What-If Studies

It’s always interesting to look at projections from the past. Not just to see how right or wrong they were, but to see how they could have diverged from actual history. On the 30th anniversary of the Gulf War, it’s timely to look at a partially declassified 1995 analysis of the Iraqi military. Historically, it crumbled to the point where its very weakness and fragility was an important role in the post-invasion turmoil. But what if it didn’t?

One what-if that’s very Command-friendly is their “modernized and expanded” option with over fifty new aircraft (likely a Flanker variant of some sort given the time period) and multiple battalions of so-called “Double Digit SAMs”.

Although centered around fighting on the ground, a version of this “rearmed and souped-up Baathish Iraq” appeared in Michael Farmer’s tank novel Tin Soldiers, an excellent book that’s arguably the best post-1991 technothriller ever written.