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The Middle East War, also commonly referred to as the EHU Civil War by some Turkish officials, was a major conflict that began in 1979. The war was fought primarily between Turkey and the Arab nations of the EHU, including Saudi Arabia.
The war elevated to near global destruction with the Soviet invasion of Turkey. The involvement of the USSR led to quick escalation, claiming thousands of lives in the initial assault.
The war is often known for its destructive tactics employed, especially by the Turkish armed forces. Infuriated with the EHU resolution which declared that Turkey was no longer working in the best interests of the union and had to be pacified, Turkey order a massive and devastating barrage of the EHU nations. The bombings, which many Turkish commanders categorized as 'mutually assured destruction', due to the perceived unlawful invasion, claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. The Turkish bombings would level entire cities, destroying dozens of sacred Islamic temples and sites, further inciting violence.
By many Islamic nations the conflict is sited as an example of jihad, in which millions of Muslims rose up in protest against the Turks. The surge of militia following the Turkish attacks fueled the rebellion, quickly growing terrorist organizations such as 'The Storm' to large international divisions of the EHU joint military.
The most accepted start of the war is the date the EHU resolution passed to pacify Turkey, on 31 August 1979. Some historians use the initial invasion date as a starting point for the war, which occurred slightly after the plans were finalized, although is used rarely.
Formation of the EHU
The Eastern Hemisphere Union of Middle East States, or the EHU, was founded in 1971 as a military alliance consisting of several Middle East countries. Pulled closer together by mutual economic needs the alliance was founded as the successor to the Arab League, a regional organization of Arab states that had served as a military alliance sine 2 March 1945.
Initially the only difference between the EHU and the Arab League that preceded it was that the nation of Turkey was incorporated as a major alliance member. Turkey would grow from one of the founding members of the reformed alliance to a major party in alliance's politics. The nation of Israel, although distrusted by the majority of the alliance's members, would also partake in the alliance's discussions, at the request of Turkey.
The alliance between Israel and the other alliance members, who were primarily Islamic nations, was highly protested by several members of the alliance. Turkey and several neighboring nations were targeted by repeated acts of terrorism, directed at the Turkish officials who aligned with Israel. Many in the Middle East believed that Turkey had "fallen under the sway of the west", and no longer held the alliance's interest as its own.
Because of these vast, overwhelming opposition Israel was removed from the alliance, although Turkey still maintained positive relations with the nation, angering many fellow EHU nations.
In late August of 1979 delegates from the nation of Saudi Arabia proposed a daring resolution to the EHU council. Feeling that Turkey had become corrupt with power and western ideals, Saudi Arabia proposed that Turkey be suspended from the organization until EHU peacekeepers could help to restore Turkey, and end the current regime.
After much negotiation the resolution was finalized and was prepared for voting. Officials from Turkey were left unaware to the talks among the other members of the alliance, who had already been secretly contemplating similar resolutions for months earlier.
The final proposal read as follows:
Turkey has become an unstable power in the Middle East, faced with corruption, infection, and blasphemy. Over the last few years the nation has Turkey has turned its back to the real objectives of our people, declaring itself supreme over us. Turkey has strengthened ties with the Israelis, and has been heavily corrupted by the west. Drunk with this power Turkey has wasted our resources to unsuccessful power struggles and quagmires in Europe and elsewhere, hoping to appease his western masters. His nation has begun to fall into disorder, as angry citizens crowd the streets, carving out pieces of our once great alliance. I say we end the reign of Turkey once and for all. For our alliance, for all.
On 31 August the proposal was voted upon, and passed by a vote of eleven to seven nations, and with four abstains. Turkey was immediately removed from the EHU. Although all nations were technically obligated to sent soldiers to aid the EHU, many nations who were severally in Turkey's sphere of influence, refused.
Immediately following the finalization of EHU Resolution 002, the combined militaries of the union were mobilized for war. A strict trade embargo with Turkey was also created. In an early surprise aerial attack several hundred Saudi Arabian and Arab aircraft were sent into Turkey, destroying the border wall and many important strategic defenses near the south of Turkey. Predicting that the Turks would realize what was happening and retaliate on land, the EHU army was ordered into southern Turkey, creating small defenses less than a mile over the border.
A second invasion force was planned to enter Turkey from the east, comprised mostly from Iraqi and Iranian ground forces. This invasion would require much more time to prepare for, unlike the southern offensive which had been heavily lobbied for. The attack would also be spearheaded by thousands of Islamic militia encouraged by the EHU to harass the Turks as much as possible. The effort would prove successful, helping to destroy important Turkish defenses and kill countless Turkish soldiers.
The naval forces of the union were consolidated and place on high alert to the south of Turkey, hoping to intercept an early Turkish naval attack. The Turkish Mediterranean Sea Fleet was ordered to engage the Unionist navy, inflicting heavy casualties. Within a few days the majority of the EHU navy had been scattered or sunk, and the Turks stationed off the coast of the Middle East.
The Turkish border fortifications managed to keep the EHU ground forces at bay, which had been gathered at the border for months in preparation. The Turks launched a small offensive from the walls into strategic border towns, initiating a week long back-and-forth in the town of Al Qamishli, Syria, as well as causing hostilities in Latakia Al Ladhiqiyah, Kargamis, and other towns near the border.
With the Turks pouring over into Al Qamishli, EHU high command in northern Syria perceived the border to the east of the town to be undefended. An attack was launched on the Turkish city of Cizre, which ended in disaster. EHU forces were caught between two angles of attack, causing massive casualties.
Despite the failure of the attack on Cizre, a second attack was ordered on Silopi, this time from the east. An armored convoy departed from Dahuk, finally tearing through the border wall. The Turks were forced to surround the bulge past the line, meeting the EHU forces on the east and west, running perpendicular to Lake Van in the north. A second EHU force was quickly called to attack from the far east, crossing the region of Hakkari and effectively annihilating the Turkish forces surrounding the initial force on the east.
Devastating and ruthless bombings were ordered by the Turks, fighting hundreds of guided missiles into the cities of Damascus, Riyadh, Beirut, Baghdad, Tehran, Amman, Cairo, and Al Kuwayt. Within weeks thousands of innocent civilians were slaughtered, and entire towns and cities were leveled. Significant religious sights would also be destroyed, further infuriating the surviving populace. The Turks would also turn their attention to the Arabian air fields, destroying several Saudi Arabian fighters.
The horrific bombings of innocent civilians and holy Islamic sites infuriating the population of the Middle East. Although the targeted areas were severally weakened, the bombings united the people of the EHU, and of the Middle East. Thousands rose up in protest in Turkey, some even taking up arms.
Protesters swarmed the streets of Ankara, and other cities in Turkey, and by the end of summer a full out rebellion was in order. Civilians begin using improvised explosives and small arms against loyalists, killing thousands. Many military personnel defected in the early months of the war, joining the EHU or the rebel forces. To combat the deserters, thousands of Turkish soldiers were executed by order of the Turkish high command.
That summer protesters in Ankara set the Turkish capital building on fire. Some cite the incident as an accident, while others believe it was a firm attack. The fire quickly spread, igniting several barrels of gasoline near the building. With the streets heavily congested fire trucks were unable to through the thick crowds. One truck was even toppled by protesters. Finally the military was called in, marching through the streets of the capital. By the time the fire was put out half the building was charred, and over a thousand people were left dead in the streets.
The rebels would also manage to assassinate who they thought was the Turkish president, revealing the Turkish stunt double who was left in the real president's place.
The bombing of Riyadh, although destroying much of the city and many important Islamic sites, killed minimal amounts of the civilian population. Since the majority of the city had been evacuated years before or into small bomb shelters, the death count was far lower than the Turks calculated, although still quite devastating.
After the initial bombings had ended there was an unprecedented increase in EHU recruitment. In Saudi Arabia alone an estimated 1,000,000 battle ready men joined the militia within the next few months. In Saudi Arabia about 300,000 more men from reserves and from volunteering began training for regular tours of duty.
Since the Caucasus Region Crisis several years ago the Soviet government had remained secretly distrustful of the Turks, nearly risking war to assert their claims to the region. There was much outcry among the Soviet high command for a strike against the nation of Turkey, and with the EHU invasion they sensed their opportunity. Plans for invasion drafted and updated since the crisis were reviewed, and the order was finally called for war.
The first signs of Soviet-Turkish violence broke out in Fort Serendipity, a joint military base on the border. The Soviet garrison opened fire on the unprepared Turks, beginning the Battle of Fort Serendipity, slaughtering those inside the fort.
Now controlling a fort inside the Turkish border, the Soviets managed to de-power the Turkish border defenses in the immediate area, causing havoc among the wall defenders, and severally weakening border defenses.
The initial force of about 50,000 Soviet soldiers crossed into Turkey from the Caucasus Region immediately after the taking of Fort Serendipity, making small territorial gains. The Soviet Black Sea Fleet, which had been stationed off the coast of Turkey while performing what the Turks believed were peaceful joint naval drills, opened fire on the enemy fleet, temporarily pushing back the Turkish naval defenses. Several Turkish ships were sunk, which were battered from the engagement with the EHU joint fleet at the war's outbreak.
September 11 Attacks
Osama bin Laden, up-and-coming regional leader of Storm began drafting a plan to retaliate against the Turks. The planned attack was expected to be bigger than any before, calling in several pounds of explosives, which had been stockpiled in secret by the organization, guns, and vehicles.
On 11 September 1979 Storm unleashed its plan. Several Storm militia from Turkey, who had deserted from the Turkish armed forces entered Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow at approximately 8:00 AM local time. Within minutes several improvised explosives were detonated in the lobby, and in the parking lot, which ignited several cars. The militia then opened fire on the airport inhabitants, killing hundreds of Russian civilians.
Within minutes the Russian police had responded, killing most of the Storm operatives. The rest managed to get to the terminals, where four commercial jets were hijacked on the ground. As the Russian national guard arrived, they flooded the airfield, surrounding the hijacked planes. While attempting to enter the first plane a bomb detonated, killing the operatives, the crew, and three Russian soldiers. Plane two was surrounded and secured, while three and four were brought into flight. The two planes departed, heading high over Moscow. Finally the order was given to shoot the planes down.
Both planes were hit by surface to air missiles, causing one to crash into the outskirts of Moscow, and another into the area slightly to the southeast. The first crash killed several dozen people, and ignited a small fire in Moscow. Although the attack was devastating, the Soviets praise the soldiers for destroying the rogue planes before they could have struck their location.
Despite the backlash from the Islamic world, the Turkish government ordered its military to stay firm. Hundreds of soldiers were executed, and thousands more were disciplined to stay loyal to the Turkish government. In major cities the government soldiers barricaded themselves in, trapping the rebels into the countryside. Cities became outposts for the strict government regime, enforcing desperate measures against the people inside. Propaganda displayed the EHU as savages who corrupted the holy cities, and the Soviets as monstrous invaders, hoping to change the public consciousness.
In the Black Sea the Soviet navy was able to score a few quick victories against the Turks, who were still largely recovering from the EHU assault at the outbreak of the war. Several Turkish ships were sunk, allowing the Soviets to temporarily take the upper hand on the sea. Planes from the Black Sea and from the north were sent in to target the Turkish coastline and several strategic Turkish locations. The technologically advanced Turkish anti-air defenses manged to stay firm, destroying the majority of the Soviet planes. Despite this, several defensive positions and bio-fuel farms were leveled by the Soviet aircraft.
The northern Turkish border defenses were crippled from the inside, allowing more soldiers to poor into the country. Overwhelmed by infantry the Turks were pushed from the Soviet border almost immediately, allowing the Soviets to eventually meet the EHU supply lines.
In the south the EHU forces penetrated the border defenses, making small territorial gains at heavy costs. A plan was drafted by Saudi Arabian strategists, determining that the weakest point of the Turkish defenses were in the southwest, and from there the EHU could push into central Turkey. The coast campaign began with the objective of taking Adana with the next few months. Supply lines from the east would feed into the coast once EHU and Soviet forces had taken Lake Van, eventually pushing the Turks back toward Ankara.
Following the coastline, the EHU forces first met heavy resistance at the Turkish city of Iskenderun. The EHU's east flank pushed north, establishing a front just north of the border wall, at the south bank of Route 52.
The central EHU line met the Turks at Gaziantep, ending in one of the largest and most costly battles of the war. The Turks held the line for weeks, inflicting thousands of EHU casualties. Surrounded on the east the Turks would eventually be defeated at Gaziantep, pulling back farther north to avoid being surrounded and cut off from the west. With defeat at Iskenderun imminent the Turks unleashed a brutal bombing campaign along the road to Adana. Ships along the coast harassed EHU units near the city, while bombers and artillery on the ground pushed the EHU forces to the shore.
With the majority of forces concentrated in the north and southwest, the Turkish border in the far east was left vulnerable to attack. Turkish strategists predicted that once the southeast had fallen the EHU would be drawn into central Turkey where they would be at a tactical disadvantage. To further trap EHU forces in the southeast, large garrisons were stationed on the north shore of Lake Van and in the city of Diyarbakir.
After the fall of Hakkari in the early months of the invasion, EHU forces were able to pour past the border, meeting the line in the east to the progress of the Coast Campaign. With pressure mounted in Van from Iran in the east, the Turks were then attacked in the south from Hakkari, allowing the EHU to quickly seize the region of Van south of the lake of the same name.
After a quick few weeks Ercek and the city of Van were take, and the southern bank of the lake was fortified. Turkish forces were stationed in Tatvan to harass those surrounding the lake. A front was also established from Tatvan to Batman, allowing supplies and reinforcements from Diyarbakir to be easily sent to Lake Van.
With the main EHU army engaged and entrenched in southern Turkey, the Iraqi and Iranian governments began organizing an offensive to surround central Turkey. They strategized that the Turks would be unable to hold back the EHU advances if they were surrounded by the main EHU force in the south, the Soviets in the north, and a second army in the east. With the southern assault underway the EHU high command tasked Iran and Iraq with mobilizing their forces for this proposed eastern offensive. With Iran keeping the Turks under pressure on the eastern border, the invasion force was prepared.
Thousands of Iranian and Iraqi citizens rose up to join the war effort. Many organized into bands of militia, prepared to pour into Turkey at any time. The Islamic Liberation Mujahideen was founded as a loose affiliation of EHU militia in the region. The ILM army reached over 1,500,000 soldiers at creation, with most of them entrenched in southern Turkey or Syria, alongside the regular EHU fighting force. Thousands more began a massive exodus to the Turkish border, crossing Iran to reach the fighting.
The Army of the East, comprised from Iranian-Iraqi forces, prepared to invade Turkey in the summer of 1981. The force was comprised of approximately 285,000 Iranian troops, organized into three corps that were established before the outbreak of the war, an additional 500,000 Iranian volunteers, an Iraqi force of about 500,000 men in twenty-three divisions and nine brigades, and over 1,000,000 ILM militia. The invasion commenced with EHU forces crossing over the border into the Turkish region of Van. The army quickly met up with the Saudi Arabian and southern lines, leading the final push past Lake Van.
The surge of soldiers helped the EHU to push the Turks past the southeast fortifications, crossing into Bingol by the end of the summer. The Turks withdrew in the east to western Erzurum, a region already under attack from the Soviets in the north.
Following the initial Soviet invasion, Turkish forces were caught off guard and pushed back into central Turkey. The Soviets diverted into two groups, one force following the coastline west, while the other advancing south and southwest, eventually closing the gap between the Soviets and the EHU forces.
While following the coastline the Soviets were able to make quick territorial gains. Aided by the still functional Soviet navy bombarding the coast, the Soviets advanced through Rize quicker than expected. By the summer of 1981 the Soviets had surrounded the city of Trabzon, the last Turkish stronghold in the northeast.
The second group advanced from the region of Ardahan, taking the city of Oltu in northern Erzurum. The Turks responded by deploying 300,000 soldiers to the Erzurum region, utilizing advanced satellite technology to deceive Soviet naval vessels and ground units.
With the EHU air force heavily incapacitated, the Turks established air dominance over the eastern regions. Turkish fighters engaged the Soviets over Erzurum, winning all major air confrontations. The air force turned its sights to supply lines supplying the EHU and Soviet forces. Drone strikes and bombing runs were called in on airfields across the Caucasus Region, destroying a majority of the Soviet Air Force in the region. Stealth bombers equipped with cluster smart bombs capable of reaching a blast radius of one-quarter of one km bombarded the Soviets for weeks.
Concurrently with the Army of the East's advance past Lake Van, Soviet forces intensified their campaign in Erzurum. 200,000 soldiers were moved along the coast to the siege in Trabzon, and the surrounding area, while 600,000 soldiers were moved into Erzurum and along Route E80 further west.
The Soviets encountered heavy resistance and are stopped near Askale, where the Iranians have begun to cover the southern flank. They cover the advance of the EHU Army of the East past Lake Van as they enter eastern Bingol with little resistance from the Turks.
After a short and concise Soviet operation, the Romanian coast was taken from the Turks, who had already begun withdrawing into Thrace, securing the coastal port of Constanta. With their supplies cut off, the Turks were surrounded at Bran Castle. The Soviets demanded that the Turks surrender, but to no avail, leaving the Soviets no choice but to attempt to take the castle. Finally, special forces infiltrate through the east tower, opening the gates, revealing that the castle’s garrison was slaughtered from the inside.
Soviet command eventually piece together that the Turks fell back to the castle and attempted to execute the Soviets, starting a battle inside. The castle is abandoned by the Soviets, who continue pursuing the Turks south.
With the aid of the Warsaw Pact nations, the USSR followed the Turks withdraw toward Thrace. Soviet forces invaded Bulgaria, Turkish occupied territory since Operation Hydra, following the coastline south. The Turks were cornered at Thrace, forced to make their last stand.
Soviet forces, aided closely by members of the Warsaw Pact, as well as the Republic of Susquehanna trapped the Turks at the gates of Istanbul. The invaders advanced down Route 3, taking the town of Beylikduzu after a costly battle. The assault on Istanbul was commenced from the north, with Soviet forces engaging the defenders near Sultangazi. The southern prong of the attack was delayed after the successful Turkish destruction of the bridge from Beylikduzu to Bahceliever, trapping the southern forces in the town. The Turks surrounded Beylikduzu from the north, trapping the Soviets between Lake Buyukcekmece and Kucukekmece Golu.
With the Beylikduzu garrison on its last legs, the group was finally freed by Soviet forces in the heart of Istanbul. After a week long bombardment involving short skirmishes across the Bosporus, Soviet forces crossed into the east of the city, officially taking the city.
Battle of the Channel
North African Campaign
Invasion of Cyprus
Fall of Ankara
Treaty of Dubai