Tag Archives: military

Thinking about writing about Arnhem

At some point I’m going to have to think about writing subjects a bit broader than just Portsmouth. Equally, it’s always been an ambition of mine to write about Arnhem. Given that my Grandad was an Arnhem veteran, it’s pretty much what got me into military history in the first place.

But the historiography is pretty crowded. For what was, essentially, a divisional level battle, more has been written about Arnhem than any other comparable battle in history.  So many books have been written about it – scores of general histories, and pretty much every kind of unit history or personal memoir imaginable. In many cases I suspect authors and publishers have been a bit deceptive about publishing new books that don’t offer anything new, knowing that anything about Arnhem will sell.

It’s a big ambition of mine to write about Arnhem, but my historian’s conscience won’t allow me to re-hash something. But equally, it has to be something with enough appeal that publishers will take it on. The ideal scenario would be some new sources that have never been looked at, or some kind of new angle.

I’m a bit stuck for ideas – any suggestions?

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Filed under Arnhem

Band Corporal Arthur Wood and Musician Frederick Wood

British battlecruiser HMS QUEEN MARY.

It never ceases to amaze me just what an impact the Battle of Jutland had on Portsmouth – three Portsmouth Battlecruisers were sunk, with the loss of thousands of men. Obviously, in such a strong naval city, many communities were badly hit. And with several generations of the same family often served at the same time, some family suffered more than one casualty. But one family I have researched paid a heavier price than most.

Arthur Oswald Wood, born in Worcester on 8 September 1892, enlisted in the Royal Marines Band Service on 20 September 1906. His brother Frederick William, who had been born in London on 23 September 1889, joined the Band Service on 15 March 1905. Their father was a retired warrant officer who had served in the Royal Field Artillery, and the family lived at 10 Kimberley Road in Southsea.

At the Battle of Jutland both were serving on board the Portsmouth-based Battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary, as part of the ship’s Royal Marine Band. Arthur Wood was the Band Corporal. Both were killed when HMS Queen Mary was sunk in the battle on 31 May 1916. Arthur was 23, and Frederick was 26. They are both remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common.

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Filed under portsmouth heroes, Royal Marines, Uncategorized, World War One

The True Cost of US Military Equipment

I’ve just come across this very interesting infographic, putting into perspective the US’s spending on Defence.

The True Cost of US Military Equipment

Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? I wonder how many of those Billions are as a result of the desire to gold-plate everything that Mike Burleson used to highlight on New Wars?

Of course, we here in the UK can have a pretty robust discussion about defence procurement – it would be interesting if somebody worked on a comparable graphic for the MOD!

…. on another note, here is a wonderful graphic demonstrating the US Army‘s commitment to medal-itis…. I’ve never understood the logic of giving a soldier a badge to commemorate that they can fire a rifle…

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Filed under defence, politics

Portsmouth’s WW2 Heroes Remembrance Sunday talks a success

Just a quick note to everyone who came down to the D-Day Museum yesterday. My talks went really well, and we had more than 70 people for each. And not all of them were friends and family! I had some very interesting questions about Portsmouth’s World War Two Dead, and none of them too awkward! Just out of interest, the Museum had 1,149 visitors yesterday, which was almost 50% more than Remembrance Sunday last year!

Thank you to my sister Nicola for the picture, to my girlfriend Sarah and family for coming down, and also friends and colleagues for supporting me too. And of course Andrew Whitmarsh at the D-Day Museum for booking me, and the staff at D-Day for helping make the day go so well.

It’s been a good couple of days, last night we (Portsmouth City Museum) won a clean sweep at the Portsmouth News Guide Awards – Best exhibition for Little Black Dress, and runner up for Football in the City!

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Filed under d-day, event, Uncategorized

D-Day Museum on Remembrance Sunday

Just a little reminded that I will be speaking at the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth this coming Remembrance Sunday.

The Museum is open from 10am. I will be speaking at 12noon and 2pm, giving a short talk on my forthcoming book, ‘Portsmouth’s World War Two Heroes’. Entry to the Museum is free all day, and there is no need to book.

I’m just putting the finishing touches to my notes. If you come down, feel free to say hello and ask me anything you like!

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Filed under d-day, event, Museums, Talks

British Army programmes on BBC iplayer

I’ve stumbled upon a fantastic collection of programmes on the British Army on bbciplayer, some modern, and some archive. Apparently, unbeknown to me, BBC4 have launched an ‘Army Collection‘, many of which are available to view online. Only, I’m afraid to say, to those of you watching in the UK. But to those of us sitting up in bed suffering from a hideous case of man-flu, its a goldmine!

One series I know will be very popular is The Paras, a famous 1982 documentary. There is also a set of 30-minute regimental histories, covering amongst other the Grenadiers and Coldstreamers, the Paras and the Gurkhas. Some of it is a little basic, and as usual with anything Regimental in the British Army, everyone’s own Regiment is of course the best ever bar none. But when you watch the ‘In the Highest Tradition’ programmes, you realise that all Regiments have their own, equally barmy, traditions and claims to fame. I also realise I could never have made an officer – silver service is not my style, give me take-away any time.

The BBC have also made available a great set of programmes from the Silver Jubilee in 1977, including the Scots Guards Trooping the Colour on Horse Guards. My personal favourite is the Queen reviewing the 4th Division of the British Army of the Rhine on the Sennelager training area in Germany. It involved 578 tracked vehicles, over 3,000 troops, and 27 Regiments. Incredible stuff, and something we will probably never see the like of ever again – it would be unthinkable to bring together a division for just a review! 3 Regiments of Chieftan  Main Battle tanks, 1 Recce Regiment, and 4 armoured infantry Battalions in 432 AFV’s, as well as supporting arms, including Gazelle and Scout Helicopters. Abbott 105mm guns, M109 155mm guns, 175mm guns, Lance nuclear missiles, Engineer AFVs including bridge laying equipment, RAMC Field Ambulances, REME in Armoured Recovery Vehicles, Stalwarts, you name it.

Other treats include ‘how to make a Royal Marine officer’, the life of a Household Cavalry Corporal of Horse, the Pathfinder Platoon in training, training in the Royal Marines Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre, Panorama behind the scenes at Sandhurst, and the Army in Belize and Borneo.

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Filed under Army, On TV

A Message from your AWARD WINNING blogger!

I’m rather overwhelmed to announce that I found out this evening that I have been given an award for my blog!

The team at the Veterans Benefits GI Bill website have decided that Daly History is one of the top 50 military history blogs on the whole of the internet, and hence you can see a nice shiny award picture just to the right ——>>>>

Have a look at the award announcement here, to see the team’s very flattering words, and also to see a list of other winners. Other names you might recognise are Ross Mahoney’s Thoughts on Military History, Birmingham War Studies, Airminded and the Australian War Memorial. It’s quite a suprise to be counted amongst such leading lights!

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Filed under site news

Austrlian war dead buried in Portsmouth

I noticed an article in the Evening News recently appeaing for information about Australian soldiers from the First World War who are buried in Portsmouth. There are 12 ‘Diggers’ buried in Milton Cemetery, and the Cemeteries Office in Portsmouth are looking for information about them. In particular, it would be great if we could identify any family living in the UK in time for the next ANZAC day. These guys are buried such a long way for home, and it would be nice to do something for them.

Fortunately we are in luck, as Australian Great War Service Records are readily available, for free, on the Australian National Archives website. And the couple I have looked at so far run to 80+ pages of information! If anybody knows anything about them, or is a relative, feel free to get in touch and I will pass any info on to the Cemetery Office.

These are the 12 Diggers, and what we know about them so far:

BOYD, Andrew
Private, 46, 18th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of wounds 30 August 1916. Age 24.
Son of Andrew and Mary Boyd, of Hill St., Scone, New South Wales.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 14.

CRAIG, John Henry D.
Corporal, 1912,
17th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of wounds 17 November 1918. Age 22.
Son of Andrew Craig and Margaret Clelland Craig, of Killingworth, New South Wales. Born in Scotland.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 11.

FULTON, Thomas
Private, 1996,
47th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of wounds 24 August 1916. Age 33.
Son of John and Catherine Fulton,
of 640, Bourke St., Surry Hills, Sydney, New South Wales.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 13.

GEARING, Harry Alan Cheshire
Lieutenant,
Australian Army Service Corps.
Died of diabetes 16 March 1917. Age 31.
Son of Henry George and Mary Gearing;
husband of Bertha Gearing.
Grave Ref. I. 1. 40.

GRAY, Hubert
Gunner, 19773,
3rd Div. Ammunition Col.,
Australian Field Artillery.
Died of sickness 11 November 1916. Age 35.
Son of John and Jane Gray;
husband of C. I. Gray, of Beech St., Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia.
Born at Prahran. Victoria.
Grave Ref H. 19. 9.

JONES, Clarence Morgan
Private, 4527,
57th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of sickness 10 December 1916.
Son of Charles James and Mary Ann Jones,
of Oatlands, Tasmania.
Born at Bothwell, Tasmania.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 15.

LYNCH, Thomas Francis
Private, 130,
32nd Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of wounds: 18 December 1916.
Son of Henry Francis and Mary Lynch,
of 42, Tfould St., Adelaide, South Australia.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 5.

MELVILLE, Andrew
Driver, 227,
24th Bn, Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of sickness 28 August 1918. Age 21.
Son of Andrew and Sophie Melville,
of 117, Peel St. North, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 12.

PEARSON, Thomas Owen
Private, 69/A,
25th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of wounds 26 July 1916. Age 20.
Son of Thomas and Ellen Mabel Pearson,
of Wilmington St., Newmarket, Queensland.
Born at Maitland, New South Wales.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 4.

ROBERTS, John Thomas
Private, 2882,
44th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died of sickness 11 November 1917. Age 28.
Son of William John and Esther Roberts,
of 56, Stirling St., Footscray, Victoria, Australia.
Born at Mount Egerton, Victoria.
Grave Ref H. 19. 7.

WAKE E.
Private, 4482,
3rd Aust. Gen. Hosp., Australian Army Medical Corps.
Died of sickness 18 January 1916. Age 31.
Son of Edward George and Emilie Wake;
husband of V. E. Wake,
of 45, High St., North Sydney, New South Wales.
Born at Scottsdale, Tasmania.
Grave Ref. H. 19. 8.

Wall, George Savoury Lipscombe
Lance Corporal, 6104,
37th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.,
Died: Drowned 3 August 1918. Age 25.
Son of Francis Gordon Wall and Blanche Wall,
of Wells Rd., Mordialloc, Victoria, Australia.
Born at Thorpdale, Victoria.
Grave Ref. H. 19.6.

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Kiel Week 2011

Kieler Hafen

Image via Wikipedia

I know I’ve written on this subject before, but take a look at the line-up for Germany’s Kiel Week this year.

Kiel week is the equivalent of Cowes and Navy Days combined, and funnily enough was established by the Kaiser in an attempt to instil an English-style affinity with the sea into German society. But looking at the line up, it has far exceeded the scale of Navy Days in the UK. The last few have been pretty woeful, even for British vessels. At the last Navy Days in Portsmouth we had two Destroyers and two Frigates, and no Foreign visitors at all. You have to wonder whether we bothered to make an effort, or we had offended too many navies? But whatever the reson, the woeful inactivity of the Royal Navy PR Department is pretty embarassing, especially in a country with acute sea-blindness.

German Navy

Schleswig-Holstein (Brandenburg class Frigate)

Ammersee (Coastal Tanker)

Spessart (Replenishment Tanker)

Spiekeroog (Ocean-going Tug)

Fehmarn (Ocean-going Tug)

Lutje Horn (Harbour Tug)

Russian Navy

Minsk (Landing Ship)

Dutch Navy

Zuiderkruis (Replenishment Ship)

De Ruyter (De Zeven Provincien class Frigate)

French Navy

Commandant L’Herminier (D’Estienne d’Ovres class Patrol vessel)

Irish Navy

Eithne (Fishery Patrol Vessel)

Estonian Navy

ENS Ugandi (Sandown Class Minesweeper, formerly HMS Bridport)

Lithuanian Navy

Suduvis (Lindau Class Minesweeper)

Jotvingis (Vidar Class Minelayer)

Polish Navy

Naklo (Gardno Class Minesweeper)

Druzno (“)

Gardno (“)

Kondor (Kobben class Submarine)

Danish Navy

Absalon (Absalon Class Frigate)

Havkatten (Flyvefisken Class Patrol Vessel)

Svanen (Sail training ship)

Thyra (Sail training ship)

Kureren (Patrol boat)

Budstikken (“)

Speditoren(“)

Royal Navy

Express (P200 Class Patrol boat)

Puncher (“)

US Navy

Mount Whitney (Command Ship)

Phillipine Sea (Ticonderoga Class Cruiser)

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Filed under Navy, Uncategorized

USS Forrest Sherman

USS Forrest Sherman

USS Forrest Sherman

USS Forrest Sherman, a US Navy Arleigh Burke class Destroyer, seen coming into Portsmouth Harbour – conveniently during my lunch hour!

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Filed under Navy, out and about

Warships: Interational Fleet Review

HMS Liverpool, a Royal Navy Type 42 Batch 2 ai...

HMS Liverpool, en-route to Libya

I’ve just picked up the latest copy of this fascinating magazine. As usual it makes for a measured, insightful but pointed read.

Iran has recently sent warships through the Suez Canal, after signing a defence pact with Syria. Transit through the canal is governed by the Egyptian Government, and the post-Mubarak leadership broke a tacit agreement with Israel and the US to not allow Iranian vessels through. The pact with Syria and the prospect of Iranian vessels in the Mediterranean – especially off the Israeli coast -changes the strategic picture in the Middle East somewhat.

The Magazine also highlights the folly of the Government’s Defence Cuts, in that the Royal Navy Frigate leading the British contribution to the sea blockade of Libya, HMS Cumberland, is due to come home to decomission soon. The ship we are sending to relieve her, HMS Liverpool, is an elderly Batch 2 Type 42 Destroyer, which is also due to be scrapped within a couple of years. France, meanwhile, has sent its Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, and Italy has been using its significant amphibious capability. Britain appears increasingly impotent, especially when consider that even China has sent a Warship. However old and labour intensive they are, the Type 22’s are extremely capable ships, and they are not being replaced. An editorial takes Cameron’s SDSR to pieces, arguing that its credibility has been torn to shreds by events in Libya. Britain is now a second rate player on the European-international stage.

Elsewhere, the new Australian Aircraft Carrier HMAS Canberra has been launched at the Navantia yard in Ferrol, Spain. Based on the Spanish ship Juan Carlos, she and her sister HMAS Adelaide are officially termed Landing Helicopter Docks (LHD).  They have enough space to operate two dozen helicopters, a ski-ramp and the potential for operating VSTOL jets (Australia is purchasing Joint Strike Fighter), and an amphibious dock to the rear. At well over 20,000 tons she is much larger than anything the mother country has built for years, and represents a quantum leap for Australia, both in terms of size and capability. Something Britain could really do with.

Finally – and some might say amusingly – we get a round-up of the UK independence party‘s Defence manifesto. And interesting reading it makes too. They propose to retain British Forces completely under national control, and to maintain a fleet of – wait for it:

  • 3 Aicraft Carriers
  • 4 Ballistic Missile Submarines
  • 12 Nuclear Attack Submarines
  • 11 Destroyers
  • 20 Frigates
  • 6 Amphibious vessels
  • 21 Minewarfare vessels
  • 7 Offshore Patrol Vessels
  • 55 Strike Fighters
  • Retain 3 Commando Brigade

This sounds impressive. But remember, this is essentially what we had only 10 years ago anyway. This extensive building programme would cost a lot, but would generate jobs and boost the shipbuilding industry, and would guarantee the future of jobs at bases such as Portsmouth, Devonport and Rosyth. How to fund it? Well, UKIP suggest stopping our annual international aid bill of £10bn to countries that have space programmes, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Sounds loopy, but there are grains of truth therein.

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Filed under Navy, News, politics

New Royal Navy ice patrol vessel announced

The Ministry of Defence has announced that the Icebreaker MV PolarBjorn (Polar Bear) has been selected to become the Royal Navy’s new ice patrol vessel. PolarBjorn will be re-christened HMS Protector while in Royal Navy service. The last  HMS Protector was also an antarctic patrol vessel.

Heres the spiel from Rieber’s website:

The ‘Polarbjørn’ is purpose-built for undertaking both long duration Antarctic expeditions, and offshore subsea support duties.  With her large public areas and accommodation capacities, helicopter deck and DP2 class, the vessel is well suited for undertaking flotel- and base ship functions on offshore fields and other operations. The vessel’s large deck areas and cargo holds offers ‘unlimited’ storage capacity for ROV and related equipment. The ship’s 50-ton knuckle-boom crane and the A-frame offers efficient solutions for handling equipment over the side and over the stern.

A few facts and figures about Polar Bjorn:

  • 90 metres long
  • 18 metres beam
  • 9.05 metres draught
  • Gross tonnage 4,985 tons, deadweight of 3,700 tons

She is currently owned by Rieber Shipping, and was launched in 2001. Until recently she has been working under a Norwegian flag on the ‘spot’ tendering market in the North Sea and Arctic offshore oil fields. Apparently during 2010 she was only being used 33% of the time due to the economic downturn, so her chartering by the MOD will be welcome to her owners. Official announcements by Defence Minister Lord Astor suggest that she will be leased for three years while HMS Endurance‘s fate is decided, but I would suggest that it is likely that Endurance will be scrapped and PolarBjorn/Protector purchased once the lease runs out. The same happened with HMS Endurance herself.

Amusingly, apparently members of the HMS Protector Association had known about the acquisition since January, but had been sworn to secrecy by the ship’s new CO, Captain Peter Sparkes. The Association’s newsletter also announces that she will be formally commisioned on 23 June 2011 in Portsmouth.

According to some sources she will be arriving in Portsmouth for the first time in April or May. At that point she will undergo a refit to install naval equipment, such as communications and limited weaponry. Apparently her up-front helicopter deck is going to be removed, and a new landing pad installed nearer her stern. This will probably necessitate the removal of some of her crane capability, which she will probably not use fully in RN service in any case. She will also need a hangar, given the manner in which she will operate independently in the ice.

The former ice patrol ship HMS Endurance is being withdrawn from service after suffering serious damage when she flooded in the South Atlantic in 2008. Since then the Offshore patrol vessel HMS Scott has been standing-in in the South Atlantic, but this is far from ideal as she is not an ice-breaker, and takes her away from her other role.

It will be good to see a new ship entering Portsmouth for a change.

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Filed under defence, Falklands War, Navy, News, Uncategorized

two landmarks in one day

We’ve had two landmarks in one day here at DalyHistory. Sometime this morning my humble little blog passed the 100,000 hit mark. Incredible, I would never have thought I would ever get 1,000 hits, let alone 100,000! And later this evening the 2,000th comment was posted. So doing the maths, if that means that ever 50th hit results in a comment, then surely thats not such a bad ratio at all ;)

I’m currently off work this week to focus on researching and writing up the naval chapter of my forthcoming ‘Portsmouth’s Second World War Heroes’. Today was spent looking at secondary sources on the Royal Oak, Hood and Barham. I also found some great source books on Submarines, including a catalogue of all decorations made to submariners in WW2. Tomorrow’s plan is to finish off some books on submarines, and then go onto the mircrofilm to take a look at the Portsmouth Evening News of the days following the sinkings to see what reaction there was locally, and to see if I can find any pictures or obituaries of men who were lost. Later in the week I plan focus on Boy Seamen, and a Destroyer Captain’s antics in the Mediterranean.

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Filed under portsmouth heroes, site news

Recent Naval News

Heres a few recent news stories from naval circles that probably don’t warrant a post on their own, but I think some of you might find interesting. They all, in one way or another, chronicle the sad demise of the Royal Navy.

Carribean to go without a Royal Navy Guardship

The Ministry of Defence has announced that there will be no Royal Navy Destroyer or Frigate in the Carribean. The Royal Navy has for a long time stationed an escort vessel in the region to combat drug runners, and also to provide disaster relief to Commonwealth territories in the hurricane season. The fleet of escort ships has been slashed to just 19 by the recent Defence Review, leaving too few to carry out deployments. Instead a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel will patrol the area. Ships routinely seize millions of pounds worth of drugs in the region, and an RFA vessel is simply not up to the job.

Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North and defence select committee member, had the temerity to tell the Portsmouth Evening News: ‘It’s a very worrying announcement. If we’re supposed to be tackling the drugs problem on our streets we need to be dealing with supply and that’s something we should want our armed forces to do.’ For the record, her party forced through the ill-thought out Defence Review which decimated the Royal Navy’s surface fleet.

HMS Invincible sold to Turkish Scrap dealers

The decomissioned Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible has been sold to a Turkish Scrapyard for an undisclosed sum. The buyers, Leyal Ship Recycling, are based in Izmir and specialise in recycling ships. She is expected to leave Portsmouth around the end of March, arrive in Turkey four weeks later and to take eight months to dismantle. She has been sat in 3 Basin of Portsmouth Dockyard since she was decomissioned in 2005. Supposedly she has been in ‘extended readiness’, but has been so stripped of parts to keep her sister ships running that it would take years and millions of pounds to make her operational again. Expect the bandwagon-jumpers who made much of the demise of Ark Royal to not even notice the end of this Falklands veteran.

Amphibious Exercise cancelled due to weather

An amphibious exercise scheduled to take place in the Solent last weekend was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. The Fleet Flagship HMS Albion and several other vessels were due to land troops on beaches near Browndown Point in Gosport. It was very wet and windy, but one wonders if it was any worse that the weather experienced in June 1944 when Eisenhower, Monty and Group Captain James Stagg had decide whether to invade occupied Europe or not. Or San Carlos Water in 1982. It smacks of Admirals worrying about the paint getting scratched on their Landing Craft, and sends out the wrong message to our armed forces and anyone else. At the end of the day its the Solent, a sheltered Anchorage. If we can’t even make an unopposed landing a few miles from the home of the Royal Navy, what chance a forced landing thousands of miles away?

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Filed under defence, Navy, News

Only Revolutions

I’ve never written much about international politics. Apart from long ago wanting to work as a Diplomat for the Foreign Office, my sole experience of international diplomacy is taking part in a couple of model UN debates when I was 16. But then again, I write mainly about two things – defence, and history. And isn’t it pretty impossible to separate politics, defence and history? Each affects the other. And of course at the forefront of my thoughts are the events unfolding right now in Egypt.

History underpins what happens in international politics. Egypt has traditionally been a US bulwark against communism and then extremism in the Middle East, and Israel’s closest friend in the region (although admittedly that’s not saying much). Hence leaders such as Mubarak have been able to stay in power for a long time, and their abuses of power have been overlooked, as long as they present a front against Islamic extremism. Pan-Arabism also broadly unites the region, particularly against Israel. I didn’t realise just how many regimes in the Middle East are the same – so many leaders have been in power for donkey’s years, and in some cases their fathers before them. I guess once President’s become established in office, the longer they are there the harder they have to be dragged kicking and screaming. Whatever that is, its not democracy. And if people on the streets are tearing themselves apart, then there is no meaningful Government of leadership in any case – thats a vacuum, and out of vacuums comes uncertainty. Iraq post-Invasion taught us that.

Countless times we have read about the role of the Army. Egypt has a sizeable military – the third largest in the Middle East after Turkey and Iran – and if it wanted to wade in on the side of either Mubarak of the opposition, that would probably prove decisive. Yet the Army seems unwilling to take a side, and doesn’t even seem willing to separate the two factions. This is probably down to experience, as the Egyptian Army may not be skilled at riot control. Tellingly, it says something about a regime if the Army – usually a representative cross section of society – is not willing to back the President. The military’s role in politics is extremely delicate indeed. An Army can deliver a coup-de-grace to a failing regime, but then it strays into the territory of becoming a military dictatorship. But at the other end of the scale, if the Army cannot intervene internally, then its influence is effectively neutered. Imagine if the British Army had not been able to intervene in Northern Ireland… it would have been a laughing stock.

Hanging over all of these events are the outcomes of previous revolutions. The current upheaval in Egypt was prompted by a similar wave of protest in Tunisia. And we only have to look back to the downfall of Communism in 1989 and 1990 to see how a small protest in one state can provide a tipping point across the region. The downfall of Communism had its roots in the Solidarity movement in Poland in the early 1980’s, and culminated in peaceful revolutions in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. The lesson from 1989 seems to be that once the people have turned against a regime and are on the streets, it’s in everyones interests for change to take place. History tells us that once the people are on the streets, you can either go on your own terms, or against your will.

Are we looking at a domino effect in the Middle East? Only time will tell. The only fear has to be what might come afterwards.

(oh, and apologies to Biffy Clyro for stealing their album title!)

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Filed under defence, News, politics, Uncategorized