For the Night of 7 August 2009
Hyundai Asan denied the report, saying North Korean officials made no mention of the captive worker to the chairwoman during her routine trip to the industrial zone on 4 August.
The Hyundai Asan chairwoman’s denial is pro forma, lest any public statement frustrate negotiations. This marks the sixth overture for easing tension. The South Koreans have been waiting for their turn in the rotation.
Indonesian police exchanged gunfire with the occupants of the house in Java, believed to shelter Noordin top and his associates. Police said the anti-terror operation in the Temanggung district followed the arrest on Friday of several suspected militants loyal to Noordin Mohamed Top, who is actually a native Malaysian.
He is widely viewed as responsible for a string of fatal
bomb blasts in
He has been wanted by Malaysian and Indonesian authorities since 2002, and in 2006 he was ranked No. 3 on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list. The reporting on Noordin’s arrest is contradictory, but if confirmed, it would be tonight’s good news.
The significance of this is that it showcases the
effectiveness of one of the permanent solutions to a terrorist operation, known
as “poisoning the host.” The LTTE will
elect or appoint new leadership, but as long as all the plausible refuges are
hostile, the new leadership will get caught and extradited to
Reuters reported that the TTP leadership called an advisory council meeting or "shura," to choose a successor, and among those being considered are Mehsud's spokesman Hakimullah, Azmatullah and Wali Ur Rehman.
The Afghanistan Taliban's efforts will not be affected by the death of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, said Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, Reuters reported.. "We feel sympathy for our brothers who fight for the same cause, but resistance against the Afghan government and its foreign allies will continue," he said.
Comment: The death of Baitullah Mehsud produced a leadership gap that lasted less than 36 hours. That is the downside of decapitation tactics – billed as strategies -- against tribal insurgencies and uprisings. Decapitation has never proven to be a permanent solution that produces the destruction of a pre-modern armed opposition movement.
The western model of leadership posits that elimination of the leader collapses the opposition. That is mythology in the West as well as everywhere else. More importantly, decapitation appears to strengthen organizational commitment to the remaining leaders.
Poisoning the host, as in the Sri Lankan anecdote above, is a more durable and devastating strategy for suppressing insurgency and terrorism than decapitation because of what Professor Bob Jervis describes as Systems Effects, in his book with the same name.
A new study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace highlighted another down-side of decapitation. The author of the study pointed out that in killing the more experienced Taliban field commanders the Forces of Order denied themselves opportunities to fracture the insurgent movement, by exploiting the grounds for disagreement.
Experienced field commanders are prone to balk at unreasonable orders and break away from senior religious leaders who fail to appreciate their operational problems, responding with platitudes and suras (i.e., Quranic verses) to requests for ammunition and explosives.
On the other hand, new leaders strive to prove their loyalty to the cause, however unreasonable its directives. This results in greater organizational integrity in the short term.
Decapitation is a useful short term tactic, but no one should confuse it with a strategy. At every level of targeting wisdom the drone campaign has been an expensive, long term failure in the sense that it has produced dead men but no measurable reduction in the threat to US interests in Afghanistan or Pakistan; no reduction in the determination of anti-US fighters to die for the Taliban; no reduction in the spread of Taliban influence and attacks in Afghanistan or in the fighting in Pakistan; no disincentive to other terrorist groups in attacking pro-US interests anywhere in the world and it has made Pakistani hostility to the US nearly nation-wide. It has backfired for eight years.
In the National
Security Advisor’s search for metrics, this program is a negative model. It is
tempting to imagine what might have been accomplished in
NightWatch Comment: The
Dane has been preaching the NATO gospel all week, but it is time to raise a red
flag to the pontification about winning hearts and minds in
Second, how does a “hearts and minds” strategy work with the Durani Pashtuns vs the Ghilzai Pashtuns vs the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, gypsies, and Nuristanis plus the hundreds of clans. What makes modern people think Afghans are all cast of the same mold? They pride themselves on being the world’s greatest tribal society, according to Dupree, extolling difference not similarity.
The evidence that one idea fits all Afghans is an insult to
a tribal society that was ancient and honorable before the time of Alexander
the Great. There could never be one hearts and minds program for
As for the Western capability to understand the hearts and
minds of the pre- and semi- modern ethnic groups, history is not on the side of
Older experts, every bit as educated, insightful and
sensitive as modern experts, failed to understand the hearts and minds of the
Vietnamese a generation ago. The evidence is lacking that a new generation of
theorists, strategists, planners, experts and generals have superior knowledge,
scholarship and insight about a still more primitive people than the
Vietnamese. The results of so much “human terrain” study are not apparent on
the ground in
And, do serious minded people today really think the enormously complex actions of living systems are comparable to the study of geography, as implied in the term “human terrain? “
It is hard for the older generation of ex- and retired soldiers and government officers to believe that their younger successors would actually “swallow” slogans as a substitute for serious problem solving. One wonders who dug up this slogan of past failure.
The NightWatch suspicion
is that the politicians’ continual references to the need to win Afghan hearts
and minds are a shallow strategem to deflect blame
onto the NATO armed forces in the event the
If Rasmussen continues to use “hearts and minds” as a
rallying cry, he is in danger of becoming an object of derision, even in
During this Watch, no news services have
reported disturbances of any sort on the anniversary of the fragmentation of
Eritrea-Somalia: For the record.
End of NightWatch for 7 August.