The Leavenworth Way of War

History Discussion at CGSC

Book Review: The Arab-Israeli Wars

I personally enjoyed reading the book The Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog.  I would recommend this book for anyone seeking to learn more about the Arab-Israeli Wars and the people and politics that have been involved between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  The book offers a detailed account of every war and conflict Israel faced between 1948 and 1981 and provides invaluable insight and analysis as to the root causes of conflict.  In conclusion, the book is well written and the author is extremely well qualified to have written this book and is still regarded by many as the best single source of information on the Arab-Israeli Wars. 

MAJ Brady Gallagher

Note:  The latest Edition (pictured) carries the history though the 1990s.

April 28, 2009 Posted by | A652 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Reviews: A Peace to End All Peace; The Gamble.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Peace to End All Peace, and highly recommend it to someone that wants to read a comprehensive history of the Middle East from 1912-1922.  I enjoyed the fact that even though this is an academic history book, that it reads like a good story.  The author does a pretty good job of telling the reader about the personalities and motivations behind the actions of the major players in the Middle East.  The thing that I found difficult about this book was its complexity at times.  I think that this is less a function of the writer, and more a function of the actual complexity of what was going on in this region.  The title of this book is telling, since the competing domestic and foreign politics, and realities of enforcing the peace settlements in the Middle East set the stage for the turmoil and persistent conflict in the region.  I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to know the truth about the origins of the modern Middle East and go beyond the mantra that, “It’s all Great Britain’s fault…..”

MAJ Wayne Wilson, USAF



The Gamble is an easy read, well written, and hard to put down once you start it. The author- Mr. Ricks has done an excellent job of exhaustively researching his facts, interviewing key players, presenting the material in a clear and concise manner, and providing a stark contrast to the current state of the affairs in Iraq vice the state of affairs in Iraq in 2006. His previous book- The Fiasco provides the author with the capacity to discern the true nature of the current situation. Readers clearly understand that Mr. Ricks would not hesitate to criticize military leaders if criticism was appropriate.  The Gamble is a must read for all field grade officers and provides unique insight into the development and practical application of revised counterinsurgency doctrine.  This book should be immediately incorporated into history classes at the Command and General Staff College ASAP.


MAJ Gary Holben, USAR

April 24, 2009 Posted by | A652, books | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Reviews: Empire in the Sands; The Quranic Concept of War.

Empires of the Sand is a bold attempt to redefine the historical understanding of what forces were responsible for shaping the current Middle East from 1789 to 1923.  The Karsh’s contend that the European powers, as is widely accepted by most prominent scholars, were not the primary force behind the current tensions and issues that exist in the region. Instead, that the Middle Eastern powers were willing and active participants in establishing their current boundaries and bare the primary responsibility for its internal problems and volatile nature.  The European powers played a secondary role and without their support and assistance in defining the geographic boundaries of the region it would be less stable and divided into smaller and more contentious states.  I believe that while brilliant in presenting their data that they and their argument are historically inaccurate and biased.  I found the book one sided to the European powers while continually condemning the Arabs and Turks.  While they bear significant responsibility for their failures that led to the current state of the Middle East, this literary effort tries too hard to relieve European Colonialism of its role.


MAJ William Prayner, USA 


In the absence of real Islamic military doctrine, The Quranic Concept of War is the equivalent of the U.S. Army’s FM 3-0 Operations for Muslims searching for “divine guidance” on how to fight.  Allah K. Brohi, late Advocate-General of Pakistan, described Brigadier Malik’s work as “a comprehensive survey of the Quranic Approach to the Principles of War and Peace.”  According to the author the book outlines “a philosophy of war that is supreme and distinctive in all its angles and aspects.”  I did not make a direct connection between this book and terrorist ideology, but apparently many others have.  Publishers Mark Hanna and Patrick Poole said Malik’s book has “critical significance in the ideological foundations of the international jihadist movement” and indicated summaries of the book in various languages have been found on captured and killed insurgents in Afghanistan.  United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Myers, who reviewed Malik’s book for the Winter 2006-2007 issue of Parameters, said “Anyone charged or interested in the defense of reason and freedom of conscious [sic] should study the Quranic Concept of War for its intellectual and strategic ramifications.” 


MAJ Patricia McPhillips, USA 

April 24, 2009 Posted by | A652, books | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Balancing Act



 The above slide was developed by MAJ Garth Johnston based on our discussion in Lsn. 7.


The above is an example of the graph with two different Arab countries plotted –one in green and the other in red. 

The Arab nations of the middle east have to balance a variety of influences in order to remain politically stable and to maintain some degree of popular support.

These factors pull in very different, often opposite, directions.   If a government misjudges balancing these factors it can lead to assination, coup, revolt, or revolution.

Stablizing and mitigating against the divergent influences are other factors.  These include the common antagonism against Israel, the unifying influence of Islam, and the unifying influences of Arabian language and culture.

Having identified these factors –how do they inform our understanding of events and history in the Middle East?  Is it purely an academic tool or does it have some practical value?

April 20, 2009 Posted by | A652 | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments