Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Notsure, Aug 16, 2019.
What if Iraq had followed Syria into the UAR? Is war with the Saudis likely to happen?
Well Wikipeadia says that Nasser imposed nationalisation on Syria and that Egypt demanded Syrian political parties to be disbanded. Perhaps Iraq would be an effective couterweight to Egypt and indeed dominate the UAR. Perhaps together the three would be better off together just as Europe has been better off in the EEC and EU.
I wonder if there would be the same amount of unrest between the various factions of Islam such as Shiia and Sunni? It opens a lot of questions regarding the Kurds as well.
It might've emboldened Iraq to take over Kuwait c 1960. If Nasser went along, Egypt could've barred allied warships and transports from using the Suez canal to oppose the move.
Iraq and Syria would notionally merge, which would cause a political earthquake. The combination would actually counterbalance Egypt, leading to a possibly more stable Union even if both in Cairo and wherever the capital of the Syraq side will end up to be (the obvious symbolic, and geographically reasonable choice, would likely be... Raqqa, if Baghdad and Damascus are excluded) you will see factionalism and conflict between parties even if formally disbanded. Nasser would try to dominate the entire thing, which would be poorly received in Syria and Iraq (as it was in Syria IOTL).
I agree that an attempt to seize Kuwait is likely here, so would be an even worse escalation in South Yemen. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent also Iran, would be terrified. This UAR, if it manages to keep itself together, would have to worry about many fronts at once, Palestine being obviously the foremost worry, but also having to engage in the border conflict with Iran, a confrontation with Britain over Kuwait/the Gulf/perhaps South Yemen, North Yemen and more generally ideological and territorial issues with Riyadh, the Kurdish question, support to Algerian revolutionaries and possibly Saharawi ones in time (and/or Eritreans?) and ofc Lebanon. Jordan would also be very actively hostile and very likely to be unstable in this context.
Israel would possibly launch a pre-emptive strike of the Six Days type earlier, but maybe without involving Jordan (so strategically more similar to the October War, albeit likelyhood of that spilling over to either Lebanon, Jordan or both remains).
But Nasser didn't get involved in Yemen until the fall of '62. By then he'd probably have his hands full dealing with Iraq and Kuwait.
The UAR put Israel on a back burner while in Yemen 1962-67, so I'd assume the same would've happened had Egypt some other pressing concern like Kuwait. Of course basically Israel remains enemy #1.
Prior to the '67 war, Israel's casi belli were (besides an attack): Use of sharm to impose a naval blockade and the inclusion of Jordan in a military alliance enabling other arab armies to mass in Jordan. An expanded UAR while worrisome wouldn't justify a preemptive attack.
But they would have to open that front too, if events in Yemen unfold similarly to OTL (which may not be the case). Encircling Saudi Arabia (which would on the opposite side about Kuwait) would be very tempting and an ideological need.
Not per se, but would make the Israelis a lot more trigger-happy in the event of a crisis (such as the aforementioned Tiran Gulf thing).
Nasser might've sent some troops to Yemen for that purpose but with Iraq as an ally it would probably be more tempting to go after Kuwait like the Iraqis wanted, and that would put UAR forces much closer to KSA oilfields.
But if the West warded off a march on Kuwait, or compelled a pullback, Nasser then might've intervened fully in Yemen as in OTL, but with a possible difference. If Iraq's army continued to threaten the gulf states they's have to divert more resources to that front, presumably less to Yemen.
After the Yemen fiasco, Nasser precipitated a crisis to regain his leadership of the arab world. IF he succeeds in establishing a much bigger UAR (i.e. already is riding high in the arab world) he wouldn't need to do that--at least not until 1970 or later, when Egypt would in theory finally be ready to take on Israel.
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