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Paper Information

Journal:   GEOGRAPHICAL DATA   Spring 2019 , Volume 28 , Number 109 ; Page(s) 239 To 257.

The effect of topography on territorial defense Case Study: Qasre-e Shirin-Kermanshah strategic axis

* Department of geography, University of Gilan, Rasht, Iran
Introduction Iran is a rugged landscape with varied morphologies. Kermanshah Province is a mountainous region which lies between the Iranian plateau and Mesopotamia at Zagros Mountain Range. This area has geopolitical military value and importance. Past experiences have shown that large military units are not suitable for operations in this area. This is a problematic area for opposing forces, because natural geographical conditions make coordination difficult. During the Imposed War, the area has been continuously attacked by the enemy, due to its prevailing geographic conditions. After the war, the presence of US forces and more recently ISIS terrorists in Iraq have increased the sensitivity of the region. Now, despite the presence of a Shi'a government in Iraq, the region is continuously provoked and made insecure by transborder forces. Considering the policy of our enemies (America, terrorists, etc. ) in the region, the vicinity of Iranian city of Qasar-e Shirin to the city of Khanqin in Iraq has made it possible to use the region as a source for offensive operations against Iran or conducting any operation in the region. Regarding military threats from the west, this axis is the best place to advance and dominate the western regions. It is also used by armed insurgents seeking to threaten and perform ruinous operations in the region. In this regard, it is necessary to examine and analyze topographical phenomena and defensive capabilities of this axis from a natural and human geographic perspective. Qasr-e-Shirin axis in Kermanshah has several capabilities for territorial defense of the province. One of the most important capabilities is the use of geographic topographic factors affecting widespread military regular and irregular operations. These factors result in channeling and delaying of operations and show the effects of topography on the implementation of military movements, disrupting the order of operations and loss of commanders’ concentration. Few researches have considered this important issue and geographical capabilities of this axis, as a means for defending the western region, have not been investigated scientifically and systematically. Materials & Methods The research method is descriptive-analytic. Thus, the following process was predicted to achieve the objectives of the plan.-Secondary research-Investigating natural factors in the studied area considering 1: 50000 and 1: 250000topographic maps, data and indexes are recorded on digital model of the region.-Digital capturing and 3D reconstruction of the region by Surfer Software.-Field observations, photographing and filming geographical phenomena in the region, adapting to documentary data and using the comments of military experts and senior commanders in the region and province.-Analyzing the morphology and studying topographic phenomena and defense capabilities of this axis from a geographic perspective. Results & Discussion The axis extends from Khosravi to the entrance of Kermanshah city with a length of 188 km. This road was previously called Iran's security corridor. Now, it is called Karbala Highway and has a significant and strategic role in the relationship between the two countries, Iran and Iraq, and other countries with similar religious interests. The new and old route connecting Tehran to Karbala or Baghdad cross this region. The geographic location of the region and the direction of these elevations are parallel to the border. The ground slope gradually decreases from east to west, and the elevations continue up to the Mesopotamia. In the eight years of Iranian Sacred Defense, Qasr-e-Shirin, Diyala, Khanqinin, Dehliz-e patag were considered to be operational axes. Therefore, due to being mountainous; ethnic, racial, religious convergence and divergence of indigenous inhabitants with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq, this axis was studied and analyzed with the aim of protecting territorial zones of the Islamic Republic of Iran and creating a defensive plan for the region. Perhaps, it can be claimed that the most appropriate axis for advancing toward the central parts of Iran is the western region of the country (Qasr-e Shirin axis, Eslamabad-e Gharb, Kermanshah). Therefore, it is necessary to study the defensive features and identify its strengths and weaknesses. Also, recognizing natural landscapes, identifying passages, routes, and important defensible bridges makes it possible to use natural and topographical features and prevent the enemy from advancing toward the center of the country. Conclusion Kermanshah Province and the city of Qasr-e-Shirin are bordered by Iraq. They are also located near the centers of Takfiri, ISIS, and terrorist crisis, which can cause insecurity on local, regional and national levels. In order to ensure security, some aspects need to be investigated, which to some extent rely on natural and human factors and the presentation of a territorial defense plan in the region. Regarding the geographic location of the region, natural factors are a positive point. By taking control of sensitive areas, it is possible to control and stop military movements. Examining geographic factors, we can mention the following issues: (A) Elevations in the Kermanshah province: going from east to west, the ground elevation decreases, and Kermanshah highlands overshadow the Mesopotamian plain, which provides the possibility of performing any offensive and defensive operation for Iran. (B) Studying communication pathways in border regions of Kermanshah province, it can be concluded that communication pathways have an important role in achieving military, political, economic goals. Routes connecting Qasr-e-Shirin to Sar-e Pol Zahab, Eslamabad-e Gharb and Kermanshah have strategic military, political, and economic value. During Iran-Iraq war, these road was used for military and political purposes, but today they are used for economic purposes. C) By examining the geometric features of the border between Kermanshah province and Iraq, it can be concluded that the convex form of Qasar-e Shirin border is of military importance for Iran and thus, Iraq first occupied this area during Iran-Iraq war. Finally, this axis passes through mountainous narrow areas, and thus it is the best place to delay, stop, and channel enemy's ground movements.
Keyword(s): Territorial defense,Axis,Geographical factors,Kermanshah Province
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