For historical interest, I sometimes like to post hard-to-find and rare books and documents with translation on my site. Recently I came across a very interesting book that was issued by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence in 1935 and is the subject of this post. The book, marked 'secret' and supposed to have been read only by air force officers and official administrative employees, is not to my knowledge available online. In short, the book discusses the definition, benefits and methods of imposing 'air control' over the tribes in areas that are seen as being marked by 'impenetrability' on account of two factors: (i) the geography of those areas, and (ii) the areas' tribes who live in a dispersed manner (whether as Bedouins/nomads or in scattered villages, rather than congregated in towns).
Iraq's history as a nation-state has been marked by many difficulties in securing government control over the entirety of the territory, and the early period of the country's existence as the Kingdom of Iraq following official independence from the United Kingdom in 1932 is no exception. The fact that this book was issued at all attests to those difficulties. Indeed, in the year in which this book was issued, the Iraqi government faced revolts among Yezidi and Kurdish tribesmen in the north and among Shi'a Arab tribesmen in the mid-Euphrates region in the south. That said, the book does not mention specific cases of tribal revolts, disturbances and raids.
The book's style of discourse and explanation is generally clear and so I will not restate the book's contents at great length. To summarise, the book defines air control as using aircraft as the original weapon to impose control over the relevant areas, provided that this use of aircraft is complemented with use of land forces, whether in the form of armoured vehicles or regular or irregular military groupings. This form of air control is contrasted with primary reliance on ground forces to impose control/military occupation. The latter approach is portrayed as having numerous weaknesses including problems of slow movement of those forces, liability to causing a serious spread of disturbances when one military detachment is captured or destroyed, and high costs of maintenance. Proper use of air control is depicted as a rapid and cost effective means of imposing authority and punishing those who dare to revolt and cause disturbances.
It should be noted that as envisioned in this document, air control is not seen as a means of utterly obliterating the enemy and causing maximum losses to lives and property. Rather, the idea of imposing air control is that it should make general living conditions for the revolting tribes unbearable in a quick period of time so that the revolting tribes should suffer a decisive blow to their morale and submit to conciliation on the government's terms. Those who refuse to submit should be made to understand that they are always at risk of air raids and constant exposure to danger.
As the book illustrates, there were two major strands of criticism of the air control strategy. One of these was that air control lacked the understanding of tribes' customs and outreach that had been undertaken by political officers. The book's response to this criticism is that air control does not have to be some sort of military-alone approach to imposing authority but can be effectively combined with the efforts of political officers. Further, there were those who criticised the air control strategy on ethical grounds, arguing (for example) that it could lead to indiscriminate killing of women and children. The book argues in contrast that the loss in lives caused by the air strategy is less than that caused by ground campaigns. In any case, all war movements entail hardship for women and children.
I would like to dedicate this work foremost to my friend Ahmed Fathi Levi who is originally from Mosul as well as my friends Sajad Jiyad and Ali al-Mawlawi, who both work on Iraq policy issues and are much smarter analysts than I could ever be. I also dedicate this work to various friends in Syria who have expressed their fondness for Iraq and its people.
I hope to continue translating and commenting on more primary source documents and books relating to Iraq's modern history.
I present the book in full with my translation below. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own. Any suggestions for amendments are welcome.
Official secret book:
Notes on Air Control over the Tribes
Publication of the Defence Ministry: Baghdad
Government Printing, Baghdad
Official secret book to be read by the officers and official administrative employees alone
Notes on Air Control over the Tribes
Defining Air Control:
1. Political administration in regions inhabited by Bedouin [/nomadic] and settled tribes depends on military force in one of the forms and that is when there has not remained for the government another means it can pursue. And by 'air control' is meant the imposition of control by means of aircraft in considering them as the original weapon, provided that this means of war is complemented by land forces that may be armoured vehicles or regular or irregular military groupings and that will depend on the requirements of the position.
As for the areas for which air control is appropriate and the military control undertaken by the land forces is not appropriate, they are the areas in which one sees a coming together of impenetrability that arises from their area space or from the nature of their lands and their inhabitants who are organised into dispersed tribes and live as Bedouins [/nomads] or in dispersed villages, not gathered in towns.
And let us know clearly that the expression 'air control' does not include use of air power in military activities only but also includes and comprises the political authorities' seeking help in this control on the basis of cementing the regular administration in times of peace with regard for the benefits that arise from air control in one of the special positions. This is so provided one takes into complete consideration the great benefit that derives from this control in seeking help with it for an administration in which there is available the requirements of honour and progress.
Control without occupation:
2. In the past military control has depended on putting in place small land protection forces, which were sometimes dispersed over wide points and generally included their preservation and provision and reinforcement on necessity over ample difficulties. That was generally on account of the relative slowness of the movement of land forces.
And it is not possible to transfer slow land forces in a way that moves them quickly from one point threatened with danger to another point. Therefore one must generally preserve a sufficient force in the centres that can be set up for disturbances so that every fitna that may arise can be suppressed. And this policy has been combined from one time to another- in order to fulfil its intentions- with establishing war routes and these routes themselves have also required the designation of other armed forces to protect them and keep them open. As for the air forces, in view of their great rapidness, it is possible to preserve them in ordinary times in an appropriate central place as they can arrive to every point threatened with danger with the help of an excellent intelligence directorate.
And for this particular from the particular qualities of the air force are some critical results.
3. The detachments that are among the essential requirements of the military occupation, we find them to be a source of weakness, because capturing or destroying a detachment from it results in morale benefit for the enemy while the impact of the military detachment is not to be considered anything alongside that morale benefit which the enemy obtains.
And that has led many times to the disturbance that was originally a local one becoming a critical matter and so it has become a dangerous fitna whose suppression has required widespread military movements and what that entails from loss in lives and wealth. In addition to this- according to what is apparent- it is impossible to continue the complete occupation of large areas that can meet the desire in view of the expenditures that this occupation requires. And it has been established by experience that whenever the time comes to evacuate the forces from those areas again, soon enough the tribes return to a state of chaos that caused the original occupation in addition to what the withdrawal of the forces entails from dangerous recklessness.
So many of these bad things disappears by the use of air forces whose job we have described as being control without occupation.
4. So the potential of the air force to have no need for the placing of detachments in areas from which they expect attacks facilitates administration and provision and increases competency in training and also makes available health treatment for the officers and soldiers. And making available health treatment is a matter of critical importance particularly in the areas suitable for air control.
5. We note a point of some critical importance in this time and it is that air control is not a clear sign indicating the intervention of the government in the affairs of the people in the way that land control signifies that. And there is no need for dispersal of the military groups in the length and breadth of the land. And with that, we find the excellent means of control are always prepared and capable of reaching every place where their presence is required on need during the course of some hours, even if there is a distance of 100 miles from that place.
6. The local civilian authorities and the inhabitants in general do not always understand this air control. For it has occurred in the areas subject to raids or fitnas that the inhabitants there consider the withdrawal of the land protections from their area as a sign indicating weakness and that the meaning of that is abandoning them and their affair. But one must teach the people the meaning of air control with the obligation of introducing the understanding to the faces of the inhabitants like the men of the civilian authorities, sheikhs and heads, that even if the military forces that they have been used to are not visible, the protection is still available in a more competent way than before and that is by the arms of the aircraft and armoured vehicles and that these weapons are more powerful than land forces and more modern than they are. And familiarising the inhabitants with this face and making them understand it is a critical matter that cannot be ignored.
And the inhabitants must understand that even if the forces are not visible among them, behind them however is the authority of the government that holds to account all who dare to attack them.
This position may send an inclination into the souls of the inhabitants that must be averted through gentleness and acumen that are to be shown by the employees who are concerned with the affairs of the tribes. Of course the government must encourage the men of the tribes to rely on themselves but it is not permitted for them to think that since they have come under the protection of the government in defending themselves therefore they are free to conduct raids against their neighbours and attack them with the protection that the government itself renders to them.
The necessity of cooperation between the commander of the air force and the political authorities:
7. Perhaps these notes have been touching on the political authorities and not the commander of the air force who is always to be affiliated with the civilian authorities. As for in the areas that are under air control, the commander of the air force is to be the official military advisor for the political authority and he is obliged to show his notes in all affairs that pertain to the methods of air combat and the results that this combat may give rise to. Therefore it is necessary that the officers of the air force should have some familiarity with the relevant political faces. As for ideal use of the air force, it requires the most intense cooperation between the commander of the air force and the political authority. And if we want the air movements to succeed, we see that it is vital at the time that all the relevant people (whether they are civilian men of the administration or officers from the combat forces) know that success depends on the present impact on the enemy morale. For in the land military movements the relations between the political efforts and the military force are clearly defined and the specific limits for responsibility of both the political and military authorities are easily well-known. For the army has a specific target and it is to destroy the attacking force or occupy an area. And on reaching this envisaged goal the role of the political authority for the field of work becomes prominent.
But the air force, in order to obtain the desired morale impact, does not need material contact with the enemy, and there are not in the air movements roles that can be easily distinguished especially when they have been active in combating tribes for whom it is difficult to understand the results that air combat gives rise to. Therefore it is necessary that the political authority and the commander of the air force should be in intense contact so that the political employee, through his precise knowledge of the characteristics and qualities of the enemy, can make a determination (in agreement with the commander of the air force) in appointing the time to begin air combat, extend it or stop it.
8. The air weapons are thin weapons that can be easily worn out if badly used and that is so either by using them before the time or using them too late or in excess in using them. So stopping the air combat in the desired way in the desired time has critical importance. Therefore it is necessary for the political employee to be in close contact with the course of war movements. For on land the fighting is stopped when the military aim is achieved and likewise in the air. So it is necessary for the fighting to stop when the envisioned morale aim is achieved. And the political employee entrusted with the issue of making the decision on the case cannot express his judgement on that unless he is in intense contact with the officer who is directing the war movements. And when the air movements are underway in combating an enemy of an elementary social order, these movements may lead, if there is excess in prolonging their time, to making the enemy surrender in a temporary sense to the force of anguish. So therefore when it is believed that the morale impact has begun to overwhelm the type of ordinary life of the enemy, one must stop the air combat in a temporary sense. And thus the opportunity occurs to the enemy to show in an official or unofficial sense whether the military movements have made them change their plan. So if they have changed their plan, we must then benefit immediately from the change in their sentiment by avoiding all that can cause prolonging of the air combat. Otherwise, it may be that the war movements that are occurring after that will be prolonged and difficult.
So in these circumstances the air weapons apply pressure on the enemy like the pressure that the political efforts apply, for the force of the politician and the air weapons equally depend on the enemy being unaware of the extent of the operations that must be undertaken to reach our goal and not knowing the means that we adopt to reach those goals. And this strong relation between political work and the air potential embody the relation whose links between the political employee and the air force commander must be strong.
9. On account of the great rapidness that the air force possesses we can enable it to make the inhabitants feel its presence in places several hundreds of miles apart in the course of merely one day, therefore it is possible to obtain the good control with smaller forces and less expenditures than others besides it.
And there must be present some conditions to obtain this rapidness in work in a wide area. And we have examined those conditions in another place of this message. And when those conditions are met it is possible for us to impose good control by use of the air forces in the rank of basic weapons with the accruing of expenditures that are much less than what we accrue by imposing the military control when we consider the land forces to be the basic weapons.
And the air forces can undertake the war movements from their sound positions or from forward stations they have previously prepared in places located outside the area of disturbance. So in addition to the fact that we can reduce the true strike forces that we intend to use to confront the emergencies, in our places also we can also simplify the feeble and overburdened subsistence and support system in the field with what it requires for that from combat groups to guard the lines of connections without which the land forces cannot undertake movements. And these lines impose the biggest burden of expenditures in every military campaign. And in truth the air forces are independent of the lines of connections inside the area of movements. As for the excess expenditures that the active air movements of this sort require, they are in reality expenditures of bombs and equipment.
And the benefit of this system in its relation with the economy goes beyond its mere application on the local level, because it is rate that there occur serious disturbances without preliminary warning. This is such that even if the air forces put in place normally inside one of the military areas are insufficient to undertake a task that goes beyond repelling the disturbance temporarily, nonetheless the possibility of rapid strengthening from far distances by organised air routes allows us to reduce the number of forces put in place normally in that area, in a way that is not secured in another scenario.
Air combat and land movements:
10. The air forces are the original strike force in preserving the system with the air force in the areas of the tribes. As for the mission of the forces that are on the ground (and that includes armoured vehicles and regular and irregular groups and the armed police or the forces of the tribes), it is for the required protection for the airports and to preserve the system in the main centres. And when necessary, to gather the fruits of the air movement after overcoming the greater resistance. And one must understand well the difference between the method of use of the forces in the air and the method of their use in the movements of convoys. And it is a difference in assignment.
For in the air movements, the air forces are considered the original striking force. As for the forces that are required to be used on the ground, they undertake a secondary mission. And naturally also it is the case that the air component is waging combat by agreement with the land components. And as for in the movements of the convoy, the land forces bear the brunt of the resistance and the air forces cooperate with it. And the objective of the convoy is limited to dragging the enemy into a battle and destroying them or inflicting loss on their combat men. And that is either in laying the way for the occupation of their lands or merely to punish them. And to attain this objective it requires firstly compelling the enemy to come together. But the air movements aim in their foundation at the morale of the enemy. And their methods are confined to disturbing their normal life by bombing their villages, property and plantations, and making them not tolerate that life. And the impact of the air forces is confined to dispersing the gathering of the enemy who soon enough know that when they gather, they suffer losses and become a good target for aircraft.
Therefore it is necessary first in all movements that occur in combating the tribes that we should decide on which of the two methods we adopt in that. So if for some reason it is required to adopt the military method with the use of the air forces to cooperate with them in their undertaking of a secondary assignment, one must then take care to ensure that this air operation concords with the tactical military plan. Otherwise, the aircraft combat will lead to hindering of the efforts of the military groups to reach the goal we have envisioned from fighting and that is by dispersing the gathering of the tribes, despite the fact that the military groups are aiming to bring together the tribes and drag them into combat without the aircraft themselves reaching the result that they are (i.e. the aircraft) intended to reach when they are used in undertaking the main mission in air movement.
The morale impact that the air force creates:
11. If the air force does 'its utmost' in combat its impact is great pressure so it can inflict on the enemy heavy losses in lives and property, which makes every government recoil from embarking upon that for ethical and political reasons. But the loss caused by the air movements that run in truth in the areas upon which air control is imposed is not significant, and we do not exaggerate however much we increase in recommendation of this matter because the foundational principle of air control requires that air potential does not rely on widespread material damage and inflicting loss but rather on morale impact.
And often what is misunderstood is the expression 'morale impact' in this regard, for from it is understood sometimes the notion that the individual should be deeply terrified of the impact that the explosion of the bomb so that his nerves should be disturbed and he should submit to our conditions in order to avoid the repeat of the bombing on him. This is not the meaning that the air force staff intend because the intention of this expression is not the morale impact that the bomb itself has on the soul of the individual from the men of the tribes, but rather the true impact that leads to disturbing the ordinary life: that impact resulting from what the bomb does or the fear of the bomb. And it is an impact that reaches its most intense on the morale force of the enemy by a coming together of factors the most dangerous of which are fear, weariness, strong irritation, material loss, and feeling of weakness for lack of ability to take revenge. And the necessity may require in the first roles to inflict some loss on wealth and men but this loss is a secondary factor and nothing else, in which help is sought to reach the greater envisioned objective and it is the campaign against the enemy morale by attacking the means of living of the inhabitants whom we fight and delivering the finishing blow to their practices.
Therefore the commander of the air force must be determined to disturb the ordinary life of the tribes in that it becomes impossible for them to live in their villages or farm their lands and plant them or graze their pastures and water them, so they cannot bear life in those circumstances so they are forced to abide by our conditions, in order to escape the continuation of the air movements.
The importance of intelligence in air control:
12. We have previously pointed out that the reason for the air force's capability of obtaining victory with few forces and expenditures relative to other forces besides it is primarily the speed of operation that the air force undertakes on account of the great speed of its movement and its freedom in operation. And this speed in movements has sometimes led to overlooking the true attack because it is possible to warn the tribes that the aircraft will throw upon them papers or their reconciliation through sending down a political officer among them on the appearance of the first signs of disturbance. And some have criticised air control by their saying that it is a machine-controlled system and does not have a personal aspect to it and lacks the two important components of sympathy and understanding of the politics of the tribes and their circumstances. And previously the political officers have managed in reliance on these two methods to reach good results among the tribes of the harshest borders. But this criticism betrays a complete misunderstanding of the air methods. However, the political officer's complete understanding of the customs and 'mindset' of the tribes and the air force officer's understanding without that of these customs and 'mindset' are indeed part of the totality of the essential components that have prime importance in air control.
And this control cannot be realised in reality without a proficient intelligence system. And the political officers today, with the help of the aircraft, can easily contact the dispersed tribes and attain results greater than what they used to achieve previously. As for their ability sometimes to take the desired measures at their appropriate time in using the aircraft so that a minor incident does not get out of control and become a dangerous disturbance, this is no less importance than what has come before.
13. When necessity imposes on us the use of force, we must use it immediately. For we must make those who move towards rebellion know that they will be immediately punished for their revolt in the course of 12 or 24 hours, so they cannot spread the extent of their efforts or escape from the result of their disturbing of the system. And it is no secret that this matter cannot be accomplished without a proficient intelligence system. And this system is the foundation upon which the ideal air control is built. For previously- when the movements of the convoy were the sole means to punish the transgressors- it was not possible to punish those revolting against the system in a period less than the days and weeks that were taken up by mobilisation of the land forces and moving them to combat them. And as a result, the delay in knowledge of the occurrence of the disturbance for days and weeks did not at all have an impact that resembles the impact of the delay that resembles it when it has been possible to undertake the war movements in the course of some hours. In addition to the preceding, the good intelligence system that includes a proficient system of connections is not necessary to begin air movements alone. For we have pointed out previously the importance of stopping the movements in the desired time when the hour has come. And it is self-evident that being able to stop the movements depends on intelligence that foremost has review of the change that occurs in the mood of the enemy and the impact of the air movements on his soul. And we do not exaggerate in our words that the impact of the air weapons in this regard depends mostly on beginning the movements and stopping them in the desired time and with the desired speed. Therefore one must complement the speed of the aircraft with what resembles it from speed of intelligence.
The necessity of speed in deciding to use the air force:
14. We must add to the speed of intelligence the speed of operating in the desired time. For when the news of a disturbance that is occurring or is about to occur arrives, there must be immediate decision on the plan that that news requires to be taken up. For the arrival of the news of the disturbance and the speed of decision to operate are equally important.
As for procrastinating and hesitating in using the force, they are two matters always filled with danger especially in the use of the air force because there is no space in air weapons for the soundness and delay available in the ability of machine guns and barbed wires to stop the enemy on the ground. And naturally it is not for the air officer to decide to order the beginning of the air movements or in extending them but the obligation of the air force commander in his capacity as advisor on air combat for the political upon which comes the aforementioned responsibility is that he should indicate the importance of immediate work and he should use his influence by the requirement of his true position to convince the political authority to make the quick decision on the matter. And this reason also is what calls for cooperation of the civilian employee and the air force officer in the most intense way with complete mutual trust between the two.
The need for space for manoeuvring
15. The prevalent view now on the air combat is that aircraft are not defensive weapons, but the particular quality of attack that the air force entails may not be understood in general in its entirety in what concerns its use in fighting an enemy on the ground.
For the military force can defend an area by means that are often negative, for it can extend the networks of barbed wires and establish bases, covering the spaces that are between them with machine guns. And the military force can in truth establish material obstacles that can repel the enemy before them. But that is not possible except with heavy expenditure and considerable force. As for the air force, it can establish this very impact with expenditures less than that in materials and men provided it is capable of attacking because the air forces are not suited for negative defence.
16. From this we have that it is necessary that the space of manoeuvring for the air force must be wide because it cannot repel the enemy with material obstacles that it can place in front of their target immediately. For the aircraft, and they themselves undertake the movement from a safe base, must be capable of advancing a sufficient distance in front of the place that it wants to protect so that the gathering of the enemy can be dispersed by means of attack before reaching their target or joining up with the enemy, and punishing them during their retreat and that is when the news does not come in time for some reason to prevent the enemy from carrying out their intentions. And this also is not of the matters that the officers of the air force decide on. So these officers, when they are consulted on issues of this sort, must know that it is not allowed that the use of the air force should be confined in narrow geographical limits when we wish for that use to give rise to beneficial results.
The methods whose observations are required by the matter in administering air movements and on consideration of the issues connected with the choosing of targets for bombing, must be applicable to the general principles put in place in the first part of the book 'Warfare of the Royal Air Force: Part One.'
17. The decision as to whether it is possible to rectify a specific position as desired through political efforts or through bombing depends on the specific type of circumstances in that time. And sections 25-27 of chapter fourteen from the chapters of the aforementioned book stipulate the matters whose observations are required by the matter when deciding on the necessity of air work. But there is one condition circumstances require to be available when undertaking immediate air work: that is that when the first signs of rebellion have appeared form a tribe despite the political negotiations in what the tribe is committing a condemned act like raiding a neighboring tribe or undertaking an armed attack on the authority of the government, that must be followed immediately by decisive retaliation without other negotiations. And one must warn the transgressors with the usual warnings that the government will attack them with the air force as punishment for them for their transgression. As for the bombing that follows this warning on the end of the specific deadline, it must be done with sufficient decisiveness and in a sufficient period to teach a useful lesson to the rebels. Then the transgressing tribe or clan is to be ordered to give the desired compensation and if it does not do that, the aircraft are to strike it again.
And when punishing tribes of this sort we find that merely threatening punishment that follows refraining from the desired compensation often complicates matters and makes the final resolution difficult. And even when the threat gives rise to the desired result, the transgressors do not appreciate the immediate fatal results that their rebellion leads to in the end and it is possible that they will return to their transgression.
18. When choosing the targets for bombing the commander of the air force must find the correct balance between confining of the efforts and their dispersal. And his objective is to be limited to creating the most intense morale pressure so he must strive to broaden the points of pressure as far as he can provided he always bears in mind that his efforts may be thwarted except when he manages to continue sufficient pressure in every point chosen in order to obtain the desired impact. So the confining of efforts to one geographic target is not always what is desirable and often the objective becomes confined to the continuation of attacking the greatest number of targets that the facilitated forces can strike.
19. As for continual attack, it is not always necessary, nor does it have to be against the most economic means in creating pressure. And making wise use of the pamphlets that the aircraft throw down or distributing them by means of the spies often goes well with the bombing. And the tribe must be made to understand that it will always be at risk of attack from the air without warning until it accepts the conditions of the government and submits to them. And when this warning is combined with bombing in non-specific times on various targets and the appearance of aircraft from one time to another in the air without bombing the tribes feel that they are always exposed to danger and fear in a way that can in itself create a considerable morale impact.
So work of this sort calls for precise judgement on the mood of the tribes and good assessment of this mood because if there is too much prolonging of the times between attacks, the morale impact disappears.
20. One cannot permit the enemy to think that they are safe from the danger by night. For the lack of sleep is a powerful factor in weakening the morale force. And if they know that they are threatened with attack by night whether in their villages or at the wells when they water their camels and flocks, they remain dispersed or hidden so they take the initiative to submit.
21. It occurred in the past that the rebels who received warning of the approach of the air attack sought refuge with a neighbouring tribe or clan. Therefore it is sometimes necessary to throw pamphlets on the villages or clans neighbouring the area that is intended to be attacked from the air with a warning to the inhabitants that if they accept members of the rebellious tribe seeking refuge with them, that will be considered on their part as a violation of the orders of the government so they will be exposed to the aircraft attack on them in bombing. And by this means is implementation of the principle that asserts that the tribe and its insides in their entirety are responsible for the work of every inside. This has sometimes led in the past to the aversion of the tribe to the rebellious insides so the non-rebellious elements have compelled their rebellious neighbours to submit to the conditions of the government and thus they have got rid of the worry and the danger that was threatening them on account of the sin of a few individual members.
And in some regions we see the traditional law of the tribes in what concerns the obligation of guest hosting, which makes rejection of the 'guest hosting' when it is requested among the impossible matters despite the government warning. But it is not unlikely that the air attack can convince the tribes to make rejection of this 'guest hosting' an exceptional principle in this conventional law.
The ethical principles connected with air control:
22. The prominent point in all opposition to resorting to bombing the tribes is that the bombing is not permissible because it is a barbaric act. But this criticism betrays the fact that the critics misunderstand the methods of air attack. We have clarified previously that the loss in lives through the air movements is in order to impose air control on the tribes is much less than the loss that occurs on the ground in military movements. The test of harshness is the total losses that occur on both sides in a specific period of control. So if we look at the issue with these considerations of measurement we definitely find that the control by means of the air over the tribes who disturb the security is milder and more compassionate than control that is done by means of land garrisons composed of the regular forces and undertaking campaigns at specific times. And the loss of the enemy through the air campaigns is not only no less in comparison with the loss inflicted on them by the land campaigns but also the loss that our air forces suffer is less than that in our land forces. And this is one of the aspects of the issue that we may not always take into consideration as required.
23. The critics extend this criticism of theirs when they assert that the impact of the air attack is to considered a sin and especially because it hits women and children stripped of the means of defending themselves and others besides them from the inhabitants not waging war. But indeed all war movements inevitably entail some hardships that women and children will suffer. For the methods of the ground military campaign like burning the villages and destroying the plantations and seizing the herds often lead to death by starvation and exposure of the women and children to adversities of the air. As for the naval blockade, it inflicts great loss and agonising pains in the coming generation in addition to what the women and children suffer through that. As for what concerns the air attacks, their priority objective is not to inflict harsh loss in lives and wealth and these attacks are always preceded by written warnings that are thrown from the air or handed over to the inhabitants by other means, ordering them to move the women and children to a safe place on the basis that they should remain there until conciliation is achieved.
24. It is now possible to carry out aerial bombing with great precision in striking especially when there are no obstructive factors like aircraft resistance fires or hostile aircraft.
And it has been established from testing in the recent years that there is no basis to the accusation that asserts that air attack burns everything and it is not likely that the loyalist tribes will turn away from the government because of aerial bombing more than they will turn away from it because of land movements. And testing has established the opposite of the case and in that eye witnesses have attested by their own eye to the methods of the air movements and have by themselves come to know of their results.
And these results have indicated that the air attack does not leave a trace for hatred and does not cause personal malice or space for personal revenge for women or individuals besides them. Then when we compare the air movements with the risky ground movements, we see that the air movements do not lead to general destruction of wealth that ends up with poverty that is primarily the original cause of rebellion.
Positional impact of the air movements:
25. The land force undertaking movements in an area populated with the tribes encounters the tribes on their level in the true and figurative meaning in a land of which they know every inch and they adopt means in which they have distinguished themselves. Then the presence of the convoy among the tribes makes room for theft like theft of rifles, equipment and clothes. And in truth the tribes are sometimes content with small combat engagements of this sort. And one of the results of this state of affairs is that it entices the rest of the tribes that are not concerned with the issue of participation in the immediate sense in the rebellion, and as soon as the issue of movements gets out of control, they become a dangerous form of warfare that may cost us millions of dinars and thousands of lives.
As for the air movements, there is not in them what entices the enemy who find that their land cannot reach for what they want and it is vis-à-vis weapons that they cannot counter in the same way and they do not have the means to plunder, the consideration of which has become among the necessary aspects of war. So this result leads to the confining of the disturbance to one place and prevents the tribes leaning towards rebellion from reinforcing the hostile force.
Providing medical aid to the tribes:
26. When there is the requirement to undertake real movements in accordance with the requirements of air control, we must know always that the people we fight are our brothers. Therefore with the obligation of punishing them in a way that is an always beneficial lesson for them, the movements must be confined to the least of what the envisioned objective requires. And after being subject to the conditions of the government, we must provide them with medical aid when required, whenever that is possible.
Air control is a means for administration at ease:
27. The benefit that the method of air control entails is not limited to using it in movements. For many of its great benefits in the areas of the tribes have no link at all with their use as an armed forced but rather we find the impact of that in the context of the regular civilian administration. For whenever the sufficient aircraft are enabled, the air force becomes a tool of great benefit for the political authorities in the peaceful administration and developing the areas in which it is present.
As for the morale impact of the aircraft, it gradually reduces the necessity of their use in attack. So the disturbances decrease and their points become narrower little by little.
And often the personal aspect in the political administration enables us to rectify the position without resorting to force. Then indeed the improvement of the means of connection and reconnaissance by means of aircraft leads to much improvement in the political relations and the personal influence that the political officer has thus increases greatly.
And air control also helps for the land connections to remain open by means of reconnaissance of the routes and the air patrols that monitor the police stations and other sites. And air control by means of its morale impact and speed in punishing the transgressors in the required time can secure the routes that extend between the tribes from the evil of men of the tribes. And it may appear to us that in the matter is inconsistency but the truth is that the use of the air force in a way that fulfils control has always resulted in great improvement in the land connections of the country.
The system of air control entails the facilitation of sufficient aircraft to undertake in the ordinary times many peaceful services in addition to training them and obligations of muraba'a[i] that they undertake and by this means we find that air control is definitely very useful productive means in advancing the gentle administration that leads to development.
[i] Obligations of patrols and protection.