The performance of Western-trained Arab militaries has been generally abysmal. Therefore, when the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)) began scoring impressive victories, the Middle Eastern and Western intelligence and military circles were shocked. In fact, the ex-Ba’thist military officers who direct IS have returned to the roots of early Islamic warfare, reinventing the attributes of the Islamic warriors and using their strategy and tactics. This has included excellent propaganda combined with brutality, intimidation, surprise, and the traditional Bedouin way of war resulting in many “victories without battles.”
The Zealot is the man who takes refuge from the unknown in the familiar; and when he joins battle with a stranger who practices superior tactics and employs formidable newfangled weapons, and finds himself getting the worst of the encounter, he responds by practicing his own traditional art of war with abnormally scrupulous exactitude. “Zealotism,” in fact, may be described as archaism evoked by foreign pressure….
This paragraph aptly describes the Islamist movement of today and was written by Arnold Toynbee over 60 years ago, in describing the reaction of the Islamic East in confronting a superior Western civilization. The current author has written extensively on the ineffectiveness of Arab conventional armies and cultural factors involved, and also on the cultural and social reasons the Arab insurgent is so much more effective. The author has also written a great deal on why Western training methods are only marginally effective with Arab armies. With this ineffectiveness of Arab armies in conventional combat against disciplined foes, then, how has the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)) created a near mythology of epic warrior success?
This article will examine the strategy and tactical effectiveness of the Islamic State and relate it to early Islamic warfare and conquests of Arabia. It is the purpose of this paper to show that much of their effectiveness can be traced to recreating an earlier era of warfare and adhering to traditional Bedouin Arab warfare and its cultural attributes. In this regard, the tendency by many Western historians assessing early Arab/Islamic warfare has been to disregard the influence of Islamic doctrine. However, the rise of the Islamic State and its seemingly dogmatic attention to the early teachings of Islam have brought “Islamic warfare” back into the limelight.
It is true one would be hard pressed to find in the recent history of the Arab world any overwhelming evidence that Arab armies fought in accordance with Islamic dictates, and many would deny that something called “Islamic warfare” even exists. Partially, this is due to the embedded mythology that characterizes early Islamic warfare. Perhaps more importantly the dangers of treading the minefield of a critical analysis of Islam can be detrimental to an academic–or even a military–teaching career.
Much of the success of the early warriors, ill-disciplined and lacking in conventional military organization, reflected an ingrained Arab way of war that was in consonance with tribal and village culture. The IS doctors of doctrine have delved into past and sometimes obscure passages of various Islamic teachings, adding their own interpretations to recreate a mythical caliphate and justify almost any sort of barbarism. The core of IS leadership, including experienced officers of Saddam’s Ba’thist regime, has created a successful integration of early Arab/Islamic doctrine and modern multidimensional warfare to excite the imagination of youth, while instilling fear into the hearts of their opponents.
Some of the characteristics of this Islamic warfare so effectively used by the IS are their use of terror, intimidation, ruse and the use of war, not as a means to an end but an end in itself. War in the Western sense is seen as a failure of diplomacy, but in medieval Islamic history, it is the dictate of God’s plan. The emphasis on human assets is paramount in the Islamic way of war.
The early wars within the Islamic world and against the first two great external enemies, the Persians and Greeks, are the focus of this admittedly first look at the connection between IS strategy and tactics and those of the early Islamic commanders. This is not to imply that IS, a movement combining the cutting edge of social media and propaganda, somehow roots its entire conduct of warfare in medieval Islamic history, much of which is unreliable at best. The leadership, which includes a number of the old Saddamists, is not wedded to Islamic historical mythology that is largely unneeded baggage. Rather the mythology serves to emphasize the ethos of the spirit embedded in the warrior’s mindset. It is to this mindset that most historians attribute a great many successes to the Muslim armies. IS wishes to replicate this mindset and up to this point have done so successfully.
Rereading the classics on the early Islamic expansion before the distortion of history by political correctness and its corruption of Arab history, it is clear that despite the efforts of latter day historians to find economic and political reasons for the relatively rapid conquest of the Near East by Arab Bedouin warriors, the answers remain obscure. As the early classicist writers would attest, the moral and religious impetus cannot be ignored. Their weapons were not superior, their tactics rather simple, and their commanders good, but not more experienced than the commanders of the Greek and Persian armies. The difference was in the way they waged war and the morale of the troops.
Arabs do not absorb Western methods of training, nor do they fully absorb the conventional tactics of Western trainers. In addition, the Arab fights much better in an unconventional war as a militia or irregular than as part of a conventional formation. The rigidity of conventional Western training and warfare model do not suit the extreme individuality of the Arab, something noted many times by sociologists, but generally submerged in oppressive political doctrine that is paramount in the Arab world. The initiative and ability to adapt in innovative ways attributed to IS are stifled in the conventional Arab army.
Observers have often remarked on the ability of the Islamic State to rise from defeats and come back to regain territory lost. This can be ascribed to the amount of individual latitude given to IS commanders. This harkens back to early Muslim armies that took defeat in stride, and did not collapse as the Byzantine and Persian armies did. As the keen observer T.E. Lawrence wrote, Arabs have a habit of rising from the ashes.
Before studies on Islam became corrupted by the advent of the current crop of Western apologists earlier studies by orientalists provided a connection for the draconian actions taken by IS. Many of those actions can be justified within passages of the Koran, or especially the hadiths. They can point to having Koranic and theological support from a number of Sunni scholars. The fact that the vast majority of Muslims do not follow the more severe aspects of Islam, the so called “verses of the sword,” does not abrogate the fact that these verses can be used as well as those from the more tolerant “verses of the pen.”
Commander Youssef Aboul Enein, (U.S. Navy) wrote:
Finally, Islamist militants focus obsessively on the methodology of such battles as Yarmuk River in the Levant and al- Qadisiyah in modern day Iraq, drawing inspiration from the tactics that can be reintroduced and expressed with 21st century technology. For these reasons we cannot afford not to teach early Islamic history and obscure battles of late antiquity, particularly as the United States becomes fully involved in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.
In this they have had signal success, particularly in enticing a generation that knows little of the Koran or Islamic literature. In fact, few can read it, and even fewer can put the words into a historical context or understand the meaning. Since there is no “catechism” of the Islamic faith, it is often what is preached or advocated by the local Imam, especially in Sunni Islam. Just one example of this among the many: In a number of verses in the Koran, the prohibition of killing prisoners is very plainly written, yet in another place Muslim warriors are advised not to take prisoners “until the land is free of “tumult.” This vagueness and complexity of the Koran invites divergent interpretations. IS and various Islamist terrorist groups take advantage of this fact.
While it is true that the Koran does not even mention jihad, the general context of its implications was widely used by early Arabic conquerors, with a major part being to instill confidence and boldness in Arab warriors. Along with the glories awaiting those who are martyrs, their heroic deeds shall be remembered forever. It is instructive to point to similarities of left wing terrorists so aptly described by Eric Hofer in his book, The True Believer.
The early histories of Arab conquests are replete with the exhortations to the Arabs to kill their enemies who are destined to eternal hellfire versus the glories of heaven that await a martyred Islamic warrior. While the more moderate version of Islam promotes jihad as an individual effort for Islamic purity, Islamists have dominated its more militant definition, which is a worldview of eternal warfare between the house of war (non-believers) versus the house of peace (Islam). In prosecuting this war, the Pakistani General S. K. Malik averred wars cannot be fought with “kid gloves” but in a total war concept, something akin to the evolution of WWII.
THE MORAL FACTOR
One of the attributes the Islamic State adapted from early Islamic warfare was the emphasis on the moral dimension. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz both recognized the importance of the human equation in warfare. In this critical sphere of warfare, IS emphasizes the moral component, as did the leadership of early Islamic armies. The moral dimension of warfare encompasses courage, morale, esprit de corps and individual spirit. The example of Muhammad was carried on by many of his best commanders in which they constantly emphasized the moral factor of their actions and their need to justify their faith with great memorable deeds. The moral dimension of the early Arab conquests cannot be adequately explained without the importance of the religious component. This in no way characterizes the spiritual aspect of Islam as the only motivating factor. It is the new totalitarian movement that has supplanted fascism and communism as the “new faith.” As Ahmad Rashid wrote, the Islamists are not interested in a just society but rather have reduced Islamic order to a “harsh, repressive penal code for their citizens that strips Islam of its values, humanism, and spirituality.”IS uses the lure of poorly understood Islamic religious doctrine that works well with the majority of the recruits, few of whom can read or understand the Koran. It indoctrinates and employs the glory of a mythological Islamic world, to portray an image of invincibility. The symbolism appeals to a generation raised on video games and television, both European and Middle Eastern. All this again points to the propensity of IS to look back to the era of early conquests to create the illusion of the Caliphate and its associated military glory.
Islamic State leadership, whether Islamic or a residue of the old Saddamist intelligence officers, has carefully inculcated into IS fighters a “…delight in battle and slaughter” that originally came from the pre-Islamic era and was transmitted to the early Arab conquerors. In fact, it is remarkable how closely IS follows the temper of those times and the mindset of early Arab fighters. This is true in terms of booty, female slaves, and the aspect of glory. As Kennedy wrote, “Desire for fame in this world was, of course, coupled with a desire for wealth.” Wealth was particularly referenced in terms of slaves. Harkening back to the early conquests, Philip Hitti wrote, “An idea of the number of slaves flooding the Moslem empire as a result of conquest may be gained from such exaggerated figures, as the following: Musa ibn Nusayr took 300,000 captives from Ifriqiyah, one fifth of whom he forwarded to al-Walid, and from the Gothic nobility in Spain he captured 30,000 virgins.”
The Islamic State, in accordance with its usual care in legitimizing its acts however brutal by modern standards, relates the dividing up of Yazidi slaves to Koranic verses. A new article in the Islamic State English-language online magazine Dabiq not only admits the practice but also justifies it according to the theological rulings of early Islam. “After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharia amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated.”
Many years ago, the most prescient military observer, Ralph Peters, wrote on the “The New Warrior Class,” habituated to violence, looking for a cause to validate their primitive allegiances to a charismatic figure or cause. To a great degree, these are the young men seeking adventure and a cause, something beyond the dysfunctionality of their Middle Eastern society or the dreary materialism of a Western society, just as the early Arabs adopted Islam as a purpose beyond raiding the next tribe for camels. Laurent Murawiec captured the mindset of this new warrior class when he wrote of their lust for killing and domination.
In summary, the IS brand of Islamism has captured the essence of the values that drive the type of individual who is susceptible to the blandishments of the Islamist appeal. They idealized violence and death in theatrical imagery as Eric Hofer pictured for the left-wing terrorists of an earlier era. With a pastiche of Islamist doctrine and selected verses from the Koran, and the largely mythologized history of early Islamic conquests, they have woven a narrative that has provided a moral dimension to the new warrior class. Like the earlier totalitarian movements of recent history, such as the fascist and communist movements, the IS leadership has fashioned a pseudo-Islamic world that fits their quest for power.
Of course weaved into the narrative it is not all blood and violence. Much like the lyrical telling of the exploits of the great medieval heroes of the early conquests, the jihadi movement made much of the concept of the historical Arab penchant for poetry. “The culture of jihad is a culture of romance. It promises adventure and asserts that the codes of medieval heroism and chivalry are still relevant. Having renounced their nationalities, the militants must invent an identity of their own. They are eager to convince themselves that this identity is not really new but extremely old.”
The Arab way of war has always been characterized by the effective use of psychological warfare. Ibn Khaldun mentions it often in his history:
Victory in war is the result of imaginary psychological factors. Numbers, weapons, and the proper tactics may guarantee (victory). However as has been mentioned above, (all these things) are less effective than the factors above mentioned. [Here ibn Khaldun is referring to spreading dissension, disunity, and a feeling of hopelessness among the enemy. Current author’s note.] Trickery is one of the most useful things employed in warfare. It is the thing most likely to bring victory.
Among Arab tribes, even of the pre-Islamic era, a crude type of psychological warfare was always used. It has also been a characteristic of Arab desert warfare through the ages. T. E. Lawrence termed it as the Arab ability to “win wars without battles.” It, however, was never used as effectively as under the leadership of Muhammad and his commanders. In his use of propaganda, Muhammad used ridicule, the threat of total war, and a dramatic carrot and stick policy toward his enemies. As Richard Gabriel wrote, “He also introduced the new dimension of psychological warfare, and even employing terror and even massacre as a means to weaken the will of his enemies.” The essential ingredient of this was always the instilling of fear into the hearts of the enemy. It should also be made clear that the carrot and stick approach was probably a means to preserve life as the Arab army under Muhammad acted with benevolence generally when cities or tribes surrendered and asked forgiveness, but could be expected to be dealt with in a merciless fashion if they refused to surrender.
Seen in this light the Islamic State’s widespread use of terror and fear has definite strategic and operational objectives, despite the seemingly gratuitous violence and butchery appearing in their videos. Certainly this fear has played a major role in the repeated collapse of Iraqi army units in critical battles. Like the situation of the early Arab conquests, S spread through Syria and Iraq because of the disunity and precariousness of the ruling powers. Early Arab conquerors took advantage of the long era of Persian-Byzantine wars, the effects of plague, and the declining power of both the empires. It is instructive to note that early Arab Islamic victories occurred in a Middle Eastern world politically similar to the one inherited by IS. Therefore, the effect of IS propaganda has found fertile ground to influence a very vulnerable population, just as it did in the era of Islamic expansion. Islamist propaganda has been particularly effective and is probably its greatest recruiting source, albeit the propaganda would be of little value without its alleged military prowess. Nevertheless, an essential ingredient has been the effectiveness of their propaganda programs.
In accordance with the concept elucidated by S. K. Malik, early Islamic strategy consisted of what one would term a “total war” concept, one in which every element of human endeavor was employed. As he wrote, jihad is more than just strategy. It is in fact “grand strategy,” carefully delineating the difference between military strategy and grand strategy. His philosophy defines a modern-day version of the Islamic world eternal struggle against the house of war (the non-Islamic world). He defines it in terms of jihad: “Jehad (sic) is a continuous and never-ending struggle waged on all fronts including political, economic, social, psychological, domestic, moral, and spiritual to obtain the objective of policy.”
Military strategy is the application of the total grand strategy. An essential factor of the grand strategy reiterated many times in Malik’s treatise is the infliction of terror into the hearts of the enemy. By way of additional definition, Malik refers to grand strategy as the attainment of power while military strategy is specifically the use of force.
Here again, Malik has drawn a picture that is more than theory but rather drawn from the lessons of early Islamic conquests. As Russ Rogers wrote, “By demanding total surrender to the ways of Islam Muhammad stressed an aspect of warfare that pushed others beyond their current understanding. To the Arab tribes, warfare was about sport and play, a pastime to break the boredom and monotony of desert life in which men could show courage and honor.”
Kennedy wrote that the defining passage for the Arab conquests was contained in the verse Surah 9:5: “Then as the sacred months have passed (in which a truce had been in force between the Muslims and their enemies; note from Kennedy} slay the idolaters wherever you find them, seize them, besiege them, lie in wait for them in every place of ambush; but if they repent, pray regularly, and give alms tax, then let them go their way, for God is forgiving, merciful.”
Richard Gabriel termed total war in this way:
Once war was harnessed to strategic objectives, it became possible to expand its application to introduce tactical dimensions that were completely new to traditional Arab warfare. Muhammad uses his armies in completely new ways: He attacked tribes, towns, and garrisons before they could form hostile coalitions: he isolated his enemy by severing their economic lifelines and disrupting their lines of communication. He was a master at political negotiation, forming alliances with pagan tribes when it served his interests. He laid siege to cities and towns. Muhammad also introduced the new dimension of psychological warfare, employing terror and even massacres as means to weaken the will of his enemies.
Bernard Lewis depicted it accordingly: “The Muslim Jihad, in contrast, was perceived as unlimited, as a religious obligation that would continue until the entire world has adopted the Muslim faith or submitted to Muslim Ruler.”
Alfred Guillaume found the idea of jihad being a threat to the West fanciful, “A moment’s reflection is sufficient to show that a Jihad against the Western power or powers is impossible.” However, as bewildering as ISIS may be to the Western mind, analysis of ISIS based on Western concepts is a fruitless endeavor.
In summary, while “logically” IS may not present an existential threat to the United States or Western Europe, one can be reasonably certain that the flow of recruits to IS are not imagining dying for a small, weak, mini-state constrained by enemies all-around, a Caliphate without resources, existing on a mostly desolate and sparsely populated desert. The leadership of the Islamic State is no doubt much more pragmatic, but like the early Arab Islamic state, the New Caliphate must expand or perish. Like the early Arab conquerors, the foot soldiers of IS do not see any existing boundaries to the empire they hope to carve out and see no limitations to the methods used to obtain it.
Likewise, it has often been defined as simply a Sunni-centric triumphalist movement, which it is to some degree, but it can never be pitched that way to the youth of a dispirited Muslim community pining for the restoration of the multiethnic Islamic Empire in which many of the recruits are coming from all over the world. As Goldziher wrote, “For Sunni Islam, the Caliph is there to guarantee the carrying out of Islamic obligations to represent and embody in his person the duties of the Islamic community.”
The Islamic State avowed goals cannot be limited or circumscribed by borders. To do so would quash the dream that brings thousands into its ranks, and millions to sympathize. The apocalyptic nature of IS is seen in its propagandist’s reference to the final battle of Rome with the unbelievers and their ultimate defeat at Dabiq in Syria. In the mythology of the Islamic State, the Muslim community throughout the world must be brought under the banner of IS, and then at some point the destruction of the house of war as it has been long proclaimed in doctrine of the early conquests.
OPERATIONAL AND TACTICAL SIMILARITIES
It is truly enlightening to assess IS operations and tactics and compare them to the historical accounts of the early Arab campaigns, surfacing the similarities. This is not to suggest that the tactics and operational methods of Muhammad and his commanders were all innovative. Many were tried and true tactics employed by those before them. The Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Persians all at times employed such stratagems, but early Arab leaders applied them in a very innovative manner. They were innovative in the sense that they were applied within the cultural attributes of an Arab tribal society. While the term “innovative” is often applied to IS, their tactics are, in reality, a recreation of the early Arab conquests.
This is not to suggest that the Saddamist coterie of military officers in the IS hierarchy suddenly had an epiphany. Over the lengthy time Saddamists were warring against U. S. troops, they recognized how much more successful the insurgency tactics of the Sunni insurgents were versus the conventional war tactics of the Iraqi army. If the synthetic chimera world created by the philosophical doctors of Islamism, in the lifestyle, family life, punishments, and societal mores of the early Islamic era can be recreated, why not in the military sphere?
SPIRIT OF THE OFFENSIVE
The early Arab way of war was simple, just as the Islamic State fights it. There are many articles that extol the “sophisticated’ tactics of IS, and it is understandable how this impression, even among military professionals, has taken place. In this analysis, the current author reiterates that the tactics are quite simple. The feebleness, lack of leadership, and irresoluteness of the Iraqi army, inexperience of the Shi’a militias, and the limited numbers of loyal troops available to the Assad Alawi regime in Syria have made IS look better tactically than they are. The Islamic State’s war on the Alawites of Syria and Shi’a of Iraqi, both of whom are viewed as apostates by the doctrinal doctors of the IS, have put this conflict into the realm of the Islamic wars against the dissident Kharijites.
What is different about IS is its sophisticated operational tempo. The Islamic State’s Saddamist leadership has learned the hard way that conventional warfare should only come at a later stage when the enemy has been considerably weakened, politically and militarily. At present, it is bearing down on the cultural attributes of its mostly Arab fighters to fight a different kind of war. In fact IS is fighting the war in different forms, as an extension of the Sunni insurgency, an ideological terrorist movement, with a thick cloak covering of an Islamic apocalyptic cult. It is usually on the attack and even when forced to a temporary defensive posture launches short counterattacks, which is in the style of the ultra-professional German army of WWII.
The linguistic and ethnic diversity of IS and the presumed shortness of their training period before going into combat precludes the sort of preparation required for sophisticated coordinated larger unit tactics. Most of the historians of the early Arab conquests write of the simplicity of their weapons, tactics, and conduct of their wars, such as this example: “When Harithb Abi Rabi’a addressed his men before they left to fight the Kharajis in 687-8, he described what battle was all about: ‘the first part of fighting is the shooting of arrows, then the pointing of spears, then the thrusting of them left and right and the drawing of swords. That’s all there is to it.’”
Compare this to the described tactics of IS: “The Islamic State uses something called a ‘rule based swarm maneuver system’ that draws from Somali tactics in the early 1990s. What the strategy means in plain English: ‘maintain an extended line abreast, keep your neighbors in sight, but no closer, move to the sounds of the guns, dismount when you see the enemy, when you come under fire, stop and shoot back.’”
They attack in small units with decentralized or very little control at all. This allows the experienced leaders to exercise their initiative, something rarely seen in conventional Arab operations. In the early Arab conquests, warriors fought in tribal units often in squad sized units using a sort of Rommel philosophy that rewarded boldness over caution, although the tribal leaders were never wasteful with lives, withdrawing if faced with unpromising odds, just as IS does and the Bedouin way of fighting has always dictated.
The tactics and operations of early Arab conquerors were not technologically advanced; their commanders were shrewd and cunning, but not more experienced than their opponents. Their equipment was simple, and better materiel was usually captured from their opponents, as is much of IS heavy equipment. They traveled lightly, and their tactics were unremarkable, but they utilized all they knew of the desert, its terrain, and the all-important necessity of water. They used surprise, sowed distrust among the enemy troops for their leadership, employed night attacks, used wind and dust storms to their advantage, and they were very adaptable. They used the Bedouin trait of individuality and decentralized command, small units to attack, and were always on the offensive.
The continuity of this type of warfare and its conduct by the Bedouin is evidenced in the works of two careful observers of the nomadic way of life and war. H.R.P. Dickson and Jibrail Jabbur both recorded this aggressive style of war. They wrote of the Bedouin ability to travel long distances, take advantage of the terrain, use surprise, deception, individual heroics, war cries to dishearten the enemy, their endurance and patience, and above all their courage. They also described the propensity of the Arab of the desert to see no shame in fleeing when the enemy was obviously superior. This also was true of early Arab warriors. They were bold in operations but cautious in the use of their troops when committed to battle.
In assessing IS tactics there are limited numbers of reliable sources, but the current author has used his Iraqi contacts with relatives in the army, as well as available analyses to create a reasonable description of the IS way of war. Some of the best sources the author found most useful on a regular basis were the articles appearing on the Institute for the Study of War, especially those by Jessica Lewis-McFate, and the websites Niqash, Jadaliyya, articles by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, and the CTC Sentinel. Analyses by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross focused on IS tactics and filled in part of the void.
Of particular help in understanding the multi-faceted threat IS presents, the article by James Fromson and Steven Simon in Survival was especially useful in understanding the many faces of the IS, particularly how and why the supposedly secular Ba’th Saddamist officers have become such an integral part of the IS. The Joel Wing Blog, Musings on Iraq has been very useful as a periodic summary of actions and the body count. Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights, writing for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and other periodicals were a key source of analysis.
One of the traits many observers have commented on is the adaptability of IS fighters. They can imitate the tactics of Sun Tzu in adapting formlessness, a sort of non-organization or a shifting one that frustrates the ability of the opposing forces to create a clear picture of their vulnerabilities. This has been a great strength of IS.
ISIS is a hybridized enemy. They have leveraged multiple styles over the last three years in Iraq and Syria, including terrorism, guerilla warfare, and conventional warfare, often in combination. ISIS historically applied guerilla warfare when it was the lesser military force, especially before 2009, attacking U.S. and Iraqi forces asymmetrically, using explosive technologies to degrade and disrupt. ISIS applied terrorism by directing the same explosive technologies to attack civilians, intimidate security forces, and bolster messaging strategies designed to inspire fear and sectarian reaction in 2012-2013. ISIS applied aspects of conventional warfare by attacking military bases and fighting ground battles to seize urban terrain once it ascertained its military equivalence to the Iraqi Security Forces and competing groups in Syria. Each of these phases of ISIS’s current war in Iraq and Syria demonstrated sophisticated military designs across multiple levels of war.
Consider the analysis of the early Islamic leadership by John Jandora:
Regarding tactics, the Muslims had no set battle plan. The Battle of Yarmuk was decided by defensive maneuver, while the battle of Qadisiya was position and weaponry. Due to a favorable change in the balance, the Muslims fought offensively in most subsequent engagements. Hashim ibn Utba defeated the Sassanids at Julula by penetration of their defensives, Amr ibn al-Anwon at Ayn Shams by enveloping a Byzantine army at Nihawad, the Muslims feigned a retreat so as to attack on the ground of their choosing. This contrast is yet another indication of the resourcefulness of the Arab generals.
When it is expedient to do so, IS uses hit-and-run tactics to briefly enter a city, fly banners, and establish contacts with sympathizers to shaken faith in the government’s ability to protect anti-IS elements of the population. Raids into Baghdad, Samarra, and other cities have been illustrative of this operational tactic. When in brief control of these cities, they instill fear into the population, with a combination of terror and insurgency tactics. All this is in consonance with the early Arab tactic of undermining confidence in Byzantine and Persian rule. They did this by assassinations, ridiculing the Persians as effeminate, spreading disrespect for Persian rulers, and acting with a sort of bold insolence portraying an overwhelming confidence in their capabilities.
This insolence is a good characterization of the doctrine propagated by IS. They are not swayed by Western revulsion at their acts of brutality, nor the preaching of various Islamic clerics who regularly brand them as heretics and betrayers of Islam. They wear these denunciations with honor and studied defiance. Just as the early Arab warrior was contemptuous of the Persian splendor, so too are IS fighters, who often come from the West and are contemptuous of the material wealth and its presumed softness.
This confidence in their invincibility has enabled IS’s changeling character to present a formless front. As Sun Tzu wrote, the ability to gain victory by changing and adapting circumstances is called genius. IS has been able to confound efforts to put them into a box or define the parameters of their military effectiveness.
Deception, Intelligence, Trickery, Operational Security
The Arab proclivity for excellence in subterfuge, intelligence, and the ability to fool their enemies is proverbial and it dates from the time of Muhammad himself, who was a master of indirection and deception. He used his cousin as a decoy, placing him in his bed as Muhammad attempted to flee to Medina. What might be called “dirty tricks” were also used. In their conquest of Mecca, the Muhammad’s men entered the city disguised as pilgrims.
Ibn Khaldun wrote of the importance of trickery, in fact defining war as being trickery. Francesco Gabrieli wrote of the Arab innovativeness in matters of subterfuge, ambush, and tricks, including the use of enemy uniforms. The early Arabs were masters of spying and the collection of intelligence, often sending spies into the enemy camps, and carefully reconnoitering enemy positions and camps, leaving agents within the camps after probing attacks. Within this category of tactical factors was the Arab use of surprise such as the attack and decimation of the Byzantine’s Arab allies, the Ghassanids. H.R.P. Dickson noted this Bedouin tactic as being the favorite of Bedouin attackers. The Bedouin approach to attack was also noteworthy in that often they backtracked their attack route to deceive the enemy into thinking they were going elsewhere.
IS has used sledgehammer tactics at times, but they have been very adept at subtlety so favored by Sun Tzu, attacking at several places simultaneously. Moreover, in contradistinction to more recent Arab conventional tactics, night attacks have become an effective IS tactic. This was also true of the early Arab conquerors. In the area of deception and security, Muhammad himself was a master, as Russ Rogers wrote:
Muhammad demonstrated many sound operational techniques as well. He strove to use feints and misdirection where at all possible, using additional fires to deceive Abu Sufyan of his true strength when marching on Mecca, employing deception to ward off the Banu Ghatafan from intervening when he besieged Khaybar and used sealed instructions to maintain operational security. He even engaged in a most novel activity of night movement, despite its difficulties and dangers, to conceal the direction of his raids.
The early Islamic Arab armies used weather, terrain, and water locations most effectively. They mobilized rapidly and moved quickly to battle, another of Sun Tzu’s ingredients for success, i.e., quickness, choosing their battlefields carefully, and demonstrating one other attribute of critical importance: resilience. The early Muslims did not enjoy an unbroken streak of battlefield successes. They had a number of near disasters from which they quickly recovered, portraying one of S.K. Malik’s axioms for success: persistence.
In the forgoing paragraph, one should draw parallels to IS’s proficiency making night attacks across a river against the Kurds, attacking an Iraqi army position in a dust storm, attacking quickly after a defeat, withdrawing without loss of face when defending a town that is not considered defensible using many types of maneuvers, and–most of all–striking fear in the hearts of the enemy by spreading rumors, portraying an invincible force.
In summary, this presentation is predicated on drawing the connections of stratagems, operations, and tactics that link IS to early Islamic battlefield successes. In the research of IS tactics juxtaposing to those of the early Islamic conquerors, the current author’s initial research was on the presumed Islamic nature of IS’s way of war; but as the research dug deeper, it became clear that while Islam is the motivator and provides the all-important fiber and ideology to the cause, as well as the ethos for the fight, it could not really be considered the root of IS battlefield successes. The reality is that the early Islamic invaders used tactics that were embedded in the cultural attributes of the early Arab tribes. In other words, Islam motivated the Arabs but it was their use of a way of fighting within the embedded nature of Bedouin warfare that was the added ingredient. It was their innovative application of their way of war and the intangibles of the moral dimension that has brought success.
What is important is IS’s implied invincibility. Defeats do not seem to faze them. They operate on several layers, seemingly formless. In the thoughts of Sun Tzu, relying upon quickness, taking advantage of others’ failures to catch up, going by routes they do not expect, and attacking where they are not on guard. This is not an exclusively Islamic characteristic but one characteristic of the Bedouin. As Lawrence of Arabia put it describing the Arab way of war, “The Arab war was geographical, and the Turkish an accident. Our aim was to seek the enemy’s weakest materiel link and bear on that until the whole till time made the whole length fail. Our largest resources, the beduin [sic] on whom our war must be built, were unused to formal operations, but had assets of mobility, toughness, self-assurance, knowledge of the county, intelligent courage.”
One might argue that with the influx of Muslims from around the world, Arab cultural traits and way of war would have been diluted, but in fact just as al-Qa’ida leadership remained mostly Arab, so has the Islamic State. Reviewing the history of early Arab armies, it was a characteristic of the Arab army to incorporate conquered people into their army, assimilating them seemingly without difficulty. In fact, the non-Arab elements of IS seem to have similarity to the Shakiriya, a regime protection unit of the leadership, composed of mostly non-Arabs.
The excellent history of the early wars of Muhammad by Russ Rogers sums up the situation of the Quraysh and the early Muslims in writing that the Quraysh has a diverse culture of which they were very proud: “Muhammad’s small core of believers, focused on his prophet hood and recitations uttered from Allah, served as a foundational law that could invigorate followers to sacrifice everything, including their lives, for the sake of this higher cause.”
Beginning this paper with a quote from Toynbee, it is appropriate to end it with another one. In writing 60 years ago of a possibility of a revived caliphate from within the Islamic world unable to absorb values of Western civilization, Toynbee noted: “Pan Arabism is dormant – yet we have to reckon with the possibility that the sleeper may awake if ever the cosmopolitan proletariat of a “westernized” world revolts against Western domination and cries out for anti-Western leadership.”
*Colonel Norvell B. DeAtkine is an Army Arab specialist educated at the American University of Beirut. He spent nearly 9 years involved with various Arab armies as well as 18 years instructing at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School as the Director of Middle East Studies. During this period, he frequently traveled to the Middle East, including two visits to Iraq in 2003 and 2004. Since 2006, he has worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Cultural Center of The U.S. Marine Corps, maintaining contacts with his former students still active in the Middle East.
 Arnold J. Toynbee, Civilization on Trial (New York; Oxford University Press, 1948), p. 188.
 Norvell B. DeAtkine, “Why Arabs Lose Wars,” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 1999), http://www.meforum.org/441/why-arabs-lose-wars. See also, Kenneth Pollock, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948-1991 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), pp. 1-13.
 Norvell B. DeAtkine, “The Arab as Insurgent and Counterinsurgent,” in Barry Rubin (ed.), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle East (New York; Routledge, 2009), pp. 24-45.
 Norvell B. DeAtkine, “Western Influence on Arab Militaries: Pounding Square Pegs into Round Holes,” Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 2013), http://www.rubincenter.org/2013/03/western-influence-on-arab-militaries-pounding-square-pegs-into-round-holes/. Western training of Arab armies has generally failed to take root.
 An early understanding of this was by Ralph Peters, in an article, entitled, “When Arab Armies Won,” The Armed Forces Journal, September 1, 2007, http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/when-muslim-armies-won/.
 Mehar Omar Khan, “Is There an Islamic Way of War?” Small Wars Journal, smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal….381khan.pdf. Khan sees the idea of an Islamic way of war as “fear mongering.”
 Hugh Kennedy, The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State (London: Routledge, 2001), p. 5. See Carl Brokelmann, History of the Islamic Peoples (New York: Capricorn Books, 1939), p. 100.
 See “Exclusive: Top ISIS Leaders Revealed,” al-Arabiya News, February 13, 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/02/13/Exclusive-Top-ISIS-leaders-revealed.html.
 Henri Masse, Islam, Translated by Halide Edib (Beirut: Khayats 1966), p. 82d. See also Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton: Markus Weiner, 1996), p. 3.
 John Jandora, Militarism in the Arab Society (London: Greenwood Press. 1997. See also John Jandora, March to Medina: A Revisionist Study of the Arab Conquests (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1991), p. 113.
 See Norvell B. DeAtkine and Daniel Pipes, “Middle East Studies: What Went Wrong?” Academic Questions (Winter 1995-96), http://www.danielpipes.org/392/middle-eastern-studies-what-went-wrong.
 In addition to the Jandora books, a number of excellent sources on the early Islamic way of waging war have been used. They include: Alfred Guillaume, Islam (London: Penguin Books, 1954), p. 72; Russ Rodgers, The Generalship of Muhammad (Tampa: University of Florida, 2012), pp. 231-49; Richard Gabriel, Muhammad, Islam’s First Great General (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007), pp. 205-19; H. A. R. Gibb, Mohammedanism, 2nd edition.(London: Oxford University Press, 1949), pp. 1-22; Francesco Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968), pp. 113-16; Philip Hitti, History of the Arabs, tenth edition (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1970), pp. 128-47; Reuben Levy, The Social Structure of Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962), pp. 407-57; Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests (Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2007), pp. 1-85, 361-76; Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, Translated by Franz Rosenthal (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1958) passim; Robert Payne, The History of Islam (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959), pp. 29-65; G.E. Grunebaum, Modern Islam: The Search for Cultural Identity (New York: Vintage Books, 1962), pp. 3-18; Philip H. Hitti, Islam: A Way of Life (Chicago: Gateway Edition, 1970), pp. 72-103; Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (New York: Warner Books, 1991), pp. 12-58.
 Raphael Patai, The Arab Mind, (Tucson, AZ: Recovery Resources Press, 2002), p. 117. See also Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, p. 119.
 Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam, p. 113.
 David Garnett (ed.), The Selected Letters of T. E. Lawrence (London: Jonathan Cape, 1952), p. 109.
 The influence of Edward Said in creating this trend is well demonstrated by Robert Irwin in his book, Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents (New York: The Overlook Press, 2006), p. 294.
 Youssef Aboul-Eneim, “Amr al-A’as, A Realistic Examination of an Early Islamic Military Strategic Planner,” Small Wars Journal, November 1, 2011, http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/amr-ibn-al-a%E2%80%99as-a-realistic-examination-of-an-early-islamic-military-strategic-planner.
 Brigadier S. K. Malik, The Quranic Concept of War (Lahore: Wajadilis, 1979), p. 108. An analysis of Islamic rules of war are found in Youssef Aboul-Eneim and Sharifa Zuhur, Islamic Rules of War, Army War College, (October 2004), http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubid=588.
 Eric Hofer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (New York: Perennial Classics, 1989), pp. 60-90.
 In addition to the books previously referenced, a particularly cogent definition of this is depicted by Maurice Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Muslim Institutions, Translated by John F. MacGregor (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1961), pp. 115-18.
 Malik, The Quranic Concept of War, p. 124.
 W. Montgomery Watt, Islamic Fundamentalism and Modernity (London: Routledge, 1988), pp. 17-23. The idealization of early Islam is the motivating factor.
Bernard Lewis, The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years (New York: Touchtone Books, 1995), pp. 51-71.
 Ahmad Rashid, Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia (London: Yale University Press, 2002); Laurent Murawiec, The Mind of Jihad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008); Laurent Murawiec, Pandora’s Boxes: The Mind of Jihad, Volume II (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 2007); Bernard Lewis, The End of Modern History in the Middle East (Stanford, CA: Hoover University Press, 2011) and his Islam: The People and the Religion (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing, 2009); Patricia Crone, God’s Rule Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Thought (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004; Fawaz A. Gerges, Journey in the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy (New York: Harcourt Books, 2007).
 Only a few can Muslims read and understand the Koran. Even the supposed unifying language of modern standard Arabic is being used less. For instance, see Farah Halima, “Classical Arabic Language Being Forgotten,” Education in the Arab World, October 20, 2013, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/83a634f2-1b9f-11e3-b678-00144feab7de.html#axzz3jshOJAAU.
 Robert Klein Engler, “The Black Flag of ISIS Signifies the Military Tactics of Muhammad,” American Thinker, October 21, 2014), http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/10/the_black_flag_of_isis_signifies_the_military_tactics_of_muhammad.html.
 Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 64.
 Michael Eisenstadt, “The War Against ISIL: In Search of a Viable Strategy,” War on the Rocks, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-war-against-isil-in-search-of-a-viable-strategy.
 Hitti, History of the Arabs, p. 235.
 Raymond Ibrahim, “Muhammad and Islam’s Sex Slaves,” Front Page Magazine, October 16, 2014, http://www.meforum.org/4855/muhammad-and-islam-sex-slaves. Also see Rukaim Callimachi, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape,” New York Times, August 13, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/world/middleeast/isis-enshrines-a-theology-of-rape.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0.
 Ralph Peters, “The New Warrior Class,” Parameters (Summer 1994), pp. 16-26.
 Laurent Murawiec, The Mind of Jihad (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 8.
 Douglas J. MacDonald, “The New Totalitarians: Social Identities and Radical Islamist Political Grand Strategy,” Strategic Studies Institute, January 2007, http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/.
 Robert Creswell and Bernard Heykal, “Why Jihadis Write Poetry,” New Yorker Magazine, June 2015, p. 13, https://newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/08/battle-lines-jihad-creswell-and-heykal.
 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, p. 253.
 T. E. Lawrence, The Evolution of a Revolt (Ft. Leavenworth, KS: CSI, 1990), p. 21. (A reprint of article originally published in the British Army Quarterly and Defense Journal, October 1920.)
 Russ Rogers, The Generalship of Muhammad: Battles and Campaigns of the Prophet of Allah (Gainsville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2012), pp. 223, 235.
 Gabriel, Muhammad, Islam’s First Great General, p. 48.
 See Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Lawrence Davidson, A Concise History of the Middle East, 9th ed. (Philadelphia: Westview Press, 2010), pp. 51-53. See also Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 65.
 The vulnerable populations of the medieval era often welcomed the Islamist conquerors as did the Jews, Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 356. Arab history is replete with using hadiths or specific Islamic literature being distorted to conform to politically driven agendas. So it is with IS, but they are doing it with verve and better than the technologically savvy Western nations. For instance, see Bernard Lewis, The End of the Modern History in the Middle East (Stanford: Hoover Institute Press, 2011), p. 79.
 Lauren Walker, “Inside the ISIS Social Media Campaign,” al-Arabiya News, June 24, 2014, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/digital/2014/06/24/How-has-ISIS-conquered-social-media-.html. See also Mark Mazzatti, and Michael R. Gorden, “ISIS Is Winning the Social Media War,” New York Times, June 12, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/13/world/middleeast/isis-is-winning-message-war-us-concludes.html?_r=0.
 Malik, The Quranic Concept of War, p. 54.
 Rogers, The Generalship of Muhammad, p. 233. “Muhammad wanted neither sport nor compromise. The final absolute victory was his only objective…”
 Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 50.
 Gabriel, Muhammad: Islam’s First Great General, p. 48.
 Bernard Lewis, The Middle East, p. 233.
 Guillaume, Islam, p. 72.
 See Faisal Al Yafai, “How Saddam Hussein Laid the Foundation for ISIL’s Success,” The National, July 27, 2015, http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/how-saddam-hussein-laid-the-foundations-for-isils-success.
 Ignaz Goldziher, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, translated by Andras and Ruth Hammori (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), .p. 182.
 Graeme Wood, “What the ISIS Really Wants,” Atlantic Monthly, March 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/.
 See Ahmad S. Hashim, “Iraq’s Chaos, Why the Insurgency Won’t Go Away,” Boston Review, November 1, 2004), http://www.bostonreview.net/hashim-iraqs-chaos; see also Anthony Cordesman, “Iraq’s Sunni Insurgency: Looking Beyond al Qaida” Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 16, 2007, http://www.comw.org/warreport/fulltext/070716cordesman.pdf.
 Gabriel, Muhammad: Islam’s First Great General, pp. 23-52.
 Sam Jones, “Iraqi Crisis: Sophisticated Tactics Key to ISIS Strength,” Financial Times, June 26, 2014, http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/6436f754-fd18-11e3-bc93-00144feab7de.html.
 The lessons of history are vitally important in assessing IS military prowess.
 Recall that the Blitzkrieg, a word formulated by the military scholars of the West to explain the rout of Poland and France by a German army that was still largely dependent on the horse-drawn heavy equipment. See Cooper, pp. 217-42.
 Kennedy, The Armies of the Caliphs, pp. 22-26.
 Michael Knights and Alexandre Mello, “The Cult of the Offensive: The Islamic State on Defense,” CTC Sentinel, April 30, 2015, https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/the-cult-of-the-offensive-the-islamic-state-on-defense.
 Kennedy, Armies of the Caliph, p. 23.
 Terrence McCoy, “The Battle for Kobane and the Islamic State’s Swarm War Strategy,” Washington Post, October 8, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/10/08/the-battle-for-kobane-and-the-islamic-states-swarm-war-strategy/.
 DeAtkine, “Why Arabs Lose Wars,” passim.
 Jandora, March to Medina, p. 127.
 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, p. 225.
 Drawn primarily from the previously referenced works of Kennedy, Rogers, Gabriel, Jandora, and Gabrieli.
 H.R.P. Dickson, The Arab of the Desert (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983) pp. 341-61.
 Jibrail S. Jabbur, “The Bedouin of the Desert: Aspects of Nomadic Life,” Translated by Lawrence I. Conrad (Albany: State of New York Press, 1995), pp. 306-8.
 Her articles are available at: http://www.understandingwar.org. See, in particular, Kimberly Kagan and Frederic W. Kagan, and Jessica D. Lewis, “A Strategy to Defeat the Islamic State,” Middle East Security Report, No. 23 (September 2014); Sinan Adnan and Jessica Lewis McFate, “The Resurgence of ISIS and Its Implications for Iranian Proxies,” Institute for the Study of War, July 15, 2015, http://iswresearch.blogspot.co.il/2015/07/the-resurgence-of-isis-in-diyala-and.html.
CTC Sentinel, https://www.ctc.usma.edu/publications/sentinel.
 Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, “The Islamic State’s Anbar Offensive and Abu Umar Al-Shishani,” War on the Rocks, October 9, 2014, http://warontherocks.com/2014/10/the-islamic-states-anbar-offensive-and-abu-umar-al-shishani/. See also, “A Discussion of the Islamic State’s Strategy, Tactics and Commanders in Iraq and Syria with Georgetown’s Daveed Gartenstein-Ross,” Musings on Iraq, October 21, 2014, http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.co.il/2014/10/a-discussion-of-islamic-states-strategy.html.
 James Fromson and Steven Simon, “ISIS: The Dubious Paradise of Apocalypse Now,” Survival (June/July 2015), https://www.iiss.org/en/publications/survival/sections/2015-1e95/survival–global-politics-and-strategy-june-july-2015-b48d/57-3-02-fromson-and-simon-02f4.
 Michael Eisenstadt, “Defeat into Victory, Arab Lessons for the Iraqi Forces,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, February 17, 2015, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/topic/iraq#categories=57.
 Sun Tzu on the Art of War translated by Lionel Giles (Singapore: Helan International, 1999), p. 53.
 Jessica Lewis McFate, “The ISIS Defense in Iraq and Syria: Countering an Adaptive Enemy,” Middle East Security Report, No. 27 (May 2015), http://understandingwar.org/report/isis-defense-iraq-and-syria-countering-adaptive-enemy.
 Jandora, The March from Medina.
 Mushreq Abbas, “ISIS Hit and Run Tactics Reveal Iraqi Security Weaknesses,” Al Monitor, June 9, 2014, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/iraq-isis-new-tactic-mosul.html.
 Eisenstadt, “The War Against ISIL.”
 Youssef Aboud-Enein, “Egyptian Collection on Islamist Militant Groups: Expose of the Writings of Terrorism Scholar Abd al-Raheem Ali on al-Qaida,” Lecture presented by at the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Agency, September 24, 2015.
 Payne, The History of Islam, pp. 48, 53.
 Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, p. 253: “Trickery is one of the most useful things employed in warfare. It is the thing most likely to bring victory.”
 Francesco Gabrieli, Arab Historians of the Crusades (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. 1969), pp. 20, 202.
 Derived from the Jandora, Kennedy, and Rogers works, especially Kennedy, p. 115.
 Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 77.
 Dickson, The Arab of the Desert, p. 349.
 McCoy, “The Battle for Kobane and the Islamic State’s Swarm War Strategy.”
 Knights and Mello, “The Cult of the Offensive.”
 Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, p. 37.
 Rogers, The Generalship of Muhammad, p. 244
 T.E. Lawrence, Revolt in the Desert (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1926, reprint 1950), p. 66.
 Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests, pp. 105.
 Kennedy, The Armies of the Caliphs, pp. 199-203.
 Rogers, The Generalship of Muhammad, p. 249
 Toynbee, Civilization on Trial, p. 212.