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Ironduke
15 Dec 06,, 13:12
Colonel,

I had been reading over a couple threads in this forum, Iraq Study Group commentary started by Major Shek and Saudi will intervene in Iraq if U.S. withdraws: aide by troung. As a result, I wanted to see if I could get a commentary and analysis on a hypothetical conflict that came to mind reading those threads.

Background: September 2007.

The situation in the Sunni Arab areas of Iraq has not improved, it has vastly worsened. The stability seen in Shi'ite areas in late 2006 has completely disintegrated, with Iranian-backed Shiites taking up arms against US and Allied forces in droves. At the same time, Shiites and Sunnis are fighting each other with a greater intensity than ever before. Due to mounting demands back home, and the untenability of their situations, Britain and the Polish MND evacuate southern Iraq. The US retrenches to Kurdistan as a result of mounting casualties and its inability to secure southern Iraq. The US, now alone, has no means to stabilize the rest of Iraq without resorting to measures that are politically and financially dangerous, requiring a massive deployment of US forces stationed at home and in other countries.

Upon withdrawal, conflict between Shiites and Sunnis boils over into brutal, full-fledged civil war. Kurdistan essentially becomes an American protectorate that is, in theory, still a part of the now fully dismembered Iraqi state. Any attempts at being recognized as or becoming an independent state are quashed to acquiesce to Turkish wishes.

Scenario: Iran and Saudi Arabia and their respective allies make a grab to occupy the Sunni Arab and Shi'ite areas to shore up their security positions and prevent the other side from making gains.

The major participants are Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran is joined by Syria, and Saudi Arabia is joined by the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar.

The rest of the Muslim world stays out of the conflict citing various reasons.

Each coalition wages war on the other to its fullest current capacity, with a possible militarization of a large portion of the eligible male military-age population, which may reinforce units involved in the war (up to you whether or not to address the latter part, it's very hypothetical and may detract).

Both Russia and the United States have agreed to supply the Iranian and Saudi-led alliances, respectively, mainly armaments for oil, as well as technical assistance and intelligence. The USN has blockaded the Iranian coastline preventing oil tankers from leaving port. Iran, however, is able to export the same levels of oil uninterrupted via pipelines traveling through CIS states to Russia. (they exist by this time). Russia re-exports this oil to Europe and China. Saudi, Emirati, and Qatari but perhaps not Kuwaiti oil exports are relatively unaffected due to protection afforded by elements of the USN 5th and 7th.

Neither the Russians or the Americans involve their own military personnel directly in the conflict. NATO, including Turkey, lends no overt assistance to any party in the conflict, though Turkey may make "gestures".

Currently: Each side rushes to secure the unoccupied portion of Iraq, with pushes being made for Baghdad, Basra, Tikrit, and all major cities along the Tigris and the Euphrates south of the de facto Kurdistan protectorate.

[/end]

I'd like to know the most likely order of battle, objectives each side can accomplish given their capabilities, where each side will makes its moves given their capabilities, how quickly their forces can mobilize and react, and the likely outcome of such a war, as well as any other details you can give that I have overlooked asking for.

Perhaps a bit of a digression, and I'm not really qualified to speak about the following, but I think it's a given that Iran and Syria have an advantage due to proximity, as well as Iran having more military experience with the Iran-Iraq war under its belt. The Saudi-led coalition has a technological advantage over Iran and Syria in military hardware, but are at a disadvantage due to distance, as well as the varying quality of their respective armed forces personnel compared to Iran.

Other military professionals are welcome to comment, but I'd like the Colonel to lend his insights and views first. Others are welcome to pose any questions or comments they may have during the course of the discussion.

I'll likely follow up with other questions, for example, specific factors are added or removed. But now I'll leave the field for you to comment.
-Ironduke out

Officer of Engineers
16 Dec 06,, 06:59
Sorry,

Zraver finally gave us the piece necessary to make this scenario work - Pakistan on the side of Saudi Arabia. Now, I can think this through.

Ironduke
16 Dec 06,, 07:50
Sorry,

Zraver finally gave us the piece necessary to make this scenario work - Pakistan on the side of Saudi Arabia. Now, I can think this through.
Hmm, I know your post will be quite detailed... but I wanted to know beforehand if this scenario would then involve open war between Pakistan and Iran? In a more limited role Pakistan could supply training, personnel, advisors, etc. and tie down troops on its border with Iran provided India does not make any similar gestures toward Pakistan. I overlooked this aspect as well... I knew that Pakistan is heavily involved in Saudi defense but hadn't thought of it.

zraver
16 Dec 06,, 09:16
Pakistan's big role behoynd even sending a contingent to araia will be a force in being tieing down a good chunck of the Iranian army, this effectively removes Iran's reserves and numerical superiority. Most of the rest Iranian army is already tied up facing US/NATO forces in Kurdistan and Afghanistan. This leaves the Pasadran as the main force to face the Gulf Arabs.

The Shia have far greater numbers but less money. Russia dosn't give away weapons any more, and Iran has to choose weapons or nuclear plans. Which ever they pick the US benifits at leas tin the short term (If fund the nuke program) or long term (if they fund the weapons purchases). Or undertake to cut off remove the massive public supports (Iran is a remarkably socailist country when it comes to public projects)

If Syria jumps the border instead of just finding a way to profit from it. Can Jordan be talked into acting as a block. is there anyway to reviveAbdullahs old 50's era idea of a Hashemite controlled greater Syria, or of reviving the Jordanian claims on the Iraqi throne? Threats don't even have to be credible, only be sen as credible by the Syrians to tie up a good chunk of what they could otherwise commit.

S2
16 Dec 06,, 22:59
"Pakistan's big role beyond even sending a contingent to an area will be a force in being tying down a good chuck of the Iranian army, this effectively removes Iran's reserves and numerical superiority."

It's a superb point to which perhaps Ray would expand upon. Curiously, the growing U.S-India accord might lend itself favorably to persuading the Indians to conduct "maneuvers" in the Punjab that might hold Pakistan's attention somewhat.

Equally, is there an opportunity to leverage the Baluchi's assistance as well?

Ironduke
17 Dec 06,, 00:55
Pakistan's big role behoynd even sending a contingent to araia will be a force in being tieing down a good chunck of the Iranian army, this effectively removes Iran's reserves and numerical superiority
Which begs the question, would India make any moves to die down Pakistani forces inhibiting them from tying down Iranian forces?

From what I've read, India and Iran have a good relationship, while at the same time India has been pursuing increasingly good relations with the United States as well. As an American, I'd like to think India would make no effort to obstruct the efforts of the American-supported side, and America would seem to be the common-sense choice.

S2
17 Dec 06,, 01:29
That post of mine is utterly nonsensical. I've had others, no doubt, but I haven't got a clue what I was thinking.

Funny, it's been coffee all day long. Hmmm...

Ironduke
17 Dec 06,, 02:05
That post of mine is utterly nonsensical. I've had others, no doubt, but I haven't got a clue what I was thinking.

Funny, it's been coffee all day long. Hmmm...
Heh, I think you just misread a bit and lost track of what side countries are supporting. :)

Officer of Engineers
17 Dec 06,, 04:31
Don't you guys got wife and kids? Just to give you guys a few thoughts at the moment before I start Operation HIDE-GIFTS.

Well, the 1st thing the Paks are going to give the Saudis is confidence. The Saudis never did brigade level manouvers while the Iranians had conducted army level operations. The Paks, however, have superceded them in combined arms and a decent general staff . And the Paks are just as battle hardened as the Iranians.

Which would lead to the next thing. This will be a Pak-Iran War. The Paks are the only ones out of that Saudi nexus who can field an army and fight. Most certainly, no Pak division will take orders from a playboy prince. Any Pak force will decide its own OPOBJs,

I'm trying to think this through if we can limit this to the Iraq theatre. It has happenned with Turkey in ODS.

Now, would China give Pak a go?

troung
17 Dec 06,, 04:48
Could Pakistan move troops from their border with India and not weaken themselves too much?

-{SpoonmaN}-
17 Dec 06,, 09:35
Now, would China give Pak a go?

Sir,
Do you really think China would even consider it? I would have figured they'd do what Russia would do if such a full-scale regional war broke out:
Sit back and roll around in bathtubs full of money from all the weapons sales they'd be pulling in.
I know that the PRC is fairly chummy with the Ayatollahs but would they really care so much that they'd be willing to involve themselves in what would doubtless be a difficult and costly war against a hardened opponent?
Like I don't doubt that while they'd be faced with major problems due to their limited logistical capacity, at least they'd be able to scare the hell out of the Pakistanis and force them to fight a war on two fronts and all that, but still, would it be worth it to them?
I am asking you directly sir because I know if anyone can give me a good answer on this one here, it'd be you.

zraver
17 Dec 06,, 10:23
Could Pakistan move troops from their border with India and not weaken themselves too much?



Yes, but only if America gets rid of Bush and goes back to diplomacy. 1- Give pak more and more modern weapons and a securityty guarantee (defensive alliance and formal recognition as an ally). 2- Give India MFN and other economic and technological incentives to play nice. Both sides get what they want and benefit form letting the Pakistanis help the House of Saud.

Strengthening ties with both nations also helps the US act as a mediator between those two nations and acts as a foil against China in the long run.

The question is not China and her reactions. But Russia with strong ties to Iran will she be able to pressure India into acting aggressively towards Pakistan thus tying down PA troops needed to help Saudi Arabia. This where i feel a defensive alliance (very carefully spelled out and with in narrow confines of an unprovoked Indian attack) come into play. No matter how much India and Russia get along she is not going to jeopardize losing access to the US markets which hold the key to her long term economic growth.

OoE, It is not outside of the realm of possibility that Egypt could be drawn in as well on the Saudi side, They are Sunni, US allies and fairly chummy and need cheap oil. It's a long shot but possible.

Swift Sword
17 Dec 06,, 18:09
Afternoon Gentlemen,

Interesting topic and while I am not as knowledgable in the details as you all, the following questions came to my mind:

1. Just what might the Iranian end of this look like viz. their coalition?

What do regional demographics favor in terms of an Irananian sphere of influence?

2. Is U.S. retrenchment in Kurdish Iraq really that wise of an idea?

Turkey is essentially the firewall between the instability in the Middle East and the new, fairly weak states of Southeastern Eutope and has its own internal problems in the Eastern areas with kurds.

Is it conceivable that Turkish Kurds might be used as proxies by some party to harrass the American position in Iraq from behind?

3. From a Russina perspective, is not Iran a firewall as well?

In this regard, would it not be a good idea for the Europeans to support the Iranians to some degree to both ensure their own energy security as well as prevent instability from spreading into "European Russia" in conjunction with backing Turkey?

4. Egypt might be Islamic, Sunni and Arabicized but does that neccessarily make it follow that they will throw in their lot with the Saudi Arabians?

Egypt is part of Africa and is their enough sense of identity to offset troubles in the Middle East by turning to her neighboors to meet economic needs (e.g. Libyan natural gas which, inicidentally, would impinge on European asspirations)?

A few thoughts:

1. Those pipelines Ironduke mentions will be difficult to defend and make good targets for any one of a number of actors depending upon who wants to screw who on any given day.

2. Disruptions in shipping in the Red Sea and the Arabian sea are going to have adverse effects on the Chinese and the Japanese.

Too, wider naval activity by Pakistan, India and other navies in the Indian Ocean is going to do bad things to the Global economy.

3. Such a conflict is going to increase the importance and profile of Northwest African Muslim nations for the Western World for economic and regional security reasons.

Have a good evening,

William

Ironduke
19 Dec 06,, 23:03
Colonel, I certainly don't wish to bug you, but I was wondering if you could lend any further insights into how such a war may play out. I know it's extremely hypothetical, improbable, and a bit out there, but I think it would be of interest to see your analysis nonetheless.

Same setup, except now Pakistan is providing personnel and training to aid in the Saudi-led side's effort, and maneuvering on the Iranian border without outright war. I would also like the assume that the Indians make no maneuvers on their border with Pakistan due to conflict of interest.

Officer of Engineers
20 Dec 06,, 01:11
My apologies. I will respond in 48 hours. It's just been hectic and I lost track of both thread and forums.

Ironduke
20 Dec 06,, 01:25
My apologies. I will respond in 48 hours. It's just been hectic and I lost track of both thread and forums.
I understand. :) For you its your family, I'm sure. For me it was finals and heavy holiday volume at UPS.