2005 July 12 Tuesday
Iraq And Colombia Conflicts Seen Fitting Mathematical Pattern

Mike Spagat, an economist at the University of London, and Neil Johnson, a physicist at the University of Oxford say the conflicts in Iraq and Colombia fllow a mathematical power law which matches that found for long term conflicts in non-Western nations.

In Iraq, the battle began as a conventional confrontation between large armies, says Spagat. But the presence of coalition forces "has fragmented the insurgency into a structure in which smaller attack units now predominate", he says. Since 2003, the 'casualties per attack event' for Iraq, measured over 30-day windows, have followed a gradually changing power law. The slope was initially equal to that found by Richardson for traditional warfare, but it is now approaching the value found for non-Western terrorism.

Spagat's team finds that the Colombia conflict, which has been fought between the government and various left- and right-wing guerrilla groups for many decades, is also approaching this value.

The researchers conclude that armies in Iraq and Colombia should be using different tactics. "If you believe that you need to fight like with like, a conventional army is the complete opposite of what you need. You have to do away with centralization," says Johnson. In many ways, he says, it is like fighting an illness that continually evolves, adapts and changes.

The researchers fear that such a pattern indicates the war can on on indefinitely. Johnson fears it might be part of a larger pattern of low grade world wide war.

The United States has been providing a lot of aid and not a few special forces and CIA guys to Colombia for years and so far the war just keeps on going on. Will the battle in Iraq continue indefinitely even if the US withdraws? If so it will continue to provide plenty of useful terrorist attack experience to British and European Muslim jihadists.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 July 12 03:04 PM  Mideast Iraq

Invisible Scientist said at July 12, 2005 3:46 PM:

"The researchers fear that such a pattern indicates the war can on on indefinitely. Johnson fears it might be part of a larger pattern of low grade world wide war."

Another way to look at the Iraq war is this: There is no reason for the conflict to end if it is handled the current way.

The demographics simply indicate that this situation can only get worse, not only in Iraq, but also in the whole world.

A slowly escalating world war in slow motion, the first global guerilla war in history.

FriendlyFire said at July 13, 2005 5:25 AM:

technical term is "low intensity warfare" or the new "third world war"
a constant and unending counter insugency as the new "normal"

This of course had been correctly predicted and waged since the cold war era. By proxy forces which now have been released from there superpower masters and instead fund there armed conflicts with drugs and crime.

Dave Schuler said at July 13, 2005 1:45 PM:

Using a disease metaphor, if you take too low a dose of antibiotics long enough, the pathogen develops resistance. The alternatives are few: increase the dose or change drugs.

Pico said at July 13, 2005 2:45 PM:

Aint a borderless world wonderful?

jtb-in-texas said at July 14, 2005 10:20 AM:

As long as there are hate-filled idiots willing to kill themselves and others, well have war. Lately we hear a lot about Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine. These people use "Islam" as an excuse. They hate women and children. The are willing to kill innocent people. They are not at all the kind of people one invites home to meet your parents.

Sixty-five or seventy years ago in Germany they used "Aryan Race" as a reason to kill "Jews", "Slavs", and "Other Undesirables". In the 1880s they used "Manifest Destiny to kill the buffalo and Native Americans. There's always a reason to kill people...

But the problem is not unequal distribution of resources, democracy or the lack, Bush/Cheney/Halliburton, Iran, Communism, or any of the vast conspiracy theories. The problem is sin. Period.

Yep, the problem is separation from God. The "fruits" of a life lived away from God are detailed in Galations 5:19-21. On the other hand is the kind of life we all want for those around us--the "fruits" of a Holy Spirit-filled life are detailed in Galations 5:22-23.

Read it for yourself here: http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=galations%205&version=31

I'm not trying to say I'm perfect or always in line with what God wants. I'm just trying to show you what's available.

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