Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nullifying Love of Death

Fanaticism is not the same as being well trained.

Jihadis like to say they will beat us because we love life too much to fight those who love death. This is incorrect. At its most basic, we have civilization now because those who were barbarians have lost in the long run despite periods of threat.

In 2006, Israel let the fanatics of Hezbollah fight the war they expected--defending prepared positions against small Israeli frontal assaults. I've argued that Israel needs a war of maneuver that will disrupt the enemy plans and force them to react to unexpected events.

The Kenyans have shown how this is done by forcing the death-loving al Qaeda jihadis in Kismayu out of that crucial port by coming at them from all sides rather than letting the jihadis dig in and wait for the frontal assault:

Kenyan warships shelled the southern Somali port of Kismayu overnight after al Qaeda-linked rebels said they had abandoned the city, residents said on Sunday.

Stunned by an assault by sea, air and ground forces late on Friday night, al Shabaab rebels fled the city that had been their key source of revenue, retreating to surrounding forests and towns.

The shells may have been targeting any remaining pockets of resistance or military installations in the city that was the rebels' last stronghold.

Well trained troops could recover from surprise and possibly counter such a move. Al Qaeda in Somalia is not a well trained force. They are fanatics who could die in place if told to defend some location from an enemy attack. But the Kenyan attack disrupted the thinking and equilibrium of the jihadis and they ran.

Oh, if they aren't killed they will recover and continue their fight. But without money from the port operations, the less-than-fanatical who require a pay check won't show up.

No insult to the Kenyans, but I wonder if we had a hand in coming up with the idea for the plan or filling in the details of a Kenyan plan for the assault. That would be consistent with our approach in the region.

Israel should take note of the impact of what had to have been a fairly small Kenyan amphibious assault on the coast that cut off Kismayu from the north along the coast.

Love maneuver.