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    Default High Value Target HVT / Political Assassination

    An interesting piece can be found here on Israel's failed 1997 assassination attempt in Jordan against Hamas leader Khalid Mishal.

    On September 25, 1997, the Mossad espionage agency suffered one of the worst debacles in its history, when it bungled an attempt to assassinate Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal. The incident also jeopardized decades of secret cooperation with Jordan.
    Quite apart from the failures in planning and execution, it highlights issues of inter-service (in this case, Mossad vs Shin Beth) boundaries, political pressures, and especially the failure to anticipate the possible political consequences of an operation (especially a failed one).

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rex. Good read and very reminiscent of similar hijinks in the hit teams after Munich.

    best

    Tom

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    Default Why under 'Intelligence'?

    [rant]
    An assassination (or "selected target engagement" or "surgical strike" or "command and control node target" or whatever euphamism is prefered) is an operation. It is (should be) conducted in support of strategic and operational objectives. It is not the collection, management of collection, or analysis of information. Why does it end up under the Intel rubic in so many instances? The best possible operator for this sort of direct action might be a passible but specialized intel collector, but at the end of the day that is not his or her primary task.

    By putting the intel name on sexy operations like this, good collectors, collection managers, and analysts get some very confused notions about what should fall under their perview. Yes, intel and ops need to work next to each other on this sort of thing, but operators and policy maker should be driving this bus.
    [/rant]

    This is an outstanding study of how not to do it, a real rush job from the word go. To conduct such a volatile type of operation without doing a serious branch and sequel analysis and good coordination is gross negligence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    [rant]
    An assassination (or "selected target engagement" or "surgical strike" or "command and control node target" or whatever euphamism is prefered) is an operation. It is (should be) conducted in support of strategic and operational objectives. It is not the collection, management of collection, or analysis of information. Why does it end up under the Intel rubic in so many instances? The best possible operator for this sort of direct action might be a passible but specialized intel collector, but at the end of the day that is not his or her primary task.
    [/rant]
    Van, I absolutely agree--when I posted it I was torn between the "trigger-puller" and "Middle East" forums, but in the end there's enough inter-(intel) service boundary problems, poor local information, and lack of assessment on longer-term consequences in this story that it seemed to go as well here as anywhere else.

    On top of that, I've grown dependant on Ted to move my posts when they're not in the best category

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    Every time I see a pundit talking about the advisability of "taking out" someone, I cringe.

    Some years ago, my father, an ex intelligence officer, military historian, and no stranger to the murky world of peacetime intelligence, researched and studied the 15 or so assassination attempts on Hitler, including traveling to Germany to interview surviving members of one plot.

    The operations ranged from "Lone Wolf" single person amateur operations to highly planned multi person military operations. His conclusion was that Hitlers survival demonstrated the very high degree of difficulty of conducting a successful operation against anyone who takes even the most rudimentary physical and information precautions - and has a little luck.

    When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".
    The Israelis have had significant success in assassinating significant Palestinian political-military figures. However, this is often bedeviled by the law of unintended consequences, as the Jerusalem Post piece that I started the thread off with suggests.

    A case in point: While the assassination of Fateh #2 (and Western Sector commander, effectively PLO Defence Minister) Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) in Tunis in 1988 was regarded at the time as a major operational success, I'm sure they now wish he had been alive 1994-present, given his relatively dovish political views and his probable contribution to a more professional and effective Palestinian Authority security service. Abu Jihad's assassination also did nothing to stop the intifada then underway (although there were some other retaliatory and deterrent goals on the Israeli side that may have been better attained).

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    When asked, during a seminar on the subject if he was aware if anyone had conducted a successful operation against a major target he simply said "Not Yet".
    JFK? Lincoln? Trotsky? Sadat? Rabin?

    Quote Originally Posted by New York Times
    Sunni Arab extremists have begun a systematic campaign to assassinate police chiefs, police officers, other Interior Ministry officials and tribal leaders throughout Iraq, staging at least 10 attacks in 48 hours.
    The entire article: If siding with us is a major success then they must be major targets for those who oppose us
    Last edited by Rank amateur; 09-27-2007 at 02:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen
    .....when I posted it I was torn between the "trigger-puller" and "Middle East" forums, but in the end there's enough inter-(intel) service boundary problems, poor local information, and lack of assessment on longer-term consequences in this story that it seemed to go as well here as anywhere else.....
    I agree with Van that this thread certainly doesn't belong in the "Intelligence" forum, but Political Assassination really doesn't fit the tactical intent of the "Trigger-Puller" forum either.....and the scope of the subject matter - and potentially the discussion - goes well beyond the "Middle East". So, here we are in the "Global Issues and Threats" forum - not the perfect fit, perhaps, but more appropriate than any of the others, I think. Any member can feel free to state otherwise, if you really feel it should go elsewhere.

    Rex, at this point I'll just stay along the lines of our original post and link a couple of articles for consideration. First is this Sep 02 paper in support of Israeli targeted killings from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies:

    Fatal Choices: Israel's Policy of Targeted Killing
    Israel has openly pursued a policy of targeted killing since the inception of the second intifada in September 2000. The Israelis have identified, located and then killed alleged Palestinian terrorists with helicopter gunships, fighter aircraft, tanks, car bombs, booby traps and bullets. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed, prompting international condemnation, domestic soul searching and bloody retaliation. Given its controversial nature and obvious costs, it is worth considering whether this policy is worth pursuing. Why has Israel embarked on a policy of targeted killings? Has the policy been effective in reducing Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians? Are targeted killings permitted by Israeli and international law? Is it moral? Most important, is the policy of targeted killing in the Israeli national interest?

    The answers to these questions are of critical importance. For Israel, it is necessary to know whether its policy of targeted killings is pragmatically and ethically justified. If it is, it makes sense for Israel to continue or even expand upon this approach. If there are serious shortcomings, they need to be highlighted so that the policy can be modified or discarded. For countries other than Israel, and especially the United States, assessing the worth of targeted killings is hardly less significant. Ever since September 11th, much of the world, with the United States in the lead, has sought ways to counter terrorism. If the Israelis have embarked upon a successful approach, it makes sense to emulate them. If Israeli policy is fundamentally flawed, however, better to understand that now, especially when voices demanding that terrorists be hunted down and killed have grown so loud. Either way, learning from the Israeli experience is central to those seeking to combat the threat from terrorism.
    ...and here's an interesting Jan 05 perspective from the Bank of Israel Research Department:

    Targeted Killings: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Counterterrorism Policy
    Targeted killing (henceforth assassination) of members of Palestinian terrorist organizations was a major element in Israel’s counterterrorism effort during the Palestinian uprising which started in 2000. We evaluate the effectiveness of this policy indirectly by examining Israeli stock market reactions to assassinations. Our approach relies on the assumption that the market should react positively to news of effective counterterrorism measures but negatively to news of counterproductive ones. The main result of the analysis is that the market reacts strongly to assassinations of senior members in Palestinian terrorist organizations: it declines following attempts to assassinate political leaders but rises following attempts to assassinate military ones.....
    Finally a paper from a US point of view:

    Targeted Killing as an Element of U.S. Foreign Policy in the War on Terror
    This monograph examines the prohibition on assassination embodied within Executive Order 12333 and its effect on a U.S. policy of targeted killing of transnational terrorist leadership. Next this monograph will examine the numerous interpretations of applicable international law regarding terrorism and the states response. This examination will contrast the law enforcement model proposed by adherents of international humanitarian law, with international humanitarian law and the law of war model advocated by those who see the current “war on terror’ as an armed conflict between states and trans-national terrorists.

    Given the level of secrecy and lack of transparency involved in this policy and its implementation, how can we judge the moral and legal implications of the Bush administration’s policy of ‘targeted killing’ of al-Qaeda members or other suspected terrorists. Is this policy of ‘targeted killing’ morally justifiable and legal under both US domestic and international law? Can the United States maintain international legitimacy while implementing a policy of targeted killing of suspected trans-national terrorists? This monograph examines Executive Order 12333, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law to determine the legality of a policy of targeted killing.

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    "Targeted Killing as an Element of U.S. Foreign Policy in the War on Terror

    Quote:
    This monograph examines the prohibition on assassination embodied within Executive Order 12333 and its effect on a U.S. policy of targeted killing of transnational terrorist leadership. Next this monograph will examine the numerous interpretations of applicable international law regarding terrorism and the states response. This examination will contrast the law enforcement model proposed by adherents of international humanitarian law, with international humanitarian law and the law of war model advocated by those who see the current “war on terror’ as an armed conflict between states and trans-national terrorists.

    Given the level of secrecy and lack of transparency involved in this policy and its implementation, how can we judge the moral and legal implications of the Bush administration’s policy of ‘targeted killing’ of al-Qaeda members or other suspected terrorists. Is this policy of ‘targeted killing’ morally justifiable and legal under both US domestic and international law? Can the United States maintain international legitimacy while implementing a policy of targeted killing of suspected trans-national terrorists? This monograph examines Executive Order 12333, International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law to determine the legality of a policy of targeted killing."

    I always cringe a bit when international humanitarian law is invoked since it can stand in opposition to the US Constitution, IMO and it has strong underpinnings of Socialism. Some might say Socialism defines it.

    I would suggest that the US can't maintain international legitimacy without whacking trans-national terrorists who fight as civlians, respect no established law but their own, heed no borders and have never heard of the Geneva conventions, a true scourge and blight they are. I first became aware of international legitimacy when I saw a clip of Nixon's car being stoned and pelted down in S. America so many years ago. This tripe floats to the surface with each succeeding Administration though today it has strong allies with the fashion and food police.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van View Post
    This is an outstanding study of how not to do it, a real rush job from the word go. To conduct such a volatile type of operation without doing a serious branch and sequel analysis and good coordination is gross negligence.
    As I alluded to, this same thing only worse happened as the Munich reprisal operations unfolded. The teams had their problems as the film "Munich" accurately captures. Where things reall went astray was in Norway (I recall) as the "B" team who were supporting the operations from the rear succesively lobbied for an operational role. They scouted a target and took the suspect out; unfortunately they had the wrong man. Instead of a Palestinian involved in the Muncih planning, they killed a waiter from North Africa and got caught doing it.

    The problem with this tactic is the law of unintended consequences--also alluded to by others on here. Sometimes the "hardliner" you kill becomes a martyr or worse becomes a moderate compared to those who follow. In the case of Israel, that law has played large.

    Tom

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    JFQ, 1st Qtr 08: The Role of Targeted Killing in the Campaign Against Terror
    Targeted killing is “the intentional slaying of a specific individual or group of individuals undertaken with explicit government approval”. In recent years, targeted killing as a tactic in the ongoing campaign against terrorism has generated considerable controversy. Some commentators view it as an indispensable tool and argue for its expanded use, while others question its legality and claim that it is immoral and ultimately ineffective. The tactic of targeted killing is most closely associated with Israel’s campaign against the Second Palestinian Intifada. Since September 11, 2001, however, the United States has consistently conducted targeted killing operations against terrorist personnel.

    This article examines the legality, morality, and potential efficacy of a U.S. policy of targeted killing in its campaign against transnational terror. The conclusion is that, in spite of the genuine controversy surrounding this subject, a carefully circumscribed policy of targeted killing can be a legal, moral, and effective tool in a counterterror campaign. Procedures to guide the proper implementation of a U.S. policy of targeted killing are proposed.....

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    Keep this stuff coming, guys! As I may have mentioned, I think I'm going to do a paper on "high value targeting" for the RAND Insurgency Board.

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    Default More on drones

    Copied to here from the drones thread.

    On SWJ Blog, is a review of Dr. Brian Glyn William book 'Predators: The CIA’s Drone War on al Qaeda':http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ar-on-al-qaeda

    The first comment by a RAF officer, Keith Dear, points to an article in the journal Defence Stuies he wrote 'Beheading the Hydra? Does Killing Terrorist or Insurgent Leaders work', which is currently fully available for free: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...3#.UrnPJfsXluh

    Yet more to read one day, here is the author's explanation for his article:
    This study measures targeted killing against its aims. Air Marshal Nickols, the UK’s former Chief of Defence Intelligence, suggests that counterinsurgent forces kill or arrest key members of insurgent groups, known as High Value Targets or Medium Value Targets (HVTs/MVTs) in order to affect a group’s capability and psychology; all the security officials interviewed for this study argued similarly. This provides a useful analytical framework. Therefore, in section 1, I examine the effect of targeted killing on a group’s capability, finding that it does make a group less capable in the short term. In section 2, I examine targeted killing’s effect on group psychology, concluding that it is unlikely to achieve the psychological effects the counterinsurgent intends. In section 3, I examine targeted killing in cultural context, finding that in pre-modern societies, such as those in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, local culture increases the negative psychological effects of targeted killing. In section 4, I describe the nature of the evolution that targeted killing forces groups to undergo, finding consistent results across the ten conflicts studied: in the long-term it unites insurgents, and brings forward a younger, more radical leadership which makes the group more indiscriminately violent; I then explain why the dangerous effects of targeted killing have been so long ignored. In section 5, I examine the evidence against my argument. In concluding, I argue that targeted killing can be tactically effective but is strategically counterproductive. Finally, I present policy advice based on my findings.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-24-2013 at 11:38 PM. Reason: Copied and slightly edited
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
    Is that even possible? I highly doubt the necessary intel for real time targeting is available.
    The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

    Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

    The 3-cruise missile theory.

    The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

    The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

    The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

    As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

    The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

    If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

    Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

    The 3-cruise missile theory.

    The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

    The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

    The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

    As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

    The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

    If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).
    Ok, so you've fired off your three missiles. The dictator goes underground, his army disperses. They issue a statement telling you to stick your missiles where the sun don't shine, and proceed to do more of whatever it was you objected to in the first place. Your bluff has been called. Now what do you do? Do you escalate, and (assuming you're in the awkward position of leading a democracy) face the wrath of your populace and rest of the political edifice? Do you back down? Or do you just stand there buck naked with your putz shriveling in a cold breeze?

    I can't see how it's a good idea to start firing off missiles based on assumptions about how somebody else is going to react, because you don't know how they're going to react. I can't see how it's a good idea to start something you aren't willing to finish: if you don't have a viable and politically feasible plan to escalate if plan A fails, better keep your missile in your pants, because once you're in, you're in.

    I agree on not arming the rebels, unless of course there is some faction that you really want to see win and that you really think can win, both contentions requiring very realistic assessment and full awareness that you might be wrong. However, just because you don't arm the rebels doesn't mean they won't get arms. They will. People make ways. If they don't get them from you, they'll get them from someone else: no shortage of actors and agendas out there. If they want to fight, they will. If the dictator falls, different factions will fight it out to fill the vacuum. These things are not ours to control, and will happen whether we like it or not.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    The theory (my theory) is that you may not actually kill him (the targeted leader) but you will drive him underground and make life as intolerable for him as he has made it for his subjects.

    Let me give you a very broad summary of events...

    The 3-cruise missile theory.

    The first missile is aimed at a strategic military target. Something like the most loyal troops like a Presidential Guard or the like. This makes the point that troops loyal to the 'target' can and will be targeted.

    The second missile is aimed that the official residence of the 'target' at 24 hours notice. He won't be there when it arrives but the message will be clear.

    The third missle will be reserved for a strike on the target. A reward of $1m (or more) will be promised for information on the location of the 'target' leading to a successful strike on him but probably won't be used.

    As with Gadaffi and Saddam who moved a few times a day to avoid being in one place long enough to offer a target the strain becomes unbearable (as these people are used to the world revolving around them in their time and not having to keep moving out of fear for their lives). The result is that even their supporters avoid them as they do not wish to be collateral damage in the event of a strike and they themselves begin to trust no one and eventually offer a nice isolated target for a strike or a visit from a special forces team.

    The result... let the target fell the fear and don't end up having many thousands of civilians killed to get at the 'target' when the message will be clearly transmitted to the one who is the cause of all the problems that there is a cruise missile with his name on it.

    If the use of quid pro quo cruise missile strikes had been used (in the manner I suggested) in Syria the regime could have/ would have been put under sever pressure without having to arm the rebels (and we know hat a stupid policy that has been).
    Again, killing the target, in this case Assad, is no guarantee that the next person in line is better, or that there will even be a orderly transition of power. The result could be total anarchy. At least with Assad in power you have someone to negotiate with.

    Seems to me you want to know what you are going to get next before you pull that trigger.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Again, killing the target, in this case Assad, is no guarantee that the next person in line is better, or that there will even be a orderly transition of power.
    Yes that is always a consideration when one considers an assassination.

    The result could be total anarchy. At least with Assad in power you have someone to negotiate with.
    Yea, over the bodies of 160,000 civilians.

    I guess you don't understand the concept I propose. No matter.

    Seems to me you want to know what you are going to get next before you pull that trigger.
    Obviously.

    You want to anticipate the consequences, intended and unintended, of all actions before proceeding.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Yea, over the bodies of 160,000 civilians.

    I guess you don't understand the concept I propose. No matter.
    I think I understand it, I just think it is simplistic.This is from research on killing the head of terrorist organizations as a tactic, but the principal is the same.

    In general, the study found that the decapitation strategy
    appears to have little effect on the reduction of terrorist activity. The most notable trend from the statistical analysis was that decapitation strikes on religious terrorist groups tended to be followed by sharp increases in fatalities. This could be an important indication that decapitation strikes should be carefully considered on the basis of the type of group targeted. As this strategy is currently viewed to be effective by policy makers and is supported by public opinion, more data should be gathered in order to thoroughly study the efficacy of the tactic.
    The British finally gave us these types of targeted killing of IRA members in part because there was never anyone in power long enough to negotiate a final peace. Killings don't change the nature of the grievances, the reason people fight, or the dynamics of the game, it only alters the players.

    I doubt that killing Assad, even if accomplished in the early days of the conflict, would have resulted in a lower death toll. It is not a solution that can bring a conflict to an end. There will have to be trials for war crime, reintegration of fighters, and a peace and reconciliation commission to bring closure to the war.

    Without a massive commitment of forces from outside Syria, it will end in one of two ways. Assad, or someone like Assad (probably more brutal) wins; or the country is divided with Assad remaining in power in "South Syria" and a food fight over the north. That food fight will be just as bloody.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I think I understand it, I just think it is simplistic.This is from research on killing the head of terrorist organizations as a tactic, but the principal is the same.
    Your reference relates to: "Does Killing or Capturing its Leaders Reduce a Terrorist Group’s Activity?"

    Did I ever say that it did?

    Would that be the only possible reason to target insurgent leadership?

    You clearly neither understand what I stated nor the wider view towards he targeting of insurgent/terrorist leadership.

    Then again we see from the following study: Attacking the Leader, Missing the Mark where it concludes:

    Ultimately, however, leadership targeting alone is not enough to effectively fight a strong and emboldened terrorist organization.
    Again, I would ask the author - with tears in my eyes - why she assumes that leadership targeting is the sole strategy employed to fight the organisation.

    The British finally gave us these types of targeted killing of IRA members in part because there was never anyone in power long enough to negotiate a final peace. Killings don't change the nature of the grievances, the reason people fight, or the dynamics of the game, it only alters the players.
    I am not aware of the British policy in this regard but would assume that the legality of 'murdering' citizens of their country was a significant factor.

    I doubt that killing Assad, even if accomplished in the early days of the conflict, would have resulted in a lower death toll. It is not a solution that can bring a conflict to an end. There will have to be trials for war crime, reintegration of fighters, and a peace and reconciliation commission to bring closure to the war.
    No, no, no. Where do you get this stuff from? Syria is not the US and they have never been concerned with what the US thought - certainly since 1971 when daddy took charge. Let us assume that the CIA was in fact a competent outfit and they had an accurate assesment of the Syrian hierarchy and the importance and value of each of the component role players. They would be in a position to identify the demise of which persons would lead/contribute to the strategic result sought by the US in Syria (taking into account any possible negative or unintended consequences).

    Without a massive commitment of forces from outside Syria, it will end in one of two ways. Assad, or someone like Assad (probably more brutal) wins; or the country is divided with Assad remaining in power in "South Syria" and a food fight over the north. That food fight will be just as bloody.
    No...

    Once again you miss the point.

    The world is now faced with the outcome - 160,000 dead and massive infrastructure damage - as a result of the actions (or inaction if you prefer) over the last few years. In any such situation it is always a matter of who dies/gets killed. In this case we have seen (the majority of the) 160,000 killed being as civilians and citizens rising up against an illegitimate and brutal dictatorship. I certainly would not be outraged if the dead comprised the military and supporters of the Assad regime. Because of the carnage there must be no doubt that the need for revenge (a beast alive and well in the heart of the Arab) will have its day and this is not only as a result of the years under the brutal Assad dictatorship but in addition the 160,000 deaths in the last few years. Yes the blood will flow... and probably with some justification. Why would you want to protect the perpetrators?

    Now please read this:

    Does Decapitation Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Targeting in Counterinsurgency Campaigns

    Is killing or capturing insurgent leaders an effective tactic? Previous research on interstate war and counterterrorism has suggested that targeting enemy leaders does not work. Most studies of the efficacy of leadership decapitation, however, have relied on unsystematic evidence and poor research design. An analysis based on fresh evidence and a new research design indicates the opposite relationship and yields four key findings. First, campaigns are more likely to end quickly when counterinsurgents successfully target enemy leaders. Second, counterinsurgents who capture or kill insurgent leaders are significantly more likely to defeat insurgencies than those who fail to capture or kill such leaders. Third, the intensity of a conflict is likelier to decrease following the successful removal of an enemy leader than it is after a failed attempt. Fourth, insurgent attacks are more likely to decrease after successful leadership decapitations than after failed attempts. Additional analysis suggests that these findings are attributable to successful leadership decapitation, and that the relationship between decapitation and campaign success holds across different types of insurgencies.
    Thanks for the references, Mike
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-03-2014 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Copied from the Syria thread as they add to this thread and have references sometimes.

  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Exposure: The Kill List (SOF -v- HVT)

    This is a UK ITV documentary:
    ...revealing the inside story of how the SAS and US special forces targeted and captured or killed insurgents during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    There are a number of "talking heads" John Nagl, Michael Hoh, David Kilcullen, Graeme Lamb and a former UK SAS commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Williams, who in one comment said:
    Its purpose was the destruction of al-Qaeda in Iraq and it did deliver from it quite a lot of death.
    Link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQzQH0ZF9lI
    There is a UK website, but it requires registration and a UK post code - hence use of a YouTube link.

    It was interesting in places, especially the comments by Graeme Lamb and Richard Williams. David Kilcullen's closing comment was stark.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-22-2015 at 04:04 PM. Reason: This was a stand alone post and merged here today.
    davidbfpo

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