About Me

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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. Until recently, I was a contributing editor 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.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL AND A GREAT 2017!


I would like to wish each and every visitor to the blog a blessed and merry festive season. To those who celebrate the meaning of Christmas, I wish you and your families a blessed, happy and joyous festive season.

To those who do not celebrate Christmas for whatever reason I wish you all a time of happiness and peace with your families and friends.

I would also like to wish each and every one of you – and your loved ones - a great 2017. May the coming year be filled with good health, happiness and safety.

Thank you to everyone who read and contributed to the blog throughout the year. Your comments are always appreciated and highly valued as they give me insight and allow me to broaden my own knowledge base.

To everyone who is far from home at this time, and to those who are deployed in the conflict zones around the world, beit as soldiers, sailors, airmen, law enforcement officers, spooks or PMC contractors, keep your heads down, your eyes peeled, your weapons close at hand, stay safe and be ready to do what needs to be done.

Let us also remember those who will not be able to be share this time with those they hold dear as well as those who have lost friends and loved ones. They should never be forgotten. Nor should the sacrifices they have made ever be forgotten.

A very merry Christmas season to all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

THANK YOU BUSH WAR BOOKS AND OTHERS…


When Piet Fourie and Johan Jonker of Bush War Books (www.warbooks.co.za) asked if I would be willing to visit several MOTH shellholes in and around Cape Town, I was happy to oblige.

Not only was I afforded the opportunity to discuss my book (Composite Warfare) but I was also able to meet some old friends, make new friends, and also have the great pleasure of seeing some of my old parachute sappers from way back when.

Piet and Johan organised talks at three different shellholes as well as at Bargain Books in Canal Walk.

I would like to express my thanks to the Old Bills, Deon vd Berg, Mark Bester, and Phillip McLachlan of the Blaauwberg Cuca Shellhole, the Old Red Barn Shellhole, and the Marshall Smuts Shellhole respectively, for hosting me.

My thanks also to all of the MOTH’s and their families and friends who came to support me and who gave me their friendship and hospitality. 

It was fun and interesting to discuss the changes we are witnessing in not only our own country, but across Africa and the world.

Thanks too must go to Bargain Books in Canal Walk for allowing their shop to be used at very short notice. It was here that I also met several Facebook friends and was able to spend a few minutes chatting to them. Thanks guys for your support as well.  

My sincerest thanks to Piet Fourie and Johan Jonker of Bush War Books for their friendship, organisational skills, and support. It is indeed a pleasure to work with you both!

Monday, November 21, 2016

SOME MORE REVIEWS...


I have been asked if there are currently any reviews of Composite Warfare available on the web.

The short answer…”Yes”.

I was able to ‘steal’ these reviews off Piet Fourie’s site Bush War Books.  (www.warbooks.co.za). Fortunately, they are all good but I am sure the less good ones will still come…

Incidentally, Piet also sells the book so if there are any of you who are unable to find it in the bookstores—local and abroad—he will be able to assist you as he ships military books all over the world.

Here they are sequenced from the most recent to the first…




A military masterpiece!

Frans van Niekerk on Nov 11, 2016

The book is a military masterpiece and showcases a portion of one of the most reputable strategic military minds. The book was written purely for a soldier, from a General to a Junior leader - to equip them for the battlefield. Eeben used his knowledge and vast experience on the subject matter to create a textbook that is not only an easy read but is composed of factual information and is easily referenced. Given the impressive history of Eeben’s military career and the many successes he has achieved all over Africa, the book is not just an academic book but a testament to tried and trusted methodologies that have yielded success in the field and has simplified many complex military manoeuvres. Perusing this book will empower military leaders to lead their armies to victory and allows for fundamental and complex principles of warfare to be properly addressed. The strategic nature of this book will also enrich corporate leaders. As it explains the importance of strategy and the implementation thereof in an operational environment, as well as the importance of taking a holistic view to addressing a problem. Naturally, because there is no room for error and the stakes are always high in any military strategy, the development of a good corporate strategy can be developed from military principals. The reader can see the importance of all forces at play and develop an understanding of the objectives and the impact it has on winning the fight, and ultimately the war.

An amazing book!

Hansie Prinsloo on Nov 09, 2016

A monumental piece of work delivered by a living legend who is deeply respected by both friend and foe alike. I recently had the privilege of meeting one of Picasso’s last living students. As Picasso’s fingerprints are left in modern art, this book will leave its fingerprints on generations to come in Africa. Knowing the author is a humbling experience. By virtue of knowing him as a person, I surmise that one of his objectives was not only how to handle conflicts in the African context, but for future generations to learn from the lessons of the past in order to manage conflict and prevent war raging in a current and future Africa. Salute!

A must read for any professional soldier hoping to survive Africa

Hein M. on Nov 07, 2016

This is one of the most complete guides for any professional soldier. A very practical look at the Art of War in an African context with practical explanations of the intricacies of war. It creates an almost complete view of anything you might encounter be it as a foot soldier, battle commander or intelligence operative/SOF soldier. I would recommend this book as a must have for all who have chosen the military as a career. Eeben Barlow is one of the best teachers and commanders a soldier can ever hope to serve under and his practical experience and ability to transfer this knowledge will stay with you forever.

Incredibly detailed and thoroughly researched

Hannes Wessels on Nov 05, 2016

Surely the seminal work on the subject. Incredibly detailed and thoroughly researched by a man who has both the empirical and theoretical knowledge to tackle a very complicated subject. Only through the sort of exposure that Eeben has experienced can one write about the unusual nuances pertaining to conflict situations in Africa and that shows. Too many soldiers ignore or are unaware of the political dynamics pertaining in their theater of operations. This can be a costly mistake which the author does not make. Anybody looking to fight a war in Africa need look no further for guidance.

A classic appraisal of modern day warfare

Patrick Ricketts on Nov 05, 2016

The book Composite Warfare is a classic appraisal of modern day warfare internationally and not only in Africa. It should be valued for its understanding and appraisal of modern military conflicts and the valuable development of strategic, operational and tactic perspectives applicable to modern armed conflicts. As the author had risen from the ranks, having gone through a soldier’s harsh realities, he displays an intense understanding of the relationship between the state and its armed formations and the role and responsibilities of armed formations within society and on the battlefield. The author further describes the basic tendencies in the modern art of warfare, the courses and progress of armed conflict and the perfection of operational and tactical skills of officers and men in an armed conflict that results in military victory. Thank you very much for this excellent piece of work, though the content may pose a challenge to certain international power blocks who it may be viewed as a challenge their expansionist policies in their strive for control of material resources



COMPOSITE WARFARE

Roy Marais on Nov 01, 2016

This is one of the best, if not the best Warfare Manuals for ANY Person who lives and works in Africa being that Military, Government or any other entity who is involved in Africa, to understand the complexity of Africa. The author has through this developed the way forward for training the new breed of soldiers in Africa. Excellent book and a must for any student of the Art of War. In time to come this book will be rated at the same level as Mobile Warfare of Roland de Vries.
In years to come this book will become as relevant as “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu only that this manual focuses on Africa and how future warfare should be planned and conducted within the African Battle space.

New one for Military scholars

Phillip on Oct 17, 2016

This book is definitely going to be a best seller for the year!! This is a excellent guide for waging a modern military campaign not just in Africa, but around the world. The structure of the information is easy to read and digest, even for non- military men like me. I think there will be a lot of soldiers around the world walking around with this book as a guide. Keeping this one next to Mobile Warfare of Roland de Vries.
Thanks Piet for the signed copy. Was a nice surprise!!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE...


This past weekend witnessed the solemn commemorations of Remembrance Day around the world.
It was indeed a fitting time to remember the numerous sacrifices made by the many allied and enemy soldiers who went before us. In countless ways, it was both a joyous and sad occasion, but sadly the world has not become what so many had hoped—and died for. The ‘war to end all wars’ was only the start of the conflicts and wars that would follow.


It was also the weekend that my book Composite Warfare was launched in Natal.
My sincerest thanks to everyone who braved the rain and traffic to support my recent discussions and book launch in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Shelly Beach. I had a great time visiting and chatting to everyone. It was also an honour and a privilege to meet old friends and make new ones.
My apologies to those I was unable to remember from my past…I have to blame ‘old age’.
It is always very difficult to single out specific people, as there are many that played a very prominent role the entire time I was in Natal.
However, I would like to thank the following people by name:
1.    Piet Fourie of Bush War Books for arranging the talks, coordinating matters and making sure I never went hungry or thirsty (Piet and Bush War Books are on Facebook for those who wish to join their circle of friends) and for arranging my overnight stay in Durban
2.    Johan Jonker for his support to both Piet and myself – and of course, his very entertaining stories
3.    Simon and Sarah for their immense kindness and hospitality for feeding me and giving me a warm, cozy bed to sleep in. I am, however, disappointed that they were unable to arrange better weather as it was very cold, misty and wet (I know we need the rain!) where they live, despite it being summer
4.    Brett for taking Sarah, Simon and I to supper on Thursday evening
5.    The Old Bill of the Alan Wilson Shellhole in Pietermaritzburg for allowing the MOTH hall to be used as it was raining and very wet outside
6.    The Natal Mounted Rifles (NMR) in Durban for allowing their facilities to be used on Saturday. Again, the rain was rather pesky but the braai Hilton organised made up for that by far.
7.    Mara Potgieter and her two ladies at Bargain Books, Shelly Beach for their efforts to both promote the book as well as sell it.
A very big thank you to everyone who sacrificed their time to listen to me discuss my new book as well as for the many interesting questions everyone asked.
And of course, a really big thank you to everyone who bought my books.
I truly appreciate your support.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A HANDFUL OF HARD MEN


Every military unit and every nation has its own heroes who stand steadfast even when the chips were down.
These are men who, faced with possible death, refuse to acknowledge its presence. In times of exhaustion, extreme danger, hunger, and great anxiety, they are able to control their fear and harness it to rally or save their colleagues, and in some instances, even save their countries. Yet, despite their exploits of immense personal courage, dedication and fortitude, these heroes inevitably find themselves abandoned and betrayed by their politicians and generals.
A Handful of Hard Men by Hannes Wessels must rank as one of the most riveting books on contemporary African military history that I have read. It is also a book that lays bare the many misconceptions about Rhodesia’s war for survival and exposes some of the great betrayals these soldiers have been forced to live with. Yet, even when they realised they were being sold out by the very politicians who sent them to war, these men continued to fight on and carry out their orders, not for the politicians or even their generals, but for one another and the unit they held dearly.
The Rhodesian Special Air Service (SAS) produced men of such exceptional calibre.
Hannes Wessels has captured the essence of true combat by this handful of very hard men—the Rhodesian SAS—who, despite adversity and hardship, still found time to treasure small things most civilians take for granted.


Soldiers who, on a daily basis, live a stone’s throw from death, develop their own sense of humour—a sense of humour those who have never been under fire find difficult to grasp. Oftentimes, they speak a language others do not understand but it is a language they have learned through circumstance, hardship, and the ever present spectre of death. These hard men of the Rhodesian SAS were no different.
A Handful of Hard Men looks into the soul of soldiers who, many years ago, were fighting a forgotten war in southern Africa—not as some would like to claim between the black and white people of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)—but between two very different ideologies. Ultimately, these soldiers were to face the betrayal of the West, the very civilisation they believed they were defending from an encroaching ideology based on communism and state collapse. In their defence of ‘western civilisation’, they deployed and fought wherever they could find their enemy. Meanwhile, ensconced in their ivory towers, the politicians of the West were plotting the demise of Rhodesia.
Through his pen, the author weaves a narrative that focusses on one man in particular—Darrell Watt—and the brave men who, under his leadership, stood beside him, regardless. The support they received from an ill-equipped air force (due to international sanctions) is worthy of a book on its own.
A Handful of Hard Men spans several years of Darrell Watt’s life—from recruitment, to training, to reconnaissance, to operational and tactical deception, to deep penetration raids and operations, and the ultimate standing down of the Rhodesian SAS. The operations these few men conducted were intense, breath-taking in magnitude, and vividly described, and yet even under the ever-present threat of death, humour presented itself.
Interwoven in the narrative is the developing political situation and the behind-the-doors negotiations and political duplicity to collapse one ideology and replace it with another.
After reading of the operations the Rhodesian SAS conducted, I was left breathless and it was as though I could smell the cordite and taste the blood in my mouth.  
I would highly recommend this magnificent book at any serious student of contemporary African warfare and history.
For ordering information, as well as other news and stories on Africa, visit Hannes’s blog www.africaunauthorised.com

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE DANGERS OF IGNORING STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE


As Africa drags itself ever closer to the abyss, one would think that governments would be paying a lot more attention to strategic intelligence, and the current and developing strategic threats, along with strategic forecasting. This sadly appears not to be the case as it is evident that erroneous intelligence impacts greatly on current thinking and strategies—especially when the initiative has been lost and the tipping point is approaching.

If governments continue to base their strategic predications on thumb-sucking, misinformed media articles and ‘opinion pieces’, ill-informed advisors, and incorrect narrative-driven assumptions, instead of verified and credible strategic intelligence, tragedy awaits them as they place their national and vital interests at risk. The richer they are in resources, the greater the risk and the subsequent looming tragedy.

The rise of armed anti-government forces, radical religious terror groups, proxy forces, domestic and transnational organised crime, planned regime-change actions, mass perception shaping programmes via the mainstream media and so forth, is evident that intelligence failures at the strategic level are increasing. The continued lack of intelligence is costing—and will still cost—African governments dearly in the future as they will be unable to prepare and posture themselves correctly to meet the threats. Nor will they be able to develop a coherent strategic intent as the threat and its intentions will be unknown…let alone safeguard their interests.

The integrity and survival of the state along with the longevity of government requires a reliable, robust, and continuous strategic intelligence input. This is essential to enable the development and adjustment of the National Strategy. The National Strategy, in turn, must give the government direction and guidance on how it intends to position itself on the national, regional, continental, and international stages. It is also essential to give forewarning of real, potential and predicted violent and non-violent threats against the state—and the obstacles it will face along the way in countering the threats.

The National Security Strategy is similarly guided by strategic intelligence and strategic forecasting and/or predictions, and its impact is felt across all pillars of the state. However, threats against the state are not only of a military or armed nature. They include planned non-violent attacks such as economic sabotage, political blackmail, coercive diplomacy, perception manipulation, international criminal court threats, trade embargos, resource and state capture, and so forth. These threats are diverse, multi-dimensional and very seldom, if ever, appear as a singular threat. They develop over time and are never spontaneous.

Without strategic intelligence, the state will have no pre-warning of the approaching threats—or their intentions—that will attack it on numerous fronts. Nor will it understand—or be likely to withstand—foreign-backed and sponsored regime change actions through violent and non-violent means. These attacks all have only one aim: the installation, by any and all means possible, of a government that will be sympathetic to the regime change sponsors and that will surrender its resources as a token of thanks.

Countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Central African Republic, S Sudan, DRC, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Mali to name a few have all found themselves under sustained attack without having had any home-grown intelligence pre-warning. Despite several of the aforementioned countries being cautioned prior to the attacks, they chose instead to be blind and discard the dangers in the misguided belief that they may not be targeted or that the intelligence was wrong. In some instances, they were advised by ‘allies’ that the intelligence was false. Several other countries are also on the target list but are not currently viewed as priorities—yet. However, in every case, the developing intentions were and are—if anyone was or is willing to look—as clear as daylight, yet they were and are seemingly unable to connect the dots.

Reliance on the media, ill-intentioned ‘allies’, misinformed advisors, and public perceptions does not constitute intelligence at any dimension or level. The misguided belief that these sources will provide accurate and objective intelligence is a myth governments should dispel with absolute haste as these sources are usually coloured with disinformation. Instead, they must develop their own sources of intelligence and take responsibility for their own intelligence collection efforts and their intelligence failures.

Just because the intelligence does not match their ethnic, financial, racial, religious, or xenophobic narrative, it does not mean that it is wrong or false or even non-existent. 

Unless African governments realise the true value of strategic intelligence and critical role it plays in guiding and shaping their national and security strategies and defending their national and vital interests, they will continue to lead themselves—and their people—down the path of self-destruction.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

COMPOSITE WARFARE RELEASE


My book ‘Composite Warfare: The conduct of successful ground force operations in Africa’ has just been added to the publisher’s website. Please visit http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/composite_warfare.htm

Interested parties are urged to contact the publishers directly as I do not carry stock of the book. The publishers will, in turn, advise on points of sale, shipping and so forth.

My sincerest thanks to all for your patience and interest.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

AN ‘ASSASSIN’S’ ALIBI


Every so often, somebody who calls him or herself a ‘researcher’ or a ‘journalist’ tries to link me to one or other unsolved political assassination.

Just yesterday again, I received communication from one such person—a Swedish aid worker nonetheless—who had been brought under the impression—or who had brought himself under the impression—that I held the answer, or had in-depth, secret knowledge of yet another such covert and dastardly deed. The reasoning appears to be that if anything happened in Africa, and I live and work in Africa, then I am either involved or have in-depth knowledge of whatever it is I am to be blamed for.

Still, that forced me to wrack my brains to recall my whereabouts on 18 September 1961, the day of the mysterious plane crash death of the Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskj√∂ld in Zambia—then Northern Rhodesia.

Luckily it was not too difficult. Since I was five years old at the time, I was in Botswana (then known as Bechuanaland) probably hunting birds with a pellet gun or playing in a pool of mud. Thus, I am fairly satisfied that—despite my tendency to wander about unsupervised by my parents—I would not have made it across the two different borders and shot his plane out of the sky without anybody noticing.

But somebody must think I have unresolved anger issues with Swedes as he is not the only Swede I have been accused of sending to his Maker prematurely.

Over the past 20 years, there have been persistent attempts to link me to the assassination of former Swedish Premier Olof Palme. That was in Stockholm on 28 February 1986.

My alibi for the above assassination is so boring that I will just pretend that I was at a top secret location in Switzerland having my fingerprints burnt-off after having been falsely accused of the 1983 suicide bombing of the US embassy in Beirut.

However, I must confess publicly, that unfortunately I do not have an alibi for the poisoning of Alexander the Great. But with the way the insinuations are flying, I shall have to make an urgent appointment with a hypnotherapist and have myself regressed to a previous life in 323 B.C. so that I can cobble together another defence.

Meanwhile, if any of you have any knowledge of my whereabouts at the time of any other unsolved assassinations or downing of aircraft, please forward the details to me. It will save me much time and effort.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

THE PUBLICATION AND LAUNCH OF COMPOSITE WARFARE


Many thanks for the overwhelming interest shown in the publication and launch of my book “Composite Warfare”.

I have been inundated with emails and Facebook messages regarding the book along with many, many questions that I, unfortunately, am unable to answer.

As previously mentioned, the publication is expected to be around end-September/early-October. Also, I do not yet have any information on where exactly the book will be for sale—locally and/or internationally—and if there will be a book launch or not.

I spoke to my publishers this morning in an attempt to get answers for you.

The publishers (http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/) will obviously have all of the answers to the many questions I have been asked.

I was told that the book, once it has been published, will appear on their website, and will be able to be purchased off their website. Also, it will be in certain stores.

I would suggest that any questions regarding publication, launch and sales be addressed directly to Aulette Goliath at email office@30degreessouth.co.za She is a very helpful lady and will be able to provide much more information than I can.

Again, my sincerest thanks to all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

ACTIVATING MY FACEBOOK PAGE


For some time now, I have been under pressure from numerous folks to activate my Facebook page.
I finally relented and due to ‘popular demand’ I am now on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eeben.barlow.7
My Facebook pages will not be replacing the blog as my blog will continue to be maintained as and when I have time to write something or when I wish to address a military or other security-related topic.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

THE DISGRACEFUL UN ‘PEACEKEEPING’ FORCE


I felt I ought not to write something when I am filled with anger, but to say I am absolutely and totally disgusted would be an understatement.

The uncontrolled actions by South Sudanese troops on 11 July 2016, within close proximity of the increasingly useless and ever-incompetent United Nations Peacekeeping Force, resulted in multiple rapes of foreign aid workers, along with a looting spree and murder. One shudders to think how they treated the local population…

After winning a battle in Juba, the South Sudanese troops celebrated their victory with an uncontrolled four-hour rampage through a popular residential compound preferred by foreigners. One aid worker was allegedly raped 15 times…looting and stealing was the order of the day along with the murder of a journalist.

These despicable actions are indicative of an undisciplined rabble posing as soldiers who have no understanding or knowledge of what the mission of the armed forces is.

Not surprisingly, when the UN peacekeeping force stationed approximately a kilometre away were begged for help, they refused to even respond. Several embassies were also called on for help, but they too did not even bother to react.  Perhaps they did not want to infringe on the ‘human rights’ of the out-of-control soldiers?

I consider the lack of action by both embassies and the UN to be a display of spineless cowardice of the highest order, and nothing else. If the UN ‘peacekeepers’ are unable to protect non-participants, then what on earth are they doing in Southern Sudan let alone in Africa?

This is also merely another example of the folly of forcing the balkanisation of a country and then allowing it to implode.  I am sure Pres Bashir—he of now simply ‘Sudan’—is smiling at the incompetence and lack of control that has now become the norm in another state that was set up for failure. 

I wish the day will come when African governments realise that the UN’s so-called ‘Peacekeeping Department’ has NO desire to keep peace. Their inability to perform their function has been proven time and again across Africa. Instead, it is a United Nations sanctioned ‘occupying force’ that continually turns a blind eye to atrocities committed against the vulnerable.

Instead of acting as their name implies and assisting the innocent, they cower behind their barricades like spineless creatures and watch rape, looting and murder take place.

Yet, despite a seriously blighted track record littered with failure after failure, the UN still continues to convince African governments that it is needed, and that it is a ‘successful’ organisation. To reinforce this bluff, they are probably going to increase their force levels and of course, their budget. This will imply that governments must ‘pay more for less’—a corrupt business model if ever there was one.

One only has to look at the gross failure ‘peacekeeping’ has become in DRC. If peace was measured by the amount of peacekeepers and the size of the budget, DRC ought to be a very stable and peaceful country. Sadly, that is not the case.

But if our governments wish to turn a blind eye to this grossly disgraceful incompetent organisation of incompetents, then they will have to suffer the consequences. Equally sad is that the ‘world’ watches and says very little to nothing. But watching these atrocities happen and saying nothing is silent complicity in this gross violation of all that is supposedly humanity.

One also has to wonder who trained these scumbags. It is obvious that they are lacking in any type of training befitting a peacekeeping force as they have yet to yield a positive result anywhere in Africa. Where does the UN find its particularly cowardly dirtbags who make up the misnamed ‘peacekeeping’ forces?

In the not too distant past, commanders who watched atrocities being committed and did nothing to stop them or intervene were considered to be complicit in the atrocities. They were charged with war crimes…

Not so the UN.

They will probably claim they were unable to stop the rampage, call for a ‘special UN investigation’, and insist on an increase in ‘peacekeepers’ along with a massive increase in their budget. And when they finally run out of Southern Sudan, they will hail it another great success story.

The so-called UN ‘peacekeepers’ are nothing other than an international disgrace and the perpetrators of these atrocities should, by all rights, face trial for war crimes.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

PUBLICATION OF BOOK: COMPOSITE WARFARE


Firstly, many thanks to everyone who has shown such an interest in my book, ‘Composite Warfare: The conduct of successful ground force operations in Africa’.  


The many emails, LinkedIn, and Twitter messages as well as a few via the blog have all been very encouraging.

It has been a long arduous road—and wait—but the end is finally in sight.

The book (544 pages and several years of writing) has been through the final page proofing and cover design phases and I was told this morning (18 August 2016) that if all goes according to plan, the book will be available by end-September/early-October 2016.

I trust the book will prove educational to soldiers, scholars and military history enthusiasts across Africa and the world.

Monday, July 18, 2016

COMPOSITE WARFARE: AN UPDATE



My apologies to everyone who has tried to order my upcoming book titled ‘Composite Warfare: The conduct of successful ground force operations in Africa’.
Due to numerous technical issues I mentioned on a previous blog posting, the book is finally nearing publication. I can, however, not give an exact publication date at this stage.
Nevertheless, recent correspondence from the publisher indicated that once the typesetting and layout is complete it will be sent to me for final proofing i.e. for review and any corrections. Thereafter it will go to print.
If all goes well, the publisher is looking at releasing the book in August.
The cover of the book has also undergone a change to be in line with the aim of the book ie a book on how African armies can prepare themselves to counter armed threats by conventional and unconventional forces be they hostile armies, armed anti-government forces or proxy forces.
Again, please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay.

Monday, July 4, 2016

ARE AFRICAN SECURITY SERVICES ARE FAILING THE CONTINENT?


The numerous terror attacks, violent (and non-violent) protests and riots, along with armed uprisings Africa has— and is witnessing—are an indication that its security services—in particular the intelligence services—are failing their governments, the continent, and their people. Of course, these violent and non-violent actions are moreover an indication of much deeper issues that governments need to give attention to. 

But, it is also an indication that intelligence gained from open sources and allied intelligence liaison holds little to no value for African governments as it is neither actionable nor pre-emptive. In many instances this ‘allied intelligence’ is deceptive, misleading, false and purely historical in nature despite being piously referred to as ‘intelligence sharing’ aimed at ending conflicts and wars.

Instead, ‘intelligence’ is frequently used as a channel through which to disseminate fabricated information to create a false sense of security—or exaggerate a threat—with the hopes of eliciting and/or fermenting chaos or a heavy-handed government response. (It is also used to discredit business threats or cast a doubt over people and companies). In addition, the training given to African intelligence services by their so-called allied partners is shockingly sub-standard and in many instances, irrelevant and aimed at rendering them unable to fulfil even basic intelligence collection operations, thus purposely setting them up for failure.

The dangers and risks increase when false information is accepted as ‘intelligence’.

Even with the very best security measures and procedures in place, a government that lacks intelligence will be vulnerable to armed uprisings and/or terror threats.

In late-November 2015 sources reported to us that ‘a large terrorist action’ was going to happen ‘soon’ against a Western target/people somewhere in West Africa. We were, however, unaware of where and what the target was as we had long since left West Africa. But, if we were aware of a pending (terror) attack somewhere in West Africa, what were the intelligence services in West Africa and in particular the Burkina Faso intelligence service and its ‘partnership allies’ doing?

Such attacks are not spontaneous acts of violence carried out by a group of disaffected people who suddenly decide to commit an act of terror. These acts are planned over a period of time and in the process, these groups use a host of different agents, support agents, sympathisers, and radicals who are prepared—and sometimes willing to die—to carry their message(s) across.

Social media is frequently used to distribute instructions, issue warnings, pass on intelligence, and messages and to mobilise their assets and supporters. Sympathetic NGOs, so-called ‘humanitarian organisations’, and other ‘peace loving’ and ‘democratic and freedom seeking’ charities are occasionally used to move their weapons and equipment and assist with distributing the armed protesters and/or terror groups’ propaganda.

But these groups haemorrhage or leak information if only we are willing to make an effort to capture it. Oftentimes, this leakage is very obvious and serves as a perfect early warning of a pending attack.

This begs the question when considering, for example, the attack in Burkina Faso: Where was the intelligence that was supposed to identify that planned action or—at the very least—warn of the potential danger or predict it? Where were the agents and other sources that were supposed to identify such groups and their plans? Or is this another case where the intelligence services were taught how to tie their shoelaces instead of how to do their jobs?

The developing conflict in Burundi is another case in point. Armed violence, criminality and terrorist actions are planned in advance…and are NEVER spontaneous. Seldom are they launched without large-scale foreign backing and support—as Cote d’Ivore demonstrated.

The lack of actionable and predicted intelligence—or the inability and/or unwillingness of the intelligence services to collect it—places the government at a severe disadvantage and provides the enemy or threat with a multitude of advantages and options. At times, actionable intelligence is discarded when it does not match the perceived reality of the government or the recipient—or, as has happened in the past, the intelligence is rejected by a so-called Western ally as ‘nonsense’ and ‘rubbish’ only for it to come back and bite everyone. Blind acceptance of misconceived allied assessments is a grave folly. (Sadly for Africa, some of its so-called allies are silently working at destabelising governments whilst trying to act the ‘good guys’).

Neglecting the intelligence required to ensure the security of the nation and the longevity and stability of a government and the state is both irresponsible and costing Africa dearly. Instead, governments are increasingly faced with domestic and foreign-funded anti-government forces (AGFs) and proxy forces intent on sowing terror and creating chaos with the aim of destabelising entire countries and toppling governments to ensure foreign control over their interests.

But conflicts and wars in Africa are never ending—and indeed, will escalate over the coming years. As long as intelligence is neglected and/or ignored—these actions will continue to take governments by surprise. The collateral damage and humanitarian fallout from these conflicts and wars is incalculable.   

In early 2016, the United Nations (UN) called for an estimated US$ 40bn annually to assist and support the growing number of people requiring humanitarian aid. US Dollars Forty Billion. And apparently this is not enough….as there is a US$ 15bn funding gap. Indeed, with that amount of money annually and continually given over a 5-year period, most African conflicts and wars could be over and the national armies, law enforcement agencies, and intelligence services retrained and reequipped to be very effective security forces. It is, after all, the many conflicts and wars that have resulted in so many people requiring humanitarian aid. 

But, as many in Africa—especially those in the DRC, CAR,  Cote d’Ivore, Darfur, Burundi, South Sudan, and others—can testify, the UN is not exactly objective, trusted or able to live up to its promises to protect the innocent and keep the peace. The little trust there was in the UN is rapidly disappearing down a very deep hole. The perception that the UN peacekeepers are nothing other than ‘tourists in helicopters’ that commit crimes against the very people they need to protect will intensify over time.

But, as long as African governments continue to neglect their security structures and fail to collect and act on intelligence, they will fail the continent and these funds will go to organisations that exploit these tragedies to make money.

Ironically, these same organisations condemn those who actually do something to end conflicts and wars—probably because ending conflicts and wars is very bad for their business and their control over African governments.