Controlling large unruly mobs is always troublesome but nowhere is this truer than in the Islamic Middle East. Violence always almost escalates and it takes only a few "martyrs" to instigate a revolution. Just think of how many lives would have been saved if the Syrian regime had better managed the initial anti-government demonstrations?
So, how can an angry mob of Muslims on the verge of deadly violence be constrained? Unfortunately, as recent events show, the standard repertoire-tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets usually fail. Protestors just run and quickly reassemble as the tear gas dissipates or the police run out of rubber bullets or water. Desperate police or soldiers then resort to live ammunition and disaster follows.
There is, however, a solution that would not require new and expensive technology let alone training Third Worlders in enlightened western-style crowd control. The answer is pork and the reasons are obvious--save the most secularized, every Muslim detests pork, and even indirectly coming into contact with a swine product can be nearly debilitating. Supposedly, even mere proximity will deny the observant entrance to Paradise, so forget about those awaiting 72 dark-eyed virgins (no small matter for millions of sex-starved young men).
The easiest tactic would be loading 00 shotgun shells with savory bacon bits. Such "pigshot" when fired into the air would quickly send the panicked fanatics fleeing for cover and contaminate the area for days if not months. Water cannons could also stray crowds with pig broth and just imagine protestors trying to get the stench out of their clothes. The "infected" would stink for days and thereby be ostracized from civil society. Individual soldiers need only be armed with aerosol cans with an active ingredient of 2% pork (or .01% pig blood) to squirt rowdy protestors (much better than pepper spray or guns).
For defensive purposes, bacon grease could be smeared on streets, Holy sites or around government buildings and foreign embassies. A twenty-foot wide "white line" of rancid lard separating Sunni from Shia (or Copts from Muslims in Egypt) virtually guarantees peace. Just to make sure, post signs with pig faces and crossed bones every few feet.
Pork products can facilitate major but humane military operations with zero loss of human life. Property damage would also be minimal and thereby alleviate costly post-conflict re-building. Better yet, no depressing TV coverage of bombed out neighborhoods, over-crowed hospitals and maimed children. Hear that Mr. Assad!! Just fill artillery shells withed cubed ham, sausage patties, deep fried pork rinds, chitterlings or whatever else the mission demands. A single scrapple filled 155mm shell exploding at an altitude of, say, 50 meters could easily contaminate a small village. Inhabitants might not return for twenty years after such a bombardment.
Further add the possibility of humane gas war fare that, being non-lethal, would not violate any Geneva conventions. Flat bed trucks could be modified as mobile Chinese field kitchens, complete with a traditional large exterior ventilating circular fan. When the enemy is within range, computerized sensors would guide the exhaust fan and the pork strips would be cooked in giant woks. Panic would ensue as fanatics whiffed some twice cooked pork drifting their way.
Yes, this sounds fine in the abstract but who will use this weaponry? Surely no self-respecting Muslim will even handle a pork sausage filled artillery shell. Recall the widespread and violent 1857 Indian Sepoy Mutiny when both Muslim and Hindu troops employed by the British East India Company rebelled rather than bite a rifle cartridge covered in grease made from beef tallow or lard. Hard to imagine any Muslim government, no matter how secular ordering its Muslim citizens to touch pork products.
Fortunately there is a solution-outsiders and non-believers. For centuries Muslims have used non-believers for tasks deemed too unclean for the faithful. Many Jews, for example, were skilled silversmiths in Yemen since metal working was too dirty for Muslims (tanning was also off-limits). Most Muslim countries still have Christian populations and in Egypt Christians once used pigs when collecting garbage.
More relevant, a long tradition exists of Arab governments utilizing outsiders (even fellow Muslims) to impose domestic security since outsiders have few ties to natives. The Mamelukes , originally slaves imported from Turkey rose to power thanks to their superior military ability and even held the Egyptian throne from about 1250 until 1517 and still exercised influence until 1811. The most famous mercenaries, of course, are the Swiss Guards who have for centuries provided security for European royalty and it would not take much to create a Middle East equivalent.
So, Muslim regimes will quietly use local Christians or recruit mercenaries (today called "contract workers) from around the world notable for both their military prowess and an affinity for pork products. Yes, these pork-lovers will be hated but that's the point-strike terror into those prone to violent protest. Far superior to dispatching ill-trained young military recruits who might panic and start shooting or, worse, defect to join the protestors.
These riot control specialists might be called the SOW team (for Special Operation Weapons) and will be instantly recognized by their uniforms--pink berets with matching curly tails, pigskin suede jackets embellished with wild boar emblems and, for especially dangerous missions plastic strap on snouts and will often be accompanied by aroma-heavy trucks carrying real pigs trained to sniff out bomb factories, smuggling tunnels or whatever else needs to be found (recall how pigs can sniff out truffles). Perhaps once a year this SOW team will go on parade chanting oink! Oink! Such a sight, no doubt, will terrify Muslim mothers who will warn their children "Watch out or the Pigs will get you!"
The upshot, hopefully, will be a return to political stagnation-no incessant calls for democracy, Sharia compliant states or anything else beyond the paralyzed status quo. Life would return to the good old days when nothing happened, hardly a disaster considering deadly events in contemporary Libya, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria. But, it would be an improved stagnation vis-à-vis past dictatorships of torture and imprisonment. Peace through pork, so to speak. Aren't pigs wonderful?
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Robert Weissberg is emeritus professor of political science, University of Illinois-Urbana. He has written many books, the most recent being: The Limits of Civic Activism, Pernicious Tolerance: How teaching to "accept differences" undermines civil society andBad Students, Not Bad Schools. Besides writing for professional journals, he has also written for magazines like the Weekly Standard and currently contributes to various blogs.
The views expressed in the articles published in FamilySecurityMatters.org are those of the authors. These views should not be construed as the views of FamilySecurityMatters.org or of the Family Security Foundation, Inc., as an attempt to help or prevent the passage of any legislation, or as an intervention in any political campaign for public office. COPYRIGHT 2013 FAMILY SECURITY MATTERS INC.