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Why Arabs lose wars
American Diplomacy ^ | Norvell B. De Atkine

Posted on 08/28/2002 5:12:19 AM PDT by Valin

ARABIC-SPEAKING ARMIES have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s. Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers. Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds. The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre. And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors — economic, ideological, technical — but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.

False starts

Including culture in strategic assessments has a poor legacy, for it has often been spun from an ugly brew of ignorance, wishful thinking, and mythology. Thus, the U.S. Army in the 1930s evaluated the Japanese national character as lacking originality and drew the unwarranted conclusion that that country would be permanently disadvantaged in technology. Hitler dismissed the United States as a mongrel society and consequently underestimated the impact of America’s entry into the war. American strategists assumed that the pain threshold of the North Vietnamese approximated our own and that the air bombardment of the North would bring it to its knees. Three days of aerial attacks were thought to be all the Serbs could withstand; in fact, seventy-eight days were needed.

As these examples suggest, when culture is considered in calculating the relative strengths and weaknesses of opposing forces, it tends to lead to wild distortions, especially when it is a matter of understanding why states unprepared for war enter into combat flushed with confidence. The temptation is to impute cultural attributes to the enemy state that negate its superior numbers or weaponry. Or the opposite: to view the potential enemy through the prism of one’s own cultural norms.

It is particularly dangerous to make facile assumptions about abilities in warfare based on past performance, for societies evolve and so does the military subculture with it. The dismal French performance in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war led the German high command to an overly optimistic assessment prior to World War I. Then tenacity and courage of French soldiers in World War I lead everyone from Winston Churchill to the German high command vastly to overestimate the French army’s fighting abilities. Israeli generals underestimated the Egyptian army of 1973 based on Egypt’s hapless performance in the 1967 war.

Culture is difficult to pin down. It is not synonymous with an individual’s race nor ethnic identity. The history of warfare makes a mockery of attempts to assign rigid cultural attributes to individuals — as the military histories of the Ottoman and Roman empires illustrate. In both cases it was training, discipline, esprit, and élan which made the difference, not the individual soldiers’ origin. The highly disciplined and effective Roman legions, for example, recruited from throughout the Roman Empire, and the elite Ottoman Janissaries (slave soldiers) were Christians forcibly recruited as boys from the Balkans.

The role of culture

These problems notwithstanding, culture does need to be taken into account. Indeed, awareness of prior mistakes should make it possible to assess the role of cultural factors in warfare. John Keegan, the eminent historian of warfare, argues that culture is a prime determinant of the nature of warfare. In contrast to the usual manner of European warfare, which he terms “face to face,” Keegan depicts the early Arab armies in the Islamic era as masters of evasion, delay, and indirection. Examining Arab warfare in this century leads to the conclusion that the Arabs remain more successful in insurgent, or political, warfare — what T. E. Lawrence termed “winning wars without battles.” Even the much-lauded Egyptian crossing of the Suez in 1973 at its core entailed a masterful deception plan. It may well be that these seemingly permanent attributes result from a culture that engenders subtlety, indirection, and dissimulation in personal relationships.

Along these lines, Kenneth Pollock concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991.” These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level. The barrage of criticism leveled at Samuel Huntington’s notion of a “clash of civilizations” in no way lessens the vital point he made — that however much the grouping of peoples by religion and culture rather than political or economic divisions offends academics who propound a world defined by class, race, and gender, it is a reality, one not diminished by modern communications.

But how does one integrate the study of culture into military training? At present, it has hardly any role. Paul M. Belbutowski, a scholar and former member of the U.S. Delta Force, succinctly stated a deficiency in our own military education system: “Culture, comprised of all that is vague and intangible, is not generally integrated into strategic planning except at the most superficial level.” And yet it is precisely “all that is vague and intangible” that defines low-intensity conflicts. The Vietnamese communists did not fight the war the United States had trained for, nor did the Chechens and Afghans fight the war the Russians prepared for. This entails far more than simply retooling weaponry and retraining soldiers. It requires an understanding of the cultural mythology, history, attitude toward time, etc.; and it demands a more substantial investment in time and money than a bureaucratic organization is likely to authorize.

Mindful of walking through a minefield of past errors and present cultural sensibilities, I offer some assessments of the role of culture in the military training of Arabic-speaking officers. I confine myself principally to training for two reasons:

• First, I observed much training but only one combat campaign (the Jordanian Army against the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970).

• Secondly, armies fight as they train. Troops are conditioned by peacetime habits, policies, and procedures; they do not undergo a sudden metamorphosis that transforms civilians in uniform into warriors. General George Patton was fond of relating the story about Julius Caesar, who “in the winter time. . . so trained his legions in all that became soldiers and so habituated them to the proper performance of their duties, that when in the spring he committed them to battle against the Gauls, it was not necessary to give them orders, for they knew what to do and how to do it.”

Information as power

In every society information is a means of making a living or wielding power, but Arabs husband information and hold it especially tightly. U.S. trainers have often been surprised over the years by the fact that information provided to key personnel does not get much further than them. Having learned to perform some complicated procedure, an Arab technician knows that he is invaluable so long as he is the only one in a unit to have that knowledge; once he dispenses it to others he no longer is the only font of knowledge and his power dissipates. This explains the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature.

On one occasion, an American mobile training team working with armor in Egypt at long last received the operators’ manuals that had laboriously been translated into Arabic. The American trainers took the newly minted manuals straight to the tank park and distributed them to the tank crews. Right behind them, the company commander, a graduate of the armor school at Fort Knox and specialized courses at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds ordnance school, promptly collected the manuals from those crews. Questioned why he did this, the commander said that there was no point in giving them to the drivers because enlisted men could not read. In point of fact, he did not want enlisted men to have an independent source of knowledge. Being the only person who could explain the fire control instrumentation or bore sight artillery weapons brought prestige and attention.

In military terms this means that very little cross-training is accomplished and that, for instance in a tank crew, the gunners, loaders and drivers might be proficient in their jobs but are not prepared to fill in should one become a casualty. Not understanding one another’s jobs also inhibits a smoothly functioning crew. At a higher level it means that there is no depth in technical proficiency.

(Excerpt) Read more at unc.edu ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: arabculture; arabworld; iraqhistory; iraqifreedom; war
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 08/28/2002 5:12:19 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin
Having learned to perform some complicated procedure, an Arab technician knows that he is invaluable so long as he is the only one in a unit to have that knowledge; once he dispenses it to others he no longer is the only font of knowledge and his power dissipates. This explains the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature.

I worked with a Pakistani Muslim and this was his M.O.
Of course, the knowledge he thought was so special, secret and protected wasn't worth squat. His departure only underscored his lack of value.
Just a cultural observation, I don't want to start an, uh, *ahem*, Holy War.
2 posted on 08/28/2002 5:18:42 AM PDT by dyed_in_the_wool
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
........ARABIC-SPEAKING ARMIES have been generally ineffective in the modern era...

I would argue the same about most Arab groups in modern society. Not only the military but also industrialists have a hard time. Arabs are fantastic businessmen and traders, but they have a very difficult time with manufacturing and complex processes. This is to say, Arabs lack organizational skills necessary to manage industrial or military campaigns.

In America we have 100 years of industrial skills and the WW2 when military skills were largely developed.

The challenge for the Arabs is to see if the cadres of western educated young men can use their education to bring about change. They are opposed by formidable conservative opponents who allow no change at all.

The current situation is the result of the battle between the future and the past. This thought is the basis for the discussions between W and Bandar.

3 posted on 08/28/2002 5:34:37 AM PDT by bert
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To: bert
In many ways it really does matter what kind of culture a person comes from. As someone looking at the Arab culture from the outside it looks like they haven't left the middle ages behind. This is in many ways understandable as that was time time when they were an 800lb gorilla, but as someone said, that was then, this is now.
4 posted on 08/28/2002 5:45:18 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin
Kipling said it a long time ago...

The 'eathen in his foolishness
must end where he began,
but the backbone of the army
is the non-commissioned man.

5 posted on 08/28/2002 5:55:56 AM PDT by Mr. Thorne
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To: bert
The challenge for the Arabs is to see if the cadres of western educated young men can use their education to bring about change. They are opposed by formidable conservative opponents who allow no change at all.

The current situation is the result of the battle between the future and the past. This thought is the basis for the discussions between W and Bandar.

America and the West would not be well-served to educate cadres of young Arabs so long as Islam is a force in the Middle East and multiculturalism is a force in our universities.

We do not need to see the Industrialization of the Jihad.




6 posted on 08/28/2002 6:03:18 AM PDT by Sabertooth
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To: Valin
A long worthwhile read.
7 posted on 08/28/2002 6:17:15 AM PDT by aculeus
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To: Cyber Liberty
Ping for self for later reading....
8 posted on 08/28/2002 6:20:53 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty
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To: Sabertooth
America and the West would not be well-served to educate cadres of young Arabs so long as Islam is a force in the Middle East and multiculturalism is a force in our universities.

True, but if these people could change their society to one that leaves the middle ages behind it would be a very good thing.
Of course I am more than a little skeptical that they could get any ideas about freedom, progress, the marketplace of ideas,....at most American universities.

9 posted on 08/28/2002 6:24:36 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin
Fighting against each other they are evenly matched, since they are subjest to the same failings.

Matched against any western power they are doomed to failure because they are fighting for what they are told or indoctrinated to believe or directed to do, not for what they personally believe, what they own, or what they have experienced first hand as worthwhile.

10 posted on 08/28/2002 6:25:37 AM PDT by Publius6961
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To: Valin
Great article -- thanks for posting!
11 posted on 08/28/2002 6:37:11 AM PDT by maryz
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
Fascinating article, thanks for posting it.
12 posted on 08/28/2002 6:43:30 AM PDT by Dan Day
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To: bert
"This is to say, Arabs lack organizational skills necessary to manage industrial or military campaigns."

I have to agree. Arab culture punishes individualism, creativity and leadership development. Once you start acting out of line with the rest of the herd, the mullahs put a fatwa on your butt. Being a good muslem means doing what you're told by the regional self-appointed gangster in-charge.

13 posted on 08/28/2002 7:26:34 AM PDT by rudypoot
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
An absolutely outstanding article. A must read.

Having gone to graduate school with Arab and Persian students alike, and then worked in an industry that does a lot of business in the Mideast, much of this rings dead-true.

Freepers, if you read nothing else today, read both parts of this article. Twice.

14 posted on 08/28/2002 7:27:47 AM PDT by LTCJ
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To: LTCJ
Arabic speakers have no corner on keeping vital information to themselves. I've seen it in American business mid-level management many times.
15 posted on 08/28/2002 8:00:53 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Valin
Good G-2!
16 posted on 08/28/2002 8:11:34 AM PDT by CPT Clay
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To: Valin
Interesting article. Thanks for posting.
17 posted on 08/28/2002 8:19:36 AM PDT by lds23
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To: Sabertooth
"We do not need to see the Industrialization of the Jihad"

This statement indicates the complete misunderstanding of the forces of change that are underway. That is, a misunderstanding of the conflict and of the parties involved. The statement is an oxymoron.

Industrialization is already well underway and has been for let's say 30 years. Those who favor jihad oppose any change in the preindustrial status quo. They especially oppose an industrial society and all the sinful baggage that comes with it.

There are many American educated Arabs who are not Islamic zealots and who are attempting to use their education and Western contacts to improve their society at all levels. There are many who shun education and who have problems in a changing society because they can't compete. They respond by retreating to Islamic zealotry to stop the change.

18 posted on 08/28/2002 10:00:46 AM PDT by bert
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To: bert
Those who favor jihad oppose any change in the preindustrial status quo. They especially oppose an industrial society and all the sinful baggage that comes with it.

That's a bit oversimplified. Saddam Hussein is fairly industrialized as Arab despots go, particularly with weapons systems. Despite being secular, he'll use jihad when it suits him.

The Iranian theocracy is hardly dogmatically opposed to industrialization, particulary of its military.

There's not a Holy Warrior alive who wouldn't want the industrial infrastucture to make their own nuclear weapons.

Islam is religious fascism, and far more motivated by antisemitism and antichristianity than by anti-industrialization. European fascism in the 20th Century was hardly incompatible with industry. To suggest that Islam and jihad are inherently incompatible with industrialization misses the mark.




19 posted on 08/28/2002 10:14:17 AM PDT by Sabertooth
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To: Valin
I really enjoyed reading both parts of this article.
This stopped me dead in my tracks, though.

"It obviously makes a big difference, however,
when the surrounding political culture is not only avowedly
democratic (as was the Soviet Union’s), but functionally so. "

20 posted on 08/28/2002 3:43:16 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: gcruse
Why does that stop you in your tracks? The colonel is simply saying that, while the Soviets paid lip service to (avowed) democratic values, the Soviet Union did not "function" as a democracy.
21 posted on 08/28/2002 4:44:01 PM PDT by beckett
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To: beckett
Okay.  What we seem to have here, correct me if I am wrong,
is a word that has two opposite and contradictory meanings.

                               Main Entry: avow.ed.ly
                               Pronunciation: &-'vau-&d-lE
                               Function: adverb
                               Date: 1656
                               1 : with open acknowledgment : FRANKLY
                               2 : by unsupported assertion or profession alone : ALLEGEDLY

Frankly and openly acknowledged means the USSR was a democracy.
Allegedly means it was only by assertion.
 
 

22 posted on 08/28/2002 4:51:41 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: Valin
Education is in good part sought as a matter of personal prestige, so Arabs in U.S. military schools take pains to ensure that the ranking member, according to military position or social class, scores the highest marks in the class. Often this leads to “sharing answers” in class — often in a rather overt manner or in junior officers concealing scores higher than those of their superiors.

American military instructors dealing with Middle Eastern students learn to ensure that, before directing any question to a student in a classroom situation, particularly if he is an officer, the student does possess the correct answer. If this is not assured, the officer may feel he has been deliberately set up for public humiliation. In the often-paranoid environment of Arab political culture, he may then become an enemy of the instructor, and his classmates will become apprehensive about their also being singled out for humiliation — and learning becomes impossible.

I have experienced this firsthand, both as a fellow student in military courses and as an instructor. I never met an Arab officer willing to pull his own weight, either academically or physically in the field. They were all worthless and were not to be trusted.

23 posted on 08/28/2002 4:55:15 PM PDT by TADSLOS
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To: Valin
We will not face an Arab army in the war against terrorism/militant Islam..

The terrorists are not the enemy we should focus on - the REAL enemy is militant Islam. The morons who buy into this murderous cult are simply looking for two things: first an explanation of why their life is so miserable (the Infidels did it) and secondly, a life better than his present miserable existence.. He is told paradise will be his if he dies in Jihad...

Terrorism is just one tool used by these militant Islamic radicals to spread Islam throughout the world - THEIR PRIMARY MISSION- Their MOST EFFECTIVE tool is to immigrate, copulate and populate. They mean to win this cultural/religious struggle by population growth within the non-Muslim nations.

The West must quickly come to terms with this fact....We have been engaged in a war of Borders, Language and Culture.... Radical Islamic Muslims in the west, do NOT intend to assimilate into OUR culture -- they intend to force us into theirs.
Semper Fi

24 posted on 08/28/2002 5:20:30 PM PDT by river rat
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To: gcruse
I wouldn't say they are opposite and contradictory, exactly. Def. 1 means that one may openly avow a position, attitude or personal belief. Def. 2 means that a vow is simply a bald assertion or promise, unsupported by corroborating material. I suspect that the frequency of broken vows brought Def. 2 to the fore in conventional usage.
25 posted on 08/28/2002 5:44:45 PM PDT by beckett
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To: Valin
If the question posed is whether Arab culture and genetics doom them as a viable military machine, then the answer is a resounding "YES."
26 posted on 08/28/2002 5:45:03 PM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter
I have had experience working with Iranian technical maintenance personnel. It is amazing they ever get anything fixed at all. They have no notion of causality. They go for the fix that is easiest to get to, whether it fits the symptoms or not. When you try to take them down a logical pathway of how the problem should have been addressed, you end up either in an argument at the top of your lungs, or trying to find your way through some sort of mysticism about how the world works. The only enemy Arabs could defeat has to be other Arabs.
27 posted on 08/28/2002 5:54:51 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: Valin; humblegunner; dix
GREAT POST!!

Stay safe; stay armed.


28 posted on 08/28/2002 6:32:26 PM PDT by Eaker
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To: gcruse
"The only enemy Arabs could defeat has to be other Arabs."

LOL...And BTW, here I thought it was the Iranians who were the "brains" of the Arab world.

29 posted on 08/28/2002 6:35:41 PM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter
Well, to tell you the truth, they deny being Arabs at all. Persians, doncha know?
30 posted on 08/28/2002 6:39:39 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: F16Fighter
I've always heard that it's the Palestinians. If you look at who the teacher, doctors..etc in the abrb world you'll find a large number of Palestinians.
31 posted on 08/28/2002 10:14:47 PM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin
That's the Israeli culture rubbing off on them. They had the highest living standards in the non-floating-in-oil Arab world, until they pissed it away in Jihad.
32 posted on 08/29/2002 6:53:29 PM PDT by FreedomPoster
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To: F16Fighter
I thought it was the Iranians who were the "brains" of the Arab world.

They're not Arab at all, but Persian. I trained both some years ago and the difference was startling - the only reason the Iraqis managed a stalemate over the Iranians in that conflict was that the latter had purged their armed forces of potentially "disloyal" professionals in favor of religious and political toadies after the 1979 revolution - it ended up looking like the Arabian model. The Russians did the same thing after 1917 and got the stuffing kicked out of them by the Poles less than a decade later. (Same thing happened after the purges of 1938-39 when the Wehrmacht came a-callin'.)

Of the ones I met the Iranians were head and shoulders above the rest, probably for the same cultural reasons cited by the author of the article. The veneer of Islam is, IMHO, a lot thinner over the Persian people than the Arabs, and it looks from recent events like it's wearing a little thin. This could get very interesting in the next couple of years, and maybe sooner.

33 posted on 08/29/2002 7:13:42 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: F16Fighter
"...here I thought it was the Iranians who were the "brains" of the Arab world."

But the Iranians aren't Arabs--they are Persians.

34 posted on 03/26/2003 12:03:37 PM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: gcruse
"And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, 'Here lies a fool who tried to hurry the East'"
35 posted on 03/26/2003 12:14:08 PM PST by harrym
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To: gcruse
"And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased, 'Here lies a fool who tried to hurry the East'"
36 posted on 03/26/2003 12:14:09 PM PST by harrym
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To: Valin
Just thought I'd bump this.
37 posted on 04/04/2003 4:25:07 PM PST by xJones
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To: xJones
Okay, I'll bump it one more time.
38 posted on 04/04/2003 4:56:59 PM PST by xJones
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To: xJones
I really do have to start putting these things in a file.
39 posted on 04/04/2003 8:34:01 PM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
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To: Valin

The more I read about the characteristics of Arab cultures, the more I believe that they are at root matriarchies, and that all this "male domination" we see is a façade. There is a lot of "stooping to conquer" going on there. Not that individual women are not treated cruelly -- everyone is treated cruelly in those cultures -- but that as a class, women -- or more accurately women's values -- run the place.

Go back and look at the behavioral characteristics of the Arab officers. There are a lot of characteristically female strategies employed in dealing with one another, and with us. Arab culture may have the face of a man, but it is a woman.


40 posted on 04/04/2003 9:40:02 PM PST by Nick Danger (More rallys planned! www.freerepublic.net)
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To: Nick Danger
Well that's a new take. I've never considered it from that way.
41 posted on 04/04/2003 10:06:04 PM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
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To: Nick Danger
Can always count on you to make me think about something I didn't think I had to think about.
42 posted on 04/04/2003 10:10:21 PM PST by Gumption
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To: dyed_in_the_wool
"the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature."

It isn't just the training material. The culture encourages the hoarding of everything. They look at everything as a zero sum game. " If you succeed, I am diminished." This is why anti-Saddam Arabs are nonetheless furious that we would take him out. If we succeed, they feel "humiliated", because it was us, not them, that took Saddam out. This attitude is a recipe for never-ending poverty.

43 posted on 04/04/2003 10:17:32 PM PST by cookcounty
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Many of you have had this experience, I am sure: An Arab will explain to you how he had come to America to study, say, engineering. When he goes back home from time to time, he is pressed about what he has learned and how it can be used aganst America by the Arab world. He tries to explain that it is not the "thing" of the information that he has learned that makes the West superior, but the way that the people in the West constantly learn, inquire, and seek out the truth. He finds he cannot get this across. He finds that he countrymen see the knowledge of the West as a thing, like a sword, that can be approprieated and used against the West by the superior civilization of the Arabs and Islam.
44 posted on 04/04/2003 10:18:00 PM PST by AmericanVictory
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To: rudypoot
I have to agree. Arab culture punishes individualism, creativity and leadership development. Once you start acting out of line with the rest of the herd, the mullahs put a fatwa on your butt. Being a good muslem means doing what you're told by the regional self-appointed gangster in-charge.

Our military is successful because it properly balances teamwork and individualism. Pure individualism does not work in the military. Pure lemming mentality does not work either. There must be a dedication to the team and to the chain of command and there must be some ideology that cements the military together.

I think I disagree that the reason that muslims fail at war is because of a lemming mentality. Many of the Iraqi's are showing remarkable courage but also showing very poor judgement. There is no organization and ideology that cements the whole thing together.

45 posted on 04/04/2003 10:45:53 PM PST by BRL
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To: LTCJ; FreedomPoster
Posting both parts of the article (http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/AD_Issues/amdipl_17/articles/deatkine_arabs1.html) in their entirety for archiving purposes.


Why Arabs Lose Wars: Fighting as You Train, and the Imprint of Culture on Arab Military Effectiveness

The author, a retired U.S. Army colonel, draws upon many years of firsthand observation of Arabs in training to reach conclusions about the ways in which they go into combat. His findings derive from personal experience with Arab military establishments in the capacity of U.S. military attache and security assistance officer, observer officer with the British-officered Trucial Oman Scouts (the security force in the emirates prior to the establishment of the UAE), as well as some thirty years of study of the Middle East.~ Ed.


ARABIC-SPEAKING ARMIES have been generally ineffective in the modern era. Egyptian regular forces did poorly against Yemeni irregulars in the 1960s. Syrians could only impose their will in Lebanon during the mid-1970s by the use of overwhelming weaponry and numbers. Iraqis showed ineptness against an Iranian military ripped apart by revolutionary turmoil in the 1980s and could not win a three-decades-long war against the Kurds. The Arab military performance on both sides of the 1990 Kuwait war was mediocre. And the Arabs have done poorly in nearly all the military confrontations with Israel. Why this unimpressive record? There are many factors — economic, ideological, technical — but perhaps the most important has to do with culture and certain societal attributes which inhibit Arabs from producing an effective military force.

False starts

Including culture in strategic assessments has a poor legacy, for it has often been spun from an ugly brew of ignorance, wishful thinking, and mythology. Thus, the U.S. Army in the 1930s evaluated the Japanese national character as lacking originality and drew the unwarranted conclusion that that country would be permanently disadvantaged in technology. Hitler dismissed the United States as a mongrel society and consequently underestimated the impact of America’s entry into the war. American strategists assumed that the pain threshold of the North Vietnamese approximated our own and that the air bombardment of the North would bring it to its knees. Three days of aerial attacks were thought to be all the Serbs could withstand; in fact, seventy-eight days were needed.

As these examples suggest, when culture is considered in calculating the relative strengths and weaknesses of opposing forces, it tends to lead to wild distortions, especially when it is a matter of understanding why states unprepared for war enter into combat flushed with confidence. The temptation is to impute cultural attributes to the enemy state that negate its superior numbers or weaponry. Or the opposite: to view the potential enemy through the prism of one’s own cultural norms.

It is particularly dangerous to make facile assumptions about abilities in warfare based on past performance, for societies evolve and so does the military subculture with it. The dismal French performance in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war led the German high command to an overly optimistic assessment prior to World War I. Then tenacity and courage of French soldiers in World War I lead everyone from Winston Churchill to the German high command vastly to overestimate the French army’s fighting abilities. Israeli generals underestimated the Egyptian army of 1973 based on Egypt’s hapless performance in the 1967 war.

Culture is difficult to pin down. It is not synonymous with an individual’s race nor ethnic identity. The history of warfare makes a mockery of attempts to assign rigid cultural attributes to individuals — as the military histories of the Ottoman and Roman empires illustrate. In both cases it was training, discipline, esprit, and élan which made the difference, not the individual soldiers’ origin. The highly disciplined and effective Roman legions, for example, recruited from throughout the Roman Empire, and the elite Ottoman Janissaries (slave soldiers) were Christians forcibly recruited as boys from the Balkans.

The role of culture

These problems notwithstanding, culture does need to be taken into account. Indeed, awareness of prior mistakes should make it possible to assess the role of cultural factors in warfare. John Keegan, the eminent historian of warfare, argues that culture is a prime determinant of the nature of warfare. In contrast to the usual manner of European warfare, which he terms “face to face,” Keegan depicts the early Arab armies in the Islamic era as masters of evasion, delay, and indirection. Examining Arab warfare in this century leads to the conclusion that the Arabs remain more successful in insurgent, or political, warfare — what T. E. Lawrence termed “winning wars without battles.” Even the much-lauded Egyptian crossing of the Suez in 1973 at its core entailed a masterful deception plan. It may well be that these seemingly permanent attributes result from a culture that engenders subtlety, indirection, and dissimulation in personal relationships.

Along these lines, Kenneth Pollock concludes his exhaustive study of Arab military effectiveness by noting that “certain patterns of behavior fostered by the dominant Arab culture were the most important factors contributing to the limited military effectiveness of Arab armies and air forces from 1945 to 1991.” These attributes included over-centralization, discouraging initiative, lack of flexibility, manipulation of information, and the discouragement of leadership at the junior officer level. The barrage of criticism leveled at Samuel Huntington’s notion of a “clash of civilizations” in no way lessens the vital point he made — that however much the grouping of peoples by religion and culture rather than political or economic divisions offends academics who propound a world defined by class, race, and gender, it is a reality, one not diminished by modern communications.

But how does one integrate the study of culture into military training? At present, it has hardly any role. Paul M. Belbutowski, a scholar and former member of the U.S. Delta Force, succinctly stated a deficiency in our own military education system: “Culture, comprised of all that is vague and intangible, is not generally integrated into strategic planning except at the most superficial level.” And yet it is precisely “all that is vague and intangible” that defines low-intensity conflicts. The Vietnamese communists did not fight the war the United States had trained for, nor did the Chechens and Afghans fight the war the Russians prepared for. This entails far more than simply retooling weaponry and retraining soldiers. It requires an understanding of the cultural mythology, history, attitude toward time, etc.; and it demands a more substantial investment in time and money than a bureaucratic organization is likely to authorize.

Mindful of walking through a minefield of past errors and present cultural sensibilities, I offer some assessments of the role of culture in the military training of Arabic-speaking officers. I confine myself principally to training for two reasons:

     • First, I observed much training but only one combat campaign (the Jordanian Army against the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1970).

     • Secondly, armies fight as they train. Troops are conditioned by peacetime habits, policies, and procedures; they do not undergo a sudden metamorphosis that transforms civilians in uniform into warriors. General George Patton was fond of relating the story about Julius Caesar, who “in the winter time. . . so trained his legions in all that became soldiers and so habituated them to the proper performance of their duties, that when in the spring he committed them to battle against the Gauls, it was not necessary to give them orders, for they knew what to do and how to do it.” 

Information as power

In every society information is a means of making a living or wielding power, but Arabs husband information and hold it especially tightly. U.S. trainers have often been surprised over the years by the fact that information provided to key personnel does not get much further than them. Having learned to perform some complicated procedure, an Arab technician knows that he is invaluable so long as he is the only one in a unit to have that knowledge; once he dispenses it to others he no longer is the only font of knowledge and his power dissipates. This explains the commonplace hoarding of manuals, books, training pamphlets, and other training or logistics literature.

On one occasion, an American mobile training team working with armor in Egypt at long last received the operators’ manuals that had laboriously been translated into Arabic. The American trainers took the newly minted manuals straight to the tank park and distributed them to the tank crews. Right behind them, the company commander, a graduate of the armor school at Fort Knox and specialized courses at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds ordnance school, promptly collected the manuals from those crews. Questioned why he did this, the commander said that there was no point in giving them to the drivers because enlisted men could not read. In point of fact, he did not want enlisted men to have an independent source of knowledge. Being the only person who could explain the fire control instrumentation or bore sight artillery weapons brought prestige and attention.

In military terms this means that very little cross-training is accomplished and that, for instance in a tank crew, the gunners, loaders and drivers might be proficient in their jobs but are not prepared to fill in should one become a casualty. Not understanding one another’s jobs also inhibits a smoothly functioning crew. At a higher level it means that there is no depth in technical proficiency.
 

Education Problems

Training tends to be unimaginative, cut and dried, and not challenging. Because the Arab educational system is predicated on rote memorization, officers have a phenomenal ability to commit vast amounts of knowledge to memory. The learning system tends to consist of on-high lectures, with students taking voluminous notes and being examined on what they were told. (It also has interesting implications for a foreign instructor, whose credibility, for example, is diminished if he must resort to a book.) The emphasis on memorization has a price, and that is in diminished ability to reason or engage in analysis based upon general principles. Thinking outside the box is not encouraged; doing so in public can damage a career. Instructors are not challenged and neither, in the end, are students.

Head-to-head competition among individuals is generally avoided, at least openly, for it means that someone wins and someone else loses, with the loser humiliated. This taboo has particular import when a class contains mixed ranks. Education is in good part sought as a matter of personal prestige, so Arabs in U.S. military schools take pains to ensure that the ranking member, according to military position or social class, scores the highest marks in the class. Often this leads to “sharing answers” in class — often in a rather overt manner or in junior officers concealing scores higher than those of their superiors.

American military instructors dealing with Middle Eastern students learn to ensure that, before directing any question to a student in a classroom situation, particularly if he is an officer, the student does possess the correct answer. If this is not assured, the officer may feel he has been deliberately set up for public humiliation. In the often-paranoid environment of Arab political culture, he may then become an enemy of the instructor, and his classmates will become apprehensive about their also being singled out for humiliation — and learning becomes impossible.
 

Officers vs. soldiers

Arab junior officers are well trained on the technical aspects of their weapons and tactical know-how, but not in leadership, a subject given little attention. For example, as General Sa`d ash-Shazli, the Egyptian chief of staff, noted in his assessment of the army he inherited prior to the 1973 war, they were not trained to seize the initiative or volunteer original concepts or new ideas. Indeed, leadership may be the greatest weakness of Arab training systems. This problem results from two main factors: a highly accentuated class system bordering on a caste system, and lack of a non-commissioned-officer development program.

Most Arab armies treat enlisted soldiers like sub-humans. When the winds in Egypt one day carried biting sand particles from the desert during a demonstration for visiting U.S. dignitaries, I watched as a contingent of soldiers marched in and formed a single rank to shield the Americans; Egyptian soldiers, in other words, are used on occasion as nothing more than a windbreak. The idea of taking care of one’s men is found only among the most elite units in the Egyptian military. On a typical weekend, officers in units stationed outside Cairo will get in their cars and drive off to their homes, leaving the enlisted men to fend for themselves by trekking across the desert to a highway and flag down busses or trucks to get to the Cairo rail system. Garrison cantonments have no amenities for soldiers. The same situation, in various degrees, exists elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking countries — less so in Jordan, even more so in Iraq and Syria. The young draftees who make up the vast bulk of the Egyptian army hate military service for good reason and will do almost anything, including self-mutilation, to avoid it. In Syria the wealthy buy exemptions or, failing that, are assigned to noncombatant organizations. As a young Syrian told me, his musical skills came from his assignment to a Syrian army band where he learned to play an instrument. In general, the militaries of the Fertile Crescent enforce discipline by fear; in countries where a tribal system still is in force, such as Saudi Arabia, the innate egalitarianism of the society mitigates against fear as the prime mover, so a general lack of discipline pervades.

The social and professional gap between officers and enlisted men is present in all armies, but in the United States and other Western forces, the non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps bridges it. Indeed, a professional NCO corps has been critical for the American military to work at its best; as the primary trainers in a professional army, NCOs are critical to training programs and to the enlisted men’s sense of unit esprit. Most of the Arab world either has no NCO corps or it is non-functional, severely handicapping the military’s effectiveness. With some exceptions, NCOs are considered in the same low category as enlisted men and so do not serve as a bridge between enlisted men and officers. Officers instruct but the wide social gap between enlisted man and officer tends to make the learning process perfunctory, formalized, and ineffective. The show-and-tell aspects of training are frequently missing because officers refuse to get their hands dirty and prefer to ignore the more practical aspects of their subject matter, believing this below their social station. A dramatic example of this occurred during the Gulf War when a severe windstorm blew down the tents of Iraqi officer prisoners of war. For three days they stayed in the wind and rain rather than be observed by enlisted prisoners in a nearby camp working with their hands.

The military price for this is very great. Without the cohesion supplied by NCOs, units tend to disintegrate in the stress of combat. This is primarily a function of the fact that the enlisted soldiers simply do not have trust in their officers. Once officers depart the training areas, training begins to fall apart as soldiers begin drifting off. An Egyptian officer once explained to me that the Egyptian army’s catastrophic defeat in 1967 resulted from of a lack of cohesion within units. The situation, he said, had only marginally improved in 1973. Iraqi prisoners in 1991 showed a remarkable fear of and enmity toward their officers.
 

End of Part 1

46 posted on 10/24/2003 2:53:24 PM PDT by LTCJ (Killing threads singlehandedly since June 2001)
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To: LTCJ
Part 2


Decision-making and responsibility

Decisions are highly centralized, made at a very high level and rarely delegated. Rarely does an officer make a critical decision on his own; instead, he prefers the safe course of being identified as industrious, intelligent, loyal — and compliant. Bringing attention to oneself as an innovator or someone prone to making unilateral decisions is a recipe for trouble. As in civilian life, conforming is the overwhelming societal norm; the nail that stands up gets hammered down. Decisions are made and delivered from on high, with very little lateral communication. Orders and information flow from top to bottom; they are not to be reinterpreted, amended, or modified in any way.

U.S. trainers often experience frustration obtaining a decision from a counterpart, not realizing that the Arab officer lacks the authority to make the decision — a frustration amplified by the Arab’s understandable reluctance to admit that he lacks that authority. This author has several times seen decisions that could have been made at the battalion level concerning such matters as class meeting times and locations referred for approval to the ministry of defense. All of which has led American trainers to develop a rule of thumb: a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army has as much authority as a colonel in an Arab army.

Methods of instruction and subject matter are dictated by higher authorities. Unit commanders have very little to say about these affairs. The politicized nature of the Arab militaries means that political factors weigh heavily and frequently override military considerations. Officers with initiative and a predilection for unilateral action pose a threat to the regime. This can be seen not just at the level of national strategy but in every aspect of military operations and training. If Arab militaries became less politicized and more professional in preparation for the 1973 war with Israel, once the fighting ended, old habits returned. Now, an increasingly bureaucratized military establishment weighs in as well. A veteran of the Pentagon turf wars will feel like a kindergartner when he encounters the rivalries that exist in the Arab military headquarters.

Taking responsibility for a policy, operation, status, or training program rarely occurs. U.S. trainers can find it very frustrating when they repeatedly encounter Arab officers placing blame for unsuccessful operations or programs on the U.S. equipment or some other outside source. A high rate of non-operational U.S. equipment is blamed on a “lack of spare parts” — pointing a finger at an unresponsive U.S. supply system despite the fact that American trainers can document ample supplies arriving in country and disappearing in a moribund supply system. (It should be added, and is important to do so, that this criticism was never caustic or personal and was often so indirect and politely delivered that it wasn’t until after a meeting that oblique references were understood.) This imperative works even at the most exalted levels. During the Kuwait war, Iraqi forces took over the town of Khafji in northeast Saudi Arabia after the Saudis had evacuated the place. General Khalid bin Sultan, the Saudi ground forces commander, requested a letter from General Norman Schwarzkopf, stating it was the U.S. general who ordered an evacuation from the Saudi town. And in his account of the Khafji battle, General Bin Sultan predictably blames the Americans for the Iraqi occupation of the town. In reality the problem was that the light Saudi forces in the area left the battlefield. The Saudis were in fact outgunned and outnumbered by the Iraqi unit approaching Khafji but Saudi pride required that foreigners be blamed.

As for equipment, a vast cultural gap exists between the U.S. and Arab maintenance and logistics systems. The Arab difficulties with U.S. equipment is not, as sometimes simplistically believed, a matter of “Arabs don’t do maintenance,” but a vast cultural gap. The American concept of a weapons system does not convey easily. A weapons system brings with it specific maintenance and logistics procedures, policies, and even a philosophy, all of them based on U.S. culture, with its expectations of a certain educational level, sense of small unit responsibility, tool allocation, and doctrine. The U.S. equipment and its maintenance are predicated on a concept of repair at the lowest level and therefore require delegation of authority. Tools that would be allocated to a U.S. battalion (a unit of some 600-800 personnel) would most likely be found at a much higher level — probably two or three echelons higher — in an Arab army. The expertise, initiative and, most importantly, the trust indicated by delegation of responsibility to a lower level are rare. Without the needed tools, spare parts, or expertise available to keep equipment running, and loathe to report bad news to his superiors, the unit commander looks for scapegoats.

All this explains why I many times heard in Egypt that U.S. weaponry is “too delicate.” I have observed many in-country U.S. survey teams: invariably, hosts make the case for acquiring the most modern of military hardware and do everything to avoid issues of maintenance, logistics, and training. They obfuscate and mislead to such an extent that U.S. teams, no matter how earnest their sense of mission, find it nearly impossible to help. More generally, Arab reluctance to be candid about training deficiencies makes it extremely difficult for foreign advisors properly to support instruction or assess training needs.
 

Combined arms operations

A lack of cooperation is most apparent in the failure of all Arab armies to succeed at combined arms operations. A regular Jordanian army infantry company, for example is man-for-man as good as a comparable Israeli company; at battalion level, however, the coordination required for combined arms operations, with artillery, air, and logistics support, is simply absent. Indeed, the higher the echelon, the greater the disparity. This results from infrequent combined arms training; when it does take place, it is intended to impress visitors (which it does — the dog-and-pony show is usually done with uncommon gusto and theatrical talent) rather than provide real training.

Three underlying factors further impede coordination necessary for combined operations.

     • First, the well-known lack of trust among Arabs in anyone outside their own families adversely affects offensive operations. In a culture in which almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business and social relationships, is based on a family structure, this basic mistrust of others is particularly costly in the stress of battle. Offensive action, at base, consists of fire and maneuver. The maneuver element must be confident that supporting units or arms are providing covering fire. If there is a lack of trust in that support, getting troops moving forward against dug-in defenders is possible only by officers getting out front and leading, something that has not been a characteristic of Arab leadership. (Exceptions to this pattern are limited to elite units, which throughout the Arab world have the same duty — to protect the regime rather than the country.)

     • Second, the complex mosaic system of peoples creates additional problems for training, as rulers in the Middle East make use of the sectarian and tribal loyalties to maintain power. The `Alawi minority controls Syria, east bankers control Jordan, Sunnis control Iraq, and Nejdis control Saudi Arabia. This has direct implications for the military, where sectarian considerations affect assignments and promotions. Some minorities (such the Circassians in Jordan or the Druze in Syria) tie their well-being to the ruling elite and perform critical protection roles; others (such as the Shi`a of Iraq) are excluded from the officer corps. In any case, the careful assignment of officers based on sectarian considerations works against assignments based on merit. The same lack of trust operates at the inter-state level, where Arab armies exhibit very little trust of each other, and with good reason. The blatant lie Gamal Abdel Nasser told King Husayn in June 1967 to get him into the war against Israel — that the Egyptian air force was over Tel Aviv (when the vast majority of planes had been destroyed) — was a classic example of deceit. Sadat’s disingenuous approach to the Syrians to entice them to enter the war in October 1973 was another (he told them that the Egyptians were planning total war, a deception that included using a second set of operational plans intended only for Syrian eyes). With this sort of history, it is no wonder that there is very little cross or joint training among Arab armies and very few command exercises. During the 1967 war, for example, not a single Jordanian liaison officer was stationed in Egypt, nor were the Jordanians forthcoming with the Egyptian command.

     • Third, Middle Eastern rulers routinely rely on balance-of-power techniques to maintain their authority. They use competing organizations, duplicate agencies, and coercive structures dependent upon the ruler's whim. This makes building any form of personal power base difficult, if not impossible, and keeps the leadership apprehensive and off-balance, never secure in its careers or social position. The same applies within the military; a powerful chairman of the joint chiefs is inconceivable. Joint commands are paper constructs that have little actual function. Leaders look at joint commands, joint exercises, combined arms, and integrated staffs very cautiously for all Arab armies are double-edged swords. One edge points toward the external enemy and the other toward the capital. Land forces are at once a regime-maintenance force and threat to the same regime. This situation is most clearly seen in Saudi Arabia, where the land forces and aviation are under the minister of defense, Prince Sultan, while the National Guard is under Prince Abdullah, the deputy prime minister and crown prince. In Egypt, the Central Security Forces balance the army. In Iraq and Syria, the Republican Guard does the balancing.

No Arab ruler will allow combined operations or training to become routine, for these create familiarity, soften rivalries, erase suspicions, and eliminate the fragmented, competing organizations that enable rulers to play off rivals against one another. Politicians actually create obstacles to maintain fragmentation. For example, obtaining aircraft from the air force for army airborne training, whether it is a joint exercise or a simple administrative request for support of training, must generally be coordinated by the heads of services at the ministry of defense; if a large number of aircraft are involved, this probably requires presidential approval. Military coups may have gone out of style for now, but the fear of them remains strong. Any large-scale exercise of land forces is always a matter of concern to the government and is closely observed, particularly if live ammunition is being used. In Saudi Arabia a complex system of clearances required from area military commanders and provincial governors, all of whom have differing command channels to secure road convoy permission, obtaining ammunition, and conducting exercises, means that in order for a coup to work it would require a massive amount of loyal conspirators. The system has proven to be coup-proof, and there is no reason to believe it will not work well into the future.
 

Security and paranoia

Arab regimes classify virtually everything vaguely military. Information the U.S. military routinely publishes (about promotions, transfers, names of unit commanders, and unit designations) is top secret in Arabic-speaking countries. To be sure, this does make it more difficult for the enemy to construct an accurate order of battle, but it also feeds the divisive and compartmentalized nature of the military forces. The obsession with security can reach ludicrous lengths. Prior to the 1973 war, Sadat was surprised to find that within two weeks of the date he had ordered the armed forces be ready for war, his minister of war, General Muhammad Sadiq, had failed to inform his immediate staff of the order. Should a war, Sadat wondered, be kept secret from the very people expected to fight it?

One can expect to have an Arab counterpart or key contact changed without warning and with no explanation as to his sudden absence. This might well be simply a transfer a few doors away, but the vagueness of it all leaves foreigners imagining dire scenarios — that could be true. And it is best not to inquire too much; advisors or trainers who seem overly inquisitive may find their access to host military information or facilities limited. The presumed close U.S.-Israel relationship, thought to be operative at all levels, aggravates and complicates this penchant for secrecy. Arabs believe that the most mundane details about them are somehow transmitted to the Mossad via a secret hotline. This explains why an U.S. advisor with Arab forces is likely to be asked early and often about his opinion on the “Palestine problem,” then subjected to monologues on the assumed Jewish domination of the United States.
 

Indifference to safety

There is a general laxness with respect to safety measures and a seeming carelessness and indifference to training accidents, many of which could have been prevented by minimal safety precautions. To the (perhaps overly) safety-conscious Americans, Arab societies appear indifferent to casualties and to the importance of training safety. There are a number of explanations for this. Some would point to the inherent fatalism within Islam, and certainly anyone who has spent considerable time in Arab taxis would lend credence to that theory; but perhaps the reason has less to do with religion than with political culture. As any military veteran knows, the ethos of a unit is set at the top; or, as the old saying has it, units do those things well that the boss cares about. When the top political leadership displays a complete lack of concern for the welfare of its soldiers, such attitudes percolate down through the ranks. Exhibit A was the betrayal of Syrian troops fighting Israel in the Golan in 1967: having withdrawn its elite units, the Syrian government knowingly broadcast the falsehood that Israeli troops had captured the town of Kuneitra, which would have put them behind the largely conscript Syrian army still in position. The leadership took this step to pressure the great powers to impose a truce, though it led to a panic by the Syrian troops and the loss of the Golan Heights.
 

Conclusion

It would be difficult to exaggerate the cultural gulf separating American and Arab military cultures. In every significant area, American military advisors find students who enthusiastically take in their lessons and then resolutely fail to apply them. The culture they return to — the culture of their own armies in their own countries — defeats the intentions with which they took leave of their American instructors. Arab officers are not concerned about the welfare and safety of their men. The Arab military mind does not encourage initiative on the part of junior officers, or any officers for that matter. Responsibility is avoided and deflected, not sought and assumed. Political paranoia and operational hermeticism, rather than openness and team effort, are the rules of advancement (and survival) in the Arab military establishments. These are not issues of genetics, of course, but matters of historical and political culture.

When they had an influence on certain Arab military establishments, the Soviets strongly reinforced their clients’ own cultural traits. Like that of the Arabs, the Soviets’ military culture was driven by political fears bordering on paranoia. The steps taken to control the sources (real or imagined) of these fears, such as a rigidly centralized command structure, were readily understood by Arab political and military elites. The Arabs, too, felt an affinity for the Soviet officer class’s contempt for ordinary soldiers and its distrust of a well-developed, well-appreciated, well-rewarded NCO corps.

Arab political culture is based on a high degree of social stratification, very much like that of the defunct Soviet Union and very much unlike the upwardly mobile, meritocratic, democratic United States. Arab officers do not see any value in sharing information among themselves, let alone with their men. In this they follow the example of their political leaders, who not only withhold information from their own allies, but routinely deceive them. Training in Arab armies reflects this: rather than prepare as much as possible for the multitude of improvised responsibilities that are thrown up in the chaos of battle, Arab soldiers, and their officers, are bound in the narrow functions assigned them by their hierarchy. That this renders them less effective on the battlefield, let alone that it places their lives at greater risk, is scarcely of concern, whereas, of course, these two issues are dominant in the American military culture and are reflected in American military training.

Change is unlikely to come until it occurs in the larger Arab political culture, although the experience of other societies (including our own) suggests that the military can have a democratizing influence on the larger political culture, as officers bring the lessons of their training first into their professional environment, then into the larger society. It obviously makes a big difference, however, when the surrounding political culture is not only avowedly democratic (as was the Soviet Union’s), but functionally so.

Until Arab politics begin to change at fundamental levels, Arab armies, whatever the courage or proficiency of individual officers and men, are unlikely to acquire the range of qualities which modern fighting forces require for success on the battlefield. For these qualities depend on inculcating respect, trust, and openness among the members of the armed forces at all levels, and this is the marching music of modern warfare that Arab armies, no matter how much they emulate the corresponding steps, do not want to hear. 


Thanks to FreedomPoster for the suggestion of posting this excellent article in its entirety for archiving purposes.

47 posted on 10/24/2003 3:00:59 PM PDT by LTCJ (Killing threads singlehandedly since June 2001)
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To: LTCJ
Good call. Also worth noting here that, for a look at culture and military from the Western perspective, or why the West wins wars, Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture is a worthwhile read. As far as that goes, so are his columns at National Review Online.
48 posted on 10/24/2003 3:09:03 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (this space intentionally blank)
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To: Valin

Bump


49 posted on 07/26/2004 3:52:11 PM PDT by Voice in your head ("The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage." - Thucydides)
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To: Valin

Bump for a later read.


50 posted on 07/26/2004 3:52:55 PM PDT by knews_hound (Out of the NIC ,into the Router, out to the Cloud....Nothing but 'Net)
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