Military





The United States Marine Corps In South Africa

The United States Marine Corps In South Africa? A Look To

The Future

 

CSC 1995

 

SUBJECT AREA - Foreign Policy

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Title: The United States Marine Corps in South Africa? A Look to

the Future

 

Author: Major Timothy J. Kolb, USMC

 

Thesis: The current racial controversy in the Republic of South

Africa may eventually produce sufficient chaos to threaten the future

of southern Africa. South Africa's racial discord may eventually

force the United States into specific military response channels to

ensure regional stability.

 

Background: The people of the Republic of South Africa elected

Nelson Mandela as their President in May 1994. Although the former

President, Frederick W. de Klerk, had rejected an official South

African apartheid policy, it was Mandela's immediate challenge to

institute a true sense of racial equality. However, South Africa's

third world problems of disease and overpopulation could combine with

a depressed economy to overwhelm the fledgling Mandela government.

At the center of South Africa's problems is the issue of racial

separation. The deep-seated racial inequities still exist within

South Africa. Frustrations among some black and white extremist

organizations, disenfranchised societal elements and the unemployed

masses have led to an alarming increase in South Africa's violent

crime rate. Additionally, weapons are readily available to most of

South Africa's population.

The Marine Corps' intelligence community has recognized the

potential for a Marine Corps foray into South Africa within the next

ten years. The challenges for the Marine Corps expeditionary

commander will multiply when considering not only the intrinsic

operational hazards of participating in a South African "small war",

but also the underlying theme of racism.

 

Recommendations: The Marine Corps must train for a potential South

Africa contingency operation, whether a Non-combatant Evacuation

Operation, a peacekeeping mission, or a peace enforcement operation.

The United States and United Nations senior political and

military leadership must commit a substantial coalition force to any

South Africa mission due to that country's size.

The United States must continue to collect valuable human and

cultural intelligence within South Africa. Close monitoring of the

South African domestic and racial situation is absolutely crucial to

the State Department.

A South Africa race war may challenge the values of the

individual servicemen and the United States military units may feel

damaging repercussions. The commander must be aware of these

enormous challenges.

Before entering the potentially hostile peace support operations

environment, an elementary understanding of the emotional divisions

caused by South African racism and an elementary appreciation of the

South African cultural terrain is essential.

 

MILITARY ISSUES PAPER

 

 

"National liberation gave a moral language to the disputes in

Africa.... Colonialism and minority rule stood on one side, the cause

of political and human rights on the other.....Legitimate grievance

and the right to bear arms are as easily invoked by the new freelance

warrior as they were by the national movements. They are desirable

assets in the deregulated markets of armed struggle, which thrive on

cheap weaponry from exhausted or disbanded Cold War armies. In the

right hands, the gun can embody all there is to know about

legitimacy, while grievance takes care of itself...."1

 

 

"Any Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi or Shangaan who had the misfortune to

live in Winterveldt....was now at the mercy of Tswana ethnic rule,

conferred by the Afrikaner bureaucracy in Pretoria. This malignant

strain of tribal devolution would haunt South Africa long after

apartheid was gone."2

 

 

 

The United States Marine Corps in South Africa?

 

A Look to the Future

 

 

 

Major Timothy J. Kolb

Command and Staff College

18 April 1995

 

_____________________

1 Small Wars, Small Mercies--Journeys in Africa's Disputed Nations, Jeremy

Harding (Penguin Group: London, 1993) p. xix.

2 Small Wars, Small Mercies, Harding, p. 184.

 

SITUATION

 

June 23, 1997 (0400 Charlie).....The flight leader "pushed" the

 

dozen Super Stallion transport helicopters from the designated overwater

 

rendezvous point with the escorting attack aircraft barely visible

 

through the leader's night vision devices. The onboard global

 

positioning satellite (GPS) system indicated a 345 degree steer--the

 

target landing zones some 27 nautical miles over the horizon. All

 

participants had meticulously planned and repeatedly rehearsed the

 

mission at sea; but the terrain enroute to the landing zones was

 

unfamiliar to all the aircrews. The pilots' geographic reference points

 

were merely a collection of satellite imagery that reinforced the key

 

terrain features and urban checkpoints depicted on the lone Ready Room

 

map.

 

"Critical mission....our national prestige is at stake....

 

emergency extraction....minimize the collateral damage," these words and

 

phrases raced through the flight leader's mind as he reflected on the

 

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Commander's

 

brief barely two hours prior.

 

The flight leader continued to muse: "Why here of all places ? I

 

have never even heard of Louis Botha Airport, Congella Pier, the Xhosa

 

tribe or the Isipingo township! Why are these people fighting one

 

another--is this really a race war? Why are we involved in a

 

Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) in this area of the world? I

 

thought all the apartheid problems ended with President Nelson Mandela's

 

election in 1994? Why are we flying into Durban, South Africa?".....

 

Why indeed?

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

"South Africa is not a peaceful place, to which violence may someday

come. Apartheid is intrinsically a violent system. Violence is built

into its inequality, its disrespect for black human beings."3

 

The above scenario is obvious fiction, but prior Marine Corps

 

presence on African soil is not--having previously run the gamut from

 

Tripoli and Liberia to Rwanda and Somalia.4 Pursuant to history,

 

the Marine Corps' mission and the proliferation of international

 

confrontation and regional strife, there is a potential for some

 

expeditionary mission near the world's littorals. Moreover, such a

 

mission is likely to be conducted on the African continent.

 

This study analyzes the Republic of South Africa (RSA)--an

 

unstable African country with 2881 kilometers5 of littorals whose

 

problems may eventually seduce the United States into believing that

 

some form of military intervention is necessary. (Note: South Africa

 

is within the top 25% of "Countries of Concern " identified by the

 

Marine Corps Mid-Range Threat Estimate.)6

 

I have selected South Africa as my trial case, since I believe

 

my focus on a probable United States intercession, to extend American

 

political aims, may educate readers on the inherent perils associated

 

with military operations in South Africa.

 

_____________________

3South Africa: Apartheid and Devestiture, ed. Steven Anzovin (H. W. Wilson: New

York 1987) p. 127. Extracted from an interview with Reverend Allan Boesak the

President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches at the University of Western Cape, Republic of South Africa.

4Threats in Transition, (Marine Corps Intelligence Activity [MCIA]: Quantico,

November 1994) p.37.

5 World Atlas, "South Africa" (Electromap: Novato CA 1990)

6 Threats in Transition, MCIA, p. 39. Countries of Concern refers to those

countries where Marine Corps commitment is most likely due to the combination of

potential instability and military capability.

 

There have been many reams of paper and countless computer bytes

 

dedicated to the discussion of peace keeping7 and peace enforcement8.

 

Today, however, I will peripherally explore considerations that might

 

require potential United States involvement in any future South

 

African peace keeping or peace enforcement missions.9

 

Racial inequality envelops South Africa's very soul; therefore,

 

throughout my treatise, I shall showcase South Africa's deep-seated

 

racial problems. Additionally, I shall indicate how the underlying

 

theme of racism exposes some of the intrinsic strategic and

 

operational hazards of United States participation in any form of

 

"small war"10 in South Africa.

 

I believe that South Africa's racial controversy influences

 

every major aspect of her society and that South Africa's racial

 

discord may eventually force the United States into specific response

 

channels. The United States cannot ignore the overriding South

 

African racial controversy and the race issue is, therefore, a key

 

component throughout my seven part analysis.

 

_____________________

7 Joint Publication 3-07.3 ,Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for

Peacekeeping Operations (USA AG Publication Center: Baltimore, April 1994) p.A1.

Peacekeeping (Definition is based on the Presidential Decision Directive on

Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations):

"The deployment of neutral military and/or civilian personnel with the

consent of the state or states involved and, more recently, of all significant

parties to the dispute in order to assist in preserving or maintaining the peace. These are traditionally non-combat operations (except for the purpose of self-defense) and are normally undertaken to monitor and facilitate implementation of an existing truce agreement and in support of diplomatic efforts to achieve a lasting political settlement of the dispute".

8 Defense 93 Issue 6, "Peacekeeping: Why, When, How--How Long?" by Frank G.

Wisner, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (Department of Defense, USGPO:

Washington DC, December 1993) p. 24.

"Peace Inforcement is armed intervention, involving all necessary measures

to compel compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions and

conducted under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter".

9 I believe that the most probable United States mission in South Africa will be

in conjunction with United Nations operations under Chapters VI or VII of the

United Nations Charter.

10 Small war is the former term for "Operations other than War".

 

ANALYSIS OVERVIEW

 

"Never before in our history has South Africa been threatened by

crime as it is now."11

 

Initially, I shall profile the ominous problems that effect most

 

of Sub-Saharan Africa 12 concentrating specifically on South Africa.

 

A short discourse on the current South African political and social

 

situation will then precede the third portion of this analysis--a

 

discussion of practical United States' strategic aims in the Republic

 

of South Africa.

 

After the reader receives an elementary disquisition of South

 

Africa's challenges, I shall progress into the operational realm with

 

an expeditionary environment threat estimate review. During the

 

fifth phase, I shall analyze the domestic security roles of the South

 

African National Defense Force (SANDF) and some of the splinter

 

paramilitary groups (Self-Defense Units and Afrikaner Resistance

 

Movement)13. All are competent forces that are capable of

 

maintaining, or disrupting, domestic peace.

 

Following these discussions, I will outline a possible scenario,

 

occurring in Durban, South Africa, that will require United States

 

military involvement on a relatively small scale. Ultimately, I

 

shall conclude with recommendations on how to successfully "fight"

 

the Marine Corps as an element of a joint or combined task force in

 

South Africa.

 

_____________________

11 Quote from Lieutenant General Sharma Maharaj, police chief in Gauteng province (near Johannesburg). The Washington Times, April 6, 1995 p. A15.

12 Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Philip R. Cook (Bureau of Public

Affairs: Washington, DC 1986) p. 1. Sub-Saharan Africa refers to all African

countries with the exception of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and

Western Sahara.

13 The African National Congress sponsored Self-Defense Units and the right wing

Afrikaner Resistance Movement organization are forces that are potentially

disruptive elements from the pre-1994 election period.

 

AFRICA'S CHALLENGES

 

"I believe what I am told.... that every African country is in chaos,

every African statesman is venal or incompetent, every cubic centimetre

of African blood, whether stored, shed or still in circulation, is

seropositive, and that the staple diet of 640 million Africans is dust."14

(British Journalist--1992)

 

In order to comprehend the problems of Africa one must first

 

understand the African peoples. A United States State Department

 

study conducted in 1986 illustrated that: "The complexity of African

 

society is graphically demonstrated by the number of (its) languages.

 

Of more than 800 languages, fewer than 10 are spoken by more than 1

 

million people. Most languages are native to groups of less than

 

100,000 people."15 As diverse as the African languages, so are the

 

historical, social, economic and cultural backgrounds of the African

 

people.

 

Exacerbating Africa's geo-political situation is the fact that

 

42 African nations have gained their independence from former

 

colonial governors, or as in the recent case with Namibia, from

 

another African nation-state [South Africa], within the past 40

 

years.16 Doctor Stephen P. Riley, an adjunct professor at the

 

University of Durban-Westville, Republic of South Africa, contends:

 

"Accompanying independence is the often observed strife brought

 

about, in part, by the pattern of established colonial borders with

 

little consideration to ethnic concerns".17

 

Even in South Africa, which gained its independence from the

 

United Kingdom in 1910, there is a real capacity for ethnic unrest.

 

For instance, the borders of South Africa contain almost 44 million

_____________________

14 Small Wars, Small Mercies, Harding, p. xi.

15 Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Cook, p. 8.

16 Conflict Studies 268, "War and Famine in Africa", Stephen P. Riley, (Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism: London, Feb. 94) p. 3.

 

people, living within nine provinces, and speaking eleven official

 

languages.18 As a comparison, Kenya, another former United Kingdom

 

colony, has a population of over 28 million people consisting of

 

seven major ethnic divisions.19

 

Although South Africa is fundamentally a democratic republic,

 

the potential for conflict due to domestic unrest among its composite

 

populations persists. The influence of typical Third World woes

 

among a disenfranchised and oppressed population, as I shall explain

 

below, may stress even the strongest government.

 

Artificial borders are enclosing many different African ethnic

 

groups with varying political views and goals. Additionally, a review

 

of African history indicates many incidents of nationalistic or

 

tribal unrest against governments run by minority ethnic groups.20

 

Are peoples and borders the only reasons for potential unrest in

 

South Africa? A look at recent African history indicates that there

 

are many more causes for conflict.

 

Historically, new African governments institute expedient

 

taxation policies that protect the more affluent urban populations

 

and place African farmers and herders at a distinct disadvantage. 21

 

According to Doctor Stephen P. Riley, an acknowledged expert on

 

African debts and international aid programs, inefficient, or

 

 

_____________________

17 Conflict Studies 268, Riley, p. 4.

18 The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency (Office of Public and Agency

Information: Washington, D. C. 1994) pp. 364.

19 Ibid, p.212. Kenya, the former British East Africa, gained its independence in December 1963.

20 Angola's war for independence against Portugal, the Mau Mau (Kikuyu tribesmen)

insurrection in Kenya, and the war in the former Belgian Congo (Zaire) are all

historical examples.

21 Strategic Challenge During Changing Times, Tilford, pp. 28-29.

 

deliberately denied, food distribution among the disadvantaged causes

 

famine more often than does natural factors.22

 

Likewise, widespread disease (e. g., Human Immune-Deficiency

 

Virus [HIV], tuberculosis, malaria), depressed economies, high

 

population growths, environmental concerns, famine, rampant violent

 

crime and a staggering refugee influx are all contemporary examples

 

of African problems.23 Combine these factors with the relatively

 

new birth of a South African nation that is experiencing multi-

 

ethnic, democratic, home rule for the first time and the challenge to

 

government is staggering indeed.

 

Is it a small wonder that United Nations forces are currently

 

supporting, or have recently supported, missions of peace keeping in

 

Somalia, Rwanda, Mozambique, Liberia, Zaire and Angola?24

 

SOUTH AFRICA: CURRENT SITUATION

 

"The 1990's are going to be the most fraught decade in South

Africa's history; if the white minority which has held political power

for so long can actually cross the Rubicon of real change to share power

with the black majority without a major descent into chaos and bloodshed,

it will be a political miracle."25

 

Although South Africa no longer recognized apartheid as official

 

state policy, she took what appeared to be a major step towards truly

 

eradicating an apartheid attitude with the election of Nelson Mandela

 

as the new Executive President (head of state) on May 10, 1994.

 

Mandela's representative "Government of National Unity", in

 

conjunction with Deputy Executive President Frederick W. De Klerk's

 

_____________________

22 Conflict Studies 268, Riley, p. 8. (Doctor Riley is a Reader in Politics at

Staffordshire University and has anaylzed economic situations in Angola, Liberia, Somalia and Burundi.)

23 Strategic Challenge During Changing Times, ed. Dr. Earl H. Tilford (Strategic Studies Institute: Carlisle 1994) pp. 29-30.

24 Strategic Challenge During Changing Times, Tilford, pp. 28-29.

25 South Africa--Crossing the Rubicon, Guy Arnold, (St. Martin's Press: New York, 1992) p. vii.

 

and Deputy Executive President Thabo Mbeki's opposition parties,

 

produced an interim Constitution. In the opinion of Professor

 

William F. Gutteridge, Director of the Research Institute for the

 

Study of Conflict and Terrorism, the South African Constitution

 

"reflects and reconciles as far as possible the aspirations and

 

claims of particular groups to forms of separate identity or autonomy

 

within a single state."26

 

The new government has essentially a five year "contract" in

 

which to improve the living condition of the black majorities. Yet

 

it is in striving for the underprivileged's economic reform where

 

Mandela may face his most enormous challenge to domestic stability.

 

Recent civil unrest is an indicator that the "socio-economic

 

expectations of the mass of the population" is not being satisfied.27

 

Mandela's problem does not end with the underprivileged--Guy

 

Arnold, a noted South Africanist journalist, observes that "the

 

Afrikaner problem has always been one of racial exclusiveness".28

 

Add racial hatred or mistrust into a South African society struggling

 

with "the poverty patterns of the Third World (including severe

 

unemployment and lack of job skills)" and the recipe for failure is

 

readily apparent.29

 

Yet the most feared scourge that may tear out the very soul of

 

South Africa is the vile political tool used most recently in Bosnia

 

 

_____________________

26 Conflict Studies 271, "The Military in South African Politics--Champions of

National Unity", William Gutteridge, (Research Institute for the Study of

Conflict and Terrorism: London, June 94) p. 2.

27 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 2.

28 South Africa--Crossing the Rubicon, Arnold, p. 82. Arnold opines that the

Afrikaner bases " all their political responses to the complex issues of a

multiracial society upon the assumption that their survival depends on total

Afrikaner control".

29 The World Factbook, CIA, p. 364.

 

and Rwanda--"ethnic cleansing".30 In a South African internal

 

security study, Professor Gutteridge concludes that: "(A)cross (South

 

Africa) there are large pockets of population covering extensive

 

areas of land where there is a bewildering cultural and ethnic mix

 

which could engender bouts of ethnic cleansing."31

 

With the potential for the failure of Nelson Mandela's

 

government so high, what can, or should, the United States and the

 

other Western powers do to assist South Africa in growing during its

 

early years as an infant nation? Will American, British and

 

Australian aid packages be sufficient sums to bolster the South

 

African economy?32

 

An analysis of the South African problem without at least a

 

rudimentary understanding of the South African peoples would be

 

fruitless. There are definitely the Third World factors of disease,

 

economic depression, overpopulation, etc., that must be considered

 

separately from the elements of peoples and borders. Yet, the South

 

Africa of 1995 is no longer a nation run by a party representing less

 

than one-seventh of the population.

 

A former southern Africa Reuters correspondent and current New

 

York Times bureau chief, Guy Arnold, observes of South Africa:

 

"....it is a nation beset by ideals as far apart as the implacable

 

hatred of Shaka Zulu, the desire to keep the [Afrikaner] blood pure

 

_____________________

30 Parameters--US Army War College Quarterly vol. XXV, No.1, "Ethnic Conflict:

The Perils of Military Intervention", William A. Stofft and Gary L. Guertner (US

Army War College: Carlisle Spring 1995) p. 34. According to the authors:"... .the Bosnian Serbs have engaged in 'ethnic cleansing', a benign term when describing expulsion from one's homeland. When they (Bosnian Serbs) use it to describe genocide they demonstrate the banality of evil."

31 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 25.

32 The World Factbook, CIA, p. 364. The aid packages are: United States, $600

million over three years; United Kingdom, $150 million over three years;

Australia, $21 million over three years.

 

and to stay apart [whites and blacks], and an expressed desire for a

 

truly United South Africa."33

 

I believe that world leaders need to view the "new" South Africa

 

differently--that the Republic of South Africa must solve her

 

internal domestic problems before she will again realize her

 

potential as a stabilizing influence in southern Africa. Chief among

 

these problems are racism,34 the accompanying inequities in the

 

distribution of wealth and land, an appalling violent crime rate,

 

constrictive capital flow, and economic stagnation.

 

UNITED STATES-REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA STRATEGY

 

"We accept the necessity of the stage-by-stage movement to the main

aim, creation of a nonracial democratic society, and concede that

negotiations between the government and the genuine representatives of

the black majority will be a necessary and inevitable link in this

process."35

Boris Asoyan, Soviet Ambassador to Lesotho, 1988

 

Despite the anti-apartheid rhetoric historically espoused by

 

most Western nations, the free world has viewed the white South

 

African government as the crucial stabilizing influence in the

 

African continent's struggle against Communist aggression.36

 

Notwithstanding the absence of the former Soviet Union as an

 

influential factor in southern Africa, South Africa continues as an

 

important puzzle piece in United States' world strategy.

 

 

_____________________

33 Killing the Wizards, Cowell, pp. 265-6.

34 I believe that Andrew Hacker's Two Nations--Black and White, Separate

Hostile, Unequal, is an excellent source on racism. Hacker states that racism

can be expressed institutionally (traditionally "white" organizations), without

exception (Nazi ideology), based on racial "traits" or even genetically or

environmentally ("primitive peoples'). Hacker illustrates some interesting

parallels between American society and the South African apartheid system.

Reading Hacker's book would, perhaps, give the reader a greater appreciation of

just how difficult the South African government's challenges are, and is highly

recommended as a supplemental reading.

35 Soviet Strategy in Southern Africa, Vanneman, p. 18.

36 Soviet Strategy in Southern Africa--Gorbachev's Pragmatic Approach, Peter

Vanneman, (Hoover Institution Press: Stanford 1990) pp. ix-x.

 

A 1994 United States Army War College Strategic Studies

 

Institute study assessed that "South Africa's strategic minerals

 

production, its control of the Cape route around which flows some 40

 

percent of United States petroleum imports, its nuclear capability,

 

and the importance of the South African economy to the future

 

economic and political stability of the entire region" make South

 

Africa a definite country of interest.37

 

How high is American interest is South Africa? President

 

Clinton's Engagement and Enlargement policy38 (specifically

 

safeguarding international human rights and assisting duly elected

 

democratic governments), the United States' current intervention in

 

Haitian domestic affairs, a powerful African-American lobby within

 

the United States Congress and the United States' past vociferous

 

condemnation of the South African apartheid policy all would point to

 

extremely high United States concern for regional stability in the

area.39

 

As South Africa is still the strongest power in the region, and

 

arguably on the African continent, the United States State Department

 

has asessed that her "cooperation with other southern African nations

 

is essential for progress on any issue."40 So how should the

 

Clinton Administration deal with trouble in South Africa?

 

_____________________

37 World View: The 1994 Strategic Assessment from the Strategic Studies

Institute, ed. Steven K. Metz and Earl H. Tilford, Jr., (Strategic Studies

Institute: Carlisle April 94) p. 25. [Extracted from Kent H. Butts' regional

assessment of Africa.]

38 A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, The White House

(USGPO: Washington DC July 1994) p. 19.

39 Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Bureau of Public Affairs, p. 25.

Former President Bush: "Apartheid is wrong. It is legally entrenched racism--

inimical to the fundamental ideals of the United States."

40 Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Bureau of Public Affairs, p. 25.

 

Prior to President Reagan, the United States had treated South

 

Africa with "kid gloves"--harmless rhetoric and threatened sanctions.

 

Although an avowed conservative, President Reagan (and eventually

 

Corporate America) quickly bowed to the pressures of the "Black

 

Caucus" and instituted harsh measures against South Africa in an

 

effort to crush South African apartheid policies.41

 

Formerly, banning South African athletes from competition in

 

most international sporting events was a "righteous" move that warmed

 

liberals' hearts. However, since 1982, when the United States used

 

her powerful influence, South African regimes have felt the sting of

 

American sanctions and business disinvestments.42

 

Although the United States has slowly lifted South African trade

 

sanctions, I believe that the American government's economic and

 

diplomatic intimidation is still a real possibility for Nelson

 

Mandela's neophyte government. However, as long as political power

 

in South Africa, the African National Congress, the National Party

 

and the Inkatha Freedom Party,43 cooperate with Mandela's reform and

 

economic growth agendas, I postulate that United States and European

 

aid will continue unabated.

 

Although South African domestic strife may be present in some

 

form, an indication of progress will serve to stir foreign business

 

interests.44 Since investments by foreign corporations within South

 

Africa are critical to stimulate a faltering South African economy,

 

it is beneficial to both the United States and South Africa to

 

maintain peace and stability within the region.

_____________________

41 Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, Bureau of Public Affairs, p. 27.

42 South Africa--Crossing the Rubicon, pp. 130-135.

43 The World Factbook 1994, p. 364. The ANC, NP and IFP are the three majority

parties within the South African legislature.

 

In summary, a stable South Africa is the cornerstone of United

 

States strategic goals in southern Africa. It is absolutely crucial

 

to United States strategic goals that our State department officials

 

closely monitor South Africa as a potential hotbed.

 

THE SOUTH AFRICAN EXPEDITIONARY ENVIRONMENT THREAT ESTIMATE

REVIEW

 

"White society has over the years developed a similar attitude to

guns as that of the United States, while the ending of the border wars

and the relaxation of apartheid has sucked into the black townships from

Angola and Mozambique an endless supply of AK-47's many of them

originally illicitly supplied by South Africa to rebel movements in those

countries."45

 

In order to accurately realize the enormous challenges facing a

 

potential expeditionary mission in South Africa, the strategic and

 

operational military planners must consider many factors. Moreover,

 

South Africa's racial problems are so overwhelming that any United

 

Nations intervention would be a peace enforcement mission. I shall,

 

therefore, now consider a strictly military analysis of a possible

 

United Nations peace enforcement incursion into South Africa.

 

The Marine Corps Intelligence Agency analyzed South Africa's

 

environment and defense posture to produce a profile that

 

fundamentally describes difficulty factors in terms of operational

 

friction.46 South Africa is considered a low "threat" in the areas

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________

44 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 24.

45 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 27.

46 Threats in Transition, MCIA, p. 41.

"This estimate analyzes 'friction'--the level and type of difficulties

likely to be encountered by a MAGTF in the Marine Corps expeditionary

environment. In the physical sciences, 'friction' is proportional. Just as any

object moving through air experiences air resistance proportional to its size,

shape, and speed, any Marine unit can expect 'operational friction' proportional

to the characteristics of the operational environment, the size and configuration

of the MAGTF, and the speed at which a Mar Corps response is desired."

The factors considered are: naval force posture, assault hydrography, anti-

landing defense posture, basic topography, operational infrastructure, climate,

ground force posture, air combat posture, air defense posture, NBC warfare

posture and information shortfall.

 

of naval force posture (territorial water patrol), anti-landing

 

defense posture (no surveillance, local defense garrisons only), and

 

has a strong, modern, operational infrastructure to support even a

 

large-scale MAGTF Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) deployment.

 

Conversely, South African operations will produce a high level

 

of operational hindrance when considering the ground force posture

 

(experienced combined arms forces), information and intelligence

 

shortfalls, and the NBC warfare posture (possible NBC capability).

 

The arena of medium operational friction within South Africa

 

consists of assault hydrography (numerous landing sites, few landing

 

beaches, fair beach exits), basic topography (significant "slow-go"

 

terrain), climate (temperate with seasonal extremes), air combat

 

posture (limited all weather capability; optimized for counter

 

insurgency), and air defense posture (limited integration of air

 

defense).47

 

Although the likely scenario requiring a United Nations or

 

United States military intervention in South Africa would not be a

 

medium or high level conflict, I believe that operations would be of

 

sufficient size and duration to warrant consideration of the

 

operational friction factors.

 

SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENSE FORCES AND SPLINTER

PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS

 

"The South African Self-Defence Units have become a law unto

themselves, alienating and extorting the population in the very townships

which they were designed to protect."48

___________________________________________________________________________

To better understand low, medium and high, the following comparison is

offered: the former Yugoslavia is considered medium in ground force posture,

while South Africa is high; South Africa is considered medium in air combat along

with Libya and Iraq, while Syria and Israel are considered high.

47 Threats in Transition--Marine Corps Mid-Range Threat Estimate, MCIA, Appendix

B--"Operational Friction Factors Defined".

48 Jane's International Intelligence Review, Volume 6, Number 11, "South Africa's

Self Defence Units", Shaun McCarthy (November 1994) p. 520.

 

The South African National Defence Force is essentially a

 

consolidated military force that has absorbed different elements of

 

the South African population to create a representative citizen

 

army.49 In essence, the addition of new ethnic "blood" to the SANDF

 

has transformed the Force, though the change is more evident in the

 

South African Army than its Air and Naval Forces. The more

 

representative appearance of the SANDF has not caused substantial

 

internal security problems, but has fundamentally diluted the

 

experience level.50

 

The current challenge for the SANDF is maintaining internal

 

security by controlling domestic violence. I assess that the African

 

National Congress realized that the new citizen army was both

 

politically, but more important, militarily crucial to establishing

 

Nelson Mandela's government and interim constitution. "It was the

 

combination of the high level of criminal violence and the signs that

 

political violence could continue indefinitely which convinced the

 

ANC of the need to be ready in case a massive security clamp down was

 

required within a relatively short time of achieving power."51

 

One of the elements threatening the South African government's

 

desire for domestic tranquillity is an instrument assembled by the

 

_____________________

49 The World in Conflict--Jane's Intelligence Review 1994/1995 Yearbook, "New

South African Defence Force Takes Shape", Helmoed-Romer Heitman (Jane's: London

1995) p. 90. The planned South African Army structure is: (1) A full-time

Contingency Force consisting of three brigades (mechanized, parachute and special operations); (2) A part-time Citizen Main Mobile Force consisting of three mechanized divisions (one fully manned/equipped and two as cadres); and (3) A Rear Area Protection Force (mainly infantry battalions operating under the

control of nine regional commanders). The Rear Area Protection Force has "the

responsibility for border control operations and for operations in support of

police". Until 1997, the standing force will fluctuate in size from 91,000 (1997 budgetary goal) to 131,000 (as "non-statutory" homelands forces are integrated into the regular South African Army).

50 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 14 and "New South African Defence Force

Takes Shape", Heitman p. 91.

 

ANC in their original struggle against an oppressive South African

 

government--the Self-Defense Units (SDU). "The SDU's were created as

 

an integral part of the strategy to arm the masses and to render the

 

black townships ungovernable....by fermenting and expanding the

 

'peoples' war' against apartheid."52

 

President Mandela's administration may indeed face an SDU that

 

has fragmented into self-serving units, each with its own charter

 

within its own township. The very youthful membership of the SDU's

 

provides Mandela with a quandary--how to placate & dissatisfied,

 

disenfranchised, ideological group of youthful freedom fighters?

 

Not only do the black paramilitary elements have the potential

 

to disrupt domestic security, but there is also another force that

 

possesses the capability to resist change under the banner of racial

 

hatred--the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB).53 Shaun McCarthy, an

 

associate researcher at the South African Institute for Defence

 

Policy, has postulated: "Guerrilla warfare is the traditional

 

expertise of the Afrikaner, and it is guerrilla war based on a

 

strategy of terrorism that will prevail should the AWB rise up

 

against the new political order."54

 

A crucial problem for the South African government is control of

 

these black and white extremist paramilitary organizations. If

 

racial tensions within South Africa intensify, the RSA government

 

cannot overlook the potential that the radical AWB, SDU or SPU

 

organizations might provoke a brutal, undiscriminating race war.

_____________________________________________________________________________

51 Conflict Studies 271, Gutteridge, p. 28.

52 "South Africa's Self-Defence Units", McCarthy, p. 520. Additionally, the

Self Protection Units (SPU) of the Inkatha party add to the potential township

unrest in Natal with clashes against ANC's SDU's.

53 Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 6, No. 5, "Compromise or War--The Afrikaner

Resistance Movement", Shaun McCarthy (Jane's: London May 1994) p. 233

 

Although the SANDF is a formidable, representative military

 

force, growing racial unrest may stress this fledling army's ability

 

to maintain national unity. Nelson Mandela's new government may

 

become the new target for blacks and whites, alike, as the

 

frustrations caused by the faltering economy and the continuing

 

racial inequities find a temporary satisfaction in the power of the

 

rifle to extract wealth and prestige within the townships.

 

SCENARIO: DURBAN--RACIAL UNREST

 

"The 'small wars' in Africa are not so trifling. They have brought

ruin and hunger to millions of civilians, in refugee camps and feeding

centres across the continent."55

 

 

June 22, 1997....The American Consulate at 333 Smith Street,56

 

Durban, South Africa, had ceased routine operations. Within the last

 

three days all of the nonessential consular employees had departed

 

Louis Botha Airport57 along with many other American citizens.

 

The estimated count of American, British, Australian and Indian

 

citizens still requiring transportation out of Durban, South Africa

 

was 2386. However, Louis Botha Airport and the Congella port

 

facilities were now closed to international and domestic commercial

 

travel.

 

The Republic of South Africa was in a state of emergency--in

 

essence, fighting with the Republiek van Suid Afrika 58for her very

 

existence.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

54 Ibid, p. 233.

55 Small Wars, Small Mercies--Journeys in Africa's Disputed Nations, Jeremy

Harding, p. xiv.

56 South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland--A Travel Survival Kit, Richard Everist and

John Murray (Lonely Planet Publications: Hawthorn, Australia 1993) p. 235.

57 Ibid, p. 247. Louis Botha Airport is an international airport that serves the Natal province. The airport is located 15 kilometers south of Durban along the Southern Freeway.

58 Republiek van Suid Afrika is the Afrikans term for South Africa. My intent is not to infer that all white South Africans are eager for a return to the pre-

 

The sudden death of Nelson Mandela on May 31, 1997, had shocked

 

a nation that had been struggling with release from her apartheid

 

shackles for the past seven years. Mandela's charisma had held his

 

country together despite the worsening racial clashes, the rising

 

wave of violent crime and the constant tribal and political

 

bickering.

 

With the death of Nelson Mandela came instant turmoil within the

 

government and renewed political posturing by the African National

 

Congress, the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party.59

 

Unfortunately, the nature of the parties' rhetoric contained severe

 

ethnic undertones and led to increasing racial disturbances.

 

The SANDF response to the renewed domestic violence was

 

commendable, but insufficient to the scope of the conflict. South

 

Africa was experiencing the initial phase of a cancerous race war.

 

The American response to the racial violence was diplomatic

 

condemnation, an entreaty to the United Nations for an expeditious

 

peace enforcement mission, and a demand to all American citizens,

 

either visiting or working in South Africa, to immediately leave the

 

country.

 

By June 22, 1997, the situation had deteriorated--Johannesburg

 

and Durban were essentially closed to the outside world due to AWB

 

and ANC terror campaigns that had escalated to a level of

 

indiscrimate violence and murder. Communication and transportation

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

Mandela form of RSA government. Rather, in a racial conflict, it is easy to

divide causes using simplistic terms. The white face may invoke ascertain

response in a predominantly black environment, and vice versa, despite the

individual's personal beliefs. A difficult predicament for even the most

experienced diplomat.

59 Africa 1994, Pierre Dostert (Stryker-Post Publications: Harpers Ferry, WV

August 1994) p. 141. The RSA National Assembly consists of 400 members. The ANC

 

systems were targeted for destruction or control by the warring

 

factions.

 

The United States military reply consisted of a series of

 

Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) combined with a forward

 

naval presence in the Cape of Good Hope region. The NEO's were

 

planned for Capetown, Johannesburg, and Durban.

 

Durban, a port and resort city located on South Africa's

 

northeastern coast, has a population of over one million--the vast

 

majority of its population either black or of Indian descent. The

 

surrounding terrain is relatively flat and the coastal topography

 

north and south of Natal Bay appears conducive to small scale

 

amphibious operations.

 

Time permitting, a combined task force would be the force of

 

choice for a Durban NEO. Human intelligence is a critical element of

 

any expeditionary mission and a properly organized task force would

 

require planners/operators who were familiar with the local populace

 

and the terrain.

 

This Durban NEO would require multiple landing sites or zones

 

due to the number of noncombatants requiring extraction and the

 

inherent "slow go" nature of the Durban urban terrain. The port

 

presents the NEO planners with a quandary--although ideal for

 

materiel onload/offload, the port is sheltered and has a restrictive

 

entry and exit point.

 

Likewise, seizure of Louis Botha Airport would provide an

 

excellent aerial port of embarkation, but access to the airport for

 

__________________________________________________________________________

has 252 members (62.6%); the NP has 82 members (20.4); and, the IFP has 43

members (10.5%).

 

noncombatants would probably be limited due to its distance from the

 

city.

 

Durban would not be an easy scenario for a MEU (SOC) NEO

 

planner. Expeditionary missions requiring traditional port and

 

airfield seizures would likely be extremely risky courses of action,

 

but might be desirable due to the large number of noncombatants.

 

I looked at alternate landing zones and sites, to include the

 

Royal Durban Golf Course, Battery and Dunes Beaches, in order to war

 

game a more feasible course of action. The terrain appears to offer

 

both accessibility and friendly freedom of action, but is less

 

favorable as a large scale noncombatant extraction site.

 

Yet, as I shall articulate below, the issue of race may be the

 

commander's greatest challenge in Durban, or anywhere in the Republic

 

of South Africa.

 

HOW TO FIGHT

 

"....Retaliation (against....the lunatic-fringe, Nazi-styled....

Afrikaner Resistance Movement) by the predominantly militant members of

the African National Congress' Youth League under radicals like Peter

Mokhaba and Winnie Mandela, as well as black consciousness movements like

the Azanian National Liberation Army could add to the explosive

situation, resulting in uncontrolled black-on-white violence.... The

eventual outcome could possibly see South Africa degenerating into a

country with a series of ethnic and racial enclaves similar to Bosnia

with familiar consequences."60

 

The Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) [MEU

 

(SOC)], are the United States' most often deployed forward forcible-

 

entry units.61 Consequently, due to the expeditionary nature of both

 

the MEU (SOC) and Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF), the Marine

_____________________

60 Jane's International Intelligence Review, Volume 6, Number 5, "Compromise or

War--The Afrikaner Resistance Movement", Shaun McCarthy (Jane's May 1994) p. 233.

61 Report of the Secretary of Defense to the President and the Congress,

(Department of Defense, USGPO: Washington DC, February 1995) p. 169.

 

Corps' ability to train for a potential South Africa contingency

 

operation is crucial.

 

Furthermore, the Marine Corps' expeditionary capability provides

 

security for the possible introduction of follow-on elements of a

 

Combined or Joint Task Force. Marine expeditionary forces, as an

 

element, or the core, of a South Africa joint task force, must,

 

therefore, adequately train and equip themselves to successfully plan

 

and execute the assigned mission.

 

A forcible-entry into South Africa's littoral would be a

 

moderate challenge due to the factors indicated in the previous

 

expeditionary environment threat estimate. There are numerous,

 

adequate South African ports and airfields that would facilitate the

 

introduction of a United Nations or United States-led combined task

 

force.

 

Nonetheless, the size and nature of the South African terrain

 

combined with the implications of a race war and the wiles of a

 

formidable, hazily defined opponent, would provide the peace keeper

 

or peace enforcer with many severe hazards. As was illustrated in

 

the Durban NEO outline, the terrain alone demands a sizable Task

 

Force--probably of brigade size.62

 

United States international policy combined with domestic

 

political pressures may preclude the introduction of a large Joint

 

Task Force. Despite the effects of American domestic pressures, to

 

successfully extract a large number of American and other foreign

 

nationals from a country as vast as South Africa, or to properly

_____________________

62 Although the Marine Corps has abandoned the expeditionary brigade concept, the MEF (Forward) unit required to aptly support the Durban NEO with follow-on

security missions (peace enforcement) is assessed at the Regimental Landing Team

 

conduct South African peace keeping/enforcement missions, would

 

require a substantial military force.

 

Accepting that my analysis of the South African military and

 

paramilitary forces is accurate, a potentially burdensome task faces

 

the Joint Force, Combined Force, and MAGTF commanders. Not only may

 

our Marines and soldiers be required to patrol the urban landscape

 

under the auspices of peace keeping, humanitarian missions, but they

 

may also be facing a deadly enemy--the competent, urban warriors who

 

have perfected their guerrilla skill on the killing grounds of

 

Angola and Mozambique and within the townships of South Africa.63

 

Likewise, if the Task Force must operate in urban terrain under

 

restrictive Rules of Engagement (ROE), the risks of the mission

 

increase substantially, whether operating in the larger cities or the

 

overpopulated townships.

 

As previously stated, there is a tremendous information and

 

intelligence shortfall concerning the Republic of South Africa. Our

 

potential adversaries, the warriors in southern Africa, are masters

 

at psychological and urban warfare.64 Although the Marine Corps enjoys

 

robust human intelligence (HUMINT) assets relative to its size, the

 

challenges of collecting intelligence in South Africa's urban regions

 

may severely task Marine Corps assets. With a paucity of useful

 

information regarding South Africa and her peoples, the situational

 

human and cultural intelligence is absolutely critical.

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

size. The approximate size of the Regimental Landing Team with aviation and

combat service support elements is 16, 500 and is accurate for planning puposes.

63 Angola--Arms Trade and Violations of the Laws of War Since the 1992 Elections, Human Rights Watch/Africa (Human Rights Watch: New York November 1994) p. 9.

64 Small Wars, Small Mercies--Journeys in Africa's Disputed Nations, Harding, p.

199.

 

The task organization of the Marine Corps or other United States

 

Armed Forces to perform peace keeping or peace enforcement missions

 

is not the key challenge in South African operations. Whether the

 

Marine Corps fights as a MEU (SOC) or MEF (Forward) will be

 

determined by the mission, enemy, terrain, troops and fire support

 

available, time, space and logistics--that is not our challenge in

 

South Africa.

 

Before entering the potentially hostile peace keeping or peace

 

enforcement environment, an elementary understanding of the emotional

 

divisons caused by South African racism and an appreciation of the

 

South African cultural terrain is quintessential to mission success.

 

The establishment of apartheid as South Africa state policy in

 

1948 used race as a defining tool; homelands were established to keep

 

the South African blacks within their own areas.65 Racism runs

 

rampant through South Africa and any United States or United Nations

 

force would be hard pressed not to take sides in a peace keeping or

 

peace enforcement operation.

 

The challenge to our American military and state leaders in

 

undertaking a South African peace mission is enormous. The racial

 

violence within South Africa could merely be a sample of what our

 

nation may eventually experience, if the United State cannot bring

 

our "black and white nations" together.66

 

The American serviceman brings his values with him to the

 

battleground. If our serviceman's thinking is fundamentally racist,

 

how then does he react when a commander issue orders in an arena

 

where all is literally considered black and white?

 

_____________________

65 Africa 1994, Dostert, p. 143.

66 Two Nations--Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal, Hacker, p.ix.

 

Our young soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are intelligent

 

and naturally inquisitive. What will be the nature of the questions

 

they ask of their commanders and of their country?

 

Who are the enemy forces that may oppose the Durban NEO mission

 

fighting within their own country--white and black institutions, or

 

white and black people? Are the South African blacks, released from

 

apartheid, fighting for the same freedoms that African Americans,

 

released from slavery, have fought for since the American Civil War

 

Reconstruction era?

 

Which of our commander's can satisfactorily answer these

 

questions? Will our potential performance in South Africa be a

 

precursor to enhanced international race relations? Answering these

 

questions will be quite a challenge to commanders everywhere.

 

AFTERWORD:

NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT....RESOLVING AFRICAN STRIFE67

 

"The bush had different rules, and they were the rules of war that

brought power to those who wielded the gun."68

 

With all the humanitarian, financial and security assistance

 

that African nations receive, why are there still so many severe

 

problems within Africa? Why is there an intense international

 

remorse directed towards Africa by the media due to the many negative

 

African images conjured or portrayed?69

 

Is the food, money, medicine and equipment insufficient to cope

 

with the magnitude of problems? Is the democratic form of government

 

unfit for the multi-ethnic African nations? Or is "Washington's

 

preoccupation with itself and Europe's current concern over the

 

_____________________

67 With apologies to the United States Naval Institute's publication Proceedings

which publishes a column entitled: "Nobody asked me, but...."

68 Killing the Wizards--Wars of Power and Freedom from Zaire to South Africa,

Alan Cowell (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1992) p. 124.

 

[Bosnia] civil war and the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist

 

Republics [causing] major political and public attention to be

 

further distracted from Africa"?70

 

These are all tough questions that our future political,

 

diplomatic and military leaders must consider when viewing the

 

African problem. The ultimate decision to place young marines,

 

soldiers, sailors and airmen on the African continent must be for the

 

right reasons and the American resolve must not falter. But until

 

our leaders understand the peoples and challenges of Africa, that is

 

not possible.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

69 Killing the Wizards, Cowell, p. 124.

70 Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, "Africa's New Challenge"

(International Media Corporation Limited: London October 91) p. 8.

 

Click here to view image

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

BOOKS

 

Anzovin, Steven. South Africa: Apartheid and Devestiture. New York:

H. W. Wilson, 1987.

 

Arnold, Guy. South Africa: Crossing the Rubicon. New York: St.

Martin's Press, 1992.

 

Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington: Office

of Public and Agency Affairs, 1994.

 

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Joint Publication 3-07.3: Joint

Tactics, Techniques and Proceedures for Peacekeeping Operations.

Baltimore: USA AG Publication Center, 1994.

 

Cook, Philip R. Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Washington: Bureau of Public Affairs, 1986.

 

Cowell, Alan. Killing the Wizards: Wars of Power and Freedom from

Zaire to South Africa. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

 

Dostert, Pierre. Africa: 1994. Harpers Ferry, WV: Stryker-Post

Publications, 1994.

 

Everist, Richard and Murray, John. South Africa, Lesotho and

Swaziland: A Travel Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Plant

Publications, 1993.

 

Gutteridge, William. The Military in South African Politics:

Champions of National Unity. London: Research Institute for the

Study of Conflict and Terrorism, 1994.

 

Hacker, Andrew. Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile,

Unequal. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.

 

Harding, Jeremy. Small Wars, Small Mercies: Journeys in Africa's

Disputed Nations. London: Penguin Group, 1993.

 

Heitman, Helmoed-Romer. The World in Conflict: Jane's Intelligence

Review 1994/1995 Yearbook. London: Jane's, 1995.

 

Human Rights Watch/Africa. Angola: Arms Trade and Violations of the

Laws of War Since the 1992 Elections. New York: Human Rights Watch,

1994.

 

Marine Corps Intelligence Activity. Threats in Transition: Marine

Corps Mid-Range Threat Estimate--1995-2005. Quantico: Marine Corps

Intelligence Activity, 1994.

 

Metz, Stephen K. and Tilford, Jr., Doctor Earl, H. World View: The

1994 Strategic Assessment from the Strategic Studies Institute.

Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, 1994.

 

Riley, Stephen, P. War and Famine in Africa. Conflict Studies 268.

London: Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism,

1994.

 

Secretary of Defense Office. Report of the Secretary of Defense to

the President and the Congress. Washington: Us Government Printing

Office, 1995.

 

Tilford, Jr., Doctor Earl, H. Editor. Strategic Challenge During

Changing Times. Carlisle: Strategic Studies Institute, 1994.

 

Vanneman, Peter. Soviet Strategy in South Africa: Gorbachev's

Pragmatic Approach. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1990.

 

White House. A National Security Strategy of Engagement and

Enlargement. Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1994.

 

 

ARTICLES

 

"Africa's New Challenge". Defense and Foreign Affairs Strategic

Policy. October 1991. pp.6-10.

 

Guertner, Gary L. and Stofft, William, C. Parameters: US Army War

College Quarterly, Vol XXV, Number 1. "Ethnic Conflict: The Perils

of Military Intervention". Spring 1995. pp. 28-36.

 

Mc Carthy, Shaun. Jane's International Intelligence Review, Vol 6,

Number 5. "Compromise or War: The Afrikaner Resistance Movement".

May 1994. pp. 230-233.

 

Mc Carthy, Shaun. Jane's International Intelligence Review, Vol 6,

Number 11. "South Africa's Self Defence Units". November 1994. pp.

520-24.

 

"South Africa's Rising Crime Rate". The Washington Times. April 6,

1995. Sec A: 15.

 

Wisner, Frank, G. Defense 93, Issue 6. "Peacekeeping: Why, When,

How--How Long?". December 1993. pp. 22-26.

 

 

COMPACT DISC-ROM

 

Electromap Corporation. World Atlas. Novato, CA: Electromap, 1990.



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