievance. Again, I see no evidence or reasoning to support that claim. The US has certainly supported the Saudis against foreign threats, and will continue to do so: that's not about supporting the royal family, it's about ensuring that Saudi oil reserves don't fall into hostile hands. The Saudis need no US help or advice to maintain internal security, and they could (and would) do it their way no matter what the US said or did. They don't need US help to oppress the populace, nor do they need or seek US permission.

    Perhaps the most dangerous part of this argument is that it seems to point toward urging the US to try to impose itself as an unwanted mediator between the Saudi government and populace. That of course is an appalling idea. The US has zero standing to take on such a role, and any such effort would be resisted by all parties involved. The relationship between the Saudi government and their populace is complex, but it is none of our business and neither government nor populace wants us messing in it. Any advice we give their government is going to be rejected out of hand: for a suggestion of how that would go, look what happened when the US tried to council accommodation and negotiation when the Arab Spring hit Bahrain. The Saudis simply ignored us. Why would we think they'd do anything different if we tried to tell them how to manage their own populace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    My recommendation is that we sit down with the Saudis, President to King, and let them know what the new terms are in no uncertain way. Letting them guess is leading to them guessing the worst. That isn't good.
    I don't see how the terms have changed.

    The US will not bomb Iran or remove Assad just because the Saudis want us to. That's nothing new. The Saudis have tried to push in that direction, the US has not obliged (wisely, IMO), and the Saudis have gone about their own way. That doesn't represent any great change in the US-Saudi position.

    The US will, of course, defend Saudi Arabia against any (rather hypothetical) attack from Iran (with Saddam gone there's no other reasonable candidate). Again, that's not support for the royal family, it's keeping the oil in congenial hands, something the Saudi government and people know quite well. The US will not withdraw that protection no matter what the Saudis do to their own people, and any threat to withdraw it is hollow... we know that, and so do they. No matter how awful the royals are, we will not accept Iranian control of the Saudi oil fields.

    The US will not protect the Saudis in the event of internal uprising, but I don't think the Saudi royals ever expected that, or cared: they are quite confident in their own ability to manage that situation. That confidence may prove misplaced, but no matter what we do or say, they will do it their way. They don't care what we think, and they don't have to care. We have neither control nor meaningful influence over their actions.

    /rant

    At the end of the day, since the argument clearly focuses on Saudi Arabia, can we have some actual suggestions for policies and/or actions that you think would improve this situation?
    “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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    Robert in his comments on the use of SF in the future meaning the building of informal face to face relationship building is and will be the way forward in the coming years vs say the state to state types of meetings/training/exchanges.

    By the way the face to face can actually change US policy if the SF UW team on the ground is good at what they do during the relationship building phase.

    The following is an example of a early 70s SF UW team;

    The entire team had been either just coming from or recently returned VN, Thailand vets from the CIDG or MACV-SOG programs. Many had been wounded a number of times and it was one of the highest decorated SF teams in Germany. The ten man team had the ability to cover five European languages fluently.

    Educational backgrounds and military years of service extremely varied-most eventually retired out of SF and the others went back to college ---one was a MOH recipient.

    Now comes the interesting part---most of the bloggers here would be advised to go back into history and read in detail the development of Greece from 1954 until the coup of 1967 and especially a Greek army unit called the Hellenic Raiding Force.

    Now the shift to what Robert is inferring to--the team receives the mission to train selected Greek officers and senior NCOs of the HRF first in Germany and then in Greece---on the surface a typical FID but there were other players involved that set another set of mission requirements.

    When the team received the second set of instructions it did not sit well with the team which actually after a long intensive internal debate refused the mission set as it did not match what they had fought for in a long number of years but which were the national level interests at that particular time in space. The team refused the mission via their chain to conduct the mission and since the mission was tailored to them the chain listened---there was no heated debates just a solid exchange of reasons the team felt the national level was not aware of the impact on the population and Greek military side especially in 1970 inside Greece. By the way this was not the first encounter by the team with the HRF.

    And especially an island called Cyprus in 1970 where the HRF had been/was active and that was unknown to the national level tasker but it was known to the SF UW team from previous encounters with them.

    The provider of the second set of requirements was then forced to redo their requirements to match the teams beliefs of what should occur based on the SF values of what they had been trained in on the UW side and off the team went---everyone was happy except those that provided the second mission set requirements.

    Six month mission was successfully completed based on the UW teams requirements---now check history and see what Greek unit made the initial move to remove the COLs and returned to the population their country which was the same unit that triggered the shift to the COLs in 1967.

    It is really all about perceptions and the values established by a SF team at the informal face to face phase of a relationship. There are sometimes minor victories at the informal level that trigger historical events down the road especially when it is based on personal one on one encounters that are previously established. It is amazing what occurs during these personal encounters that can effect history and the cost is literally nothing to the national level.

    This is I think where SF wants to head but it requires a SF leadership that sets that tone in UW training and it takes SF teams that are willing to voice their SF values when a mission set comes down that goes counter to their training and values.

    It also requires a national level decision maker to understand that every move they make whiplashes the intended population in ways sometimes no one thinks about---so all decisions at this level must have a COA phase that discusses this. Check the current European populations view of the US/NSA since the release of their activities here in Europe---the lowest view of the US is held currently at a level that is scary-- even Russia is being viewed as more trustworthy.

    This is where we have gone so wrong with Islamic fundamentalism and AQ.

    We have based on our national polices actually driven one and created the other.

    BUT who is going to carry that message to a divided US public and political body at large that would declare the messenger to be a traitor.

  12. #52
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Another situation that is getting worse is the persecution of Christians in some of the countries of the Muslim world... How would we change that short of something stronger than talk, if it can be changed at all?
    Is that something we need to change? A problem, yes, but our problem?

    Muslims are also persecuted in many places... parts of Russia, western China, Burma, southern Thailand, southern Philippines. How would we change that short of something stronger than talk, if it can be changed at all? And again, why would we try?

    Lots of people being persecuted in lots of places... not a good thing of course, but appointing ourselves world cop seems not a good thing either, and appointing ourselves defenders of any particular faith seems an even worse thing, to me at least.
    “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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    Dayuhan---would you not agree that the interests of the Saudis now match those of AQ in Syria---namely confronting Shia fundamentalism in the name of Shia containment? Really reread the Sept 2013 AQ General Guidance to the Jihad and AQs references to the "near enemy".

    Second question would be --if true then what drove that merging of interests?

    Third question would be if in fact they have merged their short term interests-and both being of a fundamentalist Sunni direction (one Salaist- one Wahhabist) has AQ pulled a 180 turn and is now not viewing SA as the "near enemy" as they did under UBL?

    Combat against a perceived common "near enemy" does make strange bedfellows that can have long term impacts that we in the US have not yet fully understood while we tap dance in our Syrian policies.

    Lastly what will be the perception impact on the greater Arab population be if both AQ and the Saudi in fact stopped Assad in Syria and the US and Europe just stood by while thousands of Arabs were killed and wounded and millions forced to flee Syria?

    That is the inherent question that you side step.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Dayuhan---would you not agree that the interests of the Saudis now match those of AQ in Syria---namely confronting Shia fundamentalism in the name of Shia containment? enemy".
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Second question would be --if true then what drove that merging of interests?
    Mutual dislike for/fear of both Iran specifically and the Shi'a generically.

    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Third question would be if in fact they have merged their short term interests-and both being of a fundamentalist Sunni direction (one Salaist- one Wahhabist) has AQ pulled a 180 turn and is now not viewing SA as the "near enemy" as they did under UBL?
    I think both SA andf AQ still view each other as enemies, but as enemies with whom they are willing to cooperate if it seems expedient. I don't think the Saudis are all that displeased to see AQ (and allied movement) resources and attention poured into Syria, rather than into the Arabian Peninsula.

    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Combat against a perceived common "near enemy" does make strange bedfellows that can have long term impacts that we in the US have not yet fully understood while we tap dance in our Syrian policies.
    Absolutely.

    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Lastly what will be the perception impact on the greater Arab population be if both AQ and the Saudi in fact stopped Assad in Syria and the US and Europe just stood by while thousands of Arabs were killed and wounded and millions forced to flee Syria?

    That is the inherent question that you side step.
    Hasn't really come up on this thread.

    First, in terms of "the perception impact on the greater Arab population", I think direct involvement in Syria would be a huge mistake. One of the few things that street agrees on is that they don't want the US or "the west" meddling in regional affairs. Even if "the west" did in fact improve things for Syrian Muslims (a huge "if"), I doubt that they'd give any more credit than they did for protecting Bosnian Muslims. The assumption will always be that intervention was in pursuit of some ulterior motive, not to protect the populace. No matter what positive spin we try to put on it, the image of US armor rolling down Arab streets raises a very predictable and very negative reaction among the greater Arab population. That reaction may not be logical or justifiable, but it's still predictable. Any US intervention in the region, even if we say it's totally altruistic and even if we really believe it's totally altruistic (including any attempt to mediate between the Saudi government and populace) will be interpreted locally as a self-serving effort to advance our own interests. They don't trust us. Can't imagine why.

    Wading into a mess we can't resolve because we don't want someone else to get credit for resolving it would seem to me to be pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest.
    “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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    Dayuhan---interesting comment from you;

    "Muslims are also persecuted in many places... parts of Russia, western China, Burma, southern Thailand, southern Philippines. How would we change that short of something stronger than talk, if it can be changed at all? And again, why would we try?"

    With what about 3B Muslims world wide---and having read AQs recent General Guidance to Jihad what if the US policies message the reinforcing of our interests in that population being fairly treated ---not through force but by all available other non violent methods.

    Then how does AQ handle that ie the US is now strongly interested in those populations --not forcing our value systems on them but allowing those populations to decide for themselves where they want to go even if it goes against our initial political instincts.

    IE just what was our response to the Arab Springs? Initially confusion, then standoff, then we tried to engage insisting on democratic development---instead of providing flanking support and allowing the effected population to decide on their own which direction they want to go and with the US signally OK maybe it is not in our interests but it is your interests so we will go with it.

    Just what then is AQs messaging--are we then the "near enemy" or is the governance that is not responding to their population really now the "near enemy" as alluded to in the AQ Guidance as we have to a degree identified with the populations own desires and drives regardless of where it goes?

    But we will never get to that point as we have locked ourselves into our former Cold War mindsets and view AQ and Sunni/Shia fundamentalism as also equal to Communism-therefore the old domino theory has arisen again.

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    Dayuhan--this comment goes to the heart of our policy failures in the ME---it is all about how we are perceived nothing more nothing else---how does the common man in the population view us.

    Right now not much higher than say the top side of a buried grain of sand.

    "Wading into a mess we can't resolve because we don't want someone else to get credit for resolving it would seem to me to be pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest."

    Yes we could have waded into Syria but in fact we cannot as we are trying to gain a settlement with Iran which we nationally right now view of higher importance that the thousands being killed in Syria or the Sunni/Shia death fight.

    We let others take Syria as we as a country really do not want to conduct a war with Iran where there are no winners only losers.

    Confronting the Shia in Syria would have killed any chances of an agreement with Iran for the next ten or so years and Iran would have gone faster nuclear and the Israelis would have gone to war so Syria civilian deaths while brutal are not in our national interests and this is the messaging that AQ throws at us in the ME---and our actions just reinforce that message.

    But to the Arab population as a whole the killing does in fact matter and how we respond to Syria is determining what influence or no influence we will have going forward in the ME and it is definitely impacting the Saudi's who say the least are p_____ed at us is an understatement.

  17. #57
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    BG Wendt wrote at article that goes to one way SOF can more effectively develop understanding, influence and relationships than solely through traditional vehicles, such as training with partners, traditional Embassy positions, or emersion language training.

    http://www.soc.mil/swcs/swmag/archiv...nnProgram.html

    This is not about spying on people or working to develop covert networks, this is simply about being in critical places (a fusion of geostrategy and vital interests), living among the equally critical populations who live in those places, and having trusted relationships with appropriate military partners as well. This means stop chasing the threat of the day and going where the J2 says "the threat" is; this means not working to simply help some government stay in power by helping them through capacity building and CT to keep their own population in check; this means applying a strategic perspective that takes a long view so that we are already there and aware long before a threat to interests ever develops.

    As to the types of perceptions that create conditions of insurgency among a population, these are subjective and tend to develop over time; and can grow to very high levels (as Arab Spring demonstrates) and remain latent for years before some event or leader sparks the people to move. Or when the people simply overcome their fear of their government. This is nuance and cannot be measured with ruler. Many states, like the KSA, look extremely stable, but in fact are quite brittle. Like the Titanic, a state can appear "unsinkable," but hidden flaws and poor leadership can quickly lead to a catastrophic event.

    There are many subtle signals coming out of the ME; and increasingly out of Europe, China and other places as well. Poor governance and conditions of insurgency are widespread. When these conditions are merely revolutionary (internal) in nature it is of little consequence to the US unless it threatens some critical location where our interests manifest. But when the conditions are of a resistance nature cause by the impact of US policy we need to be extremely aware, as this is what drives transnational terrorism against us. When it is a fusion of both, and we work to protect the government that is at odds with its population (as is typically the case for out intel-driven operations today), it is the worst case, and this is why strategically we are moving in the opposite direction our tactics are intended to take us.
    Robert C. Jones
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    (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)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Is that something we need to change? A problem, yes, but our problem?

    Muslims are also persecuted in many places... parts of Russia, western China, Burma, southern Thailand, southern Philippines. How would we change that short of something stronger than talk, if it can be changed at all? And again, why would we try?

    Lots of people being persecuted in lots of places... not a good thing of course, but appointing ourselves world cop seems not a good thing either, and appointing ourselves defenders of any particular faith seems an even worse thing, to me at least.
    Is it something we need to change? No, not from a national survival standpoint. From a human standpoint though, yes it needs to change.

    I always wonder at the 'Yea but what about ...' response when it comes up, especially when it is used in reference to murders. It seems to me a suggestion that one killing cancels out the other while disregarding the dead.

    The Muslims who are persecuted in the places you mention are targets mainly because they are Muslim Separatists, they are rebelling against the government. Righteous cause or not, they are viewed as rebels. That is qualitatively different from the persecution of Christians in some Muslim countries and especially the killings committed by the takfiri killers. That persecution and those murders are committed solely because the victims are Christians. They aren't rebelling against anybody. They are being killed because of the faith they profess. They aren't the only ones being killed for their faith. In Pakistan the Ahmadis, Shias and others get the chop.

    This is very important. It gets to one of the basic motivations of the takfiri killers and some of the govs of Muslim countries, especially Pakistan's. It is important because when you are dealing with people like that, there isn't any compromise. It helps to know what the other guy is about. That is why I keep bring this up. It is an important thing.

    My own opinion as to what to do is twofold. The first is talk. The US gov should take notice of these things and say so. The other thing is extension of visas to Christians from countries like that. It seems to me that they would win, not getting killed next week; and we would win, we would gain people who would like the place that saved them.
    Last edited by carl; 01-01-2014 at 07:29 PM.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Robert in his comments on the use of SF in the future meaning the building of informal face to face relationship building is and will be the way forward in the coming years vs say the state to state types of meetings/training/exchanges.

    By the way the face to face can actually change US policy if the SF UW team on the ground is good at what they do during the relationship building phase.

    The following is an example of a early 70s SF UW team;

    The entire team had been either just coming from or recently returned VN, Thailand vets from the CIDG or MACV-SOG programs. Many had been wounded a number of times and it was one of the highest decorated SF teams in Germany. The ten man team had the ability to cover five European languages fluently.

    Educational backgrounds and military years of service extremely varied-most eventually retired out of SF and the others went back to college ---one was a MOH recipient.

    Now comes the interesting part---most of the bloggers here would be advised to go back into history and read in detail the development of Greece from 1954 until the coup of 1967 and especially a Greek army unit called the Hellenic Raiding Force.

    Now the shift to what Robert is inferring to--the team receives the mission to train selected Greek officers and senior NCOs of the HRF first in Germany and then in Greece---on the surface a typical FID but there were other players involved that set another set of mission requirements.

    When the team received the second set of instructions it did not sit well with the team which actually after a long intensive internal debate refused the mission set as it did not match what they had fought for in a long number of years but which were the national level interests at that particular time in space. The team refused the mission via their chain to conduct the mission and since the mission was tailored to them the chain listened---there was no heated debates just a solid exchange of reasons the team felt the national level was not aware of the impact on the population and Greek military side especially in 1970 inside Greece. By the way this was not the first encounter by the team with the HRF.

    And especially an island called Cyprus in 1970 where the HRF had been/was active and that was unknown to the national level tasker but it was known to the SF UW team from previous encounters with them.

    The provider of the second set of requirements was then forced to redo their requirements to match the teams beliefs of what should occur based on the SF values of what they had been trained in on the UW side and off the team went---everyone was happy except those that provided the second mission set requirements.

    Six month mission was successfully completed based on the UW teams requirements---now check history and see what Greek unit made the initial move to remove the COLs and returned to the population their country which was the same unit that triggered the shift to the COLs in 1967.

    It is really all about perceptions and the values established by a SF team at the informal face to face phase of a relationship. There are sometimes minor victories at the informal level that trigger historical events down the road especially when it is based on personal one on one encounters that are previously established. It is amazing what occurs during these personal encounters that can effect history and the cost is literally nothing to the national level.

    This is I think where SF wants to head but it requires a SF leadership that sets that tone in UW training and it takes SF teams that are willing to voice their SF values when a mission set comes down that goes counter to their training and values.

    It also requires a national level decision maker to understand that every move they make whiplashes the intended population in ways sometimes no one thinks about---so all decisions at this level must have a COA phase that discusses this. Check the current European populations view of the US/NSA since the release of their activities here in Europe---the lowest view of the US is held currently at a level that is scary-- even Russia is being viewed as more trustworthy.

    This is where we have gone so wrong with Islamic fundamentalism and AQ.

    We have based on our national polices actually driven one and created the other.

    BUT who is going to carry that message to a divided US public and political body at large that would declare the messenger to be a traitor.
    I both agree and remain strongly critical of your proposals based on my personal experience and study of history. BG Wendt's proposal for what used to be called the Global Scout is workable only if those individuals are empowered by our bureaucracy. This approach could and has worked when these individuals were empowered and could bypass the bureaucracy and speak truth to power. That has happened, but more often than not it didn't and couldn't, so to base a strategic approach is an approach built on a house of cards.

    Some examples include OSS members at the end of WWII who understood the situation on the ground based on their relationships with the people, yet their insights were completely discarded by the bureaucrats who blindly embraced dumb policies and marginalized anyone (included the experts on the ground) who disagreed with them.

    Currently reading another book on Lansdale, and he stated the only reason he was successful in the Philippines was because he could bypass the bureaucrats in State and Defense and shape the situation. They hated him for it, and did everything they could to undermine his efforts, to include the JUSMAAG Chief blowing his cover (he was relieved, but the damage was still done).

    In Vietnam, he was unable to do this, and he had deep concerns about our policies there, but he was silenced by McNamara, a number of senior officers, and State.

    Bureaucracies over time increasingly centralize power over time, so this situation will only get worse. Having recently left the ranks of SF, I was sickened by the officer centric nature of the force when I did leave and it continues today. The bureaucracy has created the perception that only officers are qualified to work with country teams or develop important relationships with host nation personnel. We have effectively marginalized the most talented 90% of our force, who throughout its relatively short history have moved mountains in Africa, SE Asia, and Papa New Guinea at a minimum. Unlike our system where most tend to assess people based on their titles and rank instead of their individual strengths and weaknesses, people outside the bureaucracy will recognize talent and character. I don't give a crap about what you wear on your collar, or if you were appointed as an Ambassador.

    How can we fight population-centric conflicts effectively, when we're arrogantly focused on determining who is the most appropriate person for a position based on rank and his/her ability to conform to the bureaucracy?

    I hear what you and Bob are saying, and I don't want to quit focusing on "what can be" by getting excessively tied to "what is,", but at the same time we have to understand our system to know what is feasible. Lots of things need to change to make these proposals work.

  20. #60
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    Bill,

    No argument. But the longest journey begins with the first step, right? Step one is stepping back from what really isn't working and exploring what might work better. This thread is just an effort to take a step or two.

    Too many think the answer is just to just work harder and faster at what we've been doing; or to be more aggressive in attacking Islamist ideology; or to go more aggressively after governments who have interests that do not support our own (just as our do not support theirs...).

    For all of design's flaws, step one is to reexamine the problem. I think we've defined the problem in terms that are excessive symptomatic and in ways that avoid any hard examination of our own causal role or how we might advance our interests more effectively in ways that are less expensive or provocative than the ways we apply today.

    I worked for a Marine Brigadier Deputy G3 at PACOM who would routinely "motivate" the troops after we'd been slaving on some problem for days by reminding us "congratulations, we are at step 3 of a 100 step process."

    You and I both know "too hard" is never a reason not to try, or we'd be in very different places right now than we currently are.
    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)

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