Juan Cole’s Unique 4GWS1/4GWS3 Synthesis

50 Dead, 90 Wounded in Iraq Bombings on Wednesday Morning: Qaim Campaign Continues,” by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 11 May 2005,

The anti-Iraqis near the Syrian border are standing and fighting. While this is probably a mistake, the insurgents are not acting irrationally. American forces have traditionally avoided that desert area, so the anti-Iraqis may calculate that relatively little bloodshed will push us back out. Likewise, the anti-Iraqis have a history of attacking fortified targets, so maybe they are being worn down and need a deci…

That’s too sane and boring. Here’s Juan Cole’s whacky theory:

The US commanders expressed their happiness that the guerrillas at Ubaydi are standing and fighting, on the grounds that if they do that, they will be finished faster. I wouldn’t be so happy if I were them. The jihadis are making themselves martyrs in order to give other young men a reason to fight. It is a recruitment drive.

Yes. Guerrillas fighting a conventional battle for recruitment. Using 4GWS3 tactics (conventional warfare) for 4GWS1goals (recruitment). It makes so much sense. That’s why Mao and the Viet Cong fought so many conventional battles…

Wait, that’s insane.

At least Cole keeps it up:

Since guerrillas have managed to kill about 14 US troops in recent days, moreover, it is a way of signalling that the US is not 10 feet tall, but is rather vulnerable. If the US has this much trouble with about 2500 foreign fighters in Iraq (and over 20,000 Iraqi ones), imagine the problems if the jihadi recruitment drive succeeds, and the foreign contingent doubles or triples.

No, spectacular small-group hit-and-run 4GWS1 attacks are a way of showing that the Iraqi government is vulnerable. That’s why there are so many car bombs, assassinations, and kidnappings. Tight small-group lightning attacks are how 4th Generation Warriors show that the enemy can bleed while building up their own nets. It’s what Fourth Generation insurgents do best.

But conventional battles are what any organized army does best. Conventional battles are the last stage of fourth generation war, not the first. Conventional battles are fought for land, not recruitment.

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