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Manhunting is the deliberate identification, capture or killing of senior or otherwise important enemy combatants, dubbed high-value targets, usually by special operations forces and intelligence organizations. According to a recent study,[1] since 1968, 40% of armed non-state groups have met their end because local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members.

A response to asymmetric tactics adopted by terrorists, insurgents, pirates, narcotraffickers, arms proliferators and other non-state actors, manhunting has been adopted by military and intelligence organizations to reduce collateral damage that would occur during a conventional military assault.

The most visible such operations conducted today involve counterterrorist activities. Some involve government-sanctioned assassination, also known as targeted killing or extrajudicial execution. Operations to capture terrorists have drawn political and legal controversy. See Legal Issues below. Other military operations, such as hostage rescue or personnel recovery, employ similar tactics and techniques. The primary difference in hostage rescue or personnel recovery is that the person being rescued or recovered wants to be found; while high-value targets want to avoid being found.

Contents

Manhunting Operations in History

Ancient Times through Conquest of the New World

World War II

US Special Forces capture Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003.

United States

The United States has use armed forces or militia to apprehend people deemed threats to national security since colonial times.[3]

Colonial period

Indian Wars

American Civil War

Early 1900s

World War II

Vietnam Conflict

  • Fourteen Army Combat Tracker Tracker Teams, trained at the British Jungle Warfare Schools in Malaya and New Zealand, were deployed to Vietnam to hunt enemy insurgents.
  • During the battle of Khe Sanh, military intelligence identifies communications emanating from an area designated Oscar 8. Suspected of being the command post for General Vo Nguyen Giap, Special Forces teams and indigenous Hatchet teams are dispatched to capture or kill General Giap following an air strike by B-52 bombers. The mission is unsuccessful, leading to heavy losses on both sides.[7]

1980-1999

Remains of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's safe house, June 8, 2006.

Manhunting after September 11, 2001

  • The United States reportedly operates two targeted killing programs employing Predator unmanned aerial vehicles: The first, conducted by the Department of Defense, carries out surveillance and strike missions in areas recognized as war zones, and thus are an extension of combat operations. The second, not officially acknowledged, is conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency in areas outside of offically recognized war zones.[20] Manhunting activities accelerated in August-September 2008 along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Officials remarked the rise in attacks by Predator UAVs and Hellfire missiles was due to a desire to strike decisively at al Qaeda senior leaders in the waning months of the Bush administration.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27] In 2009, the Barack Obama administration reaffirmed its commitment to lethal strikes, when CIA Director Leon Panetta confirmed the strikes had been successful to date, and would continue.[28] Since that date, strikes against Pakistan-based high-value targets have trebled.[29] Some question the cost vs. benefit of drone attacks, which admittedly deplete the ranks of senior al Qaeda leaders, but also polarize public opinion.[30][31] [32] Strike accuracy appeared to improve in 2008-2009, with collateral damage reduced as frequency of operations increased.[33] See also Drone attacks in Pakistan.
  • On July 13, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA had initiated a secret program in 2001 to capture or kill senior al Qaeda leaders. Director Leon Panetta reportedly halted the program, which had not progressed beyond the planning and preparation stages.[34][35][36]
  • In Afghanistan, Interior Minister General Mohammad Daud Daud expressed opposition to the addition of approximately 50 suspected drug kingpins to a list of individuals approved for capture or killing by U.S. and NATO forces. U.S. officers stated that the list complied with international law and the military's rules of engagement, because it only listed drug lords thought to support the insurgency. A U.S. military spokesman stated that narcotics trafficking was used to finance insurgency.[38]

Military manhunts within the United States

Legal Controversy

  • Manhunting is a challenging legal issue. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Israel and the United States have labeled manhunting as "targeted killings" against "enemy combatants," thus constituting legitimate targets for military action.[40]
  • Contemporary international law provides two distinct normative paradigms which govern targeted killings in situations of law enforcement and the conduct of hostilities. Any targeted killing not directed against a legitimate military target remains subject to the law enforcement paradigm, which imposes extensive restraints on the practice. Even under the paradigm of hostilities, no person can be lawfully liquidated without further considerations.[41]
  • In 2009, Phillip Alston, an Australian human rights lawyer, presented a report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission that Predator drone strikes may violate international law. Spokesmen for the Central Intelligence Agency responded that the Agency "uses lawful, highly accurate, and effective tools and tactics to take the fight to Al Qaeda and its violent allies. That careful, precise approach has brought major success against a very dangerous and deadly enemy." The Department of Defense program, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare.[42] CIA Director Leon Panetta defended the practice, stating that CIA targets enemies of the United States, "and we have deliberately made sure that only those that represent those kinds of targets are the ones we're going to go after."[43]
  • Efforts to capture and interrogate terrorist suspects have also resulted in controversy. The practice of extraordinary rendition has been called into question by human rights organizations and international law experts, because it circumvents standard criminal law processes and methods. Methodology employed for the interrogation of terrorist suspects have also raised ethical, moral and legal concerns. Approval of "enhanced interrogation techniques" by Bush administration officials was deemed by many to violate the spirit, if not the letter of the United States Code and international law, including the Hague Conventions and Geneva Conventions. Opponents also charge the employment of targeted killing is a violation of Executive Order 12333, itself a result of concerns about assassination expressed by the Church Committee investigations during the 1970s.

Israeli operations

Israel may have the most advanced and experienced manhunters.

Israel has continued to employ the targeted killing of violent radical opponents. Notable operations include:

  • April 1973, when Israeli commandos landed in Beirut and killed senior members of the Fatah movement including Yasir Arafat's deputy Yusuf Najjar and the Fatah spokesman Kamal Nasir.
  • Israel may have been behind the 1979 explosion in Beirut that killed Ali Hassan Salameh, founder of Fatah's elite Force 17.
  • In April 1988 an Israeli commando force landed in Tunis and killed the head of the (PLO) military branch Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad).
  • In February 1992, Israeli helicopters fired on the car of Hizbullah leader Abbas Musawi, killing him and members of his entourage.
  • In October 1995, following a series of suicide attacks which claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis, Mossad agents shot and killed the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Fathi Shaqaqi, in Malta.
  • In January 1996, three months later, a booby-trapped cellular phone exploded, killing Hamas member Yahya Ayyash, also known as "The Engineer," who masterminded suicide attacks in which 50 Israelis died and 340 were wounded.
  • On September 25, 1997, an attempt to kill Khaled Meshal, the Jordanian-based political chief of Hamas, went awry. A struggle ensued. Two Mossad agents were arrested, along with Meshal's driver Mohammed Abu Saif. When Meshal fell ill, Jordanian police suspected he had been exposed to a toxic agent. An international debacle ensued. King Hussein nearly severed relations between Israel and Jordan. U.S. sponsored negotiations with the Palestinians faltered. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to provide an antidote to save Meshal's life, and to release Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, who had been in custody.[44] In the wake of an Israeli investigation,[45] Danny Yatom, director of Mossad, resigns in 1998.[46]
  • Amal's operations officer, Hussam al Amin, was killed in a similar operation in August 1998.
  • On November 9, 2000, near the West Bank town of Bethlehem, an Israeli Apache helicopter fired a laser-guided missile at the vehicle of Husayn Abayat, killing him and wounding his deputy.
  • Similar operations on February 13, 2001 killed Masud Iyyad, a Force 17 officer trying to establish a Hizbullah cell in the Gaza Strip, and PIJ activist Muhammad abd al Al, who according to the IDF was responsible for terrorist acts and was on his way to carry out two major attacks.
  • On July 22, 2002, a 2000-lb bomb dropped from an F-16 fighter killed Salah Shihada, the leader and founder of Hamas' military wing of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza.
  • Israeli Defense Forces reveal that an April 14, 2008 air strike by an unmanned aerial vehicle killed Ibrahim abu Alba; Palestinian sources confirm his death. A member of the military wing of the Palestinian Democratic Front responsible for operations in northern Gaza, the IDF said Alba was responsible for rocket attacks and a recent infiltration into Israel that had injured three soldiers. The IDF stated Alba was planning another attack when he was killed near Beit Hanoun.[47]
  • On April 16, 2008, a helicopter airstrike kills Mohammed Ghausain, Islamic Jihad's commander in northern Gaza.[48]
  • On New Years Day 2009, Israel begins air strikes targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip after militants repeatedly fire rockets into Israel. On January 1, Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas leader who urged suicide attacks against Israel, is killed in an air strike on his home in the northern Gaza Strip. Rayyan was the most senior Hamas leader to be killed since the death of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi in April 2004. Rayyan claimed, "we will kill the enemy and take hostages" during a Dec 31, 2008 interview on Hamas’ al-Aqsa television channel. The strike kills at least four other people in the Jabaliya refugee camp, including some members of his family. Subsequent IDF operations target the homes of Hamas leadership.[49]

Legal and Ethical Issues over Targeted Killing

  • On December 14, 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that targeted killing is a legitimate form of self-defense against terrorists, and outlined several conditions for its use.[50] This decision, arrived at after four years of deliberation, may establish precedent for international law.
  • Israel's policy of targeted killing has been censured by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in the past. But these actions have been widely discredited as a disproportionate UNHRC bias against Israel. Even the UN Secretary General has expressed disappointment at UNHRC's apparent focus on Israel, while other human rights violations go unaddressed.[51] [52]
  • Elyezer Shkedy, the recently retired Israeli Air Force commander, claims IAF operations only comprised 5% of targeted killings in 2003-4, while in 2007-8, IAF strikes comprised 50-70% of targeted killing operations. “Bystander fatalities” decreased from 50 of 100 Palestinians killed (1:1 ratio), to 1 in 25 (24:1 ratio). In the final months of 2007, 98 terrorists were killed with a single bystander fatality (98:1 ratio). While the IAF does not provide detailed data of these operations, B’Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) communications director Sarit Michaeli acknowledges improvements in IAF accuracy.[53]

North Korea

France

Bolivia

Colombia

Great Britain

  • British Special Air Service manhunting operations were conducted during the Malayan Emergency, against key Irish Republican Army operatives, and as part of global counterterrorism missions.
  • Britain employed groups of Iban and Dayak tribesmen as jungle trackers during the Malayan Emergency, attaching the skilled natives to British forces. The trackers were later formed into the Sarawak Rangers.
  • Britain developed specialized tactics six months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, under the code name Operation Kratos.[63] The "tactics have been developed to include a specialised response to both the sudden appearance of a suspect where we have intelligence they may be about to commit a deadly attack and for the surveillance of suspects identified through intelligence.... These tactics are only ever used when absolutely necessary."[64]
  • British Special Air Service forces, operating in concert with United States Special Operations Forces, disrupted suicide bomber networks responsible for over 3000 deaths in Baghdad, Iraq. Over 3500 members of the bomb making networks were captured or killed in an 18-month period from 2007-2008. Most of the hundreds of network members killed were members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The SAS suffered 6 killed and over 30 injured, many due to rappelling from helicopters with over 100 pounds of equipment.[65][66]

Mexico

Pakistan

Peru

Rhodesia/Zimbabwe

  • In the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe War of Independence (Chimurenga War, 1966-1980), the Selous Scout were officially credited with either directly or indirectly being responsible for 68% of all terrorists killed, while losing less than 40 scouts in the process.[67] The Selous Scouts, Grey's Scouts and Tracker Combat Unit were formed to pursue Zambian terrorists deep into the African bush. Their first operational use was in 1967.[68][69]

Soviet Union and Russian Federation

A Soviet Spetsnaz (special operations) team prepares to seek Mujahideen in Afghanistan, 1988.

Serbia

South America

India

Indonesia

Iraq

  • Iraqi security forces seized Ayad Jalal Abdulwahab, an aide to Saddam Hussein's former vice president Izzat al-Douri on October 13, 2009 in a helicopter raid in Diyala province. U.S. and Iraqi forces captured Abdulwahab in the town of Qara Tappa, 55 miles northeast of Baqubah.[79]

See also

External links

Sources

  1. John Cloud, "The Manhunt Goes Global," Time/CNN, October 15, 2001 [3]
  2. Seymour Hersh, "Annals of National Security: Moving Targets: Will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam?" The New Yorker, Dec 15, 2003 [4]
  3. Steven Marks, Thomas Meer, Matthew Nilson, Manhunting: A Methodology for Finding Persons of National Interest June 2005 [5]
  4. George Crawford, Manhunting: Reversing the Polarity of Warfare, 2008, ISBN 1604413328
  5. Charles O'Quinn, An Invisible Scalpel: Low-Visibility Operations in the War on Terror, June 2006, [6]
  6. Steven Roberts, Unilateral Man Hunting: Is The Strategic Operating Environment Structured To Allow The Department Of Defense To Conduct Unilateral Manhunting Operations, June 18, 2004 [7]
  7. Matthew Machon, Targeted Killing as an Element of U.S. Foreign Policy in the War on Terror, March 25, 2006 [8]
  8. John Dodson, "Man-hunting, Nexus Topography, Dark Networks and Small Worlds", Joint Information Operations Center IOSphere, Winter 2006 [9]
  9. Caspar Weinberger "When Can We Target the Leaders?," Strategic Review (Spring 2001), p. 23.
  10. Thomas Wingfield, "Taking Aim at Regime Elites," 22 Md. J. Int'l. L. & Trade 287.
  11. Elizabeth Bazan, Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333: A Brief Summary, January 4, 2002
  12. Eben Kaplan, "Targeted Killings," Council on Foreign Relations Website, [10]
  13. Gal Luft, "The Logic of Israel's Targeted Killing," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2003 [11]
  14. David Kretzmer, "Targeted Killing of Suspected Terrorists: Extra-Judicial Executions or Legitimate Means of Defence?" European Journal of International Law, 2005 [12]
  15. Laura Blumenfeld, "In Israel, a Divisive Struggle Over Targeted Killing," The Washington Post, August 27, 2006 [13]
  16. Mayur Patel, "Israel's Targeted Killings of Hamas Leaders," American Society of International Law Website, May 2004 [14]
  17. Daniel Byman, "Do Targeted Killings Work?" Foreign Affairs March/April 2006 [15]
  18. Angus Fay, Combating Terrorism: A Conceptual Framework for Targeting at the Operational Level, June 18, 2004 [16]
  19. Sue Rodgers, "Combat Tracker Teams: Dodging an Elusive Enemy", Vietnam Magazine, October 2001.
  20. Ray Suarez, "Manhunt," Online News Hour, October 16, 2002 [17]
  21. Lieutenant Colonel Jack Marr, U.S. Army; Major John Cushing, U.S. Army; Captain Brandon Garner, U.S. Army; and Captain Richard Thompson, U.S. Army, Human Terrain Mapping: A Critical First Step to Winning the COIN Fight, April 2008
  22. Michael A. Sheehan, Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves, ISBN 978-0-307-39217-7, 2008
  23. Catherine Lotrionte, "When to Target Leaders" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mar 17, 2004.
  24. Eben Kaplan, "Targeted Killings", Council on Foreign Relations, March 2, 2006
  25. Lester W. Grau, LTC (ret), "Something Old, Something New--Guerillas, Terrorists and Intelligence Analysis,"Military Review, July-August 2004
  26. Seth G. Jones, Martin C. Libicki, How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida, RAND, ISBN 9780833044655, July 2008.
  27. Billy Waugh with Tim Keown, Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies, William Morrow, 2004, ISBN 0060564091
  28. Nils Melzer, Targeted Killing in International Law, Oxford University Press 2008, ISBN 978-0-19-953316-9
  29. Stephen T. Hosmer, Operations Against Enemy Leaders, RAND Corporation, 2003
  30. Bob Carss, The SAS Guide to Tracking, The Lyons Press, Guilford CT, 2009
  31. David Scott-Donelan, Tactical Tracking: The Essential Guide for Military and Police Trackers, Paladin Press, Boulder, CO, 1998
  32. Michael Smith, Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2006, ISBN 0-312-36272-2
  33. David C. Isby, Leave No Man Behind: Liberation and Capture Missions, Cassell, London, 2004, ISBN 978-0-304-36204-2
  34. Thomas W. Gillespie and John A. Agnew, "Finding Osama bin Laden: An Application of Biogeographic Theories and Satellite Imagery", MIT International Review,17 February 2009
  35. Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counterterrorism, 1940-1990, Pantheon Books, 1992
  36. Peter Harclerode, Fighting Dirty: The Inside Story of Covert Operations From Ho Chi Minh to Osama bin Laden, Cassell & Co. London, 2001
  37. Peter M. Cullen, "The Role of Targeted Killing in the Campaign against Terror," Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 48, 1st Quarter 2008
  38. Asaf Zussman and Noam Zussman, Targeted Killings: Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Counterterrorism Policy, Bank of Israel Research Department Discussion Paper No. 2005.02, January 2005
  39. Pat Farey & Mark Spicer, Sniping: An Illustrated History, Zenith Press, London, 2008
  40. Bill Roggio and Alexander Mayer, "The Long War Journal: Analysis: A look at US airstrikes in Pakistan through September 2009," The Long War Journal, 1 Oct 2009
  41. George A. Crawford, Manhunting: Counter-Network Organization for Irregular Warfare, Joint Special Operations University, Sep 2009
  42. P.W. Singer, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, Penguin Press, New York, 2009
  43. W. Michael Riesman and Chris T. Antoniou, The Laws of War: A Comprehensive Collection of Primary Documents on International Laws Governing Armed Conflict, Vintage Books, New York, 1994
  44. Gary D. Mitchell with Micheal Hirsch, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man Behind the Rifle, New American Library, New York, 2006
  45. Rob Schultheis, Hunting Bin Laden: How al-Qaeda is Winning the War on Terror, Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2008
  46. Graham H. Turbiville, Jr., Hunting Leadership Targets in Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorist Operations: Selected Perspectives and Experience, Joint Special Operations University Report 07-6, June 2007
  47. Government Accountability Office, Combatting Terrorism: The United States Lacks Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, GAO-08-622, April 2008
  48. William Safire, "Irregular Warfare," New York Times Magazine, Jun 8, 2008
  49. Geoff Fein, "OEF, OIF Demonstrating U.S. Forces Will Need to be More SOF-Like," Defense Daily, Jun 11, 2008
  50. Mark Bowden, "Handling a 21st-Century Threat: Today's Terrorists Mirror the Globalized Industrial Societies Whose Techniques They Employ," Philadelphia Inquirer, Jun 1, 2008
  51. Jackson Diehl, "Pawns in the Jungles of Colombia," Washington Post, Jun 2, 2008
  52. John Barry and Evan Thomas, "Up in the Sky, An Unblinking Eye," Newsweek, Jun 9, 2008
  53. Anna Mulrine, "Targeting the Enemy," US News & World Report, Jun 9, 2008
  54. Bret Stephens, "There is a Military Solution to Terror," Wall Street Journal, Jun 3, 2008
  55. Pamela Hess, "Iran Training Hit Squads for Iraqi Attacks," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 16, 2008
  56. Shawn Boyne, Michael German, Paul R. Pillar, Law vs. War: Competing Approaches to Fighting Terrorism, July 2005
  57. William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, "In Nuclear Net's Undoing, A Web of Shadowy Deals," New York Times, August 25, 2008
  58. David Isenberg, "Blackwater Worldwide, Wal-Mart of Modern War," Washington Times, Aug 24, 2008
  59. Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti, "Bush Said to Give Orders Allowing Raids in Pakistan," New York Times, Sep 11, 2008
  60. Yochi J. Dreazen and Siobhan Gorman, "U.S. Hits Al Qaeda in Pakistan," Wall Street Journal, Sep 12, 2008
  61. Greg Miller and Julian E. Barnes, "Higher-Tech Predators Targeting Pakistan," Los Angeles Times, Sep 12,2008
  62. Craig Whitlock, "In Hunt for Bin Laden, A New Approach," Washington Post, Sep 10, 2008
  63. Carl J. Ciovacco, "The Erosion of Noncombatant Immunity Within Al Qaeda," Small Wars Journal, 2008
  64. Roger Middleton, Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local Wars, Chatham House, October 2008
  65. Mark Bowden, "The Ploy," Atlantic Monthly May 2007
  66. Mary Anne Weaver, "The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi,", The Atlantic Monthly, Jul/Aug 2006
  67. David Hambling, "Spec Ops Shops for 10-Pack of Precision Glide Bombs," Wired, June 25, 2009
  68. Jason D. Söderblom, Time to Kill? State Sponsored Assassination and International Law, World ICE Group, Canberra, Australia, 12 February, 2004

References

  1. ^ Seth G. Jones, Martin C. Libicki, How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida, RAND, Jul 2008
  2. ^ Mark Seaman, "The Foxley Report: Secret Operations in World War Two," BBC, 2003
  3. ^ George A. Crawford, Manhunting: Counter-Network Organization for Irregular Warfare, Joint Special Operations University, Sep 2009
  4. ^ Pat Farey & Mark Spicer, Sniping: An Illustrated History, Zenith Press, London, 2008, p.23
  5. ^ Pat Farey & Mark Spicer, Sniping: An Illustrated History, Zenith Press, London, 2008, pp.22-24
  6. ^ Duane Schultz, The Dahlgren Affair, W.W. Norton, New York, ISBN 0393319865
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  21. ^ Ishtiaq Mehsud, “Suspected Missile Strike in Pakistan Kills 4,” Associated Press, September 5, 2008
  22. ^ Pir Zubair Shah and Jane Perlez, “U.S. Missiles Killed at Least Six People on Afghanistan-Pakistan Border, Residents Say,” New York Times, September 6, 2008
  23. ^ Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah, “U.S. Attack on Taliban Kills 23 in Pakistan,” New York Times, Sep 9, 2008
  24. ^ Shaiq Hussain, “U.S. Missiles Said to Kill 20 in Pakistan Near Afghan Border,” Washington Post, Sep 9 2008
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  28. ^ Karen DeYoung and Joby Warrick, “Drone Attacks Inside Pakistan Will Continue, CIA Chief Says,” Washington Post, Feb 26, 2009
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