Adventures in Bazistan

Every time I run a game, I like to tie it into my imagi-nation of Bazistan, using it as the setting or referring to elements in it. I’ve also started arranging them into different strands to give some semblance of a timeline.

Printed here is the most up-to-date version of the briefing document.

Briefing on Bazistan

After WW1, when the British split the Arabian Peninsula, there was an additional kingdom that didn’t become part of Saudi Arabia. The Bazis are a proud tribe who managed to maintain control of their lands by acting as the middlemen to those who attempted to conquer them. To the Ottomans, the Bazi kept control of the lawless desert while providing their taxes on time. When the British arrived in Aden in 1838, the Bazis leased the land around Aden in perpetuity and provided access rights to the mines in the interior.

Post WW1, the Bazis established themselves as a kingdom  under King Bazhir the 1st. They appealed to the British and for a while became a protectorate, depending on the British for defence (particularly against their larger neighbour) and foreign policy. King Bazhir wanted to create a modern nation, welcoming in industrial concerns and assembling a modern defence force. WW2 saw Bazistan taking on the defence of the Bazi-Djibouti strait, allowing easy access for ships using the Suez Canal. Bazi troops also joined the Commonwealth forces in the Middle East, fighting in Iraq and forming part of the occupation force.

In the post war world, King Bazhir began in secret to foment a desire for Bazistan to no longer be under the British. Rather than seeking a violent break, Bazistan sorted out a deal and in the aftermath of Suez, Bazistan was diplomatically separated from Britain in 1958. Aden remained as a colony but after the announcement in 1968 that Britain was withdrawing from “east of Aden”, it also sought independence and became a tiny petrochemically funded state in 1970.

1970 also saw the death of King Bazhir the 1st, leaving the crown to his son who became King Bazhir the 2nd. The son was not as closely tied to the west as his father, having travelled to the Soviet Union as a student. This led to a shift in interior policies and a massive rearmament program that gave the CIA great concern. In November 1972 the Bazistani Army crossed into Aden in an attempt to seize the oilfields and mines. The local defence forces, assisted by the Royal Air Force and (it is rumoured) the SAS managed to stall the tanks in the mountains until a small British taskforce arrived. The Bazis eventually retreated after 40 days and the royal family (assisted by the Royal Guard) outsed Bazhir the 2nd, giving the throne to his cousin Ahmed.

Ahmed the 1st then decided to play a risky game. Rather than aligning with the East or West, Ahmed sat in the centre and proclaimed his country “The Switzerland of the Middle East”. Bazistan became a hotbed of espionage filled with spies from many nations while at the same time, taking advantage of anyone wishing to invest in the country. Around this time, King Ahmed opened the Royal Industrial area just outside Bazi City. The first occupant? The Argo Corporation, an American industrial conglomerate with multiple arms producing everything from farming machinery to weapon systems.

In the south, the Republic of Aden continued its growth as well, especially with the discovery of offshore oil in the Gulf of Aden. However, the democratic government became concerned about its security (especially after it’s discovery of oil and other resources) and so it signed a new agreement with the British. Rather than becoming a protectorate, Aden would give BP a first chance at all oil reserves and also provide Britain with a year round desert training area just outside of the city of Aden. This area has plenty of space for armoured units and fast jets to perform mock operations as well as fake neighborhoods for counter insurgency training. In return, the British would help train the local defence force and promise to guarantee independence.

As the Cold War ended, Bazistan was relatively stable and remarkably advanced for the region. King Ahmed however was growing old and frail. Seemingly to prevent the country imploding in a time that did not agree with monarchy, and cautious of the whispers of revolution on the wind, Ahmed setup a semi-constitutional system. The final buck stopped with the king but each district sent elected advisors to the court. Ahmed’s son, Bazhir the 3rd was to be the first king under this system and he took the throne in 1998 with the death of his father.

To put it mildly, the system proved to be terrible and Bashir the 3rd is a terrible king. As the 21st century began, much of the economic boom’s profit was spread out amongst the king and his advisors. Democratic elections failed almost entirely. As the price of oil began to plummet, Bazistan began to fall to pieces. To help break the camel’s back, an advisor managed to sneak in a law that allowed the forming of private militias for “self defence”. At the same time, the Argo Corporation have announced the expansion of their security department in order to protect their interests in the country.

South of the border, Aden became even more important as a partner to the British. The Aden Warm Weather Training Centre became a key facility for the British Army in the Middle East, providing acclimatisation training for troops heading to Iraq and as a testing ground for new equipment. Even after the withdrawal, Aden hosts a yearly desert warfare training exercise that brings in forces from around the world to share experience. Additionally, Private Military Companies have paid to use the training area before contracts in the triple states that now form Iraq or bodyguard duty in the Gulf States.

Current Situation

So that’s the basic situation in Bazistan, what is going on as the wargaming period (2014 onwards) begins?

Internally, Bazistan is beginning to crack. The mountain tribes are seeking a return to traditional ways. Rebellious acts are on the rise and the army has been deployed as part of policing actions. Images of BTRs and T72s fighting through mountain passes and Hinds flying down the valleys remind many defence journalists of the Russian intervention in Afghanistan. In the cities, there has been a rise in militias forming. These groups have now created no-go zones in key urban areas. Worse, these militias have been engaging the government security forces in battle and the attackers have included mercenaries from Eritrea (many still carrying their military ID cards). The worsening security situation, as well as the slowing economy, has led to a rise in PMCs hired by both the government and local interests.

Well the first thing is the worsening situation between Bazistan and its neighbours. In the south, factions seeking to overturn the Aden lease have been running cross border raids in an attempt to force the Republic into joining it’s larger brother. The most recent attack saw the involvement of British forces after a patrol discovered the insurgents setting up a resupply point and requested air support. Britain has warned Bazistan about these events and are deploying more troops to assist the Aden Security Force (ASF).

Bazistan is also the home of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Ever since it’s creation, Saudi Arabia has been very concerned about Bazistan’s border and it’s proximity to Mecca. During the 1980’s, Bazistan and Saudi Arabia had several border crossing incidents with fighter jets have several close encounters and a dangerous crash that led to a hot point. To prevent this happening again, Saudi Arabia began spending its money to arm sympathetic militias and keep key friendly government elements in power.

On the other side, Iran sees Bazistan as the perfect back door into Saudi Arabia. If the Bazistan government was to be friendlier to Iran, it would force Saudi Arabia to fight on two fronts. To help this, Iran has been funding militias, insurgent groups and politicians interested in regime change. They have also deployed QUDs Force, leading to the CIA descending on the area to hunt these troublemakers down before they can cause any major issues.

Finally, Russia sees Bazistan as a potential ally in the region. They have begun to increase investment and recently signed a bilateral deal to provide access to the Bazistan Desert Training Area in return for economic assistance. This has seen the arrival of small elements of the Russian armed forces in the country. In addition, a recent report leaked to the Guardian included mentions of a large Russian intelligence gathering and direct action base in Bazi City.

Moving on in the timeline there will be several events fixed in stone. At some point, following what has been labelled “The Bazistan Incident” in my notes, ISAF AP will cross from Aden into Bazistan as a peacekeeping force. Apart from that, I’m writing up more events as I play more games.

Factions

  • Bazistan – Bazistan’s army is a mixture of equipment – first line infantry and armour are equipped with western gear and the best maintained weapon systems while the second line and reserves are armed with the old Soviet tanks and weapon systems. The army is still in a reasonable state in spite of the economic issues.
    • Royal Guard – A subset of the army, the Royal Guard has the best equipment and training. In addition, the Royal Guard have special forces units designed for covert operations in defence of the royal family.
    • Internal Security Force – Formerly known as the National Police of Bazistan, the ISF function as both police and as additional army units as and when required. To assist in this role, the ISF have several BTR 80s for military use
  • Aden Security Force (ASF) – South of the border, the ASF protect the Republic of Aden. A self defence force, the ASF is designed to police the civilian population and hold long enough in wartime for the West to intercede. Although not as well trained or as well equipped as the British, it is a professional force.
  • ISAF AP (International Security Assistance Force: Arabian Peninsula) – Encompassing all expeditionary forces in Arabia (including NATO forces stationed in Saudi Arabia)
    • UK – The British have a permanent force as part of the training centre in Aden and rotates other units through. UKSF are also based in Aden to provide direct action support to British Intelligence teams.
    • US – Despite the US having a base in Djibouti, some units have been taking part in exercises in Aden. US Marines, US Army Rangers and a Stryker Combat Team have all rotated through. Additionally, an arrangement is in place to allow USSOCOM to operate from Aden when required.
    • Other nations – French, German, Australian and New Zealand forces have all attended exercises at the ranges in Aden. They are highly likely to join any ISAF-AP operations in the region.
  • PMC – There are multiple Private Military Companies operating in the region ranging from purely security forces to trainers working with the Bazistan government up to contractors providing special operations skills to the highest bidder.
    • The Argo Corporation – Argo has several divisions in Bazistan, including a large proportion of their armament industry. Because of this, Argo has expanded it’s security. Argo now has a wide range of capabilities from facility security up to pre-emptive strikes against possible threats to the company.
    • Commando Global Solutions – One of the smaller companies on the circuit, CGS offers capabilities to it’s clients that would be more usually seen in the SOF community. They are also the protagonists of the main series of games included in Weekend Warfare
    • Petramco – A new PMC in the region. Existing since the late 1970’s, Petramco’s activities were mainly focused in Africa. Recent economic issues have forced them to open new offices in Aden. Legal issues with other PMCs in the region have massively increased demand for Petramco’s services.
  • Irregular Forces – As well as official regular forces, Bazistan is fast becoming home to a wide variety of irregular, non-governmental forces.
    • Urban Militias – Thanks to a change in the law, there has been an explosion in the rise of militias controlling various neighbourhoods in the major cities. These militias are armed in various ways
      • Local Defence – Most militias are being formed by a neighbourhood, wanting to protect it from criminal organisations and other forces that might threaten their life. BEcause of their lack of backing, the defence militias are primarily armed with small arms and using civilian vehicles to get around.
      • Iran Friendly – Several militias have gained patronage from the government of Iran. The Revolutionary Guard see these militias a way of implementing a change in regime in Bazistan and so have provided training, equipment and trained Quds force troops to act as advisers and leaders.
      • Saudi Friendly –  As an almost mirror image to the Iranian friendly groups, Saudi Arabia has been backing it’s own militias, particularly in Bazi City itself. The Saudis act primarily through middlemen who use the funding source to purchase vehicles and weapons for the militia fighters.
    • Criminal Organisations – With the worsening economic situation, criminal groups are becoming more common in Bazistan. These groups are often working for one of the king’s advisers, reclaiming debts, running rackets and fighting the Internal Security Force and militias.
    • Mountain Tribes – In the south of Bazistan is a maze of valleys and mountains. For thousands of years, several tribes have lived in these hills practising a traditional way of life. As Bazistan has changed, these tribes have proved to be very anti-government. As well as fighting Bazistan, mountain tribes had ended up clashing with the ASF when they cross the border.
    • Eritrean Mercs – Due to its close proximity across the straits and due to a separate crisis inside of Eritrea, members of the Eritrian Army have been leaving the country and moving to Bazistan to work as contractors. In particular, many militia groups have hired them due to their better level of training on support weapons and ability to procure them.
    • Pirates – The Red Sea is exceptionally busy thanks to the Suez canal. Pirates, both Eritrean and Bazistani, have begun to operate from the Bazistan coastline, using small fast boats and lots of firepower to capture ships and their crew. These are then ransomed back to the ship’s owners.

The Games

The Breakdown

The breakdown is a series of missions set to help establish the setting and get the setting on its way towards the flash point. Most of these missions will be Special Operation missions with the occasional arrival of major forces depending on the situation.

  1. Arabian Night
  2. Hostage Negotiations
  3. Policing in Bazistan
  4. Modern Day Banditary
  5. ???
  6. ???
  7. Bad Day in Bazistan

The Intervention

This strand takes place after “The Incident” the flash point that sets off an intervention into Bazistan itself by outside powers. These missions will be more conventional forces, with ISAF AP clashing against the armed forces of Bazistan and the various militias.

  1. ??
  2. ??
  3. Hide and Seek
  4. Break on Through
  5. Sweep and Clear
  6. ??
  7. ??

The Reconstruction

This strand is for battles taking place once the intervention has finished. ISAF-AP is attempting to install a pro-democracy government but must contend with remaining elements of the old regime, various warlords and international factions all seeking to remove the current regime.

  1. Operation Dragon’s Hoard (Demo Game 2017-18 Season)
  2. Big Dave Must Die!
  3. The Welcome Party
  4. ???
  5. ???

CGS

The CGS strand is a story based strand following the adventures of Commando Global Solutions. Every four missions are equivalent to a pair of TV Episodes (think Strike Back) and containing an arc of the story. The CGS strand starts during The Breakdown

  1. Marketplace Mayhem
  2. 2 Hours Earlier
  3. From the Frying Pan
  4. Into the Fire
  5. ???
  6. ???
  7. ???
  8. ???
  9. Dawn Raid

Intel

These events are set long before the CGS strand, covering events that specifically caused the arrival of Commando Global Solutions into the peninsula.

  1. Thieves in the Night
  2. THE DEAL IS OFF
  3. ???