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This monograph addresses the suitability of Bedouin tribes for recruitment and employment as irregular forces. The study is motivated by force shortfalls and resource constraints in U.S. contingency planning for Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. A partial solution to these shortfalls and constraints is offered through the employment of Bedouin irregular forces to augment U.S. contingency operations in the area.
The study examines the characteristics of Bedouin society and finds that those characteristics support the recruitment and employment of Bedouin irregular forces. Three historical case studies support this conclusion, demonstrating the effectiveness of Bedouin irregulars. The case studies analyze the use of Bedouin irregular forces in the unification of Saudi Arabia prior to the First World War; under T. E. Lawrence during his campaigns in the Hejaz and Palestine from 1916 to 1918; and during the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman from 1971 to 1976.
The monograph concludes that the Bedouin population of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula constitutes a critical resource, which could be exploited to provide irregular forces in support of U.S. operations in Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. Some suggestions are offered with respect to methods of employment for such forces. The paper closes with a review of issues requiring further study, including the need for a doctrine addressing irregular warfare, and for techniques to implement that doctrine.