Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Turning point" and "Disarray"

Government ministers should know better by now than to say things like this. Turning Point and Disarray are popular terms for describing the early phases of Western wars in developing countries.

Really, all they mean are that the war has entered a new phase because the hardscrabble enemy unsurprisingly discovered they couldn't survive conventional combat against a NATO-standard offensive and didn't stick around after some early heavy fighting. 

Of course, the bulk of French forces will likely be gone by the time the African occupation force shows up to deal with the insurgency that will develop should the Islamists and their allies manage to consolidate enough to launch one.

On it goes.


Unknown said...

Sun Tzu nailed this a couple of thousand years ago.

Western powers call it asymmetrical warfare, but still don't know how to win against it.

Edstock said...

Maybe, maybe not.

The "Islamists" enforce a crunchy kind of Sharia. Religious psychopaths with AK-47's and RPG's.

In my opinion, they do not have the willing co-operation of the inhabitants, who ascribe to a less crunchy Islam.

So the long-term viability of any insurgency is not a certainty. The requisite objective conditions do not exist.

Boris said...

No it isn't a certainty but Mali has many borders and Libya fallout may flood the region with militants and arms. The ingredients are there: Less capable African armies combined with a corrupt Mali government and poorly trained army might open new windows.

Purple library guy said...

Don't forget there's actually three sides to this. The locals you refer to, the Tuareg, have an insurgency of their own going (have for years), and were recently reinforced by Tuareg ex-Libyan-armed-forces types who for certain reasons don't have a place in Libya any more but do have access to plenty of weapons.
No, they don't like the Al Quaeda types (and those not involved in the insurgency have been complaining about them to the central govt. for some time, to no avail precisely because the central govt. hoped they'd fight each other). But it seems that for the moment at least, they both don't like the folks from the capital more.

Doesn't help that while Mali was, sort of, a democracy for a while, what we're supporting is the shaky result of a recent military coup. I guess dictators are only a problem if they think they own their own oil and uranium.