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Old 02-01-2010, 01:12 PM
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chico20854 chico20854 is offline
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Working on our alternative take on the Twilight Universe, the timeline in the RDF Sourcebook seems to be open for another look. Webstral, in his The Storm in Germany, detailed the effects of Desert Storm on the Soviet Union. Going from that, we are trying to figure out what Iraq does during the war. We are assuming that the USSR gives some assistance in rebuilding the Iraqi military, but in the end it doesn’t look too different than it did in the mid 1990s IRL.

I see five options:

1) Iraq remains neutral unless invaded by NATO forces.
2) Kuwait Invasion: In a repeat of August 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait. Sometime after CENTCOM begins to deploy ground troops, Iraq invades Kuwait but does not enter any other nation unless NATO forces attack Iraqi forces from that other nation (Iran, Saudi Arabia or Turkey).
3) Same as above, but Iraq also invades Saudi Arabia.
4) Iran Invasion: Iraq chooses to re-start the Iran-Iraq War. At some time after the Soviet invasion of Iran begins, Iraq invades Iran (but not any other nation unless NATO forces attack Iraqi forces from another nation), when Iraq replies in kind.
5) All-out War: Iraq declares a general war against NATO.

Note that what may seem logical to us doesn’t necessarily appear to be the same for Saddam. If we were in his situation in 1990, would we have invaded Kuwait?

Some thoughts I have on the options:

1) Saddam could sit tight, realizing the damage his military took in 1991 and that the USSR is unlikely to provide much in the way of material support, as it is engaged in wars in Korea, China, Iran, the Balkans, Germany and Norway. I like this option the best as it makes the war in Iran as described in RDF Sourcebook most likely.

2) and 3) Realizing that the Coalition that united against him in 1990-1 is engaged in the same wars as the USSR, Saddam figures that it is unlikely that the Coalition will be able to muster a force similar to 1991 to stop him this time – he might succeed this time, and given the disparity of forces, Kuwait is most likely a goner (after 1991 the Kuwaiti military still trained with the goal of resisting Iraq for 48-72 hours before US and GCC reinforcements arrived to relieve them).

4) Showing the strength of his alliance with/allegiance to the USSR, and with the idea of gaining the same valuable resources he tried to grab in 1980 while scoring a relatively easy victory (due to the split between the NEC and Pasdaran and with the Transcaucasian Front advancing rapidly), Saddam makes another try at western Iran.

5) 2, 3 and 4 above, all combined.

I doubt we’ll reach any sort of consensus on this, I’m trying to develop relative probabilities of the options above, (or any other ways at looking at the situation). My gut feeling is:
Option 1: 50%
Option 2: 15%
Option 3: 12%
Option 4: 15%
Option 5: 8%

We'll probably end up using some sort of random options resolution when we wargame things out, hence the probabilities. And after the TDM all these calculations fall apart...

Thanks!
(Oh, and can we try to keep this both civil and on-topic?)
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:26 PM
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The first thing that I noticed about your post was that "Iraq would remain neutral, unless invaded by NATO" (or the Pact?). Iraq will get invaded -- by both sides. That oil's just too damn valuable. That also means that it will probably get nuked a bit by both sides. There will be lots of wrecks on the bottom of the Persian Gulf, and it's shores will be an ecological nightmare for generations from destroyed shipping and oil wells. No way the rest of the world will just let Iraq sit there and be quietly neutral.

As for Saddam, he'll probably get offed by someone trying to cut a deal with one side or the other -- or trying to play both ends against the middle. Hell, Uday might even be willing to try that one himself. And that person will get offed, and so on, and so on, until Iraq is back down to the tribal warfare phase.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
The first thing that I noticed about your post was that "Iraq would remain neutral, unless invaded by NATO" (or the Pact?). Iraq will get invaded -- by both sides. That oil's just too damn valuable. That also means that it will probably get nuked a bit by both sides. There will be lots or wrecks on the bottom of the Persian Gulf, and it's shores will be an ecological nightmare for generations from destroyed shipping and oil wells. No way the rest of the world will just let Iraq sit there and be quietly neutral.

As for Saddam, he'll probably get offed by someone trying to cut a deal with one side or the other -- or trying to play both ends against the middle. Hell, Uday might even be willing to try that one himself. And that person will get offed, and so on, and so on, until Iraq is back down to the tribal warfare phase.
Sorry, I should have clarified... this is for late 1996 and 1997 up to the nuclear exchange. I agree that oil production and transportation facilities in both combatant and neutral nations are going to get atomised.

If they sell oil to the Soviets through Tabriz, then it would be up to NATO to invade Iraq, and given the call on their forces from Transcaucasian Front next door, I don't see CENTCOM being able to do much about it beyond liberal application of F-15Es with CBUs on oil infrastructure.

If they sell oil to the West, then the Soviets would probably start talking to Uday and Qusay.

RDF Sourcebook has things pretty quiet in Iraq through 1997. During the exchange the army starts falling apart and in 1998 the Soviets instigate a coup, which quickly goes bad. This is the "neutral" option in my post above.

I agree the Gulf is going to be a stinking mess for generations to come. Kinda like in real life...
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:41 PM
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The more I think about it, the more I think Saddam will not be in power in T2K. Saddam was basically a thug with lots of power. His sons, on the other hand -- they were diabolical. One of them (and only one -- my pick would be Uday) would be in charge quickly after world hostilities started.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:46 PM
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Actually, it'd likely be Qusay. He was gathering power behind the scenes, and ran not only the Special Security Organization (SSO) but also the Special Republican Guard. More importantly, he was being groomed by his father to be the successor. Uday was more of a playboy and a public danger (his psychopathic tendencies being well known in Baghdad), to the point of having made numerous non-Baathist enemies, who tried numerous times to kill him. I remember a news story on the two before the invasion, and one source remarked this way: "How do you differentate between the brothers? Simple: Uday kills for jollies. But when Qusay kills, it's business." And it's no secret that before the invasion, both wanted the other dead. Lots of folks were surprised that the two brothers were found together-and died together.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:25 PM
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There are a few as-yet unmentioned variables I think we should address en route to determining Iraq's status in Twilight: 2000. The first is whether we believe the entire series of events surrounding Operations Desert Shield and Storm occurred. Saddam Hussein may have invaded Kuwait regardless of the fate of the Soviet Union during the 1989-1991 timeframe. He may not have invaded Kuwait. That's one thing a consensus group should decide, I think.

If Hussein does invade Kuwait, the invasion probably would look much like it did in real life. How does the survival of the USSR modify the US response? How does said modification, if any, modify the post-Desert Storm situation?

I've tried to address these concerns in earlier work, which of course people are free to reference or ignore as they see fit. In summary, I posit that very little changes because the war stands to give the Kremlin some things they want at very little cost to themselves. However, at the end of the war the United States maintains forces in the area. At the end of 1996 in the real world, a brigade of 24th ID or 1st CD was in Kuwait. If this force is in place in early 1997 in Twilight: 2000, and if Hussein in fact invades Kuwait, it’s hard to see how the US (and the Western Allies) don’t get involved. I think we should make up our minds how far events depart from events in the real world.

For my money, I like the idea of a more active US involvement from the start. Call me a drama queen, but I find the imagery of a brigade of US troops duking it out with the Republican Guard in Kuwait City the stuff of good story-telling. Admittedly, going this route means significantly altering the timeline given in the RDF Sourcebook. I’m all for it if we can come to some agreement on updating the timeline—whether my ideas get supported or not.

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Old 02-02-2010, 06:14 AM
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Web,
We're leaning the same way you are with regards to Kuwait. We happen to have a spare heavy brigade lying around..... As for other matters, the other options are there specifically because of Soviet support, but in your earlier work which is a big start point for what we've been doing, you do have Desert Storm go off, so we're figuring that Saddam has reasons both to get into and stay out of the war. believe me, this was the end result of some disagreement between us DCWG members.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:54 PM
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Reading Chico's options, my initial reaction was to favour option 4, a move against Iran.

However, upon reflection...I'm presuming that would ultimately make Iraq a Soviet ally and therefore, by definition, an enemy of NATO. And we all know how badly Saddam's first attempt to occupy Iranian territory went for Iraq...so that option begins to look maybe a little less likely...would making enemies of NATO and Iran be a wise move?

Whereas in 1990 he was able to take Kuwait in a matter of hours.

So, weighing up the different options, I've ended up in favour of option 2/3. As Chico states, the Coalition that threw him out of Kuwait first time round is somewhat busy fighting a World War, so he may think there's a chance that he might get away with it this time.

As to whether he only goes for Kuwait or also goes for Saudi....If he takes Kuwait only, I think there is a possibility that the rest of the Arab World might let that go, meaning Saddam has scored big time, assuming his numerical superiority means he can overcome any Western forces present in Kuwait. (Yes, I know that's put him at War with NATO, but he's not at War with Iran as well, and as noted above CENTCOM's resources are going to be limited)

On the other hand if he continues on into Saudi, then the conflict might widen, as other Arab states send forces to Saudi Arabia to help defend Mecca and Medina from Iraqi aggression. How would Saddam fare against the combined Egyptian, Syrian, and Saudi armies (amongst others)?

Of course, as you say Saddam could choose to do something completely different that's both irrational and illogical. And once the nukes start flying in Europe absolutely anything is possible (perhaps an attack on Western Iran supported by chemical weapons?). Personally I think the most likely outcome post November 1997 is a break up of Iraq into various tribal / religous areas.

Hope that all makes sense...
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:01 PM
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As much as I love Frank Frey (and here's where I get to boast about having played Call of Cthulhu with him at GenCon last year), The RDF Sourcebook wasn't exactly prescient about the Persian Gulf. The three big snafus are:

1) His idea that the USSR could get rid of Saddam and Assad of Syria in a pair of coups in 1991 that would bring in more pro-Moscow leaders.

2) The idea that the Mullahs in Iran would get less bat-shit crazy.

3) No Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

However, I can't really give Frank any grief about not predicting the Invasion of Kuwait. Everyone missed that one.

So there are a couple of big questions to resolve in the Persian Gulf. The biggest is: Does Iraq invade Kuwait in 1990? Depending on what happens there, any number of things could change in the canon.

For my alt time-line, I have Iraq invading Kuwait right on schedule. Because Gorbachev was assassinated the previous year, on his way to visit Peking prior to the Tianamen Square Massacre, the guys running the Kremlin are a more reactionary bunch. This confrontation between the Soviet's premier client stat in the Middle East and the West might have lead to the Twilight War kicking off five years early. What stops it from happening is that the Kremiln is seriously occupied trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube in Eastern Europe. The 1989 pro-democracy revolutions that swept Eastern Europe are being put down with force, and the Kremlin doesn't think it can take on the West and clean up it's backyard at the same time.

In my alt time-line, the USSR bluffs the USA and the West, offering the West a free hand to deal with Iraq using a UN mandate (short of occupation, dissolution or regime change) so long as sanctions against the USSR's crackdown on pro-democracy in Eastern Europe are lifted. The USSR knows the US is going to eject Iraq one way or another, and would prefer if it was done under UN mandate rather than as unilateral US action. Why? Because the USSR wants to preserve the "authority" of the UN. The UN's authority is base on public opinion, something that can limit US policy choices, but has never affected the Kremlin.

Worried that a teetering and panicky Soviet Empire might go to war over a US intervention in the Persian Gulf, President George H.W. Bush makes that deal, thus throwing eastern Europe under the bus to protect US energy needs. That's twice in one century that Hungary and Poland get hung out to dry, but the gold medal for getting screwed by the West still goes to Czechoslovakia: THREE times in one century!

The US conducts the Gulf War as it does in our time-line, with the Soviet Military getting a preview of US capabilities. Perhaps this sneak peak helps them perform better against NATO during the later war in Europe?

In this time-line, it is Kuwait where US Forces are based, not Iran. The French Marine Division and air assets would just have to be shifted to Saudi Arabia and Basrah, where they already have forces in place.

In my time-line (IMTL?), the Iranians never calm down and stop with blaming everything that goes wrong in Iran on the Great Satan. So when the Soviets invade and the US intervenes, it's a three-way fight, with the Iranians fighting everyone... including each other as a kind of Civil War breaks out over the issue of whether to cooperate with the Americans or not. Nevertheless, the average Iranian is more hostile to US personnel than depicted in the RDF Sourcebook, which is why more US forces are stationed in Kuwait.

But back to Iraq.

In the RDF sourcebook, there is a Soviet counter-offensive that is launched in July 28, 1997 following a Spetsnaz strike at decapitates CENTCOM's command structure. It catches the US forces strung out, away from the coast. The new US CENTCOM commander, General McLean orders a fighting retreat to the coast, and the Soviets pursue.

IMTL Saddam sits out the war in Iran until the Soviets start that counter-offensive in 1997. On his own initiative, without consulting Lt. General Suryakin or the Kremlin, Saddam invades Iran and Kuwait to attack the retreating US forces in the hopes of getting revenge for the humiliating defeats of 1991.

There are two ways this could go... either it starts off pretty badly for US forces getting surprised on their flank and in their rear areas, but they quickly turn it around and maul the Iraqis... this could also cause Baghdad to catch some US nukes since according to canon, the US and USSR are exchanging tac-nukes in Iran at this time.

OR

US intelligence detects Saddam concentrating his forces and decide there's no point in waiting to get attacked. So they launch preemptive air attacks against logistical and air assets to blunt the attack. This leaves the retreating US forces in Iran without the air support they'd like for a few days or even a week, but otherwise things progress as canon. The attack still goes off, and Saddam gets a bit of a PR boost because the "Crusaders and Zionists" shot first, but his forces still get mauled.

Should we start another thread to discuss what changes occur if Iran doesn't go all warm and fuzzy on the west, as it does in the RDF sourcebook?

Would that 1997 US drive into Iran even happen if the government of Iran was hostile to the US intervention? I kind of doubt that even the bone heads in congress would pressure CENTCOM to pursue the Soviets if the Iranians weren't close allies. If the Iranians are actively hostile, it seems the height of folly for the US Forces to abandon their primary mission (keeping the oil fields out of the Soviet hands) just to score some hits on the Soviet Transcaucasus Front.

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Old 02-02-2010, 03:42 PM
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Rainbow, your ideas do make sense. In the real world, there is supposed to be a Gulf Coalition force for the purpose of reinforcing Kuwait in the event of a new Iraq. Obviously, events have moved far beyond where they would have been in Twilight: 2000 in January 1997. However, I think it's useful to ask whether Gulf forces would have moved in support of Kuwait.

If the United States has a heavy brigade in place in Kuwait in 1997, a move by Hussein's Iraq is a move towards war with the West. I'm inclined to believe that the Kremlin would want this for the reasons you and others have indicated. I think the West would then place very heavy pressure on the Gulf States to make good on their commitment of arms. What do the Gulf States do?

Surely Saudi mobilizes and sends forces to the border, at the very minimum. Their oil is just too vulnerable for them to sit on their hands. Whether they send troops into Kuwait or undertake air missions against Iraqi forces in Kuwait or even Iraqi forces in southen Iraq is another question. I can't say for certain what the answer is, but I'm inclined to argue that the Saudis will throw their collective hat in the ring with the US in Kuwait. They are obliged by formal agreement, and they are obliged by self-interest. The Saudi oil fields are just too tempting a target for an aggressive Iraq for the Saudis to believe that Hussein would quit after seizing Kuwait, regardless of what the Kremlin and Baghdad may say on the subject. If there's going to be war with Iraq, from Riyadh's point of view that war is better fought north of the Saudi border. The early and energetic introduction of Saudi forces multiplies existing US strength to a greater degree than a tardy and/or limited introduction of Saudi forces. Following this chain of logic, then, I believe the Saudis will commit themselves decisively to supporting the US and Kuwait once Iraqi forces cross the border.

The other Gulf States will probably find themselves obliged to follow suit, to one degree or another. A victorious Iraq, backed by Soviet resupply, will be a bugbear to deal with. If Iraq defeats Kuwait and seizes the Saudi oil fields along the Gulf Coast, then Iraq might be inclined to go further. Failure to act might well be seen as more dangerous than action. Although we should proceed on a case-by-case basis, I think there's some grounds for believing that the Gulf States would send forces to Saudi and Kuwait--if only to protect their own interests.

Another key question is what happens in Kuwait. There are lots of variables here. If Hussein uses the Republican Guard again, how many divisions does he use? How well do they fare against US and Kuwaiti forces in Kuwait? How much does the arrival of Saudi forces (assuming such arrival occurs) affect things? How much does the arrival of other Gulf States forces (assuming such arrival occurs) affect things? To what degree does the threat to Gulf oil affect the US global airlift prioritization scheme? If Hussein bogs down in Kuwait, then he may not have a chance to threaten Saudi oil.

From a dramatic point of view, I like the idea of US/Kuwaiti forces being pushed back to Kuwait City in furious fighting. An intended withdrawal of US forces to the south is foiled by a powerful flanking attack by the Republican Guard. A valiant and perilous airlift effort brings a brigade of the 82nd into Kuwait City. Saudi and Gulf States forces assemble in northeastern Saudi Arabia to Coalition forces fight without the kind of quantitative and qualitative superiority they enjoyed in Operation Desert Storm. Again, though, this scenario is at least as much drama as cold realism.

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Old 02-02-2010, 03:58 PM
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I guess I'm a v1.0 purist, in terms of the historical background. I see it as an alternative history that diverged from our own around '89-'91, specifically with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Desert Storm could have happened in that alternate reality but I'm not so sure it would have, if the Soviet Union had stuck around. Despite the various wars in the Middle East, both the Soviets and the West had vested interests in maintaining stability in the region. Leading up to the '73 Yom Kippur War, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union tried fairly hard to prevent a shooting war between the Arab bloc (led by Egypt) and Israel, despite the commonly held (and erroneous) perception that Egypt was egged on by the Soviets and Israel by the U.S.

I'll admit that I don't know as much about the Iran-Iraq war. I know that the U.S. backed both sides (albeit covertly, for the Iranians) but I don't really know if/how the Soviets were involved.

I think that Saddam very well could have invaded Kuwait in the alternative '91, but I think that the combined political and economic pressure the West and the Communist Bloc would have forced Saddam to back down and pull out of Iraq before military action was taken on the part of the Coalition. That's the way I see it. Saddam invaded but pulled out under pressure from both the West and the Soviet Bloc, before Desert Storm.

To get back to Chico's question, I'm not sure I could say what Saddam would have done. If Desert Storm had taken place, his armed forces would have been significanly weaker than they would have if it had not. Perhaps he would be more cautious with how he used his remaining forces.

If Desert Storm had not occured (my preference), I think Saddam would have waited to see how things played out in other theatres before deciding which horse to back. A badly divided Iran would have been a very tempting target. On the other hand, Kuwait would have been easy pickings. As a blatant opportunist, I'm sure Saddam would have pounced on one or the other (or both). Both the Eastern and Western Blocs would have been seriously preoccupied with their own affairs elsewhere and he may have believed that they would be unable to respond to his own regional power grabs.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:02 PM
Abbott Shaull Abbott Shaull is offline
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Actually if you go with v1 of the game time line and insert the events that lead to Iraq invading Kuwait, without the fall of the Soviet Union.

With Central Command still having/had Brigade size force forward deployed there since the end of the war. It makes US bases in Saudi Arabia easier to explain. Also one could used it as justification to bring US based Army units up to strength and made tweak the US Army OOB from 1991 to 1995 a bit.

It also explains why the XVIII Airborne Corps made it way to the Middle East with the 24th Mechanized Division instead of having this Division deploy to Germany. Now come up with why it is plausible for the 9th to end up in the Middle East instead of Korea.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:06 PM
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Desert Storm could have happened in that alternate reality but I'm not so sure it would have, if the Soviet Union had stuck around.
Everyone keeps talking like the USSR wasn't around in 1990. It was.

Saddam invaded Kuwait August 2, 1990.

The ground campaign part of Desert Storm kicks off on Feb 24th 1991.

The Coup against Gorbachev that led to the dissolution of the USSR was on August 19, 1991.

So, there was a Soviet Union at the time of the Gulf War... there just weren't any satellite states in Eastern Europe any more, even though the Warsaw Pact wasn't formally dissolved until July 1, 1991.

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I think that Saddam very well could have invaded Kuwait in the alternative '91, but I think that the combined political and economic pressure the West and the Communist Bloc would have forced Saddam to back down and pull out of Iraq before military action was taken on the part of the Coalition. That's the way I see it. Saddam invaded but pulled out under pressure from both the West and the Soviet Bloc, before Desert Storm.
I disagree with you on this on the grounds that the historical record indicates that Saddam was impervious to diplomatic pressure. He also appears to have been impervious to being able to tell when he was getting in over his head.

While there wasn't any serious diplomatic pressure on Iraq to stop fighting Iran (what with Iran being a pariah state), there can be little doubt that Saddam had bitten off more than he could chew with Iraq. By the second year of the eight year war, Iraq was on the strategic defensive.

In the First Gulf War, no amount of diplomatic pressure could shift him. Furthermore, Saddam seemed unable to understand the capability of the military force arrayed against him, nor the world's political will to use it. He seemed to think he could wave Israel at the Arab world, like a red cape in front of a bull, and the Arab states would just bail out of the coalition and American will to act would crumble without Arab support. He seemed to bank on a fantasy that even if the US used military force, America's "cowardice" and unwillingness to accept casualties would lead to a failure of will and an American pullout. Maybe he was banking on a repeat of the US pullout from Peacekeeping in Beirut. But it's clear he couldn't be reasoned with and he couldn't see the danger he was placing himself in because he preferred to see the world as he wished it was, rather than how it really was.

Same thing in 2002. When faced with diplomatic pressure and the threat of military action from a country that was still looking for payback for 9/11, a country that had clearly demonstrated it's ability to clean his clock ten years earlier, he still wouldn't get out of the way of the oncoming train. He didn't even have any WMDs to hide from the UN inspectors, which makes his game of chicken all the more baffling.

History demonstrates that Saddam couldn't be made to back down through diplomatic pressure.

He had to be put down through military action.

He got away with attacking Iran. He thought he could get away with attacking Kuwait. He thought he could get away with bluffing the US on inspections. This guy clearly got his intel from the Department of Wishful Thinking.

For my money Saddam's MORE likely to Invade Kuwait in an alternate 1990 because, with the Cold War still hot, he'd think the USSR wouldn't want to look weak by allowing the US to beat up on one of their client states. The truth is that the USSR wouldn't much appreciate one of their client states (like Iraq) drawing the USSR into a confrontation with the West that the USSR may not be prepared for.

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Last edited by sglancy12; 02-04-2010 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Replacing my useless sarcasm with facts
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:52 PM
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Nice tone, Mr. Glancy. Nice tone.

If you don't know what I meant regarding my first point then you are either being disingenuous or you simply don't want to acknowledge the merit in my point. Fine either way, but please don't patronize me.

The Soviet Union of v1.0 canon and the Soviet Union of 1991 are not one in the same.

As to Saddam not backing down, he did not have the full weight of the [former] Eastern Bloc leaning on him. The "Soviet Union's" response to Sadam's aggression in 1991 was fairly indifferent. If a more powerful Soviet Union- like the one in the v1.0 canon- and its satellites were actively pressing him, he may have behaved more prudently. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Saddam apologist.

In the six years or so I've been part of this online community, many people have disagreed with me. I can handle that. But no one, to this point, has been so disrespectful about it.
I think we all agree the 1990 Real life Soviet Union should be considered a Version 2.0 minus. Very different from a Version 1 USSR. Everyone this may just be a difference in perspective or a poor choice of words.

Due to NATO Forces being tied Europe in V1 I suspect the V1 and V2 Desert Storm would use a vastly different force base. This is why "canon" arguments are often contradictory even within the confines of fully established canon.

However I think we all can say that Saddam made some very bad decisions in real life and could have made just as many ill thought out ones in any gaming scenario.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:09 PM
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It all in the details. Granted the Soviet Union break up happen after Saddam invaded Kuwait.

The tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and rapid fall of Communist governments of Eastern Europe along with the Baltic Republics and others wishing more freedom. The Soviet Union was on extreme life support. In fact Mr. Gorbachev fall from power set up the current state of the Regime that leads the Russia now...

At the point the Mr. Gorbachev knew his time was limited and also knew that even if he wanted to do something militarily, it would of pushed the movements in the outlying Republics to speed up the process of it collapse. Especially since the Pact had ceased to exist with the fall of the Berlin Wall and all their allies removed their communist parties respectfully.

In fact, the Pact alliance was only a paper alliance. The Soviets by being part of the winning alliance at the end of WWII and concession given in to them they had free hand in Eastern Europe and many of their Military Commands were indeed commanded by Marshals of the Soviet Union for many years, on into the 1970s. Those that they didn't retain control directly, there was alway Group of Forces and veil threat invasion if you didn't toe Moscow line.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:10 PM
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I think we all agree the 1990 Real life Soviet Union should be considered a Version 2.0 minus. Very different from a Version 1 USSR. Everyone this may just be a difference in perspective or a poor choice of words.

Due to NATO Forces being tied Europe in V1 I suspect the V1 and V2 Desert Storm would use a vastly different force base. This is why "canon" arguments are often contradictory even within the confines of fully established canon.

However I think we all can say that Saddam made some very bad decisions in real life and could have made just as many ill thought out ones in any gaming scenario.
Very well put Kato.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:53 PM
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Personally I think the 1990-91 middle eastern events fit nicely into the leadup to the Twilight war.
It's quite concievable that even though the USSR still existed IRL, they stayed out of participating in any real way due to the imminent breakup of the "empire". Although officially this disolution didn't happen until later, it's unlikely that those in power didn't see the writing on the wall beforehand.

Involving themselves in conflict with those troubles on horizon wouldn't have been in anyones interests on the Soviet side of things.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:09 PM
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Due to NATO Forces being tied Europe in V1 I suspect the V1 and V2 Desert Storm would use a vastly different force base.
Good point. I never really thought about that before.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:17 PM
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Does anyone know roughly what percentage of the available forces of the involved nations were used in 91?
And what percentage were occupied elsewhere (particularly Europe)?
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Old 02-03-2010, 01:24 AM
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Due to NATO Forces being tied Europe in V1 I suspect the V1 and V2 Desert Storm would use a vastly different force base. This is why "canon" arguments are often contradictory even within the confines of fully established canon.

Figuring out how NATO juggles forces would be a very interesting exercise. Perhaps a REFORGER run would be in order. Certainly, the weakness of having a Regular Army division hobbled by a National Guard roundout brigade would be exposed by a 1990 REFORGER.

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Old 02-03-2010, 03:19 AM
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The Soviet Union of v1.0 canon and the Soviet Union of 1990 (IRL) are not one in the same, at least not in my book
I'm not trying to say that. But I am willing to argue that the Soviet Union of v1 canon isn't going to be any more successful at reining in Saddam than anyone else.

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As to Saddam not backing down, IRL, he did not have the full weight of the [former] Eastern Bloc leaning on him. The "Soviet Union's" response to Saddam's aggression in 1991 was fairly ambivalent. If a more powerful Soviet Union- like the one in the v1.0 canon- and its satellites (i.e. the Warsaw Pact) were actively pressing him, he may have behaved more prudently.
I'm not saying the canon v1 USSR wouldn't have an interest in stopping Saddam from creating a situation that will get them embroiled in a conflict with the West. I'm just saying they wouldn't be able to stop him.

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True. This is why the Soviets tried to prevent Egypt from attacking Israel in '73
How, exactly, do you see this pressure being applied? What leverage does this canon v1 USSR have that the USSR in 1973 did not when they were dealing with Egypt?

You do have to admit that the Soviets didn't prevent the Egyptians from attacking Israel. All they succeeded in doing wad getting their advisers kicked out of Egypt. Ultimately that helped move Egypt from the Soviet camp to the US camp. It is an example of Soviet inability to control their clients.

Furthermore, the avowed policy of Egypt was to win back the Sinai Peninsula by military force. From 1970-1973 the Soviets, under Brezhnev, knew this was coming. They participated directly with the Egyptians in the so-called War of Attrition over the Sinai Peninsula and even lost fighter pilots who were piloting Egyptian aircraft. They didn't want to sell Egypt their most advanced SAM missiles but Sadat threatened to resign and bring in someone more US-oriented and Brezhnev relented and sold them the SAMs.

Even worse, when Egypt got themselves completely backed into a corner the USSR had to come in and get embroiled in a confrontation with the US which led to the USSR having to back down after the US raised its nuclear defcon level.

So Egypt manipulated the USSR into arming them. Kicked the Soviet advisers out. Attacked Israel against the Sov's wishes. Completely screwed up and then whined to the USSR which got the Sovs into exactly the kind of situation they were trying to avoid.

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and why the Soviet Union [of canon] might very well exert much stronger diplomatic and economic pressure on Saddam to back down and pull out of Kuwait. In this case, the Soviets would put a lot of pressure on Iraq, in part to demonstrate to the world that they can control their clients and, in part, to try to stabilize the region.
The problem I have with your analysis is that I just don't understand who you think this Soviet Union of the v1 canon is. What I mean is, if the powerful Soviet union of 1973 (maybe the pinnacle of Soviet power and prestige), under the leadership of an old Bolshevik like Brehznev, couldn't control Egypt when they had three years of warning... then who are these v1 canon Soviets?

With Saddam the USSR gets no warning. No one did. He just acted on his own without consulting anyone... besides some oblique and frankly dissembling questioning of US Abassador Glaspie... how is the USSR going to fare better when they get no advanced warning and are faced with an fait accomple of Kuwaiti annexation?


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Last edited by sglancy12; 02-05-2010 at 01:21 AM. Reason: removed my self-serving apology
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:02 AM
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Figuring out how NATO juggles forces would be a very interesting exercise. Perhaps a REFORGER run would be in order. Certainly, the weakness of having a Regular Army division hobbled by a National Guard roundout brigade would be exposed by a 1990 REFORGER.

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Think you already did that Web...to quoth your "Storm In Germany" article:

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[III US Corps moves to Europe along with 5th ID(M). Two National Guard formations, 35th ID(M) and 116th ACR are called up and deployed to Europe to take over the duties of VII US Corps. 4th ID(M), which is supposed to transit by air to Europe to draw POMCUS equipment, remains on alert at Ft. Carson, CO. 1st CD, 2/2nd AD and 3rd ACR, all of which are slated for deployment to Europe, are replaced by 49th AD (TXNG), 194th Armd Bde (Sep) and 278th ACR (TNNG) as CONUS-based reserves for air deployment and drawing of POMCUS equipment. The USMC activates 4th Marine Division to take the place of 1st Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, which is deploying to Saudi Arabia.]
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Old 02-03-2010, 12:24 PM
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Does anyone know roughly what percentage of the available forces of the involved nations were used in 91?
And what percentage were occupied elsewhere (particularly Europe)?
The strength of the Regular British Army at the time was around 137,000. According to Wikipedia, the British Army committed approx 43,000 troops to Operation Granby (the UK name for Operations Desert Shield / Storm), although that included a number of Territorials.

In percentage terms, if I've done my sums right you're looking at a figure of somewhere around 30% of the Army being deployed to the Gulf.

We sent two Armoured Brigades plus a number of additional units, so if you're looking at the Cold War still going strong at the time I think that would have seriously weakened the BAOR (normal strength of which was eight Armoured Brigades and one Infantry Brigade).
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:23 PM
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Figuring out how NATO juggles forces would be a very interesting exercise. Perhaps a REFORGER run would be in order. Certainly, the weakness of having a Regular Army division hobbled by a National Guard roundout brigade would be exposed by a 1990 REFORGER.

Webstral
Yeah Desert Storm did open some eyes in the US Army, but it took Operation Iraqi Freedom to learn the entire lesson that they had learned for the what the 4th time in 20 odd years. Starting with Operation Urgent Fury up to Operation Iraqi Freedom the only three or four Divisions were full Deployed in any of them. The other US Divisions had other units borrowed from other to make whole Divisions. In fact, Desert Storm was the first time in which a whole Division command had been deployed.

Even in follow the initial operations of Iraqi Freedom, it was rare that an entire Division is in country. If the entire Division happens to be in country they rarely work as an entirely under the same command. Usually they are split up to make up composite Divisions.

I feel 1997 would see Brigades jumbled around, especially during offensive operations. Units would be left in place when depleted while those units of capable of offensive action would be transferred to the next passing Brigade/Battalion. The only Divisions I can see still being whole by 1998 would be 101st and 82nd Airborne Division where they weren't set up to support heavy troops.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:31 AM
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Think you already did that Web...to quoth your "Storm In Germany" article:
I was hoping I might encourage someone to offer another option. Another pair of eyes might see a possibility I missed. I'm quite pleased that my work is proving of value, though.

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Old 02-04-2010, 12:12 PM
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What really happened and what is the truth of things - what they told us is certainly not half of it and thick layers of balloney added.

But I have a question - wouldnt either side (NATO Or USSR ) choose to nuke the oilfields to smitherenes if it looked likely that teh other side was going to make a succesful conventional take over ?

Dirty bombs,other types of nuclear weapons to make the operations there too difficult?

(I am thinking post TDM wise -before that any of the scenarios mentioned can happen as far as I am concerned )

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Actually, it'd likely be Qusay. He was gathering power behind the scenes, and ran not only the Special Security Organization (SSO) but also the Special Republican Guard. More importantly, he was being groomed by his father to be the successor. Uday was more of a playboy and a public danger (his psychopathic tendencies being well known in Baghdad), to the point of having made numerous non-Baathist enemies, who tried numerous times to kill him. I remember a news story on the two before the invasion, and one source remarked this way: "How do you differentate between the brothers? Simple: Uday kills for jollies. But when Qusay kills, it's business." And it's no secret that before the invasion, both wanted the other dead. Lots of folks were surprised that the two brothers were found together-and died together.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:54 PM
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We all now know that Iraq had a sub par military, however, with both western and Communist sides locked in combat across the world, would Iraq have been strong enough to bully them? Play both sides off against each other?
Could this possibly explain to some degree why their oilfields and production facilities are still in relatively good order in 2000?
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Old 02-04-2010, 07:23 PM
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How, exactly, do you see this pressure being applied? What leverage does this canon v1 USSR have that the USSR in 1973 did not when they were dealing with Egypt?
Well, perhaps an arms embargo, including spare parts for Saddam's existing stockpiles of Soviet-made weaponry. The Soviets would also force their Eastern European clients to follow suit. A collective refusal on the part of the WTO to purchase fuel from Iraq. I honestly don't know how much economic and military logistical pressure the RL Soviet Union and former WTO nations actually placed on Saddam. My impression was that it was minimal, at best.

I do admit that your point about the Soviet's innability to stop their Egyptian clients in 1973 is a good one. IIRC, the Soviets' refusal to allow the Egyptians to use Soviet-supplied SSMs against Irael was a big reason why the Soviet advisors were kicked out.

Maybe- and this is a bit of a stretch- Saddam would have learned something about how an isolated Arab/Muslim nation (i.e. Egypt after the Soviets withdrew their support) fared against the U.S.-supplied Israelis and backed down. I concede that, based on his track record, this is fairly unlikely.

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The problem I have with your analysis is that I just don't understand who you think this Soviet Union of the v1 canon is. What I mean is, if the powerful Soviet union of 1973 (maybe the pinnacle of Soviet power and prestige), under the leadership of an old Bolshevik like Brehznev, couldn't control Egypt when they had three years of warning... then who are these v1 canon Soviets?
Honestly, I haven't made up my mind about who the v1.0 Soviets are but, in my mind, they are closer to the Soviets of RL 1984 than they are to the Soviets of RL 1991. I am somewhat of a Soviet apologist, and an unabashed one at that. You should take a look at my archived In Defense of the Red Army thread (it's listed on the forum thread map) for a better understanding of my thoughts about the Soviet Union in the T2K v1.0 timeline.

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With Saddam the USSR gets no warning. No one did. He just acted on his own without consulting anyone... besides some oblique and frankly dissembling questioning of US Abassador Glaspie... how is the USSR going to fare better when they get no advanced warning and are faced with an fait accomple of Kuwaiti annexation?
Scott (do you mind if I call you by your first name?), I'm worried that you missed part of my first point.

To reitterate, I don't think that the v1.0 Soviets could have prevented the Iraqis from invading Kuwait. I do, however, think that the v1.0 Soviets could have helped compel Saddam to withdraw from Kuwait after the fact but before getting his ass handed to him by the U.S. led coalition. Perhaps, by diplomatic means, the v1.0 Soviets helped Saddam save face- a very important consideration based on his psych profile- which in turn motivated him to pull out. I think that part of the reason he stayed and got spanked IRL was that he didn't want to look like a pussy by backing down without a fight.

Perhaps- and this is my effort to compromise- the v1.0 helped compel Saddam to pull out after a few days of his military in Kuwait getting pounded by coalition airstrikes but prior to the kick-off of the ground campaign.

I'm kind of thinking out loud here.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:21 AM
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Well, perhaps an arms embargo, including spare parts for Saddam's existing stockpiles of Soviet-made weaponry. The Soviets would also force their Eastern European clients to follow suit. A collective refusal on the part of the WTO to purchase fuel from Iraq.
The collective refusal to buy their oil might be a pinch to Iraq (and a boon to Soviet and Romanian oil sectors) but it seems that while the Soviets did not diplomatically support Iraq they did not break their military ties to Iraq. Wikipedia has this to say:

"The Soviet Union was critical of Saddam Hussein's 2 August 1990 invasion and occupation of Kuwait, and supported a United Nations resolution authorizing the use of military force, if necessary, to enforce an arms embargo against Iraq. But the Soviet Union's military support for Hussein also drew substantial criticism from the United States and other Western countries. In Washington, D.C., the Heritage Foundation foreign policy experts Jay P. Kosminsky and Michael Johns wrote on 30 August 1990 that, "While condemning the Iraqi invasion, Gorbachev continues to assist Saddam militarily. By Moscow's own admission, in an 22 August official press conference with Red Army Colonel Valentin Ogurtsov, 193 Soviet military advisors still are training and assisting Iraq's one million-man armed forces. Privately, Pentagon sources say that between 3,000 and 4,000 Soviet military advisors may be in Iraq."

The actual withdrawal of those advisers might have been critical, but since the kinder gentler USSR of RL didn't withdraw them, it's hard to imagine that the more hard-line Stalinist USSR of ver 1 canon would have withdrawn them. In fact, there probably would have been plenty of hard liners who would have pushed for more support of Iraq... not that this would have been a very good idea.

Of course the wild card here would be Red China. If the WTO, NATO and the Arab world are all leaning on Iraq to get out of Kuwait, would China will willing to take up the slack as far as diplomatic of military support. Clearly the RL PRC didn't, but who are these guys running the various canon PRCs?

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I honestly don't know how much economic and military logistical pressure the RL Soviet Union and former WTO nations actually placed on Saddam. My impression was that it was minimal, at best.
I agree it was probably pretty minimal. Many of the former WTO nations were still reeling from the economic shock of independence. However, IIRC the Czechs in RL send some 200 chemical warfare decontamination troops to the Gulf as part of the Coalition Forces. Apparently the Hungarians sent a handful and the Poles sent some 300 as part of a "naval and medical deployment."

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I do admit that your point about the Soviet's innability to stop their Egyptian clients in 1973 is a good one. IIRC, the Soviets' refusal to allow the Egyptians to use Soviet-supplied SSMs against Irael was a big reason why the Soviet advisors were kicked out.
What I read recently (on the admittedly often flawed wikipedia) is the USSR was cajoled into selling the SAMs to Sadat, only to try and head off the invasion by leaking news of Egypt's plans. That, the article claimed, was the reason Sadat expelled his Soviet military advisers.

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Maybe- and this is a bit of a stretch- Saddam would have learned something about how an isolated Arab/Muslim nation (i.e. Egypt after the Soviets withdrew their support) fared against the U.S.-supplied Israelis and backed down. I concede that, based on his track record, this is fairly unlikely.
Agreed.

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Honestly, I haven't made up my mind about who the v1.0 Soviets are but, in my mind, they are closer to the Soviets of RL 1984 than they are to the Soviets of RL 1991.
I agree that the alternative timeline Kremlin, whether ver1, ver2 or homebrew, needs to be made up of old-line communists who remember fondly the days of Brezhnev. Maybe even some neo-Stalinists who want the extreme police state without the cult of personality centered around one man. They want the USSR to be like it was during WWII, untied, strong, moving in one direction with one purpose.

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I am somewhat of a Soviet apologist, and an unabashed one at that. You should take a look at my archived In Defense of the Red Army thread (it's listed on the forum thread map) for a better understanding of my thoughts about the Soviet Union in the T2K v1.0 timeline.
I have and I'm not sure that is what I would call being a Soviet apologist. To be a Soviet apologist you'd have to claim something like "All those Poles at Katyn Forrest clearly had it coming."

No, you see the USSR's military capacity as being closer to it's advertised ability. Closer to what we thought it was in 1984 when the Red Army was staring across the Fulda Gap, rather than how it turned out to be in 1991 when they were humiliated in Chechnyia.

I think the truth of any alternative timeline should rest somewhere between the two. I think the US forces would far better than we expected in many cases, but the USSR wouldn't be brushed aside like Iraq. In my own timeline I have the USSR and China allied and fighting the USA because I think that the USSR couldn't fight a two front war the way the canon describes. I think for civilization to be ground down in a war of attrition, it should be the USA who has to fight on two fronts, forces stretched to the limits. Otherwise the USA would be too successful in the European, Persian Gulf and Korean Theatres and the USSR would go nuclear too soon. And commit more nukes to more targets than the canon states.

I'm not marred to any of the canon, but I'd really prefer to change the absolute minimum number of events for my homebrew.

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Scott, I'm worried that you missed part of my first point.

To reiterate, I don't think that the v1.0 Soviets could have prevented the Iraqis from invading Kuwait. I do, however, think that the v1.0 Soviets could have helped compel Saddam to withdraw from Kuwait after the fact but before getting his ass handed to him by the U.S. led coalition. Perhaps, by diplomatic means, the v1.0 Soviets helped Saddam save face- a very important consideration based on his psych profile- which in turn motivated him to pull out. I think that part of the reason he stayed and got spanked IRL was that he didn't want to look like a pussy by backing down without a fight.
My only point about preventing the invasion was that preventing it from happening seems like it would be easier than forcing a withdrawal after blood, gold, and reputation had already been invested and the deed was done.

I do not deny in any way that the Soviets of any timeline would have an interest in making sure that one of their clients is not militarily humbled by the west. That's just bad P.R... makes the East Bloc look weak.

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Perhaps- and this is my effort to compromise- the v1.0 helped compel Saddam to pull out after a few days of his military in Kuwait getting pounded by coalition airstrikes but prior to the kick-off of the ground campaign.
For the USSR to reign in Saddam would have taken extra-ordinary efforts... like the USSR participating in the air campaign. Then Saddam would have no illusions about hiding under the USSR's skirt. But air campaigns IMHO only work in concert with action on the ground. By the time the ground forces are moving, its too late for Saddam. His army is toast.

But if Saddam could be forced out without a war (air or ground), the near disaster would certainly give the USSR a motive behind their ver 1 coup in The RDF Sourcebook that unseats Saddam in 1991. Saddam is not named but the books says the government of Iraq is replaced.

Also, being forced out of Kuwait might teach Saddam a lesson... never attack a western ally. He got away with attacking Iran (at least diplomatically) because Iran was a pariah state allied with no one. Kuwait was too important internationally. The RDF Sourcebook has Iraq and Syria drifting towards war in 1991. Maybe Saddam decided that he should take on a Soviet Client state thinking that the US wouldn't get involved?

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Old 02-05-2010, 04:13 PM
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I think that there's a danger in predicting what would have happened in the Twilight version of WWIII based on what's happened since the publication of the v1.0 timeline. That's why I'm hestitant to incorporate Desert Storm into my T2K alternate history.

For example, I think there's a danger in assuming that the U.S. would have cleaned house in Europe based on its quick and relatively painless defeat of the Iraqi army in '91 and '03. Or assuming that the Soviet Union would have been easily defeated in Europe based on the piss-poor performance of the Russian Federation military during its first go-round in Chechnya.

If we've learned anything since 2001, it's that the U.S. is not invincible. We've been in Afghanistan since '01 and Iraq since '03 and there's really no end in sight. With our current all-volunteer force stretched dangerously thin as it is, I'm not sure how one could argue that we could spank the "old"Soviet Union/WTO in Europe, let alone hold our own in a two-theatre war with the Russian Federation/USSR and China. The correlation of forces for the latter is just insanely one sided. But I digress.

I think most people here are of the school of thought that the v1.0 timeline can be reconciled with the real-world events of the early '90s. In my mind, that's a justification of the v2.2 timeline. I know that I am in the minority but I think that the divergence needs to occur well before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

There's just too much historical gymnastics going on to try to align everything so that v1.0 canon works with historical events that took place after its establishment. Many have tried but, IMO, all of the results are unsatisfactory. A U.S. military with Cold War era funding and Gulf War experience taking on the weak, decrepit, last-legs Soviet military is not a fair fight, at least in the opening stages, and it makes the v1.0 canon seem silly. For v1.0 to remain valid, the USSR must remain solvent and healthy.

Someday, when I have the free time to do it right, I am going to do my homework and come up with a plausible scenario that explains/justifies the continued existence of a fairly robust Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact through the nineties. Right now, I don't have the knowledge to do so and do so realistically.

Why do I feel the need to defend and preserve the v1.0 timeline? Because that's what I grew up with. When I was a kid, the Russians were the bad guys- Red Storm Rising, Red Dawn, Team Yankee, Spies Like Us, If the Russians Love Their Children Too, Rambo III, Rocky IV, James Bond ad infinitum... I don't want a "reimagined" T2K. That's why I despise the v2.2 timeline and why I probably won't ever pick up T2K13 or whatever. I don't hate Russians but they're the iconic T2K enemy. Call me a dinosaur but that's the way I feel about it. If I want an "updated" T2K, I'll buy myself a copy of Modern Warfare 2.

Sorry for the rant. I don't know what came over me.
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Author of Twilight 2000 adventure modules, Rook's Gambit and The Poisoned Chalice, the campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, the gear-book, Baltic Boats, and the co-author of Tara Romaneasca, a campaign sourcebook for Romania, all available for purchase on DriveThruRPG:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...--Rooks-Gambit
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