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Old 12-20-2016   #1
CrowBat
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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.

Content:

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.
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Old 03-20-2017   #2
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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:

Quote:
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.
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Old 03-21-2017   #3
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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:
Hmm...so 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?
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Old 03-21-2017   #4
OUTLAW 09
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Originally Posted by Azor View Post
Hmm...so 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 JUN...so 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 before....as they fully understand the "threat" far better than most.

BTW...an 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 07:02 PM. Reason: Partly copied to two other threads
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Old 03-22-2017   #5
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Hmm...so 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.

Quote:
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.
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