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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:22 pm 
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March 1979:

Deng had been clever though not clever enough. The Soviets were wrong-footed in response to him having the PLA go into Vietnam but the Vietnamese weren’t. The Third Indochina War didn’t go exactly as planned. Vietnamese regular troops stayed outside of Hanoi and back from the fighting leaving it to forward, lighter militia units. Deng wasn’t willing to send the PLA onwards into an even more bloody fight than had already been encountered. An announcement was made that the mission had been achieved, the gates to Hanoi were open and China had done in Vietnam what it intended to do. A withdrawal was ordered and the PLA started pulling out. Their retrograde manoeuvre took them back north towards the border though they came to a stop inside small slivers of territory long held by Vietnam and what China had always claimed to be their own. Now that claim was enforced with PLA troops encamped there. Vietnam claimed a victory had been won and the country defended. The invasion had been repelled and the Chinese had been beaten like the French and the Americans before them. Much was made in announcements from Hanoi of the deliberate ruin caused by the PLA’s scorched earth policy that was adopted during that ‘retreat’ made too with infrastructure levelled, livestock taken and punitive destruction.

The Soviets hadn’t been able to help Vietnam in time though afterwards, starting in March, they begun the process of establishing themselves inside Vietnam to help protect their fraternal socialist state in the future. Cam Ranh Bay, the air and naval facility on the coast, was opened up to Soviet forces. This was a facility built by the Americans during their stay in what was then South Vietnam: the Soviets now took over, grateful for all that the United States had done here. Early work started at once to make it a fully-fledged Soviet military base. Aircraft would be flying from here and warships based at the Cam Ranh Base for many years to come.


March 1979:

The Islamists had several centres of continued resistance inside Iran and the city of Qom was the largest of those. Qom was where Khomeini had been heading after his arrival in Tehran – where he met with those bullets – with the belief being among many that he intended to set up a Vatican-style city state there: the KGB had known different though. The Persian Trotsky was dead and his followers were fewer in number than they had been before the civil war started. Army deserters to their side had dried up and many of their fighters from the breakaway factions of the MEK had gone back to their parent organisation when that long-establish guerrilla group had fully sided with the communists. What defenders Qom did have were motivated enough to fight though there was a chronic lack of real military leadership. KGB advisers with the Tudeh suggested that focus should be directed towards Qom now rather than elsewhere to other scattered areas of Islamist resistance. The propaganda value of taking it would be immense.

So to Qom the war came. Army units assisted with heavy weapons employed – artillery mainly though some tanks – though the real fighting was done by MEK and Fedai militias joined by men from the newly-raised Revolutionary Guards. It took two and a half weeks to root out the last of the resistance. Casualty numbers were over twelve thousand including many civilians caught up in the fighting. When it was over, Qom was in the hands of the Tudeh-led government. Other pockets of opposition across the country, those held by Islamists and the Maoists in the EMK, plus Kurdish areas too, would be next on the list to be overcome unless they were willing to accept the new order in Iran.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:34 pm 
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April 1979:

Qom was the centre of Islamist resistance inside Iran. After that was dealt with in such a brutal fashion as it was, the communist militias and with the army in support of them, not the other way around, moved onwards elsewhere through out the north-central and north-west parts of the country to crush other sites of opposition. Emissaries went out ahead though – religious figures who’d seen the light said some; turncoats others called them – to try to avoid further battles where possible. There was success with some of those missions, though not all. Stretching down from Qom along the road towards Yazd, there were further hotbeds of resistance which were bloodily put down through April. The nearby city of Isfahan had seen street battles between communists and Islamists through last month though there was an understanding come to before that fighting could continue this month. Isfahan was a major coup for the Tudeh and from there much could be achieved of stamping out that other resistance as it was a centre of communications and home to many MEK & Fedai fighters freed up.

Where there was fighting and deals struck in those areas, alliances were sought elsewhere with further combatants in the Iranian Civil War. The majority of Kurdish resistance came to an end with local autonomy offered within the national state. Many Kurds were wary, not trusting the Tudeh at all especially since it was standing with the SAVAK and what was left of the army, yet others were convinced that it was in their best interests to give up the fight. They had mainly been engaged in combat with Islamists anyway and there was little bad blood with the communists. Azeris groups had been silent throughout the past few months and they took the deal offered by Tehran too of autonomy. Sunni forces in the southwest didn’t. There was a nationalist drive to their leaders who hoped to pull their people with them into an independent state based on oil wealth. However, the destruction which had come there when fighting the government though had robbed them of that ability to offer any sort of long-term sustainability. There had been some previous contact with Iraq but now they found that Baghdad was deathly cold to any more overtures of encouragement. Tudeh and government forces were still far away and fighting on the other side of the Zagros Mountains. That wasn’t going to last though. Their leaders started to do some soul-searching… while thinking of their own necks.

As to Iraq, across there in Iran’s neighbour, those who had previously fled into Iraq remained held in refugee camps guarded by the Iraqi Army. Those inside came from all backgrounds in Iran from high-level officials of the regime of The Shah – the Iraqis had taken their bribes for freedom but kept them in captivity – to Islamist & Maoist fighters to ordinary people who wanted to get away from the civil war. President Al-Bakr made an agreement with Tehran in late April, pushed towards that by his vice president and also the Soviets too. Though they were yet to know it, those refugees were soon to return to Iran: all of them. Saddam was behind this as he curried more favour with Moscow while increasing unnerved at his president’s plans for the future when it came to another neighbour.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:55 pm 
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April 1979:

When the gun-running throughout Central America to various rebel groups before the wave of successful revolutions overthrew those country’s governments was exposed, the US Congressional hearings would call what went on starting in 1979 the ‘Panamanian Connection’. The smaller, more stable Central American nation which was Panama was instrumental in funnelling Soviet weapons elsewhere all the while with the pretence to the United States of friendly relations. The Soviet Union and Cuba had both been working hard to assist rebels in Guatemala and Nicaragua first before that was expanded to El Salvador next and also the small Caribbean island of Grenada as well: though with the latter that was after the coup d’état which took place there in March 1979. Torrijos was doing this in what was at first revenge against the Ford Administration for his belief that they had reneged on a handshake deal with regards to seeing the return of the Panama Canal to his country. As it continued though, Panama found itself more and more drawn into a web from which there would ultimately come a final showdown. That was far off in the distant future though. For now, Panama was a conduit of weapons that Andropov and Castro were seeing sent to those fighting against American-backed governments across the region. Torrijos enriched himself during this too, personally and not for the benefit of his country. Those hearings in future years would look at how the number two man in his regime, Noriega, was involved too… and how he had kept a lid on what was going on for so long while at the same time supposed to be an asset of the CIA. It would appear that Noriega – who also took a piece of the pie which was cash too – had been playing a very clever game with those in the CIA foolish enough to trust him.

Ford had continued decades of United States foreign policy in supporting regimes across Latin America in the fight against communist insurgency. This dated back to the Eisenhower Doctrine and it didn’t always matter if those rebels combatting the regimes were exactly, wholly, truly communist: just that the governments could have a case to make that they were. Moreover, since Castro in 1959, there had been the fear in Washington that rebels such as he had once been might not be communists when they were fighting against the ruling regime in their country, but they might be soon enough afterwards. Why take the chance unless it was absolutely obvious that they weren’t? In relation to American foreign policy towards Latin America, there had always been this approach taken and it couldn’t be imagined that when Ford was gone, whomever the next American president might be would take another approach.

The civil war inside Guatemala kicked into high gear during April. There were various guerrilla groups active for more than a decade fighting the series of military strongmen who used fraud and violence to install themselves as the country’s leaders. They fought for democracy, social & economic equality and also the ideas of socialism too. The mix was there and the lines were often blurred. They were all communists, the military would say, a line repeated by the current president in the form of Lucas García. He was just the latest in a long-line of seemingly never-ending generals who took power and worked to crush opposition in whatever form it took. Forced disappearances were the newest method being employed to deal with resistance: such people didn’t die or give in, they just vanished from the face of the earth. The various rebels had been the victims of this for a long time. However, more weapons were now flooding into Guatemala and put into the hands of men who actually knew what they were doing. A rural guerrilla group, one with socialist leanings known as the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (the EGP, who had the image of Che Guevara on their recruiting posters), had recently sent some men aboard – they’d been to Cuba though no one was meant to know that – and received much training there in leadership as well as the use of better weapons that they already had. They started to take the fight to the dictatorship, hitting then where they lived in a symbolic strike best referred to a propaganda of the deed: a good old-fashioned anarchist tactic. They got volunteers (unlucky fellows) into Guatemala City who set off bombs and made gun attacks on high-profile government targets. The physical damage wasn’t that dramatic and most of the volunteers were dead before they could do too much damage, but that wasn’t what the aim was. The EGP had struck a famous blow against the government. Fall-out was expected and actually welcomed too: the aim was to have the government send the army straight back at them and into their held territory throughout the central highlands of Guatemala. Then the EGP would bring the Guatemalan Army to battle.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:32 pm 
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May 1979:

Negotiations with the Soviet Union over the SALT II treaty had been ongoing throughout Ford’s presidency and the talks where the United States would agree with the Soviets on the future of strategic arms were of utmost importance to the White House. This was something regarded by Ford as being a key part of his legacy when he left office in less than two years time. Recent events in Iran where KGB activity had been uncovered along with difficulties elsewhere such as in the Caribbean with regards to Soviet covert measures were important, but in no way held any comparison to averting the threat of nuclear war. Limiting the number of first-strike weapons and curtailing the development of newer (and more-deadly) missiles trumped everything else. There were those at home, in the Senate especially, who argued that the Soviets couldn’t be trusted on a matter like this when everything else was going on but the position of the Ford Administration was that Moscow had stuck to SALT I and would do with a subsequent treaty. They too wanted to lower the risk of the ending of humanity in a nuclear conflict and wouldn’t cheat: such was his view on this. He went to Vienna in the middle of the month and met with Andropov where the two men along with their staffs exchanged pleasantries and put their signatures to the treaty. There were celebrations afterwards and warm words of trust exchanged. The Soviets would have no problem with their rubber-stamping of the treaty back in Moscow though it was well-known that to get politicians in Washington to agree was going to be quite the challenge. Ford was still going to try though with a back-up plan to see the terms implemented regardless of what the Senate said unless they expressly forbade such an approach with legislation. Ford was committed to this method of maintaining détente with the Soviets on this and nothing would assuage his view that this was the right thing to do.

The Iranian Civil War was coming to an end. There was still some ongoing fighting, among Maoist groups who wouldn’t give in when they really should have as well as the last of the Islamists, but the conflict was nearly done with. The Tudeh had won. The communists had taken control of most of Iran and their fighters were now just mopping up. Kianouri had now established himself as president in Tehran in all but name as there was still a hasty referendum to organise to make Iran a republic: the Tudeh was set to win that, their victory was assured due to public support but more so being the ones organising it. That was taking some time though, as were a lot of things Kianouri discovered. The civil war might have been won but now there was the peace to win. Iran was in a mess: revolution and civil war will do that to a nation. The Provisional Administration set about fixing some things and making changes. It was decided that a key priority was a reset of international relations. The United States was informed that the emergency government was abrogating bi-lateral agreements on security and military affairs. At once, as expected, there came strong American complaints and statements made that such moves broke diplomatic behaviour etc. but Iran pushed on with its cutting of ties. This was a new Iran, not the old Iran. That new Iran started to officially improve ties with the Soviet Union plus Iraq too: Iran’s neighbours who had been of great assistance to the Iranian people in helping them liberate themselves. Part of the agreements made with the Soviets concerned immediate security and military assistance. These replaced what had been provided by the Americans, strengthened those in fact. In secret, Soviet advisers and volunteers arrived in Iran to help Iran rebuild. Both the KGB and the GRU had personnel among those ‘advisers’ and ‘volunteers’.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:48 pm 
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May 1979:

The regime of Somoza in Nicaragua had been being given much support from the United States throughout the presidency of Gerald Ford. Ford wasn’t directly involved in that matter and left it to the CIA under its director George Bush. Bush in turn left the nitty gritty details of the support given to those below him; he was a ‘big picture’ thinker – focusing on the Soviets – and was also in the process of beginning an exit from the CIA so he could attempt to fulfil his political ambitions, ones hurt though by recent events in Iran. Therefore, what exactly happened down in Nicaragua wasn’t something directly overseen by those above them in positions of ultimate responsibility yet it would be Ford and Bush who would ultimately get the blame. The rule of Somoza was opposed primarily by the Sandinista guerrilla movement and with CIA assistance, the war had been taken to them in the past few years with quite the ruthlessness employed. Nicaraguans got their hands dirty in that as they targeted Sandinista leadership figures who were identified and tracked by the CIA. Hitting military leaders was more difficult than the political leaders and so the deaths fell upon the latter. Nicaraguan death squads eliminated key thinkers and intellectuals within the Sandinistas to inadvertently leave behind a hard-core of fanatics who were hell-bent on bringing down the Somoza regime without compromise, without mercy and without rules. Ortega rose and rose in prominence with his hatred of Somoza matched too by his personal detest for long-standing American influence in the country.

The Sandinistas couldn’t and didn’t take the targeted killing without getting their own back. They too went after politicians from the Somoza regime and struck at the president himself, going through his family not him personally as he was too difficult to get to. Somoza’s eldest son was assassinated in late May after months of trying. Sandinista gunmen got lucky and filled him full of holes in an ambush. This was the heir to the dynasty, who was meant to be the third Somoza to become president of Nicaragua: that was no longer going to happen.

His father didn’t take it well. Somoza knew that the guns which killed his son had been provided by Cuba and that the gunmen had been trained in that country from where Castro was an implacable enemy of his. The CIA had already long provided him with the proof of what he had always known: for years now, Cuba had been involved in supporting the rebels in Nicaragua like they were elsewhere in Central America though now with extra impetus provided by the Soviet Union. Cuba was responsible and he vowed revenge. He was soon provided with a method to help get that revenge as the CIA worked to assist him with authorisation coming from senior figures in that organisation though not the very top. The Director of Central Intelligence, normally a very dedicated man, was distracted by politics and would pay dearly for that distraction. Somoza sent his own gunmen to Cuba with the CIA helping them on their way.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:07 pm 
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June 1979:

Pope John Paul II arrived in his native Poland and kissed the ground at the airport upon landing. The crowds had come out to cheer for their native son and they would follow him wherever he went throughout the country. Three million Poles attended the open-air mass he gave in Warsaw: three million was ten per cent of the population! He was home and the Polish people were glad to see him, most of them anyway. The Polish Government wasn’t. They had their intelligence people watching his every move and everyone he met with. They had riot police on standby ready to move in against the crowds should they detect trouble as occurring or ready to occur. The leadership in Warsaw was gravely concerned about the potential for protests and rioting that may come with the Pope’s visit and believed that they were ready to respond to that. There was no trouble though. The Pope’s visit went off smoothly. He was soon to depart and there were smiles in Warsaw once he had left. Their fears had been misplaced. They told themselves though that it was down to their preventative measures that had made sure that nothing had happened though and gave themselves a pat on the back.

The Soviet Union had watched with interest too at the visit. The ‘Polish Bishop’ was a source of irritation for Andropov, Chebrikov and some others on the Politburo for his past statements on human rights and religious freedom across the Eastern Bloc. Others in the Soviet Government weren’t as concerned by the Pope though, he was just a nuisance and any ideas of dealing with him like the Persian Trotsky had been were dismissed as unnecessary. The KGB had monitored the visit just as the Polish secret police had done and were likewise interested in who had met with John Paul II though not really concerned with faces in the crowds as the Poles had been. Still, the KGB also had been expecting some troubles to occur with protests against the Polish Government speculated as being likely. The Pope was linked in the minds of the KGB to much of the underground – non-violent – Polish resistance as he was regarded as the latest inspiration for keeping that alive. Back in 1976, when Poland had erupted in riots over food prices, that political opposition had begun. There were sympathisers with that cause though no real active support. That could change though. The KGB feared a spark coming from somewhere could see the regime in Warsaw in trouble like it had been then. That wasn’t wanted. Polish internal security would remain a focus of Soviet interest after the Pope had left. That spark had yet to come but there was a real concern that it eventually would.


Weeks later, across in Western Europe, the commander of NATO forces on the Continent (SACEUR) was assassinated in Belgium. General Al Haig – a political general to many of his detractors – was slain when the West German terrorist group known as the Red Army Faction (RAF) blew his car up with him inside. There had been warnings that something like this was likely and those warnings had been ignored. SACEUR took the same route to work at NATO headquarters every day, his security detachment gave in too much to his wishes for comfort & ease and there was evidence too that an attack like this had been scouted out by the RAF. They got lucky yet so much of that luck had been gifted too them.

The RAF were domestic terrorists inside West Germany. They operated in a cell-like structure and had access to modern weaponry. Their intelligence information often came to them from outside. No matter the denials made, the RAF were supported by the intelligence agencies of the Eastern Bloc: the East German Stasi primary but the KGB from afar. Those ties were deliberately indirect and thus hard to prove but they were real. The RAF didn’t do what it did because they were puppets of the East Germans and the Soviets yet they wouldn’t be able to operate as they did without that foreign support. The attempt made to kill SACEUR was known about and not openly opposed by the friends of the RAF across the Iron Curtain.

The purpose of the RAF assassination was to strike a blow against the Americans with their military presence in West Germany. Killing Haig certainly did that. The RAF wanted a propaganda coup too. That they also got. Moreover, it also caused a major war scare in Western Europe for several hours afterwards. That wasn’t visible to the public for what it was but it was very real. Before the perpetrators were identified, the assassination was interpreted by some as possibly being the opening strike of a war. A blot from the blue attack didn’t come though. NATO signals analysts and intelligence personnel saw no sign of an invasion. The crisis passed quickly. National leaders weren’t evacuated to bunkers, fighter jets didn’t fill the skies and missiles weren’t readied to fire. Still, there had been a lot of alarm. Once the RAF had been behind the killing of SACEUR, not a Soviet Spetsnaz commando team, calm returned. The after-affects when it came to the direction which the RAF would take with what they would do next were of more significance than that war scare.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:52 pm 
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June 1979:

Fidel Castro had been someone whom the CIA had long tried to kill. There had been many innovative methods tried to assassinate the Cuban leader. Some rather bizarre and quite silly methods had been tried too. Somoza sent gunmen to Havana and they did more than the CIA were ever able to do and put bullets into the man. He refused to die though. Three times he was struck – once in the shin, a second time in the left hand and a third time in the gut – but Castro stubbornly lived. His bodyguards engaged the hit team before and after they opened fire on Castro and killed four of the six while two more were shot and left injured. One of the latter managed to swallow the capsule containing poison given to them all to avoid torture and/or talking to the Cubans though the other wounded man couldn’t bring himself to do it. The Cubans were fast to retrieve the poison and whisk him away for medical treatment just as they did with Castro. With the latter it was because they wanted to save his life, with the former it was so that the wannabe assassin could be interrogated before his life was then taken from him. He talked. Everyone talks with the right amount of pressure applied. Cuban intelligence learnt everything that they could from the man and then he was pushed aside for his fate to be decided by Castro when he was ready to deal with that Nicaraguan.

Castro’s shin injury was the result of a ricochet and had been a grazing shot. It was painful but not damaging. The bullet which hit his hand was a through-&-through. That really did hurt. He would never fully regain the use of his left hand. Castro would also for many years afterwards be seen wearing gloves. The third bullet which hit him did the most damage. It was another ricochet – the gunmen had been given the smallest of windows of opportunity and were under fire at the time – which had hit Castro at slow speed and got stuck in his belly. The doctors who treated him had a difficult time in getting the bullet out and keeping Castro alive. Outside of the operating room, Fidel’s brother was waiting. The doctors had feared what Raúl Castro would do to them should they fail to save el presidente. Cuba’s leader came through the surgery though to remove that bullet and put his insides back together. It was a close-run thing despite what the later announcements would say of the whole matter.

Nicaragua, with the help of the CIA, had tried to murder Castro and come very close to doing so. Naturally, he took this as quite the personal affront. Who wouldn’t? Following his brush with death, a lot of things would change with Castro. There were personal and public differences in his behaviour where he paid more attention to family and was less visible to his people. More importantly than that, Castro would fully shift the attention of Cuba’s foreign policy away from Africa and the wars of liberation there – which had granted him a lot of international prestige but not much else – to the wars of liberation in Central America instead. A suspicious man, someone rather paranoid might suspect that this was the intention of the Soviet Union as there had been efforts to get Cuba to do this. It wasn’t though. In fact, for some time afterwards, Moscow would believe that Castro was going too far when he did what he did in Central America. They wanted him to do what he did yet when he did, it was considered too much. He antagonised the United States to the extent that war was feared, a war which the Soviets didn’t want to see for the fear they would be dragged into it. Alas, such was the way of things when it came to Castro. That ‘too much’ would soon begin in Nicaragua and spread from there.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:14 pm 
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July 1979:

Cuban exile media based in Miami initially reported that Castro had been killed. There had been jubilant celebrations across the country through much of the Cuban-American community at such news. Disappointment quickly followed when it had become apparent that Castro was alive. Some would still believe that he had been killed though for years afterwards, certain that an imposter made those public appearances and that there was a big secret being kept that only they knew of. Talking of big secrets, the exposure of one – a real one, not paranoid delusions – started in the United States during July. The covert wars being fought by the CIA but increasingly US Armed Forces ‘advisers’ too had long been regarded by some in the know as just begging to be exposed. These were being undertaken without the wholescale knowledge of the American people and elements of what was going on was not all known to select members of committees in Congress when it was supposed to either. The CIA had also assisted in the attempted assassination of Castro as well, something not meant to be done anymore by that organisation. Exposure came. There were revelations made by American domestic whistle-blowers of the scale of American involvement in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras where dirty wars were being fought. The connection to the Havana shooting was revealed too.

In all honestly, most Americans didn’t care. Their government was fighting communists in some country which they hadn’t heard of? Good. The CIA had helped plan and aid the near killing of such a man as Fidel Castro? Good. Those who leaked what they knew believed that when they did there would be universal outrage and Things Would Change. They didn’t expect the near non-reaction that they got. There were more important things going on though with the economy in the mess that it was in and the continuing energy crisis. Only a very few people really did give a damn, one of those was someone planning to run for president next year though who had not yet declared that publicly.

Senator Ted Kennedy denounced the ongoing secret wars being fought without the public’s knowledge. This was wrong and he demanded that it stop. He said that it was the latest in a long line of such occurrences undertaken without the American people knowing or being consulted about too. He was joined in making his comments from outside Congress by Senator Frank Church; the latter spoke of the recommendations in his report only a few years before and the executive order that Ford had signed banning assassinations of foreign leaders from taking place by the CIA or with American assistance. Kennedy gave a proper speech on the same issue a week later and expanded upon his initial remarks when more details had been revealed of what was going on down in Central America in further damaging leaks had come out. There had been some public reaction though not as strong as he had hoped. Regardless, Kennedy would carry on down this path and when CIA Director Bush resigned at the end of July, there were those who gave Kennedy credit for spotlighting this issue leading to real change being made when Bush departed: the fact that it wasn’t all down to Bush was lost in the narrative. Kennedy would stay on this issue for the coming months and all the way up to the presidential election in November of next year. He had yet to formally make an announcement, but everyone knew he was running when he pushed this issue as he did. Bush’s resignation too – firing some rumours said; either way it killed his political ambitions more than the ‘failure’ over Iran did – changed the opening moves in their campaigns by those who would be opponents of Kennedy (also yet-to-declared) in that upcoming election with talking points about Central America propping up when the whole thing had been off everyone’s radar. The next sixteen months were going to be interesting.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:50 pm 
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July 1979:

President Al-Bakr was deposed by his vice president in a non-violent, peaceful manner. Saddam took power from his aging mentor and had Al-Bakr moved into a comfortable retirement. There was no opposition to this inside Iraq: it happened seamlessly and without any form of protest. Saddam was now the president of his country and he intended to remain so until the day he died too, however many long years off that was. This change in leadership had been done for several reasons. Saddam had his ambition and his ego. Both had been stoked by recent events in neighbouring countries. With Iran, Saddam had assisted the Soviets in bringing about a change of government there and promised much in return for doing so. As to the other neighbour, Syria, Al-Bakr had been talking with his fellow Ba’ath Party president in form of Assad about a union between the two Arab countries. Assad would be president of whatever name Iraq-Syria took with Al-Bakr as vice president… and Saddam being nothing. Nope, Saddam had not been willing to accept that and, with support from friends and allies inside Iraq and also abroad, he took what everyone was telling him was the mark of a strong and powerful man: seize power.

Saddam’s first move after packing off Al-Bakr peacefully and meeting no resistance from elsewhere was to begin a purge. It would be a bloody purge too. Saddam had found traitors within the highest ranks of the Ba’ath Party and they would meet the fate that traitors deserved. A purge made him look strong too, he was certain of that. What he wasn’t so sure on though was how relations were going to turn out with the Soviet Union when within days of taking power – there had been encouragement from their envoys to do this – there was a (polite) rebuff from Moscow when it came towards Saddam’s desires towards Iran. He spoke with the Soviet ambassador straight after having all of those traitors arrested, when he was in a bombastic mood. Negativity had come when Saddam had made mention of those promises on the autonomy of Iran’s Sunni-dominated southwestern regions and the ideas on joint (Iraqi-controlled) oil exports from Iran once the industry was up and running again there. The ambassador was polite and spoke with full diplomatic respect, but it was clear that the Soviet position had changed. Saddam read the refusal to seriously consider what he was saying as one pre-planned. Instead, the ambassador spoke of a strong and stable Iran being what was best for that country and the proposals put forward by Saddam would only harm such a future. Saddam spoke to one of his friends from the Soviet Union, one of their unofficial envoys in the form of Primakov: a man who held no official diplomatic nor government title. Primakov repeated the ambassador’s position though was softer with Saddam on this. There was also talk of how a stable and prosperous Iran could only be of benefit to Iraq too.

Saddam put his mind to thinking on this. Something was up. He hadn’t done anything wrong and he had kept his promises. He asked himself why weren’t the Soviets keeping theirs? Was it something to do with that ‘stability’ that he was told twice was important for Moscow when it came to Iran? Because from what he understood, the civil war there was over but there was no stability. It seemed that the Soviets had put the wrong kind of communists in power in Iran. Now… maybe if he could help correct that, then Moscow might be more agreeable to his ideas. He held himself back and waited. The right moment would come.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:36 am 
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August 1979:

As Saddam believed, there were the wrong type of communists in-charge in Iran as far as the Soviets were now concerned. Everything with the Tudeh had been done in a rush, that adventurism that Andropov’s opponents were concerned about but had been unable to halt. While the general secretary was no dictator and unable to act unchecked, the Politburo was increasingly coming under his control as opposition was ebbing away all the time. Recent events in Iran threatened that. The communists there were too used to acting independently, as should have been expected from the underground movement which they long were, and continued to do that now that they were in power. What Tehran said wasn’t being followed far from the Iranian capital. There was the strong influence of Islam in many of the members, especially the new ones who’d hitched themselves to the bandwagon when the Tudeh moved towards the power that it now had. Revolutionary justice being implemented in Iran was getting out of hand. The firing squads were being given far too much latitude to shoot whomever offended them today. Efforts by the new government to build a functioning state, one which Moscow wanted to see, were being disrupted by all of this killing: much of it seemed to be to do with personal grudges and also ethnicity rather than ridding the country of ‘enemies of the people’ as was supposed to be the case. There were also many of those who had come into the government who weren’t communists and had attained their position with bribes to get them to stop fighting in the civil war: these influential figures were working to bring down the Tudeh from within and possibly replace them because the number of true communists was very small and they were divided themselves on countless domestic issues. Kianouri faced an attempted coup d’état – including a serious effort made to murder him; he was Moscow’s chosen man to lead Iran – and the reaction from the Iranians themselves to address the causes of that plus find those really responsible, those who were behind it in terms of the plotting, was unsatisfactory to the Soviet Union.

At the urging of Chebrikov, supported by Ustinov who too had people in Iran and was getting some negative feedback from there like the KGB head, the Politburo commissioned a panel of experts to deliver them a report on the situation in that country. There was already an ongoing effort to do the same with neighbouring Afghanistan. Academics, theologians, diplomats and senior intelligence people were working together on what was first two reports but which soon became one due to the similarities between both nations on what was going on internally in each. That was linked to how internal matters would affect the relationship that the Soviet Union had with each country. The report was compiled throughout the summer. The Politburo waited for it to reach them with the idea then to reflect on what was said before doing anything rash. There was already a thinking from many that something would have to be done with regards to solving the problems in the two countries on their southern border but they waited to have that spelt out to them. There would need to be recommendations too, measures suggested to be debated. Once the report was finished though.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:45 pm 
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August 1979:

Castro’s redirection of his attention away from Africa towards Central America was watched by the United States. Satellite imagery, signals intelligence and physical reports from inside Cuba depicted the sudden burst of activity in transporting weapons and supplies to rebel groups across to the other side of the Caribbean. What had been hidden before was now out in the open. The Cubans were no longer making clandestine transfers across to the fighting in Guatemala and Nicaragua. What the Americans wanted to know was whether Castro was sending troops: that would be a real gamechanger. Kissinger was in full-on Hawk mode. He came to the White House and was talking like it was early 1976 when Castro had started sending troops to Angola: he used the words ‘smash’ and ‘clobber’ with regard to Cuba once again should they do that this time with Central America. The secretary of state asked rhetorically when would be the right time to stop Cuba. Should it be when they moved onwards next from Guatemala and Nicaragua to Costa Rica, to Panama to Mexico… Rumsfeld came to see Ford too with the defence secretary having discussions with the president on the matter of Cuba focused on presenting outlines of military options if the president wanted to see them. Airports and harbours in Cuba could be hit with American air power to shut down the surge in activity even if there were no troop movements spotted. In addition, the acting director of the CIA – Ford was looking for a replacement for Bush and had appointed Bush’s deputy in an acting role – came to the White House and brought with him something else gained from the increased satellite overflies of Cuba. The Soviets had troops in Cuba, a brigade-strength force. It would later be discovered that this unit (the men rotated through Cuba) had lain undiscovered on the island for the past sixteen years. Sixteen years! What else had been missed?

Surrounded by Hawks, Ford acted like a Dove though. There were no Cuban troops moving to Central America. If they had been, it would be a different matter entirely. This wasn’t the time and there wouldn’t be enough political nor public support. Kennedy was still attacking the Ford Administration and his tirade against the revelations about the dirty wars being fought in Latin America plus the attempt on Castro’s life were being joined by others. Some critics had called for impeachment: they were voices in the wind, but Ford decided not to strengthen their sails at this moment. The situation would be closely monitored but no move would be made. As to Central America, Lucas García and Somoza had information passed to them on the movements of Cuban aid to the guerrillas in their country. In return, they asked for extra assistance. There was none that could currently be sent though, not in this political climate. Kissinger made sure that the leaders of Guatemala and Nicaragua were told that they still had United States’ support but there needed to be a quiet period for a little while. It would all die down, the storm would pass. No, it wouldn’t: not there in Central America nor in the United States either.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:48 pm 
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Storms seldom die, they just hit elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:03 am 
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jemhouston wrote:
Storms seldom die, they just hit elsewhere.

Or intensify!
Eventually from the Rio Grande to the Darien Gap, Storm Castro will rage.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:05 am 
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September 1979:

Cuban troops were sent to Central America. American intelligence efforts missed their deployment due to a little bit of subterfuge on the part of Raúl Castro – Cuba’s defence minister – in how they were deployed. Cuban special forces went to the fight against Somoza via Panama and then moved across Costa Rica up into Nicaragua. When inside Nicaragua, they wore the uniforms of the Sandinistas and were limited in their activities away from where Cuban intelligence said that Americans could be encountered. Small but lethal attacks were made by them against government forces where they hit isolated garrisons and wiped them out as well as running ambushes against patrols. Overall, their impact in the fighting was minimal yet it was important though for they were the first wave of many more to come afterwards, those who wouldn’t be under such stringent conditions when they arrived of where and who they could fight either. Information was brought to Somoza through his own sources and from the Americans through the month of what was going on with the seemingly brilliant successes being had by the Sandinistas. There was a strong suspicion that this was Cuban activity. No proof was available though. That was then sought as both the CIA and Nicaragua’s own intelligence agents went looking for it. What they needed was to capture one of these Cubans, alive preferably. The challenge was difficult though not regarded as impossible, especially if they got lucky. Then, with a live Cuban prisoner, evidence could be presented to the Ford Administration of direct, undeniable Cuban involvement with troops inside Central America: the lack of such troops was what those down in Nicaragua were being told was the reason why the United States had yet to overtly act against Cuba.

Across in Guatemala, it wasn’t the Cubans involved in the upsurge in fighting there but rather those Cuban-trained guerrillas with the EGP. The Guatemalan Army attacked the rebel-controlled areas and won a major victory through the highlands. The few guerrillas who knew what they were doing couldn’t make up for the lack of capability nor inability to stand in the face of Guatemalan fire-power when caught by them in open battle as was the case with the rest of the rebel force. There were American advisors with the Guatemalans though also some others from abroad too including fellow Latin American countries such as Argentina and Chile. A retreat was made afterwards by whatever guerrillas were left and the army moved in to begin an orgy of repression through the areas where the EGP had taken under temporary control. As usual, that repression was brutal. Civilians bore the brunt of the activity from the soldiers who robbed, raped and murdered their way through the countryside when they were meant to be pursing their beaten enemy. Such was the Guatemalan Army’s fight against rebels. Away from that battle and its aftereffects, inside the country’s capital of Guatemala City, Lucas García was facing a different kind of conflict. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with his rule by others of influence within the country. The landowners who held most of the nation’s wealth along with corrupt military officers (who held most of the rest) were fed up with how their president was putting them all at risk. They had no intention of giving into the rebels or anything silly like that. What they wanted was someone who could deal better with guerrillas and also secure further support from the Americans. Lucas García was tainted as far as they were concerned. They wanted a strongman who could also negotiate better foreign support than Lucas García was bringing. They plotted and searched for such a figure.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:22 am 
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September 1979:

The panel of experts delivered their report to the Politburo regarding Afghanistan and Iran. There was a verbal presentation which contained a summary though the written report was delivered in long-form and given to the Soviet leadership to digest properly. Some took an interest in what was said, others already had their mind made up on the matter regardless of what was said and written. The report stated that the internal situation in both communist-led nations on the Soviet Union’s southern border was only going to get worse. There was widespread lawlessness and the security situation was out of control. Divisive political factionism had reared its ugly head alongside a growing religious fundamentalism. This not only spelled trouble for the future of those regimes in Kabul and Tehran which were aligned to Moscow, but for the Soviet state itself due to the proximity of those countries to a population within areas of the Soviet Union neighbouring them being ripe for the wrong sort of influences which were likely to come across the frontiers soon enough. As specified in the instructions for those compiling the report, recommendations were given as to how to solve the problems which had arisen. It was those which caused quite the debate within the wider Politburo and also the smaller Defence Council too.

The first recommendation presented was one that the Soviet Union should effectively hope for the best and wait for the situation to correct itself. The second was that there should be an active effort made using the services of the intelligence organs to directly influence events within each country so that there was a correction in Afghanistan and Iran. Then there was the final recommendation: intervene forcefully in each control and impose Soviet guidance in leadership upon the regimes of each, replacing them if need be with more cooperative leaders using military power.

Washington had its hawks and doves, so did Moscow. There were those among Andropov’s colleagues who pushed for all three options individually or a mixture of two of them. There were criticisms made of the experts which were coded attacks upon the ministries and organisations which they worked for and therefore rivals within the country’s leadership. Not all of the arguments made for each recommendation were thus made in good faith. Whilst the debates were ongoing, there were developments on the ground in the countries whose fate they were discussing. In Afghanistan, there was a successful coup d’état where Taraki was overthrown and Amin came to power. Meanwhile, there was news that came up from Iran that what was left of Iran’s oil industry was suffering from unexplained and fatal sabotage from suspected Maoist guerrillas who were all supposed to be beaten by now: the Soviet Union had geo-political plans for Iranian oil which were now going to have to be binned in a costly fashion. As the report told them, this was all getting worse. Still, they argued the issue though with no decision being yet made on what to do.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:08 pm 
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October 1979:

Amin had Taraki murdered. Afghanistan’s new leader decided that it would be the most prudent thing to do with the man he had deposed last month. He professed his friendship to the Soviet Union before and after killing Taraki, someone tied completely to Afghan-Soviet relations. Across in Iran, Soviet paratroopers protecting intelligence personnel going over American-supplied combat aircraft that had ended up in Tudeh hands when The Shah departed needed protecting themselves when Doshan Tappeh Airbase came under attack. Unfortunately, there was no immediate help available and almost a dozen Soviet personnel were killed in a guerrilla attack while nearby Iranian Army personnel remained in their barracks. The regimes in Kabul and Tehran had already earned the displeasure of Moscow and with these acts – the latest in a long line of other failings – they secured their own fates, such a fate as being soon to be deposed by Soviet force of arms. Enough was enough, the Soviet Union would act in response.

The Defence Council made the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iran on October 11th. This followed a series of previous strong disagreements about what to do over the matter of disorder in both and whether the threat posed by them to the security of the Soviet state was as bad as the naysayers said it was or whether the optimists were correct in their view that it would all blow over. Chebrikov and Ustinov were at last supported by the ideological chief Suslov in calling for an armed intervention with Andropov weighing in at the end. The strong opposition from Kirilenko and Kosygin – both soon to be on their way out after finding them on the wrong side here but in other previous matters too – was no longer reinforced by foreign minister Gromyko who jumped ship to the intervention side. His concern had been over increasing tensions with the West, but in the end he finally came around to coming out in support of what was proposed by the others: Gromyko was certain by October that any American response would be negligible.

In three weeks, Soviet forces would move into those two neighbouring countries. The way ahead for them would be opened by special forces from the military and elite KGB paramilitary units. There would be use made of friendly locals too, more use made of those locals tricked into helping something that they weren’t fully aware of. A perfect plan was put together, one designed to limit direct heavy fighting during entry and exploitation. For the sake of international diplomacy, Soviet forces would be invited in to help restore the peace. It would be a repeat of Czechoslovakia in 1968 with that in terms of local political figures making a plea for Soviet troops. However, once they were inside, then Soviet forces would deal with the troubles in each country, help install proper governance and then withdraw as soon as possible. In addition, there were options on the table to establish military bases at key locations. The Soviet Navy needed a warm water port and there was the Persian Gulf at the bottom of Iran. The plan was perfect, and it was all expected to work with the invasions and what would come after them. What could go wrong?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:33 am 
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October 1979:

The US Senate had the power to refuse to ratify international treaties signed by the president. Ford had been told that the SALT II treaty with the Soviets wouldn’t gain the ratification of the Senate. He had pushed ahead regardless, sure that he could win the senators over. No, he couldn’t. The Senate wouldn’t budge on the issue. The chamber had the Democrats in the majority with the minority being Republicans. From both sides, the latter Ford’s own party, there was stringent opposition to SALT II. The whole thing was a mass Soviet deception as far as much of the Senate was concerned. Senators pointed to Soviet missile development elsewhere and how they were just getting around the restrictions imposed by SALT II by that; meanwhile, the United States was restricting itself. Chief among the opponents in the Senate, who represented a wider view elsewhere across the country, were Democrats John Glenn and Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson along with the Republican majority leader Howard Baker.

SALT II wasn’t the only issue that the Senate, the House of Representatives and others not in such bodies had taken issue with the president with over how he dealt with the Soviets. The Soviets were arming themselves with new nuclear weapons like the SS-20 missile and plenty of conventional weapons as well as they engaged in a military build-up. They were expanding their geo-political influence worldwide and sponsoring proxy wars elsewhere. What was Ford doing to counter this? Nothing. Grain was being supplied on favourable terms to the Soviet Union so they could feed themselves and therefore didn’t have to spend the export revenues which they gained by selling oil to the West – only recently had the Soviets become an oil-exporting nation – on that instead of military hardware. Soviet expansion into Iran was another serious issue which Ford had failed to address. Despite the denials, his political opponents lined up to level accusations that the US Government knew long in advance of the influence by Moscow in the Iranian Revolution and did nothing to stop that either with the end result being the fall of an American ally and its immediate subsuming into the Soviet orbit.

The Ford Administration’s military programmes were another source of contention. There was debacle after debacle there. Not all of these criticisms were valid as politics came into play but there was a pattern of attack present. The MICV programme to build a new series of armoured infantry vehicles for the US Army was delayed and delayed again. The B-1A bomber was sure to be a white elephant. Then there were the new series of air- & ground-launched cruise missiles with both seen as costly mistakes. When it came to the latter, those cruise missiles designed for nuclear use, some of the same critics who argued that their development was flawed still questioned while even after that, they weren’t forward deployed. Many governments in Western Europe wanted them there to help defend their countries when the Soviets had their SS-20s. What was the Ford Administration doing about this? All of that came alongside the continued attacks made from different directions about the dirty wars in Central America that were still ongoing with allegations made that United States support for regimes with no regard for human rights continued unabated.

The last year of Ford’s presidency, where had hoped to be cementing his legacy, was going to see more of this coming especially with the twin storms of the Middle East and Central America. Some of his opponents were speaking in good faith, others not so much. There was political manoeuvring going on for the race to win the White House next year and other nationwide races too. Ford’s own vice president was getting ready to make a presidential bid – Dole would most likely be faced Reagan; the latter long a thorn in the president’s side – and his fate would be tied to the actions of the president… plus his perceived failures. There would be no let up in the politics at home in the United States, especially as further troublesome developments happened abroad.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:08 am 
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October 1979:

Should the Nicaraguan National Guard give up the fight with the Sandinistas, there was a widespread belief among those conscripts that the revenge from the guerrillas would be to kill them and their families as well. This had already happened, they had been told that. Captured prisoners and deserters had faced the vengeance of the rebels, with their loved ones suffering too. The only thing to do was to fight and keep fighting. Defeat meant death. So they carried on the fighting, getting even more brutal than before. Captured rebels were executed on the spot and villages which had been supporting the Sandinistas were given a good going over. There was no indication in any members of the National Guard – the low- and middle-ranking members rather than those at the top – that they had been manipulated on this issue with clever lies and careful propaganda used to keep their morale up. The guerrillas were truly taking the fight to the Nicaraguan military now while supported as strongly as they were from aboard: everything was being done to avoid defeat by Somoza and his regime.

That everything included making a serious effort alongside the CIA to capture a live Cuban solider. Those few Cubans active in the country were sought so that one could be taken prisoner and shown to the White House as proof of overt, direct Cuban involvement in Nicaragua. There was a red line that Ford had on that issue, such was how it was understood down in Nicaragua, and once Cuba could be shown to have crossed it, then things would change. The hunt was ongoing. The hunters lost men during it too with several Nicaraguan commandos killed and one of the CIA paramilitary officers – a man ‘lent’ by the US Green Berets – later dying from wounds inflicted in a firefight. Still, it went on. The Cubans weren’t ghosts, they weren’t going to stay invisible for long. Eventually, they would be caught up with.


Across the Caribbean far from Nicaragua, there was Cuban involvement beginning in the island nation of Grenada too. A violent seizure of power had taken place back in March by insurrectionists who proclaimed a People’s Revolutionary Government. Grenada was led by power-mad militarists not to the exact political tastes of neither Havana nor Moscow. Regardless, there was an opportunity seen by Castro – still recovering from his wounds in that botched assassination – to have an impact there. The future direction of Grenada could be beneficial if things were done right.

Castro had sent a diplomatic team to Grenada last month and now he sent his brother. Raúl was treated like a visiting king though was rather alarmed at some of the harsh measures taken by his hosts to suppress opposition. Grenada was still rather chaotic but much of what he was told about was unnecessary. He politely explained to Maurice Bishop that there was a better way of doing things; Bishop in turn spoke of crushing counter-revolutionaries before they knew that they were counter-revolutionaries. That issue was pushed aside for time being. There were other matters, those of cooperation between Havana and St. George’s, which Fidel’s brother came to talk about. Raúl spoke of opening up connections between Grenada and the rest of the world, the socialist world in particular. What would be the best way to do that? That would be by expanding the transport links of Grenada first. St. George’s had a viable port but only a small airport. Cuba could help with developing the latter.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:05 pm 
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November 1979:

There was a delay imposed of one day at the last minute when it came to the opening of the armed interventions into Afghanistan and Iran. Really, more than just one day was needed yet there were so many wheels in motion that any further delay would put the whole planned success of the operation at serious risk. Little could be fixed in that space of twenty-four hours when it came to sorting out the logistical difficulties that had cropped up in the late stage of the preparations, but what could be done was. Instead of on October 31st, the invasions of those two countries by Soviet and Iraqi forces commenced on November 1st.

The invitations from Kabul and Tehran issued for the entry of foreign troops into each nation helped smooth the way along with the sudden surprise assault that caught both Afghanistan and Iran completely unawares. All of a sudden, armoured columns were crossing their borders while deep inside their countries there were airheads established to fly in more troops and armour too. Special forces assaults took over key communications points and also neutralised the elements of the political leadership sought out.

Afghanistan was far easier for the Soviets to take over than its bigger neighbour Iran. There had come the pre-invasion activation of the Soviet 40th Army which took command of the operation: part of the field army had been pre-deployed months beforehand near to the border when the now-deceased Taraki asked for their presence if not inside Afghanistan then on the border ready to come in should they been needed. The 40th Army undertook the border crossing operations and the Kabul airhead (outside the Afghan capital at Bagram Airbase where there were already Soviet forces) mission too. Kabul was taken and then two main drives swept Soviet armour through the country with a destination of Kabul as they took looping routes. Organised Afghan resistance was near non-existent. The Soviets were coming to help, was the belief of so many duped into believing this fallacy. There problems which the 40th Army faced rather than the Afghan Army came from the terrain, the weather and navigation. Afghanistan wasn’t a large country yet neither was it small either. The transport network was a mess and there were few locals who were fast to offer help. The invasion objectives were achieved and at a remarkably low cost but it wasn’t as easy as foreseen. Something else that wasn’t foreseen was how very fast Afghan rebel groups who were fighting the government which the Soviets deposed were able to swing their attention in an instant to fighting the invaders. Afghans started to unite and unite fast, all against the Soviets. With immediate effect, following guidelines set for what to do when facing the expected minimal resistance – rather than what the 40th Army actually got – Soviet forces unleashed strong counterattacks against opposition. They blasted away with immense fire-power at all who dared stand in their way or turn their guns on them. The beginning of the long war in Afghanistan had commenced.

Mobilisation problems within the Trans-Caucasus and Turkestan Military Districts had brought ire down from Moscow where Marshal Ustinov had relieved the commander of the former from his duties and would ensure he was brought up on charges of dereliction of duty & corruption; the commander of the second district would face the same charge months later. It took far too long for the standing 4th Army and the newly-raised 32nd Army to get ready for combat operations to go into Iran. Soviet advisers with the Iraqis informed Moscow that Saddam’s soldiers were prepared to move first if necessary. That might or might not have been true, but, regardless, there was a lot of controversy over the Soviet Army’s internal delays. Thankfully, when they went into Iran, the 4th & 32nd Army’s had little opposition standing in their way. The Iraqis had a far tougher time and boasts from Baghdad turned out to be only true on how fast they could move, not whether they could fight properly. The Iranians were taken completely by surprise and couldn’t stop the Soviets in any meaningful way nor repeat any of the successes which they had with the Iraqis. The Tehran and Tabriz airheads taken by Soviet paratroopers and then expanded upon when airmobile units arrived threw their rear areas into chaos. Soviet tanks raced southwards to link up with those but also take over much of the country. Spetsnaz units helped them (hitting the homes of commanders to kill them in the hours before hostilities opened), more so did the wholescale inability of the Iranian Army to do anything after the devastation in numbers & morale with the revolution. Iranian militias aligned to the regime brought into that umbrella Revolutionary Guard organisation were those who opposed the Soviet Army at first yet they too were paralysed when KGB officers struck deals with them… ones which the Soviet Union had no intention of honouring.

Iraqi troops crossed the western border and took the time to fight Kurdish forces there more than Iranian militias. Their most success was in the north, rather than where it was meant to be down in the southern part of the border area. Iraqi airborne forces did overrun the port of Bushehr and get troops to other harbours along the Persian Gulf: this was their major success which the Soviets were eventually happy with. They were joined in these naval operations by Soviet troops flying to Bandar Abbas the long way around (through Iraq then over the water) to get there and secure the southern access route to Iran should there come any idea of American interference. Deep inside the cordon thrown around Iran, Soviet forces overran the country. It wasn’t easy. They had to resort to the heavy use of fire-power when they encountered small, disorganised but dug-in Iranian resistance. Civilians fled from them but irregular forces like those infernal Maoists made attacks, especially in the rear once the main body of Soviet troops had passed. They were deadly in places yet the Soviets were more-focused on shutting down resistance from Islamists groups before they could rise. Those hadn’t been killed off by the Tudeh regime that Moscow now brought down. Instead, they had just gone quiet after countless defeats in open battle and were beginning an insurgency. Soviet troops were here in Iran to eliminate that early on. Where met – or suspicion of it was encountered – the response was extraordinarily harsh. There was no aim for a long war here in Iran, just a brutal crushing of dissent which the Soviets began early on.


Last edited by James G on Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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