Post War Geopolitics: Unfinished Business

In early August of 1987 the Third World War came to an end. The guns fell silent, strategic forces came off their high alert statuses and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief. In the final twenty-four hours of the war the planet teetered on the edge of the abyss with the United States …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+24 (2 August, 1987)

As the conflict in Europe escalated with near reckless abandon throughout most of the day and raised the prospect of a global nuclear exchange, Iran and Iraq were moving to maintain low profiles for the time being. An unofficial ceasefire took effect over the battleline by the afternoon. Neither Tehran or Baghdad wanted to attract …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+22 (31 July, 1987) Part II

Faced with emerging threats on two fronts, Saddam Hussein’s perspective shifted on D+22 towards one embedded deeper in realism. Continuing to battle a newly aggressive Iran with one hand tied behind its back was not conducive for the Iraqi military. Holding Iraq was particularly critical, there was little debate on this point. Contending with the …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+21 (30 July, 1987) Part II

As preparations for the night’s air operations continued at CENTCOM-Forward in Riyadh, General George Crist’s thoughts were on Kuwait. The tiny emirate was now occupied by Iraqi forces of lesser quality than the Republican Guard formations that stormed the country days earlier. Those divisions were now positioning near Basra with the mission of blocking an …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+21 (30 July, 1987) Part I

Fighting between Iraqi and Iranian forces flared up once more as first light broke over the Shat-al-Arab. In the first engagements of the day, company-sized units clashed and began extended engagements that included artillery support and air attacks from both sides. The morning continued and by 1000, the Iraqis were receiving indications of two Iranian …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+20 (29 July, 1987)

In the pre-dawn hours along the Iraq-Iran frontier a number of small unit engagements, allegedly between Iranian and Iraqi ground units, broke out on the western side of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. By the time dawn came, forward Iraqi positions near the border were reportedly under fire from Iranian artillery batteries. A short time later, the …

Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf D+17 (26 July, 1987)

Iraq’s leadership continued to hunker down through most of D+17. Saddam Hussein remained in Tikrit, coordinating political and military responses as the situation facing the nation on multiple fronts continued to deteriorate. In moderate Arab states around the region, Iraqi ambassadors were being summoned by national leaders to explain Iraq’s intentions with regards to Kuwait, …