Saturday, September 1, 2007

Terrorism and Insurgency


Lt.Gen J.F.R.Jacob;

. Insurgency and terrorism are not new – recorded in history.
· Accounts are as early as from Greek and Roman times in some form or other. Both movements tend to merge with each other. Terrorism also becomes an ARM OF INSURGENCIES.
· Terrorism and insurgency are politically or communally (including religion) or criminally, ethnically motivated.
· The UN has yet to decide on a definition of terrorism. Insurgency may be defined as an armed rebellion against the Government with the support or sympathy of a proportion of the population. Insurgency covers the full spectrum from subversion, terrorism to full-scale guerrilla war including transformation of the guerrilla bands to regular units.
· The aim of the insurgents is to achieve a political objective by military means. A decisive victory is not essential. They can gain their objective by enforcing a stalemate so that the government and security forces finally decide that the cost is no longer sustainable. Their aim of defeating the government’s will is therefore achieved.
· Terrorism can evolve into insurgency when it takes sufficient hold to broaden its base, e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan and the Naxalite movement in India
· The word Guerrilla originated in Spain, in the Spanish war 1808-1814. Guerrilla – meaning small war. The man who fought was known as the Guerrillo or Partisan.
· There are three main schools of thought and a fourth is now emerging:
· Revolutionary school - Insurgency/Guerrilla Warfare is a form of revolution - exponents of this are Lenin, Che Guevara – that communism and revolution are indivisible.
· Political School – Mal-adjusted National or International politics eg. Mao Tse Tung – war cannot be separated from politics. Guerrilla war starts and ends with politics.
· Socio-psychological school – insurgency is the outcome of rebellious personalities – economic, social and cultural mal-adjustments.
· Emerging Kaliphate - Trends towards a unified Muslim state using various means to achieve their goals (recent meeting of a 100,000 in Indonesia).

· Requirements for Insurgency:
1) Cause – this is the most important ingredient. The greater the appeal the greater is the influence. (Rhetoric, justice, equality, freedom etc)
2) Mass Support – is necessary to sustain the movement. Mao Tse Tung, “Live among the people as a fish lives in water”
3) Leadership – effective leadership is essential. MAO, CASTRO, CHE GUEVERA were strong personalities. Leadership was centralized for strategy and decentralized for operations.
4) Organization – cause and organization go hand in hand. Organization can only last if there is a cause. A cause can only spread if there is a proper organization ( A Catch 22 situation)
· Essentials for a viable insurgent organization:
1) Parallel Government to direct policy, plans, intelligence, communications, propaganda, training, logistics, operations, sabotage, and terrorism. Necessary to set-up headquarters throughout the area.
2) Armed wing: comprising a mixed force. It is a politico-military machine aimed to fight and win over the people.
3) Intelligence setup – If cause is popular, people become the main source of information. It requires a sound organization, agents and communications to transmit information. Grass-root information is essential (this is lacking both in Iraq and Afghanistan).
4) Propaganda – This is three-dimensional - to win over the masses, attack the enemy with psychological warfare and to maintain momentum by political indoctrination. It further aims to discourage and terrify opponents with rumors, gossip, and allegations, set to destabilize government forces and spread panic among the people.
5) Proximity of International borders with sympathetic countries – This enables them to establish bases, train and receive arms and money ( Iraq - From Iran and Syria, Afghanistan – from Pakistan and Iran)
6) Foreign Support – foreign powers may materially assist, for eg: in Vietnam – USA and Cambodia. China and Pakistan’s role in the North eastern state of Nagaland in India……. Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and the north Indian state of Punjab. As also later, Pakistan giving birth to the Taliban.

1) Counter Insurgency Operations :
2) These are both defensive and offensive. Defensive – to prevent insurgents disrupting government, protecting infrastructure, communications and surveillance. These are best carried out by the police and Para-military.
Offensive operations; in any war – small war, there are four main objectives –
1) defeating the enemy forces in the field,
2) disrupting enemy bases and the infrastructure
3) breaking the enemy’s will to resist
4) And finally achieving the political aim.
Most important is to break the enemy’s will to fight. To do this, we must defeat his forces; disrupt his logistics and infrastructure in order to achieve the political aim. Military force alone cannot produce a solution. Military force can only create an environment from which the insurgents will negotiate from a position of weakness.
Thus coming to a political settlement. In order to this, it is important to win over the minds and hearts of the people.
To do this, we need:
1) Close Liaison with the civil authorities.
2) Countering hostile propaganda.
3) Intelligence, particularly at the grassroots.
4) Correct weight age must be given to both defensive and offensive operation and finally
5) Mobility: this is most important. Armed forces should be more mobile than that of the hostile and must be able to adapt to terrain and environment
(Jungles, urban etc).
1) Insurgents aim is to enforce a stalemate wherein the government and security forces finally decide that sustaining indecisive operations are no longer worthwhile. The insurgent’s aim of breaking the government’s will to fight is therefore achieved.
2) There is no purely political solution on its own. If so, the insurgency would not have occurred. There is no purely military solution either. Military force can only be used to reduce the insurgents to a position of weakness in order to bring them to the negotiating table.
3) There are two main ingredients to keep an insurgency going. Firm bases and lines of supply for ammunition and money. Eg: Iraq (Iran- Syria), Afghanistan (Pakistan – Iran), Jammu and Kashmir and North East India (Pakistan and ISI through Nepal and Bangladesh).
4) Jehad – it means an effort or a striving. A religious war with those who are unbelievers . When an infidel country is conquered, there are three alternatives.
1) Acceptance of Islam: they become enfranchised citizens of a Muslim state.
2) Payment of poll tax (Jaiyah) – in which they become zimmis.
3) Death by the sword who do not pay the poll tax.

Pakistan is the epicenter of Islamist Terrorist organizations. The TALIBAN was there and sponsoored by various countries to over-throw the Russians in Afghanistan. They drew recruits from the Pakistani madrassas and from various other Muslim countries. They were financed mainly by the wahabi Saudis and other Arab countries. Pak shares borders with China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and also from there to Central Asia and the Caucasus region.

Training camps in Pakistan are located in Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Intake is from various Arab and African countries and from Jammu and Kashmir.

Camps for Jamaat-ud-Daawaa (JD), Jaish- E- Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen, Tehreek – Ul – Mujahideen, Al Qaeda – Osama Bin Laden.
Movement blossomed in the conflict with Russsia in Afghanistan. Sponsored by Pakistan and with the assistance of the Pakistani ISI. Most certainly, Bin Laden is in Pakistan. He Needs Medical treatment – he must be near hospital. (Under protection of ISI).

Then there is the leading Jihadist Ayman Al Zawahiri.

There are 244 religious organizations in Pakistan – only 25 are Political and take part in elections. 145 have sectarian bases, 12 don’t believe in democracy and want to set-up Khalafah and 104 are Jihadis.

New Targets. Changing Scenario
1) Maximize People’s Support- new recruits collecting funds.
2) Groups affiliated to Al Qaeda and others from Jihad organizations targeting Christian missions, minority sects and foreign interests.
3) Bringing Islamic Revolution through education
4) Enforcing Sharia law throughout the country.
5) These threats and targets are posing new threats not only for Pakistan but worldwide.
6) Jihadists are penetrating the education system and disorienting youth.
7) Jihadists are strengthening ties with political groups to achieve their related military goals.
8) The role of the ISI and the Army is crucial. The ISI is sponsoring and exporting terrorism in the whole region – Afghanistan, India (J&K and the North East in India). They have set up cells in Bangladesh and Nepal – recruiting a setting up training camps. Most junior and middle piece officers in the armed forces and paramilitary are fundamentalists and pro-jihadists as well as some senior generals.
9) The challenge to Musharraf is to cope with these Jihadi tactics – though at present in a low key are set to revive in a more ideological manner – there are calls from some groups for a Caliphate.


· Abolished by Ataturk in March 1924
· Al Qaeda is for a caliphate – one nation under Allah from Indonesia to Morocco, under Shariah Law.
· Meeting August 12 – Jakarta 100,000
· Khilafat Movement – 1920 - South Asia
The frustration of Governments and their Armed Forces is understandable in dealing with terrorism and insurgency to employ sophisticated weapon systems as they are technically suitable for that particular environment or due to moral or political considerations. So long as military commanders fail to adapt organizations, techniques, tactics and training to meet terrorist and insurgent challenges, these movements will prosper.
Military force cannot, on its own, impose a solution; all it can aim at is to force insurgents to talk from a position of weakness to accept a political solution.
Militarily there are two main factors to keep an insurgency going – Firm Bases and Lines of Supply for Arms, ammunition and money. As long as these two parameters exist, that insurgency will continue eg:
Afghanistan – Pakistan and Iran
Iraq – Iran and Syria
India (Jammu and Kashmir and the North – East) – Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Most wars in the years ahead will be asymmetric involving counter insurgency. There is a need for a comprehensive approach encompassing governments as well as national and international organizations (military, bureaucrats and politicians working and training together).
Regular military forces must learn to look on counter-insurgency operations not as an aberration but as an accepted form of military operations.
In Vietnam, both French and US militaries favored the big war methods – Quote General Westmoreland.
“Sent to fight a war for which nothing in its training had prepared him. His way was the army way, the American way, the world war-II way – find the enemy, fix him in place and annihilate him with withering firepower. It is a different kind of war…..………… A WAR IN THE SHADOWS!!!

He ignored the lessons of history. The US Marine Corps Small Wars Manual of the 1930’s states peace and industry cannot be restored without appropriate provisions for the economic welfare of the people. In small wars, tolerance, sympathy and kindness should be the keynote to our relationship with the mass of the population.
Many militaries faced the problem of rigidness in their doctrines and feel threatened by internal criticism. There is a tendency to fight small wars as if they were big wars. The conduct of small wars or counter insurgency operations is in many ways an art or science of his own. Both Russian and Israeli armies, highly organized fighting machines, found it almost impossible to adapt to the requirements of counter-insurgency operations.
The roots of the challenges to counter insurgency operations lie in the culture and education of the armed forces concerned.


The strategy – very similar to that outlined in the book, “Surrender at Dacca”. However, the chapter on the aftermath of the operations was not taken into consideration (we had a complete government in being, in place in Calcutta consisting of Indian and Bangladeshi officials who moved in immediately after the surrender and took control. We did not disband anything.
The British were in Iraq from 1921-24. There main base was Habbaniyah. They thought they could keep control by bombing. Troops were also moved in from India. They were forced to withdraw in 1924. Again they occupied the country during World War II and should have had intimate knowledge of the country. They had forgotten the lessons of history – Lawrence, Wingate, Glubb.
The Americans ignored the Marine Corp Small War’s manual, “peace and industry cannot be restored without appropriate provisions for the economic welfare of the people. In small wars, tolerance, sympathy and kindness should be the keynote to our relationship with the mass of the population”.


Initially Bremmer disbanded military, police, bureaucracy and political parties. He left a vacuum into which disruptive forces moved. Further, there was neglect of the infrastructure, electricity, sanitation, health services etc all broke down, thereby losing the sympathy of the people (hearts and minds).
He tried to create new armed forces, police, and bureaucrats. The creation of these is very time consuming. Again, leaving a vacuum.
It was imperative to seal the borders with Syria and Iran. This was left till far too late thus allowing for infiltration and support for insurgents in Iraq.

The Shia South – Sunni Triangle – Kurdish North. (problems were created by Col Sykes. MI6 and Georges Picot of the French foreign office who drew the boundaries for the break up of the Ottoman empire in 1917 to suit the interest of their own countries.
The Russians were to get the areas of the north but after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the Russians pulled out.
Problems will occur due to conflict of interest of the Shia Triangle supported by Syria and the Saudis, the Shia South, by Iran. Turkey is opposed to any expansion of Kurdish influence particularly, the oil fields of Kirkuk.

The Madhi army with Iranian support and Sunni insurgents with Syrian support and Saudi money, as also Al Qaeda terrorists, and Kurdish expansion moves will lead to a serious crisis. There’s little cohesion to hold these groups together. They are only sustained by American and British forces.
The unity of the country is only held together by the presence of the armed forces of USA and Great Britain. As and when they withdraw, as they eventually will have to, it is most likely that the country will split into three ethnic regions. The lines drawn by Col Sykes and Georges Picot, dividing the erstwhile Ottoman Empire, will be drastically altered.

Targets for Various Insurgent Groups

1) Political leadership
2) Rival Ethnic Groups
3) Infrastructure and communications, transportation, administration
4) Military and police establishments
5) Government propaganda emanating from TV, Radio etc.

American and British troops are well equipped and well-trained. They have competent Generals. They have yet to adapt to the concept of small wars and This War in the Shadows fought in the rabbit warrens of the urban sprawls of Baghdad and other cities.


The Jihadists are winning the war of the internet by getting their message across by the various forums – Jihadist Propaganda now reaches a wide spectrum of people in Islamic countries – through websites, forums, blogs..…

Aynan Al Zawahiri –
“We must get our message across to the masses of nations and break the media seize imposed on the Jihad movement. This is an independent movement and battle that we must launch side by side with the military movement and battle.”

The exponential growth of Jihadist websites to more than 4000. the majority of Jihadist forums are published in Arabic. English speaking South Asian Muslim are in the US, UK are accessed by these forums and websites. The British Muslims are accessed in Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali as well as English.
These forums and sites concentrate on :
1) News coverage of Muslim Conflicts
2) Propaganda – ranging from ideology and culture of Jihadism to official statements, communiques from Jihadist groups and leaders – circulation of acts, jihad beheading ( Daniel Pearl), IED attack on coalition forces in Iraq.
3) Training – These cover topics such as hostage taking, manufacture of weapons, guerrilla warfare, bomb making, eg. London attacks in July….
4) Encouraging Political Activism, unrest, dissent without resorting to violence.

The ideological conflict that underlies the Global War on terror is being increasingly conducted on the internet through jihadist websites, forums and blogs. Jihadists forums also pose a challenge to western Governments.


In February 1921, there was large scale violence in South India. The British deployed a very large force, 7 battalions of police artillery, to put down demands for a Khilafat Raj.
It was eventually suppressed in December 19 and a surrender took place.
2300 Moplahs ( a Muslim sect in South India) were killed, 1600 wounded and 5700 captured.
No figures available of the large number of Hindus killed. Government forces also claim that there were some 39,000 voluntary surrenders. It was a bloody campaign which few remember.
The other important rebellion was that of the Hurs. It was directed against the Hindus and The British Government by the Pir of Pagaro to establish a Khilafat. In March 1943, the Pir was captured and executed.


In the state of NAGALAND:
NSCN (K) – headed by KAPLANG

In the state of MANIPUR
UNLF – headed by Saniamma

In the state of ASSAM
All ASSAM STUDENT’S UNION AASU – mainly of Bengali immigrants
ULFA – United Liberation Front Assam – 1974, they have bases in Bangladesh and Burma and have huge bank deposits in Bangladesh.
BODOS – They demand for a Greater Bodoland, have demanded for 403 more villages, 25 tea gardens and a
10 km border-belt.

In the state of TRIPURA
TUJS; Tripura Upjati Samitis and the National Liberation Front of Tripura – headed by Debbarna and demand independence.

Lt Gen J.F.R Jacob

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