Rambo vs Geek
An interesting article from War Nerd: Da Kurds: Boo Hoo Who?
And the Kurds are willing to die, I'll give them that. Always have been. Good fighters; Saladin was a Kurd, after all. They just can't stay united for more than the time it takes to sign a manifesto. By the time they've got pen in hand to initial their latest United Front for Kurdistan memo, the Supreme Commander of the Kurdish Liberation Front has stabbed his imported Parker Pen into the throat of his ally of two minutes ago, the Generalissimo of the Free Kurdistan Army.
It's not hard to fight people like that, or keep them "oppressed." You just farm it out to their relatives. Most of the time, you don't even need to use your own tribe's troops. Kurd-on-Kurd violence will do it. Which is why bravery isn't anywhere near as important as discipline in a military force. A force of 200 German clerks or Vietnamese insurance agents, no matter how many of them wear glasses and can't bench-press a Starbucks latte, will beat 200 Rambos every time on the battlefield, because 200 Rambos is pure chaos, nobody willing to obey orders. And Kurds, too bad for them, are a pretty Rambo-y group, all macho yelling, counting coup and strutting instead of sticking together. You get this a lot with mountain tribes, and the Kurds are mostly--not all--mountain people. "Our valley vs. the world," that kind of small-time crap. Cute if you're Swiss, but only because the Swiss valleys usually had enough sense to unite against foreign invaders. Kurds don't. They have what the professors call "local loyalties," meaning whatever little baron family always ran their valley.
Following is my thought.
As in my previous post Individual vs group dominance , obedient people make the best soldiers. The best units are often made of high IQ and obedient individuals who have no problem carrying through order without objection. A pack of wolf will never do job for human. A pack of dogs is different story. Only idiot will have a pack of wolf as guards or hunting aides. Thus, hunter and gatherer tribes are never good military force because they more think and function like wild wolf.
When a lot of people find Mongolians are bunch of shy people with little alpha personality, they could not figure out why Mongols were fierce military forces who conquer some people with much macho personality. It is because average folk make mistake to believe individual alpha personality reflecting military strength. A military action is job to perform just as any other jobs. Obedient workers are better workers. Yet, such obedience made them formidable military force when working together, an ideal trait for collectivsm.Only even more disciplined (obedient) people have better chance fend off Mongols.