Immature Arab Bravado, or the Norm?

    This video of a Saudi backed rebel fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen demonstrates a degree of unsafe machine gun operation, lack of fire control, and complete disregard of life that I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. What you see is a rebel picking up a Saudi supplied 7.62x51mm NATO MG3, and proceeding to dump almost an entire belt directly over the heads of his fellow comrades in a ditch, then moving over to the road and continually sending rounds God knows where.

    The footage first came online in early 2016 on multiple Turkish tabloid sites, making an appearance in an Italian news site, and now is entering the Western media circuit. But I’m glad that this has come to our attention at TFB because it illustrates a point that I’ve been looking into over the previous several months. Among many combat footage Youtube channels, and blogs, the point is continually made through these videos that Arab soldiers/insurgents/terrorists lack a completely fundamental ability to effectively employ their weapon systems. Whether it be a Kalashnikov or a rocket. Case in point, is this video here-

    Now, I want to bring up four points here. First of all, there is most certainly a degree of killing and effective weapon system employment within the MENA region or else events like the current war in Syria or now in Yemen wouldn’t be lasting as long. Obviously there is a legitimate amount of killing/wounding going on, or else the toll from Syria wouldn’t be at 400,000 and counting. I know from my own experience in Helmand Province in 2013-14 that the Taliban could be extremely accurate at times.┬áMy own section leader, Sergeant Daniel Vasselian, was felled by a Taliban round from at least 300 meters away, in addition to two Marines in my company taking rounds to their Kevlars from similar if not longer distances (subsequently surviving). In another instance, an EOD tech also took a hit in the Kevlar, of which we reported on through TFB.

    Leading to my second point, is that we aren’t examining the material we are ignoring. Funker 530 does a good job of getting combat videos up online, but the real juicy bits are all in Arabic and on numerous insurgent propaganda videos all over the internet. In them there are a multitude of instances where enemy combatants are conducting solid shooting fundamentals and are achieving effective hits on target.

    Thirdly, I’ll put forth this myself. When a camera is rolling, young, impressionable men are much more apt to perform ridiculous acts. Marines and Soldiers are just as guilty throughout numerous barracks brawl videos and even into firefights on Youtube. It happens. To say that insurgents don’t have an inkling to perform with some bravado in front of camera is to ignore human nature. What we should be more concerned about, is what is happening off camera.

    Fourth, and possibly the most important is that we can never underestimate our enemy. To do so is to commit to failure from the beginning. Passing around videos like this MG3 going off wildly degrades our enemies (although technically this rebel is allied with one of our largest allies in the MENA region, Saudi Arabia), and reinforces notions that Arabs can’t shoot, and are garbage soldiers. Maybe a trip down memory lane into how hard fighting in Fallujah, and dealing with IEDs during OIF, and to a non-Arab country Afghanistan should be in order to demonstrate that these “ragtag” insurgents aren’t somehow formidable.

    But seriously, that MG3 is utterly unsafe, even to trained European soldiers-

    The above sentence was sarcasm. The Rheinmetall MG3 is one of the more successfully used GPMGs in modern service.


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]