Lebanese Civil War- Volume 1: Palestinian Diaspora, Syrian and Israeli Interventions, 1970-1978

Published: February 1st, 2020     
Product Image
Author: Tom Cooper & Sergio Santana
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 1911628208
Other Publication Information: Bound ; 8.3” x 11.8”, 96 pages
Price: $29.95
Product / Stock #: HEL1101
Product provided by: Casemate Publishing

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business - during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa - he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. That resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. In addition to authoring and co-authoring about 50 books - including about three dozen titles for Helion's @War series - and well over 1,000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.

Sergio Santana is a Brazilian working as a military aviation and defense researcher since 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree in aeronautical sciences and has penned and presented multiple research papers to congresses and seminars in his country. In addition to publishing dozens of articles, he also authored a book about military variants of the Embraer EMB.145 jet. More recently, he has specialized in research on intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition aircraft, as well as little-known aspects of major armed conflicts.

Helion's latest book in the Middle East @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 96 gloss paper pages. The cover features a color photograph of the top-side of an Israel Air Force F-4E Phantom II over the Mediterranean. The color side view by Tom Cooper is of a Syrian Air Force MiG-25PD (This profile can also be found on page 48 v with a complete description and a side view of the AA-6 Acrid missiles that it flew with). The color side profile by David Bocquelet of a AMX-13 on the rear cover can also be found on page 48ii. I counted no color pictures and 98 black and white photographs. There also 12 aviation color side profiles, 6 armor color side profiles, 3 color 'uniform' figures, 5 black and white maps, one full color map, and 7 tables.

The authors kick off this tome with a history of the region going back to about 14,500 years ago. Although Volume 1 focuses on the Lebanese Civil War, nearly half of this book sets the stage for its beginnings prior to 1975. This is actually a good thing, as one thing is certain, the multitude of players is incredibly complex. Tom Cooper & Sergio Santana bring the geography, history, and all the prequel battles to bear in setting the stage. Lebanon was a French colony from 1920 to their independence in1943 and was led by a pro-western government of elite and Maronite Christians. The establishment of Israel destroyed the delicate balance between the Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, and the Christians with the influx of Palestinians and their far left ideology that sided with the Soviet communist-aligned Arab countries. Lebanon, once known as the "Switzerland of the Middle East" became the battle ground for the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel, and Syria. Other nearby countries, Jordan, Egypt, etc. were dragged into muddle the politics. The Civil War broke out between the PLO and the Maronite forces in 1975, pushing many of the leftist groups into an alliance with the PLO. Tom Cooper & Sergio Santana focus on the military aspect, and in particular, the air - land battles that changed modern-day warfare concepts and strategies. The sections include:

  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction and Acknowledgements
    • The Sham
      • Geography
      • History
      • Land of Purple
      • Rise of Islam
      • The Age of the Ottomans
      • The Sykes-Picot Treaty
      • Zionist Impact
      • The Arab Kingdom of Syria
      • The Battle of Maysaloon
      • Seeds of Bitterness
      • The Great Syrian Revolt
      • Independence of Lebanon and Syria [Page 13]
      • Arab Revolt in Palestine
      • The War of 1947-1949
      • Al-Nakhba ('Disaster')
      • The Suez War of 1956 and the Turmoil of 1958
      • Water War
      • The June 1967 War
    • Build-Up of the PLO
      • Early Armed Palestinian Forces
      • Cairo Summit
      • Table 1: Units of the Palestinian Border Guard in Egypt, 1956
      • Kharoum Summit
      • PFLP, PFLP-GC, PLA, The Saiqa and Others
      • Table 2: Major Palestinian Militant Groups, 1967-1970
      • The War on the East Ghor Canal
      • PFLP's First Strike
      • Cairo Agreement
      • Curious Onlookers
      • Battle of Rachaya
      • Black September
      • Syrian Invasion
      • Battle on Kitim-An-Nu'Aymah Ridge
      • Recovering Amman
      • Repercussions
    • Military Build-Up
      • Israel Defense Force
      • Lebanese Armed Forces
      • Lebanese Air Force
      • Table 3: FAL Order of Battle, February 1958
      • Hunters for Lebanon [Page 36]
      • French Connection
      • The KGB's Attempt to Steal a Lebanese Mirage
      • Assad's Ascent to Power
      • Syrian Armed Forces
      • Syrian Arab Air Force
    • Disintegration of Lebanon
      • Overture
      • The Lod Massacre
      • Abu Nidal Organization
      • Munich, Hama, and Damascus Massacres
      • Assad's Pact with the Soviets
      • Battle Days
      • May 1973 War
  • Color Profiles [Page 48 iv]
    • Melkart Agreement
    • Rely On Yourselves: Lebanese Militias
    • October 1973 Arab-Israeli War
      • War of Attrition in 1974
      • Lebanese Civil War 1975
  • Syria, Nothing But Trouble
    • Alawisation of the Military
    • Rebuilt but not Modernized
    • Table 4: Deliveries of Soviet SA-2 and SA-3 SAM Systems to Syria, 1971-1976
    • Syrian Military Intervention in Lebanon
    • Soviet Arms Embargo
    • Insurgency in Syria
    • September 1976 Offensive
    • Riyadh Accord
    • Shtura Agreement
    • Demise of the LAA and Emergence of the SLA
    • Assad's Maneuvers of 1977
    • Table 5: Deliveries of Soveit SA-2 and SA-3 SAM Systems to Syria, 1977-1982
    • Of Floggers and Foxbats
  • A New Set Of Cards
    • IDF Shopping Spree [Page 67]
    • Real-Time Intelligence
    • The SAM-Killer Force
    • Maintaining Numbers
    • Table 6: IDF/AF Order of Battle, 1978
    • Table 7: Israeli Arms Imports in Contemporary Millions of US Dollars
    • New Interceptors and Air-To-Air Missiles
    • Problems
    • Dissoulution of the ADF
    • The Coastal Road Massacre
    • A Stomping Goliath
    • UNIFIL and the Buffer Zone
  • Interviews
  • Bibliography
  • Notes

I found many of the topics very interesting, possibly since I had an awareness of these events through the news. One topic that I had not been aware of was that Pakistan was actively supporting the Syrian Air Force during the 1974 War of Attrition. Apparently six Pakistani pilots flew MiG-21s, with one pilot claiming an Israeli Mirage IIICJ (although unconfirmed). This was a sort of cold war that existed after Israel refused to withdraw from the Golan Heights. Again Syrian forces attacked Israel through Lebanon with the Israeli response being to attack Lebanon villages. Several battles between the Pakistani pilots occurred with a significant air battle on 29-April-1974 where both sides had significant claims. The Pakistanis claimed an Israeli Mirage and 3 F-4 Phantoms while the IDF claimed four MiG-21s. Its amazing how many different nationalities were involved in the Lebanese Civil War.

The contemporary photographs support the text, and although the quality due to the source material is not there, they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described. I am looking forward to Volume 2 on the Lebanese Civil War. If you own one the previous releases in the Middle East @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Front Cover
    Front Cover
  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Sample Page 13
    Sample Page 13
  • Sample Page 36
    Sample Page 36
  • Sample Page 48
    Sample Page 48
  • Sample Page 67
    Sample Page 67

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