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An Arabian Revolution in 1979

Venocara

Britain expects that every man will do his duty...
Location
My house, in the middle of the street
Pronouns
He/him
#1
In November 1979, the 'al-Ikhwan' seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia as a precursor to an overthrow of the House of Saud’s regime. Now, obviously in OTL they failed, but what if they succeeded? What would need to happen for them to succeed? Is it even possible? And what would Arabia look like afterwards?

All helpful responses are welcome and I thank you for your time.
 

David Flin

The end is nigh.
#2
The first thing you need to do is to look around at what else was happening nearby, because there will be interactions.

The most obvious element here is the Iranian Revolution of the same year. You've also got the Ba'ath Party purge in Iraq, and the prelude to theIran Iraq war. A bit further afield, you've got the Lebanese Civil War going on, with Beirut not an entirely happy place to be.

I rather suspect that if Saudi Arabia is also in turmoil, the Middle East is going to be in something of a mess.
 

Venocara

Britain expects that every man will do his duty...
Location
My house, in the middle of the street
Pronouns
He/him
#3
The first thing you need to do is to look around at what else was happening nearby, because there will be interactions.

The most obvious element here is the Iranian Revolution of the same year. You've also got the Ba'ath Party purge in Iraq, and the prelude to theIran Iraq war. A bit further afield, you've got the Lebanese Civil War going on, with Beirut not an entirely happy place to be.

I rather suspect that if Saudi Arabia is also in turmoil, the Middle East is going to be in something of a mess.
Assuming that the Iran-Iraq War had been butterflied away due to earlier events, what do you think would be the result?
 

David Flin

The end is nigh.
#4
Assuming that the Iran-Iraq War had been butterflied away due to earlier events, what do you think would be the result?
It rather depends on what the butterflies were.

If the Communists came to power in Iran, backed by the Soviet Union, when the Shah was overthrown, that leads in one direction. If the Secularists and Khomeini worked together, that leads in another direction. If the military decided the Shah was the problem and launched a military coup to stamp out the endemic corruption of the Shah's regime, that goes in another direction. If the West decided to intervene to support the Shah and stamp out the growing protests, that heads off in another direction.

That's just looking at the Iranian revolution part of the equation. You've got similar contingencies within Iraq, and they could all run in many different directions.

The one certainty is that the outcome is going to be very messy. The Ba'ath Party in Iraq and the Shah in Iran were not in a happy place.
 

lerk

Well-known member
#5
In November 1979, the 'al-Ikhwan' seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia as a precursor to an overthrow of the House of Saud’s regime. Now, obviously in OTL they failed, but what if they succeeded? What would need to happen for them to succeed? Is it even possible? And what would Arabia look like afterwards?

All helpful responses are welcome and I thank you for your time.
I can't imagine them surviving for long. Even if they manage to overthrow the House of Saud there are still many in the Saudi government who will oppose them. Most likely you would see a brief civil war which would end in the establishment of an "Islamic Republic of Arabia", basically Saudi Arabia but without a monarchy.
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#6
It is unbelievable, how the dominoes fell in the 1979 Middle East.

February 1979 > Iran and Khomeini
July 1979 > Iraq, Saddam Hussein
November 1979 > The Grand Mosque crisis, Saudi Arabia
December 1979 > Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

And guess what ?

Exactly 50 years later, we are still paying for all this. Iran, Bin Laden, Iraq, Al Quaeda and ISIS... dang. :mad:o_O:cry:

Middle East at large is a slow fuse powder keg. Screw one country only once, pay the price for the next 100 years. o_Oo_Oo_Oo_Oo_O

Incidentally, the French GIGN elite police strike force was called to the rescue by the Saudis. They saturated the Grand Mosque underground with tear gas (some says more lethal gas, mustard or sarin but it is extremely doubtful) to get the rebels out so that the Saudi Forces could shoot them in the open.
The whole thing was kept secret but if the operation fails and leaks in the press (Le Canard enchainé, for a start) then President Giscard d'Estaing (France very own Jimmy Carter, really) is even more screwed than OTL. Mitterrand probably gets a larger victory in 1981.
As if "Les diamants de Bokassa" wasn't enough, Giscard is screwed up another time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamonds_Affair
 
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Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#8
I'm no mathematician, but I make that 40 years, not 50.
Whatever the maths, my point still stands.

I hate maths, courtesy of three years of high school / secondary school (lycée, whatever the english word for that) spend with the worse math teacher in the entire universe. The aptly named M. Baisecourt - which exactly translates as "Mister Shortfuck." One can't invent such things, really. In your face, Roald Dahl.

"Hello children, I will be your math teacher for the next three years, in high school. Incidentally, my name is Brieffucker. Jack Brieffucker."

The affair was unveiled by the satiric newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné on October 10, 1979, towards the end of Giscard's presidency.
Ouch. Right at the same moment the Grand Mosque mayhem started. Well, Giscard is toast.
 
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Venocara

Britain expects that every man will do his duty...
Location
My house, in the middle of the street
Pronouns
He/him
#9
It rather depends on what the butterflies were.

If the Communists came to power in Iran, backed by the Soviet Union, when the Shah was overthrown, that leads in one direction. If the Secularists and Khomeini worked together, that leads in another direction. If the military decided the Shah was the problem and launched a military coup to stamp out the endemic corruption of the Shah's regime, that goes in another direction. If the West decided to intervene to support the Shah and stamp out the growing protests, that heads off in another direction.

That's just looking at the Iranian revolution part of the equation. You've got similar contingencies within Iraq, and they could all run in many different directions.

The one certainty is that the outcome is going to be very messy. The Ba'ath Party in Iraq and the Shah in Iran were not in a happy place.
Let's assume that the Iranian and Iraqi regimes are the same as OTL, but that the Khomeini doesn't reject Hussein's friendly overtures so that they are closer diplomatically. What kind of regime do you think will emerge from a Saudi Revolution? And how would the Grand Mosque Seizure evolve into a successful revolution?
 

David Flin

The end is nigh.
#10
Let's assume that the Iranian and Iraqi regimes are the same as OTL, but that the Khomeini doesn't reject Hussein's friendly overtures so that they are closer diplomatically. What kind of regime do you think will emerge from a Saudi Revolution? And how would the Grand Mosque Seizure evolve into a successful revolution?
Those are all good questions. Maybe you could take a stab at answering them.

It's not my period. I know some stuff about the Lebanese Civil War, which wasn't very civil, and about the Iranian Revolution. How things link together is really down to the writer of the time line.
 

Sulemain

Stray Bullets Raining On Down
Location
Coventry
#15
This is the place. Please, share.
a) the Shah wanted F-18 Hornets for his Air Force, Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers for his Navy and what amounted to proto-Challenger 1s for his Army. And that's to name but three examples; this was an insane military build-up, and not just typical client state F-5 Freedom Fighters. Tomcats and Eagles and everything anyone was selling. Harriers from us, IRBMs with the Israelis, it was insane.
b) the chippie near my father's house was run by a former Engineer in the old Imperial Iranian Navy who got out in '79. He says the scuttlebutt was that one day he'd be working on nuclear powered submarines (this before the Revolution).
c) his view was that the Shah was like a teenager with way, way too much money and no oversight; like he was spending way to much on the military and not enough, (if anything) on say rural healthcare. And even the military was all front-line stuff. The Engineer (whose name I have sadly forgotten) said that American (and European) contractors were everywhere. This didn't help the Shah's reputation; it gave the impression that the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces didn't actually belong to Iran.
d) the Engineer said that Shah, when he inspected their base, never asked about them, only their equipment.
 

Venocara

Britain expects that every man will do his duty...
Location
My house, in the middle of the street
Pronouns
He/him
#16
Incidentally, the French GIGN elite police strike force was called to the rescue by the Saudis. They saturated the Grand Mosque underground with tear gas (some says more lethal gas, mustard or sarin but it is extremely doubtful) to get the rebels out so that the Saudi Forces could shoot them in the open.
The whole thing was kept secret but if the operation fails and leaks in the press (Le Canard enchainé, for a start) then President Giscard d'Estaing (France very own Jimmy Carter, really) is even more screwed than OTL. Mitterrand probably gets a larger victory in 1981.
As if "Les diamants de Bokassa" wasn't enough, Giscard is screwed up another time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamonds_Affair
Let's say, for whatever reason, that Operation Barracuda fails or is uncovered before it is implemented, and the French never try to intervene in Saudi Arabia. How could the Grand Mosque Seizure evolve into a successful revolution?
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#17
a) the Shah wanted F-18 Hornets for his Air Force, Invincible Class Aircraft Carriers for his Navy and what amounted to proto-Challenger 1s for his Army. And that's to name but three examples; this was an insane military build-up, and not just typical client state F-5 Freedom Fighters. Tomcats and Eagles and everything anyone was selling. Harriers from us, IRBMs with the Israelis, it was insane.
What was he planning to do with all this, or did he just think it'd be cool?
 

Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#18
What was he planning to do with all this, or did he just think it'd be cool?
Some kind of giant dick-showing contest, aparently.

In 1966 the Shah first bought F-5A and F-5E Tigers - three hundred of them, then he 1968 he got a boatload of F-4D and F-4E and RF-4 Phantoms (two hundreds or so), but those were older type from the 60's.
Then from 1971 he went indeed into a crazy buying spree. He asked for F-111s and was rebuked. He asked for A-12 OXCART (the CIA single seat SR-71, 12 were gathering dust in a Lockheed hangar in Palmdale, California) and was rebuked. No kidding: the Shah wanted SR-71s.
He finally got Tomcats, 79 of them, then he wanted two hundred F-16 AND two hundred F-18 (the only country bar the USA to get BOTH LWF ) Harriers, Invincible small carriers, thousands of tanks, he wanted E-3 AWACS, he had 747 tankers (yes, 747,NOT KC-135s). He also got C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orions by the dozens.
It was really a kind of military orgy. Unbelievable.

The Shah air force was playing a very dangerous game with the CIA - operation DARK GENE. Basically IRIAF RF-5 and RF-4 crossed the Soviet border at low level and full speed to drive the Soviet air defence crazy. Then behind the frontier CIA and IRIAF ELINT aircraft and five ground stations listened to the chaos and mayhem and searched for holes into the SAM cover where B-52s could penetrate in WWIII. No kidding. The Shah lost half a dozen of combat aircraft and crews to that craziness. In vengence the IRIAF F-14s scared the hell out of Soviet MiG-25R, painting it with their AWG-9 radars, the message being "if we fire a Phoenix, you are dead meat. Understood ?" The soviets backed down.

Project FLOWER, yes, with Israel. They wanted Shavit-1 technology.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Flower

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Dark_Gene
 
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Archibald

Well-known member
Patreon supporter
#19
Is this the best place to bring up a) the insane military plans the Shah had for Iran, b) I knew someone who met/served said Shah and c) had a very low opinion of said Shah?
The tragedy of the Shah was that, on one side, he modernized Iran but on the other side, the SAVAK (or SHAVAK, can't remember the exact name) secret police would make Saddam or Bachar or Pol Pot pale in horror. Political opponents were butchered, really.
The military buying spree was a huge burden on the country budget. And the 1977 ceremonies for the 2000 years of Persia were dispendious to the extreme - Mobutu, Amin Dada or Bokassa style.

It is not really surprising the regime collapsed in one year or so, in 1978-79. The iranians had enough - and then they got the Mullahs. Yeah.

If you want to get an idea of how it was under the shah, watch this movie.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_(film)
It is funny and a total heartbreak at the same time.
 
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Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#20