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Thread: Sanctuary or Ungoverned Spaces:identification, symptoms and responses

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Sanctuary or Ungoverned Spaces:identification, symptoms and responses

    Moderator's Note

    This thread was entitled 'Ungoverned spaces & State, Non-State, State Sponsored opportunities vs. our Interests' until 25th Sept 2012, when other threads were merged here and the title amended to 'Sanctuary or Ungoverned Spaces:identification, symptoms and responses'.

    The catalyst being remarks made by Ambassador Crocker over the future of Afghanistan, which have been moved here. There is a post at the end explaining what threads were merged.(ends)


    15 September Washington Post - World Bank Lists Failing Nations That Can Breed Global Terrorism by Karen DeYoung.

    The number of weak and poorly governed nations that can provide a breeding ground for global terrorism has grown sharply over the past three years, despite increased Western efforts to improve conditions in such states, according to a new World Bank report.

    "Fragile" countries, whose deepening poverty puts them at risk from terrorism, armed conflict and epidemic disease, have jumped to 26 from 17 since the report was last issued in 2003. Five states graduated off the list, but 14 made new appearances, including Nigeria and seven other African countries, Kosovo, Cambodia, East Timor, and the West Bank and Gaza. Twelve states, including Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan, made both lists...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-25-2012 at 09:30 AM.

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    Council Member pcmfr's Avatar
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    I was surprised to see that Haiti was the only SOUTHCOM country listed. I would think a few others are contenders for the list, especially Paraguay, Guatemala, and Guiyana.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Ungoverned spaces & State, Non-State, State Sponsored opportunities vs. our Interests

    One of the questions that Ambassador Crocker mentioned in his opening statement during his testimony to the Senate was the declared intention of Iran to fill any vacuum provided by the U.S. - but how much of a vacuum could they actually fill?

    We cannot claim to control every square inch of Iraq, Afghanistan, the HOA, the Philippines, Columbia or any place we are currently operating in where we consider instability a threat. The local and national governments of these places cannot claim to either - but they are trying to work (with us) towards the level of control required to do prevent these spaces from growing and impacting other regions of their states, and eventually shrinking these spaces - or as a larger goal - shrinking what Thomas Barnett has described as "The Gap".

    AMB Crocker's comments and today's press conference by the International Institute of Strategic Studies are framing an important question that extends beyond Iraq & Afghanistan. There are plenty of ungoverned spaces within geographically defined state borders all over the world. There are also states and non-state actors willing to exploit these areas, foment instability, and use them as staging areas, sanctuaries, and training grounds from which to pursue broader goals.

    This is certainly should not be viewed as a "US only problem". However, because we have wide ranging interests of which some are vital and some are peripheral but linked to vital interest; because the U.S.is targeted based on our pursuit and defense of those interests; because we often stand as an impediment to the pursuit of national, regional or international objectives of non-state and states which have their own set of fear, honor and interests (as Thucydides described the reasons for which war is waged); and because the U.S. has the means to act; we are perceived as the counter to this problem.

    What then should our policy goals be?

    What are the means by which we should pursue those goals? How should / or should we adapt/transform our elements of National Power to meet these requirements? Does the military need to change - how much? Do we need an increase in our Diplomatic, Informational, Economic capabilities - how much?

    What are the ways by which we should pursue these policies and employ our means to best effect? If a state cannot or will not act to prevent those states, non-state actors, state sponsored actors with goals that jeopardize our interests (and those of our allies) from operating in these ungoverned spaces - should we violate their sovereign borders in order to attack, defeat and destroy those organizations? This is certainly the subject of debate by 2008 Presidential Candidates - and I believe it is a very real decision that a President will have to make given the trans-national nature of groups to plan, recruit and train in one geographic location, but execute varying scales of terrorist attacks as part of their own agenda, or the agenda of their sponsor in areas across the globe.

    What I have not heard a great deal of discussion about from Presidential candidates is a counter balancing plan that is able to build state capacity on the scale required to reduce the chances of having to make that decision. I do think the COCOMs are doing this, and I think DOS is working hard to do this as well, but are we doing this by adapting the means available to accomplish this? Do we have the right means required to meet the scope of the task?

    Do we need to re-evaluate our policy and strategy to ensure we have a match that more gully meets the challenges as we are beginning to understand them? While I think we can make the case that we are evolving based on what works on the ground and by implementing the innovative and sometimes imaginative that occur at the tactical level, could we do better by adjusting our strategic framework so that we are better arranged to take advantage of those ideas, and also place the correct means where they are needed?

    The last week has really raised good & needed questions that extend beyond Iraq, even though the question of our commitment there was the catalyst. Tonight the President will also discuss Iraq, Iran, Al Queda in Iraq - and possibly Hezbollah, Hamas, the region at large and our vital national interests - and many of these same issues will surface in the following days as the rationale for remaining committed is debated, and the question of what it all means get sorted out. We are starting to develop a national consciousness in regard to the threats of the 21st Century.

    Thoughts?

    Best Regards, Rob
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 09-13-2007 at 07:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton
    ....AMB Crocker's comments and today's press conference by the International Institute of Strategic Studies are framing an important question that extends beyond Iraq & Afghanistan. There are plenty of ungoverned spaces within geographically defined state borders all over the world. There are also states and non-state actors willing to exploit these areas, foment instability, and use them as staging areas, sanctuaries, and training grounds from which to pursue broader goals....
    Rob, this issue of "ungoverned spaces" (and by extension, weak and/or corruptly governed) is a serious one, and one which significantly impacts US interests directly and indirectly. It is one which I deal with regularly, yet I find many not willing to conceptually deal with any threat which is not immediate.

    I originally posted this in the Adversary/Threat sub-forum when it was first published, but I've cut it out and put here because I feel you've put a better start on the topic of discussion:

    RAND, 23 Aug 07: Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks
    Since the end of the Cold War, failed or failing states and ungoverned territories within otherwise viable states have become a more common international phenomenon. Many of the crises that have required intervention by U.S. or international forces were produced by the collapse or absence of state authority. These ungoverned territories generate all manner of security problems, such as civil conflict and humanitarian crises, arms and drug smuggling, piracy, and refugee flows. They threaten regional stability and security and generate demands on U.S. military resources. The problem of dealing with ungoverned areas has taken on increased urgency since 9/11, which demonstrated how terrorists can use sanctuaries in the most remote and hitherto ignored regions of the world to mount devastating attacks against the United States and its friends and allies.

    The objective of this RAND Corporation study is to understand the conditions that give rise to ungoverned territories and their effects on U.S. security interests and to develop strategies to improve the U.S. ability to mitigate these effects—in particular, to reduce the threat posed by terrorists operating within or from these territories. The study is based on an analysis of eight case studies.

    Our research approach is as follows: We first identify and analyze the attributes of ungoverned territories, which we refer to as “ungovernability,” on the basis of four variables. Second, since not all ungoverned territories are equally hospitable to terrorist and insurgent groups, we identify and analyze what we call “conduciveness to terrorist presence” on the basis of four other variables. Using this two-part framework, we next conduct a comparative analysis of the eight case studies. Finally, we derive the implications of our analysis for the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Air Force.
    To answer the question, the case studies in the book cover the following areas:

    The Pakistani-Afghan Border Region

    The Arabian Peninsula

    The Sulawesi-Mindanao Arc

    The East Africa Corridor

    West Africa

    The North Caucasus

    The Colombia-Venezuela Border

    The Guatemala-Chiapas Border

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Rob, this issue of "ungoverned spaces" (and by extension, weak and/or corruptly governed) is a serious one, and one which significantly impacts US interests directly and indirectly. It is one which I deal with regularly, yet I find many not willing to conceptually deal with any threat which is not immediate.
    To add another case study to the link Ted posted--not from the perspective of the counter-insurgent, however, but rather focusing on what strategies insurgent groups may adopt to obtain and maintain sanctuary in third countries:

    Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990). The book is out of print now, and the link is to a web version of the text.

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    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    What are the ways by which we should pursue these policies and employ our means to best effect? If a state cannot or will not act to prevent those states, non-state actors, state sponsored actors with goals that jeopardize our interests (and those of our allies) from operating in these ungoverned spaces - should we violate their sovereign borders in order to attack, defeat and destroy those organizations?
    I recall reading somewhere about how the rise of these combative non-state entities (e.g. terror organizations like Al Qaeda) are challenging the states' monopoly on war and thereby challenging the state as an entity itself. If the goal of these fundamentalist terror organizations is to establish a Caliphate wherein Islam rather than some notion of the nation-state rules, don't we need to tailor our response to account for this?

    You raise an interesting point regarding sovereignty and the pursuit of our enemies. Many ungoverned spaces are located within bonafide nation-states. The fact that a portion of their land is ungoverned does not change the fact that it still belongs to them and they have certain rights to that area under international law. If we were to ignore this and invade, no matter how noble the cause, do we not assist in the break down of the nation-state at least on some small level?

    The Darfur situation comes to mind. It is striking to me that some of those that oppose action in Iraq argue for action in Darfur. I'm not saying we should or should not go into Darfur, but we must remember that Darfur falls within the sovereign jurisdiction of the Sudan. While jumping in there may be a good idea, where do you draw the line at violating state sovereignty? Another issue that comes to mind is the hunt for UBL. Say we find him in Pakistan or any other country. Do we go get him even if the host nation says no? Maybe so, but that action has consequences and possibly breaks down the notion of the state. That being said, I do know that Israel did this in the Eichmann case, but I'm not familiar with the fallout, if any.

    Thoughts?
    -john bellflower

    Rule of Law in Afghanistan

    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

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    I read the study that Jed posted on another thread and the case studies are interesting but the framework they use to identify and judge failing states is just as important. It is one of the most common sense methodologies I have seen. The report is worth the read.




    LawVol You bring up a good legal point and I have a legal question for you. Is There in legal basis to apply the principle of when to use force that can override jurisdictional boundaries. I was thinking ability,opportunity, and jeopardy are the guidelines for use of force in many states both for LE and civilians??

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    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    There's an old adage that says if you ask two lawyers a question, you'll get three answers. What this means is that much of the law has gray areas that are open to argument. For example, the Bush adminstration argued that preemptive action in Iraq was legal because Iraq posed an imminent threat. Obviously, many have disagreed with this conclusion and continue to argue the illegality of the war. Those that adhere to that line of thinking would likely answer you question by saying that only an attack from a beligerent country would authorize a violation of that country's sovereignty (the theory being that they waived that sovereignty in the context of conflict by attacking another country).

    I know of no legal basis for unilaterally entering a country in a military capacity to do things like administer humanitarian aid or to capture a terror suspect. I would think that even the Bush doctrine of preemptive action wouldn't cover this since the country itself would pose the threat. In other words, it is the terrorist that poses the threat not the country in which he is located. The humanitrian issue does not met this either unless someone can advance an argument that the humanitarian crisis poses a threat to a particular nation's sovereignty (i.e. its the equivalent of an attack).

    With the terrorist example, I revert back to my comment I've shared before about treating the war on terror as a criminal rather than military fight. I think it would be easier to come to terms with various nations to allow an international unit (or international sponsored unit) to effectuate an arrest. However, I see many difficulties even with this.

    Whatever the solution, I think we need to place it within a legal framework so that we do not weaken state sovereignty.
    -john bellflower

    Rule of Law in Afghanistan

    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    he Darfur situation comes to mind. It is striking to me that some of those that oppose action in Iraq argue for action in Darfur. I'm not saying we should or should not go into Darfur, but we must remember that Darfur falls within the sovereign jurisdiction of the Sudan. While jumping in there may be a good idea, where do you draw the line at violating state sovereignty?
    Those supporting intervention in Darfur generally do on R2P (responsibility to protect) grounds. The emergence and evolution of R2P since Rwanda and Kosovo is an interesting case of change in international norms, even if the concept is still vague and elastic enough (and constrained enough by national interests) to be a poor predictor of actual international behaviour.

    The classic statement of this, of course, is the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (December 2001) on Responsibility to Protect.

    R2P, however, is all about protecting third-country populations from massive human rights abuse, on the grounds that state sovereignty is contingent on states providing a certain degree of protection to their own citizens. If they are unable or unwilling to perform that fundamental obligation of statehood, sovereignty fades as a consideration.

    This is a rather different thing from intervention in failed or failing states for counterinsurgent or counter-terrorism reasons. Of course, responding to attacks emanating in third country sanctuaries is hardly anything new, and one can easily root it in centuries of international law and practice of jus ad bellum. No one in the international system, for example, had particular problems with intervention in Afghanistan against AQ and their Taliban allies after 9/11.

    The larger complication lies, I think, when such actions:

    1) Are preemptive, or

    2) Are perceived as unnecessarily unilateral (for example, striking at UBL in Pakistan rather than asking the Pakistanis to do so).

    3) Risk establishing precedents that others use or misuse ("well, if the Americans can do it, why not us?")

    Finally, at the level of practice rather than doctrine, there is the fundamental "big picture" question of whether such actions cause more problems than they resolve, complicated by the law of unintended consequences. Israeli intervention in Lebanon against the PLO in 1982 resulted in the subsequent emergence of Hizbullah; an American strike against UBL could well destabilize a nuclear-armed Pakistani government; and so forth.

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    14 Feb 08 testimony by Angel Rabasa, one of the authors of the Rand pub linked above, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs:

    Ungoverned Territories
    ....Building government capacity and expanding the central government’s writ into ungoverned territories is the work of generations. Many of these policies are difficult to implement. Nevertheless, if the United States works with its partners to implement them, then—despite individual failings and inefficiencies—the overall results would help to make ungoverned areas less hospitable to terrorists and much less conducive to their activities. Taken in tandem with policies to reduce the number and size of ungoverned territories, the results could mean enhanced constraints on terrorism, international organized crime, and other plagues that traditionally have been spawned and nurtured in ungoverned territories.

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    I gave a brief two summers ago to some interested military personnel (I have to be vague here) about this situation.

    The brief was built around Foreign Affairs "Failed State Index" - available here: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/c...?story_id=3865

    I simply said - look at the nations on the list and then tell me how many countries the US has been involved in over the last decade, and how many are we in today. That trend is not going to disappear anytime soon. They understood where I was coming from.
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

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    Default Sanctuary and the State: Scale, Surrogates, Sponsors, and the Agency Pivot

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    To add another case study to the link Ted posted--not from the perspective of the counter-insurgent, however, but rather focusing on what strategies insurgent groups may adopt to obtain and maintain sanctuary in third countries:

    Rex Brynen, Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990). The book is out of print now, and the link is to a web version of the text.
    I'd second that - Rex's book is the only one that I'm aware of that intelligently applies guerrilla warfare theories on sanctuary as an interface between state and non-state actors.

    Take a look also at this Norwegian Defence Research Establishment report on Islamist Insurgencies, Diasporic Support Networks, and Their Host States: The Case of the Algerian GIA in Europe, 1993-2000. It takes the theoretical framework from Sanctuary and Survival and applies it to good use elsewhere.

    I'd also suggest a look at my own edited book on the subject, out as of last summer, entitled Denial of Sanctuary: Understanding Terrorist Safe Havens (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007). It doesn't offer an overarching analytical framework in the way that Sanctuary and Survival does, and that wasn't its intent. The idea, instead, was to poke holes and raise questions with regard to the political orthodoxies of the last seven years on the subject of "ungoverned territories".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Rob, this issue of "ungoverned spaces" (and by extension, weak and/or corruptly governed) is a serious one, and one which significantly impacts US interests directly and indirectly. It is one which I deal with regularly, yet I find many not willing to conceptually deal with any threat which is not immediate.

    I originally posted this in the Adversary/Threat sub-forum when it was first published, but I've cut it out and put here because I feel you've put a better start on the topic of discussion:

    RAND, 23 Aug 07: Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks
    One thing I can appreciate about the RAND report is that it limits itself to ungoverned "territories", rather than using ungoverned "space", the more usual political handle which actually revolves around a much broader category of issues analogous to the complex physical, human, and information terrain of the Australian Army's Future Land Operational Concept: Complex Warfighting.

    Where I think things get a bit more complicated, and bear a whole a lot more study, is with the problem of scale. It's good to be thinking in terms of sanctuary as a macro-level security issue and challenge of political legitimacy, development and governance. But there are more immediate and local dimensions of sanctuary, just as there are non-physical aspects to the issue. The best work I've seen on this so far is by Ron Hassner, a political scientist at Berkeley, who's been writing about insurgent uses of sacred sites, as well as comparative just war theory approaches to sanctuary. Citations as follows:

    Hassner Ron E. "'To Halve and to Hold': Conflicts Over Sacred Space and the Problem of Indivisibility.” Security Studies 12:4 (Summer 2003): 1-33.

    _____________. “Fighting Insurgency on Sacred Ground.” Washington Quarterly 2:29 (Spring 2006): 149-166.

    _____________. "Islamic Just War Theory and the Challenge of Sacred Space in Iraq." Journal of International Affairs 61:1 (Fall/Winter 2007): 131-152.

    Problems of surrogacy and state sponsorship are certainly vexing. In international law, a "harboring thesis" places the burden of responsibility on states to ensure that their territories aren't made available to int'l/transn'tl criminal and terrorist organizations. Both Tal Becker and Dan Byman cover this pretty well in their respective books on states and state sponsorship. Where I think the logic fails is while it rightly emphasizes preventing state provision of sanctuary, it also neglects non-state actor acquisition and exploitation of sanctuary, absent state-level intent to support. Both Byman and Becker do this by looking to passive forms of support as a lowest common denominator, which to my mind stretches the credulity of the argument.

    This ties back to another SWC thread on Hizbullah tactical effectiveness; basically, non-state actors evolve, demonstrate agency, etc., and this needs to be given at least as much consideration as the capabilities of states and their responsibilities under int'l law - especially since the logic of state failure/collapse, taken to its extreme, means that some states will be (and have proven to be) incapable of either actively providing sanctuary or preventing terrorist exploitation of their resources. At that point, non-state actor acquisition and development of sanctuary has to be the focus.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 03-25-2008 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Added link.
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    CSIS, 20 Mar 08: A Steep Hill: Congress and U.S. Efforts to Strengthen Fragile States
    The difficulties experienced during U.S.-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and the increasing recognition of the threat posed by ungoverned spaces have once again placed fragile states at the forefront of the U.S. national security agenda. Yet, the United States remains ill-equipped to meet the challenges of stabilization and reconstruction. There is a lack of coordination and strategic engagement within the U.S. government and no clear legislative authority for an overall strategic plan.

    This study—the first to examine the role of Congress in strengthening fragile states before, during, and after interventions—identifies key legislative and executive branch obstacles to effective stabilization and reconstruction operations and explores opportunities for a new grand bargain that embodies goals both branches support.....
    Complete 93 page paper at the link.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    CSIS, 20 Mar 08: A Steep Hill: Congress and U.S. Efforts to Strengthen Fragile States

    Complete 93 page paper at the link.
    Thanks for posting, I look forward to reading the full report.

    There was an interesting report in the Int' Herald Tribune a few days ago that touched on this. I wrote it up in the Complex Terrain Lab blog HERE.
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default History Lesson: CSI OP#17 Out of Bounds, Transnational Sanctuary in Irregular Wafare

    Another history lesson I just put out:

    "Only one option was left, as the Americans understood all too well. In the 1979 memo that described the weaknesses of the resistance, Brzezinski also explained that the United States had to “reassure Pakistan and encourage it to help the rebels….”28 Pakistan, which shared a nearly 1,500-mile border with Afghanistan, needed reassurance and encouragement because it was in a precarious position. Much as they had with the Iranians, the Soviets explicitly threatened to invade Pakistan if it became involved in the war. And much like the Iranians, the Pakistanis had other concerns, most importantly, ongoing disputes with India. These concerns meant that Pakistan went to great lengths to avoid open aid to the resistances. But that caution did not make Pakistan neutral in the Soviet-Afghan War, far from it.

    In addition to becoming the temporary home for the millions of Afghan refugees who fled the war, Pakistan played the most important role in facilitating the resistance. Refugees were not the only ones who fled over the border. Most of the exiled Afghan resistance parties went to Pakistan and directed their efforts within Afghanistan from across the border in Peshawar. The rugged terrain and harsh conditions along the winding and mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border was in many ways an ideal boundary over which to fight and aid an insurgency. Hundreds of mountain passes connected the two countries, the terrain made it impossible to close all these routes across the border, and the harsh conditions helped protect fleeing rebels. As a result, Pakistan became the primary sanctuary for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Not only that, it also became the essential supply route for the weapons and materiel that kept the Mujahideen going throughout the war. Pakistan became the funnel to the resistance for the outside world."


    We hear much talk of borders these days and the challenges inherent in their control, the risks associated with ignoring them, or the dangers implicit in their crossing. This installment of the JRTC BiWeekly History lesson uses the Combat Studies Institute's Occasional Paper #17, Out of Bounds, Transnational Sanctuary in Irregular Warfare, by Thomas A. Bruscino, Jr. as a case study on the roles of external sanctuaries and insurgencies. Dr. Bruscino's study is in two parts. The first part is a case study of the Vietnam War and the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese use of sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia. The second part is a relook at the Soviet experience in Afghanistan focused on the role of Pakistan.

    I would highlight the second case study as immediately relevant to what is happening in Afghanistan today. Indeed you cannot understand events in Afghanistan if you do not see them as intertwined with events in Pakistan. As this case study proves that is hardly an emerging phenomenon as it has long been the case. Still recent events reinforce its currency. Finally Dr. Bruscino concludes his paper with a discussion of sanctuaries in irregular warfare and the need for a countervailing strategy to deal with them. The study can be downloaded at CSI OP #17.
    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member Vic Bout's Avatar
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    Default Years ago when I thought guerrilla bands had a lead, bass and drum kit

    I wrote a naive graduate thesis on g-war and geography. Using some rudimentary statistics, I found that the most successful post-WW2 irregulars absolutely enjoyed some kind of cross-border sanctuary. What I failed to incorporate (or think of at all for that matter) was a measurement for how much that sanctuary added to the insurgent cause. Percentage-wise across time etc. And does it trump popular support as a variable? Hmmm....And obversely, 'cause memory fails me, has any sanctuary in recent history (say 1945-present) failed an insurgency as a supporting factor? I'm inclined to say "Of course not...why go to Hooters if you're not welcome there?"

    My apologies for the stream of consciousness...just typing out loud
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Bout View Post
    I wrote a naive graduate thesis on g-war and geography. Using some rudimentary statistics, I found that the most successful post-WW2 irregulars absolutely enjoyed some kind of cross-border sanctuary. What I failed to incorporate (or think of at all for that matter) was a measurement for how much that sanctuary added to the insurgent cause. Percentage-wise across time etc. And does it trump popular support as a variable? Hmmm....And obversely, 'cause memory fails me, has any sanctuary in recent history (say 1945-present) failed an insurgency as a supporting factor? I'm inclined to say "Of course not...why go to Hooters if you're not welcome there?"

    My apologies for the stream of consciousness...just typing out loud
    Vic,
    Intriguing thought ! I think Ken could tell you tons about Vietnam (along Cambodia's border) which would say, shed light on the lack of sanctuary for insurgents back then.

    If I look at my time in Sub-Sahara, the only folks that remotely respected geographical borders were foreigners, either on PKO or other official missions (don't tell Rangers that).

    I'd say "support base" rather than sanctuary...You can run, but you can no longer hide
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Bout View Post
    I wrote a naive graduate thesis on g-war and geography. Using some rudimentary statistics, I found that the most successful post-WW2 irregulars absolutely enjoyed some kind of cross-border sanctuary. What I failed to incorporate (or think of at all for that matter) was a measurement for how much that sanctuary added to the insurgent cause. Percentage-wise across time etc. And does it trump popular support as a variable? Hmmm....And obversely, 'cause memory fails me, has any sanctuary in recent history (say 1945-present) failed an insurgency as a supporting factor? I'm inclined to say "Of course not...why go to Hooters if you're not welcome there?"

    My apologies for the stream of consciousness...just typing out loud
    No not at all. Good question on sanctuary versus popular support. I kinda separate classic guerrilla versus insurgent on that issue, the guerrilla not necessarily basing what he does on the need to increase or maintain popular support, the insurgent in contrast has to do just that.

    Brascino emphasizes that the Soviets did adapt in Afghanistan and their brutal tactics in some areas did have the effects they sought. What hurt them the most was the issue of the cross border sanctuaries where the Muj could R&R at will (at least at first).

    I know in addressing the threat from the Hutu camps along Rwanda's borders, they were a combination of refuge and host population, all catered by the UNHCR and the international community. As former refugees, insurgents, and counterinsurgents in two wars, the leaders of the RPF had no doubt that the camps were a threat, one that had to be addressed. When the international community failed to do so, they did. The results were and still are horrific in the Congo--but it allowed the RPF to win the COIN effort inside Rwanda. After years of meddling by Mobutu, the RPF leaders were more than willing to make that choice, especially if it got rid of Mo in the process.

    Best
    Tom

  19. #19
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Gotta agree with that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    ...
    I'd say "support base" rather than sanctuary...You can run, but you can no longer hide
    Particularly in view of the fact that most such 'sanctuaries' are provided by nations that may have mixed emotions about doing so but on balance would prefer not to be viewed as a sanctuary. While the Nation, per se, would rather not, there were / are generally enough people who do support the cause to enable that support base to exist to one degree or another.

    Cambodia is a good example; so is Thailand during the Malayan Emergency, Pakistan then and now, Haiti to the DomRep and of course, Laos -- which suffered the indignity as much due to the odd qualities of the US Ambassador of the time as any other reason.

    In all those cases, the sanctuary provider broadly would have preferred to not be that but for either political or military reasons, was not able to do more than voice a pro forma objection. In the case of Thailand, continued British protests didn't do much good because the Thais were not able to control the border. So the SAS did some cross border stuff (so I was told by guys who were there and involved -- but it's well buried, I haven't been able to find it in writing anywhere). A lot of our Cambode and Lao ops are open source, more are not. Same's true with Pakistan.

    The big difference today is that Turkey (small), Syria and Iran -- and probably to a limited and covert extent, Saudi Arabia -- are capable of denying sanctuary or support but choose instead to support it...

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    Default New CTLab Post by Stephen D.K. Ellis on State Failure

    Dear SWC Members - I'd like to draw your attention to a new post at the Complex Terrain Lab on state failure, by Stephen D.K. Ellis, the author of The Mask of Anarchy: The Destruction of Liberia and the Religious Dimension of an African Civil War (NYU Press, 1999; Hurst & Co Publishers, 2006). It's his first post to CTLab.

    Stephen's CTLab bio is here

    The post on state failure is here

    Best

    Mike
    --
    Michael A. Innes, Editor & Publisher
    Current Intelligence Magazine

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