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"What Would a Saudi-Iran War Look Like?" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2017 9:30 p.m. PST

"When asked to address the question of what a Saudi-Iran war would look like, my first instinct is to ask the reader to look around because it is already happening. As the futurist William Gibson noted, "the future is already here it's just not very evenly distributed." Already, Saudi Arabia and Iran are killing each other's proxies, and indirectly are killing each other's advisors and troops, in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia's Shiite Eastern Province.

The future is likely to look similar. The existing pattern will intensify, eventually spill over in a short, sharp direct clash, and then sink back down again to the level of proxy wars in other people's territories.

The preferred method of conflict between these states has for a long time been proxy warfare. Since its devastating eight-year war against Iraq, the leadership in Tehran has demonstrated a strong preference for acting through proxies like Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iraqi Shiite militias, and Hamas. Lacking a strong military for most of its existence, the state of Saudi Arabia has likewise used proxy warfare to strike painful blows against its enemies, notably against Egypt's occupation forces in the 1962-1970 Yemeni civil war and against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Both these players try to get others to do most of their fighting and dying for them…."


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Stryderg03 Jan 2017 10:08 a.m. PST

A mess?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2017 10:24 a.m. PST



doug redshirt03 Jan 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

Hopefully the end of the spread of the extreme radical school of Islam that the Saudis finance and spread through their financed Mosques and schools. I still remember who bombed the World trade centers and it wasn'tthe IIranians.

Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2017 12:11 p.m. PST

If it comes down to open warfare I suspect it would look a lot like a US-Iran war unfortunately.

Legion 403 Jan 2017 5:05 p.m. PST

If it could settle the Sunni-Shia conflict … It may be worth it. But for now … Both are very big supporters of islamic terrorism … and both have too much US and other nations' blood on their hands.

saltflats192903 Jan 2017 9:48 p.m. PST


Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Jan 2017 12:07 a.m. PST

Article is behind a subscriber/login wall, evidently.

I would expect the Iranians have the capacity to overrun the eastern Saudi oil regions out of southern Iraq. The Saudi military has not distinguished itself lately. So the princes would come screaming bloody murder to Uncle Sam and hope for US intervention to bail them out (much as the Kuwaitis did when Iraq conquered them).

Mako11 Inactive Member04 Jan 2017 3:11 p.m. PST

Wait a few months or years, and you just might get to find out.

Interesting matchup, with better tech for the Saudis, and lots of it, but few troops to use it (especially, well dedicated/trained ones).

Iran, older, worse kit, but fanatical die-hards, and whose leaders fully embrace human-wave tactics for such mundane ops as even clearing minefields.

I suspect the Saudis will most likely win, assuming they get and can keep US backing, AND if they can convince some to fight well for them, due to the need for survival, or because they are being well paid.

An effective decapitation strike on the Iranian leadership will be key to keep this from dragging out for years, if not more than a decade, if that can be managed.

paulgenna Supporting Member of TMP04 Jan 2017 6:32 p.m. PST

Considering the Saudi's history, a bus running over a speed bump with the Iranians being the bus.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Jan 2017 7:01 p.m. PST

An interesting element might be the "fifth column" influence of the Shiites in the Persian Gulf states, who might cooperate with Iran against the Saudis in various ways (sabotage, intel, possible guerilla activity). The Saudis have a history of suppressing Shiites in their own country as well as their Gulf puppet states.

But primarily and most certainly -- skyrocketing oil prices of maybe hundreds of dollars a barrel would result in massive inflationary pressures across the globe.

Mako11 Inactive Member05 Jan 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

I'm sure various American, Canadian, Russian, and Venezuelan oil workers would really appreciate that.

European buyers no doubt less so.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP05 Jan 2017 7:03 a.m. PST

Saudi's play their Pakistani nuke option when things go south.

PMC31704 May 2017 5:44 a.m. PST

I think they would find open war difficult, unless the two sides agreed to use Iraq as a battleground.

Legion 405 May 2017 7:23 a.m. PST

Bottom line IMO, with the Saudis being, it appears, to be the torch bearers for the Sunni and Iran being the same for the Shia. If they are keeping with their hard core religious and geopolitical outlooks, etc. … It would be very bloody. Even more so possibly than the Iran-Iraq was that lasted about a decade in the '80s.

Again, this SA vs. Iran may settle the age old Sunni vs. Shia conflict. However based on the level of violence this type of "dogmatic" war has demonstrated before. There may be a lot/some form(s) of "cleansing" going on between the too main combatants.

And of course with both being wedded to a belief system that says it's your duty from god, etc. To kill those that don't believe the same as your faction does, etc. These are the last two belligerents you'd want to have nucs … Call me crazy …

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