As if the April 26 premier of Season 4 of The Last Kingdom on Netflix did not offer a sufficient feast for Frontier Partisans, April 16 will bring us the third season of Fauda.
The Israeli special operations thriller is propulsive storytelling and compulsive viewing.
“Fauda (Arabic for ‘Chaos’) tells the story of an undercover unit in the Israeli Defense Forces, Focusing on Doron Kavillio (Lior Raz). In season 3, Doron is deep undercover in the West Bank, posing as an Israeli Arab boxing instructor in a sports club belonging to a low-level Hamas member. Following numerous, deadly clashes with Hamas and a tragic incident that all but shatters the team’s morale, Doron and the team find themselves in unfamiliar territory – Gaza.
Raz as Doron dominates every second he is on the screen. A hammer in constant search of nails to pound; a powder keg compressed under unfathomable pressure and actively seeking a spark. You can’t stop watching him.
With my focus on Continuity & Persistence and the “global frontier,” it is fascinating to see the dynamics of an intractable frontier conflict played out in a contemporary setting. The Mista’arvim counter-terrorism outfit depicted in Fauda is a Duvdevan unit, tasked with undercover snatch operations and targeted killings in urban areas, during which they wear Arab civilian clothes as a disguise. Unit members are often of Arab descent and speak the language fluently.
This type of unit, operating in disguise in enemy territory, is a staple of Frontier Partisan warfare, from Captain Samuel Brady’s Rangers operating along the Ohio River during the American Revolution to the Selous Scouts conducting deep-penetration recon operations during the Rhodesian Bush War in the 1970s.
This sort of unit and operation historically tends to be the province of “settler-colonialist” powers. Fauda is very much an Israeli show, and, while the Palestinian antagonists of the unit are well-depicted as three-dimensional characters with real motivations, the viewpoint is not theirs. The larger political questions of occupation and resistance are not foregrounded; in a sense the conflict in the West Bank and now Gaza is a feud between rival gangs — as frontier warfare always is. This has drawn some criticism, of course, but even Fauda’s critics have to admit that its a helluva ride.
One of the aspects of the show that I admire is that we can see the cumulative effects of trauma on everyone immersed in this grinding conflict. This is an aspect of Frontier Partisan warfare that is often elided, though the 40 year struggle in the Ohio Country, or the long multi-polar war in the Texas borderlands, or the violent conquest of Apacheria surely immersed whole generations in terror and trauma. The golden haze of legend and romance soften the bleeding edges of what was, in fact, often a horror story.
Fauda provides an opportunity to see that and to cast back over centuries and across continents to acquire a better understanding.
David Wrolson (Breaker Morant) says
There has been a long history of Israeli special forces. Sometime this winter, I followed an internet trail of crumbs and found a Torah-observant, Christian prepper (of all things) that goes by the handle of “Bear.”
I have enjoyed listening to a few of his daily briefs during this virus time on Youtube. But he also puts out podcasts on the bible. Simply put, he became tired of organized religion and started reading the bible on his own. He is a big proponent of “Story.”
He did a 15-Minute podcast on King David’s Mighty Men, or his special forces as he terms them. So it is short if anyone is interested.
I think you might get a kick out these quotes.
“These guys were all a bunch of bad-asses.”
“In the modern self-help group church, we don’t get these stories of men being men.”
Wrote "The Smell of the Big Strike" as Burnham #2.
I found a cool graphic of LA that shows Burnham's Dominguez oil field.
Plus, I don't think I have ever told the story here that I have oil seeps on my land in Minnesota (of all places.). I talk about it there.
I’ll check all of this out this afternoon. Thanks.
Proto-special forces appear through out the Old Testament. Joshua was a long range scout and spy when the Israelis first invaded Palestine. Gideon story was about a small band using psychological warfare to make themselves seem larger.
Just goes to show you how old Frontier Warfare is.
That’s the thing I love about my field of study — Continuity & Persistence.
Yes, I was sitting in church back when one could still meet at church and listening to the story of Joshua and thinking this is a “Frontier Partisans” story.
This site has changed my thinking in someways for which I’m grateful. Hopefully this will last for long time. And hopefully it and running iron report will have a lot post during this epidemic.
Well, that makes my day. Thank you.
David Wrolson (Breaker Morant) says
Since we kind of started down a classical road. I ran across something interesting about Xenophon of “March of the Ten Thousand” (Anabasis) fame. That alone is certainly a Frontier Partisans tale.
But while doing some reading on the history of humans and the horse this winter, I found that Xenophon also wrote two works on horsemanship.
1) Hipparchicus aka “The Cavalry Commander” or “The Cavalry General.”
2) “On Horsemanship”-deals with the selection, care and training of horses in general.
Corb Lund’s Horse Soldiers was running strong through my mind when I found that nugget of info.
I am slowly working my way through the Landmark edition of Herodotus. As I tell the kids, it is commonly noted that we are closer in time to Herodotus than he was to the construction of the pyramids.
I have mentioned it here before, but I love the backstory on Robert Strassler who developed the idea for the Landmark series of Classics.
He reminds me of a certain amateur historian that started this site.
I can recommend Victor Davis Hanson’s “A War Like No Other” on the Peloponnesian War. He approached it through the idea of themes and while it has been a while since I read it-the stuff about the Plague in Athens might be interesting at this time.
John Roberts says
Way back in 1968 I was at Special Forces Training Group at Ft. Bragg, NC. This was at what was then the JFK Center for Special Warfare, God knows what it is now. Somewhere around here I have a picture of me, spiffy in my Class A’s and beret, taken by my father on a visit, standing in front of the Special Forces chapel. Inside that chapel were stained glass windows depicting guerilla warfare scenes from the Bible. Included was Gideon blowing his trumpet to set off the nighttime raid that fooled the enemy into thinking the Hebrews had a much larger force than they did. It was cited as the first known use of psyops.