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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

MILITARY OPERATIONS IN AFRICA

Many have written asking on the progress of my planned book and exactly what it will cover in terms of military operations in Africa.

To date, I have completed 20 chapters. They are as follows:

Chapter 1: Understanding war and conflict in Africa

Chapter 2: The relationship between political strategy and military strategy

Chapter 3: Understanding strategic warfare

Chapter 4: Developing an African art of war

Chapter 5: Land warfare principles in Africa

Chapter 6: Military operations related to war

Chapter 7: Operations other than war

Chapter 8: Intelligence operations

Chapter 9: The development of doctrine

Chapter 10: The phases of war

Chapter 11: Reconnaissance

Chapter 12: The advance

Chapter 13: The attack

Chapter 14: Consolidation

Chapter 15: Exploitation

Chapter 16: Defence

Chapter 17: A concept force for manoeuvre

Chapter 18: A concept force for counter insurgency

Chapter 19: A concept force for semi-conventional warfare

Chapter 20: Pseudo Operations

Chapter 21: Night operations

There will probably be an additional 5 chapters (I have not yet named them) added to the above.

To date, chapters 1 to 8 have been edited and I am still working on bits and pieces in chapters 9 to 21 before I submit them to my editor, Dr Deane-Peter Baker, a lecturer at the US Naval Academy. Deane has done a great job on the chapters he has had under pen and I am really happy at the guidance he has given me.

Unfortunately, time has been a constant threat to my efforts and I write when I can.

The reaction I have had from the blog readership as well as several African armies has been very encouraging so I continue to slog away when I have time.

My hope is that once the book has seen the light of day, those who read it will be able to have a better understanding of this very demanding and different theatre of conflict and war and if called upon, will be able to make a positive contribution to ending that which has and continues to devastate Africa.

44 comments:

Jeremy said...

Eben

Keep working on that book. I cannot wait for it to be published as I know we will all have much to learn from this book.

Jeremy

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Hans, a voice from the past!

I hope the book will find resonance with “Africa watchers” as you put it.

Yes, the book will only be sold via the blog – there will be 1 000 copies printed for sale to the public and they will be coffee table type books, leather-bound etc. Although I have had many enquiries/orders placed already, I shall only confirm orders once it goes to press.

Some African armies have also asked for the book for their Staff and Command colleges and we are working on how best to assist them with that.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks Jeremy.

No sarcasm intended but I too cannot wait for the day that I finish it!

Rgds,

Eeben

Jake said...

Eeben,
A book on this subject is long overdue and I am glad you are taking up the task of addressing it. Look forward reading it.

Jake

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Jake. I often need to motivate myself to continue writing after a tough day. But I will get there in the end.

Rgds,

Eeben

Herbert said...

Mr Barlow,

Your book-in-progress looks like a sure winner. I shall buy it and no doubt learn from it.

I visited your wife's blog. She's a good wit and a very good writer.

Herbert

John said...

Good Evening Eeben,

Your next work looks to be a must purchase for my library. I certainly look forward to the challenge of trying to absorb more of your thoughts. The whole question will be a tough nut to crack over the next decade at least.

Best Regards,

John

P.S. Careful with that candle-if you burn it from the center life becomes very unpredictable.

Alan said...

Eeben:

Recent news releases from the north indicate Libyan forces have actually done the unthinkable and pursued a rebel counterinsurgent element, yes, that would be a foreign backed, counterinsurgent, that would be "COIN" force across the border into Tunisia. How dare Libya conduct opns in pursuit of terrorists making their way to the "safety" of cross-border sancuaries. What must they be thinking? What will the UN say? Hasn't the US set the standard through Host Nation incarceration and pre-trial detainment of suspected terrorists in Afghanisan.....oh wait! Tunnel that comment.

Along those same cross-border sancuary lines, and with an important military anniversary rapidly approaching, I thought it might be useful to post the following link:

http://www.sa-soldier.com/data/06_sadflinks/06_01_cassingaraid.htm

I salute those among you who....need no read, but were actually there.

Regards, Alan

matt said...

Outstanding. I have readers that keep asking me if I know anything about when your book is coming out or how to get it, and I keep telling them to come to your blog to get the latest. I am sure you will be selling out your books pretty quickly.

I am also intrigued by chapters 17 through 20. Very cool and thanks for giving a taste. Cheers. -matt

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As with many things in life, we only get one shot at it, Herbert. So, I am trying to give it my best shot.

Thanks for visiting her blog. I have passed on your kind comment to her.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

My greatest challenge is trying to find words to explain my thoughts correctly, John.

I believe that we have forgotten that wars are fought to be won and not fought to be kept going. I also agree with you that the next decade will hold many challenges we may not have prepared ourselves for.

I discovered that trying to burn the candle from the centre can make life very difficult. Generally, I now try to light one side only.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I read about that cross-border action Alan, and wonder how that will influence the balance of power in North Africa and how this would impact on the overall regional political situation. I think the West should refrain from getting involved. It is not a western “fight” and besides, gratitude will not come in the form we expect.

I find it ironic that the UN has not involved itself in bringing the peace they claim they do. But, given the UN’s great concern for what is happening in Syria and surrounds, I am sure that the UN will soon begin bombing Damascus.

I think all the paras who partook in Cassinga will celebrate with seeing old friends again and with a large amount of pride in what they achieved – despite the international claims that it was a “refugee camp”. Thanks for remembering the day along with those who parachuted in to the target.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You’re welcome Matt and thanks to you for always advising folks on the situation.

As I mentioned previously, time remains an enemy I hope to defeat in the coming months.

Rgds,

Eeben

Kristine said...

Obama succeeded on his fight against terrorism though many lives has been sacrifice due to bloodshed that took almost years . Now that Osama Binladen is Cold Dead Meat I hope the terrorism will ends on that. Too many died including innocent children. Lets unite to fight and stop any terrorism acts. http://www.facebook.com/osamaisdeadonmayday

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas his death will not put an end to terrorism Kristine, it will hopefully send a strong message to those who believe their evil deeds will ultimately help protect them. Innocents are always the victims of any conflict or war, especially the children, who are supposed to be our future.

Sadly, the long war on terror is not over and many more lives are yet to be lost in combating this evil. You are correct in that if we unite, we can make a significant difference in at least limiting it. But, like crime and those who perpetrate it, there will always be those who take pleasure in causing acts of terror.

Rgds,

Eeben

Fred said...

Hello Mr. Barlow.
I am currently writing my Bachelor Thesis on Economics and War in Angola. I have some questions to you (I already own your book), concerning the country.
It would be nice to hear from you!

Contact: fsteingr@googlemail.com

Regards,
Fred.

fluff said...

Hello, Eeben. I was given a previous book by you. I hope I can find a way to get the new one. I will try to follow this blog, although it can be difficult, as I move around alot. It really is an honor to speak to someone I have heard so much about.

Sincerely,

Levi.

John said...

Good Evening Eeben,

It is interesting how the events and story around the death of UBL have been rolling through changes almost hourly.

I believe that he was ended this last Sunday - the information war around his body is just making us look like fools. I do wonder if a capable deputy will step forward to face more "boots on the ground" or if truly a leg of the triad has been swept out with his killing.

What looks to be very important is the intelligence used to finally pinpoint the target and the use of elite strike forces to finish the task. With the anniversary of the SADF strikes happening now it looks as if what once was effective is still effective now.

A classic look at controlling a very important portion of the AO.

Regards,
John

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the visit to the blog Fred.

I really don’t have much time to assist students anymore. However, if you send me your questions via the blog (I won’t post them) I will try to respond to you when I have time.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the visit, Levi.

It is difficult when one is always on the move – I can sympathise with that. But, when you find the time, you are always welcome to visit us on the blog.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is truly amazing how the story gets changed every few minutes John, and how critical some in the media are about the action. But, what many people out there seem to forget is just how many innocent lives UBL was responsible for taking. I don’t regard this as a religious conflict – he was a dangerous criminal who never gave his victims an opportunity to defend themselves. People are now critical that he was treated as such and that his human rights were violated. Granted, he would have been an interesting case to question. However, the influence on fog of battle and the situation in which the operative who pulled the trigger needs to be considered.

As the spiritual leader of AQ, he was a rallying point for them. I think his demise will make a serious dent in their ability, but, there will always be one vying to take his place. As he was one leg of the trinity of gravity, it will not bring about a speedy end to AQ’s terrorism actions.

Good intelligence leads to good plans and when using the correct people to execute those plans, success is highly probable.

As you know, the SADF no longer exists. But, there are many who still attend anniversaries of battles and to remember fallen friends. To many, memories are all they have left.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Eeben:

With regard to the recent raid at Abbottabad; someone once said "much can be accomplished if we don't mind who gets the credit." The raid, apparently handled by the military, was a success. The post-event media releases which are being handled by our pols is as you might expect, a total cock-up {fiasco}. Am I glad he is gone, yes of course, but I found the celebration surrounding the event disgusting and wrong at levels too numerous to mention here. Strange is it not, the only accomplishment our Kenyan master appears to have to date, involves death. Interesting, but unrelated, was oud Albion's declaration of near termination of payments to the United Nations. I sincerely hope this trend continues, like the hit on Bin Laden... to the death!

Regards, Alan

John said...

Good Evening Eeben,

As I think on this subject more - and how important I think helping resolve the conflicts in Africa will become in the near future - you had mentioned that other militaries in Africa are interested in your work...

Any thoughts on taking up the mantle of lecturer - head sage, man who has been there and done that etc. - for these militaries to give them a leg up? I feel that events are accelerating exponentially now. Those groups that have been left behind will have no chance to catch up in their methods - and the populations will suffer accordingly.

Of course I will be purchasing the first release - but I am only an interested bystander. If the level of conflict seen in your part of the world reaches the shores of the US we will be in deep. The men who vanquished the US west (they look remarkably like the Boer Commandos) are now only a memory - though the world is much different now and those sacrificing in Iraq/Afghan are certainly cut from the same stone - I believe you know a good number of them. They would be a dang good core to build upon.

Regards,
John

P.S. But with further thought the PMC (w/ a variation of "letters of marque" as Matt espouses) may make the most sense. What rambling message above.....

Obin and Jessica Robinson said...

This book will be at the top of my list when it is published. It should be mandatory reading material for any Western military person seeking good information on modern operations in Africa. I can't wait for it to be published and would like to be on the short list so I can purchase it when it becomes available.

Obin and Jessica Robinson said...

I forgot to add that not only am I interested in the book but if possible could you contact me via e-mail when the book goes to print? I really don't want to miss out on the possibility of buying this book. As a deployed (and rapidly deployable) military member I believe this book will be valuable reading material for my military career. Thank you.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The raid was a resounding success and well executed John. However I believe, as you do, that the media (mis)management did more damage than good as the story kept changing.

I recall a commander once telling me that no matter what I thought of the enemy, I was never to rejoice at their deaths. Instead, they remained the “enemy” and their killing simply meant “less enemy”. Of course, we were all relieved to have survived fire fights but that is where it ended. There were no big celebrations. It was simply a mission that was carried out.

I think the public rejoicing was a bit uncalled for and in itself may have done some damage to the image – plus it almost overshadowed the success of the mission.

To the men who carried it out – well done, guys.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I don’t regard your comment as a rambling, John – just valuable insight.

I am concerned that Africa has not been able to come to terms with itself and that conflicts still rage as they do. As for lecturing, I do occasionally get asked to address officers and NCOs in Africa on the wars on our continent. But, as you know, soldiers are merely instruments of foreign policy and until the policies change, we will remain at war with ourselves. Living here, I watch the events on a daily basis and shake my head. The majority of these conflicts can be resolved very quickly but as long as other interests are at play, I am afraid Africa will continue to burn.

The men and women who tamed the Old West and the Boers had a lot in common. Indeed, the descendants of the Boers shot my forefathers on the field of battle and I became firm friends in the military as we were all in the same pot. I think those who are deployed in Iraq/Afghanistan and elsewhere still have the same blood in their veins.

I too like Matt’s revival of the Letter or Marque. Perhaps someone will find a way to take it further.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for your interest in the book Obin and Jessica Robinson.

I still have some way to go with it but I shall certainly keep you posted on progress and date of publication.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As soon as we have confirmed the date of publication, I shall be honoured to do so, Obin and Jessica Robinson.

Many thanks for your interest thus far.

Rgds,

Eeben

michael b said...

military doctrine and training are paramount to discipline. the way i would have it, i would adapt to the situation. if the rowdy mob pelt you with stones, dont return with rubber bullets or sharp point ammo.. chuck stones back at the rioters. if one lobs a molotov cocktail at you, lob one back. if the mob steps up the ante by firing live ammo, then retaliate with superior firepower and light `em up wholesale. for every action there should be a similar reaction. only the mob canm then escalate the situation to when live fire is required and its in self defence then. a screwball idea i know but i would love to see the public order police pelting ill disciplined rioters with stones. it would be funny as hell. the point is training is important but adaptability is even more important and dont adopt the swat the fly with the preverbial hand grenade approach. rioters that throw stones and are then hit with rubber bullets are provoked to escalation believing they are being treated unfairly and heavy handedly by the riot police....

just mental masturbation.
mike

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The problem with many of these “peaceful protestors” is that their actions are not peaceful, Mike. Often their intentions are hijacked by others with more sinister intentions and that places the law enforcement/anti-riot/anti-protestor units in a difficult position. Then of course, we all know from the past that there are journalists who encourage the protestors so that they can get a good story or photographs. This irresponsible encouragement often leads to an escalation in mob violence and damage and destruction to private and public property.

Of course, not all protests turn violent.

Your point on stones vs stones and Molotov cocktail vs Molotov cocktail is an interesting approach. I seem to recall that approach being applied somewhere in the Middle East (Israel?) but for the life of me, I cannot recall the end result.

With our police being as unfit and over weight as they are, I can see them having a hard time throwing a stone and getting some distance. I fear they might be “out-stoned”.

I think that governments are often caught unprepared (lack of intelligence) and then react in a knee-jerk fashion.

Rgds,

Eeben

Controlsaurus said...

Can't wait for the book, Eeben. Keep at it.

This only FYI:
http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/article/2011-05-17-the-godfather-of-mercenaries-arms-the-uae-wants-south-africans

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have been working so hard at it that I can now type with 2 fingers, controlsaurus. Thanks for the encouragement.

Interesting article. When I read things like this, I wonder exactly when they interviewed him? I also wonder what they base their “facts” on relating to South Africans?

It is ironic that in our own country, almost every citizen needs to be armed – and many are forced to use their arms due to our out-of-control crime. Of interest too is that crime casualties in SA outstrip those in many war zones. We have private security companies openly carrying semi-auto assault rifles and shotguns on our streets. They are contracted to “protect” police stations...yet woe betide the South African who dares do this for another government. I find it mind boggling to say the least.

Rgds,

Eeben

mandy said...

mmm. i didnt think about our rather laaarge police force. well there goes my theory. the crowd in the middle east will never produce a winner unfortunately, i guess its just a case of "the cycle of violence".
funny thing is , if ever you need a traffic cop its better to phone your local nando`s outlet than to call the emergency number. nando`s has become police HQ.
however i digress, back to serious stuff. i recall the 80`s and a"journalist' with a european paper that took pictures of a few black guys lying sleeping in a small park in joburg town when some police were walking by and splashing these pictures in a portuguese daily news paper sensationally claiming that they had been shot by the cops right there in broad daylight. it caused a major stink in portugal among the liberals who were horrified by the seemingly blase attitude of the police men ambling by. it was oppertunistic, corrupt and down right criminal reporting. this wally created his own scoop by photographing sleeping people on their lunch time. . i can only imagine how the dondering you must get when your name is dragged into the news falsely.
sue them into the ground and discredit the journ to the point where he gets fired and cant even hand out flyers on the side of the road let alone report.

mike

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Any theory aimed at preventing the problems we witness cannot simply be discounted, Mike. I was just concerned that our “men in blue” would simply give the protestors more stones and Molotov cocktails.

I recall that sickening episode you write about. Sadly, the international community swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

As for the New York Times, there has been not a whisper from them but they ought to realise the clock is ticking...

Rgds,

Eeben

simon said...

I've been absent from posting but keeping track and cant wait for your book !

John said...

Good Evening Eeben,

Just picked up a copy of "32 Battalion" - it is a good read so far. The authors writing style is similar to yours.

As the Arab spring races towards its logical conclusion - if you pay attention (surprise, the media is missing it all) - your works will become more and more important. I do hope some of your Isreali contacts are listening to what you are saying here and in other communications.

Regards,
John

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the visit and your interest, Simon. I am working hard on getting to the end but sometimes work interferes!

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am not sure which 32 Bn book you got John. Was it the one written by Piet Nortje? If so, he was the Bn SM and make use of the war diaries during his writing of the book.

I watch with some concern at the so-called Arab spring and wonder where it will lead. I do believe the West is mistaken to think that the new governments that take power will view them as “allies”.

As for the Israeli’s – I never had contact with them but appreciate the difficult position they are in.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

Good Morning Eeben,

Many apologies - the "32 Battalion" I picked up is by Mr. Nortje. I took a stab and purchased it as a Kindle book. Not a bad idea going forward as I can read it on my phone, I-pad etc. - very portable.
The style is very matter of fact - right to the point. The entire section on the battalion colors was quite informative - the items on the side that make an organization really blend together and click.
Mr. Venter's next work on Neall Ellis is also out in Matt's store (Jundi Gear). Pretty good way to drop some cash in Matt's tip jar if someone was going to get the book anyway. It is a pre-order so it is not likely to show up till the end of this year.

Regards,
John

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There have been quite a few books written on 32 Bn but Piet’s book is a very straight-to-the-point account, John.

Yes, I think that a book about Neall will be quite a read. He was (and still is) an excellent pilot who has saved many, many lives.

It would be nice if people order it via Matt’s blog. He works hard at maintaining it so a few pennies in his pot will, I am sure, be appreciated.

Rgds,

Eeben

John said...

Good Morning Eeben,

I received e-mail this morning from these folks about another conversation with authors on the conflicts in southern Africa. Don't know where your travels are taking you but it certainly sounds like an interesting evening.

http://www.30degreessouth.co.uk/

The event is highlighted on their main page.

Regards,
John

P.S. Congrats on the page views - at the pace your blog is accelerating on views it looks like loads of people are interested in your work.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

30degreessouth seem to run a good ship, John, and work at giving their authors the publicity they deserve.

Sadly, I never get to attend these things as my schedule is no longer my own. That said, I am pleased that some still want to speak to me so I don’t complain.

Yes, I am also pleased to see how the page views is growing. Thanks for your congrats.

Rgds,

Eeben

leeshink said...

spot on with this write-up, i like the way you discuss the things. i'm impressed, i must say. i'll probably be back again to read more. thanks for sharing this with us.

Lee Shin
www.trendone.net