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  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Over the years since the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Southern Gulf states and the US have developed a de facto strategic partnership based on a common need to deter and defend against any threat from Iran, deal with regional instability in countries like Iraq and Yemen, counter the threat of terrorism and extremism, and deal with the other threats to the flow of Gulf petroleum exports.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Defense Policy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Arabia, North America
  • Author: James Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Gulf has become a flashpoint for cyber conflict. Cyberspace has become an arena for covert struggle, with the United States, Israel and other nations on one side, and Iran and Russia on the other. Iran has far outpaced the GCC states in developing its cyber capabilities, both for monitoring internal dissent and deploying hackers to disrupt or attack foreign targets. Several such attacks over the past two years were likely either directed or permitted by Iranian state authorities. Even if Iran holds back from offensive actions as nuclear talks progress, the growth in Iranian capabilities remains a potential security threat for other Gulf states. The GCC countries have begun to develop their defensive capabilities, but they will need to expand their defenses and collaborate more effectively to deter future threats.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Defense Policy, Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Far too much of the analysis of Iran's search for nuclear weapons treats it in terms of arms control or focuses on the potential threat to Israel. In reality, Iran's mix of asymmetric warfare, conventional warfare, and conventionally armed missile forces have critical weaknesses that make Iran anything but the hegemon of the Gulf. Iran's public focus on Israel also disguises the reality that its primary strategic focus is to deter and intimidate its Gulf neighbors and the United States – not Israel. It has made major progress in creating naval forces for asymmetric warfare and developing naval missiles, but it has very limited air-sea and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (IS) capabilities. It lacks modern conventional land, air, air defense and sea power, has fallen far behind the Arab Gulf states in modern aircraft and ships, and its land forces are filled with obsolete and mediocre weapons that lack maneuver capability and sustainability outside Iran. Iran needs nuclear weapons to offset these facts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: During the coming months, the US must reshape its strategy and force posture relative to Iraq and the Gulf States. It must take account of its withdrawal of most of its forces from Iraq, and whether or not it can give real meaning to the US­Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. It must deal with steadily increasing strategic competition with Iran, it must restructure its post-­Iraq War posture in the Southern Gulf and Turkey, and define new goals for strategic partnerships with the Gulf states and its advisory and arms sales activity. It must decide how to best contain Iran, and to work with regional friends and allies in doing so. In the process, it must also reshape its strategy for dealing with key states like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Yemen.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Arabia, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This draft analysis is be circulated for comment as part of the CSIS “Saudi Arabia Enters the 21 st Century Project.” It will be extensively revised before final publication.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the Gulf War, and the loss of some 40% of its army and air force order of battle, Iraq remains the most effective military power in the Gulf. It still has an army of around 375,000 men, and an inventory of some 2,200 main battle tanks, 3,700 other armored vehicles, and 2,400 major artillery weapons. It also has over 300 combat aircraft with potential operational status. At the same time, Iraq has lacked the funds, spare parts, and production capabilities to sustain the quality of its consolidated forces. Iraq has not been able to restructure its overall force structure to compensate as effectively as possible for its prior dependence on an average of $3 billion a year in arms deliveries. It has not been able to recapitalize any aspect of its force structure, and about two-thirds of its remaining inventory of armor and aircraft is obsolescent by Western standards. Iraq has not been able to fund and/or import any major new conventional warfare technology to react to the lessons of the Gulf War, or to produce any major equipment -- with the possible exception of limited numbers of Magic “dogfight” air-to-air missiles. In contrast, Saudi Arabia has taken delivery on over $66 billion worth of new arms since 1991, Kuwait has received $7.6 billion, Iran $4.3 billion, Bahrain $700 million, Oman $1.4 billion, Qatar $1.7 billion, and the UAE $7.9 billion, Equally important, the US has made major upgrades in virtually every aspect of its fighter avionics, attack munitions, cruise missile capabilities, and intelligence, reconnaissance, and targeting capabilities. Iraq's inability to recapitalize and modernize its forces means that much of its large order of battle is no obsolescent or obsolete, has uncertain combat readiness, and will be difficult to sustain in combat. It also raises serious questions about the ability of its forces to conduct long-range movements or maneuvers and then sustain coherent operations. Iraq has demonstrated that it can still carry out significant ground force exercises and fly relatively high sortie rates. It has not, however, demonstrated training patterns that show its army has consistent levels of training, can make effective use of combined arms above the level of some individual brigades, or has much capability for joint land-air operations. It has not demonstrated that it can use surface-to-air missiles in a well-organized way as a maneuvering force to cover its deployed land forces. Iran remains a major threat to Iraq. Iran lost 40-60% of its major land force equipment during the climactic battles of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988. It has, however, largely recovered from its defeat by Iraq and now has comparatively large forces. Iran now has an army of around 450,000 men – including roughly 125,000 Revolutionary Guards, and an inventory of some 1,600 main battle tanks, 1,500 other armored vehicles, and 3,200 major artillery weapons. It also has over 280 combat aircraft with potential operational status. Iran has been able to make major improvements in its ability to threaten maritime traffic through the Gulf, and to conduct unconventional warfare. Iran has also begun to acquire modern Soviet combat aircraft and has significant numbers of the export version of the T-72 and BMP. Iran has not, however, been able to offset the obsolescence and wear of its overall inventory of armor, ships, and aircraft. Iran has not been able to modernize key aspects of its military capabilities such as airborne sensors and C4I/BM, electronic warfare, land-based air defense integration, beyond-visual-range air-to-air combat, night warfare capabilities, stand-off attack capability, armored sensors and fire control systems, artillery mobility and battle management, combat ship systems integration, etc. In contrast, no Southern Gulf state has built up significant ground forces since the Gulf War, and only Saudi Arabia has built up a significant air force. Only two Southern Gulf forces – those of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – have a significant defense capability against Iraq. Saudi Arabia has made real progress in improving its 75,000 man National Guard. Its army, however, lacks effective leadership, training, and organization. It now has an army of around 75,000 men –, and an inventory of some 1,055 main battle tanks, 4,800 other armored vehicles, and 500 major artillery weapons. It also has around 350 combat aircraft with potential operational status. The army has made little overall progress in training since the Gulf War, can probably only fight about half of its equipment holdings in the Iraqi border area (and it would take 4-6 weeks to deploy and prepare this strength), and has declined in combined arms capability since the Gulf War. It has little capability for joint land-air operations. Its individual pilots and aircraft have experienced a growing readiness crisis since the mid-1990s. It has lacked cohesive leadership as a fighting force since that time and cannot fight as a coherent force without US support and battle management.. Kuwait now has an army of only around 11,000 men, and an active inventory of some 293 main battle tanks, 466 other armored vehicles, and 17 major artillery weapons. Only its 218 M-1A2s are really operational and only a portion of these are in combat effective forces. It has only 82 combat aircraft and 20 armed helicopters with potential operational status, and only 40 are modern F-18s. It is making progress in training, but has not shown it can make effective use of combined arms above the battalion level, and has little capability for joint land-air operations. Its individual pilots and aircraft have moderate readiness, but cannot fight as a coherent force without US support and battle management. There has been little progress in standardization and interoperability; advances in some areas like ammunition have been offset by the failure to integrate increasingly advanced weapons systems. Showpiece exercises and purchases disguise an essentially static approach to force improvement which is heavily weapons oriented, and usually shows little real-world appreciation of the lessons of the Gulf War, the “revolution in military affairs,” and the need for sustainability. Current arms deliveries are making only token progress in correcting the qualitative defects in Southern Gulf forces, and no meaningful progress in being made towards integrating the Southern Gulf countries under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: This draft analysis is be circulated for comment as part of the CSIS “Saudi Arabia Enters the 21 st Century Project.” It will be extensively revised before final publication.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Arabia, Saudi Arabia