Wednesday, June 16, 2010


“The invader's strategy must be one of lightning war. If we can hold out for three or more years, it will be most difficult for them to bear up under the strain.”

Mao's concepts of guerrilla warfare were later translated (in the 1961 book “On Guerrilla Warfare,” by S. B. Griffith) into three phases of insurgency.

the first phase of insurgency is a “survival” phase

Mao said that during the first phase of insurgency, the infrastructure of guerrilla warfare is developed: a recruiting campaign, repositioning of weapons and munitions, and a new ideology of resistance and a propaganda apparatus to spread the ideology.
All this happened in Iraq.

The US and other likely counter-insurgents are fortunate that most revolutionaries find it easier and “cooler” to follow leaders like Guevara than Mao. The protracted revolutionary war theory dictated by Mao is certainly more universal and effective for the majority of strategic settings but the idea has to be solid.

I would even propose that the “war of ideas” should have four components rather than two –
  • the idea,
  • the individual experience of the leader,
  • the sales package, and the
  • sales methods.
The final piece involving communication techniques that stimulates emotions and invokes passion in the people will establish the power base.

The idea itself is the core of the political phase, and since a lot of time is spent in this phase following guerrilla and conventional warfare setbacks, it must never be diluted. This demands charismatic and dynamic leadership. Therefore the perfect blend of a Guevara type “cool guy” and a Mao theory would ensure the best results for an upstart revolutionary.

Yes, the political movement must occur before the guerrilla operations and the leader must set the conditions for shifts in priority of effort between phases; however the very nature of the leader is key in a society that puts a lot of emphasis on the short term solution.

Mao’s theory is predicated on the idea that success may take decades to achieve. Additionally, he planned to have setbacks.

the coalition forces must win the war of ideas in the political realm in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to achieve long term success in the region.

Insurgency is a “survival” phase. Mao defines insurgency, the infrastructure of guerrilla warfare developed by recruiting, repositioning of weapons and munitions, and a new ideology of resistance and a propaganda apparatus to spread the ideology

small-scale offensive to shake the determination of the invading forces, attempted
by the use of roadside bombings, rocket-propelled grenade assaults and sniper attacks.

Point #1 – Protracted Campaign, revolutionary war meant millions dead. This required revolutionary endurance to frustrate the efforts of a large, modern Western Army. The need to exhaust the strategic patience of the U.S public. the longer one can draw out, the more it will cost. valuable resources – $$$ and U.S. lives

Point #2 – Political Mobilization, the first and most important phase is to build a dedicated cadre by recruiting and organizing popular support at the appropriate level, only selective use of violence and guerrilla warfare is permissible, exploited the needs and desires of the discontent, build an inexhaustible cadre of believers
who support their ideological pursuits. avoid one-on-one conventional confrontation with Coalition forces, used a wide range of violence, terrorist attacks, and methods of guerrilla warfare to attrit Coalition resolve and to excite additional popular support

the process of recruiting and organizing popular support. Who is the best salesman of ideas? you have to win the war of ideas.

the “Foco” revolutionary war theory jumps the first step of the Mao war theory. “Che” got success due to unique characteristics for that time. The political mobilization and support of the populace was completed before Che and Fidel started with the guerrilla operation.
  • level of corruption
  • lack of commitment
  • military forces and the social problems

strategic victory is not determined by tactical success alone. One must understand the importance of gaining popular support. In iraq, One major difference from the theory is that although the insurgent groups are small, most of them do not have overwhelming support of the local population.

The first phase would be considered the “survival” phase. This is relevant in relation to Iraq. The start of the insurgency when major combat operations ended
  • recruiting campaign,
  • repositioning of weapons and munitions
  • new ideology of resistance and a propaganda apparatus to spread the ideology
followed by
  • small-scale offensive, which consisted of IEDs, rocket-propelled grenade assaults and sniper attacks
  • to rally support for the insurgents at home and abroad,
  • which raises funds and recruits
If there is a successful first phase, the second phase can progress
  • larger-scale offensive activity
  • carefully planned, coordinated attacks
  • important human targets
  • intelligence-gathering capability grows more sophisticated,
  • frequent and deadly activity

insurgency also grows decentralized. killing or capture or key individuals, less significant

The last phase is the decisive stage. this phase has not taken place in Iraq. insurgents will remain in the current phase.

insurgency warfare is meant to convince the enemy’s decision-makers that victory was too costly and give up.

Mao succeeded in portraying himself as an ally to the peasants and an enemy to landowners, businessmen, and Imperialism. insurgents we face today lack the commitment to stand their ground for the protracted fight

***guerilla warfare tactics routinely target the same civilian population that they desire to influence, which in reality does nothing less than counter their message***

***the U.S. faces in the GWOT are opportunists and thugs, not revolutionaries
trying to undermine the new governments. They are fighting only because the U.S. is involved.

Taliban is not trying to free the people from Karzai. They want to get back into power for themselves, purely financially motivated***

do not do near as good of a job at influencing the population. They do it out of fear, rather than making themselves seen as heroes to the peasantry. Just as LaCour stated, these are a group of thugs for the most part who are simply in it for themselves and relish any event to attack the U.S. – not revolutionaries.

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