Some Arab media quote a UAE (Emirates) ‘prominent analyst’ that a number of GCC countries will hold naval military exercises in the Persian Gulf. The analyst mentioned something about the exercise being a message to a ‘threatening Iran’. But he also hinted that enhanced operational field coordination is an important goal. In other words, learning to organize the proverbial piss-up in a brewery, which is more essential for the success of any military operation than accumulating expensive hardware.
They report the exercises will be held in the area of the Strait of Hormuz and not far from three disputed islands that are held by Iran (Abu Moussa, and the Tunbs). It is not clear to me how close to Hormuz they will be held, if they will be held at all. Nor how reliable this ‘analyst’ who leaked the news is, although they report that he is ‘close’ to UAE policy-makers. No report if some of the participating countries that heavily use imported mercenaries (UAE, Bahrain) will bring along these foreign mercenaries to join the exercises.
This comes days after the Iranians held their own exercises near the area, where they targeted a replica of a U.S. naval warship (a flat top). A cute but snidely touch by the humorless mullahs, although the timing may not have been smart.
No doubt the region is getting weirder by the week. From the Gulf to Libya. Which possibly explains the state of this particular post of mine.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
There has been a lot of talk lately about non-American boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Some of the senators during the Armed Forces Committee hearings earlier today, as well as on the media, have been mentioning “Arab forces” that would augment Iraqi forces and Syrian Wahhabi opposition forces.
I got some news for these senators and pundits. If the Iraqi people objected to extended American military presence in their country beyond 2011, do you really believe they would welcome suspected outside Arab forces? This is the age of sectarianism, initially packaged and promoted by several Arab regimes (and I don’t men Iraq and Syria here) as a divide-and-rule strategy. Wahhabi forces from sparsely-populated Saudi Arabia and UAE and Qatar and possibly politically Wahhabi-ized forces from Egypt? Given their history in Iraq and the grief they have caused the people over there with their export of terrorists and weapons and money? Not to mention these regimes’ historical disrespect for the Shi’a (Shi’ite) holy shrines. (Wahhabis have raided Karbala and Najaf in past centuries with the aim of destroying the shrines).
I got some more news for the same senators and pundits. The same objections apply to Syria. Can you imagine the Saudi army and the UAE and Qatari hired-mercenary armies facing the Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies (and possibly other violent allies)? Not to mention facing their own hardened fellow Wahhabi Jihadis who have moved to the dark side with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Besides, my rule of thumb of war is against it: you can’t expect them to face these battle-toughened forces if they can’t even organize, militarily, a proverbial “piss-up in a brewery“. And we know these princes and potentates can’t organize that proverbial “piss up in a brewery“. Speaking militarily for now.
This myth of Arab forces inside Iraq and Syria needs to be put to rest. The whole idea is not even DOA: it is dead from before its ill-advised inception.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum