The Army and Low Intensity Conflict


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This is the sort of past the present Indian Army ought to revisit in order to understand the reasons why an assertive Indian presence in the region and the world mandates meaningful special operations capabilities. The premium on the lightly equipped and highly mobile SOF is due to their essentially stealthy and lethal nature. In the unlikely circumstances of a conventional war, creating mayhem in enemy rear areas, interdicting enemy supply and communications lines and systems can naturally be assigned the SOF. In less settled situations, when the threats posed by proxy warriors, pirates on high seas, unpredictable non-State actors, drug and gun-running mafias, crime syndicates, organised terrorist networks 12 and gun-toting brigands and buccaneers threatening the overthrow of legally constituted governments of small island States like in Fiji are rife, SOF are often the only means capable of dealing with such threats with minimum domestic fuss and provocation to the existing regional and international order.

Special Forces, moreover, are also the prime vehicles for a proactive politico-military policy. This last needs a little amplification, especially where disputed borders are concerned. Consider, for instance, the LoC. Their case is that, whatever New Delhi may say about the Shimla Agreement having accorded the LoC a certain sanctity, it is a contested border and as such, international law permits either side to change it to its advantage. And that, pending a formal and final solution to the Kashmir problem, this status is what the Pakistan Army is going to go by.

It has been argued that one of the most effective ways of bringing home to Pakistan the wages of low intensity war is to reciprocate in kind and to engage in precisely the LoC-pushing military operations General Headquarters Rawalpindi, indulged in in Kargil, but to do so in a sustained manner.

New areas captured in incremental covert actions can then be quickly converted, as per current policy, to a Line with permanently-manned Indian posts. It will confront the Pakistanis with an LoC changing gradually to its disadvantage. The cost-risk calculus can be further skewed against Pakistan by having SOF mount frequent clandestine attacks against logistics bases, Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence guerilla training camps, command centres, staging areas, and POL Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants depots and ammunition dumps, and raids to cut-off Pakistani lines of supply and of communications in, and to and from, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir POK.

Havoc will thereby be wreaked on the local Pakistani administration and military presence. The regular army cannot perform any of these missions very well or even at all, because the Government will not allow it formally to "cross the border". But for the SOF trained to sneak across even defended borders singly or in penny packets and to operate in radio silence, this is bread and butter stuff. Support infrastructure along the LoC to facilitate infiltration and exfiltration of SOF can be set up, alongside of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs and heliborne-capability to fly nap of the earth to avoid radar behind enemy lines.

Soon, Islamabad will discover how stretched and inadequate their forces in-being are to deal with this new kind of menace.

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With the costs piling on, prudence will soon be considered the better part of bravado and political grandstanding, forcing Islamabad to modify its cussed attitude. Serious talks can begin thereafter on resolving the outstanding issues. SOF in this case will act as the agent to "soften up" a bull-headed adversary. With evidence that two can play at this game and that India too can thread the same loopholes in international law vis a vis the LoC, with a view to pushing up the costs for Pakistan, one of three things will happen.

This may increase the chances of it escalating into a nuclear exchange which Pakistan cannot survive, leave alone win. A third option would have it react overtly with large scale actions across the LoC, in which case, it will face the same problems of war-fighting on the heights that the larger, more powerful, Indian Army had some difficulty with in Kargil. It is a no-win situation for Pakistan no matter what choice it makes. The operational flexibility in all these three situations, as is obvious, will be enhanced by SOF whose ready availability may obviate the prevailing cost-prohibitive policy of manning the LoC throughout the year the outgo from the exchequer, reportedly, is upwards of Rs crores a day.

The Pakistanis will be too busy trying to deal with the multiple Indian SOF threats to want to open up a regular conventional conflict. SOF is thus an economical alternative especially if its use is married to greater dependence on high-technology paraphernalia for hour remote surveillance infrared and laser sensors and realtime information-processing high speed computers and computerised photo analysis. This last will permit the local regular Indian forces to interpose and engage in military actions using prompt heli-lift once any kind of movement is spotted.

It will spare the poor jawans the rigours of policing duties, the year round, at great altitudes and save the taxpayer the expense of keeping them there in some strength. Here major changes will be necessary. The naval commandoes, for instance, have been successfully deployed for some years now in the Wular lake area of Kashmir. The Indian Air Force is reported to have a small and select commando capability, 16 but if it exists it is "invisible" and hence is left out of this analysis.

What may be efficacious is to structure the commando units along composite lines, with each team having a couple of specialists from different disciplines and from different Armed Services sharing the standard commando background, but welded into crack strike units. This is a departure from the current thinking in which the limited-use, general purpose commando are fielded.

The other need is for terrain-specific commando. High altitude battlefields, for instance, are best negotiated by natives of that region. The British paradigm of stressing Special Forces experience for fast-track promotions, thereby instilling an SOF mentality in higher commanders, is the best way to mainstream such forces. The best and the brightest among the young officer cohort in the Services should be encouraged to join the commando by ensuring those selected rapid promotional avenues, significant placements and, of course, attractive financial packages to make it worth their while to take risks that are routine in commando service.

She investigates the issue through a comparative study of armies and states which have been involved or are currently involved in low intensity conflicts—the countries discussed include France and Algeria, Great Britain and Ireland, Russia and Chechnya, and Israel and the Palestinian authority. Another challenge that Suissa addresses is that of peace coalitions and their organizational resilience. She further discusses the connection between political and military ranks, and under which conditions the former affects the latter. Guerrilla tactics and strategy are summarized below and are discussed extensively in standard reference works such as Mao 's On Guerrilla Warfare.

Mao's theory of people's war divides warfare into three phases.

In the first phase, the guerrillas gain the support of the population by attacking the machinery of government and distributing propaganda. In the second phase, escalating attacks are made on the government's military and vital institutions. In the third phase, conventional fighting is used to seize cities, overthrow the government, and take control of the country.

Chapter 3: Low-Intensity Conflict: The Strategy

Giap's People's War, People's Army [11] closely followed the Maoist three-stage approach but with greater emphasis on flexible shifting between mobile and guerrilla warfare, and opportunities for a spontaneous "general uprising" of the masses, in conjunction with guerrilla forces. Guerrilla organization can range from small local rebel groups with a few dozen participants to tens of thousands of fighters, deploying from tiny cells to formations of regimental strength.

In most cases, there is a leadership aiming for a clear political objective. The organization is typically structured into political and military wings, sometimes allowing the political leadership plausible deniability of military attacks. A simplified example of this more sophisticated organizational type, which was used by revolutionary forces during the Vietnam War, is shown below. Guerrilla operations typically include a variety of attacks on transportation routes, individual groups of police or military, installations and structures, economic enterprises, and targeted civilians.

Attacking in small groups and using camouflage and often captured weapons of that enemy, the guerrilla force can constantly keep pressure on its foes and diminish its numbers and still allow escape with relatively few casualties. The intention of such attacks is only military but also political in aiming to demoralize target populations or governments or by goading an overreaction that forces the population to take sides for or against the guerrillas.

Low-Intensity Conflict | RAND

Examples range from chopping off limbs in various internal African rebellions to the suicide bombings of Palestine and Sri Lanka to sophisticated maneuvers by Viet Cong and NVA forces against military bases and formations. For successful operations, surprise must be achieved by guerrillas. If the operation has been betrayed or compromised, it is usually called off immediately. Intelligence is also extremely important, and detailed knowledge of the target's dispositions, weaponry, and morale is gathered before any attack.

Intelligence can be harvested in several ways. Collaborators and sympathizers usually provide a steady flow of useful information. If working clandestinely, guerrilla operatives may disguise their membership in the insurgent operation and use deception to ferret out needed data.

Low‐Intensity Conflict

Employment or enrollment as a student may be undertaken near the target zone, community organizations may be infiltrated, and even romantic relationships struck up in intelligence gathering. Modern computer access via the World Wide Web makes harvesting and collation of such data relatively easy. Operatives will "case" or analyze a location or potential target in depth- cataloging routes of entry and exit, building structures, the location of phones and communication lines, the presence of security personnel, and a myriad of other factors.

Finally, intelligence is concerned with political factors such as the occurrence of an election or the impact of the potential operation on civilian and enemy morale. Relationships with civil populations are influenced by whether the guerrillas operate among a hostile or friendly population.

A friendly population is of immense importance to guerrillas, providing shelter, supplies, financing, intelligence, and recruits. The "base of the people" is thus the key lifeline of the guerrilla movement. In the early stages of the Vietnam War, American officials "discovered that several thousand supposedly government-controlled 'fortified hamlets' were in fact controlled by Viet Cong guerrillas, who 'often used them for supply and rest havens.

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Guerrilla and revolutionary groups can still operate by using the protection of a friendly regime, drawing supplies, weapons, intelligence, local security, and diplomatic cover. The Al Qaeda organization is an example of the latter type, drawing sympathizers and support primarily from the wide-ranging Muslim world, even after American attacks eliminated the umbrella of a friendly Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

An apathetic or hostile population makes life difficult for guerrillas, and strenuous attempts are usually made to gain their support. They may involve not only persuasion but also a calculated policy of intimidation. Guerrilla forces may characterize a variety of operations as a liberation struggle, but that may or may not result in sufficient support from affected civilians.


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Other factors, including ethnic and religious hatreds, can make a simple national liberation claim untenable. Whatever the exact mix of persuasion or coercion used by guerrillas, relationships with civil populations are one of the most important factors in their success or failure. Terror is used to focus international attention on the guerrilla cause, liquidate opposition leaders, extort cash from targets, intimidate the general population, create economic losses, and keep followers and potential defectors in line.

Low Intensity Conflict Is Real and You Are Being PLAYED BY IT DUMBFUCK!

The widespread use of terror by guerrillas and their opponents is a common feature of modern guerrilla conflicts, with civilians attempting to mollify both sides. Such tactics may backfire and cause the civil population to withdraw its support or to back countervailing forces against the guerrillas.

The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
The Army and Low Intensity Conflict The Army and Low Intensity Conflict
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