Soviet Forces and Capabilities in the Southern Theater of Military Operations
National Intelligence Estimate
SOVIET FORQES AND CAPABILITIES IN THE SOUTHERN THEATER OF MILITARY OPERATIONS
T.U. eln il- eieniuloaol OM* Eirirutc
THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THC DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS, EXCEPT AS NOTED IN THE TEXT.
The following intcDigence organizations participated In iho preparation of the Estimate*-.
The Carrol kfaSganca Aoaney.t-te&oeoc.eew.ty Aoency. end theoniio'^e, of ika Oeporlmenl ot Slote.
IHe Aitrtfonl Chief of SMI loraportneeJ ol meDirector o( NovdffKHinwnl ol theAti.Xoor Chief ol Slofl,Drporimoni of rhe AirDirector of In'eCpenca,
Soviet Objectives in the Persian Cutf
Spoons In Which the SovietsResort lo
Soviet Forces in tlie Sonheater cJ Military
Iranian Reactions to US
The Culf Arab
Considerations of Climate and
Soviet Miliury Options and
Factors Influendni Future Soviet CawNIitle. In tbe Culf
ANNEX A: ILLUSTRATIVE SOVIET
.ANNEX B: INTELLIGENCE
This Estimate assesses thc capability of the Soviet Union to conduct military operations in thc Southern Theater1 over thc next five years. It describes the forces available, likely objectives, and possible scenarios under which the Soviets might pursue military options.
A decision by the Soviets to initiate operations in this theater would be heavily influenced by their perceptions of the likely reactions of the United States and regional countries, including the capacity of these countries tooviet move. One of the many factors that could affect both the attitudes of the states in the regionoviet attack and their ability to resist is the readiness of the United States to provide assistance or to intervene. However, the options available to the United States areart of this analysis.
The likely attitudes of key regional states are addressed in context with assumed US support where appropriate. In addition, we examine the military capabilities of selected countries in thc region and assess their capacity tooviet attack.
In assessing Soviet capabilities and likely options, we ascribe to Soviel planners the following assumptions concerning US policy and military capabilities:
US policy would be to takethe use of militaryprotect vital US interests tn the Persian Culf area.
The United States would have thc capacity to conduct airstrikes against Soviet forces operating in Iran or elsewhere in the Persian Gulffrom aircraft carriers or regional landelsewhere notwithstanding.
This Estimate was produced under the auspices of the National Intelligence Officer for Ceneral Purpose Forces at the suggestion of the Commandant of thc Marine
' The- boundaricr of lhe Soviet Southernot MfliUry Operation! (TVD)ram eiiteen Turkey tbrwih trio and lhe Fenua Cull irgbm. AffHanljtjo. FatirUn. IndU. and oonOeuoui wHen. Tbe boundirlei eould cifend cut aiepal. Biitom. uk! Uieo( Cliloi.OS rxAIIeailoru aba referred io thb thater ai iSn Svrthrvlero TVD.
The maior long-term Soviel goal in (lie Pcisian Coif region is to move the Gulf statesro-Westernro-Soviet orientation. The Soviets seek to enhance their influence in lhe area to. the point at wliich Moscow could exercise some dcgice of conlrol over Persian Gulf oil. with resultant economic and political leverage over Western Europe and Japan. Since tho fall of lhe Shah of Iran and the invasion of Afghanistan, the Soviets have developed new strategic concepts for military campaigns In thc Persian Gulf region, and undertaken some modest improvements in their forces in the southern USSH.
Moscow almost certainly would prefer to achieve Its objectives without resorting to arms, and will probably seek toilitary confrontation with the United States. The Soviets probably believe that any military move against Iran that was perceived as threatening Western access to Persian Gulf oil wouldS military response. We therefore do notoviet military move into Iran or elsewhere in the Gulf region likely under present circumstances.
Thc Sovieis would consider military action if thc United States introduced forces into Iran or was perceived to be preparing to intervene- In thb case, the Soviets probably would limit anyat least initially, to the northern provinces bordering the USSR and avoid engaging US forces:
Soviets also might consider military interventionro-Moscow group were to seize power and "request" assistance, or if Iran were to fragmentumber of regional entities, especially if pro-Weslern elements gained power In provinces bordering the USSR. In this case, the Soviets might calculate that they could present the Westall accomplibarring any Western military counter.
of theseikely prospect under presentIn any scenario, the Soviets would expect their use of force to be met with considerable Iranian opposition.
Thc Soviets have sufficient ground and tactical air forces (but more limited naval forces) to conduct military campaigns of varying scope and intensity in the Southerna full-scale invasion ofsignificant reinforcement from otheris, without using forces currently located opposite NATO and China:
Forces, In thc absenceajor campaign against easternorce ofctive motorized rifle and lankfrom the Caucasus and Turkestan would be available. They could be augmented by several divisions from the central USSR or one or more airborne divisions. The availability of forces in Afghanistan would be contingent upon the assumption of their missions by Afghan or other Soviet forces. Units in the southern USSR arc among the least well equipped in thc Soviet army, but, given (he nature of the opposiUon tliey would face, the Soviets probably see no compelling reason to speed up the pace of force modernization. These ground forces also areow state of readiness and would have to undergo large-scale mobilization and preparation before they could undertake offensive operations. The Soviets would be unlikely to bringarge number of ground force units from outside the area: essentially Soviet planning envisions the employment of those forces stationed in the vicinity of the Southern TVD, possibly reinforced with units from the central USSR and tbe Central Asian Military District.
Tactical Air Forces.actical aircraftlocated in the military districts opposite the region could provide substantial support to ground operations. Thc range of Soviet tactical aircraft based In thc USSR and Afghanistan would constrain the ability of Soviet air forces to provide support to ground units throughout Iran until Iranian airfields had been captured.
Naval Forces. Thc core of Soviet naval forces that would be likely to be involvedersian Gulf campaign is thencluding one submarine and four or five surfacethe Indian Ocean Squadron, which in peacetime routinely monitor Western naval movements in the Arabian Sea. Before the Squadron could meaningfullyoviet land campaign, it would require substantialIf the Soviets decided to augment the Squadron, tliey
probably would draw on forcea deployed lo lhc Soulh China Sea. normallyoessels. Kurlhcr augmentation wouldrawdown of assets in the Pacific Or Black Sea Fleets lhat have other priority missions against NATO. Cliina. and Ihc United Stales. We believe these missions would preclude major deployments to the Indian Ocean, since lhe ships could not quickly return home. Moreover, thc Soviets probably would consider recalling some units already deployed to the Indian Ocean and South China Sea in anticipation of wider hostilities, particularly if US carriers were not present. Even if augmented, the Squadron could not assure Soviet control of thc Arabian Sea. The lack of land-based air cover in the area would seriously undercut any attempt by Soviet naval units to block thc Strait of Hormuz. Also, thc Soviets haveimited capacity for amphibious operations and could not control the Culf by seizing littoral areas even against marginal indigenousWhile the Soviets could mine thc Strait by air or submarine, we do not believe they could control thcair or sea areas sufficiently to keep the Strait dosed if Western nationsong-term, full-scale minesweep-ing operation.
If the Soviets anticipated Western military oppositionampaign in the Southern TVD. particularly from US aircraft carriers, they probably wouldequirement for redeploying strategic and/or naval aviation assets to bases in the southern USSR and substantially increasing tlie number of general purpose submarines deployed to the Indian Ocean. The extent of such air and naval deployments probably would depend primarily on how the Soviets assessed the risk of escalationeneral war, because these forces are assigned priority tasks in other TVDs against NATO and China. On balance, wc believe the Soviets probably would view any conflict with US forces in this region as posingrisk of escalation and therefore would bc reluctant to commit substantial strategic air or naval assets for operations In thc Southern TVD.'
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The Iranians, given their revolutionarynd heightened nationalism, would almost certainly strongly resist any Soviet invasion. The reaction of other indigenousTurkey. Iraq, andSoviet military operations in the region would depend largely upon thr: scenario and thc degree to which tlieir territories were threatened:
Although regular and paramilitary Iranian forces could not. hy themselves,oviet invasion, they could delay and complicate it and make any subsequent occupation costly. Iranian capabilities, however, have been .degraded by attrition from the war with Iraq, and thc availability of forces would be dependent upon the status of that conflict.
ground forces in eastern Turkey couldredible defenseimited Soviet attack, but would not be strong enough to conduct significant offensive operations against Soviet forces in Iran. Turkish air forces, however, particularly if augmented by units from western Turkey, could attack the flanks of any Soviet force moving into northwest Iran, as could US air forces if they were permitted to operate from bases in Turkey.
armed forces are large but neither equipped nor positioned to defendoviet attack, and probably would not attack Soviet forces in Iran as long as they did not violate Pakistan's borders. While limited cross-border operations could occur, we do not believe the Soviets would invade Pakistan in conjunction with either an attack into Iran or operations in Afghanistan: they would have little to gain and probably view the riskS military response as high.
The Soviets probably would see Uttle danger of Iraqi Interventionoviet-Iranian conflict. In thc event Soviet forces attempted to pass through Iraq to continue an offensive into Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, however, the Iraqis probably would resist. Although Iraq could notoviet drive lo the Arabian Peninsula, its forces could certainly slow it down, providing additional time for Western reaction and forcing the Soviets to commitforces to thc campaign.
The armed forces of the Culf Arab states couldsignificant resistanceoviet drive down the western littoral of the Persian Culf. although they could delay the Soviet advance. In concert with US forces and those of oilierfrom the Middlethey couldseful contribution to the defense of the Arabian Peninsula.
As long as Ayatollah Khomeini is alive, Iran's clerical regime would reject US intervention on its behalf. If the United Slates intervened nevertheless, the only organized military threat would be likely to come from the regular army and the Revolutionary Guard, but many of those forces would have been redeployed to the north against thc Soviets and have little logistic capability to Quickly move south to counter US forces. Nevertheless, Iran is likely to have several divisions positioned in the oil-rich Khuzestan Province in anticipationuperpower move to divide Iran. Wc arc unsure of the level of opposition to the United States among the Iranian populace, but believe it could range from severe among the poorer urban population to possible support from some merchant or tribal groups. In rural areas, the sparse populace might well be indifferent to US forces.
Possible Soviet military options range from limited attacks into Iran, Pakistan, or eastern Turkeyull-scale invasion of the Persian Gulf region, including the oil-producing countries along the western littoral.
We do not believe the Soviets are now capable of conducting orquick grab" of the Strait of Horrouz by airborne/airmobile assault in isolationarger campaign. This would be particularly so if they were to be opposed by US naval or tactical air forces. Nor do we believe that Soviet capabilities will improve to the extent that this wouldiable option in the next few years. We believe the Soviets wouldS military response tolear challenge to vital Western interests. Although this appears toery high-risk option for the Soviets, it must be considered.
A quick seizure of lhc Khuzestan oilfields by airborne assault isiable Soviet Option:
Because the oilfields are dispersedarge area, the Soviets would havo to commit virtually all of their airborne divisions toseful degree of control.
Because of limited airlift, the operation would have to be conducted in siageseriod of weeks. The airborne force would be out of the range of tactical fighter support and wouldarge concentration of Iranian armor and infantry.
Until an overland linkup could be effectedinimum of sixhe force would have to be supplied entirely by air. The Soviets do not have the capacityustained airlift of this magnitude.
The Soviets clearly have the capacity to quickly occupyin northwestern Iran, eilher as an independent operation or as an adjunct to campaigns in other theaters, mduding NATO and China. This is their most feasible option politically and militarily:
Soviets might feel that thc United States would be less likely to respond to an attack that did not clearly threaten vital Western interests.
force requirements would be relativelyfive to seventhe operation would be the easiest to support logistically. Although thc Soviets probably could occupy the area in one to three weeks, they could not secure it completely and would have to be prepared toong war of attrition as Iran shifted forces northward.
Depending on thc level of resistance, occupation of Azarbayjan could allow the Soviets secure routes to threaten Tehran and access to additional airfields. Although it would not afford them control over Iranian oil, it could well increase Soviet influence in the Gulf region if thc West did not respond.
On the otheroviet move Into Azarbayjan might cause severe damage to Soviet relations not only with the Culf nations but also with other Middle East countries.
If thc risks associated with this option are low, however, so too are tlie potential gains for the Soviets, except to the extent that it would posture them for subsequent operations deeper into Iran. If. however, they restricted their invasion to Azarbayjan, they
would noi markedly improve lhcir capabilily lo execute other limited options, such as operations against the Strail of Hormuz or the Khuzestan oilfields. To attainapabilily. thc Soviets would need to extend their operations well into central and eastern Iran
Faced with only indigenous opposition, lhc Soviets have thc capacity to conduct an overland operation via Afghanistan Io seize an Iranian or Pakistani port on the Culf of Oman or Arabian Sea. Anyagainsi these ports, however, would clearly threaten Western interests in the Culf region;
Soviets would have to weigh lhe risk of engaging US forces, particularly in an area where they could regard the United States as holding the tactical advantage, against the limited gains afforded by possession of either facility. On balance, we believe this would be an unattractive option for the Soviets, cither as an independent operation or as partroader NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict.
The Soviets couldull-scale invasion of Iran. It would be an extremely difficult operation toa scale larger than any since World Warthey would have lo assume that it would leadilitary confrontation with the United States:
An attack of this magnitude would require on the order ofoivisions, or virtually all Soviel ground units in the theater, andew divisions from the central USSR and the Central Asian MD as reinforcements. Substantial aviation assets also would be required. Major constraints would includeterrain, difficulties in providing logistic support, and thc short combat radii of tactical fighters.
The Soviets would require alonth's preparation for this campaign. Against limiled Iranian opposition, they probably could occupy the Khuzestan oilfields and the ports and oil facilities on the north coast of the Persian Culf in aboul six weeks; againsi stiff resistance it could take in excess of three montlis. Gaining effective control of the country, however, wouldong-term proposition.
We believe that, in the caseull-scale Soviet invasion of Iran, thc Intelligence Community would probably provide at
leastays' notification lhat the Soviets were makingthat could lead to an invasion.
An occupation of Iran, cilher in conjunction wiih orreludear with NATO, does noi appear to offer much to the Soviets:
If lhc Soviet aim were to deny Persian Culf oil to NATO into degrade its capability to wage war, ihey could do so much more quickly and efficiently by conducting strategic air atlacks againsi thc tanker loading facilities in the Culf ports.
Another possible aim.reludeATO-Warsaw Pact war, would be to divert potential US reinforcements for NATO lo the Persian Culf. We cannot, however, judge how lhe Soviets would assess thc viability of such an option. Moreover, the Soviets could not be assured, of how the United States would respond or if. in fact, any significant number of US forces would actually be diverted to this area
In the absenceestern responseoviet invasion of Iran, the Soviets probably could occupy" thc western littoral of the PersianKuwait toan additionaloivisionsotal ofoivisions for the entire campaign.
Those factors that will weigh most heavily on Moscow's future capacity to conduct military operations in the Persian Culf region will be thc status of regional conflicts and the degree to which Moscow commits resources to enhance its own force capabilities, especially those for air support and tlie command and control necessary for conducting rapid, continuous combined-arms operations throughout the theater:
If the Soviet posilion in Afghanistan improves, some forces could be freed for operaUons elsewhere and Soviet lines of communication would be more secure.ajor improvement of Soviet air and logistic facilities inthe construction of new bases in thefacilitate Soviet military operations in theTVD.
Improvements anticipated in Soviet tactical aviation by the lateaerial refueling capabilities for now fighter-bombers and productionew aerial
make an airfield hi southwestern Afghanistan more threatening. If operated with tankers from airfields in Afghanistan, lactical aircraft could strike targets throughout most of Southwest Asia.
An end lo the war between (ran and Iraq would improve lheof both countries toovietin the long term, as both recovered from the war. Any postwar redeployment of Iranian units to northern Iran wouldoviet invasion of Azarbayian more costly
Events ol live panear* Iiave considerably altered polilical alignments in lhe Middle tail and South Aila The Britiih decision4 to pull out of Suez signified the end of any meaningful Weston milnaiv presence in ihe region Iraq's withdrawal maiked the end of lhe Baghdad fact organisation and its 'replacement9 bvalliance of the United Kingdom. Turkey. Iran, andwhich languished in limbo lorears until il wis dissolved During the latter part of the periodespecially after the Turkish invasion ofbetween the United Slates and Turkeysteadily. As Western Influence In lhe area declined, however, the dependence of Western nations on Persian Culf oil Increased. Tbis becameclear during3 oil embargo. Beginning with tbe fall of the Shah of Iran Ineries of events occurred in Southwest Asia that caused the United States and the Soviet Union to focus Increased attention on lhe Persian Culf region, to assess and enhance their capacity for miliiary operations in the area, and to plan for the contingencyoviet-US confrontation over Persian Culf oil. White these events have somewhat allered the strategic balance In the area, tlieir overall effect Ins been more lo destabilize the region than to shift the military balance sharply in favor of either superpower.
The demise of theegimeet gain for the Soviet Union, because It eliminated Iran's role asro-Western staletabilising regional force, and drastically reduced US Influence In the Culf region Although the SovieU have had virtually no success in influencing Iranian policy under Khomeini, the situation In Iran remains unstable, and newfor the Soviets could develop al any lime, especially upon llie Ayalollaheath
Tlse secondSoviet invasion ofat the cod ofhad mixed results. On the one hand, Moscow has accomplished Itsofubservient regime on Its south-em border Moreover, hyilitaryin Afghanistan, lhe Soviets have Improved their
posture for further operations in the Culf region, particularly against southeast Iran and Pakistan. On tbe other hind, tbe invasion hu involved polilical and military costs llS announcementolicy ofnecessary withmove into Ihe Culf region that could threaten Western access to Culf oil and the development of forces to implement Ihis policy The Uniied Stairs aho has been brought back inlo tbe leaion indirectly through its renewed security iclatioaship withIn addition. Soviet aggression in Afghanistan has resulted In renewed suspicion of Soviet intentions that could make lhe introduction of US forces into Use Culf lesion more acceptable to regional powers
oviel troops have been committedonflict in Afghanistan, which offers littleof near-term resolutionubstantial increase in Soviet forces. Should thc Soviets succeed in consolidating iheir position In Afghanistan andihe area under firm control, however, theirfor attaining long term objectives in lhe region will be enhinced considerably.
5 The war between Iran and Iraq itself itomplicating factor and has both positive and adverse implications for Soviet ambitions in Southwest Asia. In Out il is Inherently desta bill ling, lhe war could Create new opportunities for Moscow in the area. The war. however, also has created persistent difficulties in Soviet reUtions with both Iran and Iraq. Following its initial neutrality. Moscow lifted an embargo on arms deliveries to both countries In the springubsequent deliveries to Iran were extremely modest as compared with deliveries to Iraq, primarily because of existing irms contracts with Iraq. Dy thc springbeconvinced lhal relations with Iran were going nowhere and concerned that Iran might win thea new arms agreement with Iraq. Tlicir tilt toward Baghdad became even more pronounced when Iran Invaded Iraq in2 Iran denounced Moscow's endorsementN Security Council resolution callingease-fire and withdrawal of forces, condemned Soviet provision of
weaponsi aq, snd frcqueiilly charges lhal (lie United Stales and tlie USSR aie coordinating iheii positions Soviet-Iianian relations, thus, are unlikely lo Improve iv lonalhe wai cotfiimci and Moscoweaponi lo Iraq Tbe Iranian crackdown on the Tudeh Commu noi Party in3 aUoconlnb-uled to the lieexe in Soviet-Iranian relation!
6 In mm. lhe event* of lhc pait four yean have served to destabilize 'he situation in the Persian Culf region and to underscore lhe geoslrategic iinpoilance of the urearincipal arena for Soviet-US coin pet'Die potential for military confronlation between the superpowers in the area has increaied comidera-blv
Soviet Objectives in lhe Persian Gulf Region
he major long-term Soviet coal In the Persian Coif reclon It to stove ibe Culf italearo-Wat emro-Soviet orientation to enhance Soviet influence In the area to the point at which Motcow could nru lac tome degree of control over Persian Culf oilesultant leverage overroce and Japan. Moscow is clearly aware that Ihe West European nations, Japan, and,esser eitenl, the United Slates are dependent upon Cull oil, and thai any attempt to deny there that oil bv force would be tantamount to an act of war
& We do notoviet miliiary move Into Iran or elsewhere in the Culf region likely under the piesent circumstances. More likely. Motcow willto focus on ensuring Iran's continued anti-US orientation The Soviets will strive to promote better Soviet-Iranian relations, despite their marked tack of success In this area to date At tlve same time, however. Moscow will seek to reconstitute pro-Soviet leftist element. In Iran and to court moderate elementsiew lo the eventual emergencero-Soviet government after Khomeini- The Soviets will continue the propaganda war. dwelling on the "massive- and 'aggressive" US naval deployments in the Cull area, and on thc eataWisbosenl ol USrCENTCOM Should opportunities arise, Moscow will continue to act lo eiploll Instability In the region to lis advantage, to undermine US and Western Influence, and toreater voice In mitten affecting the security of the Cull region.
cannot rule oul llie possibility ol Soviel usein tlw area, especially if tlie situationThe Soviet! have occupied portionstwice before,0 and duinsg World Warrefutes lo lecognuenilateralof lhal part of1 Soviet-Persianpermit! thc Soviet Union lo intervene withIranhirden tens lhetrritort More important, the Soviet!ground and air forces in thecontiguous lo Iran Although they havethe pace of modernization of thesebelieve ihey have,evelopedtheir employment in the Culf region
Situations in Which llw Soviets Might Resort lo Force
Moscow almost certainly would peelerchieve Itsouthwest Asia without resort-ins to arms, and wit) probably seek toilitary confrontation with the United Stales. However, several development! could leadoviet decision to ute miliiary force Io protect or further Moscow's interests in the Culf region The SovieU would Consideraction if Ihe United States Introduced forces into (ran. or was perceived to be preparing to intervene. They might well invoke1 Treaty, claiming thai the United States was preparing to use [ranase of operations against the Soviet Union. The SovieUwould limit any Intervention, at least initially, to the northern provinces bordering llie USSR and avoid encaging US forces
ro-Moscow group scire power inattempt to doInvolvement and support could well ealend to direct militaryeither lo assist In tbe takeover or lo shoreew regime- la this case, the Soviets might calculate that thev could present the Wentail accompli effectively barring any Western military counter Grcumslances would have to change markedly,before any pro-Soviet element In Iran would beosition louccessful power play. In addition, given the difficulties live Soviets are having in Afghanistan, they might well be reluctant to get
vol vcdimilar, bul potentially more volatile, situation in Iran, especially since tbcy piobably would view it asigh risk ol confrontation with thc Uniied Slates
precipitant over which ihey might Iiavecould be thc fragmentation of Iran intool icgional entities. The Soviets mightthe northern provinces either tn supportrcgiuii's it I" uvrrliim pro-Wi-stum unci
do not foresee circumstances in whichwould perceive an opportunity for aaction that would significantly enhancewith Utile risk. Moscow cannotpledges of the United States to defendand those of its allies In thc Gulf area.we cannotituation in whichcould march into Iran unopposed, regardlesschaotic situation there Iranian resistancebe well organized, but it would beand protracted. The Soviets 'would haveit would bc sufficient to prevent anand would therefore planong campaign.
we do notovietagainst Pakistan is likely, either ina larger campaign against Iran or the Culfin connection with Soviet operations Inthough the SovieUide range ofagainst Pakistan, which fall within the llmiUcapabilities, wc believe they will continue toon political pressure and subversiveto intimidate Pakistan. If these measures fall, orsupport to the Afghan insurgencybelligerent, Soviet operations acrosscould occur. Wc believe, however, thatwill avoid direct confrontation withand we consider It unlikely that theyto occupy any part of Pakistan.
Soviel Forces tn the Southern Theater of Miliiary Operation*.
are considerable Soviet ground andin the military districU (MDs) contiguous tothc Iranian border (seend table I) that
could operate in the Southern Theater of Military Operationsut only limited naval forces in the Indian Ocean. The availability of these forces forran or for other operations in lhe Culf area would depend largely on Soviet requirements in other tiicaters. particularly lhe Southwestern TVD Opposite NATO's southern region
lb In the absenceaior Soviet olfrrisive against eastern Turkey, most of theoviet active lank and motoriied rifle divisions in the Transcauca-sus. Norih Caucasus, and Turkestan MDs probably would be available for operations against Iran. The Soviets probably would want to withhold three to four of the divisions along the Turkbh border. Thective divisions in the Kiev and Odessa MDs are primarily oriented against NATO, and the seven in Central Asia against China. Their availability for use as rcinforcemenU in the Southern TVD area would depend on Soviet requirements In these theaters.esser extent, the same holds true for theivisions in the Moscow, Ural, and Volga MDs and the seven airborne divisions, which are In reserve. In the context of global war. the TVDs opposite NATO and China would have priority over the TVD opposite theCulf. If the SovIeu were considering operations against the Persian Culf, they would have to anticipate thai the conllict could spread and plan foragainsi NATO and China. The larger the Soviet campaign in Iran, the greater the need they might tee to maintain forces opposite NATO and China
ome of the Soviet forces In Afghanistan might also be cotntnltted to an attack Into either Iran or Pakistan. Their availability, however, would beupon the assumption of their missions by Afghan or other Soviet forces. Civen the difficulties the SovieU have had In securing convoys intheir problems would probably multiply if they were to greatly increase thc traffic there toorce attacking into Iran or Pakistan. Consequently, if units from Afghanistan were committed to thesethey would have to be replaced by other unils from tlse Soviet Union Thc SovieU might attempt to free some regular army units in Afghanistan for offensive operations elsewhere by having KCB or MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) troops assume a
security role. CI van iho increasingat lhc Afghan insurgents, however.wellhc Create! opportunities additional cooarge-scale infusion of KCB/MVO troops would be requited before ther could irleaw anv meaningful numbri of combat tioops Thc KCB/MVD. moreover, could also have competing missions in thc inteiior of the Soviet Union, as well as againsi NATO and China
IS Allhough lhe bulk of Soviet ground forcesersian Culf Campaign would probably come Irom the Caucasus nnd Turkestan, tlie Soviets might bringew betlcr trained and equipped division! from other MDs in order lo incieasc Ihe combat potential of the force Moreover, the Soviets might also bring In units from other areas to Increase the variety of thc ethnic composition of the invading force. Thc proportion of non-Slavs In active units In the Caucasus andis probablyame as in active ground fotce units in other areas of the USSR. However. If these unils were mobilized and filled out wllh reservists from the local area, as is commonly done in the USSR, thc proportion of non-Slavs would Increase dramatically. Reservists from Soviet Axarbay-jan and Turkestan are linked to ethnic groups In Iran, and the Soviets might question Iheir reliabilityar against Iran. Nonetheless, we doubt that thev would bring in large forcei from outside the area to alter thc ethnic mi* of live lorce
round Forceihe structure of the Soviet ground forces In lhe Caucasus sndis generally consistent withightly equipped enemy in difficult terrain. The mountainous terrain of much of easternPakistan, and Iran Is not conducive to armor operations and would afford an attacking force little opportunity lo deploy and maneuver. Trackedwould, for the most part, be roadbound. and would have to move In column. Opportunities for rapid crosscountry movement would be possible only in the desert regions. In other areas, attacksroad front by combinedby mounted Infantry and rapidly displacing self-propelled (SP) artillery and mobile surface-to-air missileswould bc proscribed by
the terrain. Probably for these reasons, the Soviets have only one lank division in the area The motor lied rifle divisions many wllh smallol tanks and armored oeisonncl carriersnd with light lowed artillery and mortars, which provide considerable lire support albetter suited for operations In lhe region Moreover, the indigenous opposition in theuld also be lightly equipped and would not have large numbers ul modern tanks
to the Soviet Invasion ofground forces in the Transcaucaius.and Turkestan MDs had primarilymissions Thesewith those Ioof thebrought upIn the Soviet force modernization effort.no evidence of Soviet contemplation ofoperations deep Inlo eastern Turkey or Iran.
spite of heightened Soviet interest Inand lhe more com pica roles envisionedforceshe rate of forcecontinues to lag Equipment continueslow but steady pace, but units Instillow priority for the newereaample. no new generationvirtually no self-propelled artillery haveIntroduced into Ihc area. Modern SAMsin very limited numbers. The majorof the last three years was tbe replacementobsolete APCs with newer modelsorhis process, however,before Afghanistan la fact, more newdelivered to forces In the region in thcthan in the past ihree years.include the replacement ofguns with modern SAMs In two division!divisions already hadhe provisionantitank guided missiles, and limitedofmmm toweda newer towed how
have abo been tome chances inuniu.0 the Sovieu have establishedhcadquan.cn in lhe Turkestan MD. Abrigade (inobtliiaiion base) has been sightedNorth Caucasuscaleboard brigadeformed in the Turkestan MD. Anin Turkestan received ils complementbatnnshc limit-level chemicalin Turkestan was upgradedattalion to
The improvements of lhe past three years have hadarginal impact on the overall capabilities of the force. The uniu in these three MDs are still among the least well equipped of any in Ihe border districts of the USSR. In some respects, ibey even lag behind units in some of the interior military districts. It Is likely that tlw SovieU do not perceive military requlremenU in the Southern TVD of llie magnitude that they do elsewhere It Is also likely that the nature of thc terrain has affected Soviet planning for these forces to the extent that thoy have been tailored specifically for tlie Southern TVD and differfrom more heavily equipped forces designed for operations in other theaters
Tlw Soviets probably sec no compelling reason to Increase significantly the number of tanks in units in the southern USSR, to undertake extensiveof tank modei ni ration or SP artilleryor to speed up the pace of APC modern!ration. The Soviets would encounter serious problems in an attack deep Into Iran or Pakistan from the difficult terrain and primitive roads In the-area, and from extended and vulnerable lines of communication. These problems, however, would not be solved with more or newer tanks, heavier SP artillery, or even more tracked APCs. While trucks arc not armed and offer no protection, they can move (aster than tracked APCs. do less damage to roads, and require less fuel and maintenance. Similarly, SP artillery wouldto road damage and be more vulnerable to breakdown than the towed models. An Increase In the number of mechanized vehicles In the Invading force could actually compound the very serious logistic
In lltr TVancmooiHi Military Dulncr. nulls lie equippedt/SS tanii. and ihrivivonhu
iom< obsolete SUICO sell propelled (SP) uuuli rum Only lhe imiwn division has an antitank batlihoo_ Mow diviiioru are iiill equipped with ST*mm antuiicrali cunt rather lhan
rruuiln (SAMi) Two ififitionind Iwo tun SSOiviiimi anilViv rrciiiwiib inalf of lithu>i> III nun hm-iiml and IKimm mnilan
inttead ol the uiuil ISImm lo>liiert flentim-niat lue ioro-ldedombinalbn ol cadre mwnn. mountain gum. aniiianl rum. and lowed hewiticri lather
lhan IM-mm aclf-propellcd anltki. Aboul CO percent ol lhc St active anotoriied rifle rerlmcnlr (MRHiJ now
newerBMr.r DTS-TO) The remainderartial complement el eador BTH-lSli which would hate lo be auameaied by trueki for Irooo irirunoii
Divisions In lhe Tnoseaueanu MO. in additnn lo hoing
wild elder llpnu.have ortio-'utlonal itrw-
turcs thai provide (or muBcr tank and artillery ooenpVtnenti at well ai matter rupoort component. Al faB atrenrth. there division, would probaUyO men, aa compared with lhe normal Soviet divufcm ol ItOOO. Siinafl-caauV. rone of the divbioro In the) MD ithea Una ptaeeanw aamljer oi Soviet dliUaru (laewheic* Moreover, cel. oae dlenlon in lhe Nonh Cauasui aad two In Turkestan are beina reoriintud.
Thr ilivitio* In lhe North CaMD Ii ilmthi.
alihouah MHRi ihenanlinks) as openedink conipaai (IS lanki) In the TranKaucuui
Inhe laak diilalonetU whila allt/SS Oihw weai-mi aie alao of eideritlrr* rer-avroU kai lhe older IU mm MSO aadowtttan. aauuak Utuiom haiSS aaakUaV naaa, and FHOC Wtabn hai (heaehaed ofOC-T. IV MM artOIerr
banaSa. haa4 pal lo be* af Itt-aaea ST AIn
the Tnaaaaieaaw. ait defener (aria art pradomaMattv
eowppedeaea aealaannafl leaa rather lhan SAM.
Ova bal af lha It aebl Mftfta hai aa AfCa. whSe a
nwth lha abntiil BTR-1S1 Oly two
MHBj hai BMf, Wea hai iTlUSO
Inlearan MD.aronw of lhe UabSS
and theoat ofR Pi now haiAPCa. bvl about ene-thtfdailwvdand ami fupptamaal ihem wiih tnteai Three
lh> imouH af laliani. Hull. APO.
problems the SovieU can be cipected to encounter in Iran. Mote (ticked vehicles would resultreater demand (or POL and other supplies, while at the same time degrading the already limited roads Over which those supplies must travel Thev would abo createaior consideration to anforce distant from its repair bases Finally, they could also create congestion and slowespecially through critical chokeunits more vulnerable to ambush.
he Soviets probably would not bring In large numbeis of ground force units from outside the area to improve the combat potential of the force.Sovicl planning envisions the employment of those forces stationed in the vicinityiven TVD. reinforced as necessary with reserves from the MDs in the centralittle Indication that the SovieU contemplate maior redeployments of high-readiness uniti from one theater command toId fact, the major variations In overall readiness and combat potential between the variousthose opposite NATO. China, and the Persiansuggest that each is uniquely structured, manned, and equipped to meet contingencies peculiar to that region.
oreover, the divisions fn the nearby MDs (Kiev. Odessa, and Central Asia) as well as those in central USSR (Moscow. Ural, and Volga MDs) are similar to those In the Caucasus and Turkestan in manning leveb and training- The four higher strength divisions in the Kiev and Central Asianwith the four like divisions In thc Trarucaucasusbe available fora few days earlier than the cadre divisions in the Caucasus and Turkestan. Much of the time advantage, however, would be lost in moving the divisions lo attack positions in the Transcaucasus and Turkestan. Hence, their aoatLibttitv for an Invasion of the Persian Culf region would not be significantly greater than that of the cadre divisions In the area.
be Soviets' ability to conduct air operation! in the Southern TVD would depend on commit-menU In otlier theaters as well as In Afghanistan. Soviet tactical air forces could provide substantial
suppoit to an invading force, as could ami air defense interccptori round attack aircraft.and air defense inteicemoci. andin the Caucasus and Turkestan Thesethe con version1 ol two airrcgimenu to ground attackround attackelicopters are based indistricts (Moscow. Ural. Volga. Kiev.Central Asia) and in Afghanistan (seeercent of these aircrafl are eitherengaged in combat operations in Afghanistanprimary missions against NATO orercent are in the MDs of theand have potentially competingNATO and
he only strategic aviation forcea locatedthe Southern TVD are thehich are based in the Caucasus. Additionalre based in the Central Asian MD. The use of strategic aviation in this iheater would depend upon the Soviet assessment of the likelihood or extent of operations In other theaters.ituation In which combat against NATO and China wu considered unlikely, lhe Sovteu could stage Fenced or medium bombers out of bases in lhe Southern TVD. but they probably would be somewhat constrained by lhe limited numbers of suitable airfields and theof providing adequate logistic support.
n tlvc absence of opposition by Western fotces. however, the SovieU probably would judge that little If any strategic aviation participation would be required to achieve their objectives. If. oo the other hand. WesternaircraftInvolved, thev probably would have to consider deploying some strategic aviation assets to bases in the southern USSR. The extent ofhowever, would depend on how tliey assessed the riskonflict with NATO. On balance, we believe lhe SovieU probably would view any conflict with US forces In this region as posing Band scant risk of escalation and therefore probably would not commit substantial strategic air force asseU because of tbc higher wartime priority assigned to other TVDs.
Military transport aircraft ntimlicrrvrW. aadock throughout lhe USSR. When pooled, ihey have die capacitv fo airlift one entire airborne division or lia airborne maneuver regiments
he comparatively short range of Sovietaircrafl limits lhe ability of Soviet air forces to support ground attacks deep into Iran from airbases In the Soviet Union or Afghanistan or to conduct long-range airbornei(seend 3)
Our estimate* ol Soviet aircrslt performance indicate that Soviet fighters andflying most of the mission al low altitudes to avoid early detection and to limit the lesponsc times of opposing airfrom US carrier-based aircrafl In thenot reach Persian Culf targets, even fromAfghanistan.
encer lightonger range aircraft, could roach Persian Culf targets but would be operating at the extreme limits of its combat radiusission that anticipates air
If tbe Soviets presumed no opposition, and their aircraft flew at altitudes giving Ihem the greatest range, they would still be operating at the extreme limits of their mailmum combat radius.
he core of Soviet naval forcei that would be likely to be Involvedersian Culf campaign cumins of tlieoessels that routinely operate in Ihe Indian Ocean. This force, the Indian Ocean Squadron, serves primarilyounter lo Western naval presence and as one of Moscow's principal agents In its relations with the llltoral states. In recent years, lis site has fluctuated: It peaked0 In response to the US buildup In thc region, but has declined steadily since the resolution of the Iranian hostage crisis Inespite unusual gaps In the deployment of submarines, the Squadron has generally Included one generalsubmarine, four or five surface cocnbiunts, andoaval auxiliaries. By contrast, the United
Stales maintains an average of two general purpose submarines. IS surface combatants,n the legion; France normally has about IS ships ihere
onilminli on fteirt/o'cemenfj llcfore the Soviet Indian Ocean Squadion could seriouslyWestern naval forces in (he area, threaten US sea lines of communication, oreaningful contribution lo any Soviet land campaign in the Southern TVD. il would require substantialSome augmentation could come from Soviet Pacific Fleet forces deployed lo Vietnam and ihe South China Sea. normally Iwo to six submarines, five to seven surface combatants, and ISualharies More substantial augmentation, however, would require (he Soviets to signilicantly reduce iheir capabilities In other areas vital to their security;Tbe Pacific Fleet, which provides lhe bulk of forces in the Indian Ocean, has priority mls-sfont In wartime to protect thc SSBN force, bo prepared to conduct strategic nuclear strikes, and establish sea control in the Seat of Okhotsk and Japan and the area adjacent to thePeninsula and lhe Kuril Island chain.The Baltic and Black Sea Fleets, which also contribute ships to Ihe Indian Ocean Squadron, also have high-priority missions against NATO. If the Soviets thought there were an increased chanceATO-Pactthey would have to make lhat assumptionersian Culfwould want to have the Pacific. Baltic, and Black Sea Fleets ready for operations in homo waters. This could preclude major deployments to the Indian Ocean since the ships could not quickly be calledoreover, the SovieU piobably would consider recalling some units already deployed to the Indian Ocean or South China Sea inof wider hostilities, particularly If US carrier! were not present.
Air Coverage of Iran Based onules
nd NATOombat radii lor tactical alrcralt shown inave Men calculated wllh lwo 9r
a*,mumX1 "Wmliing tne lutf allocated to takeoff .nrj landing.eJ
ZuZ 'TL?M ^PC-tray th, capabilities of USertc-mance dala based or, tho MIL-Carc shown to allow direct companion with published information on US aircraft. (u)
Air Coren.ec of iran Bascd on NATO Hlgh-Uw-Hith Mission Rules
Hiic'eicniarive fenwr sifoase
rxvnos andeternal tanks
titn iou. aams
C-ali ano p Community io evalMt*
based coyot US
enith pushed IMormatic.
conflict, ihr Sovieu might com mil additional surface combatant* Irom ibe Pacslic Fleet or lhe Black Sea Fleet. Some surface combatants, however, probably would be called home Irom tlse Indian Ocean al the onsetATO-PactThose remaining would conduct operations against Western naval forces in the Arabian Sea
Mmi ajbrnirinc* set vinethe Indian Ocean Squadron come Irom theBecause of compcllng missions in hnrnethe notlherri Pacific, however, lew if anyPacific Fleet geoeral purpose submarineswould be available foi wartime operations inOcean Some Pacific Fleet submarinesin the Soulh China Sea, liowevet. couldinto the Indian Ocean.
Aircraft Soviet plans to counterforces rely heavily oo coordinated allacksand Und-based strike aircraft, suchand Badger. We do not believe thoredeploy naval strike aircraft lo IndianIn lhe event of an escalating Persian Culfher, any air attacks on Western surface forcesIndian Ocean would more likely be atagedsouthern USSR. However, the Sovietsbe reluctant to commit large numbers ofair force strike aircrafl to this area becausenumbers and competing requirementsNATO-Pact theater. The antisubmarinepatrol aircraftay) that deployto Soulh Yemen and Ethiopia are insufficienteffective ASW operations.ew additional Mays or otherla unlikely because of their small numberspriority wartime tasks elsewhere
Vann.he distances fiom tlie Soviet fleet areas to lhe northwest Indian Ocean (sec figurend thc transit times required lo move iheie (see tableo rut rain the Soviet capability to reinforce the Indian Ocean Squadron. Under peacetime conditions, it probably would take the Soviets about two to three weeks to make any substantial redeployments to thc Indian Ocean from home fleets, and Ihe movements would be eaav to detect Combatants operating In the Soulh China Sea could move lo the Arabian Sea more
quickly, but would be less combat ready lhan those
coming from home fleet areas.
Days Required (or Transit lo ihe Strait of llotmuz-
limes fiom ihe Blaek Sea and the Mediterranean allow an additional day for travel ihroarh lhe Suet Ciall. which is done la convoy, at low ipeedi.
Sii iiwiractical speed for dirtcl tabmarines.u bas bee* used (or nudear submarines, amphibious ihipa. and aeuTia-ries. Foarteea knots bis been used for major aurf.ce ombauau,hc Soviet lurfacc combaunu lhal rurted duriac1 Iwar ibowed aixrareIraasiiipeerlscaMcc toaali.
3S. Operational Capabilities. Even an augmented Indian Ocean Squadron would have operationaJthat would affect iu ability toand campaign In the Persian Culf region. The Soviets would noi be able to match llie kind of naval force the United States and iu Allies, particularly France, have there or could bring into the region. They have neither the types of ships nor the sea-based aircraft thaiarrier task force. Nor do ihey have land-based strike air forces in lhe region. In the absence of such forces, the Squadron's surface ships would be highly vulnerable to air attack not only by US forces, but even by regional air forces.
ubstantia) augmentation would Strain thcsystem of the Squadron. Il relies primarily on afloat support using naval Bualllaries or naval-assodatod merchant ships, which often comprise as much as two-ihirds of lis strength. Tbe Squadron uses ports In South Yemenjhiopia. but they do not provide for major repalts. refueling, or resupply of munitions or missiles. Moreover, these facilities are highlyto air aitack. Access to in Iranian or Pakistani port would facilitate the logistic support of Soviet nival forces In the Persian Culf. but these could only be captured by an overland attack or an airborne assault, both ol which would be difficult In view of the limited
ol Sovicl .in ind naval forces in tlie Cull region.
lieil augmented would not be ableeny ihc Arabian Sea to Western naval forcev
Soviet submarines wouldbreat lo carriers in the area, but could be hampered bv llie strong ASW capabilities ol Western navies.
While the Sovieti could mine the Strait by air or submarine, we do not believe they could control the contiguous an or sea area sufficiently to keep
the Strait closed if Western nationsong-term, full-scale minesweeping operation.
The lack of land-based air cover in tlic area would seriously undercut any attempt by Soviet naval units to block the Strait of Hormuz.
The Soviets haveimited capacity for amphibious opcritloni ia raonccntiguous areascould not control the Calf by ariring littoral areas even again* the marginal indigenous
round Forcei. With the esceptfon of the units in Afghanistan. Soviet ground forces opposite Iran aieow state of readiness and would have lo undergo large-scale moblliution and preparationthey could undertake offensive operations. Most unit* In the Caucasus andwell as those in nearby militarymanned at less than one-third of war authorized strength. Other than those actions related to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, there have been only minor changes in tbe siie or manning of units In the area In lhe last several years. Inne division In the Transcaucasus MD apparently was raised Irom cadre level manning (about IS percent of war authorized strength) to aboulercent and has remained at that leveLne mobilization division in the North Caucasus MD was activated at cadre strength, while3 another cadre division was formed ia the Turkestan MD.
he low level of peacetime manning of units In the Caucasus and Turkestan restricts routine training to tlte company and battalion loveL Regimental and division training Is rare. There apparently was some
increased callup ol lescrvuis for field training in9 and0 These reservists have long since been released, however, and training conducted three yesis ago would have little impact on thc current proficiency of the force. Moreover, field training hasreverted lo iii prior low Levels
he Soviets could mobilize their ground lorce divisioni with the necessary personnel and equipment in fairly rapid fashion: oneall to four days for thc higher ilrrmglh divisions, up tn iii days for cadre divisions, and nine days for mobllliationotal preparation lime, however, would beinto account the need for al least somend would vary according to the size of force and campaign envisionedinimum of aboul two weeks, lhe Soviets probably could cecipletc essential preparationsimited altack Intoest Iran to Kite Araibayjan. Although this would only permit enough time to accomplish minimal post-moblllzabon training, the Soviels might view this as acceptable depending on tlieir assessment of the likely Iranian opposition Atonth would be required for them lo prepareull-scale mvasion
Air Fo'cei. Unlike the groundactical air forces in the region have modern equipment and are at roughly the same readiness posture as are units elsewhere. Tliey would require only limitedand preparation before engaging In offensive operations. Were Soviet tactical air preparations to include the redeployment of additional units from other areas ofull-scale invasion of Iran, as would bepreparation time for the air lorces could require seven or eight days, still well within the time required by the ground forces.
Saoat Forcei. Soviet naval forces in the Indian Ocean are essentially combat ready. They receive routine upkeep throughout lhcir deployment and limit wear snd tear bv remaining largely Inactivecombatants nearing the end of their deployments piobably haveacklog of unresolved maintenance problems that could impact upon their combat capabiliUes.
Nl TIM. Tk* (WlruuCro-ntf' rata. No-ember IWt
Intnian and Persian Calf Regional Forces
.nl All Defeat* F
( aircrafl (total)
i&<kmauac iXI.LMJ irncO iricfulin in Iran aod n
be level of Irwlatenous opiXniUon (see tablehe Soviets mlghl encounter if ihey "ere to Invade the Persian Culf region would depend hugely on the scenario. OpposiUon by Turkish, Iraqi, and Pakistani forces, for Instance, would probably hinge on whether or nor. the security of these countries was directly threatened. The Culf Arab countries probably would Intervene only If their territory were Invaded. The Iranians, given their revolutionary teal andnationalism, would almost certainly fiercelyany Soviet Invasion of Iran.
Iranian Rock lions to US Presence
s long as Ayatollah Khomeini Is alive. Iran's clerical regime would reject US Intervention oa its behalf. The regime probably would ace US and Soviet actionssuperpower plot- lo divide Iran Into spheres of influence and. therefore, would oppose the
forces of each. The leadership in Tehran wouldthe country using the media and the nationwide network of tnoaques and revolutionary txga filiations. Foreign military troops In many areas of Iran would face contingents of poorly trained, til-equipped militia willing to sacrifice their lives fighting against the foreign Invaders.
be only organised military threat would come from the regular army and the Revolutionary Guard, but many of those forces would have been redeployed to the Dorth to counter the Soviet tavasioo, and they have little logistic capability to move quickly lo the south to counter the United States. Nevertheless, Iran is likely to havo several divisions positioned In tlie oil-rich Khuiestan province in anticipation of amove to divide Iran. Most pro-US dementsmilitary staffs have been purged In the last four years, aod an organised, broad-based revolt ofregular military officers could not beThe strongest resistanceS presence probably
would come from Ihc lower classes In ihr; lincer cities. Although tliey Kill represent lheain hose of support snd have been pcocogarviiied by the regime into believing lhc United States wants lo iu Ungate and ciploit Iran, recent urban demonstrations suggestdiscontent with tome of the regime's policiesr)
49 Thc data on which to assess the reaction ol other Iranians are poor, but we believe opposition lo the United States would not be Mat, particuUrlv ll central authority had broken downesult of the Sovicis" having overrun Tehran There arc regular military officers who arc unhappy with lhe regime and mightoffer individual support lo US forces operating In Iraa Merchant classes who disagree wiih lhe regime!policies and who wouldoviet takeover moreS presence might not be actively hostile to the United States. Elements of some tribal groups who have been oppressed by tlie regime also would not actively counter and could even aid US lorces.la DSOSt of the sparsely populatedwhere the centra) governmeni's control traditionally has been tenuous, most people are apolitical and few means aie available to resistforces probably svould be receivedenign indifference regardless of the regime's instruction! to resist.
lthough regular and paramilitary Iranian forces coulda Sovietof their country, they could delay and complicate it. and make any subsequent occupation costly. The regular army consists of aome eight divisions snd seven independent brigades equipped withCs. andrtillery pieces. The air force hasombat aircraft includingof which about one-third are currentlyTbe navy numbers aboutajor andinor combat ants The Iranian armed forces have extensive combat experience because of the war with Iraq. While not able touccessful offensive Into Iraq, thc Iranians skillfully defended their tonitory and essentially .were able to restore Iheir prewar boundaries. Arms and equipment ore generallyoor state of repair. Maintenance problems arebyritical shortage of trained techniciansack of spare parts. Rebuilding these forces willaior challenge to Iran
he Iranian capability lo defendoviet atlack would be facilitated by an end lo the war with Iraq, lo which tbe grral majority of forces are now committed Even if lhe war had not ended, however, Iran would redeploy at least several of iU divisions lo counter an invasion. However, given its problemi In command and control andlave been evident during the fighting withwellhortage of vehicles. Iran would have difficulty quickly transferring large forces Irom one front to another. In addition. Iran would have difficulty sustaining high-inienuty combat against tlie Sovietsew source of jr mi. ammunition, equipment, and spare parts were (mind (Iran currently receives most of iu arrru and equipment Irons tlie Soviet Union and luNorth Korea. Libya, and the East European
lihuugh Iran's regular forces would be no match for tho Soviets, the Army. Revolutionixy Cuard. and other paramilitary forcesombined strength of nearlyillion could significantlyoviet advance by occupying blocking positions in the rugged terrain and in the cities, and by wte.-dicting lines of communication (LOO Most of the paramilitary and securily forces are only lightly equipped, but they could bc very effective In harassing ind interdicting Soviet troop and resupply convoys. Moreover, the mountainous terrain along most Invasion routes would favor the defender, servingorce multiplier for the Iranians The SovieU would be forced to devote considerable resources to secure their LOCs and rear echelon forces
he Iranian Gov om ment abo would be likely to provide arms to Iranian cfttxeru who have bad combat experience and some training. For eiample,f Ihem who served during tbe war against Iraq and have been demobilised would be available In addition to those on active duty. By so doing, Iran would force the SovieU to fight In every dty on their route of advance Thc IraniantheGuard andillingness for combatanatical devotion to the regime They are not likely to be deterred by heavy casualties as long as tbcy are Inflicting loses on the Soviets. In contrast to the ground forces, neither Irani Air Force nor Its Navy couldelaying operation
urkey ii the only NATO nation thatorder with Iran and Iraq. As such, it wouldajor complicating factor in any Soviet move toward thc Persian Culf Mow Turkish forces are in thc western pail of thc couniry. opposite Creecc and Bulgaria There are, however, four divisions,egular Army brigades, and three fandarma brigades, as well as five squadrons of combat aircraft, in eastern Turkey.
urkish Armylike the Soviet units in thcold or obsolescent equipment, mostly of US manufacture and Korean war vintage The lank force isut these are gradually being upgraded to A3 and A5 with US and West Cerman assistance, Turkish forces, both land and air. also suffer chronic problems of shortages of POL and spare parts, which severely limit the scope and frequency of unit training and adversely Impact onespite these problems. Army uniu in eastern Turkey are on aIn cquipmenl and combatSoviet units In the Caucasus, although they are heavily outnumbered. Their ability to attack Soviet units moving into Iran would be severely restricted by their size and lack of mobility and an adequateair defense, which makes them vulnerable to attack by Soviet fighters. They could, however, putredible defenseimited Soviet attack Into eastern Turkey by judiciously using tlie terrain, which would act in their favor. Moreover, the Turkseputation as fierce fighters and are highly respected by the Soviets.
f the Soviets were to attack into Iran In the absence of hostilities In other theaters, they would probablyistinct effort to Stay clear of the Turkish border to preclude an encounter with Turkish forces and toransfer of combat aircralt from western to eastern Turkey. If the Soviet attack were in conjunction with, or In anticipation of. operations against NATO, Soviet units would be likely toimited attack Into eastern Turkey to hold Turkish forces Ihere In any event, in planning an attack into Iran, the Soviets would have to consider the possibility of engaging Turkish units, and to maintain forces along
' For note deUlt see NlATO MocV-tuirtw.-The Turin* Armed Forcer.
the border forontingency, reducing lhc size of tlieir force available for operations in the Culf region.
here areumber of airbases in eastern Turkey that are favorably positioned to supportof Soviet units attacking into northwestern Iran. Some of these bases aie to be moderniaed under the terms2 US-Turkey agreement. Althoughair forces in the eastern part of the country are noi sufficient loerious threatoviet invasion of Iran, additional aircrafl could be transferred ihere from western Turkey in the absence of general hostilities between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. Moreover, the Sovieis would have to consider the possibility lhal these facilities would be made available to US air forces. This is bv no means certain, because Turkey currently docs not permit the United States to use its facilities Ihere for operalions outside tbe NATO area. Moreover, Turkey is demorkstrating increased reluctance to involve itself in any regional dispute In which its national interests are not directly threatened. This should provide the Soviets with additional incentive to avoid provoking Turkey by threatening Its territory, since US air forces operating out of eastern Turkey would pose serious problems for Soviet forces In Iran. In addition, the Soviets probably would warn Turkey that any Turkish facilities made available to lhe United Stales would be attacked.ATO-Pact war. however, the Soviets would have to anticipate that any forces invading Iran would be subject to attack by US air forces based In Turkey, and to provide for their protection. Thev might also have to undertake larger operations into eastern Turkey to capture the airfields, reducing even further the size of thc force they could commit to operations against the Persian Culf.
n planningimited atiack into Iranian Baluchistan or an occupation of iD of Iran, the Soviets would have lo consider the rjjssuiJily of reaction by Pakistani forces, as well as the pros aod cons ofsupporting attacks into Pakistan. Pakistan's armed forces do notajor obstacleoviet invasion of Iran. Although the army Is large, numbering someivisionsen, and well trained relative to other regional armies. It Is neither equipped norto defendoviet attack. Much of the equipment Is old and difficult to maintain. Shortages of modern tanks. APCs, and sdf-propelled artillery restrict
mobility and firepower
^the Frontier Coipl, a> provides border security
MlJghtly aimed and equipped, they would be ro rruleh (or regular Soviel uniti. bul (hey could harass Soviet lines of cernmunica-Ucn
akistanmall air lorce oi[ combat aircraftomposed lamely of aging Chi nese-bulllhort-range fighters, as well as some modem French Mirage fighters7 bombers.
_JSInce the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, lhc Pakistanis havesome small caliber antiaircraft guns to thetr western border and have rebased an additional fighter squadron opposite Afghanistan. Most ground based air defense weapons, however, are old aatiaircrafl guns Neither they nor most of Pakistan's interceptors would be effective against modern Soviet aircraft
slamabad Is trying to improve Its military capability with the purchase of tanks and artillery, as well asrom the United States ands and additional tanks from China. In addition. Pakistan has been negotiating with several West European countries for new frigates, submarines, and air defense systems Even with the acquisition of more modern arms, however. Pakistan's forces will still be hampered by deficiencies In command and control, coordination of interservicc operations, and logistics
CI. Pakistani forces probably would not attackforces In Iran, as long as they did not violateorders. Nor would the Soviets be likely lo
Invade Pakistan in conjunction with an attack Into Iran They would have little to gain bv suchmove, and might well force Pakistan to make its airfields available to US air forces.0 Eaeeutivebetween the United Slates and Pakistan provides for US aid (including military forces) to Pakistan if it is threatened with Communist aggression US air forces operating out ofconjunct sonerious threat lo Soviet ground foices in southern Iran.
oviel miliiary activities in Afghanistanange of threats to Pakistan. If the USSR ihould deternuii- lhal its continuing inability lo cope with insurgency in Alghinisun required dealing withthe USSR could be expected toariety ol miliiary, paramilitary, subversive, andmeasures Soviet moves against Pakistan, such as under hot-pursuit circumstances,roiled Soviet effort to wipe up insurgent forces within Pakistan's borders would lead to strong protests from Pakistan but would not necessarily entail Pakistan military ret pome against Soviet forces.
mijor Invasion ofperiod of thisrequire amuch greater than that demaoded by currentsignificantly eapanded Soviet operations InBeyond that, there would beto Soviet Interests elsewhere in the world andheightened riskoviet-US
Soviet! probably would see Utile dangerIraqi forces as long as they confinedlo within the borders of Iran Baghdada Soviet move against Iranhreat loindependence but probably would not laketo assist Iran In Ihe absenceovietIts territory. Iraq would probably remainundoubtedly would condemn the Sovietsee little possibility that Iraq, under tliewould reach an accommodation allowingtroops to cross over Iraqi territory unopposed
raq's Army il one of tho largest and brat equipped 'he region II constats olombal divisions and I'l'i independent brigadesen. Despite its large Ute and goodhowever, lhc Iraqi Army has demonstrated utile capacity for oflensive operations in lhe wai with Iran Its operations have boon marred by poor leadership, lack of coordination, and poor training Recently, however, lhe Arm* has eihibtled proved defensive capabilities
ll The Iraqi Air Forcearge number of modeln aircralt. Like the ground forces, however, it suffers problems of leadership. In addition, the Air Force rarely engages In close air support of troop* in contact. Thus, while Iraqi air units could harrass Soviet supply lines and rear echelon units, they would have difficulty providing close air support to ground forces
lthough Iraq could notoviet drive to thc Arabian Peninsula, it could certainly slow it down, providing additional lime for WesternAn Iraqi defense would also force the Soviets to mil additional foices to lhe campaign
Gulf Arab Slales
ther Forces. In iilHitiVinhe itites alow;ersian Cull, iluce nearbyJordan, amirhe capabilityrine lorces lo bearoviet invasion ol lhe Arabian Peninsula. All ihree states wouldoviet invasion along the Cull, particularly inlo Saudi Arabia,irect threat to (heir security. Whether ihey would respond would depend on their willingness to temporarily set aside fundamental political differences related to the Arab-Israeli conflict Egypt could begin moving lead dements of its airborne and commando brigades into Saudi Arabiaew day! of alert using Egyptian. Saudi, and possiblyaircraft. Egypt could abo deploy several squadrons of fighter aircraft to Culf airfields. Cairo might bc willing to move some of its divisions, as wdl asbrigades, to the Culf but would be constrained by distances and limited lift capabilily. Egyptianalso would be constrained by Ibe need to guard against possibles from Libya. Jordan could move one of iu four armored and mechanized divisions directly inlo Saudi Arabia or Iraqeek, as wed as provide air support. The large and highly capable Israeli Air Forceotent challenge to the Soviets.. using conforms! fud tanks, could fly combat missions from thdr home bases as far as Tehran or the Strait of Hormuz, and Israeli tanker aircraft could refuel other fighters en route. However, it is very unlikely that the Saudi and Jordanian Covem-menu would permit the redeployment of bradi forces through Jordan to Saudi Arabia, even in the faceirect threat from Moscow.
Considerations of Oimoto ond lerroin
n planning an invasion of all or part of the Persian Culf region, the Soviets would have lo take into account thc special geographic and dimatlc conditions of the area. There are at most only three major north-south routes through the mountifoous areas of northwest em and southwestern Iran, and the opportunities for offroad maneuver through the passes Is either very limited or
rercenl of the area is unfavorable for cross-country movement. Armor operations would, lor ihc most Part, be limited lo parti of eastern and southern Iran, where thev would be difficuk to support IngisticaHr. md the force would be vulnerable to attack by ITS aucrall over SI trig from ncirby waters In roost other areas, adtaneing units would have little chance to deploy or maneuver They would be rnostly road bound, with only tbe lead dementi able lo engage defending forces Soviet leom would have io dismount tosacrificing iheir protection and heavy armament. Under these conditions,imited and disorganized defending lorce could soeieltoviet advance through the mountains bv blowing up bridges and tunnels and defending the nairow passes Thc resulting traffic jams and bottlenecks would be prime targets for air attack
ranian resistance Ln urban areas would create similar problems, since many clues and towns In Iran would be difficuli to bypass Moreover. If the rrrststarsce In built-up areas were rufficfeatly ithe Soviets would be forced to fight In every town or div. greatlytheir problems and slowing their advance.
he terrain abo presents difficulties for the us. ofnd airmobile forces, as weD as for the conduct of air operations In important areas of Ararbayiin and Kurdistan, only the scattered plaint and airfields near lhe largerofler suitable drop rones and helicopter landing areas Air operitioni In the mountainous regions would be hampered by high altitudes, sir- temperature and turbulence, and limited visibility resulting from froauenl cloud cover.
Even If the key passes, bridges, tunnels, and urban areas in northwestern and western Iran were secured, the terrain andsportation system In the area would hamper logiitic support operations In many areas, the road network is sparse and of low capacity, and could not sustain heavy traffic. Moreover. Soviet snd Iranianuse different track widths, which would create choke points al ike trarisloadiag areas, anumlng the nil system were ivailable Limitations In the road and rail networks wouldremium on airfUed wing andlogistic support
In Irao, the citerutrc waterways, marshes, and periodically flooded landi along the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and the Shut al Arab would be maior obstacles toSoviet advance lo the Antrim Peril muta
Weather would alto influence the limingoviet invasion An invasion of Azarbayian in winter, foi example, would face significant problems. Passes at higher elevalioru would be mow covered, inhibiting the movemeni of ground forcesow cluud ceilings, winds, rain, and icing, would severely limit anv low-altitude airoperations. Weather conditions do not begin to improve significantly before late March or early April. Even then, occasional heavy spring rains continue through mid-May. reducing off road traf ficabilily and producing local flooding
n tbc desert areas of eastern Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, heat. dust, and limited sources of water abo would hamper operations. The scarcity of water couldarticularly severe "problem for Soviet forces moving from Turkestan or Afghanistan toward the shore of the Gulf of Oman at either Chah Bahar orbbas. Thisubstantial problem for the relatively small Soviet forces InltlaDy introduced into Afghanistan. Also, while thoreare ample water sources along thc Persian Gulf littoral in Saudi Arabia, these sources (primarily desali-nizaiion plants and deep wells) would be susceptible to wartime damage or destruction
Soviet Militory Options ond Copobilitics
oncomitant with the US decision, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, toorce capable of rapid deployment to Southwest Asia, we believe that the Sovieis began to develop and test concepts for the employment of forces in tbe Persian Culf area, They apparently are considering contingency plans for tlie seizure of Ihe entire Persian Culf littoral and have envisaged the possibility of encountering US ground forces In the region
he Soviets have the capacity toariety of military operations bi the Southern TVD. These range from small cross-border forays Into Iran or Pakistan In conjunction with operitiom In Afghanistan, to Urge-scale attacks to the Persian Culf. Our analysis will be confined to those military operatioru Intended to seize and hold territory. Several scenarios (see figure 5)
are broadly representative of the range of available Soviet options lor militaiy operatioru in the region. Thev are;
A limited attack into northwest Iran lo seize Azarbayian
A limited attack loort In southeast Iran or Palittan.
A full-scale invasion and occupation of lian
A subsequent advance against the oil-producing nations on lhe southern littoral of the Persian Culf.
In the corneal of ihese icerurios. attendant operations, which would facilitate the prosecutionersian Calf campaign, include pouible attacks into eastern Turkey and Pakistan and an advance through Iraq, Operations against Israel are outside the scope of this Foim.yj More detailed. Illustrative eiamples of bow Ihe Soviets might conduct these selected campaigns are provided at annex A
e do notoviet airborne assault lo seize the Khuzestan oilfields. We do not consider such an operation practicable, nor do we have evidence that the Soviets have considered It. Thc main concentration of oilfields extendsegionilometers longilometers wide, an area thatthree-fourths of East Cermany. Within that area Is concentrated the bulk of Iranian regular Army units, including three armored divisions. Iwo infantry ivisions,umber of armored and Infantry brigades. There are also large Iraqi forces close by-Even if there were no sign ii leant oppontioo in lbc region, it wouldery large force to occupy and control tha oilfields, because of the vast area over which Ihey are dispersed To assure any degree of control, lhe Soviets would have lo commit on the order of five or six airborne divisions, or virtually ihcir entire airborne force. The entire VTA aircraft inventory would be required to lift one complete airborneulildivision operation, however, would have to be conducted Ina period cfthe force on the ground vulnerable to attack. In addition, each lift would risk beingIn the air. since tlw Irani ports would be flying beyond the range of Soviet radical fighters and would be vulnerable to attack by both Iranian and US
it would take llie Soviets at least sii weeks io move (oiccs overland from the Soviet Union to link ud wiih airborne units in the Khuzestan area. During thai time, thc airborne forces would have to be resupplied solely by air. and bv tuuspoit aircraft operating withoul Ihc benefit of anvirtuallytask. Wc do not. therefore, believe tliat the Soviets would consider an airborne assault againstiable option, or lhal they have the rap.iriiy to occupy and control thc oilfields solely w'th airborne forces
he Soviets mi&ht conduct an airborne assaultore limited objective alter they hadpart of northern Iran, displaced tactical aircraft forward to captured airbascs in range of lhe Culf. and had ground forces in position toinkup In three to five days. We have addressed thc possibility of such an operation in our scenariocale Invasion of Iran.
We also do notQuick grab" of tbe Hormui area with live objective of establishing athere. We do not believe that the Soviets arc presently capable of quickly seizing the Hormuz area by an airborne/airmobile assault, in isolationarger operation.
There ate very practical considerations that mililate against this type of operation. The Soviets would probablyS military response tolear challenge to US vital interests Moreover, given current Soviet capabilities andelibome altack would be extremely difficult for thc Soviets to ciecute and sustain, but relatively easy for (he United States to counter if aircraft carriers were present from thche Soviets do not have any logistic or maintenance facilities In southwesttocliborne assault of Hormuz. Even if they were to establish temporary facilities there,helicopters probably would not bc able to reachbbas, because terrain and climaticwould degrade their range capabilities.
An airborne assault would probably bemore practicable. Because of range limitations of tactical aircraft, however. It Is doubtful whether Soviet air forces could support cither an airborne oroperation In the Hormur; area from either the Soviet Union or bases In Afghanistan. The transport
Hie Soiteti probably would hive lo prepare OMMtaceocv plini loeniafc US carrion In lhe Arabian Sea (roe panpiiA
aircrsll would be vulnerable to air attack. Even if the Soviets were to construct an airbase In southwestIhis in itself wouldajorwould still have serious prc-blems countering aircrafl in lhe Hormui area.rofile that anticipates opposition (low altitude to avoid radaroviet fighter aircraft currently would not have the combat radius to roads Hormuz and remain on stationhe Soviets might stillan airborne assault against Hormuz. hoping to lake il by surprise or al least before the United States could effectively react. Even if ihey succeeded iii such an endeavor, however, they would be hard pressed to consolidate thdr position in the face of US air attacks. Inoviet "quick grab" ofan endnot feasible at this time, and probably will notiable option in thc next few years. Nonetheless, because the potential gains are so high, this possibility must be considered
A Limited Attack To Seize Atarbaviaru The Soviets dearly have the capadty to quickly occupy Azarbavian In northwestern Iran, either as anoperation or as an adjunct to campaigns in other theaters, including NATO and China.he most feasible option fromolitical and military point of view. Since the area borders the Soviet Union. Moscow could probably find some pretext to Inter-such as the need to defend Its borders or to respondall for assistancepro-Soviet faction in northwest Iran.
Militarily, this would be the easiest option to execute. Force requirements, at least initially, would be relativelyfive to seventhe Soviets could avoid most Iranian Army units. In addition, the attack ins force would be within range of tactical air forces in the Soviet Union. This operation would be the easiest to support logisttcally. since LOCs would be comparatively short and easy to secure-Moreover, this attack* could be both undertaken and completed quicker than the others, mimmixing both the potential for Iranian opposition and the US chance to respond: the Soviet forces wouldini-mum of two weeks of preparation and could occupy Azarbayjan in one to three weeks, depending on the effectiveness of Iranian opposition
ke SovieU might (eel that the United States would be less likely to respond to an attack that did not cleatly threaten Western vital interests and would recognize US difficulties inoviet move into Ararbavian In addition, an attack limited to Azarbayian would not be an immediate ihrealakistan or the oilnations soulh of ibe Persian Culf. There would also be no need to traverse Iraq andonfrontation there The Soviets would, however, have lo consider and be preparedossible reaction Irom iurtey. although it is highly unlikely lhat the Turks would allack.
lthough the risks associated wiih this scenario are relatively low, coinpaied In other options, so are the immediate gains Depending on the level ol resistance, occupation of Aiarbayjan could allow the Soviets to secure routes through the El bun Mountains, redeploy tactical aviation, directly threaten Tehran, and gauge Western and regional reactions. While it would not afford the Soviets any control oyer Iranian oil. It could well lead to Increased Soviet Influence in the Culf region, particularly if Western nations did not respond. On the contrary,oviet move into Axarbavian might severely damage Sovietwith not only the Persian Culf countries but also with other nations in the Middle East Inhough the Soviets could probably occupy tbe area in about one to three weeks, ihey could not secure it completely, and would have to be prepared toong war of attrition as Iran shifted forces northward.
hc Soviets might wish lo occupy Axarbayjan as the initial phaseonger temi appioach lo taking over all of Iran. After Azarbayian had been secured, the Soviets might attempt to expand their presence in northern Iran and develop air and logistic bases there for use In subsequent military operations or forleverage southward. Tlie development of such bases over an extended period of time would protect the reach of Soviet tactical aviation over Iranian territory and could shorten the amount of time it would take the Soviets lo eventually capture lhe remainder of the country. If. however. Ihey restricted their invasion lo Azarbayian they would not markedly improve iheir capablliiv lo execute other limited options, such as operations against lhe Strait of Hor-muz or the Khurestan oilfields. Moat im porta nd y. tbey still would not be able to provide effective fighter coverage over lhe Culf In order lo attainapability, the Soviets would need lo extend their operalions well Into central and eastern Iran
imited Allack Toari in South-eaitcrn Iran or Western Pal fileii. Faced with only indigenous opposition, the Soviets have the capacity toimited objective attack toort on the Culf of Oman or on the Arabian Sea This capability would be enhanced il (be Iranian or Pakistanihad weakened and there was turmoil InByort such as Chah Datiar in southeastern Iran, the Soviets could avoid majoropposilion and limit the allack tn as few as three divisions Alternatively, they could scire the harbor of Cwadar.in Pakistan, but they would encounter heavier opposition and would require about five or six divtsions. Ir. addition, this harbor would need extensiveto turn itsable port facility In either ease, preparations would require about tu weeks, including moving units Into attack positsoni In Afghanistan. It probably would take aboutays to capture Chah Bahar and at least four weeks lo seize Cwadar along routes through Pakistan
Given lhe great distance from the USSR to the coast, either operation would be diffieultto execute and support logisticallv. The operation would have to be launched from Afghanistan and traverse extremely difficult terrain with very poor roads. Moreover, the LOCs would extend from Ihc USSH throughto theistance ofilometers, and would be vulnerable to Interdiction by both thc Afghan resists nee and Iranian or Pakistani forces.all tadical air support for the operation would have to come from bases in Afghanistan
To undertake operations In southeast Iran or western Pakistan, the Soviets would have to at least maintain, and probably increase, their forces in Af-ghirtuxan to ensure adequate security for the large number of convoys required to move troops andto the border. An aitack In ihis region would also threaten lhe oil producing- countries on the southern littoral of live Persian Culf. It would, therefore, entail greater risks in political and military terms than an attack Into Axarbayjan
Anv operation against Chah Bahar or Cwadar clearly would threaten Western Interests In the Culf region The Soviets probably would assume that thelr lorces would be subject to attack by US forces,carrier aircraft They undoubtedly realize that it would be easier (or tlie United States to counter rapidly an attack In this area lhan one In Ararbaylan and that it would be extremely difficult to talie or hold either port
Soviet mound units and LOC* were subjectlet-diet ion bv US foices. The Soviets, therepiobablv have toontingency planUS aircraft can ices in the Arabian Sea asany militaiy move against Ihese ports Ihisdeploying additional submafines to lheand moving large numbers ol Sovietair atmy missile'equipped striae airciallin the southern USSR. Tlvc Soviels would havelhc risk of engaging US forces. norlirubrlv inwhere ihey could regard lhc United Stalesan air and naval advantage, against theshort-term gains afforded by possession ofOn balance, we believe this would beoption for the Soviets, either as anoperation or as partroaderI'oet
'i aU Inoation and OccupationTho Soviets Iiave sufficient ground andlorces toeneral offensive into Iranobjective of advancing to ihe Pcriian Culfthe country In the event ofthe Soviets probably would see afor rebasing strategic aviation assets to basessouthern USSR and for augmenting iheirnormally deployed in lhe Indian Ocean.
This general offensive would be an eitremeJy difficult operation for the Soviels to esecute Major constraints would include the highly constricteddifficulties in providing logistic support for both ground and air forces, and the short combat radii of Soviet tactical fighter aircraft
In scope and eocnpleiily, an invasion of Iran would far surpass anything the Soviets have attempted since Worldf thev were lo succeed, thev would beosition to control the oll-rlch Persian Culf. Thoy would probably assume, however, that such an act would leadilitary confioritilion with the United States, and could very well spreadATO-Pact war. Civen that assumption, thisas an end Indoes not have much appeal to Soviet policy makers
Tbe ground force requirement would be on the order ofodivisions The campaign would require atonth of preparation, and Ils elocution would be very time consuming, as tlie forces moved through difficult terrain with attended LOCs
and with littler loom to deploy oi maneuver. Depend-inu on lhe degree of Iranian resistance, it could well lake thc Soviets sii loeeks to occupy the Khuies-tan oilficldi and scire key oil facilities on the Culf
n occupation of Inn. either In coniunction with orreludeai with NATO, does iiot appear IO oiler much to the Soviets. If the objective were to deny Persian Cull oil lo the NATO rations in order lo degrade iheir capacity to wage war. they nnild ecvr*ntdish ihiind moreby conducting strategic an attacks against llie tanker loading laciliiies in thc Culf polls Denial of Pcisiin Culf oil, however, would not havo aneffect on NATO's fighting ability, as NATO hasays of crude oil reserves Also. NATO's wartime miliiary requirements areraction of peacetime civilian consumption that could be diverted to military use
The Soviets couldujor invasion of Iran wiih in place forces in coniunction withagainst NATO. Although unlikely, anotherhowever, would be lo invade Iran prior to attacking Western Europe in hope of divertingUS reinforcements lor NATO to the Persian Culf. We cannot judge how the Soviets would assess thc viability ol such an option. Nonetheless. Sovietmight calculate lhal they cm Id exchangeo IS of their poorly equipped and trained divuioru from thehave only peripheral missions againstsome ef the best the United Stales has lo offer, and divert US stralegic If: assets away from NATO
The Soviets know lhat the United States is concernediversion to the Persian Cull of US forces could have serious implications for thedefense of Western Europe. They are also awarepressures from the UnitedEuropean NATO rations have taken no meaningful steps to compensate foriversion by improving their own forces. Soviel planners almost eertalnlv would calculate that the logistic problems Ihey would face In such an attack would not be as great as ihose the Uniied States would face in moving troops to the Persian Culf. or later in simultaneously supporting operations In the Culf area and reinforcing Western Europe Also In this scenario, lhe Soviets might elect to allow time for the United Slates to deploy Its forces, land tham In the area, and move Inland. Once the US forces were firmly committed, thc SovieU mighl welltalemate In Iran, shifting as much of their air used as possible toward NATO.
100 Thii option also would entail costs lhatSoviets might not be able lo calculate confidently. Inm place. Ihe Soviets could not be assured of how lhe Uniled Slates would respond or if. in fact, any SiciiificaiH number of IK force* woakl actaallr be divcried to ihis area Moreover, if tlie international situation were such thai Ine Soviets believed war witb NATO weir dnsirablc or inevitable, list Soviets would have lo assumeaior invasion nf (ran would1 iol ltd /at ion anil llie heist hlmiill rculli-ness of NATO loices In this case, (he advantage! of any diversion of US forces might be offset by lhe reduced possibility that lhe Warsaw Pact could achieve any degree of surprise with regard lo ils attack on NATO. Other Soviet uncertainties would involve lhe degree to which air assets committed lo the leinl could suffer attrition, reducing their availability for Operations against NATO; the degree to whichstates. iucIi as Pakistan, might be drawn Into the conflict; and the degree lo which they actually would be able tosuletnate" and to draw critical US assets away from the NATO campaign
ion of the WetUm andof the Persian Culf. Subsequent loof Iran, the Soviets could decide totheir advance southward with lhe goal olthine oil-producing nations thai composeand southern littoral ol the Persiana decision would be heavily influenced byexperience in invading Iran, and evenbv the Western reaction to it. particularly thatUnited Stales
the United States had not counteredmove Into Iran, Soviet pobeymakctsbe encouraged lo continue the attack.Peninsula states, by themselves, couldmore than token resistanceovietbut Iraq could delay considerably anIts territory.eterminedand assuming Iraqi opposition, theprobably occupy the western andKuwaito(in addition to those in Iran) Althoughwould have to commit someolo tbe entire campaign, the endwould be Iota! control of Persian Culfthe Immediate waters through which It passed
believe thai, in the ease of ainvasion of Iran, the Intelligenceprobably provide at leastays'lhat the Soviets were makingead to an invasion.
foe tors in licencing future Soviel CopobSiiet in lhe Gull Region
Soviet position in Afghaniitan will on Miuture caiucily tn coroperations in the Persian Culf region Ifthe result ofto Soviet occupation or improvedof the Afghancapacityoperations in the Culf region will beSome regular Soviet forces tied up Inoperations in Afghanistan wouldfor operations elsewhere, and Soviet landbe rnore secureajorof Soviet air and logistic lacilities inlhe construction of new basessouthwest part of themilitary operations in the SouthernIn southern Iran andn Soviet lactical aviationould make an airfield Inmote threatening. We eipect that byof the decade thc Soviets will havenew lad ica I fighter-bomben that serial refueling capabilities. We altolo begin productionew aerial. If operated togetherin Afghanistan. Unkers and tacticalstrike targets throughout most of
The basing of Backfire bombers at alrbases in Afghanistan would significantly improve the Soviets' ability loS carrier task force in the Indian Ocean and the US base on Diego Garcia. Tha Soviets would not require bases in Afghanistan for the Backfire bombers lo be wilhin range of the Arabian Sea because ihey could be based in the USSR. We believe the Soviets would need to tenstthen theat alrbases in Afghanistan lo support Backfire bomber operations In the Indian Ocean.
An end to the Iran-Iraq war would Improve tho capacity of both countries toovietin the looser term as both
Ind Iranian fixed recovered from the warof Iranian iimuorihern
Iran would aliooviei invation of Aurbivisn more cosily, although llie Iranians, by themselves.
could not prevent the Sonet) fiom occupying Aiar-
hange in the Iranian Government could abo impact on Soviet capabilities in theif il became pro-Soviet; adversely If il became
Ilt Soviei ground forces in the area will coniinue to undergo gradual Improvement,rashto modernize ihem is not anticipated nor do we believe they would deem one necessary. Most limits-Hons on Soviet ground lorces operating In tlie Persian Culf region derive from the geography of the area, and would not be greatly alleviated by lhe fielding of new equipment. However, the mobility of the lorce could be significantly Improved by Increases in motor tram port. Eapected increases in transport aircraft and heavy lift helicopters will probably resultodest
improvement In Soviet capabilities to sustain forces at treater ranges
he sire of the Indian Ocean Squadrun will depend largely on lhe site of US naval forces in the area No maior upgrading of its capabilities islikely, although Soviet naval fotces in the Indian Ocean will undergo the same general improvements common to thc fleetshole
he Soviets also arc developing newconcepts to maiimlie equipment poteniial and lessen Ihe time needed lo conduct successive fronlal operations. They are seeking improvements In Iroop control procedures, staff concepts, logistics,and comon. Thev have apparently developed contingency plans for thb area. While tbe Soviets will not be able to fully develop theto support these concepts during the period of this Estimate, ther should make progress la their effort to increase thc tempo of their operations
LLUSTRATIVE SOVIET CAMPAIGNS
Thc Soviet* could conductvariety of miliiary campaigns inersian Cull region. Thc forces lhal might be allocatedarticular campaign, the mannei in which the campaign were conducted, and the preparations that would precede il would largely depend on Soviet objectives and the risks they were willing to lake. Cenerslty speaking the SovieU lend to leave little to risk. They are conservative in assessing force requirements and thorough In phoning and preparing (or military operalions Tbe followingIllustrate how the Soviets might undertake variousquick grab- of Hormuz might be attempted In conjunction with one of theseOther scenarios are possible, but would be largely variations of the Illustrative campaigns.
A Limited Allack Into Northwest Iran To Seiis Aiarbayjan
n planning an atiack Into Aurbayjan. tliewould probably assume that lhe Initial opposition would consist of one or two Iranian Army divisions plus an assortment of Revolutionary Cuards, other paramilitary units, and armed civilians. They could be fairly certaina radical change In the government inwould neither inquest nor welcome US assistance tooviet invasion. Oa the contrary. Iran would almost certainly opvox with arms any Introduction of US troops onto Its soil, nuking llnotfor the United States to counter an attack on the ground in northwest Iran. Given the limited initial opposition they would encounter, the Soviets could undertake in operation to seize Azarbayianorce of five to seven divisions, supportedactical air division, several helicopter regiments, and perhaps some airborne, air assault, and amphibious units. An Invasion force of this size could be assembled entirely from forces In lite Transcauca-sus MD, while still leaving several divisions there available for possible operalions against Turkey. Units
in the North Caucasus would also probably beand alerted for possible employment, either as rein force menls or foi contingency Operalions against Turkey.
n invasion of Azarbayian would entail preparationscale greater than those that picceded the Soviet move into Afghanistan. Infor an attack Into Azarbayian, the Soviets would have the'benefit ol their experiences In Afgharustan, Owing to the limited nature of the operation and the proximity of (he objective area, there would be no needarge-scale redeployment of ground or air units, or for an extensive logistic buildup. Preparations would be confined largely to those steps essential to mobilize and ready the force for combat
The Soviet Navy wouldinorlimited largely to possible amphibious operations along the Caspian Seaan Azarbayian campaign, and the air forces would require only minorCround force preparations, however, would be extensive Tbey would include calling up reservists to fill out understrcngth units (virtually all units in the area) and assembling the transport to move them to their atuck posiiions.
he Soviets would also have to establish communications for the command and control of units in Iran. This wouldelatively simple task In this scenario, since they have already introduced Improved communications equipment Into the area.
Loiiitici. There are substantial stocks ofand POL in tlseexcessetric tons ofillion metric tons of military POL,illion metric tons of civilian POL, about one-third ofiesel These stocks would be sufficient toorce of five to seven
ii low-inteniitvtype lhc iovieti would eiperience inan indefinite period All ground forcedivisional and nonditequire addit-oml trucks to move troops, equipment, and supplies The road and rail networks in thc southern USSIt are adequate loovement of lupplicslie bordci area. The main logistic problemi (he Soviets would be likely to face would be in resupply ing units as they advanced into Iran
ituaratitin Time Tlie Soviet* could probably complete essential prcpaiatlons for an attack into Azarbtvian in about two weeks, allhough ihii would not permit them enough time to accomplish more than minimal post mobilization training. The Soviets mtgbt. however, view this as acceptable, depending on their assessment of tbe likely Iranian opposition
ampaign Concept, live ground forceswould advance over three routes; two divisions along the coast from Astara to Roshr, two divisions from Jolfa through Tabriz to Zaniin. and one division from Jolfa through Orumiych to Saqoex (see figure A-t least one division would initially screen the border with Turkey and Iraq, with Iwo divisions performing this mission in (he later stages.
coastal drive could be supported by naval units In thc Caspian Sea thai mightmall
amphibious operation in the vicinity of Rasht.thc Caspian Sea coast is generally unsulled for amphibious operations. Moreover, amphibious forces would be of limited utility once landed, because of the difficulty they would experience moving inland.
SovieU probably would conductairmobile operations to support the groundon the two western axes. Air forcesthe Soviet Union would support the groundconduct airstrikes in Ararbayian
ale of Advance. The Soviets would attempt to occupy Ararbayian as quickly as possible lo deny Iran thc opportunity tooordinated defense, and to minimize the chancesS response. Their rato of movement would depend largely on the ability of the Iranians to delay (he advance through skillful use of the terrain, and by forcing the Soviets to fight In tbe cities. On the coastal axis there are three bridges between Astara and Rasht, ranging
meters long, which (he Iranians could destroy. On the )olfa-7anjan route there are several landslide areasunnel, which could impose serious delays on Soviet forces. There arc aho some landslide areas on the westernmost aais If the Iranians could control these and other choke points and lorce thc Soviets lo dismount, deploy, and fight, ihey could impose delays of several days at each point. Similarly, lhe Iranians could be rapected to putetermined resistance inityeople
he Soviets probably would attempt to take some of lhe critical choke points and airfields with airmobile or airborne foices In order to speed up the advance Depending oa the effectiveness of theresistance, it probably would take Use Soviels between one to three weeks lo occupy Ararbayian At this stage, however, ihey would by no means control the entire area. Consolidating their position,resbtance, and effectively securing the area wouldong process and probably would requiretroops. The Soviets would probably experience far more problems subsequent lo the invasion as the Iranians shifted more force) into the area.
A limited Attack Toort in Southeast Iron
aior consideration of Soviet plannersfor an attack Into Iranian Baluchistan to seize the pod of Chah Bahar would be the likelihood of engaging US forces. They probably would assume lhat their forces would be subject to attacks by US carrier-based aircraft. Ln order to counter ibis threat, the SovieU would have to consider engaging any US aircraft carriers present In the region concurrent to the initiation of land operations Thb would entailadditional submarines to the Indianleast three or four for every US carriermoving Soviet naval aviation and air army missile-equipped strikeleast two regiments for each USbases tn (he southern USSH. Once US carrier aircraft bunched strikes on Soviet land forces, the carriers probably would be subjected to coordinated nibrnarlac and air strikes. In addition, the possibility of encountering US faeces on theespecially In the latter stages of thehave to be considered. On the other hand, tliey could
very little initial opposilion Irom regular Iranian lorces.
ssuming only local giound opposilion. thecould probably initiate an allacli into southeast Iran Irom Afghanistan with about three to lour divisions (one ol which would probably be an airborne division) and several helicopter regiments. These units could be drawn Irom lhe TurkesSan and Central Asian MIX Some units currently in Afghanistan might also be included, provided that their missions weie assumed bv someone else In any event, lhe Soviets would wantave substantial reserves available in the eveni the United Stales attempted lo land troops in southern Iran, as well as lor possible operations againit Pakistan Air support initially would be Irom bases in Afghanistan. Tlse Soviet Navy could alsoole in an attack into Baluchistan, by conducting mining operalions andUS ships attempting to land troops in southern Iran
lse Soviets would probably mobilurr aB forces in thc Turkestan MD as well as some units In the Central Asian. North Caucasus, and Transcaucasus MDs.forcealerting and mobilisation of units and transbe roughly on Ihe same scale as those for an Invasion of Aiarbayisn. aj would the preparations necessary toommand and control communications system Unlike an allack Into northwest Iran, however, an invasion of southeast Iran wouldajor redeployment of ground and air units at wellubstantial logistic buildup iaFollowing mobilization and preparation for corn-bat, ground units would have to be moved into attack positions In southwest Afghanistan In the vicinity ofdistance ofilometer* lor all but one division In Turkestan, and several thousandfor most other units.
ho Soviets could not provide tactical air support lo ground forces In southeast Iran from bases in the Soviet Union Nor do Ihey have sufficient air forces In Afghanistan to support giound operations ia southeast Iran, or to counter US aircraft Moreover, there are no air facilities In southwest Afghanistan from which to conduct air operations, lo support them Iv-isueallv. or to perforin routine maintenance. Before undertaking an operation In Baluchistan, therefore, the Soviets would piobably construct airfield* and supply depots tnAfglianistan. This wouldajor undertaking however, because of the inaccessibility of tha rescion.
They would first have tooad capable of supporting heavy vehicles and equipment to move building materials lo the not As an alternative loew airfield, lhe Soviets might move additional aircraft -includingases in Afghanistan, particularly, Shindand and Oandahar. These bases, however, hiveimited capacity for maintenance and logon a. and at timeseen aatable to adequately support the units alreadyarge-scale increase in aircrafl without an accompanying enunfoi. elcuities would only aggravate the logistic problems live Soviets already have in Afghanistan
ogiilicM. Logistic support ol operations inwould be much more complex than forin Axarbayjan. It would requite extensiveand preparation, ami would be very difficult to execute. There arc0 inetiic tons ofstored in the Turkestan MD. as wellillion metric tons of military POLillloa metric tons of civilian POL. These stocks coo id be supplemented from stores la Afghanistan and nearb* MDs, including Central Asia. The main logistic problem facing the Soviets would be In transporting ammunition, supplies, and fuel through Afghanistan to the Iranian border, securing ihem en route, and delivering them to units during the aitack and the subsequent occupation The Soviets would undoubtedly want to build up tbeir stocks inclose as possible lo the Iranianto initialing an allack into Baluchistan. Otherwise, lhc attacking force would be dependent for supplies, on an LOC that would extendilometers tlirough hostile territory, part of which is already extensively used to supplr Soviet unitsIn Afghanistan.
IS. Preparation Time. Assuming the Sovieis were willing to irndcrtake an invasion without constructing additional facilities, ihey could probably bunch an attack into southeast [ran with about stx weeks*Including rnoving units into attack rm'tioos in Afghanistan
ampaign Concept. The success of theoperaUon would depend largely upon theof ground units to capture Iranian airfields and make them available to Soviet sir forces. The main axes of advance of tlve giound lorces would be fiom ZaranJ through Zihcdon to Chah Bahar (see)
Thc SovieU would attempt to capture (he airfield at Zahodan at quickly as possible in order that they could use it to support an airborne assault on Chah Dahar on thc Culf of Oman. Thev would want to seize Chah Baharto prevent thc United States from occupying it and lo make use of ils arr facilities. As soon as the airfield at Chah liahar were secure, thc Soviets would probably begin landing iroops and supplies to build up the force there and improve its chances of successfully defending Itself until the main bodv arrived overland.
ale of Advance. Thc Soviets would want to conduct the linkup between the advancing units and the force holding Chah Bahar as quickly as possible The main body, however, would have to moveilometersingle road, traversing both mountains and desert. The only north-south road along the eastern border of Iran is in poor condition, and can support two-way traffic only In certain areas. From Zahedan to Chah Bahar thc road is especially bad. with passeseetarge part of unit resupply would have to bc carried out bya task that would be difficult owing to the lack of support facilities in the area and lhe vulnerability of helicopters to attack by US aircraft. Under the most IdealIranian resistance and no Interdiction by USSovieU couldtake the port at Chah Bahar in aboutays. However, they would face increasing resistance as Iranian forces were shifted into lhe area.
A limited Atlack To Seize Gwodor in Western Pakistan
s an alternative to an attack into southeast Iran, the SovieU might invade western Pakistan to seize the harbor at Gwadar. with thc intention of constructing port facilities there. We consider this unlikely for both political and military reasons.would be much more likely to seek US assistance inoviet attack than would Iran.oviet move into Pakistan could alarm India. In addition, tlse SovieU would have lo light tlieh way through the Pakistani forces (two divisionsrigade) near tbe Afghan border at Quetta,in of extremely difficuli terrain on the most direct route through Pakistan to Gwadar. Developing port facilities at Cwadar wouldaior
undertaking. Moreover, the Soviets would have to upgradem of narrow loose-surface road in Pakistan to serve Cwadar
or an overland assault against Cwadar on the Oandahar-Ouetta axis, the Soviets would have lo make roughly thc same preparation as lor the Baluchistan invasion They wouldargerfive to sis divisions with associated airthey would encounter Pakistani forces as soon as thev crossed the Afghan border ll Pakistani units near Quettaetermined defense, additional Soviet units might be needed. As with the invasion of Iranian Baluchistan. Ihe Soviel force would have to be pre-positioned in Afghanistan and supplies built up there. Securing LOCs wouldajor problem. Troops would have to be resupplicd acrossoute even more rugged andthan those used by Soviet unfb In Afghanistan. The SovieU probably would assume that Pakistan would request US assistance in repelling the attack, and would make Its airfields available to US air forces. This woulduildup of Soviet air forces In Afghanistan at least as large as for the move into Iranian Baluchistan, taxing the limited facilitiesthere. Facing only Pakistani opposition, il would take thc SovieU.at least four weeks to seize Cwadar. probably longer if the two plus Pakistani divisions near Ouetta puttrong resistance
the other hand, Cwadar it justmPakistani border andm east ofIf thc SovieU were willing to take thewith violating Pakistan's border, tbcyan invasion of Iranian Baluchistan intoby conducting an airborne assault againstonce the airfield at Chah Bahar had beenThey would, however, have to be preparedseveral divisions as reinforcements inPakistan began to shift forces from theto repel the attack. It would be difficult forto reinforce Cwadar from Chah Bahar,as there are no east-west roads in the area
A FuO-Scote Invasion ond Occupation of Iran
general offensive Into Iran wouldSovieU with major logistic problems. Tologistic and air support, the Invasionwould have to be conducted In phases. During the
inilial phase, ground unils- -supported by (acdcal air forces operating out of bases in Ihe Soviet Uniono seize northwestern,and northeastern Iran, including Tehran (seehe Soviets would consolidate theirresupply units, build up logistic stocks in Iran, and redeploy tactical aircraft to captured airfields. After these intermediate preparations had beenthev could initiate the second phase of thedrive to the Persian Culfcire the Khuzestan oilfields and thc Strait ol Hormuz. The second phase mighl Include an earlyf the Strait by helibornc or airborne forces.
Thc Soviets could not prudentlyeneral offensive to the Persian Culf without anticipating and preparingS response- Consequently, the forces required would be quitethe order of one or more fronts with six ground armies ofivisions with associated tactical air support They also would have to consider deploying additionalto the Indian Ocean and moving missile-equipped strike aircraft to bases In the southern USSR.
Preparationi. In preparingeneralinto Iran, the Soviets would probably mobilize all units in the Transcaucasus. North Caucasus, andMDs. Tlte required mobilization would entail the callup of several hundred thousand reservists and thousands of civilian trucks. In addition, to ensure adequateartial mobilizationwould bc conducted In the Central Asian MD and in the MDs in the central USSR- Some mobilization opposite NATO or China also might occurrecaution, but the extent would depend on the circumstances surrounding the Soviet attack.
Thc logistic structure of the Southern TVD would have to bc considerably expanded to support frontal operations. Trucks would have to befrom the civilian economy, forward fieldsites established for fronts and armies, stocks built up at airfields, and pipeline construction units readied and moved forward. The logistic buildup for the initial phase would be facilitated by the rather extensive air and rail facilities In the southern USSR. In lheMD.autical miles of the Iranian border, there areirfields with asphalt or concrete
eters long or greater. All but four of these airfields have direct rail conrkections. In (he Turkestan MD. Ihere are IS airfields ofautical miles of lite border, all of which are served bv rail The logistic buildup for units attacking fiom or based in Afghanistan would be much more difficult, owing to the limited air and storage facilities there and the long and vulnerable land LOCs
orntons. Communications nets in thc Southern TVD would have to be greatly expanded before the Soviets couldeneral offensive to the Persian Cull Redundant, high-capacity, secure communications would have to be established at front and army levels, with considerable reliance onradio-relay, comsat, and txoposisheric scatter equipment. Augmentation would be essential and would be accomplished largely through theof mobile signal units, some of which would probably be drawn from the Ural and Volga MDs
Preparation Time. It would take the Soviets elonth to make the necessary preparationseneral offensive into Iran
Campaign Concept. Prior to initiation of the ground attack, thc Soviets would probablyarge-scale air operation to destroy Iranian aircraft and ground units. They could support the initial ground assault withombat aircraftSeveral hundred additional aircraft -could be available as reinforcements. Tbc ground campaign probably would be conducted In two phases.
Phaie f. Because of thc limited maneuver room, tlie initial attack into northwest Iran would be made by aboutivisions, probably organized Into two armies. The main axb of advance would probably be Jol fa-Tabriz-Zanjan, with secondary attacks on the coastal Astara-Rasht axis and tlie mountainous Jolfa-Orumiyeh-Saqqex axis. These attacks would beby airborne and airmobile operations to seize important airfields and strategic mountain passes, as wdl as to isolate defending Iranian units. Small-scale amphibious landings along Iran's Caspian Sea coast also could bc conducted to assist tbo drive on tbe Astara-Rasht axis. Once sufficient maneuver room was available, the SovieU would commit additionalto seize the key road and rati lines essential to continue tlie advance.
nother tour or live divisions would allack northeastern and eastern Iran from Turkestan andmoving on iwowestward to ward Tehran and one southward toward lhe porta otbbas and Chah Da bar. These lorces would want to scire quicklyairfields at Zahedan and Keiman so lhal ihey could be used lo support air operations dunne (he Subsequent advance to lheCulf.
3.1 Phase II. After the Soviets had consolidated their posilion in northern Iran and completeduildup of an and logistic assets, they could conlinuc lhe attack to scire the Khuxestan oilfields and ports on the Persian Culf and the Cull of Oman As part of this phase of the operation, they might conduct anassauli lo setae certain key oil facilities in the Culf region. If the Soviets wanted to capture tliese facilities, however, they would be cordrontcdilemma. On the ooe hand, they would have great difficulty taking and holding any facilities in southern Iran in phase I, because ihey would not yet be In position to provide air cover lo airborne forces.there are considerable Iranian armored forces in the Khuzestan region, and Soviet airborne forcescould nor long sustain an airhead there. On lhe other hand, if lhe Soviets delayed the aiiborne assauli until phasethey would be io position lo support the assault from captured airfields and louick linkupmight give thc United States time to capture the pumping and storage facilities or the Iranians the opportunity lo destroy them.
ate o/ Advance. Inhe force making the main effort In northwest Iran would be moving over the same routesorceimited attack Into Azarbayian, and would face the same problems of terrain described in the Azarbayian scenarioull-scale Invasion, however, (he problems would besince the force would be larger and would be moving deeper Inlo Iranian territory, passing through more choke points and further erf ending its LOC* Owing to tlie limited road and rail network In Iran, Ihe SovieU would have major difficulties inarge invasion force overland, and. until airfields had been captured In Iran, resupply by air would be limited to thai which could be icxomplnlied by helicopter. Tlie Soviets would undoubtedly use the
lorces probably would not move Inland cacept lo secure oilfields along their route of march. They would advanceine through Kuwait, the UAE. and up to the Strait of Hormuz and Muscat.
40 Bale af Advance. Allcr traversing Iraq, the main problem confronting llie Soviets would be resup plying units as they advanced. Scarcity of water would alsoroblem if thc retreating Arab forcesdesallnl/ation and pumping facilities. Against
oopoUtuuiq and the Arab Culf countries, the Soviets could probably occupy the southernfrom Kuwail loabout four weeks Faced with Western opposition, ihere is little likelihood thai the Soviets would attempt an invasion of the Culf Arab countries llie force requirements foiampaign would eiceed those that they couldallocate and still be prepared lo fight NATO and China
I. Ihis document wo, disseminated by lha Directum* ol Inrctngeeea. Ihis ceo, rt lex Ih* Wo-morion and uie of Ih. radpaMl ond o* partem underer function on obotit. Aoeliionol mvemiol oViseminolion moyhori.ed by Iheolficfc* wilhin Iheie rc.Aiiv- deporlmenii:
fturaou ol Inietgme* ondlee lhai Slola
b. De-eeror. Dalem* MoKganc* Agancy.Oilier ol the Secretory of Oefen*.
end the ceocnircAon ol MW joint CMtfi ol Sioll e_ Assistant ChW olo. the Deporrmonl ol theirector of Novo!cer-srl-ant of Ih. Noey a. Atsntont CW of StoH.or Ih.l me Air force
olee. lo. Heodq^orlari. Marino Corpi1
0 Deputy Atlislonl Sector, lor In tt* nolionol Intelligence Anorytii. le- theent of Energy
h. Alston!BI, lor the leoVol Bureau ol Investigolion I. Deeclor of NSA, lor Ih* Nolionol Saeurlty Agency
j. Special AHiiloni lo lhe Secr.lor, lor Notionol Seeuriiy, lor the Oepo<tir,enl ol ihe Treosory
k. The Deputy Direelor for Intelligent* (or ony olher Deportment or Agency
hb Document mo,oined. or daieoyed b, burning in-ill. oppGcobloregulotions. or reigned ro rht Deeelorot. ol UleKoanca.
X Whan thii docvmenl it duiaminoied IWItat, th. oneiem raeip^nnoui iteriod noi in .xeeu ol tm yeor. Ar KM end el Ihi. peaiod. the document shouldroyedttorned to tha lorveordino ooe-cy,parml.tien .hoUJqualled of lha "orwetng ogene, to reloin ir in oorordonc* with2
h*f thi,wpo-otel, Irem theis ondmUHed.Original document.