Biden '88: How Reagan Failed The Middle East

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Titanicus, May 24, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue: The Fall of Iraq (1987)

    Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    "We did it."
    President-Elect Joeseph Robinette Biden Jr. to his wife, Jill Tracy Biden
    after results confirmed that the Democratic candidate
    had won the 1988 Presidential election.


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    Joe Biden on the campaign trail in Philadelphia, August 1988

    INTRODUCTION

    Hello! This is my first post here - and it's also going to be my first try at an alternate history scenario. I thought this up while reading about Joe Biden himself and got curious that he ran in 1988 for the Presidency, but his campaign failed as he was mired in a plagiarism scandal. Many of us could be, in a way, thankful his campaign failed - perhaps if it hadn't - Biden may not be with us today as he had an intracranial berry aneurysm after which he suffered from pulmonary embolism.

    It is interesting to think - what would have happened if that of burning out within a few months, Joe Biden either remained untouched by the allegations - perhaps they never appeared, or Biden credited his inspiration correctly - and what if Biden didn't have his medical complications in the late eighties?
    There are other PODs involved - which is why the title says "How Reagan Failed The Middle East" - and is a very important POD or should I say, the result of an acclamation of multiple PODs, which we will see in the prologue - although it's probably a very unlikely result, it's interesting to think of.

    I'm not sure if this would be plausible in real life - perhaps not. But it is alternate history. I will be open up to all constructive criticism and I will try to take what ideas you guys have into account and I'd also prefer some help. I'm also open up to compliments - and feedback - in general.
    In regards to who I am - I'm not sure if it's normal for writers to divulge a bit into themselves - but I'm someone who's still studying and I'm very interested in history and politics. I don't come from the United States or any other English-speaking country, so I'm sorry if my grammar is sloppy at times or if my text doesn't sound
    good. But I'll be trying. In regard to updates, if there will ever be any demand for them, this is something that will be figured out later as time passes - perhaps a week in between or a month at most, hopefully. I was inspired by some other alternate TLs, touching on the USA - such as "Twists and Turns: An Alternate 1952 and Beyond" by Gentleman Biaggi and
    "No Southern Strategy: The Political Ramifications of an Alternate 1964 Election" by Nofix and Gonzo.


    Well, let's go on our little trip and I hope you'll enjoy the ride with me.




    PROLOGUE
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    The Iran-Iraq War had already been raging on for around six years, ready to approach it's seven-year anniversary in September, 1987. However, the war would conclude earlier than that. Following a brutal struggle between the two armies, Iran eked out a decisive, yet pyrrhic victory in the home of Babylon. In the near hours, the news echoed throughout the world and caused many to worry especially in the USA and the Reagan Administration. President Reagan had once decided that the United States would do "whatever was necessary to prevent Iraq from losing."

    Saddam attacked Iran in 1980 hoping for a cakewalk to take Khuzestan and to establish dominance for Iraq as the leading power of the Arab world replacing Egypt. The Iraqis were confident that their victory would be swift over the seemingly disunited country of Iran. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 and it's subsequent Islamic government had resulted in the Iranian army being crippled by purge and desertion, while sanctions battered the Iranians even further. The Iranians had also seized a US embassy hostage earlier. While it didn't amount to much in the calculations of Iraq, it was clear that the United States or any other country which had provided Iran with equipment in the past would help the Iranians out with weapons. It was
    very clear that Iran was isolated and alone on the international stage. It was rather clear there would be no working together between secular Iraq and fundamentalist Iran. With territorial disputes and conflict between the two nations reaching a boiling point, it was no surprise that in September 1980 the Iraqis crossed the border to neuter Iran and to claim their position as the dominant Arab state.

    Except it didn't work out that way.

    By 1981 Iran was not on the backfoot anymore and the invasion had stalled. In 1982, the Iranians forced the Iraqis into retreat and liberated Khorramshahr in May. Already by 1986, the Iraqis were at risk of losing the war altogether after Iran was able to muster it's whole military capacity and population advantages.
    It would be the Karbala operations which would be the beginning of the end for Iraq. Following Karbala-4 in December, Karbala-5 was a catastrophe for the Iraqis as they conceded Basra to Iran after offensives shattered Iraqi resistance despite all the odds. Within a month, Iraq was cut off from it's only connection to the sea after capturing Umm Qasr - Iran seemed to be on an unbreakable winning streak. By the mid of 1986, during Operation Zafar 7, Suleimaniya was taken by Iran with the help of the Peshmerga.
    The Battle of Baghdad, occurring in March was the result of Operation Ramadan 2, with the name of it's predecessor which was a failure on the half of Iran. With military setbacks and conflict, Iraq was losing as it's generals were often executed for failure by Saddam or either battles lost as Saddam tended to intervene. Gas attacks did not deter the Iranian armies which were on a large morale booster - it seemed the war would truly be an Iranian victory. On March 2nd, the Battle of Baghdad began and after three weeks, nearly a month of fighting, Iran won and Baghdad had fell. Saddam had attempted to escape during the battle, realizing that it was lost, but was captured by Iranian soldiers and promptly executed. The Iran-Iraq War was the one Iran would win.

    While many historians debate what would have happened had the war been a stalemate or perhaps if it were a loss by Iran, most agree that it was no surprise that the Democratic Party won the 1988 Presidential election. Voters were already growling from fatigue after eight years of Republican Presidency. It was, however, the fall of Iraq which seemed to give a near-death sentence to the Republican Party. From the primaries to the Presidential debates, the Democratic candidate would disparage the Reagan Presidency for it's what most called his administrations "most massive US foreign policy failure ever". It shouldn't be said that Ronald Reagan didn't attempt to save Iraq, however, despite for many viewing him as a war-hawk, he never edged as close to the issue of going to war with Iran to keep Saddam alive. With Iran winning, oil prices went up and the administration struggled to react to the situation. On the 28th of March, Ronald Reagan informed the American public on the situation in the Middle East, wherein he called the Iranian government despotic and evil, naming them as sponsors of terrorism and encouraged uprising in Iraq, claiming that it would be unfair for the Iraqis to live under the "puppets of the Iranian Ayatollah". Many liked to pick at Reagan for the irony of his statements - considering his administrations' involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair, wouldn't it be safe to assume that his own administration indirectly aided the victory of Iran and supported their terrorist activities?

    Iraq had fallen, Iran had won. The picture was clear: Reagan messed up greatly, perhaps even more than his predecessor Jimmy Carter who lost to Reagan just seven years ago. Mired in scandal and foreign policy failure, it was clear that the Democratic Party would have a real chance of clenching the Presidency in 1988.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  2. Khanzeer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2019
    it would be a logistical nightmare for iranians to amass enough forces as far as baghdad in 1986-87, unless they are massively supplied with trucks , APC, tanks by a superpower
     
  3. Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    I know it's not really likely for either side to win the Iran-Iraq War - as historically, the war was reminiscent of WW1 with trenches and it was the most deadliest war between two "second world" powers in the 20th century. What I'm looking at is probably a scenario wherein Iran gets very, very lucky and manages to pull the offensives off. Honestly, I had thought of the idea of Saddam's Generals' executing a coup d' etat against him (considering it was a possibility as Iraqi Generals were annoyed of Saddam's incessant intervention in their plans), but I decided not to pursue that. Perhaps it may have been more interesting and there is always time for change this early in the TL.

    Either way, the premises are that Iran gets super lucky with it's offensives and instead of sputtering after showing promise historically, they manage to pull it off and hold their positions. By 1986/87 and further on, both sides were getting pretty tired by the fighting, although it was mostly Iraq which was on the backfoot and to most foreign observers, it seemed as if Iran was gaining in the war considering their larger manpower pool and domestic arms industry. It's a very optimistic take on Iran succeeding in it's objectives and actually winning the war without Western intervention. I'm not sure how unrealistic it is, but I know that it's very unlikely. But it happens. Although, if this turns out to be such a large problem and that unrealistic, I could possibly change the POD a bit with the coup and Iraq shooting itself in the foot more or so.
     
  4. Threadmarks: How Iraq Lost: al-Faw, Umm Qasr and the April Coup (1986)

    Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    Many historians and alike look at the Battle of al-Faw and Umm Qasr, not the Karbala series of offensives as the attacks that brought Iraq down to it's knees. In February 1986 during Operation Dawn 8, the Battle of al-Faw was initiated by the Iranian forces on the night of the 10-11th February wherein 30,000 troops comprising of five Army divisions and soldiers from the Revolutionary Guard and Basij advanced to seize the al-Faw peninsula which was the only connection Iraq had to the Persian Gulf, the capture of which would be a huge boon to the Iranian war effort.

    During a feint attack on Basra, which the Iraqis stopped, the Iranian forces landed an amphibious strike force at the bottom of the peninsula and their resistance - the Iraqi Popular Army - which was inexperienced, poorly trained was either defeated or fled as the Iranian military set up pontoon bridges, crossing the Shatt al-Arab and allowing around 30,000 soldiers to cross over a short period of time - after which they drove north up the peninsula, establishing defenses in anticipation of an Iraqi counter attack. While the sudden capture of al-Faw caught the Iraqis by shock, they counter attacked in order to retake it, led by General Maher Abd al-Rashid with help from the Republican Guard.

    With heavy losses, the battle was lost by Iraqi forces as their 15th Mechanized Division was almost wiped out while the Iraqis overall suffering large losses in the battle. Ending at the beginning of March, the battle was the first warning to the Gulf and Iraq's allies that it may lose the war. Al-Rashid had offered his daughter to Saddam's son, Qusay, to show his certainty that he would be able to retake the al-Faw peninsula - it seemed as if his certainty was unfounded after Iraq lost the battle and ensuing counter offensives. However, Iraq would be pummeled in the course of the next month - both militarily and domestically.

    While al-Rashid was faced with the threat of execution as he critiqued Saddam for his constant intervention in the affairs of the General Staff, he was spared by Saddam as Iran took advantage of it's momentum and with support from armor, initiated a follow-up attack on Umm Qasr, with the objective of cutting off Iraq from the Persian Gulf on the 14th of March. With complaint from the General Staff and criticism from al-Rashid himself with the threat of mutiny if something were to happen to al-Rashid, Saddam relinquished the control of military operations to the General Staff and decided not to intervene.


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    While the Iraqis were surprised by the capture of al-Faw, they were perhaps more surprised and shocked by the Iranian capture of Umm Qasr. While surprised and shocked could describe the response of the Iraqi General Staff, the response from Saddam Hussein was anything but that - while having faith in his Army and friend al-Rashid both during al-Faw and now Umm Qasr, they had lost. At this point, Iraq was at risk of losing the same war it had itself initiated with an offensive against Iran around six years earlier and Saddam was furious. Usually, Saddam would have heads rolling if Generals failed an offensive and was known for executing his officers throughout the war. Unlike all the other no-name executions of which no one cared about, al-Rashid and his supporters in the Armed Forces were able to put up resistance against Saddam, even to the height of blaming his incessant intervention in the affairs of the Army for the loss at al-Faw.

    Just like Saddam, the Army and especially al-Rashid were all to well aware of the threat each other posed to themselves, with Saddam's animosity toward al-Rashid growing ever since he had spoken against him after the failure in al-Faw. Unwilling to become a bodybag upon being called back onto Baghdad, al-Rashid acknowledged the threat he posed to Saddam and at the same time, knew that his name exercised power in the General Staff. Realizing that Saddam would most likely have him executed sooner or later, he began plotting to overthrow Saddam and to install himself as the President of Iraq. While certainly not friendly to Iran, realizing that the war could soon result in the Iraq losing, al-Rashid contemplated offering a ceasefire and peace to the Iranian side in order to end the war after he'd seize the Presidency. After consulting his officers, al-Rashid intended for the coup d' etat to occur as early as possible while Saddam himself was contemplating how to reckon with the issue at hand with his possibly disobedient General Staff, realizing that a mutiny would come

    The news of the success of Iran in Umm Qasr spread like wildfire around the Gulf - Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were already concerned by the Iranian victories in al-Faw, however, the loss at Umm Qasr was an even bigger threat as now, Iranian soldiers were sitting on the border of Kuwait. While the idea of intervening in the Iran-Iraq War was a thing only thrown around by the most biggest mavericks of mavericks of the governments of the rich royal families on the Arabian Peninsula, both nations and others increased their support for the government in Iraq, hoping that the Iraqis could hold back the Iranian forces.

    It was not only the Middle East where alarms were raised. In the United States, the Reagan Administration had been rather passive in light of the recent events of the war. While President Reagan had decided that Iraq could not fall and subsequently had removed Iraq from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, further arming it with weapons alongside France and Germany, no one really understood the dire situation that the Iraqis were in until Baghdad fell after Iraq gradually collapsed with the April Coup and nothing could be done. Even so, President Reagan authorized the export of US military equipment, providing increased support for Iraq after the capture of Umm Qasr. Meanwhile, angered by the handling of the Tudeh Party by the Iranian Islamic revolutionaries following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, even the Soviet Union was ready to help out the Iraqis to exact an indirect-sort of revenge against Iran. As the situation progressed, even the Soviet Union was worried of escalation as their ally, Syria, was also run by the secular Ba'ath Party under Hafez al-Assad. Fearful that the fall of Iraq could mean the spread of Islamic theocratic radical influence to Syria, the Soviet Union increased support for Saddam as the sun was setting on his regime. The USA had in the past provided satellite pictures of Iranian troops while the

    While Iraq could possibly survive the loss of Umm Qasr and al-Faw and may have been able to force a stalemate, the carnage and disorder brought on by the events the April Coup would later inspire was too much to bear.

    [​IMG]
    Aware that their failures in al-Faw and Um Qasr would be sooner or later met with some sort of retribution from Saddam Hussein - most likely execution, al-Rashid and his allies within the military began to act against Saddam. Realizing that the next order to return to Baghdad would result in his death, al-Rashid secretly met with high-ranking members of the General Staff on the 7th of April to discuss the procedure of a military coup to overthrow Saddam and to seize control. While many speculate on the content of the meeting, it is generally accepted that al-Rashid convinced his fellow officers that Iraq was losing the war and that Saddam Hussein needed to be deposed in order to achieve a settlement with Iran before it would be too late. At the same time, al-Rashid convinced his compatriots that it would be possible to achieve peace with the disappearance of Saddam himself, arguing that it was exactly the fact that Saddam was at the helm of Iraq as the reason for the Iranian unwillingness to work with Iraq, insisting on the capitulation of the regime in Baghdad.

    It was already a suggestion floated in the past. When Iraq was already on the defensive in 1982, Saddam had asked his ministers for advice on how to continue with the war. The Health Minister Dr. Riyadh Ibrahim had the unfortunate fate of having his body being dismembered and sent to his wife the next day after he had insinuated the idea of Saddam temporarily stepping down to facilitate peace negotiations with Iran in 1982. Even as Saddam seemed to accept this idea as part of "cabinet democracy", weeks later, the Health Minister would be fired and held responsible for a fatal incident in an Iraqi hospital. Ironically, before his arrest and subsequent murder, Dr. Riyadh Ibrahim, during his short life as an ex-Minister of Health under Saddam, publicly expressed gratitude that he was still alive after being sacked. The next day, the aforementioned body parts would be delivered to his wife.

    Alongside his argument for peace with Iran, al-Rashid also professed that under his rule, Iraq's military and other high positions wouldn't be a revolving door of people as it had been under Saddam, which depended on the mood of the President and with his satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the fruits of labor that his subordinates presented. Even as an overachiever, you could be viewed as a threat to the regime despite your utmost loyalty to it, with people who Saddam viewed as becoming too powerful either being executed or held in detention.

    Execution was often used as punishment against those who failed him in battle. In 1982, Saddam Hussein ordered the executions of Generals Juwad Shitnah and Salah al-Qadhi and Colonels Masa and al-Jalil for their failure against Iran in Khorramshahr, with other high-ranking officers being executed around the same time - this became an increasingly often punishment against those who failed Saddam's expectations in battle. During summer, more than 300 Iraqi Army officers were executed, while repressions increased against the Shia and Kurdish community, although the Kurdish were the ones that faced the most brutal repressions under Saddam which began to assume genocidal proportion as time passed.

    It was almost without a doubt that with the failures in recent combat against Iran that their President would retaliate. Although al-Rashid was a loyalist and Saddam's son was his son-in-law, he feared execution as the fate that had already befallen other military officers in Iraq. Confident of support in the general staff and among the core of officers in the Iraqi Armed Forces, al-Rashid would be propelled into the position of President of Iraq on the 9th of April.

    With support from his allies following the secret meeting on the 7th of April, the coup was put into action on the 9th of April. The President, Saddam Hussein, had lost almost all of his support among the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Some could argue that the fear of execution and other actions would motivate his subordinates to be more successful and to not fail him. However, it produced the opposite effect on the Iraqi Armed Forces. Fear of execution motivated the April Coup as the General Staff and especially al-Rashid feared retribution on the half of Saddam for their failures, which motivated their actions against Saddam and the general dissatisfaction among the Armed Forces.

    On the night of the 9th April, around ~2,000 soldiers in Baghdad, assembled from the barracks of pro-Rashid forces, surrounded the Republican Palace, which was the residence of Saddam Hussein. The Republican Guard, the strongest and arguably most-trained and privileged part of the Iraqi defense and security apparatus was the force that stood against al-Rashid and his allies in the Armed Forces from executing the coup d' etat flawlessly. Upon their descent upon the residence of the President, the Republican Guard was given the chance to surrender, while al-Rashid promised to provide Saddam Hussein retirement and peace if he were to peacefully resign control to al-Rashid. However, Saddam Hussein, resting in the palace, was informed of the situation by his advisers. At that point, Saddam Hussein had his worst fears realized, yet he believed he would be able to defeat al-Rashid. Underestimating the forces that al-Rashid had on his disposal, he ordered the Republican Guard to not surrender and to fight the pro-Rashid units surrounding the palace.

    Although the result of the battle for the palace was certainly not a foregone conclusion, especially if pro-Saddam forces arrived in support, the Republican Guard lost and retreated in the inner walls of the compound and the situation became more dire as artillery was used to shell the palace. While support arrived for Saddam in the form of soldiers from the Iraqi Army which had not sided with al-Rashid, the forces that al-Rashid had corroborated together overwhelmed the power of Saddam as they stormed and captured the palace within four hours. Saddam had never went down without a fight with his reputation and began a gun-battle with the leftovers of the Republican Guard in the confines of the palace. However, he was disarmed and arrested by al-Rashid's forces as the Republican Guard was routed. Meanwhile, other units carried out arrests of his subordinates and most loyal officers, such as his son Qusay and ally Hussein Kamel al-Majid. During the assault, Saddam began to coordinate the actions of his own loyalists to organize a counter movement to the coup d' etat, but it was too late. It was not enough time to coordinate any actions of his loyalist officers and while battalions began to move in Baghdad from the outskirts of the city to fight, as soon as news of the "resignation" of Saddam Hussein and rumors of battle at the Republican Palace reached the higher and lower levels of the Armed Forces, there was no appetite to fight against al-Rashid. Subsequently, following the resignation of President Saddam Hussein, he expressed his "will" that Maher Abd al-Rashid would be his successor - thus - Maher Abd al-Rashid became President of Iraq.

    While al-Rashid was no more an ally of Saddam as he had just orchestrated a coup against the President, he certainly wasn't a sworn enemy. Despite their animosity, al-Rashid had promised to his friend Saddam that he would be allowed a large pension and the ability to retire from his position, after which he would be honored and remembered. Despite his animosity to the offer and unwillingness to surrender, Saddam accepted the offer as he knew there could be nothing else done to amend the situation. At the same time, his son Qusay and al-Majid were demoted to weaker positions but their benefits were preserved. Throughout the coup d' etat, the Iraqi Navy and Iraqi Air Force was also in the hands of al-Rashid's allies as he was prepared for a protracted fight for his position - or rather - his life.
    With hindsight, al-Rashid was certainly too optimistic of the chances for peace with Iran. While Iran was certainly inferior in terms of equipment and supply as it had been the subject of an arms embargo while Iraq received lots of support from the Gulf states and the USSR, USA, Iran had just won two consecutive battles in which it humiliated the Iraqi Armed Forces.

    In regards to the administration and cabinet of President al-Rashid, there was no doubt that while his coup d' etat was a coup against Saddam, it retained some of Saddam's loyalists into positions of low and mid-level power, providing they remained loyal to al-Rashid in the future as purging so much of the Iraqi state apparatus would result in too much open positions with no candidacies except inexperienced yes-men. Surrounding himself with his confidants in the Armed Forces, al-Rashid, while in practice the leader of a civilian administration, had transformed Iraq into a military junta in practice as his allies in the military occupied most government positions vacated by the peaceful "purge" of the allies of the former President, Saddam Hussein.

    On the 11th of April, al-Rashid, just installed as the sixth President of Iraq - the third of the Ba'athist regime, approached Iran with an offer to initiate peace negotiations. Although skeptical of the aims behind the Iraqi offer, Iran accepted the offer and a temporary ceasefire was issued to the front-line on the border. However, it was already a decided issue that Iran would not accept peace with Iraq until Baghdad would fall. Negotiations lasted from the 11th of April til the 27th of April and in the end were utterly fruitless as Iran presented demands such as reparations, legalization of pro-Iranian opposition and joint Iranian control over the al-Faw Peninsula. While al-Rashid was willing to sign a peace accord, he was not as desperate to sign one to be considered a weakling. During the whole of the peace negotiations, Iran prepared itself for an offensive into Sulaymaniyah in the confines of Operation Zafar 7.

    Meanwhile, the USA and Gulf states began to breathe a sigh of relief as peace negotiations extended throughout April, however, as they failed, both blocs affirmed their support in private for al-Rashid - it is assumed by most that the United States, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the USSR and all other "allies" of convenience for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War would have supported Iraq no matter who was sitting in Baghdad.
    However, as the next months would show, the offensives into northern Iraq would not be the only problem that Iraq would have on it's plate. It was not only Iran which was foiling any peace process in the light of Iraqi weakness. Certain forces aligned against the Iraqi government began to organize in the north. What happened over the next three months would be a test to the survival of the Iraqi regime that al-Rashid had just installed.



    AUTHOR'S NOTE: I hope this update was better than the last one as I added more elements into the story and also expanded upon the amounts of information I write. This took quite some time, but I hope it'll be more enjoyable to read. I apologize for any spelling mistakes that I may have, feel free to point them out. Criticism is also welcomed. What happens over the next three months? Well, no one but I know, more or less and even I don't know the full details of what I'll write. That will probably be revealed within two updates - the next update will mostly likely divulge into the infancy of the Biden 1988 Presidential Campaign.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  5. Gentleman Biaggi Leader of the bisexual agenda

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2016
    Location:
    Oregonian Montana
    Uhhhh
    I don't like that I'm being compared to NSS, but I appreciate that massive compliment
    Great TL start btw
     
  6. CaekDaemon The Dragon Commander Monthly Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Location:
    Mercia
    I'm liking this so far, so subscribed! :D Will we get a bit later on showing the reaction to Thatcher losing her greatest ally? Those two were good friends, and it makes me wonder if she'd be more cautious at home as a result.
     
  7. Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    It was yours and NSS's TLs which got me really interested in the whole alternate history scenario building - and thanks!

    I'll assume you mean Prime Minister Thatcher losing President Reagan? Well, she isn't going to "lose" him, really - he isn't going to impeached and is going to be out of the Presidency in 1989 when his second four-year term ends.
    What she is going to lose is a Republican Administration at the helm of the USA, although she herself fell out of power in 1990. I'm not very educated on the political proceedings in the United Kingdom in the late eighties, although there will probably be some changes in terms of what happens in the UK.
    I can't imagine what the fall of Iraq could have as an effect on the UK, but we'll see - I already have an idea.
    Thatcher will probably still resign although the UK will definitely be different in the 1990s than in real life.

    If by "greatest ally" you mean Saddam - were Saddam and Thatcher friends? I'm pretty sure they weren't really close, at all?
     
  8. Threadmarks: The Biden Campaign (1987/1988)

    Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    The Joe Biden 1988 presidential campaign began in Wilmington train station, Delaware on June. Surrounded by his family, Senator Biden announced his campaign to win the Democratic nomination on June 9th, 1987.

    Senator Biden at the time was a bright, young figure in the Democratic Party - largely seen as a young moderate with energy and support, voicing his support for "change". In 1972, then-New Castle County Council member Joe Biden became an unexpected star wherein after trailing by around thirty points in summer, won the Senate seat in Delaware by a margin of 3,162 votes, an upset against then-time Republican Senator J. Caleb Boggs. His success was widely attributed to his energy level, attractive family and for his ability to connect to voters. Up until 1984, it was only an increase in his support and margin over his Republican opponents which lost each race they fought against the charismatic new blood Senator.

    It's no doubt that his Senate activities brought him more attention than a random Democratic Senator. In mid-1974, Senator Biden was - rightfully - named as one of the
    200 Faces of the Future by Time magazine. In something that would be considered infamous now, Senator Biden was one of the largest opponents of desegregation busing during 1974 - while he would claim to have supported the aim of school desegregation, he said he did not support the practice itself of busing. One of his largest legislative achievements, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act was passed in 1984 as he was the Democratic floor manager - in 1981 he had become ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
    1984 had supposedly been the first year wherein Joe Biden had considered running for President as he gained attention for giving speeches to party audiences that both scolded & encouraged Democrats. Over time in the Senate, he also was involved in foreign policy issues prior to 1988 - he argued for the rigorous adherence to the SALT I Treaty when he Reagan Administration began to interpret it more loosely to allow for the Strategic Defense Initiative to proceed - he also garnered support when he chewed out Secretary of State George P. Schultz during a Senate hearing due to the Reagan Administration's support for South Africa - which at the time - was still under the apartheid system.

    With the possibility and hope of becoming the youngest President of the United States of America since John F. Kennedy, the start of the Biden Campaign was rather optimistic for a first-time Presidential run. Raising 1.7 million USD in the first quarter of 1987, he had raised more than any other candidate in the Democratic field fighting for the nomination for 1988. While certainly not having as much name recognition as Senator Hart when he started his campaign before dropping out after an extramarital affair scandal, Senator Biden used his appeal as an moderate with his speaking abilities and appeal to Baby Boomers - another factor was his position as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the upcoming Robert Bork SCOTUS nomination hearings in the Senate.

    With his position as a potential candidate for the Presidency, Senator Biden set out to campaign. Although his campaign ran into some difficulties in August 1987 as his numbers began to poll behind those of Michael Dukakis and Dick Gephardt. Even so, he had accumulated more funds than all of the primary candidates other than Governor Dukakis and was still in the fight. His confusing messaging was a threat to his campaign - however - the campaign survived the bump. Many consider the plagiarism allegations in September 1987 as the biggest threat to his campaign wherein he was accused of plagiarizing the speech of then-British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.

    In the aftermath of the allegations, Senator Biden responded quickly and wrote that it was not his intent to mislead anyone and that if it were - he would not have been so blatant. Dismissing the attacks as dirty politics, Senator Biden stated that: "Look, I'm a big boy. I've been in politics for 15 years. This is not my style. If they want to do it this way, so be it." Throughout the scandal, Senator Biden continued to acclaim that he was the candidate of integrity and that while he had made mistakes and that he regretted them, he was otherwise "clean", claiming that the whole allegations are an "exaggerated shadow", stating that "the exaggerated shadow of those mistakes had begun to obscure the essence of my candidacy and the essence of Joe Biden." With hindsight, political historians comment that it's most likely that the campaign might not have survived the allegations were it not for media attention at the time being diverted to Iraq as the Iran-Iraq War began to crawl closer to a definite ending - while it was certainly the Biden Campaign which gained the most attention back at home during the scandal, the Reagan Administration's response to the Iran-Iraq War was at the center of attention. In his future best-selling book, "From Scranton to Washington", the Senator admitted that he considered suspending his campaign during the scandal but decided not to.


    Besides that, Senator Biden diverted attention from his plagiarism scandal by focusing attention away from them. As foreign policy became the forefront of the election with the Iran-Iraq War receiving great attention, Senator Biden positioned himself as a War Democrat - during the collapse of Iraq and it's eventual replacement, Joe Biden clamored for military intervention to save the Iraqi regime under Maher Abd al-Rashid. While not a penchant for foreign intervention, having called in the past for less involvement in Europe and for peaceful co-operation with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Senator Biden named Iran the biggest threat to Middle East peace and recalled of 1979 when after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the US Embassy in Tehran was taken hostage for over a year until the Algiers Accords and the subsequent release of the hostages on January 20th, 1981. Senator Biden called for the investigation of Iranian war crimes and supported "precision strikes" on Iran, although the Senator did not specify on what scale and where. Senator Biden professed that the Islamic Republic of Iran was the "second biggest national security threat behind the Soviets," and called for military action against Iran to "force upon a solution which would result in a Middle East protected from Islamic extremist expansionism." While other candidates fighting for the Democratic Party nomination mostly condemned the Reagan Administration for it's inactivity in the Middle East, most condemned the possibility of supporting military intervention if they were to win the Presidency.

    In the midst of a campaign speech in St. Paul School in New Hampshire, Concord during 1987, Senator Biden professed that "We will do one of two things. We will literally climb the ladders to the stars and nuclearize the heavens over the next twenty years - the decision having been made in the next two to six years - yielding the faith of the Earth to the malfunctioning of a computer. Or we will have the most significant arms control breakthrough in the history of mankind." Routinely, the Biden Campaign focused on arms control on the basis that the Reagan Administration would violate these agreements and threaten a nuclear arms race or even nuclear armageddon, especially with the interpretation of the SALT I Treaty.

    Senator Biden positioned himself a "new" candidate - stating that he believed the United States was in a watershed moment in the countries' history since World War Two and acclaimed that the next Presidency would make decisions that would not only bind the people who would vote - but their children as well - also claiming that he was not the type of a person to fight for special interests but to fight for the people that voted for him - often stating that while other candidates during his Senate campaign in Delaware used to walk around talking to special interests, he was knocking on the doors of houses. During his campaign, Senator Biden positioned himself as a candidate for younger people - in support of a spiritual Presidency - in campaign speeches supporting the empowerment of the American people - claiming that decisions would not be made in the halls of Washington, but in the offices and factories, universities of America.

    With time after the scandals the polling of the Senator began to recover with a slight bump after his handling of the Robert Bork Supreme Court nominations. While his opposition to Bork after support for a hypothetical nomination a year ago, Senator Biden was seen as a sober mind during the Senate hearings, receiving praise for conducting them with humor and courage - rejecting some of the more less intellectually honest arguments made by those who opposed the nomination of Robert Bork. Eventually, the nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court was rejected by a margin of 52-48 in the Senate after a margin of 9-5 vote in the Judiciary Committee.

    Formulating his fiscal and monetary policy, Senator Biden condemned the explosion of the deficit under the Reagan Administration and at the same time berated his Democratic colleagues, challenging for those proposing new programmes to say "precisely how he or she is going to pay for it" during the Iowa State Fair in 1987, acclaiming that every programme he had put forward, he had been precise of how his administration would pay for it. Senator Biden also advocated his support for switching from - converting - existing quotas to tariffs, auctioning them off and at the same time, the Senator supported cutting "systems", for example the B1, Star Wars and other "systems". Alongside this, he proposed taxing cigarettes and liquor to pay for the drug and health programmes he had proposed - additionally, he called to change the agricultural programme and supported tax amnesty. Senator Biden himself was a teetotaler Senator Biden attacked the Reagan Administration for "prostituting deregulation" to use it to union bust, to "beat the devil out of air traffic controllers", "cover for mergers", claiming that the deregulation seen under the Reagan Administration was used as a subterfuge for big business, not small business, which should be the aim of deregulation. Earlier in the Iowa State Fair, Senator Biden condemned the Reagan Administration for leaving the children of America with the burden of a three trillion USD debt, making it harder to get to college and shortening the possibilities for children, also accusing the Reagan Administration of not developing a national economy, but a bi-coast economy which ignored and suffocated the heartland of America.

    By most political pundits it was seen that Senator Biden would be competing with Governor Michael Dukakis for support in the traditionally "northern" primary states alongside with Gephardt. His contrast with Governor Dukakis over the death penalty prompted Senator Biden would ask the infamous "Kitty Question" during Democratic Primary debates on the 24th of February when both began debating over the death penalty. When during a line of questioning being inquired about Dukakis' actions against the death penalty, Senator Biden asked him the question "Governor, if your wife were raped and murdered, would you still support the death penalty?" after which the response of the Governor was seen as mostly void of emotion, perceived by voters as a white-paper technocrat and was seen as the question that damaged the Dukakis Campaign severely just before the primaries began. Since then, the question has increasingly been seen as insensitive and wrong. In 1989, Joe Biden called & apologized to the Governor for his question and acknowledged that it was insincere and incorrect.

    As foreign policy issues began to occupy the front-seat as a question in the 1988 Presidential election and the Democratic primaries, the Senator continued his position of steadfast intervention in the Middle East to "save the Middle East from the spread of Islamic extremism." While the Reagan Administration did increase support to the al-Rashid regime as the Iranian military began to make ways into Iraq, Biden criticized it as too little and too late. Senator Biden implied that his colleagues were "softies", as after he was asked by Michael Dukakis on the 24th of January in 1988. After being asked if he would "go to war with Iran," by Michael Dukakis, Senator Biden responded that "I'm not the President, yet, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility. Iran is an existential threat to the Middle East as our partners in Israel and on the Arabian Peninsula feel threatened by Iranian expansionism, rather justifiably. I think we've all forgotten what happened in 1979 and many prefer to close their eyes when we see what's going on now." Following this, Michael Dukakis self-concluded that "Senator Biden would be willing to throw thousands of American lives in the throes of death over Iraq," but not until the Senator responded that "at least I'm not another softie, Governor." It was the same debate that threw out the "Kitty Question" to Michael Dukakis. Senator Biden attacked his Democratic colleagues when later stating after the debates to the press that he thought America had had enough of "the eight years under Ronald Reagan failures in foreign policy. We don't need four more years of Republican failure and neither do we need four years of Democrat failure. We need strong leadership. We need to care about our country at home, to fight against crime, corruption and bad governance - but I think we also need to fight for our interests abroad." Throughout his campaign, Senator Biden would continue to stress the threat Iran posed to the USA and it's allies in the Middle East.

    While some viewed Senator Biden as being too aggressive and seeing his willful stance against military action against Iran as somewhat worrying, many still kept in mind that under a decade ago, Iran had taken hostage the US Embassy in Tehran and believed that it was time to make do with action against the Iranian regime. Senator Biden also emphasized his disapproval of the Reagan Administration and his Vice President - George Herbert Walker Bush - claiming that another Republican President would just play soft with Iran. Ever since the fall of Iraq and resurfacing of the Iran - Contra Affair, the approval ratings of President Ronald Reagan fell through the floor as his approval rating deflated to a very sorry thirty-eight percentage points by the end of January, 1988.

    Senator Biden was increasingly seen as a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination and the Presidency as his polling numbers began to uptick while his funding figures remained in the high-level. On the 24th February Democratic Primary debate, Joe Biden caused great damage to the Michael Dukakis Campaign as consensus shew that Senator Biden was winner of the debate on the 24th of February. With the start of the Iowa Caucus on the 8th February, it was a victory with Dick Gephardt and Paul Simon, who were largely expected to do well in the early primaries which included two Midwest states - Iowa and Minnesota. Michael Dukakis bested Joe Biden by around three percentage points while Jesse Jackson was behind Senator Biden by one percentage point. On the 16th, New Hampshire Primaries would give Joe Biden his first - but narrow - victory over Dick Gephardt with twenty one and twenty percentage points respectively with Dukakis being beat by three percentage points by Joe Biden. New Hampshire gave Senator Gore his first showing with seven percentage points. With Joe Biden, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore running negative ads against Dick Gephardt after he had won Iowa and come close in New Hampshire. Eventually, the United Auto Workers, a labor union representing workers in the USA and Canada retracted their endorsement against Dick Gephardt, which heavily damaged his campaign due to Gephardt's reliance on union support in the primaries & caucuses. The Minnesota Caucus on the 23rd gave Michael Dukakis his first victory with a margin of three percentage points over Senator Biden as Governor Dukakis garnered twenty seven percentage points while Senator Simon came behind with twenty two percentage points. On the same day, the
    South Dakota Primaries was a complete landslide for Dick Gephardt - but his strength was as expected in states such as South Dakota - Michael Dukakis came second with a bleak fifteen percentage points, while Joe Biden slithered behind with fourteen.

    On the 27th of February, while campaigning in Maine, Portland, Senator Joe Biden felt "blinded by flashes of light" as he hurriedly excused himself from the audience and disappeared behind the stage to take a break. Following reporting very severe neck pain, he was rushed to a medical institution for an emergency operation. Biden had suffered an intracranial brain aneurysm and received a life-saving operation after receiving emergency care - the situation had been so severe that a priest had arrived to administer last rites. Press coverage, while garnering large attention, was limited by the Senator's family, claiming that Joe Biden was in "stable condition".

    The Maine Caucus would hand out Senator Biden a very strong 15-point victory over Dukakis - even Jesse Jackson surpassed Michael Dukakis - which was a boon to the Biden Campaign. While the position of front-runner was still being sorted out, many presumed Joe Biden as the most likely front runner, having won two contests so far while Dick Gephardt had won two as well - but his showings in Minnesota and Maine were seven and three percentage points respectively. While Governor Dukakis had won only one contest - Minnesota - he had a continuously good showing until his blowout in Maine in comparison to Senator Biden. However, there was still a possibility for change and Joe Biden would need to solidify his position in the next contests.

    But there was still a problem. At the time of his primary victory - Senator Biden was in a hospital.

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    AUTHOR'S NOTE: Candidates who failed to win a percentage in primary/caucus in states are not displayed on the wikiboxes. I really hope I did not make a mistake with the percentages. Feel free to voice your criticisms in the thread.
     
  9. Threadmarks: National Uprising (1986)

    Titanicus Very Well-Hated Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    During the 1980s, it was no doubt that the Middle East was one of the most, if not - the most - unstable regions in geopolitical terms in the world. The Kurdish people were one of the most underrepresented people in the Middle East in comparison to their numbers and presence in multiple countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran and it was a foregone conclusion that there would be pro-Kurdish independence movements. At the forefront in Iraq were the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, abbreviated KDP and PUK. In 1986, the KDP had established itself as the face and main front for Kurdish independence, being founded in 1946 by Mulla Mustafa Barzani after he left the Soviet Union to return to Iraq with his supporters from the ill-fated and short-lived Republic of Mahabad which collapsed when forces from Iran entered the unrecognized country and promptly executed it's leader, Qazi Mohammad even after US ambassador George V. Allen urged not to execute him at the behest of Archie Roosevevelt Jr.
    Taking advantage of the nuances of the Cold War in the Middle East, the KDP and by extension Mustafa Barzani gained support from multiple foreign agents - depending on the government in Baghdad - it could have been the KGB, CIA, Mossad, MI6 or even SAVAK, even with some support from Syria and Jordan. In the span of a few years since 1946, Mustafa Barzani established and consolidated the position of the KDP as the main force behind Kurdish independence, recruiting both communist and conservative support among the Kurdish people. It would be the same communist and conservative dichotomy in the KDP that would technically split the party in two in 1975 - which would also be the beginning steps for the PUK's establishment as an opposing force against the KDP.

    Ibrahim Ahmad had been a driving force in the KDP behind the more leftist-oriented forces in the party as he had been a supporter of Qazi Muhammad and a supporter of intellectualism. On the other hand, Mustafa Barzani was a leader of the more conservative elements in the KDP. In 1964, after tensions in the party had been rousing disagreement and threats of force even from Baghdad as the President of Iraq - Abdul Salam Arif - threatened force against enemies of Mustafa Barzani, representatives who were apart of the Ahmad-Talabani faction in the KDP wherein Talabani was another supporter of Ahmad were arrested at the 6th Party Congress of the KDP while in the next few days, Idris Barzani, son of Mustafa Barzani, would drive Ahmad & Talabani along with their supporters in exile into Iran - Mustafa Barzani had achieved complete control over the KDP.
    It can be noted that the first Kurdish uprising that resulted in meaningful results during the later 20th century were the
    First Iraqi-Kurdish War or Aylul revolts from 1961 until 1970. During the war, Mustafa Barzani fought for the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous region in the north of Iraq - after he had realized that Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq - would not follow through his promises of establishing one after Mustafa Barzani had been invited to return from exile outside of Iraq. Even with government change in Baghdad, the situation could not be resolved as fighting continued until Iraqi-Kurdish negotiations in 1970 resulted in the Iraqi-Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970. Following the Iraqi-Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970, the Kurdish people would see Mustafa Barzani as their main figurehead and leader of the struggle. After the Bazzaz Declaration in 1968 following the second Ba'ath Coup in Iraq, the KDP and Iraqis would work towards an amenable result for both sides - the new Ba'ath government in Baghdad was even acceptable for Ahmad and Talabani, who were more pleased and at home with it's socialist ideals than any other previous government. Ironically, it would be Saddam Hussein who would be sent to conclude an agreement with the Kurdish in 1970.

    The 1970 Agreement, however, would not bring a long-lasting solution. Mustafa Barzani was not willing to budge on the issue of Kirkuk as he insisted it should be apart of an autonomous Kurdish region, while at the same time he continued to receive aid from Iran and the USA to undermine Iraq as he refused to close the border with Iran. As the government nationalized the countries' oil reserves, Kurdish reservations appeared also in regard to the matter of oil, as they feared they might lose control of oil resources they had ambitions for in Kurdistan. Eventually, the situation escalated when Kurdish positions were bombed by Iraqi planes. Meanwhile, Mustafa Barzani increased his demands, even insinuating the idea that Kirkuk could be the capital of an autonomous Kurdistan while at the same time, threatening Saddam of war while mobilizing his forces. Either way, Iraq went ahead in October with the initiative to a draft autonomy law with the support of anti-Barzani Kurds as the Ba'ath were ready to exclude & isolate the KDP from the issue. Even as negotiations went on, Mustafa Barzani refused to budge on the issue of Kirkuk and began to demand more from Saddam Hussein, raising his requests to define the Kurdish region not as an indivisible part of Iraq, but as of being in a voluntary union with Iraq. Tensions would increase during this period as negotiations would continue, but shakily. During the same October, Saddam Hussein would broadcast his view that the KDP was not inseparable form the Kurdish people and that the KDP had been infiltrated by counter-revolutionary forces - to basically confirm this impression, the KDP's SAVAK-trained security force, the Parastin began to round up and kill Kurdish Communists to the incense of the Iraqi Communist Party which had been trying to bring about a compromise between the KDP and Ba'athist coalition in Baghdad. Disagreements over the oil in Kirkuk was even a bigger problem as neither side was willing to work as Mustafa Barzani claimed Kirkuk and it's oil reserves and even insisting that it should be the 'capital' of Kurdistan while Baghdad disagreed and insisted to allow a mixed administration for Kirkuk.

    On 11 March, the following day, Baghdad published the Autonomy Law and gave Mustafa Barzani a fortnight in which to accept it and to join the
    Ba'ath National Front, emboldened by support from the USA, Iran and Israel, Mustafa Barzani allowed the deal to expire. It backfired as high level KDP members, among them his own eldest son, defected to the Iraqi National Front with a section of the KDP splitting and joining the National Progressive Front, formed to establish a coalition between Iraqi political parties. However, one shouldn't rush to judgment to condemn Mustafa Barzani for his unwillingness to work with Iraq. The Autonomy Law practically and effectively could strip Iraqi Kurdistan of any real-self control which was the exact result that the Kurdish had feared. Attempting to gain support from the USA and Iran, Mustafa Barzani offered options for the West to exploit Kirkuk's oil if they supported him while at the same time promising to fight against Kurdish independence efforts in Iran, Turkey, then-time allies of the USA. Mustafa Barzani was too naive at the time, believing that the West and their Middle Eastern allies were supporting him out of support for Kurdish autonomy when they were in actuality supporting them for their own goals. It was - most likely - only at this point that Mustafa Barzani realized the real ambitions of his so-called "allies". In the future, he would blame the Americans, stating that "Without American promises, we would never have have become trapped and involved to such an extent."

    Following this, the Second Iraqi-Kurdish War would begin in April 1975 and would last until the mid of 1975 and initially, the Kurdish had good odds and hope that they could win the war as they had in the First Iraqi-Kurdish War, having around 50,000 Peshmerga and 50,000 more irregular soldiers - alongside with defections - the Kurdish ranks were supported by a large amount of men. The biggest problem of the KDP was their lack of heavy weaponry to counter the Iraqi forces. Throughout the war, Mustafa Barzani had a plan to hold parts of the mountainous country while at the same time using his artillery to shell Kirkuk to show that it was still in range to the United States, albeit he lacked the long-range artillery necessary. Iran would sponsor the Kurdish with Kurdish Iranian fighters alongside weapons, even with US Hawk missiles which would bring down Iraq's recently supplied MiG-23 aircraft. Hoping to inspire the collapse of the Ba'ath government, Iran continued to arm the Kurdish until it came clear that outside of direct Iranian intervention - war - that the Kurdish would be crushed under the Iraqi boots.
    However, their main foreign sponsor, the Shah in Iran, abandoned them as the Iraqis were willing to agree to Iranian demands, setting the stage for the Algiers Accord in 1975 wherein Iran would agree to halt it's support of the Kurdish forces in exchange for Iraqi territorial concessions, most notably in the Shatt al-Arab. Israeli aid also ceased as Iran was the conduit for the transit of Israeli aid to the Kurdish. The Second Iraqi-Kurdish War was a catastrophe for the KDP as within hours of the Algiers Accord, Iran would withdraw it's support. In agreement with Iran, Saddam Hussein offered Mustafa Barzani a ceasefire so he could retreat into Iran or so that he could surrender. Shattered, the KDP and their supporters retreated into Iran while some remained in Iraq and surrender with their weapons, lured by Iraqi bribes in exchange for their Western-supplied arms. Some remained to fight, although the struggle was over. Afterwards, the Iraqis enacted the Autonomy Law - however - how autonomous the Kurds were to be was up to Iraq and suspicions of the Kurdish came to be true as the period was difficult for the Kurdish population.

    With the KDP fleeing into exile, the power vacuum they left behind would be filled by their ideological enemies - Jalal Talabani and his allies - as in Damascus in 1975 22 May they announced the formation of the Patriotic Union for Kurdistan, although the official anniversary date is in 1975, 1 June as it was the date when the foundation of the PUK was re-announced in Berlin. In the later seventies, the PUK would lead a low-level insurgency in the country, engaging the Iraqi military in the highest areas of Iraqi Kurdistan's mountains.
    There was also no lack of activity from the KDP - in 1976 they began to regroup in Europe - launching the
    KDP-PL or the "KDP Provisional Leadership". While the KDP-PL re-positioned itself as an leftist organization, Mahmud Uthman took care of operations within Iraqi Kurdistan.Masoud Barzani and his brother Idris began to take control of the KDP-PL as their father, Mustafa Barzani abandoned the struggle. There could be no doubt that the seventies were perhaps the periods of most violent feuds between the Barzani and Talabani tribes as respective leaders of the KDP-PL and PUK. While Ali Askari, working as one of the leading figures of the PUK in Iraqi Kurdistan while Talabani himself was in exile until 1977, wanted to work with the KDP-PL and reminded Talabani of there being only one enemy - Saddam Hussein - Talabani would have none of it and was determined to eliminate the KDP-PL as revenge for their actions in 1976 & 1977 wherein KDP fighters ambushed and killed PUK soldiers. Ali Askari's own fate would be sealed by the KDP. Knowing the intentions of Talabani to crush the KDP-PL, it was determined to act to crush the PUK. In April 1978, Ali Askari was on an expedition northwards to Turkey with 800 soldiers to receive a cache of arms from Kurdish villages inside the borders of Turkey. Upon entering Turkey, Ali Askari's forces were overwhelmed by around by some 7,500 KDP-PL soldiers and around 700 were killed while Ali Askari was captured and subsequently executed. This defeat was a blow to the PUK as some members abandoned it to join other groups in search of stronger and more effective leadership. Talabani would later write to Damascus, not knowing that Ali Askari was executing, affirming that the KDP-PL and their allies were their enemies and must be crushed by the PUK. During secret negotiations with - ironically - the Iranians, the PUK wanted to work with the KDP-PL only if Iran would switch support to the PUK, as Iran - the SAVAK - wanted for a united front of Kurdish groups against Iraq. By the time the Askari affair blew over, the 1979 Islamic Revolution had swept over Iran and installed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in power. It would seem that Kurdish division would continue to setback the Kurdish self-determination movement with Saddam Hussein even boasting publicly at the start of the Iran-Iraq War that "the Kurdish organizations would never be able to achieve anything since they are hopelessly divided against each other and subservient to foreign powers."

    In 1979, during it's Ninth Party Congress in Iran, the KDP-PL renamed itself to the KDP as it was before. However, during and after the Ninth Party Congress, some prominent figures in the party would disassociate themselves from the party. Seeing the Barzanis alliance with Islamic Iran which had resulted in attacks on the KDP attacking the KDPI in Iran - Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan in exchange for Iranian support for the KDP. Sami Abd al Rahman, who had earlier led the forces in killing Ali Askari, led the faction of the party dissatisfied with the Barzani actions and seceded in 1981, forming the KPDP, abbreviation for the Kurdistan Popular Democratic Party. When Iraq attacked Iran, Iraqi anti-government groups found they had a plethora of allies to pick from the Kurdish groups. In mid-November, 1980, the Iraqi Patriotic and Democratic Front was formed by the PUK, ICP, KSP and pro-Syrian Ba'ath, wherein the PUK was glad to take a leading role wherein the KDP was excluded. Talabani was incensed, however, when when in that same November, stronger parts of the ICP and main parts of the KSP alongside Pasok had left his alliance and joined with the KDP to form the Patriotic Democratic Front in opposition to the PUK as the PUK-led alliance disintegrated.


    With the onset of the Iran-Iraq War, the new government in Tehran began to support and arm the KDP in order to undermine Iraq during the war as they saw a bigger ally in the conservative KDP than the leftist PUK and they once again lost out on foreign support. In Baghdad, the fear that Iran would begin making inroads in Iraqi Kurdistan with the help of the KDP became real as the KDP allowed the Iranians to seize the famous border crossing of Haji Omaran. For their actions, Saddam Hussein would act against the Kurdish in various, often brutal means. Following the seizing of the Haji Omaran crossing, Saddam Hussein retaliated by abducting 8,000 Barzani tribe males alongside pro-government jash forces - subsequently parading them through Baghdad - executing them afterwards. In 1983, the KDP and PUK would launch the Kurdish rebellion of 1983 which began after pro-Kurdish militias rebelled against Saddam Hussein. In this period, relations between the KDP and PUK came to a sort of passive alliance as combining their forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga was able to control certain enclaves in Iraq. While the rebellion - by 1985 - would reach a stalemate, the KDP, PUK and other Kurdish groups had began to work together with the aim of a common goal, although they still received support separately. While the KDP received support from Iran, the PUK received support from Syria and Libya. During the 1983 rebellion, the PUK would make a mistake as when announcing a ceasefire with Iraq, 3,000 of their fighters defected to the KDP as they wished to continue fighting against Baghdad.

    Forfeiting support from Syria and Libya, the PUK would attempt to work together an agreement with Saddam Hussein, however, encountering the same problems that Mustafa Barzani had encountered earlier, any agreement sputtered out and as the USA and West affirmed it's support for Iraq, Saddam Hussein began to see Kurdish co-operation as not necessarily needed. However, even as this happened, inter-Kurdish fighting seemed to calm down. Even as Talabani was still attempting to negotiate for an agreement with Baghdad in the end of 1983, the KDP and PUK alongside other parties began to realize that they needed to act against Saddam Hussein as a united force.

    The 1986 National Uprising would be the conflict that seemed to break the camels' back as despite all odds and even Iranian expectations - much to their hidden dismay - the Kurdish Peshmerga were able to gain outstanding results, albeit it was at an enormous human cost as the al-Rashid government would launch the Al Anfal Campaign - also called the Al-Anfal genocide - against Kurdish held territories and the Peshmerga itself. Masoud Barzani, leader of the KDP, positioned himself as a conservative ally against Saddam Hussein towards Iran. Iran had allied itself to Masoud Barzani's KDP but at the same time was reluctant and unwilling to provide enough support for the Kurdish factions in Iraq for them to be able to stage an all-out revolt as they had their own Kurdish minority fighting for self-representation, which was a subject that Iranian politicians were certainly not willing to raise to the forefront of domestic politics if a revolt in Iraqi Kurdistan had succeeded. Either way, Iran continued to provide monetary & military support to the KDP which was what they thought was enough to continue an campaign of Kurdish harassment, not revolt against Iraq. In 1986, the PUK, KDP, ICP and KSP called for unity against the regime and while the KDP and PUK were still at odds, they began to work together in a limited capacity. Results were already apparent before the 1986 National Uprising as KDP extended it's control over Iraq's northern border, capturing Manjish in May while laying siege to Dohuk while the PUK extended it's power in the south, engaged in battles around Sulaymaniyah.

    Many remember the 1986 National Uprising as an important turning point in Kurdish self-determination as it resulted in the formation of autonomous Kurdistan. While the subsequent Tehran supported government in Baghdad and Tehran itself were unwilling to let the Kurdish exercise as much power as they had established in 1986, they were forced to reckon with the results of the revolt they had indirectly inspired, albeit unwillingly. Iran was in a difficult position as it armed the Kurdish resistance groups in order to be a nuisance to Baghdad, but not to ferment a full-out successful revolt. However, it was not about to not take advantage of one. In the eve of the April Coup and Iranian successes in the south of the country, the KDP, PUK and it's allies were ready to begin an all-out uprising against the Iraqi regime, believing that the government in Baghdad was weak in the face of Iran. On the 14th April, the Kurdish organized a revolt as rebels rose up in Kurdistan, capturing Ranya and other cities while contesting control of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah, taking control of most cities in the north. The rebels were joined by thousands of defections from the militias and army units themselves, along them receiving the weapons they took with them.

    While the government in Tehran was surprised, it took advantage of the uprising and trickled Iranian troops into the region as Iran-backed forces of SCIRI with it's Badr Brigades alongside with the Islamic Dawa Party crossed the border in order to support the uprising to take advantage of it. While the back of Baghdad hadn't been yet broken, the fears that a successful Kurdish operation would result in Iranian infiltration of northern Iraq came true. Iran, after receiving news of the Kurdish uprising, launched Operation Zafar 7 in order to seize Sulaimaniyah which was experiencing fighting between the Kurdish and Iraqi forces. Under pressure from Kurdish rebels and the Iranians, military units either surrendered or retreated from their positions. On the 18th of April, Kurdish forces seized Sulaimaniyah with support from Iran and captured Erbil on the 22nd of April. The next month, on the 8th of May, Kurdish forces eventually seized Kirkuk and on the 19th of May, they seized Mosul. Unexpectedly succeeding, the Kurdish would now attempt to hold their territories and enlisted the help of Iran with the tacit agreement that Iran could use the territories that the Kurdish had captured as long as they did not fight the Kurdish Peshmerga and allow the Kurdish to establish their own regional administration.

    Meanwhile in Baghdad - the situation was very confusing - as the northern front virtually collapsed, al-Rashid seemed to worry that Iran would soon be in Baghdad. While Iraq would eventually stabilize the northern front, the overall situation was a complete catastrophe for Iraq with them barely holding onto their territories. Given the recent affinity of Iraq for chemical weapons, it was no surprise that they began the so-called Al-Anfal Campaign or Al-Anfal genocide as chemical weapons were used against the advancing Iranian forces in large amounts, halting any further attempts to capitalize on the uprising outside of Mosul and Kirkuk. While al-Rashid was willing to compromise with the Kurdish, they had turned the whole northern front into a free-fall for Iraq and al-Rashid wanted to exercise vengeance. Al-Rashid used chemical weapons against cities such as Kirkuk, Mosul and Erbil while at the same time he used the Iraqi Air Force to bomb said cities and other villages. With the Al-Anfal Campaign, many Kurds began to escape in droves towards Turkey, Iran and Syria, unwilling to become victim of further chemical weapons attacks. Following diplomatic wrangling, the UN began to support humanitarian aid for Kurdish refugees in Turkey and other countries while also providing assistance in Iraqi Kurdistan in areas less affected by fighting to stem the tide of refugees. While the Kurdish petitioned to the UN for international action against Iraq for it's indiscriminate use of chemical weapons, their complaints fell on deaf ears as no country was willing to take a stand against Iraq which was fighting a battle for survival - and a battle for US interests - in the Middle East.
    On the 5th of June, al-Rashid extended an offer to Tehran to negotiate terms of a peace treaty and a cease fire, however, Khomeini was not going to compromise until Baghdad would collapse. Seizure of Mosul and Kirkuk for the Kurdish had opened the highway for the capture of Baiji and Tikrit. Either way, the Iraqi Army was able to stabilize the situation eventually. Al-Rashid pleaded to Washington for US intervention in 1986 and President Reagan obliged, seeing the alarming situation in the Middle East as a threat to US interests.

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    AUTHOR'S NOTE: Might have written a bit too much of history at the start. Either way, I hope this scenario of a mass-Kurdish uprising is somewhat plausible, given the weaknesses of Iraq and recent coup, alongside with outright Iranian support following some Kurdish successs. I was taking the 1991 Uprising as sort of an example as the Kurdish rose up after they saw Saddam faltering after the Gulf War. In this scenario, they see Iranian successes and the April Coup and think - to hell with it. US intervention is going to occur, but not as the large scale that would be enough to tip the balance - although it would be enough to slow the Iranian advance.
     
    Kowhai, The Hawk and Messalian like this.
  10. Unknown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Interesting so far, and waiting for more...
     
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