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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Operation Lash: a successful response to insurgency
Author:Tareke, GebruISNI
Periodical:Horn of Africa
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:civil wars
military operations
Abstract:Insurgents who use guerrilla warfare for their political struggles are not easily suppressible, mainly because of the support they receive from the population. However, there are many instances in contemporary history where incumbent regimes have defeated guerrillas by adapting and applying some of the latter's methods and tactics of popular mobilization and warfare. In 1980, the Ethiopian government adopted a two-edged operational plan called Lash. The dual aim of the plan was, first, to wipe out the rebels in the southeastern provinces, and second, to expel or annihilate the Somali troops occupying a big portion of the Ogaden region. Based on documents of Ethiopia's Ministry of National Defence, this paper shows how the Ethiopian government successfully defeated its armed opponents on the eastern periphery by relocating a significant segment of the rural population into protected villages, by enlisting their support through civic action, intensive indoctrination, and by organizing self-defence squads. It also weakened the rebels by organizing counter-guerrillas in the border areas. The WSLF (Western Somalia Liberation Front) was partly defeated by the contribution of the proxy Somali rebels and the evaporation of the support it received from the Somali State. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]