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Books in Development

Books in Development

  • OPFOR SMARTbook 4 - Iran & the Middle East

Military Reference: Multi-Service & Specialty

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OPFOR SMARTbook 4 - Iran & the Middle East

OPFOR SMARTbook 4 - Iran & the Middle East This book is in development
Release Note :Projected Summer 2023.
Cover Type:Gloss U.V. Coating
Binding Type:Perfect Bind
Print Inside Pages:Black and White
Trim Size:5.5'' x 8.5''
Total Pages:0

This book is currently in development.

Forces, Conflicts & Threats

Spanning more than 4.6 million square miles, the Middle East has for millennia been a geographic and geopolitical crossroads and site of cooperation, competition, and conflict. Rich in cultural heritage but with unevenly distributed natural resources, the region is also beset by internal conflict and instability. It encompasses the geographic origins and spiritual centers for many of the world’s largest religious populations, with active fault lines bisecting political and ethnic boundaries.

Fabulous wealth in some resource-rich countries contrasts starkly with abject poverty and the absence of essential services in others. Inequity within societies gave wind to the 2011 “Arab Spring,” which largely failed to address grievances that still fester. Ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen and the collapse of legitimate governance in Afghanistan have undermined stability throughout and beyond the region and given rise to humanitarian, refugee, and potential environmental crises.

The greatest single day-to-day threat to regional security and stability remains Iran, which challenges the United States and its allies by pursuing regional hegemony, breaching its commitments, and posing a conventional threat to partner nations while facilitating and conducting coercive and malign activities. With the largest military in the Middle East, Iran has developed and amassed sophisticated ballistic missile forces and is at the cutting edge in the development of aerial and maritime unmanned systems. With their potent offensive capabilities, these weapon systems enable Iran to threaten its neighbors and menace the free flow of commerce throughout the region, negatively affecting global trade and the world’s energy supply. Over the past year, Iran used these weapons to attack and seize merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, and northern Arabian Sea.

Iran views the United States as its greatest enduring threat and obstacle to regional hegemony; it continues a multi-faceted approach to remove U.S. forces from the region while avoiding escalation into a major conflict. Iran continues to threaten current and former U.S. officials and enable its proxies to conduct implausibly deniable attacks on deployed U.S. forces. The risk of miscalculation and escalation remains high because of Iran’s strategic calculation that it can simultaneously and discretely engage in diplomacy with and a proxy campaign against the United States.

To achieve its goals, Iran continues to rely on its unconventional warfare elements and asymmetric capabilities—intended to exploit the perceived weaknesses of a superior adversary—to provide deterrence and project power. This combination of lethal conventional capabilities and proxy forces poses a persistent threat. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force leads Iranian power projection through a complex network of state and nonstate partners and militant proxies. Iran’s conventional military emphasizes niche capabilities and guerilla-style tactics against its technologically advanced adversaries. Its substantial arsenal of ballistic missiles is designed to overwhelm U.S. forces and our partners in the region. Its swarms of small boats, large inventory of naval mines, and arsenal of antiship missiles can severely disrupt maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz—a strategic chokepoint critical to global trade. Each of these forces are becoming increasingly survivable, precise, and responsive.

Iran will continue to use Syrian (and likely Iraqi) territory as a critical hub and resupply route for maintaining its campaign against Israel. Iran will also remain focused on supporting Lebanese Hizballah, whose illegal weapons stockpiles exceed those of most legitimate partner militaries in the region. Hizballah has consistently undermined the legitimate Lebanese Armed Forces, a steadfast partner of the United States that acts in the interests of the Lebanese people, works to maintain Lebanese stability, and remains the most trusted government institution in Lebanon.

The least restrained and most destabilizing of all of Iran’s affiliates in the region are the Houthis of Yemen. Aside from being active combatants in that country’s seven-year-old civil war, they are also engaged in a near-daily long-range fires conflict with Saudi Arabia. Wielding the most advanced UASs and ballistic and cruise missiles Iran can design, build, and smuggle into Yemen, the Houthis have targeted Saudi Arabia’s largest cities and its critical oil infrastructure. Recently, the Houthis have raised the stakes further by using the same high-end Iranian weapons to target the United Arab Emirates, including the air base at Al Dhafra that U.S. forces share with our Emirati partners.

ISIS, Al Qaeda (AQ), and other violent extremist organizations (VEOs) operating in the region will remain the most likely and proximate threat to the security of the United States and that of our citizens and interests at home and abroad. ISIS and AQ are seeking to exploit a reduction of U.S. CT efforts in Afghanistan to reinvigorate their adherents and increase their ability to plot and direct external attacks. ISIS-Iraq remains a credible threat to the stability of the Iraqi government, as well as to U.S. and Coalition forces and interests in the country.

As the historical and enduring crossroads for overland and maritime trade between Europe, Asia, and Africa and home to half of the world’s proven oil reserves, the CENTCOM AOR constitutes geo-strategic “key terrain” and a potentially decisive theater for strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia. Within the AOR, an expansionist PRC and a resurgent Russia seek to shift alliances and gain influence, seeking leverage through tools such as state-sponsored investment, to achieve assured access and key resources to support their national objectives

OPFOR4 SMARTbook is in development and is projected for Summer 2023.

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OPFOR SMARTbook 2 - North Korean Military

OPFOR SMARTbook 3 - Red Team Army, 2nd Ed.

OPFOR SMARTbook 5 - Irregular & Hybrid Threat

CYBER1-1: The Cyberspace Operations & Electronic Warfare SMARTbook (w/SMARTupdate 1)

INFO1: The Information Operations & Capabilities SMARTbook

CTS1: The Counterterrorism, WMD & Hybrid Threat SMARTbook