A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tunnel Networks in Guerrilla War: From Cu Chi to Gaza

A Gaza tunnel (Time)
There is nothing new under the sun, like the man said. Being in my 60s has its downside but it does mean I have a lot of memory for this blog that claims to put modern developments in "cultural and historical context," as it says up top. So when I read that Israel is finding the tunnel system in Gaza rather more daunting than they expected,  for example:

"Gaza’s underground: A vast tunnel network that empowers Hamas (Al Jazeera)"

"Israel Surprised by Number, Sophistication of Gaza Tunnels" (Fox News)

and given that Al Jazeera and Fox News don't often agree, even on the time of day, I suspect some fellow geezers of my generation will immediately think "Cu Chi."

Yet I've seen only one reference, in this BBC report, to the parallel.

During the Vietnam War, the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) had a 75-mile long underground network of tunnels in the Cu Chi district outside Saigon; these contained command posts,and other facilities and provided an operational center for the Tet Offensive of 1968. Today the Cu Chi tunnels are a Vietnamese War Memorial, with tours available.

Cu Chi
If you look at the two photos you might see some similarities. If you're a resistance force fighting an asymmetric war against a superior military force with air supremacy and greater firepower, might some Hamas strategists have studied the writings of Vo Nguyen Giap? (Who died less than a year ago at 102.)




CASA 72 said...

Michael Ryan argues in "Decoding AlQaeda's Strategy" that jihadist groups have studied the classics of guerilla warfare as well as 4G war.

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Good point, CASA 72 (if that IS your real name)