Analysis: Emergence of an armed insurgency is now a distinct possibility in the US
WITH DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON RESEMBLING a large military encampment, a repeat of last week’s shocking assault on the Capitol Complex is highly improbable. But America could witness escalating levels of violence across many states, as supporters of the January 6 insurrection continue to organize themselves into a coherent armed movement. Their ability to threaten American national security will depend on whether they can overcome major internal divisions. It will also be determined by the speed with which United States authorities will respond to the rise of what is quickly becoming a dangerous militant movement.
Supporters of the nationalist insurrection that shook the nation on January 6 will undoubtedly return to Washington in time to make a show of force during the Inauguration of Joe Biden. Intelligence reports by US federal agencies mention as many as 17 separate events being planned in the nation’s capital by a variety of militant groups. If these events materialize, the US is likely to witness the largest armed protests in its history. Other gatherings —many of them involving armed militants— are scheduled to take place in all 50 states between January 16 and 20.
The militants who will descend on Washington in the coming days are unlikely to engage in all-out hostilities against as many as 20,000 members of the US National Guard. The latter have reportedly been given clear rules of engagement, which include the use of lethal force against assailants. The command and control capabilities that are needed to seriously threaten a 20,000-strong professional army, make it unlikely that the insurrectionists will attempt such a suicidal mission. Nevertheless, the possibility that one or more small groups of die-hard militants will descend on Washington determined to engage in direct combat against the US military should not be disregarded. Their chances of a martial victory are extremely slim, but victory can also be achieved through what their supporters will interpret as heroism and —ultimately— martyrdom.https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS ADhttps://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD
What is far more likely to happen is that the insurrectionists will engage the forces of the government asymmetrically —that is, by resorting to strategies and tactics of unconventional warfare. Such scenarios are more likely to materialize in the coming months, or even years, in the countryside of so-called ‘red states’, where some supporters of President Donald Trump may be willing to help the insurgents by giving them protection and cover. Additionally, government resources in provincial settings are limited, and it is there that the insurrectionists will have a chance to score victories against the authorities. Moreover, in these rural red states the insurgents will be more likely to be met with sympathy from some members of law enforcement.
We saw a preamble of such insurrectionary actions in the countryside in 2014, when armed anti-government militants engaged in a prolonged armed confrontation with Bureau of Land Management officers in southeastern Nevada. Two years later, an armed group of nationalist militants, some of whom had connections with militias, seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon and occupied it for over a month —an action that resulted in one death and several prison sentences.
Such actions, replicated on a much larger scale, presuppose a level of unity, discipline and organization that is currently absent from the broader nationalist movement that forms part of President Trump’s voter base. Groups like the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, or the Proud Boys, have little in common with the Groyper Army, QAnon followers, neo-Confederates, supporters of the ‘boogaloo’ movement, and even Black Hebrew Israelites, all of whom reportedly participated in the storming of the Capitol Complex on January 6. This is a leaderless amalgamation of groupings, which do not usually communicate with each other and have little in common aside form supporting President Trump. It is even conceivable that these groups may turn on each other as the intensity of this domestic conflict grows around them.
However, this does not mean that serious violence will be avoided. Many of these groups and their supporters direct their bitterest ire, not at liberal Democrats, but at senior members of the Republican Party, whom they accuse of disloyalty against President Trump. It is likely that militants will target lawmakers and their families in the coming months. Moreover, the greatest threat to security is not organized militant groups, but rather individual ‘lone wolves’, who will decide to act independently, without consultation or coordination with other radicals. Their isolation from networks of other violent extremists tends to make ‘lone wolves’ difficult to detect and to add to the lethality of their actions.
Numbers are important here. President Trump received 74.2 million votes in the 2020 presidential election, so it is conceivable that he enjoys the support of 85 million Americans at a minimum. If 5 percent of these supporters are in favor of the January 6 assault on the Capitol Complex, that amounts to 4.25 million Americans. If 3.5 percent of those are determined to take armed action against the state, that amounts to 150,000 militants across the country. What is more, through the power of the Internet and encrypted online applications that are easy to find, install and use, these militants are increasingly reaching out to each other, convinced that their leader was unjustly removed from power in a fraudulent election. The possibility that these militants will begin to engage in an armed insurgency in the service of an organized, nationwide insurrection, is very real.https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.htmlREPORT THIS AD
In the past, the numerous components of the US government have been called repeatedly to adapt with tremendous speed to rapidly evolving security threats. In 1941, they quickly steered the country’s productive forces into the creation of war economy that helped turn the tide of World War II. In 2001, they turned their attention to Islamist militancy by rapidly redirecting its intelligence apparatus away from its Cold War focus and toward the Middle East and Central Asia. They are now being called to act once again in the same rapid fashion, but this time against a domestic threat to national security, which has not been seen since the concluding months of 1860. Government agencies must act without delay, in unison, and, in the words of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their letter of January 12 to the Joint Force, with full commitment “to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 15 January 2021 | P