Blood, Metal and Dust: How Victory Turned into Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq

Ben Barry will present on his book, “Blood, metal and Dust”. Written by the author of the official British military analysis of the Iraq campaigns, Blood, Metal and Dust is the first authoritative military history of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to tell the detailed story of what happened on the ground. Blood, Metal and Dust is the first military history to offer a comprehensive overview of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing in-depth accounts of the operations undertaken by both US and UK forces. Brigadier Ben Barry explores the wars which shaped the modern Middle East, providing a detailed narrative of operations as they unfolded. With unparalleled access to official military accounts and extensive contacts in both the UK and the US militaries, Brigadier Barry is uniquely placed to tell the story of these controversial conflicts, and offers a rounded account of the international campaigns which irrevocably changed the global geopolitical landscape.

Ben Barry is the Senior Fellow for Land Warfare at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Ben analyses the higher management of defence, military strategy, operations and tactics, military innovation and adaptation, modern warfare and land warfare. Ben joined the IISS in 2010, before which he served in the British Army. As well as training in Germany, France, Cyprus, Canada, Portugal and New Zealand, and operational service in Hong Kong and Northern Ireland, he commanded both an armoured infantry battalion and a multinational brigade on UN and NATO operations in Bosnia. He was director of the British Army Staff in the UK Ministry of Defence and author of the Army’s lessons learned analysis of post-conflict stabilisation of Iraq.

He is a visiting professor at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, and the author of Harsh Lessons: Iraq, Afghanistan and the Changing Character of War (IISS, 2016), The Road from Sarajevo: British Army Operations in Bosnia, 1995–1996 (The History Press, 2016) and Blood, Metal and Dust How Victory Turned into Defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq (Osprey, 2020).

A sandwich lunch will be served at 12.40