About Me

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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Many thanks for the overwhelming interest shown in the publication and launch of my book “Composite Warfare”.

I have been inundated with emails and Facebook messages regarding the book along with many, many questions that I, unfortunately, am unable to answer.

As previously mentioned, the publication is expected to be around end-September/early-October. Also, I do not yet have any information on where exactly the book will be for sale—locally and/or internationally—and if there will be a book launch or not.

I spoke to my publishers this morning in an attempt to get answers for you.

The publishers (http://www.30degreessouth.co.za/) will obviously have all of the answers to the many questions I have been asked.

I was told that the book, once it has been published, will appear on their website, and will be able to be purchased off their website. Also, it will be in certain stores.

I would suggest that any questions regarding publication, launch and sales be addressed directly to Aulette Goliath at email office@30degreessouth.co.za She is a very helpful lady and will be able to provide much more information than I can.

Again, my sincerest thanks to all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


For some time now, I have been under pressure from numerous folks to activate my Facebook page.
I finally relented and due to ‘popular demand’ I am now on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/eeben.barlow.7
My Facebook pages will not be replacing the blog as my blog will continue to be maintained as and when I have time to write something or when I wish to address a military or other security-related topic.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016


I felt I ought not to write something when I am filled with anger, but to say I am absolutely and totally disgusted would be an understatement.

The uncontrolled actions by South Sudanese troops on 11 July 2016, within close proximity of the increasingly useless and ever-incompetent United Nations Peacekeeping Force, resulted in multiple rapes of foreign aid workers, along with a looting spree and murder. One shudders to think how they treated the local population…

After winning a battle in Juba, the South Sudanese troops celebrated their victory with an uncontrolled four-hour rampage through a popular residential compound preferred by foreigners. One aid worker was allegedly raped 15 times…looting and stealing was the order of the day along with the murder of a journalist.

These despicable actions are indicative of an undisciplined rabble posing as soldiers who have no understanding or knowledge of what the mission of the armed forces is.

Not surprisingly, when the UN peacekeeping force stationed approximately a kilometre away were begged for help, they refused to even respond. Several embassies were also called on for help, but they too did not even bother to react.  Perhaps they did not want to infringe on the ‘human rights’ of the out-of-control soldiers?

I consider the lack of action by both embassies and the UN to be a display of spineless cowardice of the highest order, and nothing else. If the UN ‘peacekeepers’ are unable to protect non-participants, then what on earth are they doing in Southern Sudan let alone in Africa?

This is also merely another example of the folly of forcing the balkanisation of a country and then allowing it to implode.  I am sure Pres Bashir—he of now simply ‘Sudan’—is smiling at the incompetence and lack of control that has now become the norm in another state that was set up for failure. 

I wish the day will come when African governments realise that the UN’s so-called ‘Peacekeeping Department’ has NO desire to keep peace. Their inability to perform their function has been proven time and again across Africa. Instead, it is a United Nations sanctioned ‘occupying force’ that continually turns a blind eye to atrocities committed against the vulnerable.

Instead of acting as their name implies and assisting the innocent, they cower behind their barricades like spineless creatures and watch rape, looting and murder take place.

Yet, despite a seriously blighted track record littered with failure after failure, the UN still continues to convince African governments that it is needed, and that it is a ‘successful’ organisation. To reinforce this bluff, they are probably going to increase their force levels and of course, their budget. This will imply that governments must ‘pay more for less’—a corrupt business model if ever there was one.

One only has to look at the gross failure ‘peacekeeping’ has become in DRC. If peace was measured by the amount of peacekeepers and the size of the budget, DRC ought to be a very stable and peaceful country. Sadly, that is not the case.

But if our governments wish to turn a blind eye to this grossly disgraceful incompetent organisation of incompetents, then they will have to suffer the consequences. Equally sad is that the ‘world’ watches and says very little to nothing. But watching these atrocities happen and saying nothing is silent complicity in this gross violation of all that is supposedly humanity.

One also has to wonder who trained these scumbags. It is obvious that they are lacking in any type of training befitting a peacekeeping force as they have yet to yield a positive result anywhere in Africa. Where does the UN find its particularly cowardly dirtbags who make up the misnamed ‘peacekeeping’ forces?

In the not too distant past, commanders who watched atrocities being committed and did nothing to stop them or intervene were considered to be complicit in the atrocities. They were charged with war crimes…

Not so the UN.

They will probably claim they were unable to stop the rampage, call for a ‘special UN investigation’, and insist on an increase in ‘peacekeepers’ along with a massive increase in their budget. And when they finally run out of Southern Sudan, they will hail it another great success story.

The so-called UN ‘peacekeepers’ are nothing other than an international disgrace and the perpetrators of these atrocities should, by all rights, face trial for war crimes.  

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Firstly, many thanks to everyone who has shown such an interest in my book, ‘Composite Warfare: The conduct of successful ground force operations in Africa’.  

The many emails, LinkedIn, and Twitter messages as well as a few via the blog have all been very encouraging.

It has been a long arduous road—and wait—but the end is finally in sight.

The book (544 pages and several years of writing) has been through the final page proofing and cover design phases and I was told this morning (18 August 2016) that if all goes according to plan, the book will be available by end-September/early-October 2016.

I trust the book will prove educational to soldiers, scholars and military history enthusiasts across Africa and the world.

Monday, July 18, 2016


My apologies to everyone who has tried to order my upcoming book titled ‘Composite Warfare: The conduct of successful ground force operations in Africa’.
Due to numerous technical issues I mentioned on a previous blog posting, the book is finally nearing publication. I can, however, not give an exact publication date at this stage.
Nevertheless, recent correspondence from the publisher indicated that once the typesetting and layout is complete it will be sent to me for final proofing i.e. for review and any corrections. Thereafter it will go to print.
If all goes well, the publisher is looking at releasing the book in August.
The cover of the book has also undergone a change to be in line with the aim of the book ie a book on how African armies can prepare themselves to counter armed threats by conventional and unconventional forces be they hostile armies, armed anti-government forces or proxy forces.
Again, please accept my sincerest apologies for the delay.

Monday, July 4, 2016


The numerous terror attacks, violent (and non-violent) protests and riots, along with armed uprisings Africa has— and is witnessing—are an indication that its security services—in particular the intelligence services—are failing their governments, the continent, and their people. Of course, these violent and non-violent actions are moreover an indication of much deeper issues that governments need to give attention to. 

But, it is also an indication that intelligence gained from open sources and allied intelligence liaison holds little to no value for African governments as it is neither actionable nor pre-emptive. In many instances this ‘allied intelligence’ is deceptive, misleading, false and purely historical in nature despite being piously referred to as ‘intelligence sharing’ aimed at ending conflicts and wars.

Instead, ‘intelligence’ is frequently used as a channel through which to disseminate fabricated information to create a false sense of security—or exaggerate a threat—with the hopes of eliciting and/or fermenting chaos or a heavy-handed government response. (It is also used to discredit business threats or cast a doubt over people and companies). In addition, the training given to African intelligence services by their so-called allied partners is shockingly sub-standard and in many instances, irrelevant and aimed at rendering them unable to fulfil even basic intelligence collection operations, thus purposely setting them up for failure.

The dangers and risks increase when false information is accepted as ‘intelligence’.

Even with the very best security measures and procedures in place, a government that lacks intelligence will be vulnerable to armed uprisings and/or terror threats.

In late-November 2015 sources reported to us that ‘a large terrorist action’ was going to happen ‘soon’ against a Western target/people somewhere in West Africa. We were, however, unaware of where and what the target was as we had long since left West Africa. But, if we were aware of a pending (terror) attack somewhere in West Africa, what were the intelligence services in West Africa and in particular the Burkina Faso intelligence service and its ‘partnership allies’ doing?

Such attacks are not spontaneous acts of violence carried out by a group of disaffected people who suddenly decide to commit an act of terror. These acts are planned over a period of time and in the process, these groups use a host of different agents, support agents, sympathisers, and radicals who are prepared—and sometimes willing to die—to carry their message(s) across.

Social media is frequently used to distribute instructions, issue warnings, pass on intelligence, and messages and to mobilise their assets and supporters. Sympathetic NGOs, so-called ‘humanitarian organisations’, and other ‘peace loving’ and ‘democratic and freedom seeking’ charities are occasionally used to move their weapons and equipment and assist with distributing the armed protesters and/or terror groups’ propaganda.

But these groups haemorrhage or leak information if only we are willing to make an effort to capture it. Oftentimes, this leakage is very obvious and serves as a perfect early warning of a pending attack.

This begs the question when considering, for example, the attack in Burkina Faso: Where was the intelligence that was supposed to identify that planned action or—at the very least—warn of the potential danger or predict it? Where were the agents and other sources that were supposed to identify such groups and their plans? Or is this another case where the intelligence services were taught how to tie their shoelaces instead of how to do their jobs?

The developing conflict in Burundi is another case in point. Armed violence, criminality and terrorist actions are planned in advance…and are NEVER spontaneous. Seldom are they launched without large-scale foreign backing and support—as Cote d’Ivore demonstrated.

The lack of actionable and predicted intelligence—or the inability and/or unwillingness of the intelligence services to collect it—places the government at a severe disadvantage and provides the enemy or threat with a multitude of advantages and options. At times, actionable intelligence is discarded when it does not match the perceived reality of the government or the recipient—or, as has happened in the past, the intelligence is rejected by a so-called Western ally as ‘nonsense’ and ‘rubbish’ only for it to come back and bite everyone. Blind acceptance of misconceived allied assessments is a grave folly. (Sadly for Africa, some of its so-called allies are silently working at destabelising governments whilst trying to act the ‘good guys’).

Neglecting the intelligence required to ensure the security of the nation and the longevity and stability of a government and the state is both irresponsible and costing Africa dearly. Instead, governments are increasingly faced with domestic and foreign-funded anti-government forces (AGFs) and proxy forces intent on sowing terror and creating chaos with the aim of destabelising entire countries and toppling governments to ensure foreign control over their interests.

But conflicts and wars in Africa are never ending—and indeed, will escalate over the coming years. As long as intelligence is neglected and/or ignored—these actions will continue to take governments by surprise. The collateral damage and humanitarian fallout from these conflicts and wars is incalculable.   

In early 2016, the United Nations (UN) called for an estimated US$ 40bn annually to assist and support the growing number of people requiring humanitarian aid. US Dollars Forty Billion. And apparently this is not enough….as there is a US$ 15bn funding gap. Indeed, with that amount of money annually and continually given over a 5-year period, most African conflicts and wars could be over and the national armies, law enforcement agencies, and intelligence services retrained and reequipped to be very effective security forces. It is, after all, the many conflicts and wars that have resulted in so many people requiring humanitarian aid. 

But, as many in Africa—especially those in the DRC, CAR,  Cote d’Ivore, Darfur, Burundi, South Sudan, and others—can testify, the UN is not exactly objective, trusted or able to live up to its promises to protect the innocent and keep the peace. The little trust there was in the UN is rapidly disappearing down a very deep hole. The perception that the UN peacekeepers are nothing other than ‘tourists in helicopters’ that commit crimes against the very people they need to protect will intensify over time.

But, as long as African governments continue to neglect their security structures and fail to collect and act on intelligence, they will fail the continent and these funds will go to organisations that exploit these tragedies to make money.

Ironically, these same organisations condemn those who actually do something to end conflicts and wars—probably because ending conflicts and wars is very bad for their business and their control over African governments.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


2015 is now approaching its end.

As was to be expected, Africa remained a target of destabelisation hidden under the auspices of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’, and ‘human rights’. Armed conflicts have remained on-going along with foreign covert and overt attempts to ensure they remain on-going.

It was a year in which the blood of innocents was again spilled by Daesh and its many affiliates and supporters. It was also a year in which we had to witness more lies and deception by foreign powers targeting African governments with the ever-present threat of regime change if they do not do as told. Deception, lies and political correctness are providing the threat networks with massive advantages in their quest to spread terror and chaos.  

It was, however, also a year filled with good memories and bad: STTEP’s men made a very positive difference in Nigeria until we were forced to leave but we also lost 3 of our men in Nigeria; we had adrenalin rushes, expectations, waiting, laughter, highs and lows, cheap airlines, rundown airports, meetings, proposals, headshaking, briefings, presentations, bad food, terrible water, long hours, little sleep and some blood, sweat and tears.

On a personal level, I was again privileged to be invited to lecture at the SA Military Academy as well as some other African defence institutions and colleges. I was likewise honoured to have been invited to lecture beyond our shores as well as partake in the workshop on the African Stand-By Force in Stellenbosch.

As for my book: I have become incredibly frustrated by the publishers and the amount of toing-and-froing that has taken place. Contracts have been changed and disputed, publishing dates moved, disagreements and/or threats between different publishers have taken place and so forth. To say I am sick of the lack of professionalism I have had to deal with would be an understatement.  IF this book will ever see the light of day early next year remains to be seen. All I can do is apologise to those who placed orders and who have yet to be advised what the status of publishing is—but I too am equally in the dark.

The last months of this year also saw me being rather ill and it has taken me some time to recover. Making it all the worse, I gave up smoking in late-November 2015 so I am still battling the nicotine withdrawal as well.

My thanks to everyone who read and contributed to the blog throughout the year. I appreciate your comments and views on matters related to security and defence in Africa even if we do not always agree. Your thoughts give me a new perspective, and allow me to broaden my own knowledge base.

To everyone who is far from home at this time, and to those who are deployed in the conflict zones around the world, beit as soldiers, sailors, airmen, law enforcement officers, spooks or private military and security contractors, keep your heads down, your eyes peeled, your weapons close at hand, stay safe and be ready to do what needs to be done.

Let us also remember those who will not be able to be share this time with those they hold dear as well as those who have lost friends and loved ones. They should never be forgotten. Nor should the sacrifices they have made ever be forgotten.

I would also like to wish each and every visitor to the blog a blessed festive season. To those who celebrate the meaning of Christmas, I wish you and your families a blessed, happy and joyous festive season.

To those who do not celebrate Christmas for whatever reason, I wish you all a time of happiness and peace with your families and friends.

I would also like to wish each and every one of you—and your loved ones—a great 2016. May the coming year be filled with good health, happiness and safety.

I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you all next year.