Wednesday, November 17, 2004


The Base(Iraq)

The Belmont Club posted an interesting article in Spetmeber, based largely on the work of Vladis Krebs, postulating that terrorist cells are hamstrung when their central base is disrupted. The basic reasoning is that the cells are generally small, no more than 100 individuals, most of whom know less than a half-dozen of their fellows in even their own cell. Without a central coordinating agency, they are blind.

That theory will get a good workout over the next several months in Iraq, particularly in light of the news from Fallujah:

FALLUJAH, Iraq — US forces dropped a pair of 2,000-pound bombs early yesterday morning on a bunker complex believed to be an insurgent training facility on the southern edge of this city, where the most dedicated and best trained rebel fighters are making a last stand.

The bombs shook the ground of the former insurgent stronghold and set off secondary explosions that went on for 45 minutes but could not be seen above ground, persuading officers of the Army’s First Infantry Division that there were large stockpiles of weapons underground.
Sure sounds like a central base to me.

In anticipation of the attacks, one would expect the terrorists to have made contingency plans beforehand for at least one additional wave of attacks, as they are clearly attuned to their effect in the media and will always play to that.

But as the weeks and months pass, presuming the "base attacks" are maintained and the same terrorist groups are pursued elsewhere as they set up new central bases - and they will have to try - it will be instructive to watch the long-term results.

In theory, this strategy should work in practice, but in practice, of course, it's still a theory. Results will tell.