July 2007

Insurgency is a political-military strategy to take control of a country. One front is the military battlefield. The more important front is the political front. Insurgents aim to demoralize the enemy public while increasing their own popular support.

Guerrillas still create a mythology that they are growing more powerful to achieve their political objectives. This strategy uses the Fog of War and propaganda to create illusions of power.

Penelope Trunk argues that it does not matter that journalists misquote people and get basic facts wrong. Truth is only a narrative, and journalists are telling their own stories.

The problem? Journalism should be a science, not an art. Art describes the artificial creation of a mind. Journalism should seek to discover the external reality. Good journalism has no narrative. It collects facts so historians and social scientists can see patterns and formulate scientific theories. Artistic narratives obscure the truth.

I really do not want to waste my time on this. The New Republic posted a bunch of absurdist tales by an anonymous guy named “Scott Thomas”

Greyhawk has a great milblog roundup debunking these urban legends.

Let’s review the phases of public discourse on warfare.
First, we support the noble troops but will sabotage their mission.
Second, the troops are really victims.
Third, the troops are uneducated drooling morons because they still support the mission.
Fourth, the troops are baby-killing felons.

Shia and Sunni Tribes have agreed to ally and fight al-Qaeda and other insurgent organizations. This expands on the Anbar Awakening Model. The tribes will provide militiamen to form neighborhood watches and will provide the building blocks for the local police and government.

The reconciliation of Iraqi Tribes provides the foundation for the future governments of Iraq. Our attention should be focused on the local and provincial governments, and not the detached central government. The “Iraqi Awakening” continues to spread and is building

Al-Qaeda’s grand strategy requires a media campaign to embolden Salafists and demoralize the Western publics into inaction.

The Army will finally fight the Information War. It’s publishing am information operations field manual. This is more significant than it sounds. It reflects a change in attitude. The Army recognizes that the center of gravity in this war is the general public – Muslim and Non-Muslim. It cannot side on the sidelines and allow Al-Qaeda to distort everyone’s perceptions.

Iranian, Syrian, and Hezbollah leaders met this week and issued and unusual amount of bluster, even for them.

It looks like Gen. Petraeus’s prediction of a Mini-Tet will come to pass. Iran promises a hot summer.

Also Thursday, following a surprise meeting with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in Damascus, Ahmadinejad said that it was going to be a “hot” summer in the Middle East.

“We hope that the hot weather of this summer will coincide with similar victories for the region’s peoples, and with consequent defeat for the region’s enemies,” Ahmadinejad added, in an apparent reference to Israel.


Robert Aumann describes why calls for peace result in greater warfare.

Calls for peace signal weakness. A pro-war party will become more aggressive, knowing that the pro-peace party will back down. Robert Aumann is a Nobel-prize winning game theorist, if you are not familiar with him.

He advises Israel to show greater commitment in the face of its adversaries.

Some members of AQI are defecting.

As Zawahiri feared, if AQI cannot maintain unity with the population and within the movement, they will fail. The war will be fought in the shadows. Tipsters inform the coalition about AQI membership and activities and the coalition takes them out in midnight raids.

Al-Qaeda’s brutality was too much even for its own members. Now they are turning on AQI along with the Sunni Tribes and nationalist insurgents.

The Letter from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi

Zawahiri outlines his grand strategy. The primary battlefield of the Global Jihad is Iraq, in the Heart of Islam. His goal is to drive the Americans out, establish an Islamic State that will lead to the Caliphate, and take over the Arab World.

He also notes the weaknesses in the strategy. The US Disaggregation Strategy clearly worries him. He knows that if the movement fractures, it will fail.

He chastised Zarqawi for the public beheadings and attacking Shia mosques, not because Zawahiri sees these as wrongs, but because he knows that many Muslims will misinterpret these actions and turn against the Jihadis.

The Islamic Courts Union continues to fight an insurgency against the Somali Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopia.

In 2006, the ICU briefly captured most of southern Somalia. They called for jihad against Ethiopia and provoked an Ethiopian counterattack. The Ethiopians overran the ICU forces in nine days. The ICU has tried to organize an insurgency modeled after Iraq.

The Assassin Order used a network of assassins and spies to expand their political influence during medieval times in Syria and Iran. They used a form of unconventional warfare to intimidate foreign leaders to submit and political appease them.

The Mongolians destroyed the Assassins through military force.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri has recently declared war on Pakistan and is marshalling al-Qaeda and the Taliban to disrupt or overthrow the government. President Musharraf responded by renewing the war in Waziristan.

This appears to have ignited a simmering power struggle within the al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership. Abu Yahya al-Libi and his faction opposes Zawahiri’s powergrab.

We are accustomed to thinking in base 10. We use the numbers 0 through 9 to count. There are other bases we can use instead. We know the ancient Babylonians used base 60.

Binary (or Base Two) requires only two numbers, 0 and 1. Something this minor is the key to creating advanced technologies like computers and understanding neuroscience.

Sometimes failed experiments are the most important. In science, it is ok to be wrong. Scientists put forth an educated hypothesis and test it. An experiment that disproves a commonly believed hypothesis can be as revolutionary as one that proves it.

The Michelson-Morley Experiment disproved the luminiferous ether and set the foundation for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

China continues to battle the Islamist Insurgency in Xinjiang. The Uighur Muslims are fighting to create an independent state of East Turkestan. The Communist Chinese fight back.

Do the Chinese use a humane counterinsurgency strategy? No. It’s pretty much what you would expect from communists.

Harvard Business Review takes a look at which societies are looking at the future.

There is a strong correlation with future-oriented societies, competitiveness and optimism. Singapore is the most future oriented and Russia is the least.

On July 26, 1945 President Truman, Prime Minister Attlee, and Stalin demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan. The Japanese military refused to surrender. The pro-peace civilians did not act until the atomic bombs were dropped.

The declaration itself is interesting, partly because it was almost entirely written by Americans and partly because it defines America’s “enemy” to be eliminated so accurately:

I believe the past few years demonstrated the folly of “banning” landmines.

The treaty is called Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (pdf). The basics are simple: it calls for states to abandon the use of anti-personnel landmines.

Clausewitz’s idea of culminating points of attack and of victory are important but abstract theories in military science. This is also called the “tipping point.”

Every offensive operation will reach a point where there attacker’s strength no longer outweighs the defender. After this point, the attacker’s strength declines and they become more vulnerable to over-extension and defeat. Commanders must recognize this critical point and change strategies accordingly.

Computers are now the masters of Checkers. The perfect strategy results in a draw. A win only occurs when the losing player made more mistakes than the winning player.

We know that all games of perfect imformation have saddle points. If it has a saddle point, then there is a perfect strategy for each player.

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