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“Iraq and Afghan Wars: Lessons Learnt”

On Online Presentation by Brigadier (Rtd) Ben Barry

6.30pm, Thursday 22 July 2021

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dominated international politics in the first decade of the 21st century and their impact continues to be felt today.  The Rifles and the regiments that came together to form it, not least the RGJ, played a leading role in both wars.  Despite their unpopularity, both wars offer lessons for current and future armed conflict.

Brigadier (retired) Ben Barry, IISS Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, discusses these lessons and the findings of his latest book, Blood, Metal and Dust, which draws on front-line memoirs, declassified reports and original IISS research.  This in-depth study of the operations undertaken by US, UK and coalition forces explores how rapid military victories in both countries turned into prolonged complex and costly stabilisation campaigns.  It concludes that Iran ‘won’ the Iraq war, while the Taliban is closer to success in Afghanistan than the US and its allies.

At this event, Ben Barry will discuss the key campaigns, operations and battles that shaped the wars.  He will also analyse the formulation and execution of US and British strategy alongside the conduct of military operations by international forces, as well as that of the insurgents, militias and proxies that opposed them.

Brigadier (retd.) Ben Barry is the Senior Fellow for Land Warfare for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.  Prior to joining the IISS, he served with the Light Infantry, taught recruits at the Rifle depot 1979-80 and commanded 2LI in the armoured infantry role where he was joined by a dozen Greenjackets for an exciting tour in Bosnia.  He was Director of the Army Staff Duties, commanded a multinational brigade in Bosnia and led the team that wrote the British Army’s final analysis of its campaign in Iraq.  He is also the author of The Road from Sarajevo: British Army Operations in Bosnia, 1995-1996 and Harsh Lessons: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Changing Character of War.

This online presentation will take place on Thursday 22 July 2021 at 6.30pm.   Please email the Museum Curator for joining instructions: curator@rgjmuseum.co.uk 

The talk is free but if you wish to make a donation to support the Museum please click on the following link:

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Thank you.