Annexing Khuzestan; battle-plans for Iran

By: Dr. Kaveh Farrokh

In lieu of the present escalating crisis, the following article is of high significance to Iranians, especially for those of you concerned about the possible military consequences of the de-evolving political standoff between Iran and the Neocons:
By Mike Whitney

Many Iranians hypothesize that no military thrust on Iran is possible due to the predicament of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, this is, from a strictly military standpoint, wishful thinking. While true that the US infantry forces are heavily engaged in Iraq, these are primarily engaged in counter-insurgency operations which require a minimal use of heavy armor, attack helicopters, and ground attack aircraft. Tanks, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft are used in set piece battles and land invasions, these are not designed to operate in counter-insurgencies and guerrilla warfare (like those in Iraq and Afghanistan) which require extensive foot and wheeled patrols and infantry engagements.

Whitney has explained the US strategy as that of a lightning armored strike into Khuzistan with the militarily limited objectives of annexing its oil rich regions.

The plan to occupy Khuzistan is nothing new. The plan was originally a British military dossier drawn up in 1950 - with early drafts going back as far as the 1930s.  Kindly note that this has been documented and any reader wishing to obtain this may contact the humble writer of this commentary directly.

The plan was handed to the Iraqi general staff which was updated with British assistance up to 1980. We already know of the failure of Saddam to implement the objective of annexing Khuzistan. It would appear that the geopolitical strategists have abandoned using proxy Arab troops to annex Khuzistan. Note the following statements by Whitney:

"The Bush administration’s attention has shifted to a small province in southwestern
Iran that is unknown to most Americans. Never the less, Khuzestan will become the next front in the war on terror and the lynchpin for prevailing in the global resource war. If the Bush administration can sweep into the region (under the pretext disarming Iran’s nuclear weapons programs) and put Iran’s prodigious oil wealth under US control, the dream of monopolizing Middle East oil will have been achieved. Not surprisingly, this was Saddam Hussein’s strategy in 1980 when he initiated hostilities against Iran in a war that would last for eight years. Saddam was an American client at the time, so it is likely that he got the green-light for the invasion from the Reagan White House. Many of Reagan’s high-ranking officials currently serve in the Bush administration; notably Rumsfeld and Cheney."

This is the same Rumsfeld who shook hands with Saddam in Baghdad on the very days that full-scale chemical warfare (in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions) was being conducted on Iranian combatants - Saddam's forces also ran chemical weapons tests on Iranian POWs. None of this was reported in the "World" Press at the time and not a protest was uttered by any western leaders.



The mistake of the original British plan handed to Iraq was that the armored forces were too dispersed rather focused on one area. When Saddam invaded Iran on September 22, 1980, his thrusts were scattered all across the Iranian border (from Iranian Kurdistan, Luristan to Khuzistan), a serious tactical error which ultimately led to the defeat and expulsion of Iraqi forces from Iran.




Although many Iranians will not like this information, US/UK armored forces are able to create short and powerful thrusts and limit these into Khuzistan which is flat and ideally suited for tank and combat helicopter warfare.

Few Iranians have heard of the Bernard Lewis Plan to dismember
Iran and esp. Khuzistan first ‘officially’ unveiled in Baden, Austria, May 27, 1979):






For further details of the "plan" of Professor Bernard Lewis kindly refer to my on-line book, Chapter VI:



Note the following quote from the above link:

American and British intelligence and Special Forces (working with their Israeli counterparts) are involved in this operation… Targeting Iran … broadly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil conglomerates, the Wall Street financial establishment and the military-industrial complex…The announcement to target Iran should come as no surprise. It is part of the battle for oil…In Baku, Azerbaijan Rumsfeld was busy discussing …the stated short term objective …to "neutralize Iran". The longer term objective under the Pentagon's "Caspian Plan" is to exert military and economic control over the entire Caspian Sea basin, with a view to ensuring US authority over oil reserves and pipeline corridors.

The Khuzistan gambit is the first step. The goal is to use military force to partition Iran into mini-states. This has already been done to Yugoslavia. The original Bernard Lewis Plan endeavored to get the Iranians to fight each other in a Lebanon-Balkans style ethnic war. This has been proven as a failure: Iranians are simply too united and their history and identity too long and ancient to be divided by foreign-supported seperatist propaganda narratives. This explains why the "Nuclear" issue has become such a "crisis to the international community" (I use the word "International community" with considerable license here) and the promotion of fringe groups such as the cult-like MEK, Mr. Abu-Sharif's "Al-Ahwaz" group, Chehreganli's SANAM organization for a "Greater Azerbaijan", the Komala-Pezhak alliance for a "Greater Kurdistan", etc.

Armored thrusts are not as effective in Iranian Kurdistan or Azerbaijan where the uneven mountainous terrain will allow Iranian commando style infantry to inflict losses on tanks using guided missiles, recoilless rifles, etc. against foreign armored thrusts. Aircraft and helicopters are also less effective against such commandos in this type of terrain. This was the NATO experience against Yugoslavia which despite the assertions of the "popular" press, Serb fighters were never actually defeated on the ground.

Nevertheless, Israeli commandos have been training the PUK/KDP in
Iraq to launch raids into Iran and link up with forces such as the Komala. There is also western cooperation with the PKK which has formed the Pezhak wing to create disorder in Iranian Kurdistan. Pan-Turanian attempts to create violence in Azerbaijan have been largely unsuccessful, however some Turkish and US officers in the Republic of Azerbaijan have been training commandos with the intent to operate inside Iran.  

Whitney states:

"Khuzestan represents 90% of Iran’s oil production. The control over these massive fields will force the oil-dependent nations of China, Japan and India to continue to stockpile greenbacks despite the currency’s dubious value. The annexing of Khuzestan will prevent Iran’s bourse from opening, thereby guaranteeing that the dollar will maintain its dominant position as the world’s reserve currency. As long as the dollar reigns supreme and western elites have their hands on the Middle East oil-spigot, the current system of exploitation through debt will continue into perpetuity. The administration can confidently prolong its colossal deficits without fear of a plummeting dollar..."

The "Nuclear issue" is nothing but an excuse - many Iranians (including the writer) now believe that even if Iran abandons its nuclear program and votes its government out of office the real unstated  agenda will not change. Iran and its people are the target - simply because of its size, economic potential and geological wealth (oil, gas, etc.). The coming Oil Bourse of Iran this coming march is also a direct economic threat to the Petrodollar's supremacy. This was the same action that Saddam took in 2000 - he committed the sin of challenging the Petrodollar by also offering the Euro for barter.

Iran is not Iraq, and while western tanks and aircraft can move inside Khuzistan, this "victory" will be a false mirage. Many of the assertions of an easy military victory based on an armored invasion are based on Orientalist arm-chair historian Anthony Cordesman who highly exaggerates Iranian weaknesses and is a major source of (false) "expertise" on Iran's capabilities for defense.



Much of the data that Cordesman has presented in his textbooks are unsubstantiated and even false
. He also believes that Iraq won the won with Iran (this is rejected by nearly all reputable military historians) and in like manner provides false evidence that Iraq destroyed 40 percent of Iran's forces. In reality Iran finished the war with the same number of tanks that it had started the war and much of its equipment was actually captured from the Iraqis.

Cordesman makes no mention that Iranian F-14A and F-4Es shot down Mirage, Mig, Tupolev, and Sukhoi fighters that were piloted by Indian, Russian, Egyptian and possibly French pilots in that war. Only 3 Iranian F-14As were confirmed as shot down in 8 years of war. Instead, Cordesman portrays
Iran as a "third World" nation that can be easily occupied by military force. As noted above, Cordesman is only half-right - armored military forces can certainly come in and make deep territorial penetrations, however it is not so clear that the Iranians will be so welcoming - especially when the agenda is to dismember Iran into mini-states. It would appear that many pro-war delegates in the UK and the US are not aware of how much the public relations disasters of the US in Iraq (i.e. Abu-Ghraib) have damaged American credibility. Cordesman is one the pseudo-"expert" voices in the background who says what policymakers wish to hear. He has helped sway many Iran-haters (e.g. Senator McCain, Brownback, etc.) to irrationally raise the pitch of yet another tragic war in the Near East.  

Iranians as a whole whether abroad or in
Iran, and of nearly all political persuasions oppose invasion and violence. Many believe that the nuclear "crisis" as well as "promotion of democracy" and "human rights" are propaganda gimmicks designed to soften up world opinion for a military strike - with the eventual aim of grabbing Iran's oil and then dismembering Iran itself.  

The US/UK decision to embrace the MEK, an organization widely hated across all Iranian political spectrums, has puzzled many Iranians as well, especially non-partisan elements not allied to the current regime. The leaders of the MEK were supporters of Saddam Hussein (see Rajavi with Saddam below). They not only fought
Iran on behalf of Saddam but also helped him brutally repress his own Kurdish and Shia population after the Kuwait occupation.





The embrace of the MEK as a "Democratic" platform by the US/UK is not only irrational, but outright bizarre. Mr. Rajavi and his MEK organization openly sided with Saddam's failed efforts to dismember Iran. Iranians of all stripes fought for 8 years to prevent Saddam from annexing Khuzistan. Despite prodigious western, Arab, British, American, Soviet, Indian, Pakistani, Argentinean and Brazilian support, Saddam failed.

Western analysts are also committing the same mistake that pan-Arabist writers such as Firzli and Khoury did in 1980 - that Iranian Arabs would support a foreign invasion. Mr. Abu-Sharif, who has photos with ex Canadian ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Stewart Pettigrew (see below - Pettigrew at left - Abu-Sharif at right) is a self-serving man who believes what he says. He is another career-less college drop-out (from
Ahvaz University) who is on the payroll for mouthing ethnic hatred. Abu-Sharif has also met with ex-Foreign Minister Bill Graham of Canada (see middle photo) as well as ex-Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada (see right photo).







 Graham.       MartinSharif

Despite his claims Abu-Sharif has very little support in Khuzistan among Khuzistan Arabs. There is also the issue of Khuzistan's majority non-Arab population - which Abu-Sharif and his friends pretend do not exist. What Abu-Sharif fails to explain, despite repeated questions, is why Iranian Arabs fought against pan-Arabists in the Iran-Iraq War (see photo below of Iranian Arabs training below - all are Arabs only man with beret is non-Arab - he is training the Khuzistan Arabs in the use of a rocket launcher):




Like all narrow-minded racists, Mr. Abu-Sharif lives in a personal world of make believe with his cronies. Now he others like him are promoted in the West in name of "human rights". This is interesting in that the Al-Ahwaz organization is an openly racist and violent organization and has no qualms at using terrorist methods in killing innocent civilians - Abu-Sharif openly supports the bomb attacks in Ahwaz and is proud of the fact that the bombs went off in "Persian"  areas of Ahwaz. There is circumstantial evidence of British support for Abu-Sharif and the Ahvaz bombings (see earlier link to on-line book).

Concerns with possible Iranian resistance may explain however why military planners have even threatened to use nuclear strikes on Iran as explained by Whitney. War plans are on thing, military outcomes are another.  The Petroleum lobbies are wasting billions of tax dollars in their long-term plans to destroy Iran, its people and its history. While severe damage can be inflicted as western military superiority is overwhelming, it is unlikely that plans to carve Iran up will ever succeed - only lives will be wasted.

Unfortunately, certain lobbies continue to promote the views of "experts" such as Brenda Shaffer, Michael Ledeen, Bernard Lewis, Mehrdad Izady, John R. Bolton, Mahmudali Chehreganli and Anthony Cordesman - people who despite their claims to the contrary and prolific narratives, know very little of Iran, its history and its people. It is equally tragic that American and other western recruits must die simply to enhance the bank accounts of a small number of greedy and selfish petroleum barons.

This humble note joins the growing chorus of laypeople, academics and peace activists who beg for the coming madness to stop and for meaningful dialogue to take place.

War must never happen.

Kaveh Farrokh (Ph.D)