Dirty War": Rhodesia's Covert Chemical and Biological Weapons in Counterinsurgency
"Dirty War" unveils the concealed history of Rhodesia's secret deployment of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) during their intensive counterinsurgency against African nationalists. After its 1965 declaration of independence from Britain, the Rhodesian government, primarily composed of European descendants, swiftly faced challenges from African nationalists.
In the heat of this prolonged strife, Rhodesia employed CBW against the stealthy guerrilla opposition. A select team, including scientists and scholars from a secluded Rhodesian base, crafted these deadly agents. Under utmost secrecy and managed by a seasoned Rhodesian Special Branch officer with a dedicated police team, their operations were exclusively answerable to Rhodesian intelligence leadership and the Prime Minister. Collaborating with the esteemed Selous Scouts, Rhodesia's paramount counterguerrilla force, they innovated potent methods for CBW deployment against rebels.
These toxins and pathogens wreaked havoc on insurgent factions both within Rhodesia and in adjacent nation bases. Occasionally, Rhodesia believed their toxic arsenal would be the game-changer against the guerrillas. For certain periods, CBWs inflicted more harm than traditional weaponry. Yet, regardless of their CBW prowess or battlefield victories, Rhodesia's destiny seemed predetermined due to a lack of global backing. The issue finally found a resolution via diplomacy, leading to Zimbabwe's independence in April 1980.
"Dirty War" results from nearly 20 years of rigorous research, encompassing interviews with many ex-Rhodesian officials familiar with the CBW program. Leveraging scarce classified documents, this book crafts a riveting narrative of how a handful of individuals deployed CBWs against a primarily unsuspecting adversary. Examining CBW within the Rhodesian conflict backdrop, "Dirty War" offers unparalleled perspectives on why nations, particularly those facing internal revolts, resort to such measures. With evident chemical weapons use in regions like Iraq and Syria, understanding Rhodesia's CBW history is ever more crucial.