Small Wars Journal


Arab Cultural Manifestations in the Iraqi Army SWJED Fri, 11/01/2019 - 12:11am
Underpinnings of ethnic, religious, tribal, and demographic factors as well as their associated social identities remain a recurrent player in Iraqi politics and has affected the building of the Iraqi Army over the past 16 years. Researching Iraqi culture, social identities and their historical context is paramount to understanding the challenges the U.S. has faced in its efforts to train, equip, and advise the Iraqi Army. Independent thinking, creative ideas, information sharing, individual initiative, decentralized control, delegation of responsibility, and personal merit are all keys to success in U.S. military doctrine but contradict Iraqi sociocultural norms of centralized power, groupthink, and avoiding shame, embarrassment, and admission of mistakes. Training, equipping, and advising Arab militaries to follow Western military doctrine has had a history of at best mediocre results and rarely outlives the departure of Western advisors. U.S. capacity building doctrine in Iraq did not adjust to take into account Iraqi culture, instead it expected the Iraqi military to adapt to American military doctrine.
Modern War and Cultural Change SWJED Thu, 08/08/2019 - 1:56am
Cultural knowledge and cultural change are – on various levels – of significant importance for modern Western warfare. What does this mean for strategy?
Lost In Translation: How Language Affects Perception During Armed Conflict SWJED Tue, 05/07/2019 - 1:39pm
Military professionals need to be cognizant of language on both a macro level (translation issues) and a micro level (within one’s native language) because it affects perception in international conflict.
Understanding Culture Requires a New Approach to Its Analysis SWJED Sun, 01/21/2018 - 5:04pm

Culture analysis may be the key that wins wars, not just terminate fighting. This analysis is complex, time consuming, and often not conducted.