Posts Tagged COIN

Industry Talk: STTEP and Relentless Pursuit In Nigeria

Nigerian army 72 mobile strike force operatives pictured with their newley acquired beryl rifles. credit: nigerian_armed.forces

I have been away from the blog for awhile and now I am trying to play catch up. Over the last couple of months, probably the most significant story that stood out to me was the news from Eeben Barlow’s company called STTEP. Apparently they were on contract in Nigeria to help the Goodluck Jonathan government turn the tide agains Boko Haram. You heard that correctly–STTEP was called in to take on Boko Haram, a vicious jihadist group who is now allied with ISIS!

Now honestly, I had heard rumors of South Africans fighting in Nigeria last time I was home and hanging out on Facebook. What really grabbed my attention though was the deaths of Leon Lotz and Nangombe, both of which were former Koevoet, and both of which were working in Nigeria as contractors. The company they worked for was Pilgrims Africa Limited (or a subsidiary of Pilgrims Group Limited), which the managing director for PAL is Cobus Claassens.*

Cobus is quite the character and he was involved with Executive Outcomes back in the day. He was also on the History Channel with a show called Shadow Force and in the documentary called Shadow Company. If that isn’t enough, he was also the inspiration for Danny Archer, the main character in the movie Blood Diamond.

The thing with this news, is there wasn’t a lot to go with it. What were these guys doing there. Also, why was Boko Haram getting destroyed in Nigeria?

Well, it was only until SOFREP and Jack Murphy was able to score an interview with STTEP, another group operating there, where the bigger picture unfolded. Here is a quote of why STTEP was there and how their contract morphed from rescuing the Chibok Girls to fighting and stopping Boko Haram, based on the interview Jack did with Eeben Barlow (the chairman of STTEP).

The chairman of STTEP, Eeben Barlow, reports, “Our relationship with the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Armed Forces is very good, and as fellow Africans, they recognize the value we have added thus far at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.”

In mid-December of 2014, STTEP was contracted to deploy to Nigeria. Their mission was to train a mobile strike force to rescue the Chibok school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. When the terrorists abducted over 250 schoolgirls, it drew international media attention and put the ‘Nigerian Taliban’ on the map. Michelle Obama responded to the kidnapping with a perfectly ineffective social-media campaign driven by the Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls.

An advanced party of South African military veterans working for STTEP landed in Nigeria by early January of 2015. Instead of social-media activism, they held a selection program for the elite Nigerian military unit they were to train while the main body of STTEP began to arrive. “It is a mobile strike force with its own organic air support, intelligence, communications, logistics, and other relevant combat support elements,” said Barlow. He declined to name the unit they were training, but an open source investigation strongly suggests this unit is the 72 Strike Force.

By the time the main body of STTEP contractors arrived, the selection process for the Nigerian strike force was complete and training was able to commence immediately. “We built it from scratch,” Barlow explained, “and were able to, in a very short space of time, get it combat ready. The results this force achieved, along with the support of the Nigerian Army, are indeed remarkable.”

STTEP trained the Nigerian strike force in mounted and dismounted tactics with an emphasis on operational flexibility, which was tailored toward the unit’s specific mission. “I think we sometimes gave them [Nigerian military] gray hairs, as we were forever begging for equipment, ammunition, and so forth,” Barlow said as they conducted training in a remote area. “But, the credit in this instance goes to the chief instructor and his men, who implemented the training.”

The South Africans trained their Nigerian counterparts in the tactics, techniques, and procedures that they had practiced and refined on the battlefield since South Africa’s conflicts in the 1980s, including Barlow’s concept of relentless pursuit (which will be explored in a future article).

Meanwhile, Boko Haram was experiencing an increase in operational tempo and achieving successes in their area of operations. The militants captured Gwoza and established a base there in August, followed by the border town of Malam Fatori in November and Baga in January near Lake Chad. By early January of 2015, Boko Haram was estimated to have control over 20,000 square miles of territory.

With this in mind, STTEP’s mission quickly transitioned from training a rescue unit to training a rapidly deploying mobile strike force, and mentoring those they trained in the field. “By late February, the strike force conducted its first highly successful operational deployment,” Barlow said.

Outstanding and the interview is quite extensive. It is spread out over a six part series and each part discusses the various aspects of the contract and what they did. They also dispelled some myths and lies that was being reported on out there. Not only that, but Eeben dedicated several blog posts to the contract and dispelling myths. Here is a link to each post by SOFREP and Eeben.

SOFREP Interview

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 1): PMC and Nigerian Strike Force Devastates Boko Haram

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 2): Development of a Nigerian Strike Force

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 3): Tactics Used to Destroy Boko Haram

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 4): Rejecting the Racial Narrative

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 5): The External Drivers of Nigeria’s War

Eeben Barlow Speaks Out (Pt. 6): South African Contractors Withdrawal from Nigeria

Eeben Barlow’s Military and Security Blog

Updating the Narrative

Feeding the Narrative

I have also found some interesting outside links that discuss either the contract or filmed the action of Mobile Strike Force 72.

Beegeagle’s Blog

South African Mercenaries and Nigeria; Chairman of STTEP, Colonel Eeben Barlow, Speaks to the Beeagle’s Blog Community On Pervasive False Narratives

Vice

The War Against Boko Haram (Full Length video)

MediaUno

COUNTER INSURGENCY OPERATION: The Gains and Prospects ( various shots of trainers working with Nigerians)

72ND MOBILE STRIKE FORCE

As you can see with most of the material, Eeben has been definitely working hard to correct the narrative and call out the myths and lies about this contract. There are plenty of sources of information for folks to tap into when it comes to this contract.

A couple of things that I was curious about, was the methodology or model for this contract. In Part 3 of the SOFREP interviews, the tactics were discussed. It sounded like the model of operations was a mix of what Executive Outcomes did in Sierra Leone (read Eeben’s book Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds or Roelf’s book to read more about that) and it also sounded a lot like what Koevoet did during the South African bush wars. STTEP applied the principal of ‘relentless pursuit‘ to this contract, and yet again, we see success. (Eeben blogged about the concept) Here is a quote from the interview.

 

When asked about the tactics that STTEP mentors their Nigerian counterparts to use, Eeben Barlow, the company’s chairman, replied, “The strike force was never intended to hold ground. Instead, it operated on the principle of relentless offensive action.” Barlow has previously indicated that this tactic is key to waging an effective counterinsurgency.

In the doctrine Barlow advocates and made use of in Nigeria, relentless offensive action means immediately exploiting successful combat operations to keep the heat on the enemy. This strategy relies of the synchronization of every asset brought to the battlefield, and applied on multiple fronts against Boko Haram. One of those tactics includes the relentless pursuit of enemy forces.

As to the strategy, I asked Eeben on his blog about how involved STTEP was in formulating the strategy to go after Boko Haram. Here is his answer.

In Nigeria, the Strike Force was an asset of a certain infantry division. As such, the division commander was responsible for the overall theatre strategy. He would brief us on a specific operation and ask for our input. He would also ask us how best we could support his operations.
Generally, our relationship with African armies is that they engage with us on planning and execution and we give our input. At times, we are asked to plan the overall operation and then oversee the execution.

It is also important to note, much like EO’s contracts in Angola and Sierra Leone, that STTEP also had involvement with the aviation side of this contract. Here is the quote from the interview.

STTEP also brought an air wing to the table with its package of trainers, advisors, and mentors. The air wing is an organic asset of the strike force and takes its orders from the strike force commander. The pilots fly a variety of missions to include CASVAC, MEDVAC, resupply runs, transporting troops, and even providing air support for the strike force. For instance, the air wing was “given ‘kill blocks’ to the front and flanks of the strike force and could conduct missions in those areas,” Barlow said. This means that the air wing dropped ordnance to create blocking positions, which would prevent the enemy from escaping the operational area that the strike force was patrolling in, essentially isolating the objective area.

Now what I am not clear about, and I don’t think it has been mentioned in the interviews, is if STTEP and Pilgrims Africa Limited were working together in a partnership? Also, with the new president of Nigeria coming onto the scene, I wonder if they will use the services of STTEP?

After discussing this with Eeben on his blog, more than likely Buhari will turn to western aid and money, which will undoubtedly edge out smaller companies like STTEP. That is too bad. Although I have a feeling that STTEP will be getting more business because of their actions in Nigeria, or what they did in the hunt for Kony. Africans helping Africans…

Very interesting stuff and congrats to STTEP for a job well done. Also, good job to the other contractors like Pilgrims Africa Limited working in Nigeria that are helping to defeat Boko Haram. Rest in peace to the fallen and I certainly hope that Nigeria will remember that sacrifice. –Matt

Edit: 6/19/2015- After posting this, I have already received some interesting feedback and I got a correction on some of the details here. The two big ones is that STTEP and Pilgrims Africa Limited were not working together on the training/mentoring contract, and PAL was only involved with the logistical tasks supporting the contract. Leon and Nangombe were also working for STTEP at the time of death and not Pilgrims Africa Limited.

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Building Snowmobiles: Predictive Policing… Predictive Warfighting?

In the program’s first three weeks, the model has proven to be 71 percent accurate in predicting the place and day where crimes have occurred, said Deputy Chief Steve Clark. In other words, 71 percent of the time the model told an officer to be at a location, a crime was in progress or was reported.
At least one person has been arrested because of a patrol check initiated by the system, he said.
Police recently gave eight years of crime reports for residential burglaries, vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts to an applied mathematics professor at Santa Clara University. The system essentially maps the time, location and recurrence of past crimes to help police predict crime and tailor their patrols.Santa Cruz police have success with predictive policing

For this building snowmobiles post, I wanted to draw upon a new crime fighting technology and explore the idea of it’s possible uses. The idea here is to use predictive analysis, much like what retailers use for product research or what researchers use for earthquake prediction, and use it to predict where crime is most likely to happen to get resources to efficiently cover those areas via patrols.

So the question I ask is if this actually works for crime, then why not apply it to warfighting? And especially COIN and today’s conflicts, where the war is long and there is time to collect statistics of attacks and instances that would be needed to build such a model? Or how about for anti-piracy or for the drug war down in Mexico?  The key is if you have statics over the course of several years, then a model could be made. And if war planners are wanting to use their resources more efficiently because they have less forces to use, or the host nation is limited in resources, then predictive warfighting might help with the more efficient use of manpower on the battlefield.

If anything, much like with policing, it will be the guy on the ground who patrols their areas daily that will have the intuition of where to go and how best to cover their AO’s.  But what about units that cycle in and out of the battlefields?  Where is their intuition coming from if they have never been to that AO?  So predictive analysis might help in the transition periods and help build that intuition of the new forces. This predictive analysis will also make it easier to make judgements about setting up patrols. You could combine human intuition/experience/orientation with this predictive analysis, and make a better plan of operations.

Predictive policing also helps the COIN forces by efficiently guiding the local police forces to areas they need to be. With places like Afghanistan, you might have officers who do not want to go in certain areas or dwell more in certain areas than they should, or are not trained enough to recognize patterns, or they come from other parts of the country.  They too could benefit from this predictive analysis to further reinforce their intuition. But it could also help determine if that police force is working efficiently.

The fear though is depending upon this predictive analysis entirely. To me it is an interesting tool that needs to be tested more to see where it can be most effective, or where it could fit in to the overall strategy for crime fighting or warfighting. Interesting stuff and definitely check out all of the articles and information posted below if you would like to read more about it.

On a final note, Santa Cruz and other police departments throughout the nation looked at this new system as a way to more efficiently use their police forces to deal with crime. But they were also looking at it because of economic reasons because there is less money available to fund police departments these days. So more and more departments will be looking at cost cutting measures, while still being able to ‘protect and serve’ their communities. So what say you? –Matt

#60: Fighting Crime With Mathematics
12.16.2010
By Daniel Lametti
One major problem in crime-fighting is that a police crackdown in one neighborhood may simply push criminal behavior into a nearby area. In March two mathematicians, working with an anthropologist and a criminologist, announced a way to quantify this reaction (pdf).
“Crimes tend to cluster together in space and time, forming hot spots,” says UCLA mathematician Martin Short, the study’s lead author. Drawing on real-world data, his team developed a model showing that hot spots come in two varieties. One type forms when an area experiences a large-scale crime increase, such as when a park is overrun by drug dealers. Another develops when a small number of criminals—say, a pair of burglars—go on a localized crime spree.
The model suggests that a focused police response can relatively easily extinguish larger hot spots because the criminals there scatter randomly, making it unlikely that they will resume coordinated unlawful activity nearby. But for smaller crime waves, crooks just migrate together into an adjacent neighborhood, where they are likely to start another spree. By analyzing police reports as they come in, Short hopes to determine which type of hot spot is forming so police can handle it more effectively.
Link to Discover article here.
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UC MaSC Project
Funded by the Human Social Dynamics Program at NSF, the UC MaSC Project centers on theoretical, methodological and empirical work to develop analytical and computational models of crime pattern formation. Crime mapping forms a key feature of current approaches to understanding offender behavior and is a tool used increasingly by police departments and policy makers for strategic crime prevention. However, despite the availability of sophisticated digital mapping and analysis tools there is a substantial gap in our understanding of how low-level behaviors of offenders lead to aggregate crime patterns such as crime hot spots. Thus, for example, we are unable to specify exactly why directed police action at crime hot spots sometimes leads to displacement of crime in space but, surprisingly, often can also lead to hot spot dissipation and a real reduction in crime incidences.

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Technology: UFED Physical Pro–Handheld Mobile Phone Forensics Tool

Now this is some cool technology. I could see how this would be very helpful to law enforcement for investigations. But of course, the ACLU has shown some concern about such devices being used and how they could infringe on privacy rights. That is a legal issue, and I am more concerned about the utility of such a device.

This is what I was thinking as soon as saw the thing. The US military/contractors should have these devices at every major FOB where local nationals are working at, and every cellphone that comes through the gates or is held at the gate, should be scanned.  I would even do it without the individuals knowing that it was done.  All is fair in love and war, and if folks are using their cellphones to make communications with the enemy, I think it is within our best interest to find that out.

You could also set up check points throughout a city of interest in a war zone, to randomly collect cellphone data. Because cellphones are being used everywhere in the war zones and developing world, it is dumb not to tap into that resource and use it for some kind of tactical advantage.

Of course this technology is nothing new or radical, and I am sure the FBI and others have been using it for awhile. What is interesting though is the ease of how to collect and organize this information. Next step will be scanners that folks walk through, and the phones are automatically scanned without having to hook them up to anything.  These scanners could be hidden and placed in key places within cities, and anyone with a cellphone/smart phone, will be scanned without knowing it. Then with data mining software, all that information could be scanned for patterns or for red flag numbers, etc. This could even be added to a census program–which we have learned in places like in Iraq that this kind of data is vital for understanding the terrain in which you fight. Lots of interesting uses for this stuff. –Matt


UFED Physical Pro
Recover hidden and deleted data from mobile phones and GPS devices
The Cellebrite UFED Physical Pro is a high-end, all-in-one solution for logical and physical extraction. The UFED Physical Pro expands your current device capabilities to extract deleted mobile device data, user passwords, file system dumps, and physical extraction from GPS devices.
With expanded coverage that now includes more than 3000 phones and a growing list of GPS devices, UFED Physical Pro provides the most complete mobile forensics solution available on the market.
Utilizing UFED’s simple and field-proven user interface, a complete high-speed hex dump of the phone memory is delivered without the need of cumbersome PC drivers. Critical data such as user lock codes, and deleted information such as text messages, call history, pictures, and video are sorted and retrieved by Cellebrite’s Physical Pro engine. The UFED Physical Pro also includes robust search tools for manual hex dump analysis, as well as an expert mode, which allows advanced capabilities for researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Publications: Innovation In War–COIN Operations In Anbar And Ninewa Provinces, Iraq, 2005-2007

 The standing operating procedure (SOP) for the unit typically focused on: (1) Planning and establishing the COP; (2) Ensuring route security so each outpost could be kept resupplied; (3) Clearing operations after the COP had been stood up to clear IEDs and find weapons caches; and (4) Census patrols to follow after the clearing operations to consolidate the position and gradually work its way into the human terrain of the area – the real target of MacFarland’s campaign. 

*****

     This is an excellent paper that discusses some of the key innovations of the war.  The main theme that I am getting from all of this, is intelligence, intelligence, and intelligence.(jundism hint)

     If you notice in the publication, there are some themes that keep getting repeated.  The importance of networks or fusion is one of them.  To bring together different groups of experts, and have them contribute to actionable intelligence. And feeding these fusion groups requires interaction with the terrain, population and the enemy.

    Hence why COPS or combat outposts are so important.  It allows a unit to insert itself into the heart of a population/insurgency center and get as much information as they can via census patrols, sensors, raids, attacks against and by the enemy, etc. All of this is fed into a searchable database that can be cross referenced and searched by other units and organizations, and future deploying units and organizations. In other words, all actions and collected information is fed into the machine.

    I also liked the reference to ‘continuous improvement’. Too bad the author didn’t use the term Kaizen in the paper though. I also saw hints of ‘learning organization’, which is also an incredibly important concept for developing winning TTPs and strategies. Because once you have all of this great information and experience, you have to build a snowmobile out of it so you can win the fight. A rigid organization that doesn’t seek feedback internally and externally, work together and with others, or doesn’t innovate, will not succeed.

    Now here are my ideas to further the concepts into our industry.  Right now we are witnessing the African Union stumbling along in Somalia and trying to gain a foothold.  My thoughts on the whole thing is that you could take a PMC that was composed of former military leaders familiar with these concepts, and help the AU to organize accordingly. Or AFRICOM could send a leadership team in there to help organize the effort.  Either way, I see no reason why the AU forces could not replicate this strategy in Mogadishu right now.

    I also think that PMC’s could learn a lot from these types of strategies. PMC’s have had to set up remote sites that are very similar to ‘COPS in a box’. The CMC projects are a prime example. But what was missing with those operations was deliberate census patrols or the other means of intelligence collection that the Marines and Army could use.

    The way human intelligence was collected for these projects was often through the process of hiring and working around locals for guard positions and general labor projects. You learn all sorts of things about the locals when you work around them all day, day in and day out.

    Imagine though that if PMC’s actually did census patrols as part of the contract? Or planted sensors in abandoned buildings in their area? That data could not only be useful to that PMC, or future replacement PMC’s, but could also be added to a much larger database that the military could use? A PMC remote site and the routes they travel daily could be an excellent source of intelligence for the military units of that area, but unless that PMC is brought into that fusion process, it will simply be another lost chance at crucial data collection.

     It would also be nice if PMC’s could take advantage of that fusion process as well, and access the COPLINK or whatever database that is established locally. It could save lives and win wars, but it also requires both the military and civilian equivalents to talk and work with each other. Stuff to think about as we continue the fight and learn new ways of doing our thing in this war. –Matt

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Innovation in War: Counterinsurgency Operations in Anbar and Ninewa Provinces, Iraq, 2005-2007

James A. Russella

August 2010

To cite this Article: Russell, James A. ‘Innovation in War: Counterinsurgency Operations in Anbar and Ninewa Provinces, Iraq, 2005–2007’, Journal of Strategic Studies, 33:4, 595 – 624

Abstract

This article analyzes operations by three battalions conducting counterinsurgency, or COIN, operations in Iraq over the period from July 2005 through March 2007: the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (1-7) along the Iraq-Syrian border in the first half of 2006; the 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment (1-37) battalion operating in south-central Ramadi in the fall of 2006; and the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, or 2-1, operating in eastern Mosul in 2005-06. The empirical evidence presented in these cases suggest that, contrary to popular perceptions, the units successfully innovated in war – a process largely executed organically within the units themselves. Innovation is defined here as the development of new organizational capacities not initially present when the units deployed into the theater. The evidence presented in these cases suggests that the innovation process enabled these units to successfully transition from organizations structured and trained for conventional military operations to organizations that developed an array of new organizational capacities for full-spectrum combat operations. The units in this study developed these new capacitites largely on their own initiative.

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Publications: COMISAF’s Counterinsurgency Contracting Guidance

     Here it is.  Feel free to pass this around or go to the links below, and pass that around.  Lots of good commonsense stuff in there.  My only point to make with this publication is that prime contractors should definitely use this document as well, just so that we are all playing off the same sheet of music. –Matt

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COMISAF/CDR USFOR-A

For the Commanders, Contracting Personnel, Military Personnel, and Civilians of NATO ISAF and US Forces-Afghanistan

SUBJECT: COMISAF’s Counterinsurgency (COIN) Contracting GuidanceDownload Official Release

The scale of our contracting efforts in Afghanistan represents both an opportunity and a danger. With proper oversight, contracting can spur economic development and support the Afghan government’s and ISAF’s campaign objectives. If, however, we spend large quantities of international contracting funds quickly and with insufficient oversight, it is likely that some of those funds will unintentionally fuel corruption, finance insurgent organizations, strengthen criminal patronage networks, and undermine our efforts in Afghanistan.

In view of these points, contracting has to be “Commander’s business.” Indeed, I expect Commanders to consider the effects of our contract spending and understand who benefits from it. We must use intelligence to inform our contracting and ensure those with whom we contract work for the best interests of the Afghan people. We must be better buyers and buy from better people. Consistent with NATO and national contracting laws and regulations, we must:

Understand the role of contracting in COIN. Purchases we make for construction, goods, and services can bolster economic growth, stability, and Afghan goodwill toward their government and ISAF. Contracts with Afghan firms that procure Afghan goods and services generate employment and assist in the development of a sustainable economy. However, if we contract with powerbrokers who exclude those outside their narrow patronage networks or are perceived as funneling resources to one community at the expense of another, the effect on Afghan perceptions and our mission will be negative. Thus, we must incorporate COIN Contracting topics into training for Commanders.

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India: India’s Maoist Menace

“We do not have the forces to move into areas occupied by the rebels,” Home Secretary Gopal K. Pillai told India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in March, according to media reports. “We have a long, bloody war ahead. It is going to be a long haul, and I see violence going to go up.” Pillai declined to comment for this story.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told chief ministers of Maoist-hit states on July 14 that the federal government will strengthen security forces and provide better roads, schools and health care in areas where Maoists operate. Maoists have some degree of influence in 220 of the nation’s 626 districts, the government estimates.

India’s failure to defuse the conflict is another setback as it struggles to become a Western-style power. The nation must spend $1 trillion to improve living standards and infrastructure from 2012 to 2017 for its $1.2 trillion economy to grow at close to 10 percent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on March 23. Growth has averaged 8.5 percent a year in the past five years. 

*****

     I want to thank one of my readers for sending me some scoop on the situation in India. He had sent me an article from the Economist originally, and I went into research mode due to how interesting this conflict was.  This article from Bloomberg was a little better, and very extensive, so I will put this one up.  Both articles cover the same subject.

     The areas that I like to look at with conflicts, is the position of the insurgency and what economic forces are at play.  Specifically, resources that are at stake which could significantly help out a country.  Especially if that country’s success will positively help out the free world, and help to provide some balance in the global economy (China needs more competition to keep it in check). India is a democracy, and I sure would like to see it succeed as a democracy. I am no fan of Maoists and the communist game plan, and what they are doing in India and places like Nepal are troubling.

    The other thing my reader mentioned, which kind of falls in line with the market of force principles I was talking about earlier, is why do we continue to send money to countries and not offer the services of PMC’s?  If India does not have the manpower or COIN capability, then why are we sending money to them so they can somehow ‘re-invent the wheel’ of counter-insurgency?  Why not tell them ‘hey, we will help you out, but because we do not have troops to spare, we will send PMC’s’? At least with that arrangement, the money we give to India would instead be going into the pockets of our own companies who would be assisting India in their fight against Maoists.

    The best analogy I have for this, is that if you see a homeless man on the street, is it smarter to give them money, or give them an assistant who can clean them up and teach them to fend for themselves? Feed a man a fish, and you feed them for a day, teach them how to fish, and you feed them for life. So the saying goes.

    We could be sending companies who can teach the latest counter-insurgency methods and strategies, or even tap into our market of force that is certainly experienced in dealing with insurgents in today’s wars. Companies could be contracted to clear, hold, and build districts that India has lost or is losing too the Maoists. The return on investment in contracting the services of a company to do this for India, would be far better than just throwing money at the ‘homeless man’. Isn’t India’s success within the free world’s best interest?

     Because as it stands now, the way the west throws around aid to places like Pakistan or even India seems to never offer a good return on investment. It’s as if we are giving money to that ‘homeless man’ so he can go buy booze with it. lol Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to actually put that money back into the pockets of those who would go back the US or UK, and spend it at home?  Is it better to feed them a fish, or teach these countries how to fish?

    I also look at how a vibrant steel/mining industry could actually help a government to help it’s citizens. From the jobs it would produce, to the infrastructure the government can improve on, to invigorating the pride of a nation because it is actually doing well. All of this is important for a country to evolve and do well, and especially during a global recession.  It does not evolve or do well, when a country is limited by an ideology that a few seem to think is the path. Might I also add that the drug cartels, al qaeda, the taliban, al shabab are all using guerrilla warfare/modern insurgency/4th gen. warfare methods (which relies on much of what Mao thought up), and certainly these groups do not have any kind of moral superiority or world wide support for their cause. I mean who supports the Maoists in India or Nepal? lol

     Although I will put this out there for thought.  A government, no matter it’s design, must always seem like a good idea to it’s citizenry. If it is thought of as corrupt or ineffective, or they are not able to show progress and true security for the people, then they will be fighting an insurgency (whatever that might be) that will only increase in size and influence, and possibly become victorious. –Matt

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India’s Maoist Menace

By Mehul Srivastava

Jul 29, 2010

Armed rebels hold the Red Corridor, a region the size of Portugal, in their grip. The nation’s mineral wealth and 8.5 percent annual growth are at stake.

At the heart of the Bailadila Hills in central India lie 1.1 billion tons of raw ore so pure and plentiful that half a century after miners first hacked at it with pickaxes, it remains the richest, and one of the largest, iron deposits on the planet.

Essar Steel Ltd. built a plant near the hills in 2005 to turn the ore into a liquid. The Mumbai-based company, controlled by billionaire brothers Ravi and Shashi Ruia, added a 267- kilometer pipeline to pump the slurry to the east coast, where Essar makes steel.

Yet on this quiet June day, cobwebs hang on rusted pipes in the all-but-abandoned facility, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September 2010 issue. Caretakers prepare to switch truck-size rock crushers out of their coma, rousing the machines for five minutes a month to ensure they still work.

Maoist rebels from the surrounding Dandakaranya forest armed with guns and explosives — and some wielding axes and bows and arrows — attacked the facility four times in little more than a year, officials at the now-mothballed plant say. They burned 54 trucks waiting at factory gates in April 2008 and damaged part of the slurry pipeline, the world’s second longest, in June 2009. Essar idled the plant that month.

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