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  1. #1
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    Default "Arab Rebellion" official history?

    Moderator's Note

    I have merged two threads today on the Palestine COIN campaign, this thread was entitled The insurgency Jewish terrorists won and an older 2010 smaller RFI thread "Arab Rebellion" official history?

    The thread is now called Palestine and British COIN (catch all), so it covers the pre-1939 Arab Rebellion and the post-war campaign (put simply).(Ends).


    Hi all,
    I'm currently researching the Special Night Squads (SNS), a COIN unit formed by (then) captain Orde Charles Wingate during the "Arab Rebellion" in Palestine (1936-1939).
    I'm currently looking for British source material regarding the rebellion. While there are many primary sources dealing with the subject, I did not find, as yet, a British "official history" work describing it.
    Does anyone know whether such a history exists?
    Thanks,
    shlomz
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-19-2016 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Add Note
    "Nowadays people seem to imagine that impartiality means readiness to treat lies and truth the same, readiness to hold white as bad as black and black as good as white. I, on the contrary, believe that without integrity a man much better not approach a problem at all." Orde Charles Wingate, 1938

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    You might want to try my book, 'Orde Wingate and the British Army, 1922-1944' - there is an extensive bibliography in there.

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    Thank you very much, Dr. Anglim. I have already read your (excellent) book, as well as your articles regarding Wingate and the SNS (published in "The Occasional" and in "Contemporary Security Policy"). I have found the bibliography included in these works very helpful.

    I did not find, however, an official British account of the Arab Rebellion. My guess is that perhaps no such history exsits, perhaps on account of the outbreak of WW2.
    "Nowadays people seem to imagine that impartiality means readiness to treat lies and truth the same, readiness to hold white as bad as black and black as good as white. I, on the contrary, believe that without integrity a man much better not approach a problem at all." Orde Charles Wingate, 1938

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    There isn't one. The British Army did not make official histories of its Small Wars. However, there are narratives and digests of lessons learned in the Public Record Office at Kew.

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    I suspected as much... Thank you!
    I hope that a synthesis between British and Israeli documents (and perhaps Arab documents as well, if I will be lucky enough to find any) will allow me to construct a clear description of the unit's modus operandi, achievements and impact on the rebellion in northern Palestine.
    "Nowadays people seem to imagine that impartiality means readiness to treat lies and truth the same, readiness to hold white as bad as black and black as good as white. I, on the contrary, believe that without integrity a man much better not approach a problem at all." Orde Charles Wingate, 1938

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    Default Palestine and British COIN (catch all)

    Bruce Hoffman's new book 'Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947' opens with:
    “Does terrorism work?” His answer is that in contrast to what most governments claim, terrorists can attain at least some of their fundamental aims, provided they operate under “the right conditions and with the appropriate strategy and tactics.”
    It was reviewed today in the NYT and opens with:
    On July 22, 1946, seven milk churns containing concealed bombs exploded in the basement of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Six floors of British government and military offices collapsed, and 92 people were killed, most of them Arab, British and Jewish civilians. What was at the time the most lethal terrorist attack in history was perpetrated by the Irgun Zvai Leumi (Hebrew for National Military Organization) headed by Menachem Begin, a future prime minister of Israel. The organization’s main aim was to force the British out of Palestine, which they had ruled since 1917.
    That was a lethal action, the most significant action, a murder was:
    ...on Nov. 6, 1944, two Jewish terrorists assassinated Lord Moyne, the British minister of state resident in the Middle East, based in Cairo. The assassins were members of another terrorist organization called Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, better known as Lehi or the Stern Gang.
    Link:http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/01...-hoffman.html?

    Mixed reviews via Amazon.com:http://www.amazon.com/Anonymous-Sold.../dp/0307594718
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-01-2015 at 03:15 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    I remain constantly surprised that this is an issue. Does terrorism work? It depends. Despite Begin's assertions, the Irgun's urban terrorism against Arab civilians and the British authorities wasn't the key to the founding of Israel, but it certainly undermined the Mandate authorities.

    Now if Lehi's attempt to bomb the Colonial Office in London and its letter bombs to Harry Truman, Clement Attlee, Winston Churchill, and Anthony Eden had gone off successfully - we might be talking about something else entirely.

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    One thing seems to be clear, for an terrorist action or insurgency to work it has to have two components: the first is the fighters who are willing to kill military and innocents alike in order to undermine whatever authority is currently in power, and a "legitimate" component that is works within the accepted political framework to offer a "solution" to the problems.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    One thing seems to be clear, for an terrorist action or insurgency to work it has to have two components: the first is the fighters who are willing to kill military and innocents alike in order to undermine whatever authority is currently in power, and a "legitimate" component that is works within the accepted political framework to offer a "solution" to the problems.
    Wouldn't that depend upon their goal? A criminal organization may conduct terrorism to effect state capture (yes that is a political objective) to facilitate their criminal/economic activity. They don't require a legitimate framework to achieve their goals, they simply need to coerce the government and population. IS on the other hand used terrorism to establish territorial control and establish control of the population. If we really stretch our imagination we could call their government structure legitimate, but I'll pass on that.

    One also needs to describe effective in a temporal context. I recall similar voices that Assad's government would fail years ago, that ISIS would collapse upon itself, etc. That may all prove to be true, but for now their versions of terrorism has worked to achieve their goals. The USSR used terrorism to control their population, it took over 50 years for their political system to collapse.

    We Americans tend to have a nave view of the world based on how we perceive our history, and our so called natural and universal laws. The real world can be quite rough, and rough works when you're the roughest. It may or may not result in an enduring solution, but history speaks for itself if we would only listen. Fortunately we have a system in place that at least currently prevents control of the populace and government through terrorist tactics, but that truth doesn't apply everywhere in the world.

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Bill,

    I don't subscribe to the idea that criminal organizations engage in political terrorism. There motivation is usually monetary gain, not forming or reforming a political entity. If they do engage in acts that involve terror, like extortion, their motivation is not political.

    I did not believe that Asad would fall easily, but I must admit that ISIS was unexpected and I totally misjudged them.

    While I normally would agree with you on our Western bias, here is the one time that the Western bias matters. I have written elsewhere that there are three levels of legitimacy. The first level is the legitimacy of the individual leader - did he gain power through the appropriate channels and is he ruling according to the dictates of society. The second is the legitimacy of the system - does the system follow the expectations of the population. The third level is legitimacy between states - does the international community see the government as legitimate. ISIS may be the defacto government of a swath of northern Iraq and western Syria, but unless the Western world accepts them as a real, legitimate government. That requires another element, some organization that can give ISIS, or any other group, legitimacy amongst it's peers - other States. That is just a fact.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

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    Default Video: Anonymous Soldiers - How Terrorism Undermined Britain's Rule Over Palestine

    Video: Anonymous Soldiers - How Terrorism Undermined Britain's Rule Over Palestine

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    Default Palestine and British COIN (catch all)

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-19-2016 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Copied and edited to here

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