Monday, August 26, 2013

The Dissertation: Dhofar Rebellion Part 12

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, my dissertation is complete. Assuming I can get it printed today, I'll turn it in today. I'll walk into the Director's office, hand him two physical copies, and upload the PDF manuscript through TurnItIn so that they can gauge whether it was plagiarized or not. For anyone who's followed the lengthy process since the beginning a few months ago, it's quite obvious that I did not, in fact, plagiarize any of it.

So, here are some statistics. It's 58 pages long, and 14,987 words (counting the title, my name, and all of the extraneous boilerplate I had to put in). The essay includes 229 citations from 148 individual sources, and 14 images (including a picture I took in Muscat in 2012). In early August, I made a decision to cut about half of what I had originally intended to include. That's going to turn into a sort of "part two", that I'll end up merging with the majority of my existing dissertation.

I'll admit to being a bit nervous about the whole thing. I worry that I try to cover too many topics, rather than focusing in depth on two or three aspects of the conflict. I worry that the essay doesn't sufficiently connect the lessons of Dhofar to modern warfare. I think that it does; but at this point, about the only thing I can do is hand it in, and wait.

One cool thing that I've been working on the last couple of days has been to locate a bunch of the old patrol bases along the Hornbeam Line. Thus far, I've found six of the eight: Pipe, Whale, Ashawq/Ashoq, Killi, Reef, and Kumasi, leaving me to find Bole and Oven. Bole is the only one left on that hand-drawn map from Gardiner's book, so I'm not sure that I'll be able to find enough information to find Oven, but I'll give it a shot. A discussion of how I went about finding these positions will be the topic of a post either on the Joshua Tree Security blog, or the blog I'm planning to start once this one comes to an end.

Oh, and the author of that aforementioned book, which came to be quite important in the course of writing my dissertation? He lives in Edinburgh, and last week I was able to meet with him briefly to get a couple of his books autographed before he went on holiday for a month. I literally got his E-mail saying that he'd meet me if I could get there before he left, scrambled to get ready, and spent the next five hours of my life in a desperate scramble to get down to Edinburgh. We met for just a few minutes - one of the great highlights of my time here in Scotland - and then he was off, and I was back on the next train to Aberdeen less than an hour later. I'm hoping to meet up with him once he's back, at which point I can hopefully show him those satellite views of some of the positions he occupied in the Dhofari jebel four decades ago.

So, stay tuned. There may not be more about my actual dissertation, but there will certainly be more about the Dhofar Rebellion.

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