This book is intended to serve two purposes. First, it is designed to try to help answer one of the great vexing questions of post—World War II Middle Eastern affairs: what is it that has consistently hindered the Arab armed forces in battle such that they consistently lose wars or win them just barely? This issue is of more than mere historical curiosity. Every six months or so, another crisis with Iraq reminds us that the U.S. armed forces may again be called on to go to war in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, the Middle East peace process has slipped into a torpor, and it is far from certain that it will recover promptly, if at all. If it does not, we may not have written the last chapter in the story of the Arab-Israeli wars. In short, it behooves us to develop a better understanding of the driving forces in Middle Eastern conflicts so that we can be better prepared for another round.
The second purpose of this book is to provide a robust assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Arab militaries. Since the British withdrawal from "East of Suez” in 1971, the United States has found itself increasingly entangled in the Middle East both diplomatically and militarily. This trend accelerated dramatically after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the massive U.S. military deployment it triggered. Today our military commitment to the Middle East is one of the highest American foreign-policy priorities. As our recent war in Afghanistan has demonstrated, there is every reason to expect that in the future, the U.S. military will again be called on to fight in this part of the world. Because of this commitment, the U.S. military constantly plans and trains to fight both alongside, and against, Arab armies. The rogue states of the Middle East are among our most important potential foes, and the moderate Arab states of the region are among our most important allies. It is crucial that we have a thorough understanding of the