RESPONSE TO CLIFF MAY REGARDING SOMALIA AND ETHIOPIA
You asked in National Review's The Corner, on Monday, why American forces are not as successful as the Ethiopians in defeating the Somalian jihadists.
Here are the Reasons Why the Ethiopians are Doing Better than We Are:
1) NATURE OF THE WAR ITSELF-- We are fighting an asymmetrical war (i.e., suicide bombings) against insurgents in Iraq that are also simultaneously engaging one another in sectarian conflict. The Ethiopians are fighting a conventional war against classical imperialist jihadist tactics.
2) THE BATTLEFIELD/TERRAIN--The Ethiopians appear to be fighting their conventional war on more open, flat terrain, on the borders between the two countries, where air power is being used to their advantage. In Iraq, we are bogged down in cities (remember the German defeat in Stalingrad). When we fought in Somalia, with a very small force, we were also bogged down in Mogadishu facing asymmetrical tactics.
3) EFFECTIVE USE OF ALLY NATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS--Because of the location of Somalia, there is much less room for interference from the powerful Arab oil nations (i.e., Saudi Arabia and Iran) and established terrorist organizations (i.e., Hezbollah) than there is in Iraq. For example, because Iran and Syria are right next door to Iraq, they are able to supply the Shiites in their insurgency against the USA and in their sectarian conflict with the Sunnis. However, the West can overtly (i.e., training and weapons) and covertly (i.e., satellite support) assist the Ethiopians.
4) USE OF TECHNOLOGY-- More "boots on the ground" is not part of the explanation. Even 1,000,000 United States troops could not subdue the Iraq insurgency. However, the United States could better use the people it has on the ground by making them part of a gigantic, technological surveillance apparatus (cameras, satellites, etc. to see every part of the road, electronically tagging and identifying people, etc.). Also, the USA has fought the war on the cheap, spending more money to rebuild Iraq than to protect those Americans serving there (i.e., with armor under the Humvees). We are not using our own technology to our advantage while the Ethiopians are (i.e., bombimg).
5) MORALE AND RESOLVE V. CONCERNS OVER INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY-- Concern over winning the Arab street is another part of the equation. The Ethiopians are fighting for their lives, their families (not seeking to have their women and children captured and enslaved), their homes, possessions, and, OPENLY, for THEIR GOD, against a classical low-tech jihadist assault. They have neither the time nor the need to worry about how the rest of the world perceives them. Unlike the USA, Ethiopia is not the sole superpower and does not feel doubt, guilt, and self-loathing, nor is Ethiopia a lightning rod for the condemnation of the world.
6) USE OF "PARTISANS"/LOCAL, NATIVE INHABITANTS-- Ethiopia is receiving the open support of the Western-backed government of Somalia, its army, and many of the Somali people who do not want to have the Sharia Courts rule over them and who have never grown accustomed to living in a fundamentalist Islamic State. They are partisans actively aiding the Ethiopians. US forces in Iraq, labeled "crusaders" and occupiers by virtually all the people of Iraq do not have a large segment of the Iraqi population which they can count on for partisan support. Both sides at best manipulate the United States to promote sectarian goals, and, at worst, actively seek to destroy it. Their Arab identity is too great an obstacle to permit any meaningful cooperation with the USA.
A) TOTAL WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN--The USA must immediately and completely withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan to divide its enemies, and cause them to turn on one another.
B) RE-DEFINE THE ENEMY AND DECLARE WAR--Re-define and declare war on its enemy of "global Islamic Jihad" as opposed to "Terror" (which term confuses everyone, defines the conflict in asymmetrical terms, and guarantees that the West will not defeat the real AND DEFEATABLE enemy). We can win the war against global jihad as this jihad is overtly and covertly supported by definable nations and governments (i.e., Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, etc. and well-entrenched organizations including Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah/PLO, the Muslim Brotherhood, etal.).
C- MASTER THE TACTICS OF THE ENEMY--Terror, (i.e., terrorist attacks) is the weakest tactics of the global Islamic insurgency. The most effective tactics of the enemy are: 1) demographic conquest and exertion of control over the Muslim diaspora; 2) use and bribery of academics and business interests; 3) manipulation of the media; 4) Da'wa (campaign of seeking conversions); 5) reliance as a 5th column on western democratic institutions/law/rhetoric of rights.
D- LEARN EVERYTHING THAT CAN BE LEARNED ABOUT THE ENEMY--The West must study the history of the enemy's conflict with the outside world, the foundational texts (religious and otherwise) which form the "myths" that define the enemy, and must understand the nuances and differences between different subsets of the enemy to divide it on every level possible (i.e., national, ethnic, sectarian, gender) and conquer it. Awareness of the successes and defeats of the past is the key to success in the future.
E- ENGAGE AND DEMORALIZE THE ENEMY IN EVERY ARENA IN WHICH IT IS FOUND--This means nationally and internationally, locally and globally, the mosque or Islamic rights organization down the corner as well as those in Paris, London, Tehran, Cairo...
F- REDEFINE THE WEST AND THE CHRISTIAN WORLD--Understand that our civilization and the rights it affords us are worth fighting for.