About Me

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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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I was recently asked my thoughts on why I think governments fail at countering insurgencies.

As I had recently completed that chapter of my book, I could list several reasons why I believe that governments fail in countering an insurgency. (It must, however, be borne in mind that these reasons are different from those of why a law enforcement agency or the armed forces fail at COIN).  

There is no single reason why governments fail in countering an insurgency; rather it is a colliding of a host of different factors and reasons that culminate at the right time to give impetus to an insurgency.

I believe that many governments fail to recognise that an insurgency is not “war” but rather a means to an end.

The following are inter alia some of the more common reasons (I have only briefly listed the points) why governments fail when having to counter an insurgency:

1.      Poor intelligence
2.      The lack of a realistic containment strategy and weak policies
3.      Denial or out of touch with the situation
4.      Lack of unity between government agencies and departments
5.      Ineffective policing approaches and techniques
6.      Incompetence and inefficiency within government agencies and departments
7.      Unacceptable high levels of corruption and crime
8.      Failure to understand the importance of perception of the nation
9.      Failure to understand the insurgent’s strategy
10.   Failure to isolate insurgents
11.   Believing that relative strengths decide the victor
12.   Failure to prepare
13.   Lack of credibility
14.   Lack of legitimacy
15.   Lack of information to the nation
16.   Lack of national and international support
17.   Poor governance and service delivery
18.   Divine right (A misguided belief that when having assumed power the government has a divine right to govern and to promulgate self-serving agendas)
19.   Abuse of power
20.   Failure to listen to the nation
21.   Losing the moral high ground
22.   Over-reliance on foreign aid and assistance

Governments that govern at the expense of the nation as opposed to governing for the nation place themselves in a position that will be rapidly exploited by aggrieved people and may ultimately result in a national uprising, a challenge to their authority or even into an insurgency.  

Governments will inadvertently provide the insurgents with numerous advantages if they fail to take note of the above factors. These factors provide the insurgents with a fertile breeding ground for discontent and recruitment. With national and international media coverage and support, the insurgency will intensify and government reaction may result in both heavy-handed action and over-reaction.

Unlike a conventional war, a COIN conflict’s main effort is aimed at restoring faith in the government and redressing real or perceived wrongs against the populace who are partaking or supporting the insurgency. Failure to do so will simply fuel the insurgency.

When government’s failure is handed-down to the armed forces to “rectify”, the armed forces become the target of government pressure to resolve the situation as fast as possible as well as actions and propaganda by the insurgents who, by their very actions, get free publicity in the media for their cause. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


Thanks to Jason for alerting me to this bunch of clowns.

To quote Mark Twain, “The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.

I may have been unable to respond to comments or even to update my blog, but that is due to work-related activities and has nothing to do with my early demise.

However, not so according to Florida-based US company Executive Outcomes Protection Services (EOPS) who, with a few strokes across the keyboard, have killed me.

On their website (www.eopssecurity.com) under company history, EOPS states (unedited) the following:

Our Inspirational founder, the late Colonel Eeben Barlow founded executive outcomes in 1989. A private military contractor (PMC) company. The company acquires notoriety by its professionalism and dedication and by the year 1994/1995 rescuing and returning the constitutional power to the government of Sierra Leone and Angola.

Whereas there are many who would no doubt rejoice at my early demise, I think there are equally some governments that may be concerned as I still need to assist them with some matters. After all, who would want to use a dead guy to provide advice? Besides, I could have killed myself by laughing so much that I fell off my chair and broke my neck laughing.

Sadly EOPS did not do any homework before they decided to pose as a reborn EO. Not only did they get their dates wrong, they also posted photos of obviously well-fed guards. I don’t recall any EO men looking that well fed!

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but EOPS are elevating it to a new level.

I wonder if these scoundrels are going to submit my posthumous profits to my family?

Regardless, I am so tired of conmen and posers trying to claim their role in the actions of good men. I can only hope that their clients realise that EOPS are being totally untruthful in their claims.

However, it would be nice if mdominguez@eopssecurity.com would contact me and explain my death to me.