Showing posts with label arabs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arabs. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Book Review: Wars of National Liberation by Daniel Morgan

Commander Zero loaned me this book with the conditions that it is eventually returned and I share my thoughts on it. Figured a book review is as good of a way as any to share my thoughts. So here we go.

Good:
Comprehensive- This book talks about a whole lot of different conflicts. China, Algeria, French in Indochina, Jews vs the Arab world I, II, III, IV, Vietnam and touched on themes of African and South American conflicts.

Well Researched- The guy definitely knew what he was talking about. The sheer amount of research put into this book is impressive.

Brought home key themes- Successful insurgencies have safe havens behind international borders, foreign support and tend to be fighting against unmotivated outside forces. Stuff I have talked about before.

Bad:
Bounces Around- This book seems to have sort of gone regionally then by time but could have been organized better. Specifically a set framework for discussing conflicts and another for battles would have been a huge help to this book.

Dove deep into some random conflicts/ battles but light in other probably more applicable ones. Talked a lot about Korea which was a pretty conventional fight. Also went deeply into a few other conventional battles. There really wasn't any rhyme or reason here. It was almost like they just made some old work fit into this project. They failed to really be descriptive enough to make sense when they tried to go deep too fast relying heavily on small diagrams Either needed to go deeper into battles or just stick to themes.

Ugly:
Misses significant conflicts like Chechnya and Northern Ireland. Also the Israelis vs the PLO (instead of the conventional fights vs the Arab world) would have been good. Some really useful stuff could have come from this.

Briefly and half heartedly mentioning Afghanistan in what they try to pass off as a closing. The Afghan war vs the Soviets is a great case study for a whole lot of information. The books failure to meaningfully discuss the Soviet Afghan War is almost irredeemable. It would be like talking pistol development through the 18th century and not mentioning Colt.

Sorely needed a good conclusion. Seriously they were going through the case studies then had a half halfhearted confusing chapter that vaguely mentions Afghanistan and mumbles about some other stuff and the book just ends.

Discussion: I got a lot out of the part on China which is a chapter of history I wasn't well informed on. The pieces on conflicts I was more familiar with were good and usually had an interesting new tid bit or three.  For a nonfiction book it managed to be informative while staying lively enough to stay interesting which is a definite balancing act.

This book would probably be on my fairly short list for studying insurgencies/ guerrilla war. It probably wouldn't make the top 5 but would definitely be in the top 10.

Overall assessment: Buy and read. The price on Amazon is like 7 bucks. I got stuff out of this book and considering my study of the field is pretty solid and I have some decent practical experience that says something.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Random Thoughts: Tunisia, Egypt, Revolutions and Stuff

There is sure some interesting stuff going on in Tunesia, Egypt and Yemen (and the broader Arab world) right now. Not really suprising. All those despotic dictatorships with lots of young unemployed or marginally employed teens and 20 something who are growingly educated or at least exposed to the outside world via technology are a recipe for disaster. Hopefully if they are successful they will be able to break the 'One man, one vote, one time' and military dictatorship back and forth that have rules the Arab world since it became free from it's colonial rulers 60 years or so ago.

In Thailand not so long ago some folks really tried to get a revolution going. They succeeded in shutting down the capital for awhile but were eventually foiled. Some said it was because they were not armed which has some merit. If security forces crack down you can't do much to resist without guns. However I would say that: A) while they had a vocal minority there was not sufficient backing among the population and B) the willingness of the security forces to put down a rebellion are more important than a few dozen or even hundred guns. We saw this with Eastern Europe. The combination of the desire for regime change reaching critical mass AND the refusal of tactical level Army and police units to crush the protesters is essential for this sort of grass roots reasonably peaceful revolution/ regime change under the model of the fall of the USSR and more recently Tunisia. If you have even a fairly big protest and the security apparatus is still down with the regime you get the massacres of the USSR in the 50's and 60's (there were a couple I can't recall of the top of my head and don't feel like looking up) or Tiannamen Square. A government that doesn't pull any punches or care what the international community thinks can crush a pretty determined uprising and use the secret/ political police to keep it crushed. Anyway onto other stuff.

I have had a heck of a week. My schedule was early, late and generally erratic. So ready for the weekend. No real big plans here. Just going to try to rest and relax, do some packing and take care of a few little things. Got a bunch of new gear which I will write more about soon. Also there are a few other interesting things floating in my head.

Anyway I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Grow hemp. Don't import oil. Let Arabs heard goats."
-Vlad.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Friends Take on Israeli US Relations and the Arab World

My friend says lots of stupid shit but this was IMO genius, enough so that I remember it distinctly years later.

My friend said more of less "Israel is like that yoked (very, very strong) little brother. You can't say you like that he sometimes gets in fights and completely beats peoples asses but you really like it a lot."

It is the simplest analogy on US Israeli relations and the rest of the world that I have ever heard.
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