About Me

My photo
I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

CARVING-UP THE CONTINENT

Several folks have asked why I have not updated the blog and what the status of my book on warfare is.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – I have been otherwise occupied but will start updating some of the blog comments shortly.

For those who asked, the book is now complete and the artwork is being finalised. Once the artwork has been inserted, the manuscript must be edited and then only will it go to the printers.

Hereunder follows an extract from the book which is now almost 18 months behind schedule. The book is intended to be a textbook that focuses on warfare in Africa. The extract is taken from Chapter 6 (unedited) of the book:

…………………………………………………………………………………………

As a continent, Africa remains under the constant threat of destabilisation along with numerous internal, intractable crises aimed at fuelling suspicion and exploiting differences amongst the populace. These threats are aimed at creating fractious states that will be ripe for foreign intervention and ultimately the division of countries.

As a general guideline, the development of tensions along with destabilisation and revolution follows a predictable pattern in resource-rich countries:

1.     The build-up of hostilities: The ethnic, religious, political and tribal differences along with clan rivalries within a country are exploited and fuelled to increase historical tensions, political anger, dissent, disunity and hostility. The approach adopted by the sponsor-governments will be to ostensible promote “democracy”, “liberate the oppressed” and “remove a dictatorship”. Non-violent and violent protests and strikes will be encouraged by the sponsors of the hostilities. The hostilities will increase as attacks and bombings on government and private buildings and facilities along with essential infrastructure take place. Educational, emotional and symbolic targets such as schools, buses, places of worship, large outdoor congregations, sports stadiums, tourist hotels and groups and so forth will be targeted. Kidnappings of HVI’s and large groups of innocent and/or vulnerable people will occur. Provocative statements will be made on both mainstream and social media platforms to further add to tensions and suspicions. Agitators, armed militias, insurgent and even terrorist groups will be given or promised support and encouraged to conduct armed attacks against the government. The pattern of armed destabilisation will aim to fuel radical actions and thereby force the intelligence services, the law enforcement agencies and the armed forces to either overreact – in which case they will be condemned - or to operate over a wide front thereby stretching their abilities and resources. Ultimately, this will render the country weak, endanger the population, create both fear and an uncontrollable refugee problem and economically drain the country, thus rendering it vulnerable to foreign intervention and manipulation.

2.     Internationalising the hostilities: The escalating violence between contrasting ethnic, religious and/or tribal groups will result in international calls for the situation to be contained. The government will be faced with a growing insurgency supported by acts of terrorism. Calls will be made by foreign governments, international bankers, the United Nations and advocacy groups and NGOs for sanctions, humanitarian aid and assistance and even for armed foreign intervention to establish “democracy” and “stability”. Limited air attacks will be aimed at damaging the economy and destroying the infrastructure. Covert support by the sponsors, including arms, finances and moral support will be channelled to one or more of the clashing factions to ensure a continuation and an escalation of hostilities. Agitators, insurgent leaders and warlords will be the prime beneficiaries of this covert assistance and support. International think-tanks and crisis-resolution groups will be established to mediate the “problem” and envoys will be despatched to negotiate settlements and assist with the establishment of “democracy” and “security” or the “removal of a dictatorship”. Every attempt to bring the problem under the international spotlight will be propagated and exploited. However, the powers that created the destabilisation will be planning on how best to divide the country and gain strategic and economic advantages from such a division.

3.     Intervention and division: Resultant from the internationalisation of the destabilisation and the subsequent chaos and carnage, an increase in international debates will take place and methods devised on how best to contain and resolve the situation. The conflict will become commercialised and agreements made in lieu of assistance. Weapons, ammunition, vehicles and training will be given or sold to the side that can pay for them – and sometimes to both sides. Calls will be made for international peacekeeping forces to be deployed under the auspices of the UN or the AU to separate the warring factions. Foreign governments will despatch military advisors to “monitor” the situation and provide advice. Often, the advice will be aimed at increasing the problem as opposed to resolving the problem. Where training is given, it will be sub-standard and/or irrelevant as the government forces are set-up for failure. If necessary, air attacks will be intensified in order to destroy as much of the essential infrastructure as possible. Calls will be made for the country to be divided into two or more “new states” to bring about peace and stability and ensure “democracy” and “freedom” for the populace caught between the warring parties or factions. By engineering the division of countries and installing puppet or proxy governments that serve the interests of the sponsoring governments, the beneficiaries of the natural resources ie energy and minerals will be the powers that instigated the destabilisation. The newly-found pseudo-states will now (hopefully) serve the interests of their benefactors.


It is therefore important that governments do not merely label threats by the actions or the tactics they apply but instead determine the root cause of the problem and understand the aim and/or purpose of the threat’s actions and deeds along with its support.  

89 comments:

SuperFreejohn said...

Very interesting stuff. I can totally agree with your final point; that the root cause of the situation needs to be ascertained before any notions of who is 'good' or 'bad' are bandied about.

It's very easy to go around labeling good guys and bad guys, but that more or less sums up the problem with cowboy governments and armed forces members.

SuperFreejohn said...

A very good analysis of how these problems come about. I agree with your final comment; the root causes of the situation need to be ascertained before any labels of 'good' and 'bad' are bandied about.

For me this sums up a crucial policy mistake by many powers (particularly Western) who make policy decisions without looking at detailed intel as to what's going on.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It always depends on who is doing the labeling, SuperFreejohn. One must consider who stands to gain what by labeling and by pushing for chaos.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks SuperFreejohn.
Whereas detailed intelligence is a "must have" before rushing in to a situation, there should also be predictive intelligence as to what will happen when a state collapses due to a revolution or an insurgency. It usually has a large regional spill-over that appears to be seldom considered.
Rgds,
Eeben

SuperFreejohn said...

Sorry for the double post; my computer crashed mid-upload.

Exactly; it has to be a major part of a long-term plan. A classic example of lack of 'predictive intelligence' would be Afghanistan.

Nobody seemed to foresee that the fighting in the 80s and the early 00s would create the lawless area that it is today. Would you agree?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

My computer often crashes as well so no problem, SuperFreejohn.
We are witnessing regional spill-overs in Libya, Mali, Egypt, Susan/S Sudan, CAR...the list is almost endless.
I agree with you on Afghanistan - also witness Iraq. What is happening in Iraq ought to have been predicted long before it happened.
Removing a dictator or bombing people into democracy has a nasty way of coming back to haunt.
Rgds,
Eeben

Herbert said...

Eeben,

Welcome back. I trust your absence portends success in your more practical endeavors. Your continent is sorely in need of the sort of home-grown solutions you and yours can offer.

I have grown very cynical of all national external support, on all continents. One can't blame supporting nations for pursuing their own national security agendas--they are obligated to do so. But how quickly aid recipients seem to lose sight of that salient fact, and of course the supporters abuse them accordingly for it. And the incessant flock of vultures that that circles the periphery, dipping in to snatch their little prizes from the carnage and general overflow, well that's a story we all know too well.

The excerpt from your upcoming book appears to offer the kind of insight that might allow failing governments and others to avoid the vicious cycle of war and aid. Hats off to you for any progress you can make in that direction.

Good to see you back and

Regards,
Herbert

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the welcome, Herbert and good to hear from you again.
I have been kept busy and can only hope that it will result in a positive outcome for the continent.
You put it so well… the vultures circling. How very apt.
I do understand the importance and need for foreign governments to pursue their own national and security agendas when they arrive on our shores. What I am against is the duplicity, blackmail and covert support to those who wish to overthrow governments through the use of armed violence. Equally alarming is when their plans fail how quick they cut and run, especially when the regional impact was never considered.
What I find astonishing is that so many African governments fail to see (or prefer not to see) what is really happening. At least those we talk to seem to be gaining a better understanding of what is happening.
The book has really exasperated me at times primarily due to a lack of time to complete the writing as I have been side-tracked by either governments or corporations to “drop the pen” and rush to help.
Africa can no longer afford to accept second-place in the conflicts raging. Hopefully, we can prevent that.
Rgds,
Eeben

SuperFreejohn said...

Your book sounds particularly interesting; will it only be available in military syllabi?

Do you need any help with editing/proofing the text of it? I apologise if this seems a presumptuous offer.

Leonard A. Duro-Emanuel said...

Eeben, it's refreshing as always to see a frank and blunt analysis of what ails Africa militarily and politically. I tend to focus on the interaction between the society and its government: that is where we fail ourselves. We need more professionals and participants of African outlook, extraction and persuasion, no matter where they come from originally. You are on point in that we don't have OUR own Agenda and Interests understood yet, let alone a policy to defend them as a security strategy. Nigeria seems a developing case in point with both the MEND and Boko Haram Insurgencies combining to expose a lack of capacity in this regards?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks for your offer to edit the book SuperFreejohn but that is already taken care of.
The initial plan was to sell the book through bookstores. However, I have been offered a princely sum for the book by a government if I agree not to publish it. I do not particularly want to go that route.
The book was written for primarily African armies so perhaps some of its content may find a way into their training programmes. Only time will tell.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The disconnect between the populace and their governments seems to be increasing across the world Leonard. It is for that reason that we witness these uprising and why it is so easy for a hostile government to exploit the disconnect. I think what you are doing is critically important and may even assist in driving a coherent government strategy.
Until African governments have formulated their national strategies and subsequent strategies and policies, the situation will simply continue and even worsen.
I have my own thoughts on BH and will discuss this with you in private.
Please send me your email address in a separate comment (I shall not post it).
Rgds,
Eeben

srxi said...

Eeben i really hope that you will have kindle or any other electronic version of the book available.
Rgds

Aileen Acheson said...

Is this what is happening in Iraq today?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your interest, srxi. I would like it to be available on Kindle.
At present, I am eagerly awaiting the artwork to be completed and inserted and then have the final edit done. I will keep everyone posted.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

This is a difficult question for me to answer Aileen. I have never been to Iraq but friends of mine have told me of the mess it is in. Sadly, I suspect that ultimately it will be carved up despite billions of dollars being wasted to put an incompetent army in place. It does beg the question: Were they set up for failure?
I also suspect that the initial Iraq strategy was flawed and based on perceptions and not facts. Sadly, many good soldiers died trying to implement a strategy that was doomed to failure – to say nothing of the collateral damage.
The current Iraqi government likewise either had no strategy or if they did have one, it was certainly equally flawed. It was also lacking in intelligence and thus they were unable to make any conflict-predictions or rapidly adapt to the situation. The spill-over from Syria into Iraq was equally obvious from the start but seems to have been ignored by all.
I think that they will finally reach some form of agreement with ISIS and then split the country. The policy of Balkanisation is probably going to be the route that will be followed.
Much of what we see happening in Africa is following a very similar trend which is cause for concern.
Rgds,
Eeben

graycladunits said...

Dear Eeben:

Has there ever been a time when a multinational corporation has directly tried to destabilize and destroy an African country in order to gain access to natural resources or has it always been neighboring countries that try to carve up African countries? I am trying to pinpoint the corporate role in all this. Do they generally inspire the sponsors of destabilization or get involved in direct sponsorship of destabilization themselves? I am well-aware of their profiteering from the violence by selling weapons, expertise, supplies, etc.

Sincerely, gcu

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is not the multinationals driving the process GCU but rather foreign powers – and also not usually neighbouring states unless they are acting as a proxy for a foreign power.
Some multinationals are used to assist and support the power driving the destabilisation (intelligence, logistics, communications and so forth) as they will derive benefits once the division of a country is complete.
State-on-state conflict in Africa has numerous drivers but that is a topic for another day.
Rgds,
Eeben

Shane Goodson said...

Recently found this blog doing some thesis research on conflicts in Africa. Greatly looking forward to the book.

Really sad how it has become a trend to fix issues with quick fix solutions and completely ignoring the root issues, often leaving them for younger generations to deal with and suffer through.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your visit, Shane.
It is sad, especially when it becomes obvious that those who make decisions have not done their homework nor even contemplated developing a realistic strategy. A quick fix has a nasty habit of bouncing back and biting us. Ultimately, it is those who follow that then need to find a solution to the mess.
Good luck with your thesis.
Rgds,
Eeben

Chris Langenhoven said...

Very informative Eben, thanks for your good work. Must have the book when and where will I be able to obtain it?..that is if you don’t sell it to the highest bidder! NOT

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment as well as your interest in the book, Chris.
As soon as it returns from the final edit, I will have a better idea of when it will appear in print. I shall advise via the blog as soon as there is a definite timeline in terms of publication.
I must admit the temptation is great for a once-off sale to the current bidder…but I am afraid that our continent is still of more importance to me.
Rgds,
Eeben

Chris Langenhoven said...

Thank's for that Eben..cant wait for the book.

PS was recently in Koidu working with a few ex EO chaps..some big changes were made to top management..i am sure you are aware of this though.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am unaware of any changes to “EO” top management Chris as the company closed its doors many years ago.
Sadly, I lost contact with many of the ex-EO men as each one pursued his own career after EO.
Good luck in SL.
Rgds,
Eeben

Chris Langenhoven said...

Eben
Sorry not EO..was refering to a few ex EO that stayed behind after the civil war and have been there ever since on and off and later took on positions with the mine in Koidu.

Rgrds
Chris

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You had me a bit worried there, Chris. I thought another “EO” had popped up again. Thanks for explaining the situation.
As I have nothing to do with Koidu (despite the media stories that I own vast diamond mines!) I am not even sure who it belongs to. But such is the power of deception!
Stay well.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Hi, Eeben again. English author Graham Green described some features of this famous American style to manage international affairs in his book "Quiet American". It was in 1950s! Not only in Africa but we can see the scenario to be completed in Yugoslavia in 1990s too.
Ridiculously Russian government tries to awkwardly mimic the worst of this tactics in Ukrain now. The results are not only destructive but caused the international shame and condemnation (unlike it should be according to successful scenario).
Surprisingly the majority of Russian public (I am Russian) support this war and sneak intervention into Ukrain, exactly like the German nation supported Hitler in 1930s.

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

http://nyti.ms/Tm4qSt

http://nyti.ms/1qDv0ET

Just color illustrations to what you write

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I suspected you might be Russian, Red Beard. As you know, South Africa and Russia have a long history of being allies then enemies and allies again. Politics is indeed a strange thing!
Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Graham Greene. I shall go and read “The Quiet American” again.
I can understand countries taking action to secure their foreign interests and extend their influence. That said, the Russian (re)claiming of Crimea is a perfect example of a country acting to secure its foreign interests. Although I am not very knowledgeable on Russian politics, I suspect that had I been a Russian, I too would have supported the annexing of Crimea, especially given its strategic importance to Russia and the very close ties that exist between the two.
What I found strange is the condemnation by the West when they have done exactly the same in several instances – and in some instances where the countries have had very little to do with their foreign interests.
The US has however made many mistakes in Africa – and continues to make them - and Africans have noted these mistakes. Sadly though, the military is tasked to then “fix” the foreign policy mistakes governments make and then have to shoulder the blame as well.
But I sometimes wonder if many of these “mistakes” are not purposely made to ensure a later intervention at the expense of African governments.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Very interesting links Red Beard, thank you for sending them.
I am of the opinion (my opinion often gets me into trouble!) but I believe that unbeknownst to the soldiers who partook in this mission – many of whom died and others maimed and scarred for life - the Iraqi forces were set-up for failure. With the amount of money spent (wasted) in training the Iraqi armed forces, it is unconceivable that they could still be so incompetent and ineffective.
That said, massive amounts of money have been spent on the “foreign training” of Africa armies who have, when called on, failed equally dismally in the face of much smaller, untrained, rag-tag forces. This sub-standard “free” training and incredibly stupid “free” advice has resulted in a lot of chaos across Africa, chaos foreign powers have been quick to seize upon. More than anything, this has set up those armies for complete failure. Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, DRC, CAR and so forth are all examples of what is unfolding before our eyes.
If African government do not wake up soon to what is happening, they will lose their countries and plunge the continent into chaos.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Dear Eeben. When Western overwhelming surprise and condemnation arose some Russian people started wearing black t-shirts with a big writing: BECOSOVO. But this is just a small part of the story..

Ukraina is translated into Russian as "outskirts". This is not different people. It's the same nation like Russian. Political devision laid boundaries only. All the turmoil in the country started because of severe corruption terror unleashed by a former president Yanukovich, overthrown by the revolution. And Putin promised him 15 billion euros for recovery! Just before the turmoil. But democratic or psudo-democratic revolution is the nightmare for a dictator! Putin hated and didn't accept the revolution in any form. Then Krimea annexation followed. Everyone knows that Krimea is Russian historic territory and the most of Ukrain is Russian territory too. But this is just all political issues! It's funny but the reason why Krimea joint Russia easily is the same why all Ukrain fought the power of its president. People got angry with him and his corrupted administration.

What would you say if France have political instability and Germany will take a chance to annex Alsace back? Or what would you say if Germany seize their Ostpreußen with its ancient capital Königsberg back? Now it's Russian territory after WW II though it doesn't even have a mutual border line with Russia!
As one Russian journalist said: they took off the boots from a half dead man, when he fainted.
As for Eastern Ukrain there is a civil war now. Many hard Russian patriots now blame Putin with what is happening there: Chechen pro guerrillas having leaked into the country in great numbers actually represent as if Eastern Ukrainian rebels who fight "illegitimate" Central government. Russian media became the loudspeaker of non-sense false propaganda. A single example: one day 2 primary official TV channels showed the same man with broken legs in a hospital. The man told he was a victim of Ukranian fascists who beat him to one channel and he told he came from Germany with a lot of supplies for fascist rebels from Western Ukrain to another channel!!! Both footages were shown at the same day! And nobody felt uncomfortable after that.. They just went on with similar junk every day in a very aggressive manner. This is a real madness. Trust me.
On the other hand there are a lot of military factories in Eastern Ukrain which produce vital supplies for Russian arms industry. And that would be dangerous to lose them forever.. Two sides of the story. But they should be just wise politics to take into account all issues and aspects..

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Interesting is your opinion! It's absolutely correct I think. However you know that mujahetdeen and Taliban tribal armies showed quite effective during several decades. Do you think there exist and you know what kind of training and organization they should be given in all those African armies you mentioned? And can they really form a social structure of modern army over and above their tribal and ethnic relations?

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

And yes I'm Russian what I informed you in brackets in one of my previous passages :)

Feral Jundi said...

Eeben,

Hey, it looks like you are coming back from a trip as well and firing up the blog. I am doing the same after coming back from my last contract. It is good to be home and I missed blogging.
With that said, there has been a lot of news recently. From Iraq crumbling to the Ukraine getting ravaged--lots to talk about and contemplate.
It sounds like your book is close to completion and I agree with what one of the readers said--kindle would be an outstanding option. Many contractors and soldiers out there use ereaders like kindle to read books, because books are too bulky and heavy to take on deployment. So your sales would be pretty high with the addition of an ebook.
Hope all is well with you and your family and take care. -matt

Feral Jundi said...

Eeben,

Hello and welcome back. I too just got back from my contract and it is good to be back home. I am really looking forward to blogging again, and talking about what is going on in the industry and world today.
I look forward to your book and I agree with what one of the comments below about an ebook. Kindle is what contractors and soldiers use these days, because of the weight and space savings for deployments. So I could see your book doing well in that capacity.
Hope all is well with you and your family. Take care. -matt

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Dear Eeben, there is something else beyond our talks about arms and politics. Syria is located straight on the projected tube way from Iraq to the northern regions. Just where an oil/gas tube can be laid. What would be to Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and their wealth future if Iraq and Syria start and complete the project.

As for Eastern Ukrain where there is a kind civil war sponsored from Russia now they rececently found huge potential lands for fracking. If the war and the turmoil spots they Shell (which had already a contract for the lands to extract gas from there) can develop a big gas industry extracted just there in Ukrain. What's going to be to GASPROM then? The corporation which actually owns Russia..

Sunni brothers in Syria and Irag and Russian brothers in Ukrain don't die for their rights and religion. They die for great wealth and future of GAS war sponsors.

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Going on with the above idea about Gas conspiracy will you browse this article:
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/24/beneath-the-ukraine-crisis-shale-gas/

I wasn't explicit though. Not only Shell but Chevron and all the other wolves gathered for Ukrainian shale and shelf gas "independence" :)

The subject of your post is much supported at the end of the article with a brief story of Shell influence in Nigeria.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your input is very enlightening Red Beard but I do not have much understanding of the geopolitics of your region. I have however believed that the peoples of both Ukraine and Russia have much in common. Truth be told, I have always been well received and treated by Ukrainians and Russians alike and I therefore find the tension between Ukraine and Russia a sad situation.
“Democracy”, “freedom”, “liberty” have all become catch-phrases of many anti-government forces and movements. In the process, they have degraded the real meanings of those words. However, those words help these forces and movements gain international support and as you say, pseudo-democratic revolutions take place – but unfortunately they are usually supported and encouraged by other powers who seek to gain some advantage for themselves.
Whereas in Africa many believe the conflicts and wars here are either political or ideological in nature, they are all ultimately aimed at controlling the economy.
I would like to make a positive contribution to the debate on Ukraine and Russia but I cannot. I also cannot choose sides as I have friends in both countries.
Thank you for your input!
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The Mujahedeen was very much a proxy force when it was fighting the Russian forces in Afghanistan Red Beard. We witness a similar situation in Africa where proxy forces are doing the bidding of foreign powers.
It is very possible to form a cohesive army in Africa despite the many different tribal affiliations and religions – we have already successfully done that. However, problems arise when there is no unified effort, a poor strategy and a policy of “divide and control”.
Soldiers need not give up their ethnic and tribal beliefs and traditions to form an effective cohesive fighting force. Unfortunately, these beliefs and traditions are exploited to ensure that the armies are set-up for failure. Therein lies the biggest problem African armies have.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Welcome back to you as well, Matt! Always good to know you are well.
I have had to place my book on the back-burner for some time due to other commitments. It is finally nearing the end now and I can assure you, I will be pleased to be done with it.
It will depend on the publisher if there will be a Kindle version but your point is well taken. But, as previously mentioned, there is also an offer on the table from a government to buy it outright. I have not really given it too much thought as I want to complete the effort first.
Good luck to you and yours as well and take care.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am led to believe the conflict and instability we witness not only in Africa but elsewhere is all economically motivated Red Beard. Politics and ideology are in a sense primarily smokescreens to give credibility to those who wish to gain an economic interest out of the conflict.
Whereas the armed forces are usually the first port of blame, they are usually only implementing an armed foreign policy – which they did not create.
Is it not strange that countries that have no oil and/or gas seldom find themselves engaged in the types of conflicts we witness?
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the links, Red Beard.
I rest my case.
Rgds,
Eeben

Carel de Lange said...

A perfect explanation to what happened to South Africa. A proxy government is in place to serve the interests of the UK and US. The daily carnage of murder rape and home invasions is of no interest to the sponsoring governments. All the while the old tensions are stirred up in racial devision and hate perpetuated by land claims etc. Eeben, what is your view on how the law abiding citizens of SA can take back the country from a terrorist regime?

Cindy Dy said...

I really like your blog. You have a sense of humor and very informative article. Thank you for sharing. Keep up the good work.

Cara
www.gofastek.com

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The way I look at it Carel is that we have now gone through our so-called armed struggle that the West encouraged and supported. Their chickens are now – and will soon be – coming home to roost. The anti-government forces they have sponsored across North Africa and the Middle East are now turning against their sponsors. It also goes to show that my enemy’s enemy is not always my friend. He is more than likely also my enemy.
In times like these, the truth in indeed the new “evil”.
You are correct, there are many in SA who are acting as fifth columnists by trying to disrupt and destroy whatever they can by fanning the flames of tension and conflict. Usually, they are the first to run when a shot is fired in anger.
It is difficult to say what can or must be done to stop the rampant lawlessness we are experiencing. I think we also have to look at the foreign “specialists” who came to give training to our SAPS. I believe SAPS were set-up for failure. Then we also have to thank the human rights lobbyists for giving criminals more rights than the victims. SA also needs to take a long hard look at a National Security Strategy that is obviously not working. Every criminal north of our borders sees us as easy targets.
But more than anything, all of the above requires a strong political will. Until we get that, we will merely be talking the talk but unable to walk the walk.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Is this the only way you have to advertise yourself, Cindy Dy?

michael b da silva said...

Hi Eeben, a tad off topic but it seems that Africa is not the only continent in serious trouble.

With the Gaza/Israel debacle in full swing dividing an already divided world and the suspicions growing about the BRICS summit and big banking deal causing consternation in certain circles we then have this truly heinous tragedy in the Ukraine.

Malaysian MH17 being shot down by high altitude SAM's near Donetsk is just creating more knife edge tension.

The fact that commercial air craft still use flight paths that overfly known conflict hot spots where in the previous week saw air craft being targeted by both sides is mind boggling. Surely there was enough INTEL and media reporting to raise a tint red flag and see to it that flight plans be altered a tad?

The damage is done and now three groups stand in the dock and it will adversely affect all three regardless of who pressed the launch button.
The Russians in my opinion did not launch the BUK missile but may have supplied the launcher so their character is flawed.

The Ukranians did it to try and shoot down Putin's plane and got the timing wrong.Big mistake.

The separatists used a captured Ukranian Buk launcher and decided to shoot anything flying. This hurts the Russians as they are pro Russian separatists and therefore the Russians are guilty by association.

The biggest losers here are those on board and Air Malaysia who just cannot seem to get a break! First it was MH370 going walkabout then they had an electrical fault on another plane in their fleet followed by a burst tyre on landing now this! Soon they won't be able to give tickets away for seats on their planes.

Politics, terrorism, war and unfortunately extremist religion is carving up not only Africa but the world in general.

9/11 was a turning point and this event could very well be the next one. The ramifications of the deed and the pre existing tensions between East and West are already strained. Now this.

Palestine also has the potential to be a turning point if the current discourse carries on unabated.

Just my half cent.
Mike

Carel de Lange said...

Thanks Eeben, you are indeed a man of depth and a gentleman! I cannot agree more with your views on all issues discussed. I read your book EO with great interest and found your conclusions to hold true. I see the same MO manifesting itself in today's society and in the media as what you experienced from the intelligence arm of the SANDF after 1994. The truth is continually suppressed with political correct mumbo jumbo and ideological lies.

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Dear Eeben, it seems to me that nobody here could be an oracle of global politics. I sometimes get completely lost when I realize that freedom and liberation are often just instruments to the vain people striving for power and on the other hand Putin's administration driving us towards North Korea life style. It's impossible to comprehend how good ideas turn into shit of life. That is happening in Europe between Ukrainian and Russian who are actually the same nation of mostly the same religion. Then how can we be surprised with what is going in Asia and Africa with all their complexity? Look at Israel and Gaza. Israeli army is one of the most skilled and effective in the World and they can do little to its crazy neighbor Hamas for many years. Then why are we surprised that they waisted many millions for training Iraqi army which proved ineffective?

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Eeben, I re-read your comments again and I made up my mind I should better read and think at your words than to talk much after media mess having washed my brain :) thank you for all you think and write for us here

Michael Rauschenbach said...

Hi Mr. Barlow,

Your book "EO - against all odds" has changed the way I see the world. If you're in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games I'd love to get my copy signed by you and perhaps have a pint or a whisky together. I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Michael Poston

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are correct Mike, more than just Africa is in trouble…. However, I tend to focus my soapbox in the direction of Africa as I feel that I am not qualified to make judgements in areas where I do not work.
Fact of the matter: the triggermen that downed the Malaysian flight and created this terrible incident were not the first to shoot down a commercial airliner – and will sadly, probably not be the last. It is somewhat ironic that the-then Rhodesian Viscount that was shot down during the Rhodesian conflict was never condemned - even by those who are now leading the calls for action.
Closer to home, we see a Libya in flames since it got its “freedom”. Nigeria is fighting a deadly war with no apparent end in sight. Mali has found itself in a similar position whereby it almost has to accept rebel terms. All three these countries are in the sights of the carving knife. S Sudan is a mess, DRC is crumbling, CAR is in flames and so it goes.
I still maintain that as long as African governments shirk their responsibilities, accept bad advice and focus on their own wealth-creation, we will see this continue.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you, Carel.
You must remember that the truth has now become “wrong” and downright lies and propaganda are now “right”.
As a correction, EO’s problems were started by the SADF’s Military Intelligence – the SANDF simply carried on with it as many of the MI people were kept in place after the transition. They did everything they could to “justify” their salaries whilst simultaneously aiding and abetting the rebels.
Plus, they wanted to show their “integrity” to the new government by deception. So, they couldn’t back-out of the lies they started.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is all about foreign interests, Red Beard. I accept that entirely. What I find hard to accept is the approach to destabilise to seize control of those foreign interests. Many African armies appear to have been purposely “trained” to fail. Add that to poor national strategies, very poor national security strategies, and unrealistic military strategies and so forth, it is no wonder things are as they are.
I am seldom surprised nowadays as it seems we just refuse to learn.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are most welcome, Red Beard.
However, bear in mind that this is how I view what is happening in Africa and many will want to disagree with me – especially those “Africa-specialists” that have spent 2 weeks in Africa.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you Michael.
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the Games but they seem to have been very well organised and a great success. Well done to the Scots!
I would have loved to sign your book and meet you but it may have to be placed on hold for the time being.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Guys, I think that mh17 downing is an exceptional event as Putin gives very advanced modern weapons to his rag-tag team in Ukraine. There is no actual separatism in Ukraine. All those "rebels" are revealed to be enlisted officers of Russian Spetsnaz and mercenaries gathered in the territory of Russia.

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Eeeben, I'm not informed of what is happening in your SA. Did I understood you and other blog participants right there is a lot of violence and criminal groups which leak from the North? And neither police nor the Army seem to confront this much! Another issue: do you think those crazy militants like Boko Horam in Nigeria could be practically spotted and defeated with qualified military power like a skilled military company? E.g. could we imagine that Nigerian government hired somebody like you and finally destroyed those growing threads? Or it's not as easygoing now. And I don't understand what is the reason for external powers to purposely train weak armies of their African satellites?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Although I too am very interested in what is unfolding as a result of the downing of MH17, I have no clue of the true situation there, Red Beard. There are so many conspiracy theories floating around that one does not know what to believe or think anymore.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Crime levels are very high in SA, Red Beard. Our law enforcement agencies are sadly unable or unwilling to practice pro-active policing and therefore the criminals have the initiative at most times. A lot of this is due to the fact of poor vetting procedures, inadequate training, a lack of policing will and so forth. For that reason, we have seen an incredible growth in private security companies (some who are likewise involved in closing their eyes at critical times) and community policing.
We have large unprotected borders allowing criminal gangs to infiltrate, conduct their crimes and exfiltrate again. Others have come into SA as illegal immigrants and are now embedded in society.
The primary mission of the armed forces is not law enforcement so the armed forces are not primarily engaged in crime prevention. At times, they are deployed in support of law enforcement operations but that is the exception rather than the rule. However, when the armed forces are deployed nationally (domestically) to fight crime, it is indicative of a failure of law enforcement.
We issued a warning to the Nigerian government in 2012 of the coming actions of Boko Haram but they were advised that we were merely being “alarmist”. Of course they can be defeated but there are numerous factors that need to be taken into consideration to defeat them. Throwing equipment and money to defeat armed movements is not – and has never been – the answer.
Several foreign officers have told me the reason they train African armies badly is in case they have to fight them one day. However, when these poorly-trained armies have a problem, they invariably call on the governments who “trained” them and this gives the foreign government an almost permanent foot print in the country – and all the advantages such as arms sales, business development, etc.
Rgds,
Eeben

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Thank you very much, Eeben! I understand all that :)

goaheadbabe Red Beard said...

Hi Eeben, I can conclude from your reviews that what you think and you didn't say: that is democracy and political freedom is not always good for many countries. In many instances restrictions of a dictatorship save country from disintegration/ruin and vice versa, sudden release of restrictions can drive to chaos like it takes place in several countries now. At the same time democracy is a very ancient invention of German and Nordic tribes which they brought through centuries to nowadays in Scandinavia, Switzerland and even in Germany where municipal democracy has always been strong. Boer also supported traditional democracy in their communities I believe!

The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegroove said...

Eben,

Nice summary, but it needs a few case studies to be credible. I suggest one that doesn't fit the pattern if you can find too.

Lucas North said...

Eben, it's interesting that in the light of the failure of the Western Powers to deal with terrorism, especially in the Mideast, the American News commentator Bill O'Reilly has set forth an approach that would essentially create a mercenary army of 25,000 strong funded by the allies to deal with terror around the globe. The proposal drew favor from none other than Henry Kissenger. Is that ironic, or what?
Cheers,
LN

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You're welcome, goaheadbabe Red Beard.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your message, Chris.
I have given away all my EO stuff so I am sorry I cannot assist you.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

All political systems have their limitations, goaheadbabe Red Beard.
However, one cannot bomb someone into democracy if it is a political system that is completely and utterly alien to the populace. We see what a mess Libya is, not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan, where the concept of democracy is a non-starter, simply because of massive tribal and cultural differences and traditions.
Simply because one government believes in democracy does not imply that all governments must believe in it.
With political freedom comes certain responsibilities the populace must adhere to. “Freedom” does not mean they can do what they please, say what they want and attack whoever they want to simply because there is freedom.
I would argue that some benevolent dictatorships have achieved more for the populace than democracy has. That does not make me anti-democracy as some might now wish to claim. But, we are now entering dangerous terrain!
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I think there are very few post-1945 examples, Mr Lovegroove.
Whereas some countries got their independence is a more-or-less peaceful manner, it is since so-called independence that their problems started, especially those who have a wealth of natural resources. Over the last decade, this approach to carving Africa into smaller “more manageable” bits has become very obvious.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is very ironic but I don’t think that approach could ever work Lucas.
Every victory this force achieves will be a hollow victory. And what happens when this force leaves – who will fill the gap? Unless government forces are properly trained, equipped and led and supported by political and military will, they will be unable to fulfil their obligations.
Then of course we have witnessed what happens when the populace of a county perceive they are being occupied.
Rgds,
Eeben

Jeremiah Longnecker said...

I am fascinated to have found a blog written by you. I teach a class called Developing Nations in a small city in Iowa, USA. One of the topics in the class is the civil war in Sierra Leone with the subtopic of the role that Executive Outcomes played in that conflict. Various sources state that your presence in Sierra Leone may have been funded by DeBeers (we talk about the diamond industry quite a bit). Any chance you might shed some light on this topic for me?

Your take on the role of multinationals in African countries isn't what I expected after reading your blog. It seems to me that the modern-day Scramble for Africa is fueled by mnc and their desire to accommodate the world's appetite for the abundance of resources that Africa has that are largely untapped.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your interest in Africa, Jeremiah.
EO was definitely not funded by De Beers. I do not know which sources reported that but there was a concerted effort by some criminals masquerading as governments, corporations and NGOs to stop EO while and after we assisted the Angolan government in ending their decades long civil war. When the rebels lost the diamond fields in Angola - their financial powerbase to continue the war - there was a huge outcry, led mainly by some governments and diamond corporations as their supply of ‘cheap’ diamonds no longer existed.
Sierra Leone was no different. It suited some governments and multi-nationals that the war was unending as it gave them numerous business opportunities, not to mention a foothold in West Africa. The attacks and the targeted murders of the populace were of no consequence to them. It was all about control of resources. In the case of Sierra Leone, primarily diamonds.
You may want to do some research and compare what EO did at what cost and what the UN attempted to do at an astronomical cost.
In short, EO was bad for foreign and commercial interests and therefore it had to be stopped.
The process of conflict and war in Africa continues. The last thing some beyond our shores want is a stable and prosperous Africa. Control over resources fuels that approach to destabelising Africa.
It is interesting to note that African countries with no high-value resources are relatively stable and peaceful.
Rgds,
Eeben

Jeremiah Longnecker said...

It is the "resource curse" that Global Witness writes about. That is why I think that multinationals play a much larger role in Africa's conflicts that many people realize. If there wasn't such a high demand for resources that Africa has in such great abundance, foreign influence would be much less, whether that comes from governments or companies.

I did not mean to be accusatory in my previous post - I was only hoping to get clarification. However, I am highly interested in the role DeBeers plays/has played in shaping the politics of the southern African nations. Is it as large as it may appear to an outsider like myself? Also, in your opinion has DeBeers' influence diminished since the concept of conflict diamonds became recognized around the globe?

red beard said...

Dear Eeben, what you tell about criminal de-stabilization in some countries just resembles me what is happening at Ukraine now.. there is a subtle but a real war unleashed.. probably you could look that direction too.. if Yankee let you partake.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Sadly it is, Jeremiah. The more resources, the more problems. I do however think that some African governments are (finally) waking up to the deception they have been subjected to. With this awakening, comes a realisation that they need to be careful in case they are suddenly targeted for a ‘regime change’.
I did work for DeBeers a long time ago and as soon as it became known that we (EO) were helping the Angolan government and not the rebels, the contract was summarily terminated. That alone told us a lot. And when it became known that one of their senior advisors was also an advisor to UNITA’s leader as well as the SA president, everything fell into place.
However, not all governments are working hard to destabilise Africa and not all multinationals and NGOs are supporting conflict. Some work very hard to do good and really make a difference.
The answer lies when they start shouting if someone is helping a government, under contract, to defeat the rebels. That is when we know who is behind the carnage and chaos.
‘Conflict’ diamonds’ is a smokescreen as far as I am concerned. It has not really stopped the flow of diamonds as ‘Certificates of Origin’ can be found in many places.
I cannot comment on DeBeers’ influence as I don’t really follow the activities of the company. However, if a multinational is working in a country we are contracted to assist, they can bet we will be watching them.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am afraid that I am very out of touch with what is happening in the Ukraine, Red Beard. What I know is what I read in the media and see on the television and that is, depending who controls the platform, only a very subjective account to promote an agenda.
When we are contracted by an African government, we do what we say we will do, regardless of who is shouting at our presence. The only time we will leave is when that government is being coerced and threatened by a foreign power and our presence will place our client in a difficult position. That happened to us quite recently I may add.
Rgds,
Eeben

Jeremiah Longnecker said...

Eeben - I wish I could fly you to Iowa to speak to my classes. I teach five sections of the same class (Developing Nations) and if there was one major theme that I would identify to be the most important it would be that the West (plus Japan and now China) utilizes the developing nations of the world for the same purpose that European countries once had colonies: for raw materials/resources. The West has no interest in the development of of nations in Africa because if those nations eventually develop industrially and begin turning their own resources into finished goods, the cost and availability of those resources will climb. My problem is that I have lived in the U.S. my entire life and have only research to base my opinions on. The fact that your experiences have led you to basically the same conclusions definitely solidifies my stance.

I have a question for you - the very question that led me to your blog. We watch the movie "Blood Diamond" in class. Although it is fictional it is a terrific teaching tool because it touches on so many topics (diamonds, child soldiers, refugee camps, civil war, dangers of working with relief agencies, etc.) In case you aren't familiar with the film, Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the movie is from Zimbabwe. His parents are killed (in land reform) and he ends up in the South African Defense Force before becoming part of the 32 Battalion. There is a man in the movie named Colonel Coetzee that ran the 32 Battalion but later takes a mercenary force to Sierra Leone to assist the government in fighting against the RUF. In researching the 32 Battalion and EO, I noticed your name was heavily associated with both. My question is: did Edward Zwick, the director the film, base the character of Colonel Coetzee loosely on you? In asking, I am not saying that the movie character's actions represent yours. However, the role he played in the movie is eerily similar to what you have done in your military life.

I appreciate your candid responses to all the questions that readers of your blog have posed to you.

Take care,

Jeremiah

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I don’t think your government would look at you kindly if you invited me to the US Jeremiah! I am not exactly viewed as flavour of the month!
Sadly some African governments have already become proxy states and are now trying to figure out how to break the stranglehold over them. Having said that, the fault can be placed squarely before their doors as they allowed it to happen. When they go against the current, they are subject to problems they would rather not have. It is very much a case of predatory-politics and coercive diplomacy to safeguard the interests of their proxy-masters.
If the citizens of many countries knew what their governments are actually doing in Africa, they would be extremely concerned.
My son saw ‘Blood diamond’ and asked me not to go and see it—so I didn’t. Although I am aware of the plot, I do not think it was based on me. My son, who had by then met many ex-32 Bn and ex-Special Forces men also said to me that he did not think Col Coetzee would have lasted a day in either unit. As they say “from the mouths of babes…” But then again, Hollywood has a way of twisting facts to shape perceptions.
Rgds,
Eeben

red beard said...

You are incredible, Eeben. I think any of us can seldom come across a person like you. I am sorry if my words are embarrassing.. I would be happy to assist you in anything one day :) though I'm not a military person in any sense :) and this is just an emotional expression :) God bless you!

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you very much Red Beard.
Your kind words are highly appreciated.
Rgds,
Eeben

Jeremiah Longnecker said...

Eeben - I apologize for duplicating some of the questions that you had already answered earlier in this chain; I hadn't had the chance to read through it prior to firing questions at you.

I believe that your son was right in advising you to not see the movie "Blood Diamond". I'm certain that parts of it would seem absurd to someone in your shoes. However, in the United States we have a large part of our population that simply doesn't care about what happens outside of our borders. Movies can be a great vehicle to opening their eyes, even if they aren't historically accurate. It is my job to sort out what is and what isn't accurate and you are helping me to do that. Thank you for that.

Best, Jeremiah

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas many Americans don’t care what happens beyond your shores, there are some who care deeply, Jeremiah. I have been fortunate to meet some of them. However, they too are frowned on by your government.
Films can indeed be an excellent vehicle for students and I am pleased that you are going to so much trouble for your students. It will stand them in good stead one day.
Rgds,
Eeben

Jeremiah Longnecker said...

There are a lot of Americans who care. The problem for them is to figure out to help without committing their lives to it. I have had quite a few students who have done mission work on the continent and quickly developed an affection for the people they have worked with. They have found the people to be vibrant and resilient. Most want to return at some point in their lives and more than one has decided to make it their life's work.

My son travelling to South Africa to go to school at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth beginning in February of next year. We are excited for him to have this opportunity. I'd like to think that my influence on him somewhat led him to SA as his place of choice. My wife and I will be visiting him in late May/early June and we are looking forward to seeing your country. I have been teaching about SA for nearly 20 years and although I don't think that I'll be able to take in all there is to offer in just a couple of weeks, I am hoping that I'll gain enough to bring back with me to my classroom.
As a lifelong resident, what are the "must sees" that you would suggest? I realize that I have diverted greatly from "Carving up the Continent" so I hope you don't mind answering this off-topic question.

Take care,

Jeremiah

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Jeremiah, I have my own thoughts on many of the foreign students who come to Africa and within a few days, consider themselves to be ‘specialists’ on Africa, trying to tell us who live here what to do. Some of them do really good work and give their hearts and souls. But some sadly do more damage than can be imagined. I have met both categories.
Congrats on your son coming across to study at Nelson Mandela University. I think he will have a great time and make many really good friends over here. South Africa is not without its problems and challenges but it is a great country that has a vibrancy few if any other countries can match. Ninety percent of our people are good, kind people who are always willing to help anyone, regardless of who or what they are.
I think it is also great that you will be visiting. Make sure to bring your camera and I will in the meantime put my thinking cap on re places to see and people to meet. And I am sure you will be able to enthral your students after your visit.
I look forward to meeting you one day.
Rgds,
Eeben

Danie du Preez said...

Good day Mr. Barlow

Here's an article from the Rand Daily Mail of February 3 accusing EO of indiscriminate killings of civilians in Sierra Leone once again.
http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2015/02/03/inside-africa-s-private-armies

I read your first book in 2007, and have read it again since.

I am of course very much looking forward to your latest book, and hope it will be available soon.

Kind regards
Danie du Preez

dazed and confused said...

Hi. I'd really like to speak to you about Nigeria and the anti Boko Haram offensive. 2711angelo@gmail.com

Arzu Nagiyeva said...

Dear Eeben,

I hope you are well; the latest communication from you dates back to Dec'14 (the comments on here) and I could not find any recent articles in the blog. One of your postings ("Carving-up the continent") talks about a book that you are/were working on form which you provided and extract. Just wondering, is it still work in progress? I am really interested in the book, not sure you have published it yet?

Thanks,
Arzu

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks Danie,
It appears as though this Rand Daily Mail was set up to create tensions and spread disinformation. I find it ironic that liars such as this so-called group do not even do any research into their attempts at lying. But, as someone once remarked, "Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth".
We will now try to find out who this crowd are actually working for.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Dazed and Confused,
I have nothing more to add to the interview given to SOFREP.
The contract was for 3 months and it is now over.
Rgds,
Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have been so busy elsewhere that I have not really had time to update my blog, Arzu.
My book has been completed and I am awaiting the final edits back. It has been an uphill slog trying to get it completed but I am fortunate to have a very understanding publisher.
Rgds,
Eeben