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British Generals in Blair's Wars

British Generals in Blair's Wars is based on a series of high profile seminars held in Oxford in which senior British officers, predominantly from the army, reflect on their experience of campaigning. The chapters embrace all the UK's major operations since the end of the Cold War, but they focus particularly on Iraq and Afghanistan. As personal testimonies, they capture the immediacy of the authors' thoughts at the time, and show how the ideas of a generation of senior British officers developed in a period of rapid change, against a background of intense political controversy and some popular unease. The armed forces were struggling to revise their Cold War concepts and doctrines, and to find the best ways to meet the demands placed upon them by their political leaders in what was seen to be a 'New World Order'. It was a time when relations between the Government of the day and the armed services came under close scrutiny, and when the affection of the British public for its forces seemed to grow with the difficulty of their operational tasks.

Losing Arab Hearts and Minds by Steve Tatham

From November 2002 to May 2003, Steve Tatham worked alongside American military planners in the Gulf, coordinating the huge media campaign that foreshadowed and accompanied the eventual invasion of Iraq. From first hand experience he witnessed how, in advance of the outbreak of hostilities, the US planned to win over sceptical Arab hearts and minds. Yet as the campaign unfolded, Tatham, the Royal Navy's public spokesman in Iraq, saw how differently the British and Americans regarded the media and how badly journalists from the Arab world, in particular from Al-Jazeera satellite television, were treated in comparison to those from coalition nations. His book is highly critical of how the United States handled its information war. Notwithstanding the best efforts of well meaning senior US officials, the mounting death toll, both military and civilian, saw the Americans all but ignore the Arab media , focusing instead on a largely acquiescent domestic press, one still obsessed with Al Qaeda's 9/11 attacks on the homeland and only too happy to fly the Stars and Stripes. Images of dead and captured coalition servicemen led to Arab channels being accused of bias against western forces, and such was the demonisation of some channels that many observers began to wonder if President Bush's declaration that 'you are either with us or against us' applied not just to nation states but also to the world's media.

Operation Snakebite by Stephen Grey

In December, 2007, Stephen Grey, reporting for the Sunday Times, was under fire in Afghanistan, ambushed by the Taliban. He was amidst the biggest UK-led operation fought on Afghan soil since 9/11: the liberation of a Taliban stronghold called Musa Qala. Taking shelter behind an American armoured Humvee, Grey turned his head to witness scenes of carnage. Two cars were riddled with gunfire. Their occupants, including several children, had died. Taliban positions were pounded by bullets and bombs dropped on their compounds. A day later, as the operation continued, a mine exploded just yards from Grey, killing a British soldier.

Who, he wondered in the days that followed, was responsible for the bloodshed? And what purpose did it serve A compelling story of one military venture that lasted several days, Operation Snakebite draws on Grey’s exclusive interviews with everyone from private soldiers to NATO commanders. The result is a thrilling and at times horrifying story of a war which has gone largely unnoticed back home.

Operation Snakebite was commanded by 52 Infantry Brigade - Andrew Mackay was the Brigade Commander

The Effectiveness of US Military Information Operations in Afghanistan 2001-2010: Why RAND missed the point

(Major General (Ret’d) Andrew Mackay, Commander Steve Tatham PhD, Dr Lee Rowland) This paper challenges the findings of a 2012 RAND study into US Information Operations (IO) in Afghanistan. Whilst agreeing with RAND that if the overall IO mission in Afghanistan is defined as convincing most residents of contested areas to side decisively with the Afghan Government and its foreign allies against the Taliban insurgency then the US mission has failed, it fundamentally disagrees with RAND's conclusions and subsequent recommendations. As operations in Afghanistan draw to an end and critical eyes retrospectively examine the 13 year long mission it is vital that IO is not discredited; the paper finds its original intent laudable but argues its application has been very poor, based upon outdated and failed models of communication, an absence of intelligent customers and an over-reliance upon marketing and PR techniques which were never designed for conflictual societies.

Combating Serious Crimes in Postconflict Societies: A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners

Published in 2006, Combating Serious Crimes in Postconflict Societies: A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners, is the product of two years of meetings and expert consultations with over 40 experts with firsthand experience in combating serious crimes in postconflict environments.

The aim of the handbook is to provide a practical tool to brief individuals on, and to synopsize, the key issues in appraising and approaching the significant challenge of serious crimes. The handbook contains an overview of potential strategies and tools that may be employed in a society seeking to combat serious crimes. In addition, the book contains an overview of these strategies, discussion of the pros and cons of certain solutions, and references to additional materials and resources related to serious crimes.

It is important to remember that the handbook is not intended as a comprehensive treatise on measures to combat serious crimes or as an operational and tactical manual for law enforcement personnel investigating serious crimes.

An important component of the handbook is the inclusion of practical examples from countries dealing with special crimes. To aid in the development of serious crimes strategies, numerous real-life examples from previous and current postconflict societies and other countries that are dealing with serious crimes challenges are integrated into the handbook, including experiences from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Cambodia, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and other countries.

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