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Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army MILS671: The Non State Soldier American Military University

Martin S. Catino, Ph.D. Instructor

Summary: Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army possess a unique mixture of capabilities that pose not only a major threat to the region of south-central Africa, but also to US interests in the area, including access to strategic resources and creating stability to deny international terrorists a safe-haven. In short, Kony and the LRA have some of the standard capabilities that make many insurgent groups succeed at their nefarious aims (effective organization, elusiveness, domination of the human terrain, exploitation of regional resources and interstate borders) and other capabilities more unique (ability to exploit mass population removals and exfiltrate in the face of superior and dense presence of opposing armies and forces). The LRAs capabilities include (but are not limited to) the following: 1. Expansive and vibrant intelligence networks allowing forewarning and knowledge of opponent posture and weak points. Thus Kony was able to escape on many occasions. Here are some of his successful evasions of major operations: 1. 1. 1991 Operation North, conducted by Kampala. 1.2. 2002. Operation Iron Fist. Uganda attempted to strike Kony in South Sudan.

1.3. South Sudan sanctioned operations in its country to get Kony; failure to strike Kony in South Sudan. 1.4 Operation Lightening Thunder, 2008. Failure of Uganda military to get Kony in the Central African Republic (CAR). He evaded, with advanced warning, the Ugandan forces. 1.5 Failure of joint international forces on several recent occasions. Kony has thus far successfully eluded the joint operations of Uganda, the CAR, the Congo, and Sudan, in addition to the African Union, the UN, and US Special Forcesall contributing to various degrees in the apprehension of the LRA leader. 2. Creation of loyal and capable force protection, and an inner leadership circle that gives cohesion, structure, and viability to the organization. *Case in point, Kony was nearly captured in the Central African Republic in Oct. 2011 while he was taking a bath. Uganda forces failed to detain him due to the loyalty of his guards, who fired warning shots as these forces approached. 3. Uncanny ability to exploit terrain (especially forested areas), international boundaries, seams in regional security cooperation, and the presence of dense opponent forces regardless of their proximity or ability to flank or surround the LRA. 4. Ability to utilize local culture, religion, and social norms. Konys bizarre syncretistic religion (blending animism, Pentecostalism, and the Ten Commandments) are more than aberrant religious ideology. He uses it to communicate effectively, gain respect and deference of locals, cement relationships, facilitate Word of Mouth transmission, and co-opt loyalties for his tactical and strategic ends. 5. Exploitation of the divisions and animosities of regional states. The inter and intra state rivalries in the region including Uganda, the Central African Republic (CAR), Sudan, and the Congo are not slight. Kony is comfortable with tactical and short term alliances, rapid changes in alliances and sudden changes in partnerships,

as well as the intense operational tempo of opponents. In spite of this context, he is still able to exploit the seams in opponent forces, regionally and locally. In the past, he has used successfully short and longer term relationships with rebel groups (like the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda), regions hostile to Uganda (South Sudan), and areas where ungoverned space and resource exploitation allowed sanctuary (east Congo). 6. Exploitation of mass population removals. Here is a unique quality of Kony and the LRA. Given the relatively small size of Konys LRA, it is astonishing that he is responsible for the mass dislocation of over 400, 000 people. Kony and the LRA dislocate entire villages or main elements of it, while creating mass misery, mass population movements, and resource disasters. The LRA exploits these conditions in order to disrupt opponent intelligence networks; recruit children for soldiers/manpower; enslave women and children for sale in the sex trade (human trafficking) and thus financial ends, and screening movements, among other MILDEC (Military Deception) operations. Selected Bibliography Asiimwe, Agnes. US Forces Arrive to Hunt for Joseph Kony, The New African. 513. January 2012, p.42. Joseph Kony, Exclusive Interview. YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdBcypx1DfE
(accessed 31 July 2012).

Kisekka-Ntale, Fredrick. Roots of Conflict in Northern Uganda, The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies. Vol. 32 Issue 4. 2007. p. 421. Ruaudel, Heloise. Catch Me if You Can! The Lords Resistance Army, Forced Migration Review, March 2011, p. 13. Vesley, Milan. Uganda, the Cult of Death, African Business. May 2000. p. 23.