Go Back   Small Wars Council > The Small Wars Community of Interest > Miscellaneous Goings On

Miscellaneous Goings On Events, books, new analyses, heard on the street notables, etc.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-20-2016   #1
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545
Default Few 'Small Wars' in the Middle East

Slightly late for Christmas, but nevertheless, Helion Publishing (UK) released three new volumes from its 'Middle East@War' series in these days, as follows:

The Iran-Iraq War. Volume 1: The Battle For Khuzestan, September 1980-May 1982

The Iran-Iraq War. Volume 2: Iran Strikes Back, June 1982-December 1986

Yes, sure, there are meanwhile about 20 or so histories of this war in English language (plus some three times as many in different other languages). So, what's making these two volumes 'special', why should one buy or at least read them?

Sure, as one of co-authors, I'm biased. But, this project is the first time ever that really excellent sources - including loads of official documentation - from all involved parties were available. We could not only count on help from a number of former Iraqi Army generals, or gentlemen involved in Project Harmony and similar, but also on a number of well-placed sources in Iran (although far more 'clandestine'). If nothing else, several gentlemen from the latter country helped through provision of write-ups summarizing operational history of major Army units, plus the IRGC, of course.

Ted Hooton went to immense extensions to extract new materials from official archives in the USA, the UK, and Israel, rounding up the story.

Result of all the help we've got during this project is unprecedentedly detailed info on planning and conduct of combat operations: these two 'thiny' books (DIN A4 format, but only 112 pages) are so stuffed full with info and details, so full of exclusive information, that they read like one of 'usual' books about some WWII campaigns (say, '...commander XY then turned his Brigade around and assaulted in direction...').

Content-wise, both volumes are organized in chronological fashion, i.e. chapters by major phases or offensives. Of course, Volume 1 has a lots of 'introduction', detailing pre-war build-ups on both sides.

Overall, I'm sure they are still going to contain plenty of 'news' even for readers with lots of knowledge about this conflict. From my POV, these are likely to become best books to this topic for a while longer (and yes, I wouldn't go for anything less, but even my first reaction upon seeing the first draft for manuscripts of Volumes 1 and 2 was that they are certainly far better than anything else I've ever seen anywhere else - or ever expected we could manage).

BTW, volumes 3 and 4 are already half-way through preparation, too.

Volume 1:
- Background to a Bloody War (geo-political backgrounds)
- Two Armies (military build-up in Iran and Iraq)
- From Border War to Invasion ('skirmishing' along the frontier in August and September)
- The Invasion of Khuzestan (first phase of Iraqi invasion)
- The Iranians Strike Back (Iranian counteroffensives of late 1980 and early 1981)
- The Writing on the Wall (Iranian counteroffensives of 1981)
- Disaster for Iraq (Iranian offensive in 1982)

Volume 2:
- An Unholy Bloodbath (campaigns of 1983)
- First Battle in the Marshes (Operation Khaiber, 1984)
- The Slough of Despond (Iranian offensive in 1985)
- The Thriving Armourers (re-supply efforts of both sides mid through the war)
- The Brilliant Blow (Faw Offensive of 1986)


The third volume is at least as 'special', although not covering a comparatively 'important' story: Hawker Hunters at War, Iraq And Jordan, 1958-1967

This one came into being as an 'offshot' of the Arab MiGs book-series (a six-volume operational history of Arab air forces at war with Israel, 1955-1973), and in cooperation with Mrs Patricia Salti, leading historian of the Royal Jordanian Force.

The story is 'limited' to this specific period because this was so distinct in development of both the Iraqi and Jordanian air forces: both were dominated by Hunters, and indeed: one could say that the history of Iraq as a country was dominated by 'British-trained Hunter pilots' for much of the 1960s. Iraqis were the first to fly Hunters in combat: not during some war with Israel, but during one of about 20 coups that completely destabilised the country during that period.

In that sense, particularly interesting to research and reconstruct was the story of Capt Munthir al-Windawi, who played a crucial role during (at least) two of coups in question - and that while flying Hunters.

Nearly half of the book is related to reconstructing Iraqi and Jordanian ops against Israel during the June 1967 War. This resulted in lots of new details and conclusions - many of which are not necessarily 'in line' with stories published to this topic until now.


Chapter 1: Special Relationship
Backgrounds about Iraqi and Jordanian air force, their cooperation with the UK etc., spanning times from the 1920s until 1958.

Chapter 2: Crisis of 1958
This chapter describes repercussions of the Suez War of 1956 upon Iraq and Jordan, and then continues with description of Hunter-acquisition process by Iraq, followed by Jordan, i.e. spanning times 1956-1958.

Chapter 3: New Start in Iraq
Centrepiece is the story of successive coups in Iraq - all of which saw intensive involvement of IrAF Hunters - and Iraq's repeated orders for Hunters, from 1963-1965 period.

Chapter 4: First Battles with Mirages
Similar chapter covering operational history of Hunters in Jordan of the early 1960s; that is, training, training, training, some maintenance problems, and then more training, followed by first clash with Israelis, in December 1964. It is concluding with the Air Battle of Samu, on 13 November 1966, in the course of which co-author Salti lost her husband.

Chapter 5: June 1967 War
In essence, 'IrAF and RJAF at war with Israel, June 1967'.

Chapter 6: Battle for H-3
Aerial clashes over western Iraq, on 6 and 7 June 1967, followed by a summary of operational history of Hunters in Iraq and Jordan, in period 1958-1967.

There's a total of 8 tables, including those listing all of Iraqi and Jordanian Hunters (and their fates), all the known attrition, all known COs of Iraqi Hunter Squadrons in that period etc.

Colour section is including a 'full pictorial walk-around' of the Hunter F.Mk.59A found at the junkyard of former Habbaniyah AB, in Iraq, and 16 artworks.

As always, any questions and/or commentary are most welcome.
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2017   #2
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545

Here the first announcement for another volume from the Middle East@War series, titled Hot Skies over Yemen, Volume 1: Aerial Warfare over the Southern Arabian Peninsula, 1962-1994:

Since September 1962, hardly a week passed without a major armed confrontation or an outright war in Yemen. The number of long-lasting insurgencies, mutinies, rebellions, or terrorism-related activities that took place during this period is going into dozens. Despite duration of all these conflicts and although they may have caused as many as half a million of deaths, the rest of the World heard very little about them. At best, Yemen is nowadays known as a hotbed of international terrorism, an area that is on the receiving end of frequent US air strikes flown by UAVs, or as 'some place' fiercely bombarded by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

While at least some details about British aerial operations in what was Southern Arabia of the 1960s were published over the years, next to nothing is known about activities of other, ‘local’ air forces – like those of Egypt – and even less so about that of Yemen. This is even more surprising considering that for nearly two decades there were no less than two, fully developed services of that kind - one operated by what was then North Yemen, another by what used to be South Yemen - and that these were deeply involved in the Cold War, too.

Using newly released secret intelligence sources, neglected memoirs, and popular memory, this book is telling the story of military flying in Yemen between 1962 and 1994. It is providing in-depth insights and analysis of campaigns fought by the Egyptian air force of the 1960s, the creation of two Yemeni air forces in the 1970s, an entire series of inter-Yemeni wars of the 1980s and 1990s.

Containing over 140 photographs, color profiles, maps and extensive tables, Hot Skies over Yemen is a richly illustrated and unique point of reference about one segment of modern aerial warfare that remains entirely unknown until today.
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2017   #3
Council Member
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 813

Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
Here the first announcement for another volume from the Middle East@War series, titled Hot Skies over Yemen, Volume 1: Aerial Warfare over the Southern Arabian Peninsula, 1962-1994: the closed notes version is that Yemen has always been a royal goatf*ck...

What happens when Arabs living in poverty and chaos are unwanted by their more prosperous and secure co-ethnics? Oh wait...

Maybe Merkel can stretch her arms even wider?
Azor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2017   #4
Council Member
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 35,749

Originally Posted by Azor View Post the closed notes version is that Yemen has always been a royal goatf*ck...

What happens when Arabs living in poverty and chaos are unwanted by their more prosperous and secure co-ethnics? Oh wait...

Maybe Merkel can stretch her arms even wider?
Bashing of Merkel will not get one far....yes a hassle for Germany but all those refugees created a grand total of 23,000 paying jobs and the economy is booming without effecting it at all...what many commenters actually miss....and all those overfilled relocation centers IE gyms..will be emptied by May....AND all refugees will have been biometrically registered as well.....

Of the thousands of refugee status requests that were in backlog..only 43,000 remain not decided and those will be finished by all in all....over 1M registered..fed..clothed and a large number of children in kindergartens and schools and tens of language classes later...a majority of Germans do not give a single thought...

AND what is interesting is the secular impact of those refugees especially coming from Syria and Iraq on the more conservative Turkish population...

Side note....far more "tips" about radicalize individuals" are now coming in from those "refugees" than ever they fully understand the "threat" far better than most. interesting security development that even the US does not have....

There has been massive development on AI driven speech recognition software as part of internet and comms legal monitoring that now allows a person to simply read a set number of paragraphs in their native language and the AI software can identify down to the tribe and location where the individual is from allowing for a better identification of those arriving without passports and or IDs....

Will at some point be marketed/sold to the US.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-21-2017 at 08:02 PM. Reason: Partly copied to two other threads
OUTLAW 09 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2017   #5
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545

Originally Posted by Azor View Post the closed notes version is that Yemen has always been a royal goatf*ck...
Depends on the part of Yemen in question.

There were lengthy peaceful and highly prosperous periods in the history of the country. The last 150 years - and especially the last 60 yeares - saw nothing of that primarily because foreign powers decided there would be no peace. Principal reason for this was perfectly summarized by the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in a chat with Kennedy, in late 1962, ‘What Britain wants is a weak government in Yemen, not able to make trouble’.

This is what the British taught the Saudis to do with Yemen, and what the latter are actively practising ever since.

What happens when Arabs living in poverty and chaos are unwanted by their more prosperous and secure co-ethnics? Oh wait...

Maybe Merkel can stretch her arms even wider?
Merkel had her good reasons for what she did. While I do not agree with the way she 'organized' (i.e. not at all) what she did, I would say most of the effects of her decision are actually positive.

That said, my book (i.e. the two volumes that are currently planned) has nothing to do with all of this (besides, there are next to no refugees from Yemen arriving in Europe): while providing geo-political backgrounds, this project is concentrating on military history, and aerial warfare in particular (and then: 'local air warfare').

As usually, introduction is offering a summary of Yemen's history over the centuries and an overview of the coming-into-being of its modern-day military.

There is a big chapter on Egyptian military intervention - and particularly the involvement of the Egyptian air force in that campaign (a lot of this based on interviews with participating pilots) - and then the Soviet 'take-over' (in North and then in South Yemen) of 1967-1968. All of this almost exclusively explained from Egyptian and then Yemeni points of view.

Two other chapters are describing the build-up of both Yemeni militaries through the 1970s and 1980s and their mutual conflicts (they fought a number of short but bitter wars), and the final chapter of the Volume 1 is discussing aerial warfare during the Yemen 'Civil' War of 1994.

Volume 2 is to follow with the development of the Yemeni military ever since; then the so-called 'Six Sa'ada Wars', i.e. the emergence of the Houthis and the first series of wars between them and the central government. This campaign, i.e. its sixth part, culminated in the war of 2009-2010 that saw a massive Saudi involvement too. Here I've got some particularly interesting insights from several Saudi sources.

Clearly, final chapters are going to cover the Yemen War since 2015.
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2017   #6
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545

Curiously, 'Hot Skies over Yemen, Volume 1' is out since something like two months, and selling quite good. Still, the only 'segment' of customers that discovered it for them so far seem to be model-builders, and then British model-builders ('of course'). last, some of them have published the first review of that volume, so far.

BTW, Volume 2 - which is covering the history of air warfare over Yemen from 1994 until 2017 - was meanwhile delivered, and is about to enter production, later this month. This is going to be its cover.
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545

The next volume of the Middle East@War series to get published will be the part 3 in the Iran-Iraq War mini-series.

Primary topic of this volume remains the southern front of the Iran-Iraq War. Specifically, the volume is providing particularly detailed descriptions of the final large-scale Iranian offensives of 1987 and then the Iraqi counter-offensives of 1988. As far as I can say - and despite the publication of numerous related books over the last, say, 5-6 years, this will be the first ever to tell the 'full story'. Prepared with help of new documentation from Iraq, USA, and Iran, and in cooperation with multiple veterans from both sides of this conflict interviewed over the years, plus colleagues in the USA, Israel, and Iraq, it offers the following content:

Chapter 1: Iran’s Last Chance
Operations Kerbala-4, -5, and -8, which were the final IRGC-run attempts to break the backbone of the Iraqi army and capture Basrah, in 1987.

Chapter 2: Two Armies
The - meanwhile 'usual' - 'review' of the strategy, tactics, status, equipment, expansion, and 'everyday life' of both armies on the southern frontlines of this war.

Chapter 3: Saddam’s First Blow
Iraqi offensive on the Iranian-held Faw Peninsula, April 1988.

Chapter 4: Iranian Burn-Out
Emboldened by their success at Faw, the Iraqis launched another 'trial' offensive with the aim of liberating the Majnoon islets and surrounding areas.

Chapter 5: End Game
The final Iraqi offensives into Khuzestan of the summer 1988 have de-facto destroyed the Iranian military's ability to defend.

Of course, I'm biased, but...I would lie if stating anything else than this volume came out far better than ever expected - and that 'already' content-wise. Thanks to Ted's endless efforts, the results of an entire decade of research with help of a myrad of sources, literal 'millions of pieces of the puzzle' were put into the same volume, in a nicely sorted-out and beautifully narrated fashion. The volume bristles with ORBAT tables, very precise descriptions of involved commanders, units, geography, and the flow of specific operations. Thus, and although there is meanwhile plenty of literature about the Iran-Iraq War, this work offers an exclusively precise insight.

Simplest description: this is exactly the kind of book about Iran-Iraq War I always wanted to read.

Distribution of this volume is to start the next week.

Attached bellow are the final cover and a few 'specimen pages'.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MEaW Vol10 IIPGW3.jpg (97.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW3 p36.jpg (72.9 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW3 p50.jpg (66.2 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW3 p68.jpg (58.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW3 p75.jpg (50.0 KB, 7 views)
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Council Member
davidbfpo's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 11,483
Default Moderator at work

Prompted by Crowbat's last post I have found there is a small, closed thread (from 2008-2013) which holds - apparently - most of the posts on the Iran-Iraq War. It is:

I will copy the posts here on that war to that thread in a moment.
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
Council Member
CrowBat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Haxbach, Schnurliland
Posts: 1,545

With the next volume of the Middle East@War going to the print, it's about the time to announce details of it, too.

This is going to be the - much expected, apparently - 'Iran-Iraq War, Volume 4: The Forgotten Fronts', i.e. the fourth band in this mini-series.

The volume is detailing operations on the central and northern frontlines of the Iran-Iraq War. These frontlines were actually decisive at certain points during this war, but only on something like 'temporary' basis. Therefore, most of foreign observers didn't even pay attention about them, and they received very little coverage even in official publications by both of involved parties. On the contrary, we went to extension to not only describe often complex geo-political backgrounds of these frontlines (mind: 'Kurds'), but can observe up front: to the best of my knowledge, we didn't miss a single operation undertaken by either party in this war, no matter how small.

Chapter 1 The Opening Operations
Essentially, this is the summary about the Kurdish uprising of 1979, and the Iranian (foremost: IRGC's) intervention in regards of the same, and then the Iraqi invasion of 1980.

Chapter 2 Private Wars
Although part of a greater struggle, many operations by both sides on the northern and central fronts had the characteristics of private wars. These were fought in a wide range of terrain and, unlike the big battles on the southern front, were characterized by the absence of a continuous line.

Chapter 3 The Central Front 1982-1987
In 1982, the central front - which was quite 'peaceful' already since October 1980, was re-activated by the Iranians who launched the Operation Fatah al-Mobin. This was - by far - the most successful offensive launched by the Iranian military during that war. In turn, it not only emboldened Tehran into launching dozens of such operations for the next five years, but also kept this frontline 'active' throughout this period.

Chapter 4 The Northern Front 1982-1987
Chapter 4 follows with a similar description of - mostly - relatively 'small action' on the northern frontlines in period 1982-1987.

Chapter 5 Iran’s Last Chance
Following the bloody failures around Basra (see Volume 3), and with the passing of Khomeini’s deadline for ‘final victory’ by 31 March 1987, the SDC reconsidered its strategic options. Finally concluding that taking Basra was extremely unlikely, it decided to switch the strategic focus northwards, and press deeper into northern Iraq with Kurdish support. A key factor for this decision was the existence of extensive areas – ‘sanctuaries’ – held by militants of the Kurdish PUK around Suleymaniyah.

Chapter 6 The Kurdish Front 1980-1988
Centrepiece of this chapter are Iranian operations into northern Iraq (Ops Fath-1 up to Fath-10 and Zafar-1 to Zafar-7), and then of Iraqi campaigns code-named Anfal (these went from Anfal-1 to Anfal-8). This was the hardest chapter of this book to write: lots of 'minor operations, small-unit action and similar.

Chapter 7 The Last Battles 1988
In June 1988, following success in the south, Saddam Hussein ordered a major offensive in the north too, with the aim of 'liberating Arab land from Persians', but also with the aim of mauling the Iranian military and rendering it non-operational. Thus came into being the planning for little-known, multi-corps Ops like Tawakkalna ala Allah-3 and -4, run in July 1988. Finally, once Tehran accepted the UN-mediated cease-fire, Saddam 'unleashed' the MEK/MKO (i.e. the 'NLA') into an attack on Kermanshah, in July 1988.

The book is illustrated by no less than 13 maps: point is that most of northern and central battlefields are little known, and require good maps for reader's easier orientation.

In regards of colour profiles, we've got two new artists for 'tanks'. One of them is Peter Penev from Bulgaria who already drew artworks of North-Korean-made Koksan SP-guns for Volume 3, and then continued with preparing 11 additional artworks for this volume. This is his first project of this kind, and his work is simply outstanding - in regards of details and precision in particular. Since we've had enough space, and have presented all the major types in service with both armies to extension in earlier volumes, I've asked him foremost to draw less-well-known heavy vehicles of this war (say, Yugoslav-made M60 APCs, or Brazilian-made EE-9 Cascavels, and then various self-propelled artillery pieces).

Overall, a volume that's nicelly rounding-up this mini-series.

Attached bellow are the final cover and a few 'specimen pages'.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IPGW4.jpg (98.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW-4 p3.jpg (54.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW-4 p19.jpg (66.8 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW-4 p55.jpg (59.1 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg IPGW-4 piv.jpg (49.0 KB, 3 views)

Last edited by davidbfpo; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:54 PM. Reason: Copied to the thread on the Iran-Iraq wars.
CrowBat is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lebanon (all aspects) SWJED Middle East 113 08-28-2017 11:02 AM
Air Power in Small Wars: three new sources davidbfpo Catch-All, Military Art & Science 0 06-10-2016 05:42 PM
Indonesia and small wars in Southeast Asia-Post WWII? Kevin23 Historians 19 10-01-2015 01:34 PM
Small Wars: a wide reading list YellowJack RFIs & Members' Projects 73 11-23-2013 01:30 PM
How Insurgencies End Jedburgh Historians 113 06-20-2011 09:04 PM

All times are GMT. The time now is 02:41 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation