Archive for June, 2019


June 14, 2019


One of the most important books published in Germany in 2010 was “Die Vergessene Revolution von 1918/19”. Editor Professor Alexander Gallus, University of Rostock. 244 pages. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Gmbh & Co. KG. 2010. It is a modern introduction to the concept of world civil war in history in it’s 20th century German form.

It was Arnold Toynbee that introduced the term “general war”. Other civilizationists have chosen other terms. General war is to Toynbee great wars of the all-engulfing type, usually but not always among major powers, that contribute to the deterioration of civilization. One can of course ask if these weres were really symptoms of irreversible decline, as Toynbee contends.

In the opinion of this reviewer there have, since 1789, been no general wars. Instead a global civil war has been raging. On June 23, 2003, it was the sad 210th anniversary of the start of the Reign of Terror in France. A 12-member “Committee of Public Safety” and dictator Maximilien Robespierre ordered decapitation of thousands of people suspected of “treason”. Over 200,000 were arrested.

Robespierre lauded the terror in his famous statement: “The attribute of popular government in revolution is at one and the same time virtue and terror, virtue without terror is fatal, terror without virtue is impotent. The terror is nothing but justice; prompt, severe, inflexible: it is thus an emanation of virtue.” (G.Vellay, Discourses et Rapports de Robespierre, Paris, 1908, p.332).

The concept of terrorism survived in the political warfare concepts of most nineteenth and twentieth century revolutionaries, including, above all, followers of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. (Paul A. Smith, Jr., On Political War, 1989).

King Louis XVI was guillotined and on October 31, 1793, leaders of the opposition were executed, accused of being counterrevolutionaries. All Jacobinist revolutionaries are potential terrorists. That has been the history of most of the revolutions since 1789, when a global civil ware started. Josef Stalin executed a majority of the CPSU leaders. Mao Tse-tung also purged a number of party leaders. Adolf Hitler purged his comrades in July 1934 in what is called the “Night of the Long Knives”. There is a line from Robespierre via Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler to masskillers of the war on international terrorism.

There is a case for the thesis of an ongoing global civil war since 1789. It is a nexus between Jacobinism, Communism, National Socialism and the new phase of the global civil war starting on November 9, 2001.

When Edmund Burke published his Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790 he clearly indicated that the revolutionary party was calling for world wide revolution and war. Later he could conclude: “France, on her new system, means to form a universal empire, by producing a universal revolution.” (Edmunds Burke, Letter on a Regicide Peace (1796-97). Such a war was waged in 1790 – 1815 by revolutionary an imperial France.

Outbreaks of revolution in Europe around 1820, in 1830 and especially in 1848 renewed that war. In 1819 there had been riots in Manchester in England, in France the duke of Berry (son of Charles X) was murdered and secret societies formed. In 1830 the July revolution ended with the flight of French King Charles X. In 1848 at the February revolution in France there were attempts to raise the red banner. It was also the year of the publication of The Communist Manifesto and the birth of Marxist antihumanism (Per Stig Moeller, The Inhuman Marxism, in Swedish 1976. Moeller has been Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark).

Marx declared that men were exploiters by reason of “class”. The individual capitalist might well be a kindly person. He belonged however to the capitalist class, he was as much an exploiter as his more ruthless colleagues. Like them he would have to be liquidated when the revolution came. The Communist Manifesto (1848) purported to represent a then non-existent emigre political organization. Officially it was regarded by the USSR as the founding of the Communist Party.

In 1900, however, it would seem as if the risk of renewed global civil war had lessened but the outbreak of the First World War would see another phase of the global revolutionary war.

In 1917 the Russian revolution led to continued civil war on a world scale. The ideas of V.I. Lenin included calls for revolutionary violence: “Marxists have never forgotten that violence will be an inevitable accompaniment of the collapse of capitalism on its full scale and of the birth of a socialist society.” (Selected works, Vol. VIII, p. 215) Lenin predicted a whole era of wars – imperialist wars, civil wars, national wars. “Only insurrection can guarantee the victory of the revolution” (Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 327). “The purpose of insurrection must be, not only the complete destruction, or removal of all local authorities and their replacement by new…but also the expulsion of the landlords and the seizure of their lands” (Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 377). “Complete Communism will know no more war. A real, assured people’s peace is possible only under Communism. But the goal cannot be reached by peaceful, ‘pacifist’ means; on the contrary, it can be reached only by civil war against the bourgeoisie.” (Fundamentals of Communism, p. 31).

One of Lenin’s highranking officers in the secret police, Cheka, Latsis, in clear words expressed the fate of the bourgeois class: “We are not waging war against particular individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeois as a class. Don’t look for evidence to prove that the accused acted by deed or word against the Soviet power. The first question you should ask him is: To what class he belongs, what is his origin, his training, and his occupation. This should determine the fate of the accused. Herein lies the meaning and the essence of the Red Terror.” (S.P. Melgunov, Krasnyi Terror v. Rossii, 1918 – 1923, Berlin 1924, second edition, p. 72.

Also relevant is a statement of one of Lenin’s top lieutenants in Petrograd, Zinoviev, in September 1918:

“To overcome our enemies, we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of 100 million of Soviet Russia’s population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.” (Speech reported in Severnaia Kommuna (Petrograd) no. 109, September 19, 1918, p. 2 as cited in G.Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police, London 1981, p. 114).

The head of the Cheka hade already made clear that:

“We [Bolsheviks] stand for organized terror, terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution…The Cheka is obliged…to conquer the enemy even if its sword does by chance sometimes fall on the innocent.” (Felix Dzerzhinskiy, Press Interview, June 1917, as cited in Ronald Hingley, The Russian Secret Police, 1970, p. 122).

Bosheviks, however, made no difference between internal and external enemies. They were anyway destined for annihilation if they refused to recognize and adjust to the forces of history as Marxist ideology chose to define them. Many categories could not chose survival at the price of capitualation. Class origin determined life or death (Smith, p. 131).

Already in 1917 Lenin had declared: “The French revolutionary people…remoulded the whole system of strategy, they broke all the old laws and customs of war: and in place of the old army they created a new revolutionary people’s army and introduced new methods of warfare” (War and the Workers, London 1940, p. 7).

Richard Pipes book (The Unknown Lenin – From the Secret Archives, YUP 1996) has opened for much new material on Lenin. The most revealing documents have, however, been destroyed. Sensitive documents that could cause embarassment if leaked, were destroyed. Lenin insisted that no copies be made and that the originals be returned to him for destruction or destroyed by the recipient. This injunction was however not always followed. Especially sensitive were documents where violence was encouraged against sovereign states – India, Korea, Afghanistan, England, Persia, Turkey etc. (offering help with weapons and money to units waging revolutionary war in one country or another). Other sensitive material included the participation of units of the First Cavalry Army in Jewish pogroms, attempts to “sovietize” Lithuania, Hungary, Czechia, Romania, for instance, or struggles against separatists by means of execution in Karleia. (Pipes, pp. 4-5). Often Lenin was unrealistic. His comments indicate that in the summer of 1920 Lenin believed western Europe on the brink of social revolution. He was determined to promote and consummate this revolution with the help of the Red Army (Pipes, p. 6).

Bolsheviks were victorious in the Russian civil war and similar civil wars occured in Germany, Hungary and other European countries. Late in 1918 the Soviets had concluded a secret “treaty” wsith the German communist leader Karl Liebknecht. A Russian army would take to the offensive to support a communist uprising in Berlin. A similar treaty was concluded with Hungarian communist leader Bela Kun. In 1919 Soviet representative Karl Radek developed a plan for revolutionary war against Germany. Russian prisoners of war still in Germany would be offensively used.

Comintern was founded in 1919 and provided revolutionary training for communists from a large number of countries in the 1920s and the1930s. Comintern produced a number of manuals dealing with strategy and tactics of uprisings and irregular warfare (The Road to Victory, a Theoretical Discussion of Marxism and Revolution by Alfred Lange, The Armed Uprising by A. Neuberg).

Stalin’s saw the road to conquest of the industrialised West as proceeding via Asia. Training was later continued on a global scale by CPSU in the Soviet Union. Also Stalin and the Soviets were active in fomenting unrest in Germany between communists and social democrats (“The Comintern engineered the fight between the German communists and the social democrats…to bring Hitler to power, not because they were political perverts but because they wanted a big war in the West…They would have preferred a military conservative government. They took Hitler. He was the lesser evil”, “I myself thought at first the Russian communist were just dumb. Gradually, I realized myself that this was a very big strategy to get one of the great wars of modern times going. This took some time, but it succeeded in 1939” (Testimony of Dr. Karl August Wittfogel, US Senate, Washington D.C. 1951, pp. 323 f.).

Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were the same type of totalitarianisms. They sought to transform classes into masses. They used terror dealing with their own peoples. They sought aggressive aims abroad (Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York 1973).
Marxism -Leninism came first in time and was in several ways responsible for generationg its German National Socialist variant (Smith, p. 119).

After decades of civil war the communists took power in China in 1949. The Chinese communists had undertaken uprisings in the 1920s, but these failed. Mao Tse-tung now changed the strategy of revolutionary movement. He created a revolutionary army, went ahead and captured territory and proved his thesis in parctice. Mao emphasized the need for a prolonged civil war.

During the Cold War the Soviets had a Strategic Plan. The aim was “global peace” after final Soviet victory. The main target was the United States it called for the isolation of the ‘main enemy’, the ‘Finlandization of Europe. In the Third World pro-Sovie regimes were to be established and insurgencies waged. The plan envisioned for phases until final victory in 1995. Unfortunately for Moscow the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. During the Third Phase (from 1973) Capitalism would suffer an economic crisis and Europé would be forced to its knees. The Soviets would foment local and regional wars in Europé in support of “progressive” movements, if it would necessary. In Krushchev’s words: “We will bury you”(Jan Sejna, We Will Bury You, London 1982, pp. 100 – 113).

After the Second World War the global civil war continued until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Before that a large number of civil wars initiated by local communist parties and forces raged in many countries (for example in Asia in the Philippines and Malaya), in Africa (Angola and the Congo) and in South America (Che Guevara’s attempt in Bolivia to start a civil war in Latin America and the Shinging Path in Peru, to mention a few).


The latest phase of the global civil war started in 2001. The question of the legal status of muslim terrorist organizations and their definition is of some importance in this world wide civil war after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC. One possibility is to define these fanatical organizations that are bent on the destruction of the West as criminal organizations. In trying to find a suitable definition it might be useful to look at the concept private army (the term as such could be questionable as it sets up an opposition to “public armies”. A possible alternative could be “unofficial army”) What is a private army? It could be a group of people which may include men, women, and children, with identifications focused on some common symbol. The symbol need not be territorial, and it need not be exclusive in monopolizing the identification of its members. Where the group itself is the symbol, intensity of identification may be increased by conscious breaches of the morality system of a more inclusive group to which members feel some association but from which they feel they are irreparably barred because they are in some way regarded as a lesser group (see for instance B.Lewis, The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (1968).

A private army is not a mob as this is lacking the sufficient organization over time. The members lack identification with a persisting symbol. A mob may become a private army or even a terrorist organization. A private army involves over time, but there is no need for continous temporal sequence. A gang, that assembles for specific “jobs”, like the gangs of al Qaeda, is similar to those described by Lewis above that convene at certain phases of the moon for ritual violence, ethnic armies which form in lulls of the agricultural cycle and cross borders to kill and pillage other groups.


A fertile ground for the study of private armies is China during the rebellions of the 19th century, warlordism and secret societies.

The Taiping rebellion lasted 14 years from 1850 to 1864. It originated in Kwangsi, from where its chief came, a discontented Hakka peasant, who assumed the title Heavenly King. The aim was to overthrow the Manchu dynasty. The Heavenly King had been with the Baptist Mission in Canton, studied the Bible and was fired with enthusiasm wating also to destroy idolatry. The Taipings absorbed many Western ideas and adopted tem, such as vaccination. The followers of the Heavenly King became known as the long-haired rebels.

The rebellion extended to the Yangtze valley and in 1853 Nanking was made capital of the rebels. It was held until 1864. In 1854 a rebel column advanced on Peking, but failed to capture it. 2 Americans, Frederick Townsend Ward and Anson Burlingame, were engaged to organize a force of foreigners and manilamen called the The Ever Victorious Army (EVA) to fight the rebels. Ward had victories but was finally defeated and killed in 1862. Burlingame was dismissed from service and went over to the rebels. In 1863 Major Charles George “the Chinese”Gordon, an Englishman later of Khartoum fame, was appointed commander of EVA. Gordon later resigned and the army was disbanded. In 1864 Nanking was recovered by the Imperial troops and the Heavenly King committed suicide. The rebellion had extended to 12 provinces and the losses had been 20,000,000.

The Tientsin Massace occurred on June 21, 1870. It was caused by anonymous pamphlets being distributed and by stories that the christian Sisters of Charity kidnapped people for the purpose of extracting their eyes and hearts, to make telescopic lenses, medicine, and change lead into silver. The Chinese made an attempt to inspect the Orphanage, but the French Consul refused. This led to an attack on the Consulate, the Catholic Cathedral and the Orphanage. 21 Christians and a number of native Christians were massacred.

The Boxer Rebellion started in Shantung province in 1898 (the Boxers were called Patriotic Fists, I-ho-chu’an; it was a society dedicated to “setting things right” in China and in order to do that the ancient art of Chinese boxing was practised (“to harmonize the fists”) and the calisthenic military art, a form of strengthening exercises intended to harmonize both mind and body in preparation for battle. These fanatics were opposed to the weak policy of the dynasty and decided to rid the country of foreigners. The Boxers started to attack native christians, who were regarded as traitors and deserving death. They moved on to threaten Peking and the capital was surrounded. After a siege the legations were relieved and Peking occupied by the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Japan. The court had fled. The Boxers now continued their campaign in Shansi, where 45 missionaries were killed, and churches, schools and hospitals destroyed. There was extensive persecution also in Manchuria and hundred of converts were victims and in all over 200 missionaries died. Native Christians killed numbered in the thousands (for specific studies see J. Spence, To Change China: Western Advisers in China 1620 – 1960 (1969), J.Chen, Yaan Shi K’ai (1961, J. Sheridan, Chinese Warlord: The Career of Feng Yu-hsiang (1966), communiqués from China in 1919 and 1929 detailed the different private armies: 1913 Foreign. Rel. U.S. (1920).

An interesting contradiction between the Taipings and the Boxers is that the Taipings were reformers. It was partly an adaptation from Christian ideas, political to some extent, anti-feudal and a form of equalitarian agrarianism lacking the violent extreme ideas of marxism- leninism. Had the West supported the Taipings against the failing Manchu dynasty a new and modern China might have been built. The communist revolution could have been avoided. The Boxers in contradiction wanted a return to the pre-Manchu period. There was none of the Taipings reformist ideas. There xenophobic ideas were mixed with belief in magical arts, Taoist sorcery, and incantations which were supposed to give them supernatural powers. Certainly it was not a movement deserving Western support.


The European elements of the ‘just war’ reasoning can be found as far back as in ancient Greece and Rome. For Aristotle, for instance, war was a natural part of politics and was justified when directed against those who disputed the power of the state to govern or when its object was the attainment of peace (see I Brownlie, for instance, in International Law and the Use of Force by States 4 (1963).

Christianity broke with the early doctrine of pacifism in 170 AD and accepted the term ‘just war’.

Later civil war came to mean that the other side was a criminal, murderer, and gangster, who had to be wiped out. The German communist writer Bert Brecht expressed it in the phrase: “Ins Nichts mit ihm” (the enemy, the other civil warrior). This is the terrible end of local civil wars since the 20th century. The ideologists of private armies fighting internal wars (internal war is a term used frequently. Some encyclopedic works on war list many hundred such local civil or internal wars) were Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, V.I. Lenin and Mao Tse-tung.

It is not the purpose here to go into detail of the marxist-leninist doctrine of ‘just war’ and ‘war of national liberation’. These subjects have been treated in detail elsewhere (for an expert communist view see A. Neuberg (pseudonym), Armed Insurrection. (1971). This was to be a book in the library of every revolutionist to educate himself further. Neuberg was in reality the pseudonym of a number of leading communist theorists among them the German communist Heinz Neumann, participant in many European and Chinese insurrections and civil wars. Neuberg discussed military tactics and underscored the need for using violence. Violence had a “creative” role and only force could solve the great problems of history. Uprising was to him an art, just like the art of war. Uprisings, according to Lenin, should be prepared both politically and militarily. This was not done in Germany in the 1920s when the communists tried to take over that country by force. Uprising, however, is a special military art and, in some respects, differs from conventional warfare.

An example during the communist uprisings of the 1920s in Germany is the Free Corps, that was employed by the social democratic government to put down the communist private armies. These organizations, also private armies, politically to the right, have been treated in detail in a number of recent books in German (see for instance Robert Thoms and Stefan Pochanke, Handbuch zur Geschichte der deutschen Freikorps; 2001). The numbers of private Free Corps armies differ. Ernst von Salomon described 85 organizations. According to the German National Archive there were 68 organizations, other sources claim 218. Thoms and Pochanke provide an alphabetical list that they think is complete. It is important to note the German example is one of the best for determining how to regulate and legally treat private armies.


In Latin America the question of power seizure and change has been a recurring problem – caudillaje, machetismo, cuartelazo, golpe de estado, revolución, imposición, and continuismo. During the Cold War extremists launched what was termed “wars of national liberation” in Latin America. It was violence associated with the communist formulation and implementation of doctrine of internal war (civil war) [see G. Ginsburgs, “Wars of National Liberation and the Modern Law of Nations – The Soviet Thesis” 29 Law and Contemp. Prob. 910 (1964)]. In reality it was any war which furthered the communist world revolution. Communism referred to it as ‘just war’. (see Dean Rusk, “The Control of Force in International Relations”, in I Falk (ed.), The Vietnam War and International Law 338 (1968).

Venezuela is the only country in Latin America (so far) where an urban insurrection nearly suceeded. The urban guerrillas in Caracas represented a powerful coalition of forces, including the local Communist Party (with some 35,000 members), rebels from the Democratic Action Party (AD), students and dissident sections of the armed forces. In the end the guerrillas were defeated by President Romulo Betancourt and his forces of law and order (note Robert Moss, Urban Guerrillas – A New Face of Political Violence; 1972).

Brazil was the great failure of the strategy of urban revolution. The doctrine of civil war in that country had been created by Carlos Marighella in his theoretical work Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla. Marighella’s career was very short. He was trapped by the police in a gun battle and killed in November 1969. Attempts in Brazil to carry subversion to the countryside, as it was termed, failed miserably. It is simple for the government, if it is determined, to isolate and root out the rural forces of internal war. The guerrillas also fractioned in a large number of small groups. The successor of Marighella, Camara Ferreira, shortly before his own death, admitted that the Brazilian guerrillas had suffered a number of serious setbacks. Ferreira is said to have suffered a heart attack resisting arrest in Sao Paulo in October 1970. The guerrillas scored some limited victories but the kidnappings provoked middle class reactions. Marighella had hoped that increased counterterrorism would arouse a broad militant opposition. On the contrary the revolutionary forces limited the options of opposition (for further on Brazil see Joao Qartim, Dictatorship and Armed Struggle in Brazil; 1971).

The Tupamaros in the small country of Uruguay were the masters of the game but in the end also failed miserably. Before that they had managed to destroy the flowering economy in this prosperous country (see Robert Moss, Uruguay: Terrorism versus Democracy; 1971).

The latest bloody and costly internal wars in Latin America was that of the Shining Path in Peru (see Guenther Maschke “Das bewaffnete Wort – Mythos der Erziehung und revolutionaere Gewalt: Der ‘Leuchtende Pfad’ in Peru”, 1993, in that author’s book Das bewaffnete Wort; 1997) and the now ongoing attempt of narcoterrorists to wreck Colombia.


Africa is of course the field where private armies have played an increasingly important role after the Cold War. The forerunner was the Nigerian Civil War.

Lately the World Bank has discovered that civil war is a great danger to less developed countries (see Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy; 2003). Civil war conflict is a core development issue. The existence of civil war can dramatically slow a country’s development process, especially in low-income countries which are more vulnerable to civil war conflict. Conversely, development can impede civil war. When development succeeds, countries become safer—when development fails, they experience a greater risk of being caught in a conflict trap. Civil war is partly a failure of development.

Breaking the Conflict Trap identifies the dire consequences that civil war has on the development process.

First, civil war has adverse ripple effects that are often not taken into account by those who determine whether wars start or end.

Second, some countries are more likely than others to experience civil war conflict and thus, the risks of civil war differ considerably according to a country’s characteristics including its economic stability.

Finally, Breaking the Conflict Trap explores viable international measures that can be taken to reduce the global incidence of civil war and proposes a practical agenda for action.

Some countries are more prone to civil war than others. Since 1995 the Bank has supported reconstruction in Africa in Ruanda, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Bank study mentioned above is an analysis of 52 major civil wars that occurred between 1960 and 1999. The typical conflict lasted about seven years and left a legacy of persistent poverty and disease.

For the average country in the study, the risk of civil war during any five-year period was about 6 percent. But the risk was alarmingly higher if the economy was poor, economically declining, and dependent on natural resource exports. For a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the late 1990s, with deep poverty, a collapsing economy, and huge mineral exploitation, the risk of civil war was nearly 80 per cent.

Failure to develop greatly increases the chance that a country will be caught in a civil war and struggle of private armies. Countries can break the conflict trap by putting in place the policies and institutions necessary for sustained growth.

Most of the suffering caused by civil war – death, injury, disease, dislocation and loss of possessions – is experienced by non-combatants who have little say about whether the war should begin or how long it should last.Moreover, the domestic costs of civil war continue long after the fighting ends. Countries that suffer a civil war often get locked into persistently high levels of military expenditure, capital flight, infectious disease, low growth and entrenched poverty. A country that has recently emerged from war is at especially high risk of falling into conflict again.

The negative effects do not stop at the border: neighboring countries suffer immediate and long term effects, including the costs of providing for refugees, increased infectious disease (such as malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis), and higher military expenditure. Throughout the region, investment dries up and economic growth declines, heightening the risk that neighboring countries will themselves fall into civil war.

Globally, three major social evils are in large part the by-product of civil wars: hard drugs, HIV and international terrorism. For example, about 95 percent of the global production of illegal narcotics is located in civil war countries. Epidemiological research suggests that the initial spread of HIV was closely associated with the 1979 civil war in Uganda, and the large number of rapes along the border with Tanzania. Finally, international terrorists need areas outside of government control for large-scale training camps.

New international regulations in the diamond trade have cut financing for rebel groups dependent on “blood diamonds,” helping to end the rebellion Sierra Leone. Bribery in African countries has been reduced as it is often a contributing factor in the onset of conflict.

In extremely poor countries with very weak governance, assistance could focus on a few simple reforms, such as improving elementary education or maternal health, in order to build the constituency for further reforms.

Rich endowments of diamonds, timber, oil, gold and other natural resources in Africa are often associated with conflict, poor governance and economic decline, in part because they provide a tempting source of revenue for would-be rebels. If the rebel organizations are shut out of international markets, as is being done with diamonds, might be one step to prevent civil war.

Civil wars in Africa often lead to regional arms races which undermine development and increase the risk of war. One solution is for regional political organizations to negotiate coordinated cuts in arms spending, and for international financial institutions to monitor compliance. When the international community intervenes militarily to stop a war, the military and aid commitments should last long enough for development take hold. This typically takes four to five year.


The problem of private armies (local civil war or internal war, as has been shown, is not new. It has taken on a new dimension after September 11, 2001 (see Bertil Haggman’s article “Civil Warfare”, Reader’s Guide to Military History; 2001). Now there are a number of very wealthy private armies (criminal terrorist organizations) with an expanded choice of territory in civil war countries to establish training camps and networks. Application of unauthorized violence is a frightening development when it takes on the scope and range of such organizations as al Qaeda. The American war on terrorism has been successful. Money transfers across borders have been stopped. Leaders have been arrested but it is much like a many-headed snake. Cut off one head and a new one is emerging.

It seems to be time for jurists to take on the problem of private armies/terrorist organizations. There is a wealth of legal questions to solve: are the members of these private army soldiers? How are they to be treated if taken prisoners of war? How is the term private army to be defined? There is a necessity to add new rules to the existing Geneva Conventions.

The war on international terrorism is not only a responsibility of the American government and the American armed forces. It is a responsibility of organizations like the World Bank, the International Red Cross and national international law organizations. The study of historical and fresh examples of private armies in civil wars could be useful tool to explore present problems.

President George W. Bush has declared that “our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” One of these organizations, Hezbollah, a terrorist group of global reach, has been responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization, including al Qaeda. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said that “Hezbollah may be the ‘A-team’ of terrorists,” while “al Qaeda is actually the ‘B-team. “

Saif al-Adel has assumed command of the revived al Qaeda’s military operations. Adel is wanted by the FBI for the role he played in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and was recently named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. According to Virginia-based Geostrategy-Direct, “Adel has revived al Qaeda with new methods, operations and relationships with Islamic terrorist networks throughout the world.”

Tehran is sheltering — or even tolerating — Saif al-Adel, a clear indictment of Iran, already Hezbollah’s patron and the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Adel’s presence in Iran would pose a greater threat to American security than that of Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq, which was one of the key pieces of evidence the administration used to make its case for war against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Adel has a connection to Hezbollah, who trained him in their camps in the early 1990s. The 1998 indictment for the embassy-bombings trial states that “Usama bin Laden, the defendant, and al Qaeda also forged alliances… with representatives of the government of Iran, and its associated terrorist group Hezballah, for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.”

This alliance dates back to 1994, when bin Laden met with Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyeh in Khartoum. He seems to be the head of Hezbollah’s security apparatus.

Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in April 1983, killing 241 U.S. Marines in the barracks bombing later that year, and destroying the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992.

In 2002 there were reports that an undetermined number of al Qaeda operatives had fled Afghanistan in the wake of the American victory and taken refuge in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah’s stronghold. Hezbollah spiritual leader Hassan Nasrallah has been all too clear about his hatred of the United States. A week before the war in Iraq began, he told a crowd of 10,000 in Beirut: “In the past, when the Marines were in Beirut and their fleets were in the Mediterranean sea, we screamed in the southern suburbs ‘Death to America’…today, the region is being filled with hundreds of thousands of American soldiers and fleets and ‘Death to America’ was, is and will stay our slogan.”

The new private armies could be capable of many surprise actions, on a scale that has not been possible for these organizations in the past. A spokesman for al Qaeda has told an Arabic-language newsmagazine that the terror group will try to use poisons to attack the United States, specifically threatening to contaminate the nation’s water supply.

Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj told the London-based al-Majallah magazine that “al Qaeda [does not rule out] using sarin gas and poisoning drinking water in U.S. and Western cities.”

“We will talk about [these weapons] then and the infidels will know what harms them. They spared no effort in their war on us in Afghanistan. … They should not therefore rule out the possibility that we will present them with our capabilities.”

Some U.S. officials play down the threat, but terrorism analysts point out that al-Ablaj had communicated with the magazine before the suicide attacks earlier this month in Saudi Arabia, warning that al Qaeda was about to stage a major offensive in the kingdom.

U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have learned that al Qaeda members … specifically sought information on water supply and wastewater management practices in the United States and abroad.

Evidence in 2003 is clearly demonstrating the need for coming to legal grips with terrorist organizations. The United Nations is out of the question when it comes to solving the juridical riddle. The world organization has not even been able to define the term terrorism. It seems that the only jurists that could present a convincing case are the international law organizations in the United States. The Rule of Law has to take firm roots in the field of the combat of private armies/terrorist organizations.


Professor Melko has in his excellent book put general war in perspective. There is a reduced importance of that kind of war in history. Instead global civil war is emerging as a dominant form of conflict. General wars have indeed been ill-conceived, chance and ignorance played a great part and resources were devastated that could have been put to better use. For the West it meant almost self-destruction for European powers.

Melko’s premise that general wars have had an integral function in the long term process of state systems is correct. They did so until 1789. The two world wars 1914 – 1918 and 1939 – 1945 are mere phases of the ongoing global civil war. Like most general wars the global civil war was not declared but the starting year is easy to determine. That has not been the case of many general wars.

When reading the new book I searched the index for terms like civil war or internal war. They are not there but it might have been useful to find a contrast. General wars up until the 20th century were rather organized affairs, at least in the West.

Leaving out general wars in other civilizations Melko lists as a Classical General War the Peloponnesian Wars. One can however question if these were not in effect civil wars. What about the Great Roman Civil War and the other civil wars of the Roman Empire?

The following list is interesting to create a framwork since 1789 (the beginning of my global civil war; Melko p. 41):

General War 1789 – 1815
Interlude 1815 – 1848
Supplementary War 1848 – 1871
General Peace 1871 – 1914
General War 1914 – 1945
Interlude 1945 – 1991
Supplementary Wars 1991 –

Describing the Cold War as an Interlude seems to me questionable, as a victory for the Soviet Union would have meant victory for global totalitarianism. Here General Hot War and General Cold War seem possible alternatives. What about the period after 1991? Didn’t that period in reality came to an end in 2001 and an Era of Terrorist Wars start (including the Iraq war)?

My notes here on the learned work of Professor Melko may not be regarded as a suitable review. Admittedly my interest in civil war as being bloodier, more dangerous and protracted than the general wars have taken over, for which I apologize but the present period is more dangerous than most other periods in the history of civilizations. It offers great opportunities but there are great dangers too. It should be added here that since the publication of professor Melko’s pathbreaking article “The Hegemon in World History” (Journal for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, No. 10 March 2005).

Orlyk, Pylyp

June 13, 2019

Orlyk and a part of his General Officer Staff emigrated in 1714 to Sweden, in 1720 to Silesia, and in 1721 to Poland. From 1722 until his death he was interned in Turkish-controlled territories—in Salonika until 1734, then in the Budzhak, and finally in Moldavia. During that period Orlyk sought, in vain, the support of Sweden, Poland, Saxony, Great Britain, Hannover, Holstein, the Vatican, and, through his son, Hryhor Orlyk, France. He also continued trying to organize, without success, a personal army and to incite the Zaporozhian Host to rise against Russian rule.

Orlyk wrote verses in Latin, the panegyrics Alcides Rossyiski (The Russian Alcides [Heracles], 1695) to Mazepa and Hippomenes Sarmacki (The Sarmatian Hippomenes, 1698) to Col Ivan Obydovsky, the political treatise ‘Vyvid prav Ukraïny’ (Devolution of Ukraine’s Rights, 1712), a manifesto to European governments justifying his alliance with the Porte (1712), and numerous memorandums to European rulers and government leaders. His diary of 1720–32 (5 vols) is preserved at the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris. A book of Orlyk’s selected works, edited by Myroslav Trofymuk and Valerii Shevchuk, was published in Kyiv in 2006.

[Rawita-]Gawroński, F. ‘Filip Orlyk, nieuznany hetman kozacki,’ in Studya i szkice historyczne, ser 2 (Lviv 1900)
Holiichuk, F. ‘Fylyp Orlyk u Halychyni,’ in Naukovyi zbirnyk prysviachenyi M. Hrushevs’komu (Lviv 1906)
Iensen [Jensen], A. ‘Orlyk u Shvetsiï,’ ZNTSh, 92 (1909)
Kordt, V.A. (ed). ‘Dokumenty ob Andree Voinarovskom i Filippe Orlike,’ Sbornik statei i materialov po istorii Iugo-Zapadnoi Rossii, 2 (Kyiv 1916)
Borshchak, I. ‘Het’man Pylyp Orlyk i Frantsiia (storinky dyplomatychnoï istoriï),’ ZNTSh, 134–5 (1924); repr UIZh, 1991, nos 8–9, 11
Krupnyts’kyi, B. Het’man Pylyp Orlyk (1672–1742): Ohliad ioho politychnoï diial’nosty (Warsaw 1938)
Borschak, E. ‘Pylyp Orlyk’s Devolution of the Ukraine’s Rights,’ AUA, 6, nos 3–4 (1958)
Subtelny, O. The Mazepists: Ukrainian Separatism in the Early Eighteenth Century (New York 1981)
The Diariusz podrożny of Pylyp Orlyk (1727–1731), intro by Omeljan Pritsak (Cambridge, Mass 1988)
Iakovenko, Nataliia (ed.). Pylyp Orlyk: zhyttia, polityka, teksty (Kyiv 2011)
Häggman, Bertil. Hetman Filip Orlik – en ukrainsk frihetskaempe i Sverige 1715–1720 (Kristianstad 2014)

Theodore Mackiw
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