Friday October 5 2007

Anglo Model

  • goal to minimize civilian casualties


  • discusses conflicted view of civilian casualties
  • not the best discription of the mind set of the salvadorian army


  • the american aid effort was massive in Salvador
  • very topical - became shorthand for political view on Regan and communism
  • human rights was secodary to the domino theory
  • Can be paralleled with iraq

what is the role of casualties

  • civilians are the battle ground
  • everyone franch and anglo think popular support is the most important thing

components to popular control

what is popular control

  • things COIN do to
  • the population is the battle ground

offensive component

  • provision of something
  • active measures
  • propoganda - say bad things about the enemy
  • financial (buying favour)
  • services
  • ensure anonymity
  • limit liberties (martial law)

Defensive components

  • deprivation of something
  • share many of the same measures as the offensive category
  • propoganda - say good things about your self
  • limit the communication ability of your own population
  • limit outside access to the population
  • limit liberties (martial law
  • financial - embargos - preventing spending in areas


  • defensive - increases popular mobilization
  • offensive - gives the government a new resource


US position on popular support

  • norms of US culture is the protection of human rights
  • this is a culturally defined notion
  • other countries think collective punishment is an effective and acceptable means (in China entire groups are found guilty of a crime)

legitimacy tactics

  • you need popular support and the best way to get it is popular legitimacy
  • legitimacy requires human rights promotion
  • electoral reform
  • land reform

In el Salvador

  • the local government had a different tactic for ensuring popular support
  • they give their population an ultimatum - support us or DIE
  • terrorism was used to promote fear and submisison

1979 - 1983

  • most violent years
  • death toll was in the 10 - 90 K
  • students, intellectuals, religious orders were targeted
  • these tactics liquidated the urban support network of the 5 main gurilla parties
  • stalemate sets in
  • mass killing prevented a coup
  • the Americans tried for 14 years to implimate the legitmacy approach
  • the salvadorians saw survival as the primary objective
  • legitimacy would work if they choose to implement
  • The elites of Salvador were defending there own priorities - they didn't want to lose power
  • if you made the legitimacy changes the US wanted the current elite would be impotent

Salvadorian elite reaction

  • sabatoge implementation of US vision
  • kidnap
  • death squads
  • massacre


  • a family member returns from the city an insurgent
  • he builds a network
  • the traditional foes of the family take the opposite side
  • not out of principal but because of kinship ties
  • old conflicts are more important than new conflicts
  • paramilitary group arrives
  • the insurgent family gets killed or driven out
  • even though a small fraction of them are insurgents they all get wiped out
  • old disputes are mixed up with modern weapons

it is a myth to assume that insurgents are outsiders in the community

  • insurgents are part of the community
  • outsiders do not come in
  • locals do the most of the killings
  • what side they end up on is based on all grievances


what is the anhilation restraint paradox?

  • non combattant immunity - element of just war theory -

insurgents will often kill teachers

  • teachers are repersentatives of the state
  • as a state employee they are a legitmate targey
  • in palestine - isreal has universal military service thus every isreali is a soldier, thus every isrealie is a target
  • a teacher changes minds
  • a teacher is prestigious
  • even if he does not preach the insurgency his example will be sufficent to increase legitimacy
  • priests are treated similarily

rules of engagement

  • weapon had to be aimed at you or a colleague
  • no strike lists -

the objective of the war is to change peoples minds

but persecuting dissent gets out of control

  • recipe for a blood bath
  • as the violence increase the risks of not participating are increased
  • how long until you group turns on itself
  • it gets harder to tell who the enemy is

Quote of the Week
1 death is difficult to live with 1000 is easy


will power and an army is a lot easier to obtain than new schools, elections procedures, and land reform

Note From the Professor
I want to elaborate on this a bit. The point I wanted to make was that many third world gov'ts do not have the capacity - financial or administrative - to do the kind of service provision which COIN theory says is critical to giving the local government legitimacy. This is in addition to the problem posed by the fact that the kinds of political reforms which increase the government's legitimacy with previously downtrodden or abused sections of the population may be seen as unacceptable by the government itself, and those elements which have historically controlled it. Reform, in these cases, may seem tantamount to surrender, and will be unacceptable for that reason.
There is an interesting interview in this Sunday's New York Times Sunday Magazine with Kenan Makiya, an Iraqi-American academic who was a major force in the US during the late 1990s on Iraq issues, about how matters have turned out in Iraq; Makiya blames the tendency of Shiite politicans to favor violent reprisals against Sunnis rather than trying to build inclusive political alliances in the face of terrorist attacks launched by religious Sunni extremists and Baathists. This is a case very similar to what happened in El Salvador; a governing elite sees political reforms - reaching out to Sunni politicians - as tantamount to compromising with evil and refuses to do it, preferring a violent response.
If you are too poor to build and staff schools and hospitals you may still have an army, and the capability to mobilize large parts of your population at low cost to protect the government. In Sudan, Rwanda, and Colombia (in the 1990s) governments did this by resorting to militias and death squads. This kind of warfare is brutal, but it is also cheap and effective.
Finally, to reiterate my closing point - all of the COIN theory you have read has emphasized the importance of public support. But given that, then are not people who can influence public support combatants? What is the meaning of "non combatant immunity" in a conflict where a priest/imam, a teacher, a journalist, or even the head of a household might have the ability to sway the minds of a group of people?

1950's phillipines

  • talented and brave phillipino politicians put down an insurgency
  • they did this by instituting political reforms

In the Professor's experience, is there such a thing as a non-combattant in an insurgent conflict?
did the phillipino's use the french model or the anlgo model?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License