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Posts Tagged ‘middle-east’

Applyig John Boyd’s Patterns of Conflict on War in Afghanistan

Posted by picard578 on February 2, 2013

Main point of Boyd’s presentation is following:

One should operate at faster tempo than opponent and get inside his OODA loop, causing confunsion

This can be achieved through generation of rapidly changing environment and distorting adversary’s observation of it. Guerrilla warfare is basically based around it, denying opponent knowledge of where guerrilla forces are, as well as where and how will they strike. That can be partly denied to them through usage of manned aircraft, UAVs, and satellites in surveillance capability. However, due to the fluid nature of anti-guerrilla warfare, friction must be reduced to minimum; ideally, infantry platoons would be deployed individually, and each would have its own surveillance system under direct operational control of platoon itself. Platoons would also call in air support as required.

Further, Boyd makes a point that one should deny adversary capacity for independent action as well as opportunity to survive on his own terms – or at all. This is one thing that NATO forces in Afghanistan are failling to do: while NATO controls the cities, Taliban have near-free rein in the countryside. But Taliban, like any other classic guerilla movement, are dependant on support of people from countryside, which NATO does not control. Thus, NATO is making a fundamental strategic mistake by not restricting opponent’s capacity for independent action; infantry platoons should be moved from (in this situation, strategically irrelevant) cities, and into the countryside; especially since 75% of Afghanistan’s population lives in the countryside. Instead of few large troop concentrations, troops should establish numerous smaller posts and garrisons – Taliban usually move in platoon-sized formations or smaller, so these would not be in danger of being overrun. Light troops should be used to mount hit-and-run attacks against Taliban targets; troops in question can be light infantry, bycicle or light helicopter troops, depending on situation. This also ties in Boyd’s observation of superior mobility as an important asset.

Attacking enemy’s plans should be paramount; as guerrilla, as stated before, relies on support of local populace – not only for supplies, but also for intelligence and similar – action should be taken to alienate populace from Taliban. First, drones should not be used for assasinations, as such usage regularly claims disproportionate number of civilian casualties. This is especially devastating in the rural areas, as families there tend to be large and coherent. If there is need to kill off Taliban official, mission should be carried out by sniper teams. Second, soldiers should establish rapport with local populace. One way to do that is to make soldiers actually help civilians with everyday duties, help them to better organize their lives, and generally become a part of the local community – which includes soldiers simply talking to them. Talking, as in easy conversations you have in bars. (You can find a good blog article on that here). Local populace is usually a recruiting ground for guerilla, but if done correctly, it can also be of great help for Coalition forces in the area – providing information on terrain, terrorist’s movements and other forms of intelligence. Third, guerilla itself should be infiltarted to gain intelligence. And in guerilla warfare, importance of intelligence cannot be overstated: it is very easy to hit wrong target, or to receive incorrect or incomplete information, thus jeopardizing entire OODA loop. This is also way to unmask Taliban’s operations. Taliban don’t stand a chance against regular military in direct confrontations, so they have to be drawn out in the open. Further, special forces teams should use guerilla’s own tactics against them: there is precendent for that from World War II, where German elite Brandenburg division used guerilla tactics against Partisans in Yugoslavia. According to the Partisans themselves, only reason it did not manage to inflict serious, or crippling, damage was its lack of personnell.

Communications with outside world should be cut, so guerilla has no way of getting required supplies, and possibly reinforcements.

Due to the nature of terrain and warfare, troops should only carry bare minimum of needed supplies with them, leaving anything not needed in base, much like Brandenburg special forces division, as well as 7th and 13-th SS mountain divisions did in WW2. On command level, low-level commanders should be given only absolutely required instructions.

But in the end, most important thing to do in countering the Taliban is to deny them the recruiting grounds. As such, political and economic effort should be made in stabilizing not only Afghanistan, but the region as well. Boyd also notes importance of propaganda; as discussed above, troops should be encouraged to tie in with community. Aside from procuring valuable intelligence, it is even more important so that locals accept foreign troops as a friendly – or at least not hostile – element. Further, local troops should be traied, but trained well; half-trained, unmotivated militia can easily prove detrimental to the effort. Troops fighting against guerilla should keep on the offensive, to deny enemy chance to establish itself.

However, as success of any guerilla depends on them identifying with people – and vice-versa – socioeconomic situation should be improved to deny guerilla recruiting ground. Government should be competent and have minds of its people first and foremost on its mind (an impossibility if government is neoliberal). Corruption should be punished, and Government should provide a visible care for the people, to destroy any moral high ground guerilla could claim. Without doing that, there can be no victory, since guerilla war is in essence a moral conflict. Clear goal of rebuilding the Afghanistan should be set, and pursued, for only a stable society can guarantee peace; and that means US will have to abandon neoliberal philosophy.

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Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

Posted by picard578 on December 15, 2012

Report finds harsh CIA interrogations ineffective

In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.

Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.

Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.

While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply lie in order to make torture stop, if even for a moment.

It is even more detrimental in long term: during Iraq occupations, soldiers have often observed that, if they caught and tortured someone not harboring any ill will towards the occupational forces, that quickly changed. Abu Ghraib prison has become seed-plot for resistance fighters, while tactics used by US and Iraqi troops in hunting potentional Taliban fighters have increased number of Taliban even more.

In fact, when torture has been used on people who have previously cooperated, in effort to either get more information or confirm information already given, it has failed. It also has a long history of failure, hailling from Middle Ages at the very least.

If person can be made to talk with normal methods, they will; if it doesn’t work, torture won’t work either. 90% of intelligence comes from spying, collaborators and similar sources, and even in case of remaining 10%, Colonel Stuart Herrington said that 9 out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk without the stress methods at all.

In fact, FBI documents from US naval base of Guantanamo Bay show that a prisoner who has been tortured by military intelligence has started cooperating with FBI, but would be uncooperative whenever military personnel were nearby.

Use of torture can be seen as a sign of institutional and moral decay of the side using it, and it in itself accelerates that decay by helping to turn country into the police state.

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Al-Quaeda now a US ally in Syria

Posted by picard578 on November 24, 2012

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/alqaeda-now-a-us-ally-in-syria-20120910-25oby.html

(article follows)

While we reflect on the 11th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on American soil, there is a blinding light that may obscure our view: this sworn enemy now fights hand in hand with the US against the Syrian regime.

The historic State of the Union address by US president George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 is loaded with morals and principles about good and evil.

The president’s ultimatum was clear: either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

In Syria, there is mounting evidence that Al Qaeda and its allies are actively deploying terror tactics and suicide bombers to overthrow the Assad regime.

Syrian citizens who prefer the secular and stable state to the prospect of an Iraqi-style sectarian state may well be turning this same question around to the US government: are you with us, or with the terrorists?

This week, head of the Salafi jihad and close ally of al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, pledged ”deadly attacks” against Syria as ”our fighters are coming to get you” because ”crimes” by the regime ”prompts us to jihad”.

Bush referred to al Qaeda as the enemies of freedom: ”the terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews”. But Sheikh Muhammad al Zughbey proclaimed that ”your jihad against this infidel criminal and his people is a religious duty … Alawites are more infidel than the Jews and Christians”. Because the new jihad targets Alawites rather than Jews and Christians, does this render them better bed fellows?

By his own admission, Bush stated that al Qaeda was ”linked to many other organisations in different countries … They are recruited from their own nations … where they are trained in the tactics of terror … They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction”.

Yet this is precisely how the foreign jihadists in Syria have been described by reporters. They are funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And they collaborate with the Free Syrian Army which is aided and abetted by the US.

Bush condemned the Taliban regime because they were ”sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder”. Eleven years later, the parallels produce an uncomfortable truth.

If only the Syrian uprising was as simple as the Arab Spring narrative where citizens seek democracy and freedom. But those unarmed protests have long since been hijacked by a cocktail of agendas which have little to do with Syrian democracy, and more to do with a proxy war to create a sectarian Sunni state that weakens Shi’te Iran’s main partner in the region.

Bush was correct in claiming that al Qaeda ”want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan” – who were all US-Israel allies at that time.

But his list stopped short of mentioning Syria or Iraq, the real targets of al Qaeda. Why does overthrowing Syria, using the same terror tactics, fail to attract the same degree of outrage?

Bush continues: ”We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.”

This pledge appears to have fallen on its own sword, given the funding of the jihadists in Syria. The terrorists have bred and spread across borders, which is the opposite of Bush’s prophecy.

The US administration must come clean about its financial aid. It cannot use one hand to sign a blank cheque to the rebels, and the other hand to cover its eyes to their immoral and illegal tactics. It cannot hide behind ”the end justifies the means” as there are too many innocent lives at stake.

Bush rode off on his high horse: ”We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them … may God grant us wisdom”.

If the principles and morality are to be taken seriously, then they need to be applied consistently.

The US regime should be actively and publicly distancing itself from the foreign terrorists and Salafist jihadists that are proliferating within sovereign Syria.

It should be condemning al Qaeda for its militant intervention. It should be condemning the Saudi sheikhs who issue fatwas for an Alawite holocaust.

The wisdom that we see is grief over the al Qaeda crime 11 years ago, yet covert collaboration with this sworn enemy today.

Perhaps the US is applying another principle that they may have learned from their pragmatic Arab allies – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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Number of Croatian soldiers in Afghanistan to be reduced

Posted by picard578 on October 30, 2012

———————————————————————TRANSLATION——————————————————————-

Number of members of Armed Forces of Republic of Croatia participating in ISAF mission in Afghanistan will be reduced during next year from 350 to 300 in period from January to April, whereas in May – December period there will be 250 members of Croatian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. (…) Other NATO partners, such as United Kingdom and Germany are also reducing number of soldiers in Afghanistan, or at least thinking about it, while war there rages with same intensity as it always did.

(…) On meeting in Bruxelles, US SecDef Leon Panetta has stated that measures are being taken to prevent attacks on soldiers, which are increasingly often undertaken from inside. According to the Chief Secretary of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen, forces of international coalition (…) are planning to stay in Afghanistan until Afghanistanis can take full responsibility for safety and security of their own country.

Link.

—————————————————————-END OF TRANSLATION————————————————————

I have to say that I am interested in what the measures Panetta is talking about exactly are. As long as Afghanistan remains devastated country, where people have trouble satisfying basic needs – and NATO is in good deal to blame for that – war will not cease. This looks like NATO’s try to get out of Afghanistan while simultaneously saving face.

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