Iran and Iraq: The Threat from the Northern Gulf

Iran and Iraq: The Threat from the Northern Gulf

Iran and Iraq: The Threat from the Northern Gulf

Iran and Iraq: The Threat from the Northern Gulf


"In this volume, Anthony Cordesman provides the depth of analysis needed to fully comprehend the military capabilities of these two volatile countries - recently highlighted by the U. S. secretary of state as the two most serious threats to U. S. interests in the coming decade. In addition to providing a comprehensive assessment of Iran's and Iraq's armed forces and weapons systems, Cordesman evaluates their internal political tensions and civil wars, examining the paramilitary and rebel forces in the region. He concludes with realistic forecasts of possible future conflicts and a cogent strategy for deterring those conflicts or effectively subduing them." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


The arms race between Iran and Iraq, their neighbors, and the West has dominated the security situation in Southwest Asia ever since the 1960s. It has driven the southern Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, to expand their military forces and to try to create high technology forces that can compensate for their lack of manpower. It has forced the U.S., Britain, and France to maintain power projection forces in the region, and the U.S. to steadily improve its power projection capabilities from over the horizon.

The build-up of Iranian and Iraqi forces is one of the primary threats shaping U.S. and Western strategic planning in the post-Cold War era. the security of the world's oil supplies, long-term control over much of the world's energy reserves, and a critical portion of world trade depend on the military balance in the Gulf, and the degree to which Iran and Iraq can be contained in military terms. At the same time, the Gulf is one of four areas where the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction could fundamentally change the nature of war. the other areas include North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, and the Arab-Israeli confrontation states, but Iran and Iraq are the only states in this list that have actually used weapons of mass destruction on military forces and civil populations, and conducted long-range missile strikes against each other's populations.

The Regional Military Balance

The regional military balance is not a central focus of this book, but it is necessary to understand enough of that balance to understand how it affects the war fighting capabilities of Iran and Iraq. the current military balance is summarized in Table 1.1, but the numbers tell only part of the story. Iran and Iraq are real military powers, and experienced in battle. They can effectively deploy the bulk of their forces in a major offensive or conflict. the only southern Gulf nation with military forces effective enough to challenge Iran or Iraq is Saudi Arabia, and its only effective military service is the air force. the rest of the southern Gulf or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have often bought a great deal of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.