Lebanons REAL Soldiers are put in their Place.


Very interesting post, but obviously from the same stable as Fox (the link that is). There is some truth historically to the tribal comment you made. True in the days of Philby and Lawrence, true in the day of Muhammad. The irony is that the nation formed at Medina paved the way to a nation that fell with the Turk. I'm not sure that my solution to the problem of nation in the region is particulalry popular with a western audience :wink:


Well it would start with the Arab League, somehow that word League has a hollow tone.
Noted AIPAC fan Kenneth Pollack actually wrote a rather good book on the lack of Arab military effectiveness. In it he said that the problem with the Arab armies was that the ordinary soldier is allowed no freedom in action. Every thing is highly controlled, with the Officer corps being manipulated to suit political and economic ends (nepotism, government interference).
Soldiers therefore often have substandard leadership but dare not question their leadership due to the repercussions they may face. Such a dominant hierarchy theory can also be transferred to irregular Arab groups such as the PLO, whose effectiveness as a military group was strangled by Arafat and his cronies.

However, where they are given the freedom to fight (as Jon points out) in guerrilla groups such as Hezbollah they tend to do pretty well.

Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness,1948-1991 (Studies in War, Society & the Military)
There was an article on the BBC Web Site about some of the problems with the Lebanese Army. I thought it was pretty interesting. For instance, certain high command positions are only available to a single ethnic or religious group. I don't remember the specifics, but its something like the Army Commander has to be a Catholic and the Chief of Staff has to be a Druze. That would make it appear that other positions might be given on a quota basis rather than for merit.

There doesn't seem to be any doubt that the LA is poorly equipped. I've heard that Hezbolla is MUCH better equipped and trained. Training and self confidence probably make a lot of difference. As I understand it, the LA doesn't so much training, or much of anything else, either.

However, I'm sure that most of us will admit that soldiers can be made out of just about anything. I certainly wasn't the best possible material to start with.
Nehustan, very rare that I'd agree with your viewpoint, however in this case - 100%. The whole "Arab League" malarkey is a joke (and most Arabs I've worked with would share the same view)
jonwilly said:

I have said before that Arab Armies are a joke, just for keeping the civilian population in line.
Not entirely true or fair.

Sure, Arab armies have tended to be tactically inflexible & overly hierarchical - largely, one suspects, a legacy of the Soviet influence. Yes, "tribalism" can, no doubt, be a problem (but this can also be beneficial - see below), but doesn't explain the performance of predominantly "non tribal" armies like those of Egypt & Syria, most of whose soldiers tend to have urban origins.

The Jordanian Arab Legion (now the Jordanian Army) was/ is based primarily upon recruitment from Bedouin clans, and has proved a very effective force with excellent morale, unit cohesion etc. In '67 a few companies of Arab Legion troops gave the Israelis a hellish time in the "Old City", Jerusalem, and post action analysis by the IDF concluded that it was a great relief that most Arab troops were not of this calibre and that there were relatively few of them.

The Egyptian Army conducted an outstanding operation in crossing the Suez Canal in '73, and subsequently devastated Israeli armoured counter-attacks using the then relatively novel/ unproven ATGW, plus systematic defence in depth. They only ran into problems when some commanders got carried away by their success, ignored orders/ the original plan to "take & hold", and advanced ahead of the SAM screen thus exposing their forces to air-strikes. Heat exhaustion also denuded the effectiveness of armoured crews engaged in high intensity operations in a desert environment - to a degree that no-one (on either side) had quite anticipated.

Most Israeli soldiers will state that Egyptian & Syrian infantry are, on the whole, very resilient and, when effectively led, make tough opponents.

Arab contingents - Saudi, Egyptian & Syrian etc - proved competent/ perfectly capable in GW1, and there are plenty of Brits around who will attest to the capabilities of Omani forces; again, if properly trained and decently led.

Finally, let's not forget what the Iraqis went through in the Gulf War of the early 1980s! Not the fault of the soldiers/ field rank officers that they were abused & misdirected by buffoons, incompetents & psychopaths: the "men on the ground" fought doggedly, and often with considerable skill, against a fanatical enemy.

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads