April 12, 2007

Great moments in the history of counter-insurgency warfare:

Perhaps President Bush could take a lesson from the strategy followed by President Mobutu of Zaire (Congo) in his successful resistance to rebels in the breakaway Shaba (Katanga) province in the "Termite War" of 1977-78. From Time, May 2, 1977:

"Mobutu also unveiled a remarkable secret weapon in the war: pygmy power. Some 150 "expert pygmy bowmen" —as a Za├»rian official described them —were sent to Shaba to infiltrate enemy lines. The diminutive tribesmen (average height under 5 ft.) were praised by one government newspaper as "formidably efficient units who can move silently and well against the enemy." Although they were issued rifles, most pygmies prefer carrying home-made bows that shoot arrows whose tips are coated with a lethal drug (derived from local plants), which kills the monkeys that they hunt for food. Skeptical foreign correspondents could not resist joking that the rebels had suffered "a bay of pygmies," and that the tiny warriors had skewered the enemy from their hiding posts in clumps of crabgrass."

I read somewhere long ago, probably in The Economist, that this was actually a highly effective psychological weapon. The pygmies probably never even got to the front, but the airport photo op that Mobutu staged with the pygmies and their blow guns apparently scared the rebels no end. Who knows the real story, though ...


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

3 comments:

Peter said...

Facing a growing insurgency in Iraq, the White House is sending military recruiters to the next Little People of America convention.

green mamba said...

Somehow I don't think a pygmy surge is on the neocon agenda...

Anonymous said...

Mobuto lost though. And the Congo is an even bigger mess than it was before him.

There are not any gimmicks, and a quick look around:

Algeria, more bombing from the resurgent Group for Preaching and Combat.
Thailand, more bombings and atrocities from the Muslims in the South, targeting Buddhists of course.
Philippines, same except for targeting Christians.
Chechnya, fighting continues.
Sri Lanks, an oddity because is it's Tamils vs. Sinhalese, neither of whom are Muslim ...

All show it's hard to crush guerilla warfare if you don't have:

*A strong state.
*The will to use the strength.

China has dealt with insurgencies in Tibet and also in XianXing province and their other Western provinces by ... importing millions of Han Chinese, obliterating the local language, and shooting anyone who looks like a guerilla/terrorist. This hasn't erased all attempts at separatism and guerilla warfare, but it has ratcheted it down quite a bit.

Insurgencies are a war of the people, so the solution is: destroy the people. Overwhelm them with settlers, destroy their culture/language/marriage-tribal bonds/religion, ruthlessly kill young insurgents, and it works.

This requires however a strong state and sustained strong leadership both of which are in short supply.

Russia has essentially outsourced it's anti-guerrilla campaign to Chechens it bought, who are erasing their former comrades to become the absolute rulers. But it's an interim solution at best.

Algeria won't have peace until it turns into Yemen or Sudan, or a place like North Korea. Thailand won't have any peace until the majority Buddhists simply wipe out the Muslims in the South.

The central fallacy of modern Westerners is to think that most people are like middle class office workers. Most assuredly they are not.