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Thread: Center of Gravity Construct

  1. #101
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Lastdingo, didn't Clausewitz talk about war of limited objectives? Do you think he was talking about small wars in that context. Briefly I remember sections where he talks about seizing a vital province of the enemy or doing him damage in a general way without his complete overthrow? Your comments on this?

  2. #102
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    Default insurgent base

    Quote Originally Posted by Lastdingo View Post
    Mao gave up his sanctuary with the long March, yet succeeded. Actually, many rebellions have no safe heavens / sanctuaries at the beginning.

    The closest thing to Schwerpunkt that Guerillas could have would are imho
    - an area of particular strength with most guerilla fighters in it
    - an assembly of many guerillas before a large battle (like Dien Bien Phu)
    In both cases, it needs to present such a large share of their power that a loss would be a disaster.
    The final phase of a Maoist syle revolution. I see it. What then allows the insurgent teh freedom to Mass even after he has been crushed multiple times? The willing and coerced complicity of the general population? Or something else.

    questions:
    1) when the insurgents physical base is destroyed what keeps his movement alive? This was what I was trying to address with the Lettow-Vorbeck analogy, (agreed his operation was more of a 'irregular' conventional force action, similiar to Mosby and Forrest in the US Civil War, I'm not trying to get off the track here so Civil War Buffs give me a little slack). Mao is probably the better example, when his physical base was destroyed he went on the lamb, by rights his army and his movement should have disintigrated, but it did not. Al Qeada (the base) similarly were defeated in Afghanistan, and yet they still influence. The base for an insurgent at the strategic level, is what? His will to survive, will to fight or his will to achieve his movements end state? Mao-communist state. Bin Laden-the new caliphate. Ideas are intangible and much harder to attack and defeat. Clausewitz would have seen this phenomena in Spain, Napoleon was used to winning the decisive battle and the state surrendering totally, Spain's uprising had to be frustrating beyond belief for him. (Goesh-Pontiac and the Prophet had the charisma, but they also had a message to build upon, one that resonated with the people, their charisma fueled the latent fire of the desire to resist the whitemans incurssions and to protect their land).

    2) when looked at in this light what are the strength and weaknesses (forget the cg-cv vs schwerpunkt argument for now) of the insurgent, what allows him his freedom of action? Is it the complicity of the people or is it the power of an unassailable idea? I would venture (my opinion) that the people represent the medium in which the idea exists. (very maoist here). Though we normally equate it with the temporal not the immaterial. The insugent is free to act so long as his ideaology remains intact. It apears that the islamic insurgent is freer to act becuase he is willing to give his life knowning that his ideaology will survive and he will be rewarded in heaven while his family is honored on earth for his sacrifice.

    -TROUFION
    Last edited by TROUFION; 06-12-2007 at 01:43 PM.

  3. #103
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I think sometimes it's difficult for us to realize that people who blow up civilians, torture and behead have a sense of duty, honor and loyalty.
    Let's not romanticize. Native Americans did not hesitate to do any of the above against civilian populations, either from rival tribes or against European colonists. Such attacks were much more common than battles against other warriors or armies, similar to the ravaging that made up so much of medieval and early modern warfare. European armies did not hesitate to pay them back in full and more.

    What made the Native American COIN experience different was that it was also a struggle over territory, where control of the civilian population did not constitute the main objective.

    TROUFION: I see kind of where you are going, but it is important to note that Mao and the Communists were Long Marching somewhere - another secure base, in this case. OBL and AQ decamped from Afghanistan to another secure base, this time in Pakistan. Ideas are critically important, but every fighter needs someplace to rearm and rest to sustain the fight.
    Last edited by tequila; 06-12-2007 at 01:44 PM.

  4. #104
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    [W]hat are the strength and weaknesses (forget the cg-cv vs schwerpunkt argument for now) of the insurgent, what allows him his freedom of action? Is it the complicity of the people or is it the power of an unassailable idea? I would venture (my opinion) that the people represent the medium in which the idea exists. (very maoist here). . . . The insugent is free to act so long as his ideaology remains intact. It apears that the islamic insurgent is freer to act becuase he is willing to give his life knowning that his ideaology will survive and he will be rewarded in heaven while his family is honored on earth for his sacrifice.
    Perhaps it is not a question of the strengths/weaknesses of the insurgent. Perhaps it is, instead, the feelings of the indigenous population (the fish among whom the guerrillas swim). I suspect that the average folks would prefer jnust to be left alone. As long as the guerrillas do not disturb the locals' life style too much, they are alllowed to do pretty much as they see fit. Once they start to disrupt the locals' lives too much, then things start happening.

    I doubt we are looking at local complicity with the insurgents. Rather, I think we are looking at local apathy, especially in cultural milieus marked by Inshallah and other fatalistic world views (such as those espoused by many east Asian religions). I would submit that we are dealing with inertia here--inertia of rest. Let the guerrillas or the COIN forces disturb that local inertia at their peril. Apathy would be replaced with antipathy. The Islamic insurgent in an Islamic country may be freer to act simply because he is less likely to disturb the cultural status quo (what I just described as inertia of rest).

    To return to one of Troufion's original example, Lettow-Vorbeck was able to operate in East Africa simply because he was leading a group of locals who understood the culture of the area in which the operated. The British (with their West African carriers) and Belgian forces were complete outlanders, even more so when they brought in troops from their Indian and South African forces.

  5. #105
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default an idea without a vehicle is nothing

    Tequila, very true, Mao had to occupy a physical space as does UBL. What I was looking at is that the actual space is not important, he could set up in the south or the north, so long as he could live.

    I'm going to extemporize a bit here, because I'm not clear as to what the answer is. When I read about Lettow-Vorbeck I asked myself how could he survive, how could he keep his men together against the overwhelming odds. Also I was looking at Lawrence and comparing his actions to Lettow, both took small forces and targeted the enemies bases and lines of communication, in this case railroads and supply dumps, physical in nature. The destruction of these caused reaction in great disproportion to the efforts expended by both Lawerence and Lettow. Further the Turks and Brits could not gain the same reaction from Lawerence or Lettow, respectively, by doing the same thing. The loss of physical bases hurt them but did not demoralize them to the point of giving in. They fought on, perhaps it is the underdog mentality?

    In the American Revolution the British took Manhatten and Philadelphia, it was a crushing blow, in a European war at the time it would have been all over. Yet Washington retires to Valley Forge then crosses the Deleware and wins a stunning small victory and suddenly the cause is reborn.

    Also in the American Revolution, when the Indian raids got out of hand on the frontier. Washington sent General Sullivan to destroy the Iroquis Nation. He ran straight into their base and burned it down, they never recovered. Yet as goesh points out the native american resistance lasted a long time beyond that, ever pushing their bases further west until they ran out of physical space in which to allow their ideology/way of life to exist.

    What I am seeing is that an insurgent unlike the counter-insurgent can move his physical base freely to any location where his ideaology base can exist without direct attack from the government. From this base he can strike in small groups at will destroying fixed bases of the government.

    I think of Che at this point, in Bolivia, he was unable to develop the physical base to allow himself the freedom of action, eventually being pinned and killed.

    How would this twin bases -physical and ideological- concept equate to trans-nationals or to local insurgents? What are the weaknesses?

  6. #106
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    A guerilla's COG is his ability to legitimize himself/cause among the "fence sitters" of the population, while simultaneously delegitimizing the government.

    His critcal vulnerabilities vary by phase. Throughout the phases of guerilla conflict his requirement for sanctuary remains pretty constant (I have had the opportunity to listen to many different former guerillas, and they all said without sanctuary you fail).

    In the incipient phases, leadership is definately a critical vulnerability, but as the insurgency matures, leaders are more easily replaced, thus making leadership less of critical vulnerability.

    His message is also a critical vulnerability. Most guerillas don't really explain the details of their message. They often promise some type of economic promise to the population that can be easily coopted by the government.

  7. #107
    Council Member Tacitus's Avatar
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    Gentlemen,

    Jimbo sort of beat me to this, but here goes.

    Isn't the guerilla's war primarily political in nature, with an aim to overthrow the government or change its policies? The ambushes and assassinations are just tools to that end. What allows him to survive and thrive is the political support (either actve, passive, or coerced) he enjoys among the population.

    His strength? The legitimacy he receives due to representing the people he moves amongst. If the government was already following these policies, the guerilla movement would have no reason to exist.

    You can try to hunt down and kill or capture the guerillas. You can even kick down some doors trying to catch him napping or intimidate the population into talking. I’ll leave it to you to judge how well that strategy has worked out in Iraq, and elsewhere.

    If you come to the decision that you can’t defeat him militarily, it seems to me that you would seek to come to some sort of accommodation to the guerilla group. Address his grievances. It is noteworthy that some of the insurgencies we are seeing these days are not monolithic, like what emerged in China under Mao and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The insurgents are sometimes a loose alliance of different groups. Meeting whatever economic, social, or cultural causes he advocates may splinter the movement and isolate those who are hellbent on seizing power, no matter what. The homegrown “regime changers” then may be possible to defeat, without their allies who had more limited grievances. Unwillingness to implement reforms invites revolution.
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  8. #108
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lastdingo View Post
    Mao gave up his sanctuary with the long March, yet succeeded. Actually, many rebellions have no safe heavens / sanctuaries at the beginning. Remember Castro in 1959 - he was hunted around for weeks or months, always on the move. Algerian insurgents around 1960 lost most sanctuaries they had due to aggresive paratrooper tactics - but they won because the enemy lost the will to continue (due to the immorality of his own tactics).
    Mao relocated his sanctuary with the Long March, and never lost his sanctuary in the Soviet Union, a source of support through out the revolution. Castro launched from Mexico and preserved his sanctuaries in the hills of Cuba. Yes, the Algerians lost most, but not all sancuaries, and preserved the ones outside the borders of Algier. Sanctuaries can be dynamic and can be numerous, and this is the greatest single issue of the GWOT.

    I would accept the argument that disruption of a guerrilla sanctuary starts a countdown for the movement, but that countdown can be reset with the establishment of a new sanctuary. More important than the sanctuaries within the area of operations are the ones the established government can't reach (like Cambodia and China in Vietnam, like Iran in Iraq today, like the USSR for so many small movements through the Cold War).

    And thank you Jimbo, for your support.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lastdingo View Post
    Islamofascism -This is a propagada term, made to mark enemies as especially bad people beyond rational reasoning. It's a PR trick to do things like this - who can name a phenomenon can influence how others sense it. It's better not to use such a term. In fact, there's little resemblance to fascism.
    PR term, yes, but we're in an IO war, and Al Qaeda and affiliates certainly won't reason or negotiate with the West in good faith. If you posit that the Taliban in Afghanistan was the Islamofacsist vision for the world (and a good Salifi will confirm this), it was a totalitarian government with constant threats of punishment (fascism-from the Latin fasces, a symbol of government authority to punish) based on Sharia law, Islamic law.

    Nope, I'm not buying your argument, this shoe fits, and it supports efforts directed against one of these guerrillas' CoG.
    Last edited by Van; 06-12-2007 at 03:01 PM.

  9. #109
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Don't think the shoe fits at all.

    The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality -- thus it may be called the "ethic" State....
    "Islamofascism" is primarily an IO term aimed at a domestic audience, intending to conflate Islamic violent extremism with the threats of the past, i.e. Nazism or Communism. People who dispute its usefulness can be accused of Chamberlainian weakness and failure to recognize the "grave and gathering" threat. Conversely advocates of the term can pose as Churchill reincarnated.

    It has absolutely zero use, and is possibly harmful, as IO directed outside of the United States' political context.
    Last edited by tequila; 06-12-2007 at 03:54 PM.

  10. #110
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    As Jimbo and Tacitus have noted, insurgencies move through phases, depending on the general population's degree of support for the principles of the insurrectionists.

    Although others would dispute this, I think old Dead Carl was on top of this as well:

    We therefore repeat our proposition, that War is an act of violence
    pushed to its utmost bounds; as one side dictates the law to the other,
    there arises a sort of reciprocal action, which logically must lead to
    an extreme. This is the first reciprocal action, and the first extreme
    with which we meet (FIRST RECIPROCAL ACTION). (On War ,Book, Chap, sec 3--Gutenberg Project version of the 1873 J.J. Graham translation)


    The point to draw from von C is that warfare goes through a process of move and countermove, escalating in violence. In an insurgency, as in any other military campaign, what counts as a strength or weakness will change over time for each party to the conflict. I suggest that trying to identify a single strength or vulnerability is a mistake. I proposed on a different thread that in insurgencies,we are looking at multicausal events, not something like the old fire triangle that we were taught about as children during Fire Prevention Week.

  11. #111
    Council Member Tacitus's Avatar
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    A number of Islamic parties and political groups have called for the restoration of Caliphate. It is a clearly and often repeated stated goal of al-Qaida. It would have an elected or appointed Caliph and a Parliament (Majilis al-Shura).

    The Caliphate does not call for some kind of supreme dictator, with total authority, demanding slavish obendience from the people in service of the state. There are provisions for accountability of rulers in the Caliphate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliphate
    Sunni Islamic lawyers have commented on when it is permissible to disobey, impeach or remove rulers in the Caliphate. This is usually when the rulers are not meeting public responsibilities obliged upon them under Islam.

    Al-Mawardi said that if the rulers meet their Islamic responsibilities to the public, the people must obey their laws, but if they become either unjust or severely ineffective then the Caliph or ruler must be impeached via the Majlis al-Shura. Similarly Al-Baghdadi believed that if the rulers do not uphold justice, the ummah via the majlis should give warning to them, and if unheeded then the Caliph can be impeached. Al-Juwayni argued that Islam is the goal of the ummah, so any ruler that deviates from this goal must be impeached. Al-Ghazali believed that oppression by a caliph is enough for impeachment. Rather than just relying on impeachment, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani obliged rebellion upon the people if the caliph began to act with no regard for Islamic law. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said that to ignore such a situation is haraam, and those who cannot revolt inside the caliphate should launch a struggle from outside. Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Quran to justify this:

    “...And they (the sinners on qiyama) will say, 'Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and our chiefs, and they misled us from the right path. Our Lord! Give them (the leaders) double the punishment you give us and curse them with a very great curse'...”[33:67-68]

    Islamic lawyers commented that when the rulers refuse to step down via successful impeachment through the Majlis, becoming dictators through the support of a corrupt army, if the majority agree they have the option to launch a revolution against them. Many noted that this option is only exercised after factoring in the potential cost of life.


    The way they imagine the Caliphate doesn't sound much like either of the fascist systems headed by Hitler or Mussolini to me.

    "Islamofascist" seems to more or less mean, by those who use the term, "any Muslim who we are fighting." Whether this enemy envisions forming a state based on fascism, or not, seems to be irrelevant. There is considerable stigma attached to the name and to the concept, and it is not uncommon for people to label their political opponents (or authority figures in general) pejoratively as "fascists".
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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus View Post
    The way they imagine the Caliphate doesn't sound much like either of the fascist systems headed by Hitler or Mussolini to me.

    "Islamofascist" seems to more or less mean, by those who use the term, "any Muslim who we are fighting." Whether this enemy envisions forming a state based on fascism, or not, seems to be irrelevant. There is considerable stigma attached to the name and to the concept, and it is not uncommon for people to label their political opponents (or authority figures in general) pejoratively as "fascists".
    From George Orwell's 1944 essay "What is Fascism"
    It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

    Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, some of them easy to point out and not easy to explain away, between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. Secondly, if ‘Fascist’ means ‘in sympathy with Hitler’, some of the accusations I have listed above are obviously very much more justified than others. Thirdly, even the people who recklessly fling the word ‘Fascist’ in every direction attach at any rate an emotional significance to it. By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.
    You may reasd the whole thing here

  13. #113
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    Control of the people, control of terrain.....what difference is there really in an expanse of jungle and steppe and woods and prairie V the congestion of say Sadr City or Cairo or Mexico City for that matter? Thousands of troops within a day's time of Sadr City exert no more control than did a cavarly regiment on the Indian frontier 200 miles from the enemy encampments. To argue comparisons and facts to the contrary is to ignore the fact that for 250+ years, the better minds of the time were working on the problem, just as for the past 50 years the better minds in Israel and admist the palestinians have been working on resolving that insurgency. There are elements in the dominant groups and the insurgent groups that simply want no part of the other, no compromise, no sharing of culture - the nuke 'em/behead 'em all club of conquest and domination. For some there is no war of ideas and ideology because there is only one right side that must prevail at all costs. The clash of cultures paradigm is perhaps more deeply entrenched than we care to admit. How does the military address this issue on the home front and connect it to the pacification of insurgents?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Lastdingo, didn't Clausewitz talk about war of limited objectives? Do you think he was talking about small wars in that context. Briefly I remember sections where he talks about seizing a vital province of the enemy or doing him damage in a general way without his complete overthrow? Your comments on this?
    I don't think so. The wars with limited objectives that he meant were rather the cabinet wars of 18th century (not the seven years war) than what we call small wars today.

    The versions that he mentioned were a war waged to disarm and therefore break the enemy and a war that merely consisted of favorable maneuvers to improve the position for peace talks (no decisive, grand battle). Serious peace talks aren't necessary in the more total version of war that ended in the defenselessness of one warring party.

    So his less intense version of war fits many modern small wars, but doesn't even remotely describe them. It's like saying water is blue - the relevant properties and consequences are not mentioned, yet the description is sort of correct.

    Both types of war could - as history shows - also be present in a single conflict. Look at the Second Boer War. The British wanted to break the Boers and make them defenseless, achieving total victory in a small war (a challenging one, as it turned out).
    The Boers practiced the limited war version - they merely wanted a status quo ante peace treaty.



    Van
    Mao relocated his sanctuary with the Long March, and never lost his sanctuary in the Soviet Union, a source of support through out the revolution. Castro launched from Mexico and preserved his sanctuaries in the hills of Cuba. Yes, the Algerians lost most, but not all sancuaries, and preserved the ones outside the borders of Algier. Sanctuaries can be dynamic and can be numerous, and this is the greatest single issue of the GWOT.

    I would accept the argument that disruption of a guerrilla sanctuary starts a countdown for the movement, but that countdown can be reset with the establishment of a new sanctuary. More important than the sanctuaries within the area of operations are the ones the established government can't reach (like Cambodia and China in Vietnam, like Iran in Iraq today, like the USSR for so many small movements through the Cold War).
    If the loss of a sanctuary is so easily compensated for, then it's most likely not a critical loss. The interesting weak point needs to be searched somewhere else than in something that's so easily replaced. Supporting states can hardly count as sanctuary unless they act as operations base as in the similar Hezbollah example.


    By the way, I don't believe that in the so-called GWOT (another term not easily agreed on) it's important at all what the military can do. Most of AQ, for example, is/was rather a third world private army than a group of persons actually able to execute intelligent strikes in the west. Killing them helps little if at all. Several thousand persons were AQ personnel at some time, but only a small fraction of them were the right kind of people for complex strikes. Most were simply using AQ as a kind of travel & logistics agency to Jihad inside of a muslim country.
    If I was tasked to fight AQ based on my current open source knowledge, I would concentrate on the hard core and make recruiting of more hard core fighter (actual terrorists, not just jihadists) as tough as possible to dry the pool out over time. But my information on AQ is certainly very inferior to that of our government agencies.
    Last edited by Lastdingo; 06-12-2007 at 06:12 PM.

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default local vs foriegn

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus View Post
    , it seems to me that you would seek to come to some sort of accommodation to the guerilla group. Address his grievances. It is noteworthy that some of the insurgencies we are seeing these days are not monolithic, like what emerged in China under Mao and Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.
    Distinction can be made between the trans-national AQ type insurgent-terrorist and the local insurgent.

    Trans-national-The AQ type foriegn nationals with an ideological drive to create a large scale multi-state or possibly world wide regime change, ruthless and the greatest threat (as in most potentially damaging, active seekers of wmd etc). It is also technically the weaker of the two types. Weaker as its physical bases are harder to maintian, they are outsiders-foriegners dependent on indigenous support. It is also harder to address their 'grievances', nearly impossible infact probably pointless, to negotiate with them.

    The local-homegrown insurgents, classic these guys can be influenced by the trans-nationals but they can also be negotiated with. Here you can address the local grievances to some extent. In a traditonal intra-state insurgency it is the insurgent vs the government and they odds of success are generally in the favor of the government. It has been shown in Malaya and it appears in Iraq that local insurgents can be influenced negatively by the excessive use of force by foriegn insurgents. This provides leverage for the gov't against them.

    The mix- inter-state insurgents and foriegn governmental intervention into a intra-state conflict. Complex to say the least. The foriegn insurgent fights a different battle than the local, the foriegner is far more likely to utilize excessive force as he cares little for the local conditions, they are quite likely to utilize heavy coercive means to keep themselves protected. Of course similiar statements could be made for the foriegn governments intervention forces. In this their is a competition in state building- the local gov't vs the local insurgent leadership and the foriegners are competeing for influence over both.

  16. #116
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I think it's especially important to make some distinctions between classic insurgencies (the Mao/Castro/Ho Chi Minh variety), trans-national insurgencies (AQ, some of the environmental and anti-globalization groups), and the terrorist hangers-on.

    Loss of a sanctuary can be very serious, but I think some people misunderstand what an in-country sanctuary actually is. For a classic insurgency, I think the sanctuary really comes down to contact with the local population. Most groups are small enough that they don't need a major supply dump or logistical tail, but they do need food, recruits, and information. If you can cut that off, you've eliminated their main sanctuary. Taking down base areas can disrupt activity, but it's not getting at the heart of the matter.

    Most insurgencies, no matter the type, have an ideological basis. Be it rights for a certain group, land, or what have you, the ideological drive exists. If you can somehow target that, you've hit a main COG. As goesh pointed out, thought, this isn't easy. And it won't work with the terrorist elements within any insurgency (and over time they will develop).
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lastdingo View Post
    If the loss of a sanctuary is so easily compensated for, then it's most likely not a critical loss. The interesting weak point needs to be searched somewhere else than in something that's so easily replaced. Supporting states can hardly count as sanctuary unless they act as operations base as in the similar Hezbollah example.
    A planned transition of sanctuaries is not the same as an unplanned loss. Systematic denial of sanctuaries is historically a successful strategy in counter-guerrilla ops, going all the way back to the English versus the Welsh centuries ago.

    Supporting states can represent a form of sanctuary, especially in a highly decentralized system like AQ when enabled by modern communications and transportation.

    Tacitus nailed it with the observation that AQ is not monolithic. Al Qaeda, The Base, is just that; a finacial, training, and philosophical/religious base for Sunni extremism. Traditional patterns of guerrilla organization resemble a old fashioned computer network with one node setting the clock and the other nodes falling in on it, and occasionally there would be a guerrilla organization like more modern networks where the nodes would be more autonomous. AQ is more like a petri dish for a highly contagious disease. AQ feeds the disease, but the spores spread the disease and cause the damage. Please, please, please don't read too much into the analogy, it's just an attempt to describe the high degree of autonomy of cells supported by AQ, and the way it propogates.

    The strategic solution is "immunizing hosts"; changing conditions in countries that provide sanctuary so that they will stop providing sanctuary. And the cornerstone of this is twofold; education and economies. Military operations can only provide time and space for the diplomatic/informational/economic facets of the solution.

    The challenge presented by the organization (or lack of organization) of AQ is that it makes some very ugly solutions sound viable. The attitudes and beliefs of these coward mufsid who practice hirabah create a situation where the West's willingness to negotiate is frustrated at every turn. As the incidents of violence add up, the options appear to be reduced. The unwillingness of AQ and affiliates to negotiate or consider compromise, combined with it's invasive and, for lack of a better word, contagious nature invites the use of words like "extermination" and "annihilation".

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    Council Member Tacitus's Avatar
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    Default Divide et impera

    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    Distinction can be made between the trans-national AQ type insurgent-terrorist and the local insurgent.

    The local-homegrown insurgents, classic these guys can be influenced by the trans-nationals but they can also be negotiated with. Here you can address the local grievances to some extent.

    The foriegn insurgent fights a different battle than the local, the foriegner is far more likely to utilize excessive force as he cares little for the local conditions, they are quite likely to utilize heavy coercive means to keep themselves protected.
    I'll buy that distinction, TROUFION. Doesn't that call for a political strategy to draw a bright line in the minds of the population between the competing goals and methods of the local and international insurgents? What we need is a political surge.

    I don't know what all the different local insurgent groups really want. Heck, I can't keep track of who is who and who they speak for over there. Do the groups want some kind of local autonomy? Is it about getting their fair share of whatever money there is? Or are they just jockeying for position in the real civil war when we leave. I'd like to hear from some of the men who've been over there on this subject.

    Divide et impera
    Divide and conquer
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  19. #119
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default viral insurgency?

    Just some food for thought, Van mentioned "AQ is more like a petri dish for a highly contagious disease." Made me think I know I 've heard this before, I don't know who mentioned it but the idea of trans-national insurgency as a virus or more to the point being sold along the same lines as viral marketing. I've included below a summary of viral marketing as a guide for discussion. When you read it replace viral marketing with viral insurgency and reread it, I found that interesting: (enjoy)

    "you have to admire the virus. He has a way of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that he wins by sheer weight of numbers. He piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase his tribe. And in the right environment, he grows exponentially. A virus don't even have to mate -- he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration:

    1
    11
    1111
    11111111
    1111111111111111
    11111111111111111111111111111111
    11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111 11111111111111

    In a few short generations, a virus population can explode.

    Viral Marketing Defined:
    What does a virus have to do with marketing? Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.

    The Classic Hotmail.com Example
    The classic example of viral marketing is Hotmail.com, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. The strategy is simple:

    Give away free e-mail addresses and services,
    Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: "Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com" and,
    Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates,
    Who see the message,
    Sign up for their own free e-mail service, and then
    Propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.
    Like tiny waves spreading ever farther from a single pebble dropped into a pond, a carefully designed viral marketing strategy ripples outward extremely rapidly.

    Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy
    Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple Hotmail.com strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:

    Gives away products or services
    Provides for effortless transfer to others
    Scales easily from small to very large
    Exploits common motivations and behaviors
    Utilizes existing communication networks
    Takes advantage of others' resources

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    Default

    Military Review, Jul-Aug 07: We The People Are Not The Center of Gravity in an Insurgency
    ...Military thinkers and planners often identify the people as the COG in an insurgency because the people represent a tangible target against which the elements of national power, particularly military power, can be applied and their effectiveness measured. While this seems acceptable on the surface, it represents a misunderstanding of the COG concept, a limited perception of the COG analysis process, and a targeting methodology that is stuck in the Cold-War era and does not recognize the importance and effectiveness of intangible variables....

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