By James F. Miskel
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Additional resources for A Fevered Crescent: Security and Insecurity in the Greater Near East
14 The violence in the regions was also highlighted by the international media and by numerous nongovernmental organizations such as Christian Aid, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Human Rights Watch. The fighting has been fueled by more than the ethnic resentments of minority groups and provincial dissatisfaction with the ways in which the DRC central government attempts to rule and allocate government resources. Although there is no significant industry in eastern DRC, there are enough easily exploited raw material resources in the region to inspire local groups to fight each other.
With a population of 200,000, Ciudad del Este is not, strictly speaking, rural, nor is it without modern industries. The city hosts more than 50 banks, which testifies more to the volume of money laundering and the sheltering of illicit gains than to the value of the city’s legitimate commerce or the financial acumen of its citizens. Ciudad del Este is the hub of a rural area that is remote from the urban centers of Brazil and Argentina, and the border controls in the area for all three states have traditionally been lax.
Arthur Waldron of the University of Pennsylvania, for example, has described war in the ideal type as having three distinct phases: engagement, chaos, and chopping off heads ( jiaofeng, luan, zhan). The master of this “intellectual” approach to warfare, of course, is Sun Tzu, who employs jiaofeng, luan, and zhan through instantaneous, differential shockwave application. Yet when traditional (especially American) security forces speak of “cutting off and killing” an enemy, they mean “to chop heads” in the metaphorical sense; when the terrorist speaks of zhan or its linguistic equivalent in a different culture, he is being literal— indeed, Islamist terrorists in Iraq during 2004 have actually videotaped and proudly invited television stations to broadcast the taped decapitations.