Tom Kratman, posting at the Ringo's Tavern conference of Baen's Bar, had this comment to make in a thread ("Arabs at War, non-fction book" sic) dealing with a recently published book, "Arabs at War."
(Posted with the author's permission.)"Lemme tell ya a story, true story as it happens:Some 21 years ago, during Bright Star 85, the Egyptian Army - clearly one of the better Arab armies - set up some tents for us as Wadi Natrun, generally northwest of Cairo. The Egyptian lieutenant in charge of the detail looked at us, looked at the tents (which were, by the way, better than ours), looked at us... Plainly he was thinking that an American's signature on a hand receipt would do him no good if one of those tents grew legs. He put his platoon in formation and announced, "I need three guards". Every man reached into his back pocket, pulled out a wallet and began peeling off notes. The three who came up with the smallest bribes were picked to guard the tents. These three then proceeded to hold hands and squat by the side of the road, crying like babies. And it is understandable that they cried because for the next four days they got no food or water except what we gave them out of pity; their officer didn't care.THAT'S what you fight when you fight Arab armies, a collection of sheep led by the most corrupt human filth imaginable. And that isn't even the worst of it. See, the Arabs are what the sociologists like to call "amoral familists." This means that they are incapable of forming bonds of love and loyalty with anyone not a blood relation. Even there, degree of blood relation determines where loyalty legitimately lies. The saying in the area is, "Me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother and my cousin against the world." This not only allows one to extort baksheesh from non-relations, but clouds every military unit that is not blood/clan based. Picture the poor Arab private. He knows no one in his unit gives a shit about him; after all, he doesn't give a shit about any of them, either. They're not family. What happens when that private is placed in the loneliest position in the world, the modern battlefield? He runs at the first sign things are going badly. (He'll be fine as long as they are going well, though. Note: things rarely go well.) Add in the fantasy mindset. Don't forget "Insh'allah", (Which is like "manana," but without the sense of urgency) which makes it somewhat impious to train really well since it is all the will of God anyway. Add in a set of social values that despise and loathe physical labor. Militarily, they've got nothing going for them. The other thing, and this may piss some off; the Israeli's stomp the Arabs so badly not because they're so great. In fact, outside of a few units the Israelis are just good militia, nothing so very special. But fighting the Arabs even just good militia can shine."ADDENDUM:"There is a way to make better Arab units. This is to base them around the families, clans and tribes. But there are at least two problems with this: The clans tend to be internally hierarchical. This means that the military chain of command may not be the real chain of command as in when the battalion commander's driver is his uncle. Happens. The other problem is that while these sorts of units, having a fair amount of trust in and loyalty for each other, will fight and fight hard, they have a very finite tolerance for casualties because at some point these endanger the standing, power and security of the clan. Then they'll break off the fight, too. Even then, though, they won't usually simply drop their weapons and run, but will retire in good order."