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Old 06-25-2009   #1
pjmunson
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Default Arab armies in 'Small Wars' and the 'Arab Spring' (merged thread)

My experiences come from selected populations, so not necessarily representative of the whole.

-In general, in most of the Gulf militaries, officers are drawn from a select population of influential nationals. Within the militaries, there is a definite hierarchy of officer positions, often with pilot positions going to the best connected/most powerful. Some, like UAE, officer pay is astronomical compared to what even a U.S. officer makes, with great benefits. In countries, particularly Saudi, the military is more of a morning job which leaves the rest of the day to work on the real money-maker which is a personal or family business. In many Gulf militaries, the enlisted ranks are drawn from much less priveledged nationals or even foreigners such as Baluchis or other south Asians. This of course makes the officer-enlisted relationship very asymmetric, especially given the position foreign labor has in these countries.

In Saudi, I worked with their Marine Corps. The officers were generally not drawn from the upper crust of Saudi society and the enlisted were nationals. There did not seem to be a great rift between the officer and enlisted corps. Most of the officers were not very tactically proficient, but some, particularly those who had trained or studied in the U.S. or England were very sharp. Their officers did not seem to me to have the air of arrogance that I noticed in some other militaries. The situation could be quite different in the SANG or the Air Force, which have a quite different social structure.

In Oman, which I think has a more egalitarian society than other Gulf states, the NCO corps seemed to have a lot of strong nationals with good bearing. Their officers were generally proud of their military and relatively proficient as well. I think there is a much higher representation of nationals in the enlisted ranks than in UAE and Qatar, which makes officer-enlisted relations more equal.

In Jordan, I had the opportunity to interact with some SOF officers. They were the most impressive I encountered in the region. They were very professional, motivated, and patriotic. I did not get to experience their officer-NCO interaction very much though.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-22-2013 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Found and copied here, due to age comes 1st, when thread started with Post 2.
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Old 02-26-2011   #2
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Default Expanding Your Knowledge of Modern Arab Military Culture

Expanding Your Knowledge of Modern Arab Military Culture

Entry Excerpt:

Expanding Your Knowledge of Modern Arab Military Culture:
Books on Arab Military Development and Experiences
by CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN

An understanding of the military roots of various Arab countries is vital as the United States undertakes further engagement in the region. Morocco is an old and valued partner of the United States. Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a sovereign nation (20 December 1777), its relationship with America include such trials as weathering the storms of World War Two and today being designated a major non-NATO Ally who has suffered from terrorism with the recent bombings in Casablanca. The Moroccan military has seen service in Bosnia, Somalia and in multiple peacekeeping missions in the Congo and Sierra Leone. Douglas Porch, who teaches at the Naval Postgraduate school, is an expert on French military affairs. He has written a book that discusses the French difficulties in subduing Morocco and brining it under colonial control in his 1986 book, The Conquest of Morocco: A Savage Colonial War (London: PaperMac Books, ISBN 0-333-44461-2). French colonial expansion in the early twentieth century was dominated by a small circle of French politicians and military senior officers who saw that French ideals could be better mastered in its colonial possessions, free from the taint of liberal political and social intrigue, these were the same ultra-conservatives who would be implicated in the infamous Dreyfus Affair, that sent an innocent artillery captain to Devil’s Island on charges of espionage because, above all, he was Jewish.

CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein is Adjunct Islamic Studies Chair at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is author of “Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat,” (Naval Institute Press, 2010).

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Old 04-01-2013   #3
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Default Arab armies and the 'Arab Spring'

A fascinating review by Colonel Norvell B. DeAtkine, a ret'd US Army officer, a SME on the Arab military; the full title being 'Western Influence on Arab Militaries: Pounding Square Pegs into Round Holes', that appeared on an Israeli website today:http://www.gloria-center.org/2013/03...o-round-holes/

The introduction:
Quote:
This article is a personal account of U.S. Army Colonel Norvell DeAtkine’s experience in dealing with Arab militaries for over 40 years. Based on observation and study of Arab military establishments, he concludes little of significance has happened to change the deeply embedded character of the Arab military mindset. While there is some evidence that Arab soldiers historically performed better under European officers, there is no evidence that the Western tradition of command ethos outlived the departure of the officers. There is indeed a distinct Arab military tradition and attempts to recreate it in one’s image are not only fruitless, but often counter-productive.
It is in part an update on his 1999 article 'Why Arabs Lose Wars' and much has changed since then - in the Middle East and for outsiders, notably the USA.

Sub-headings are:
Quote:
THE ARAB AS UNCONVENTIONAL FIGHTER, CONTINUITY IN THE ARAB MILITARY CULTURE, THE RAPID EVAPORATION OF WESTERN INFLUENCE, PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE EGYPTIAN ARMY, THE IRAQI ARMY EXPERIENCE, WESTERN VERSUS RUSSIAN TRAINING AND LOGISTICS SYSTEMS, THE SAUDI EXPERIENCE and CONCLUSION.
Having read a British Army Review article on the UK Mission to the Saudi Arabian Army, this article provides a good counter-balance (the BAR article is not in the public domain, let alone on-line).

The footnotes have some other gems, especially an US Army Arab-American's comments.
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Old 05-18-2013   #4
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Default Egypt, Tunisia & Yemen: free articles

A special issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies on The Role of the Military in the Arab Tumult, with free access to The Egyptian Army and Egypt's ‘Spring’ by Hillel Frisch; Abandoned at the Palace: Why the Tunisian Military Defected from the Ben Ali Regime in January 2011 by Risa Brooks and The Military Role in Yemen's Protests: Civil-Military Relations in the Tribal Republic by Michael Knights:http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fjss2...t#.UZOHwCt35uI
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Old 05-19-2013   #5
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Thumbs up Topless Jihad At The Arab Spring-The John Boyd Method

Link to New Yorker article on Topless Jihad and the Arab Spring and Cyber-Warfare! This John Boyd to a tee as he recomended attacking the enemies ethics! The American military is really going to look bad when a bunch of topless girls with computers and facebook pages bring down the Jihad movement
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...ntcid=obinsite
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Old 12-27-2013   #6
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Default How effective have Arab armies been at 'small wars'?

Carl in part asked:
Quote:
So I got a question for all but especially JCustis, how effective have Arab armies been at fighting small wars and suppressing insurgencies over the years?
Carl,

A number of Arab armies have fought small wars / insurgencies since the 1960's and several have participated in UN peacekeeping, such as the Egyptians in Sarajevo and the Jordanians in Eastern Slavonia. I have not checked, but Wikipedia will have entries on each campaign and army; some are also covered in SWC threads. Not to overlook the volumes by Dr Anthony Cordesman on the arab armies, although I've not seen one of late.

Going from west to east and excluding a number of armies, e.g. Kuwait:

Morocco - long campaign against Polisario over Western Sahara, after the Spanish left; finally achieved a stalemate by building a fortified desert barrier hundreds of miles long. That conflict is not over, but with a ceasefire IIRC. Long ago their army was highly respected when serving with the UN, although most of the commentary was from French sources.

Algeria - a long, brutal COIN campaign, which bubbles along today and rightly their performance is suppression first. It is odd after the brutalities of the anti-French struggle within two decades the state resorted to a 'dirty war'.

Tunisia - at one time a regular UN contributor and rarely used internally.

Libya - during the Gadafy era over-armed and poorly trained. As proved in the Azou Strip (?) border clash with Chad and its French ally (one of the first publicised wars with "technicals") and then their intervention in Libya. If there was a professional cadre I doubt it is involved today, Libya becoming a militia-first state.

Egypt - fought its own "small war" in the Yemeni civil war in the early 1960's, very similar to the early Soviet campaign in Afghanistan; reliant on air power and allegations of CW use. Royalists supported by the UK privately and Saudi Arabia. A largely conventional army with repeated bruising encounters with the IDF, although partly redeemed in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. I don't recall much internal use, Egypt relied on its police and security agencies. Played no role in the Libyan revolt.

Jordan - bruised in wars with Israel and in 'Black September' confronted and defeated the PLO - whose Syrian ally made threats to intervene. Little internal use, relying on its pervasive security agencies. Was a regular UN contributor.

Syria - harsh, brutal suppression of Muslim Brotherhood in Homs (1982?), but very little internal use. Again security agencies to the fore. Decades of involvement in the Lebanon, with shifting alliances and practiced urban fighting regularly - some say marred by corruption and more. There are many comments on the main Syria thread.

Lebanon - a small army with a delicate communal balance having once been Christian-dominated, still has problems of loyalty and effectiveness - which appear to have reduced recently. A history though of ineffectiveness reflecting politics, notably in the south (alongside the UN).

Iraq - far more aware SWC audience, so over to you.

Saudi Arabia - the small army is designed for external defence, with the National Guard (SANG) having internal primacy alongside the police and security agencies. IIRC not exactly a stellar performance in the First Gulf War, despite all the $ spent on kit and training. Rarely deployed externally, including the UN.

UAE - supposedly the new Arab "Prussians", although hamstrung by dependence on non-national recruitment. Its SF have a tiny team in Afghanistan and they were reportedly active in Libya, in larger numbers - alongside other SF.

Oman - a small army, with historical experience of COIN in the Dhofar rebellion, now many years ago and no reported internal deployment since then. I don't recall any UN participation (excl. observers).

From a broader perspective most Arab armies are strictly controlled by the government / royal family, despite assumptions of loyalty they remain a potential threat - as Egypt vividly illustrates. Hence the apparent general preference for using the police and security agencies to repress opposition, with preemption first, and the occasional emergency use of the army. 'Black September' is a good case study, the PLO had been present in Jordan since 1947, more so after 1967 and became a "state within a state". Only after many years was the PLO violently ejected, to the Lebanon and later to Tunisia - another story!

From limited knowledge most Arab armies have not fought full-stop. Only a few have genuine 'small wars' let alone COIN experience.
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Old 01-02-2014   #7
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If you don't mind me completing David's list:

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Morocco - long campaign against Polisario over Western Sahara, after the Spanish left; finally achieved a stalemate by building a fortified desert barrier hundreds of miles long. That conflict is not over, but with a ceasefire IIRC. Long ago their army was highly respected when serving with the UN, although most of the commentary was from French sources.
Except for that quasi-COIN effort against Polisario in the 1980s, Moroccans fought a short 'Sand War' on the border to Algeria, in 1963 (not very successful, but at least 'done'), and against Israel in 1973 (on Syrian and later on Egyptian front). Plus a series of coup attempts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, nearly all of which saw battles with dozens of KIA.

Quote:
Algeria - a long, brutal COIN campaign, which bubbles along today and rightly their performance is suppression first. It is odd after the brutalities of the anti-French struggle within two decades the state resorted to a 'dirty war'.
Above-mentioned Sand War with Morocco... Regarding the Algerian COIN campaign of the 1990s: eventually, this was highly successful (not least because of all the US help with tracking down cell phones used by various extremists), resulting in extremists being driven out of the country (into Mali, Mauritania and similar places). Small-scale action is still going on, with extremists sporadically managing to surprise security authorities, but most often getting caught already while attempting to infiltrate over the border (is one of reasons why the Algerians and Washington reached a sort of 'gentleman's agreement' the Americans and French not to operate closer than 20km from the Algerian-Malian border).

Quote:
Tunisia - at one time a regular UN contributor and rarely used internally.
There was some - Libyan-instigated - short COIN campaign, and plenty of tensions with Libya until 2011. In the last two years the Army and Air Force are involved in a low-level COIN campaign against extremists in southern Tunisia.

Quote:
Libya - during the Gadafy era over-armed and poorly trained. As proved in the Azou Strip (?) border clash with Chad and its French ally (one of the first publicised wars with "technicals") and then their intervention in Libya. If there was a professional cadre I doubt it is involved today, Libya becoming a militia-first state.
Libya occuppied the Aouzou Strip in 1972-1973 without much trouble. Subsequently became involved in supporting various Chadian parties - usually against the party that was controlling N'Djamena. Launched 3-4 invasions of Chad in attempt to support its 'pro-parties', and concluded three of these in actually quite successful fashion. Driven out of Chad in a Franco-US-supported campaign during so-called 'Toyota Wars' of 1986-1988.

Except for Chad, Libyan military also fought a short war with Egypt, in 1977 (suffering a very bitter defeat), and in Uganda against Tansania (during the so-called Kagera War, 1978-1979), suffering another catastrophe. These were kind of 'lessons learned' campaigns for them.

Quote:
Egypt - fought its own "small war" in the Yemeni civil war in the early 1960's, very similar to the early Soviet campaign in Afghanistan; reliant on air power and allegations of CW use. Royalists supported by the UK privately and Saudi Arabia. A largely conventional army with repeated bruising encounters with the IDF, although partly redeemed in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. I don't recall much internal use, Egypt relied on its police and security agencies. Played no role in the Libyan revolt.
Actually, the list should start with the Palestine War of 1948-1949 and the Sinai War of 1956 (against tripartite invasion by Israel, France and UK). Involved in Yemen (which was literaly 'Egyptian Vietnam') from 1962 until 1968 (including several large and actually quite successful campaigns early on, but barely a stalemate later on). Suffered a catastrophic defeat against Israel in June 1967, then managed a draw in War of Attrition (effectivelly) 1967-1973.
Egyptian military also fought in Nigeria during Biafran War (1967-1970) and participated in the COIN campaign in Sudan (1970). Recovered its military prestige and forced Israelis back to negotiations table in 1973. Involved in a low-scale COIN campaign against Islamists (at home) in the 1990s (this included air strikes by F-4s and F-16s), and meanwhile in the Sinai, but the military actually stubbornly resisted all the US advice to develop a true COIN capability, through the last 15 or so years.

Quote:
Jordan - bruised in wars with Israel and in 'Black September' confronted and defeated the PLO - whose Syrian ally made threats to intervene. Little internal use, relying on its pervasive security agencies. Was a regular UN contributor.
Similar like above, starting with 1948, thought without 1956, and ending its conflicts with Israel with the June 1967 catastrophe. The Civil War of 1970 was very much a major campaign, involving practically the entire military - including the air force (especially so once Syria invaded Jordan, in autumn 1970) - and it lasted well into 1971. Though, that was no COIN campaign, but a rather classic war (with expectedly high losses for the Jordanian Army, especially when it drove tanks into southern Amman, and infantry into the neighbouring desert...).

Oh, and two brigades of Jordanian military were involved in October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, when they were deployed inside Syria.

During the Iran-Iraq War Jordan run very close cooperation with Iraqi military, drawing plenty of 'up-to-date' lessons, but saw no COIN ops, of course.

Quote:
Syria - harsh, brutal suppression of Muslim Brotherhood in Homs (1982?), but very little internal use. Again security agencies to the fore. Decades of involvement in the Lebanon, with shifting alliances and practiced urban fighting regularly - some say marred by corruption and more. There are many comments on the main Syria thread.
Went through the similar list of wars like Jordan until 1973, but a much longer list of military coups, several of which resulted in days-long, and often very bloody street fighting (including the one against Egyptian rule, in 1961).

After October 1973 War with Israel, became involved in Lebanon, in 1974, again in 1976 (that was a COIN campaign), again in 1982, and then in 1990 (when Syrian intervention practically ended the Lebanese Civil War). Then, in 1991, one division of Syrian Army was involved in liberation of Kuwait; in 2006, about 200 Syrian officers fougth with the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Quote:
Iraq - far more aware SWC audience, so over to you.
Iraqi military participated in the 1948 War in Palestine, then fougth a very long, quasi-COIN campaign against the Kurds, 1962-1970 (which it actually lost) and again 1974-1975 (which it lost again, but primarily due to an Iranian intervention). In between, the Air Force became involved in fighting against Israel in June 1967, and the air force and army in October 1973 War with Israel. Long and bloody war with Iran, 1980-1988, then invasion of Kuwait and subsequent war with US-led coalition, 1990-1991, a 4-months COIN campaign against (Iranian supported) uprisings in southern and northern Iraq, in 1991, and finally 2003...

Very recently (the last two months), the Iraqi Army (supported by air force) is running quite a succesful COIN-campaing agsint the ISIS, partially in Anbar, but foremost in Ninive Province.

Quote:
Saudi Arabia - the small army is designed for external defence, with the National Guard (SANG) having internal primacy alongside the police and security agencies. IIRC not exactly a stellar performance in the First Gulf War, despite all the $ spent on kit and training. Rarely deployed externally, including the UN.
Saudi Arabia deployed one mechanized brigade into Syria, in October 1973, and this saw at least some minor action against the Israelis. Prior to that, the Army didn't really exist. For most of the 1970s and 1980s the military was 'stored and locked' in its barracks, and what was around was so little that it necessitated deployment of entire brigades of Pakistani Army personnel in order to 'work'. Only the RSAF saw some action during Iran-Iraq War. Essentially, modern day Saudi Army came into being during the autumn 1990, while working up within US-led coalition against Iraq.

The Saudis fought their first (near) independent war - and then very much a COIN campaign - against al-Houtis in Yemen, 2009-2010. Initially suffered extensive losses in ground troops, then reverted to air power and - after nearly four months of bitter fighting - (kind of) 'won'.

Another 'Arab' country (definitely a member of the Arab League) David didn't mention is Sudan. They fought a long and bitter COIN campaign during the Civil War against Southerners from 1960-something until 1975 or so. Then another (against the same opponent) from around 1984-1985 until 2003-2004, when Khartoum had to let the South separate. Plus, the army had a battalion in the Sinai, in June 1967, which fought to the last man against the Israelis.

Since 2003, the Sudanese military is fighting actually a quite successful COIN campaign in Darfur. Although this became notorious for cooperation with various of local militias, attrocities against civilians and for large-scale ethnic cleansing of the opposition, they effectivelly forced all the armed opposition out of the area and into Chad.

('To be continued...')

Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-10-2017 at 04:46 PM. Reason: Forgot to add the latest Iraqi COIN experiences. Was in a seperate thread How effective have Arab armies been at 'small wars'
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Old 01-02-2014   #8
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Sudan, continued....

More recently, another COIN campaign is going on in southern part of what is left of Sudan, and - I think it was in summer 2013 - there was a major battle with the Army of South Sudan, which even saw some clashes between (South Sudanese) T-72s and Sudanese T-80s.

Finally: Yemen... Yemen is a long story of almost continuous warfare ever since the Egyptian-supported cup against the Imam, in 1962-1967 (in what was subsequently 'North Yemen'), and insurgency in the then British-held Aden (subsequently 'South Yemen'), which lasted until 1970. With extensive Soviet support (and Egyptians out), North Yemen actually won the COIN campaign against remaining Royalists (primarily Zeidis), in period 1967-1969, forcing them to accept negotiations.

South Yemenis subsequently saw action in Dhofar War in Oman (where they were supporting Marxist insurgents but were defeated by - primarily - a large deployment of Iranian military), through early 1970s, and then during the Ogaden War (Ethiopia-Somalia War of 1977-1978), on Ethiopian side and with Cuban advice, with quite some distinction. After several coup attempts, some of which resulted in days-long street fighting, the two Yemens began uniting - primarily through fighting, which culminated in the war of 1994-1995 that saw intensive conventional warfare lasting nearly a year.

More recently, former dictator Salleh was quasi-fighting al-Qaida (actually, he rather cooperated with them than fought them), and since around 2006 became embroiled in several quasi-COIN campaigns against al-Houtis (Zaidi Sect, formerly 'originators' of North Yemen, meanwhile declared 'takfiris' by the Saudis, because of their supposed cooperation with Iran). All of these ended with major disasters (not only 'defeats'), as a number of Army brigades were completely destroyed, and the air force was losing one fighter-bomber after the other - until Saudis got involved.

Since Salleh is gone, the new government launched quite a successful - and US-supported - COIN campaign against al-Qaida there.

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Old 01-03-2014   #9
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Default How effective have Arab armies been at 'small wars'?

A week ago Carl asked, in the thread on Egypt, a question that deserves its own thread:
Quote:
That leads me to conclude that the Egyptian army may know what it's about when it comes to small war fighting. Then it occurred to me that the Algerian army and gov won a very hard small war back in the 90s. So I got a question for all but especially JCustis, how effective have Arab armies been at fighting small wars and suppresing insurgencies over the years? Do we study their efforts?
I will move the responses made to date in a moment, so this opening post will slip down a little.

There is a similar thread on the 'small war' theme: Arab armies and the 'Arab Spring'
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Old 01-09-2014   #10
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Here some more details about Algerian experiences, which I guess might be of interest because this conflict is so underreported (the following is primarily based on interviews with various of participants)...

- The war actually began in 1987, with return of first larger groups of Algerian Islamists from Afghanistan. Primary Islamist activity was initially limited to ambushes for security forces, but also small-scale raids on isolated police stations and even military bases. Islamist operations intensified from 1991 onwards.

- The most intensive period of the war was 1994-2000, when army took over and active paramilitary cells were operating all over the country, enjoying widespread support in the population. Level of determined attacks on security forces was unprecedented and these have suffered plenty of 'minor' blows (no large-scale losses, but really hundreds of KIA; they also lost two helicopters shot down in 1994 and 1995, while carrying paras; plus five in an incident involving a defecting air force pilot who stole a Mi-17 to rocket four other helicopters at his base, and then fly the helo to one of insurgent bases).

Primarily using HUMINT but also all other means of intelligence collection (including MiG-25RB recce fighters), the security forces gradually rolled up nearly all of urban networks, forcing the Islamists to shift to rural areas, primarily to their heartlands, west and east of Algiers. The Islamists then shifted over to attacks on villages supporting the government, as well as intellectuals and foreigners. In turn, the government began launching large-scale operations, some including widespread deployment of air power, on top of usual 'commandos' (like 18th Para-Commando Regiment) and 'gendarmes'.

- 2000-2004: operating frrom their heartlands, and continuing the campaign of mass slaughter of civilians supportive of the government, and foreigners, the Islamists went over to the tactics of luring security forces into ambushes. They perfected the art of setting up ambushes or mock bases. In early 2003, the Islamists scored their biggest success. They stole a number of military vehicles then lured a company of paratroopers to 'find' these: when the paras arrived, Islamists detonated acetylene cylinders hidden inside vehicles and raked the area with gunfire. Security forces lost 49 KIA (out of 51 involved).

Security authorities reacted by improving means of intelligence collection (introduction to service of Beech 1900s, Seeker II UAVs, etc.); introduction of high-tech equipment like NVGs from USA and Qatar); and increased deployment of air power, primarily for heliborne operations (several large batches of Mi-8/17s - including FLIR-equipped variants - were purchased, 28 Mi-24s upgraded to ATE's Super Hind configuration etc.) but also purchases of PGMs (for Su-24s). A combination of advanced sensors, communications and precise geo-location technology, plus deployment of TV-guided PGMs (laser-guided systems proved less dependable for use in build-up areas and forrests), have allowed the security forces to launch a series of very precise strikes on guerrilla leaders deep within their urban and rural heartlands. The corresponding campaign was run in a particularly careful fashion, with extremely conservative ROEs - 'only verified HUMINT is of use for our operations' - limiting collateral damage to an absolute minimum (related concerns have actually strongly limited this campaign).

'Classic' example for such ops (from February 2002): Beech 1900s were used to track down one of Islamist leaders (with help from US, which provided satellite links and precise geo-location), then mapped the area with their SARs; helicopters then did the FLIR-imaging; then the ground forces went in (deployed by helos, then on foot), walked into the house, killed the guy, and went out.

Since then, the Islamists were forced further away - not only from urban centres, but indeed into the deserts of southern Algeria. By 2005, they were forced even out of the country, with very few isolated cells remaining active.

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Old 01-09-2014   #11
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CrowBat:

Thanks for this. It is under reported but is filled with things to be learned.

Early in you post you mentioned " active paramilitary cells" were those insurgent cells?

TV guided weapons where preferred in Algeria because of forests and towns. It is my understanding we mostly use laser guided or gps. Why is TV better than laser in those situations?

Your comment about restrictive rules of engagement is interesting. If I remember correctly the western media reported security force activities as mostly being of the 'kill 'em all' type. It makes reporting easier I guess. Is there more available on the why and wherefores of the ROEs that were put in place?
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Old 01-10-2014   #12
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Quote:
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CrowBat:

Thanks for this. It is under reported but is filled with things to be learned.

Early in you post you mentioned " active paramilitary cells" were those insurgent cells?
Yup, Islamist paramilitary groups.

Quote:
TV guided weapons where preferred in Algeria because of forests and towns. It is my understanding we mostly use laser guided or gps. Why is TV better than laser in those situations?
The first problem was that of obtaining high-tech equipment. There were not many countries willing to sell laser-designators to Algerian military (especially not markers that could be carried by ground troops). Even as of 2005, the Army was still waiting for delivery of enough of these to put them into operations.

Connected with this, the laser-designators installed on QJJ's (Algerian AF) Su-24s were found unpractical for usual circumstances (they are 'good to great' for conventional warfare, but not so much if you really want to 'decapitate' the leader of some Islamist gang). The situation improved slightly only once South-African-made equipment arrived together with Mi-24 Super Hinds (together with Kentron Ingwe and Mokopa ATGMs), but overall, at the height of this war, there was no really satisfactory solution.

Quote:
Your comment about restrictive rules of engagement is interesting. If I remember correctly the western media reported security force activities as mostly being of the 'kill 'em all' type. It makes reporting easier I guess. Is there more available on the why and wherefores of the ROEs that were put in place?
Yup, I know about all the sorts of prejudice by foreigners.

Surely, the Algerian authorities were never keen about any sort of negotiations with Islamists. But then, I think this was the right decision and the time has proven them right.

That is: time - and correct ROEs. If the authorities have run their ops the way they are usually said to have done, they would turn majority of the population against them (especially because as of 1990s majority of the population was supportive for Islamists). Given the situation in Algeria, I would say that something else happened, so it's quite obvious that the ROEs were entirely different than usually said.

That said, I do not know about any printed or electronic publication. Some of the stuff I mentioned above was provided to Dr Michael Knights (WINEP) for his article on QJJ during that war, published in AirForces Monthly (UK) magazine, sometimes back in 2005. But otherwise, I really do not know about any published sources of reference.

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Old 02-01-2014   #13
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There is a good short review of the Algerian military's response to the Arab Spring by Michael Willis, alas behind the FP registration / pay wall. Then I found this alternative 'Algeria Three Years After the Arab Spring' by the German Marshall Fund of the US and the second chapter is worth reading.

Link:http://www.gmfus.org/wp-content/blog..._Jan14_web.pdf
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Old 02-07-2014   #14
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A very interesting file, no doubt. Still, I can't but criticise the description of how the Algerian authorities and military handled the In Amenas affair.

While spending plenty of time with description of BelkMoktar's intentions, this account provides absolutely no details about his planning, nor about how much he managed to realize (or not at all). Considering that Algerian authorities actually have no problem to provide such info, that one of USN's EP-3s from Sigonella was nearby, and that an FBI team inspected the site once this affair was over - this is quite surprising.

Namely, BelMoktar wanted to capture a bus full of foreign workers as hostages (including the Boss of the BP), destroy a part of the industrial complex - which, BTW, is some 100 square kilometres in size - in order to attract attention of security services and fire-fighters, and then, once the military and fire-fighters would enter the complex, blow up the entire complex in order to cause a maximum of destruction of casualties.

The first part of the plan was spoiled by Gendarmes that escorted the bus. They identified attackers on time and opened fire. Sure, and sadly, two passengers (one Briton and one Algerian) were killed by Jihadists (and two Gendarmes injured too), but BelMoktar didn't manage to capture the bus and had to rush into the complex with empty hands.

The guards at the main (and only) gate recognized what is going on and sounded alert; control centre shut down the entire production, and started evacuation. Means, part 2 of the plan was spoiled too.

Now, the Jihadists killed the guard who sounded alert and managed to enter the place and started planting bombs around the complex. They also managed to capture a number of foreign and Algerian workers. However, by that time no less but 600 Algerians and 134 foreigners (out of some 800 employees) were evacuated. Means: the third part of the plan was spoiled too.

It was only then that BelMoktar began babbling about French ops in Mali and Algerian support for the same - and he did so while trying to open negotiations with Algerian authorities.

This is making it instantly clear that the story about the authorities not negotiating with BelMoktar being a hogwash. They did. Otherwise, the Jihadists wouldn't get a number of 4x4 vehicles from authorities, the following night, and wouldn't be able to load these with hostages and try to escape.

The security services went into action when that column drove out of the complex - and then because they realized that the cars in question contained only a part of Jihadists and their hostages: this made it obvious that those remaining inside the complex have decided to blow themselves and their hostages up. And in such cases, ladies and gentlemen, there is simply no other solution but 'assault the place'. That was when Mi-24s became involved. They set two vehicles on fire, while the third was detonated by one of occupants and set on fire. This is where most of hostages were killed.

Meanwhile, the Jihadists that remained inside the complex have started to liquidate hostages. However, Beech 1900s have blocked most of explosive vests the Jihadists installed on hostages, and thus only one of these was killed.

In summary, the Algerians killed 32 Jihadists, and captured four or five alive (not only 3; although this might be a figure released by the authorities 'for public consumption'). About 40 hostages were killed too (including Algerian workers, not only foreigners). Eight ANP troops were WIA. BelMoktar's gang has left behind a significant arsenal, including two mortars, at least two RPG-7 launchers, several dozens of mines, about two dozens of machine guns, over 50 hand grenades etc.

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Old 04-10-2017   #15
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I have just merged the two threads Arab Armies and the Arab Spring, with 12,307 views; and How effective have Arab Armies been at Small Wars? with 15,911 views.

The thread has been renamed accordingly.

Since 2014 commentary on Arab Armies appear in many threads, notably on the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and the Yemen.
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Old 04-10-2017   #16
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Default Arab Armies and their States: A Troubled Relationship

A new book from Hurst & Co (London) entitled 'Guardians of the Arab State: When Militaries Intervene in Politics, from Iraq to Mauritania' by Florence Gaub.

From the publishers email notice:
Quote:
Guardians of the Arab State explains clearly and concisely how and why military organisations become involved in politics across the Middle East and North Africa, identifying four key factors: a high degree of organisational capacity, clear institutional interest, a forgiving population and weak civilian control.

Looking at numerous case studies ranging from Iraq to Mauritania, the book finds that these factors are common to all Arab countries to have experienced coups in the last century. It also finds that the opposite is true in cases like Jordan, where strong civilian control and the absence of capacity, interest, or a positive public image made coup attempts futile. Gaub convincingly argues that the reasons are structural rather than cultural, thereby proving a counter-narrative to conventional explanations which look at Arab coups along religious or historical lines.

In essence, the questions addressed in this groundbreaking book lead back to issues of weak statehood, legitimacy, and resource constraints — all problems the Arab world has struggled with since independence. It picks up where previous literature on Middle Eastern military forces dropped the debate, and provides an updated and insightful glimpse into the soul of Arab armies.

Link:http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=...6&e=80d42c7c0a

It is not for me, too many books await reading. If you register there is free global P&P. No, I am not on a commission.


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