[Of course Special Forces soldiers have no problem being on the same side as "Al-CIA-da," most of the hardcore militant commandos were trained by Special Forces "advisers." Half of them fought for the CIA in various covert wars, long before the Libyan war came along and they suddenly discovered that SOF and QAEDA were fighting on the same side. It is part of the deception to claim that there was no foreknowledge. Qaeda is a product of US training--ALWAYS HAS BEEN.]
“after toppling Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi, Western governments found themselves allied with Abdel Hakim Belhadj, believed to be a former member of Al-Qu’aida.
‘One of the challenges facing special forces that they might have to sit down and talk with former foes as friends due to the continuous changes in the region’s political powers in light of the Arab spring,’ said one Western commander who asked not to be identified.”
Written by Abdullah Omar
Conference on Special Operations brings together Western and Arab commandos
AMMAN — Special Forces in the Middle East lack training in specific combat situations and need higher spending budgets to improve their standards to face rising challenges in the region, according to military experts participating in a defense conference Jordan.
Meeting at the Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference (SOFEX) in Amman, commanders of Special Forces from the US and other Western militaries said they have stepped up their level of cooperation with militaries and especially Special Forces in the region.
Special operation forces (SOF) are trained for unconventional, high risk missions, including urban warfare, hostile terrain and environments, counter-insurgency support and counter-terrorism.
The success of US commandos, seen in the operation that killed Al-Qu’aida leader Osama Bin Laden, and other operations has emphasized the increased significance of Special Forces in modern warfare. However, some participants at the main conference on Mideast Special Operations Commanders’ noted that regional commandos were inferior to their Western counterparts.
Soeren Suenkler, editor-in-chief of Kommando International Special Operations Magazine, told The Media Line that training of Special Forces in the region is considered minimal compared to counterparts in the West.
Many SOF in the Middle East, such as those in Jordan, Egypt and Yemen, face budgetary constraints, which impede their needs to increase specialized training and acquire the sophisticated equipment needed for urban warfare and operating in difficult terrain.
Suenkler said he believed that Special Forces would play larger and larger roles in the future because they reliably deliver results despite their higher cost.
The 9th biennial conference is taking place now in a Middle East that has weathered the upheavals of the Arab Spring which have highlighted the new security challenges facing Arab militaries.
U.S. Naval Captain Richard Sisk, commander of a joint special operation task force in the Gulf Council, told The Media Line that Washington has been actively seeking cooperation with counterparts in the region, including its long standing allies Jordan, the Gulf states and now Iraq.
Sisk identified certain areas where Special Forces in the region need to improve, including fighting militia groups, urban warfare and chemical weapon attacks.
According to Sisk, Special Forces in the Middle East are physically and mentally competent but lack the necessary training and experience. Training for what is known as Special Operation Forces (SOF) in the Middle East must be developed to include street-to-street combat, counter-terrorism, naval attacks and other specific combat situations, he said.
“By having training for specific combat situations like, for example, fighting in mountains of Afghanistan or in the streets of certain cities, troops will have more motivation during training and that translates into more success compared to training for general terms,” Sisk said on the sidelines of the conference.
The Middle East Special Operations Commanders’ Conference has become a unique and key meeting point for top SOF commanders. Over 700 delegates from SOF participated, including the commanders of SOF units from France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Lebanon, Poland, Libya and of course Jordan.
Sisk said American forces earned valuable experience during the decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“In terms of urgency, U.S. forces have been more involved in wars and that helps improve methods and approach of Special Forces to cater for its needs,” Sisk said.
Western Special Forces, however, have had to bridge major cultural gaps due to their increased involvement in the Middle East and Afghanistan following the Al-Qaida attacks on September 11, 2001.“We think now we have more cultural understanding than we had a decade ago,” added Sisk.
Experts point out that the nature of operations for American and other Western special forces allows them to complement the work of ground troops and the Navy.
“The greater expectation from the military translates into additional efforts to improve performance and expand training and that reflects on level of operation of the Special Forces,” said one U.S. commando, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The SOFEX, which is being held this week, showcased nearly 230 major weapons manufacturers and military experts from 35 countries. It’s the first major arms show to be held in Jordan since the Arab Spring and hot on the agenda of army generals and defense executives from around the world are the new requirements Arab armies may need in the changing environment.
On the other side, commanders from Western Special Forces pointed out that political uncertainty in the region will impact their relationships with their Middle Eastern counterparts.
With rebels in Libya taking over after toppling Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi, Western governments found themselves allied with Abdel Hakim Belhadj, believed to be a former member of Al-Qu’aida.
“One of the challenges facing special forces that they might have to sit down and talk with former foes as friends due to the continuous changes in the region’s political powers in light of the Arab spring,” said one Western commander who asked not to be identified.