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"Draining the Sea or Feeding the Fire?": The Use of Population Relocation in Counterinsurgency Operations
Unformatted Document Text:  DRAINING THE SEA, OR FEEDING THE FIRE men between 18 and 45! [116] In none of the aforementioned cases were the insurgents able to defeat counterinsurgent forces militarily. In fact, in the case of Rhodesia, the guerrillas have been characterized as “the worst this century” in terms of their military effectiveness and expertise. [117] Nevertheless, the rebels were able to create stalemates and raise the costs of continuing the fight to levels that made achieving or sustaining victory seem too costly. As Henry Kissinger once so aptly put it: “The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.” And Bender concurred when concluding, “in Algeria and Vietnam [and Angola, too], the insurgents successfully exploited the social and economic chaos (sic) which followed in the wake of the resettlement programs. While in [all three] cases the insurgents were unable to capitalize on this situation to the point of defeating the opposition militarily, they were able to establish an infrastructure (sic) which guaranteed that they would also not be defeated.” [118] Hence, the French withdrew from Algeria in 1962, the US from Vietnam in 1975, and the Portuguese from Mozambique in 1974. [119] Conditions for Total SuccessNevertheless, while relocation schemes frequent fail, they do not always do so. Sometimes, in fact, relocation schemes sometimes DO work. However, under what conditions? As the arguments made so far would suggest, I hypothesize that relocation schemes can achieve complete success under two conditions: one, where a rapid and decisive defeat can be imposed on the insurgents, thereby allowing the counterinsurgents to avoid the aforementioned pitfalls associated with the use of brutality [120] ; and two, in those heretofore rare cases where promised are fulfilled and the quality of life actually is improved for the displaced population—i.e., where a culture of cooperation and co-optation can be achieved—relocation schemes can indeed succeed. Consider, for instance, the standard archetype for all modern applications: the Malayan Emergency. The Fulfillment of Promises as a Catalyst to the Creation of Co-Optation The Malayan Emergency The Malayan Emergency began in 1948, and is best described as a military and political campaign fought by the British and the Malayan Federation government against the ethnic Chinese-led Malayan Communist Party (MCP), which led the guerillas and numbered only a few thousand. The British first drafted resettlement plans in 1949, but did not have tangible results until 1950, after the initiation of the Briggs’ Plan. [121] However, by the end of June 1952, the government had brought approximately 470,000 people under government control, of which file:///Users/kelly/Desktop/Greenhill-Counterinsurgency.htm (22 of 43)9/28/2004 6:23:24 AM

Authors: Greenhill, Kelly.
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DRAINING THE SEA, OR FEEDING THE FIRE

In none of the aforementioned cases were the insurgents able to defeat counterinsurgent forces
militarily. In fact, in the case of Rhodesia, the guerrillas have been characterized as “the worst
were able to create stalemates and raise the costs of continuing the fight to levels that made
achieving or sustaining victory seem too costly. As Henry Kissinger once so aptly put it: “The
guerrilla wins if he does not lose.” And Bender concurred when concluding, “in Algeria and
Vietnam [and Angola, too], the insurgents successfully exploited the social and economic chaos
(sic) which followed in the wake of the resettlement programs. While in [all three] cases the
insurgents were unable to capitalize on this situation to the point of defeating the opposition
militarily, they were able to establish an infrastructure (sic) which guaranteed that they would
also not be defeated.”
Hence, the French withdrew from Algeria in 1962, the US from

Conditions for Total Success
Nevertheless, while relocation schemes frequent fail, they do not always do so. Sometimes, in
fact, relocation schemes sometimes DO work. However, under what conditions? As the
arguments made so far would suggest, I hypothesize that relocation schemes can achieve
complete success under two conditions: one, where a rapid and decisive defeat can be imposed
on the insurgents, thereby allowing the counterinsurgents to avoid the aforementioned pitfalls
associated with the use of brutality
; and two, in those heretofore rare cases where promised
are fulfilled and the quality of life actually is improved for the displaced population—i.e., where
a culture of cooperation and co-optation can be achieved—relocation schemes can indeed
succeed.
Consider, for instance, the standard archetype for all modern applications: the Malayan
Emergency.

The Fulfillment of Promises as a Catalyst to the Creation of Co-Optation
The Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency began in 1948, and is best described as a military and political
campaign fought by the British and the Malayan Federation government against the ethnic
Chinese-led Malayan Communist Party (MCP), which led the guerillas and numbered only a few
thousand. The British first drafted resettlement plans in 1949, but did not have tangible results
government had brought approximately 470,000 people under government control, of which
file:///Users/kelly/Desktop/Greenhill-Counterinsurgency.htm (22 of 43)9/28/2004 6:23:24 AM


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