Simon Henderson is the Baker fellow and Director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, specializing in energy matters and the conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf. A former journalist with Financial Times, Henderson has also worked as a consultant advising corporations and governments on the Persian Gulf. He started his career with the British Broadcasting Corporation and served as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan in 1977-78 and reported from Iran during the 1979 Islamic revolution and seizure of the U.S. embassy.
Henderson earned his degrees from Nottingham University (BA) and Cass Business School, London (MBA). His publications include: Nuclear Iran: a Glossary (2015); After King Abdullah: Succession in Saudi Arabia (2009); Energy in Danger: Iran, Oil, and the West (2008); Reducing Vulnerability to Middle East Energy Shocks: A Key Element in Strengthening U.S. Energy Security (2005); The New Pillar: Conservative Arab Gulf States and U.S. Strategy (2002); and After King Fahd: Succession in Saudi Arabia (1994).
Also, Iran is building up a substantial industrial base, it has steelworks, it produces cars, okay, some of them are kits rather than cars produced from of Iranian design and complete manufacture, but these are cars which are ideal for the Iranian domestic economy and possibly also suitable to export to some of the neighboring countries. I don’t think a Saudi would buy an Iranian car, I wouldn’t buy an Iranian car, you wouldn’t buy an Iranian car, but Iranians would buy an Iranian car, Afghans might buy an Iranian car, Pakistanis might buy an Iranian car. There’s no particular reason why Iran, given the right politics, can’t become a significant economic force and build itself up from just a simple oil and gas producer into a major industrial economy.
On paper, the GCC have some of the best equipped militaries, not only in the region but in the world. The reality of this is that they’re not particularly effective militaries. The training of GCC nationals on high-tech aircraft, ships, artillery and tank units is there but the result isn’t the same standard as that achieved in France, Britain, the United States, and this impacts on their effectiveness. Another problem is that the GCC needs to very often bring in foreign technicians to service all this equipment, and some of the standards of servicing is not as high as say the U.S. military on equipment. This is particularly telling because heat and humidity of the Gulf area is extraordinary and this makes the maintenance and the servicing of technical equipment to be absolutely vital and I’m not sure – quite frankly, I doubt whether the equipment is sustained at the level that it should be.
The Iranians would use missiles against Iraqi cities and the Iraqis would use missiles against Iran. If you look at a map, you can see that Iraqi cities are closer to the border than Iranian cities, so Iraq was at a disadvantage on this but Iraq was helped tremendously by the Soviet Union, as it then was, contributing huge numbers of SCUD missiles to Iraq, which Iraq was able to modify to give a slightly longer range. I think 600 missiles were delivered, it was just a huge number.