Military Intelligence and International Law

by Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai

The rudiments and theory of military intelligence examines the complicated subject according to the requirements of various operatives. I divide the study of military intelligence into lower, intermediate, higher and advanced levels. In most armies, the officer is evaluated according to his prowess in forays into military intelligence or other fields.

Intellectual liberty has permitted those of us who do not bear arms to peep into this special field of military science in order, primarily, to use international law to dissuade excesses during international armed conflicts and occasional military engagements within states.

This has taken more urgency as a result of the unbridled and unconscionable use of military force in the last eight years, which has set nations against each other, for reasons that are incredulous and bizarre. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 saw the emergence of the United States as the sole super-power. This probably encouraged the United States to embark on a mission to “democratize” the ancient regimes in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. She also took on Iran and North Korea. These “ambitions were not made of a sterner stuff, “but led to an inestimable run on human and material resources. The situation was compound by natural disasters.

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia re-emerged as a force to reckon with in international affairs. Russia opposed the intrusion of America into Poland, Czechoslovakia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and especially in Georgia. This development set a new dimension for military intelligence operations in our bi-polar world. The current conflict between Russia and Georgia must be appended so that it does not escalate.

Every patriotic topologist mounted opposition against the eucalyptus logic of the other side, whose esophageal pronouncements no longer convinced anyone, not even the die-hard nationalists. For the first time in many decades, the journal, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, printed critical comments about the direction of US foreign policies, especially concerning the gregarious blunder in Iraq, the humiliation of General Colin Powell at the United Nations and the failure of intelligence that led to the 9/11 attack on the United States.

The use of arms, “unilateral and illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem” Putin once told a security forum. Military intelligence concerns itself with gathering information regarding political, military and allied matters with all their strategic components, which are associated with statecraft, governance and security.

There are different intelligence formations in most states. Military intelligence operates both general and specific intelligence systems whose classic engagement is to gather sensitive and useful information on the plans of the enemy, evaluating the enemy’s strength, its armament and its personnel and during combat, its position.

In modern times, military intelligence deals with code-breaking, wire-tapping, espionage, disinformation, psychological warfare, interrogation of prisoners, reconnaissance, keeping war dairies, records of military actions, micro-film, remote sensing, sabotage, deciphering messages, sending radio signals, cryptography, etc. This why defence budgets are big and never enough.

There is a difference between the cult of intelligence and the craft of intelligence. It is a craft, when it is used to genuinely defend the national interests of a state. It is a cult when its actions are propelled by base instincts, dirty tricks, assassinations and containment of leaders, who do not toe the line of powerful states. As of now, the world intelligence community has no motion or force. As a result of the actions of political leaders, they neither hear nor see because the earth’s diurnal course is fenced with ‘rocks, stones and trees”.

In these End Times, military intelligence must penetrate into the activities of all states because the global strand of geo-politics has turned a dangerous bend. The objective of the craft is to remove the threat of nuclear weapons, to halt and reverse the nuclear arms race, until mankind can be assured of safety.

The role of International Law, especially international humanitarian law, is to regulate international armed conflict. There are many international legal instruments which have been adopted by many states. Although some states do not always obey these laws, they afford us the opportunity to assess military intelligence operations.

The role of military intelligence in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon makes it mandatory for military intelligence to adhere strictly to international law. Military operations in Mosul, Falujah and Tikrit permitted the insurgents to perfect their own logic. The military-strategic error of disbanding the Iraqi army was not wise.” Operation Phoenix’ led to the assassination of Viet Cong leaders. The war was lost. It has not yet been evaluated how much the decapitation of Viet Cong leaders formed part of the reason.
In the same vein, the hanging of Saddam Hussein may be the reason why surges have not ended the Iraqi war. Iraqi Baath socialist insurgents, now re-integrated into the Iraqi army have no cause to be loyal to anyone. They have combined their heroic ethic and the philosophy of secret underground warfare to stand their ground in the last two years.
The armed struggle in Iraq has been carried on by insurgents. Although there is no ascertainable command, the resistance has lasted long enough to suggest that is co-ordination by unseen hands.

The rule of law, human rights, international humanitarian law and common values known to mankind through the ages should discourage the use of military intelligence in violating the sanctity of man.

African states should bring the knowledge of military science and especially military intelligence to the common knowledge of their citizens. This would enable them to decline recruitment into the military intelligence outfits of foreign states. Too many agents weaken governments in Africa since their operations are harder to detect.
In China, the harshest punishment is reserved for citizens, who work for foreign intelligence formations. The Chinese have shown the world how a state that quietly runs its national and international affairs can feed one billion, three hundred million people, become the manufacturing center of the world and host a $40 billion Olympic games, collect a sizeable number of gold, silver and bronze medals, only 49 years after independence, not minding a harsh climatic disposition, earthquakes, etc.( See, Emmanuel Esiemokhai,” Emerging China the Giant of the 21st Century” 2007, Shandong University of Science and Technology, Lecture Series, Qingdao).

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