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Iran-Iraq War

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Iran-Iraq War

Iranian soldier with gas mask in the battlefield

Date22
September
1980–20
August
1988

Lo Per
cat sia
ion n
Gu
lf
Ira
nia
n-
Ira
qi
bor
der

Ca De
sus sire
bel by
li Ira
q
to
con
trol
the
Sh
att
al-
Ara
b
wat
erw
ay;
bor
der
and
terr
itor
ial
dis
put
es;
fea
rs
that
the
Isla
mic
rev
olu
tio
nar
y
go
ver
nm
ent
in
Ira
n
wo
uld
thr
eat
en
the
Ira
qi
Ba'
ath
reg
ime

ResultStalemate;
Strategic
Iraqi failure;
United
Nations-
mandated
cease-fire;
status quo
ante bellum;
Iraq's
condemnation
by the UN.
Iran holds
onto the Shatt
al-Arab.

Combatants

Iran Iraq

Commanders

Ruhollah Khomeini Saddam Hussein


Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Ali Hassan al-Majid
Ali Shamkhani
Mostafa Chamran †

Strength

305,000 soldiers 190,000 soldiers


500,000 Pasdaran and Basij 5,000 tanks
militia 4,000 armored vehicles
900 tanks 7,330 artillery pieces
1,000 armored vehicles 500+ aircraft,
3,000 artillery pieces 100+ helicopters[2]
470 aircraft
750 helicopters[1]

Casualties

Est. 500,000+ Est. 375,000+


soldiers/militia/civilians killed or soldiers/militia/civilians killed
wounded or wounded

[sh
ow]
Ira
n-
Ira
q
W
ar

Dezful -Abadan - Undeniable Victory - Khorramshahr - Samen-ol-


A'emeh - Jerusalem Way - Jerusalem - Ramadan - Before the Dawn
- Dawn 1 - Badr - Dawn 2 - Dawn 3 - Dawn 4 - Dawn V - Dawn 6 -
Marshes - Kheibar - Cities - 1st Al Faw - Dawn 8 - Karbala 4 -
Karbala-5 - Karbala-6 - Karbala Ten - Nasr 4 - Halabja - Zafar 7 -
2nd Al Faw - Mersad
Related U.S. operations
Earnest Will - Prime Chance - Eager Glacier - Nimble Archer -
Praying Mantis

[sh
ow]
Re
ce
nt
wa
rs
in
the
Pe
rsi
an
Gu
lf

Iran-Iraq War – Gulf War – Iraq War

The Iran-Iraq War, also known as the Iraqi Imposed War (‫جنگ تحمیلی‬, Jang-e-tahmīlī),
Holy Defense (‫دفاع مقدس‬, Defa-e-moghaddas) and Iranian Revolutionary War in Iran,
and Saddām's Qādisiyyah (‫قادسّیة صّدام‬, Qādisiyyat Saddām) in Iraq, was a war between
the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988. It was
commonly referred to as the Persian Gulf War until the Iraq-Kuwait conflict of (1990–
91), and for a while thereafter as the First Persian Gulf War. The Iraq-Kuwait conflict,
while originally known as the Second Persian Gulf War, later became known simply as
the Persian Gulf War. Many have also considered it to be the Longest Conventional
War of the 20th Century as there was a book written by historian Dilip Hiro with the
same title, however this is strongly disputed among historians. It is also regarded in much
of the West as one of the Forgotten Wars of the 20th Century.
The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of
border disputes and demands for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Although
the Iraqis attacked without formal warning, they failed to make progress and were soon
repelled by the Iranians. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations
Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988; the last prisoners of war
were exchanged in 2003. The war altered regional and even global politics.
The war is also noted for being very similar to World War I. Tactics such as trench
warfare, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, use of barb-wire, human wave
attacks and Iraq's extensive use of chemical weapons (such as mustard gas) against
Iranian troops and civilians as well as Iraqi Kurds.

Contents
[hide]
• 1 Background
○ 1.1 Early history
○ 1.2 Post-colonial era
○ 1.3 After the Islamic Revolution
• 2 Timeline
○ 2.1 September 1980: Iraqi invasion
○ 2.2 The invasion stalls
○ 2.3 Iraq retreats; Iran invades Iraq
○ 2.4 Iranian offensive blunders, as Iraqi resolve hardens
○ 2.5 1983-1985: Iraq battered, but not beaten
○ 2.6 January 1985 - February 1986: Abortive offensives by Iran and Iraq
○ 2.7 The Tanker War and direct U.S. support for Iraq
○ 2.8 "War of the Cities"
○ 2.9 Towards a ceasefire
• 3 List of major Iranian operations during the war
• 4 List of major Iraqi operations during the war
• 5 Order of Battle
• 6 Iran's armament and support
○ 6.1 Military armaments/technology
○ 6.2 Aircraft
○ 6.3 Military tactics
• 7 Iraq's armament and support
○ 7.1 Military armaments/technology
○ 7.2 Aircraft
○ 7.3 Chemical weapons
○ 7.4 Biological
○ 7.5 Financial support
• 8 Comparison of Iraqi and Iranian military strength
• 9 Weapons of mass destruction
• 10 Aftermath
• 11 Final ruling
• 12 References
• 13 See also
• 14 External links
○ 14.1 Iranian sources

[edit] Background
[edit] Early history
Although the Iran-Iraq war from 1980–1988 was a war for dominance of the Persian Gulf
region, the roots of the war go back many centuries. There has been rivalry between
kingdoms of Mesopotamia (the Tigris-Euphrates valley, modern Iraq) and the rugged
highlands to the East (modern Persia or Iran) since the beginning of recorded history in
Sumer.

Iranian soldiers landing from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter in the northern front of the
war. The war (according to one estimate) resulted in US$350 billion in damages to Iran
alone.
More precisely, the origins of the Iran-Iraq war of 1980–1988 go back to the question of
sovereignty over the resource-rich province of Khuzestan. Before the Ottoman empire
1299-1922, Iraq was part of Persia. The rising power of the Ottomans put an end to this
when Suleyman I annexed Arabian Iraq. The Turkish Sultan and general, Murad IV
recaptured Baghdad from the Safavids of Persia in 1638 via the Treaty of Zuhab. The
border disputes between Persia and the Ottomans never ended. Between 1555 and 1918,
Persia and the Ottoman empire signed no fewer than 18 treaties delineating their disputed
borders. But, today's border comes from the Treaty of Zuhab (Peace of Qasr-e-Shirin).
Modern Iraq was created with British take over in the region and the final collapse of the
Ottoman empire following the First World War, thereby inheriting all the disputes with
Persia.
[edit] Post-colonial era
On 18 December 1959, the new leader of Iraq Abdul Karim Qassim, declared: "We do
not wish to refer to the history of Arab tribes residing in Al-Ahwaz and Mohammareh
[Khorramshahr]. The Ottomans handed over Mohammareh, which was part of Iraqi
territory, to Iran." The Iraqi regime's dissatisfaction with Iran's possession of the oil-rich
Khuzestan province was not limited to rhetorical statements; Iraq began supporting
secessionist movements in Khuzestan, and even raised the issue of its territorial claims at
the next meeting of the Arab League, without success. Iraq showed reluctance in
fulfilling existing agreements with Iran—especially after the death of Egyptian President
Gamal Abdel Nasser and the rise of the Ba'ath Party, when Iraq decided to take on the
role of "leader of the Arab world".
In 1969, the deputy prime minister of Iraq stated: "Iraq's dispute with Iran is in
connection with Arabistan (Khuzestan) which is part of Iraq's soil and was annexed to
Iran during foreign rule." Soon Iraqi radio stations began exclusively broadcasting into
"Arabistan", encouraging Arabs living in Iran and even Balūchīs to revolt against the
Shah of Iran's government. Basra TV stations even began showing Iran's Khuzestan
province as part of Iraq's new province called Nasiriyyah, renaming all Iranian cities with
Arabic names.
In 1971, Iraq broke diplomatic relations with Iran after claiming sovereignty rights over
the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf, following
the withdrawal of the British. Iraq then expropriated the properties of 70,000 Iranians and
expelled them from its territory, after complaining to the Arab League and the UN
without success.
One of the factors contributing to hostility between the two powers was a dispute over
full control of the Shatt al-Arab waterway at the head of the Persian Gulf, an important
channel for the oil exports of both countries.
In addition to Iraq's fomenting of separatism in Iran's Khuzestan and Iranian Balochistan
provinces, both countries encouraged separatist activities by Kurdish nationalists in the
other country.
In 1974 Iraq attacked Iranian forces, with heavy casualties on both sides.[citation needed] In
1975, United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had sanctioned Shah Mohammad
Reza Pahlavi to attack Iraq over the waterway, then under Iraqi control[citation needed]; soon
afterward, both nations signed the Algiers Accord, where Iraq made territorial
concessions — including the waterway — in exchange for normalized relations.
The relationship between Iranian and Iraqi governments briefly improved in 1978, when
Iranian agents in Iraq discovered a pro-Soviet coup d'etat against the Iraqi government.
When informed of this plot, Saddam Hussein, who was Vice President at the time,
ordered the execution of dozens of his army officers, and to return the favor, expelled
Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled leader of clerical opposition to the Shah, from Iraq.
[edit] After the Islamic Revolution
See also: Islamic Revolution and Iranian Embassy Siege

1980 Iranian stamp commemorating the Revolution: "Blood defeats the sword!" The
martyrdom operations will play a central role in the war.
Iran's embassy in London was subsequently attacked by Iraqi-sponsored terrorist forces a
few months prior to the war in 1980, in what came to be known as the Iranian Embassy
Siege.
Saddam Hussein was keenly interested in elevating Iraq to a strong regional power. A
successful invasion of Iran would make Iraq the dominant power in the Persian Gulf
region, and would strengthen its lucrative oil trade.
Saddam on numerous occasions alluded to the Islamic conquest of Iran in propagating his
position against Iran. For example, on 2 April 1980, half a year before the outbreak of the
war, in a visit by Saddam to al-Mustansiriyyah University in Baghdad, drawing parallels
with the 7th century defeat of Persia in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, he announced:
In your name, brothers, and on behalf of the Iraqis and Arabs everywhere we tell those Persian
cowards and dwarfs who try to avenge Al-Qadisiyah that the spirit of Al-Qadisiyah as well as the
blood and honor of the people of Al-Qadisiyah who carried the message on their spearheads are
greater than their attempts."[3]
The aftermath of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 was central to the conflict. The
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini believed that the oppressed Shias in Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
and Kuwait could follow the Iranian example and turn against their governments to join a
united Islamic republic.[4] Khomeini and Iran's Islamic revolutionaries despised Saddam's
secularist, Arab nationalist Ba'athist regime in particular as un-Islamic and "a puppet of
Satan," [5] and called on Iraqis to overthrow Saddam and his regime. [6] At the same time
severe officer purges (including several executions ordered by Sadegh Khalkhali, the
post-revolution sharia ruler), and spare parts shortages for Iran's American-made
equipment, had crippled Iran's once mighty military. The bulk of the Iranian military was
made up of poorly armed, though committed, militias. Iran had minimal defenses in the
Shatt al-Arab river. This along with its alienation from the West made it a tempting target
to Saddam Hussein's expansionism. In particular he felt that Iranian Sunni citizens would
rather join a powerful Sunni-led Iraq than remain in the Shia-dominated Iran.[citation needed]
Iraq started the war believing that Sunnis of Iran would join the opposing forces, failing
to fully appreciate the power of Iranian nationalism over historically clan-centered
differences, and the power of Iranian government control of the press. Few of the ethnic
Arabs of Khuzestan or Sunnis of Iran collaborated with Iraqis.
The UN Secretary General report dated 9 December 1991 (S/23273) explicitly cites
"Iraq's aggression against Iran" in starting the war and breaching International security
and peace.[7]
[edit] Timeline
[edit] September 1980: Iraqi invasion

An armed Iranian woman in front of a mosque during Iraqi invasion to Khorramshahr in


September-October 1981.

The Shatt al-Arab on the Iran-Iraq border.


Iraq declared war with Saddam Hussein's statement on 17th September 1980, to the
recently re-instated Iraqi parliament: "The frequent and blatant Iranian violations of Iraqi
sovereignty...have rendered the 1975 Algiers Agreement null and void. This river...must
have its Iraqi-Arab identity restored as it was throughout history in name and in reality
with all the disposed rights emanating from full sovereignty over the river." The one
thing that had kept the Iranians and Iraqis from going to war over the Shatt al-Arab
waterway was the agreement.
The principal aim of the campaign was the capture of the Shatt al-Arab waterway by Iraq,
with an additional goal of overthrowing the revolutionary regime in Tehran. To this end,
he told his generals that they would make a move into Iran, capture the Iranian province
of Khuzestan, and prepare significant defenses along the front-line. This was meant to
demonstrate that the target was the Shatt al-Arab and not the whole of Iran. Saddam was
hoping to show the world the limited nature of his invasion by communicating that he
was only interested in the area of dispute.
As part of this plan, Saddam planned to launch a number of offensives across the length
and breadth of the Iran-Iraqi border. On the eve of the invasion, the Iraqis had mobilized
10 divisions against the Iranians. Despite Iran knowing of the imminent invasion, only 8
regular army divisions and one brigade had been mobilized with only four of those
deployed to the border.[citation needed] This strategy probably stems from the fact that Iran's
newly instated Islamic regime had little trust in the regular army, believing that they were
a threat to the revolutionary regime. Consequently, the Iranian government attempted to
boost the capabilities of militia groups, chiefly the Pasdaran and the Basij.
The two nations severed diplomatic relations in June 1980, and sporadic border clashes
increased. On September 18, Iraq declared the Shatt al-Arab to be part of its territory.
Iraq launched a full-scale invasion of Iran on September 22, 1980, claiming as a pretext
an Iranian assassination attempt on Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.
Objectives of Iraq's invasion of Iran were:
1. Control over the Shatt al-Arab waterway
2. Acquisition of the three islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs,
on the behalf of the UAE.
3. Annexation of Khuzestan to Iraq
4. Overthrow of the revolutionary regime in Tehran
The surprise offensive advanced quickly against the still disorganized Iranian forces,
advancing on a wide front into Iranian territory along the Mehran-Khorramabad axis in
central Iran and towards Ahvaz in the oil-rich southern province of Khuzestan.
[edit] The invasion stalls
Iraq encountered unexpected resistance, however. A preemptive strike executed by the
Iraqi Air Force on the first day of the war succeeded in destroying portions of Iranian
airbase infrastructure, but critically failed to significantly deplete Iran's aircraft inventory.
Also, rather than turning against the Ayatollah's government as exiles had promised, the
people of Iran rallied around their country and mounted a stiff resistance. An estimated
200,000 additional troops arrived at the front by November, a large proportion of them
volunteers.[8] The Iraqis soon found the Iranian military was not nearly as depleted as they
had thought.
By June 1982, an Iranian counter-offensive had recovered the areas lost to Iraq earlier in
the war. An especially significant battle of this counter-offensive in the Khuzestan
province was the liberation of Khorramshahr from the Iraqis on May 24, 1982. Hussein
also played a major role in the constant battle defeats of Iraq. Although he had no real
military experience, he interfered with battle plans and lost the Iraqis many battles that
otherwise would have been easily won.[citation needed]
[edit] Iraq retreats; Iran invades Iraq

Demoralized Iraqi soldiers taken PoW at Khorramshahr.


Saddam Hussein, realising that he had no realistic hope of remaining in Iran, ordered his
troops to withdraw to the international border between Iran and Iraq. He believed that his
battered army would only be able to fight knowing that it was fighting for the homeland,
and that they could rely upon the static defenses which had been built.
He announced that, for humanitarian reasons, he was withdrawing his army from Iran in
order to help Lebanon, which had been invaded by Israel on 6 June 1982. He asked the
Iranians to consider the plight of the Lebanese, although Saddam would obviously have
been more concerned about avoiding an Iranian attack than the threat faced by Lebanon,
and to make peace.
However, not only did the Iranians refuse to make peace, but that also increased their
demands. Aside from the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, they demanded $150
billion in war reparations and the repatriation of 100,000 Shi'ites expelled from Iraq
before the war.
It is unlikely that anyone in Iran seriously expected that Iraq would accept these terms;
and only offered them as a way of getting Saddam to refuse peace, thus making him
continue to look like the aggressor. In fact, many within the Iranian government were
demanding that the war be expanded into Iraq. On 21 June, Khomeini hinted that the
expulsion of Iraqi troops would not be followed by a cessation of Iranian attacks, but by
an invasion of Iraq. The following day, the Iranian Chief-of-Staff Shirazi said that the
war would continue "until Saddam Hussein is overthrown so that we can pray at [the
Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala and Jerusalem."
This statement was not long in being fulfilled. On 13 July, the Iranians crossed the
border, in force, aiming towards the city of Basra, the second most important city in Iraq.
[edit] Iranian offensive blunders, as Iraqi resolve hardens
However, in this offensive, the Iranians encountered an Iraqi enemy which had
entrenched itself in formidable defences. Unlike the hastily improvised defences that the
Iraqis had manned in Iran during the 1980-1981 occupation of the conquered territories.
The border defences were, by necessity, well developed even before the war; and the
Iraqis were able to utilise a highly-developed network of bunkers and artillery fire-bases.
Saddam had also doubled the size of the Iraqi army from 1981, 200,000 soldiers (12
divisions and 3 independent brigades), to 500,000 in 1985 (23 divisions and nine
brigades).
The efforts of Saddam bore fruit. Iran had been using combined-arms operations to great
effect when it was attacking the Iraqi troops in its country, and had launched the iconic
human-wave attacks with great support from artillery, aircraft, and tanks. However, the
increasingly strained army-Pasdaran relations meant that the Iranians were now launching
human-wave assaults, with no support from other branches of the military. The superior
defences of the Iraqis meant that tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers were lost in most
operations after 1982, and the Iraqi defences would continue to hold in most sectors.
In the Basra offensive, five human-wave attacks were met with withering fire from the
Iraqis. The boy-soldiers of the Basij were particularly hard-hit, especially since they were
ordered to run into minefields, in order to clear the way for the Pasdaran brigades behind
them. The Iranians were also hard-hit by the employment of gas by the Iraqis.
[edit] 1983-1985: Iraq battered, but not beaten
The red line shows the Iraqi's furthest ground gains. The yellow the Iranian's ones.

Ali Khamenei current Supreme Leader of Iran in battlefield during the Iran-Iraq war.
After the failure of their 1982 summer offensives, Iran believed that a major effort along
the entire breadth of the front line would yield the victory that the Iranians desired.
Perhaps, if Iran had acted on its numerical superiority, it might have been able to have
achieved a break-through if it had launched an attack across all parts of the front-line at
the same time. However, the organisation for that type of conflict was still lacking.
Although some degree of co-operation between the Pasdaran and the regular army had
been reached - meaning the Iranian militias could now rely upon some support - it was
not enough.
During the course of 1983, the Iranians would launch five major assaults along the front,
none meeting with substantial success.
Saddam had hoped that the mounting casualties, and the lack of progress, would force the
Iranians to accept peace. However, in early 1984, the Khomeini government again re-
iterated their demands for the overthrow of the Ba'ath regime. Saddam realised that a
more aggressive posture would be needed to entice the Iranians to the bargaining table.
He declared that eleven Iranian cities would come under attack unless Iran halted their
acts of aggression by 7 February 1984.
As a way of demonstrating their answer to this ultimatum, the Iranians launched an attack
against Iraqi forces along the northern sector of the front line. Although this was a minor
attack, Saddam stuck to his pledge, and ordered aerial and missile attacks against the
eleven cities that he had designated. The bombardment ceased on 22 February. This
attack was soon followed by retaliation by Iran against urban centres as well. These
exchanges become known as the first 'war of the cities'. There would be five throughout
the course of the war.
The attack on the Iranian cities did not destroy the resolve of the Iranian government to
fight. On 15 February, the Iranians launched a major attack against the central section of
the front line, where the Second Iraqi Army Corps was deployed. 250,000 Iranians were
facing 250,000 Iraqis. Of the 250,000 Iranians committed, 190,000 of those were
Pasdaran and Basij soldiers, with only 60,000 regular troops engaged in the operation.
However, the offensive did fall under army control, and was planned by the regular
military.
From 15 to 22 February, in Operation Dawn 5, and 22 to 24 February, in Operation Dawn
6, the Iranians attempted to capture the vital town of Kut al-Amara, and to move to cut
the key highway linking Baghdad and Basra. If the road had been captured, the Iraqis
ability to supply and co-ordinate the defenses would have been extremely difficult.
However, the Iranian forces could only come within 15 miles of the highway.
However, Operation Khaibar met with much greater success. The operation involved a
number of thrusts towards the key Iraqi city of Basra. The operation started on the 24th
February, and lasted until the 19th March. The Iraqi defences, having been under
continuous strain since 15 February, seemed close to being conclusively broken. The
Iraqis were able to stabilise the front, but not before the Iranians captured part of the
Majnun Islands. Despite a heavy counter-attack by the Iraqis, coupled with the use of
mustard gas and sarin nerve gas, the Iranians held their gains and would continue to hold
them almost until the end of the war.[9]
[edit] January 1985 - February 1986: Abortive offensives by Iran and Iraq
Saddam, with his armed forces now benefiting from the influx of material and financial
support from Western powers such as the United States of America and France, went on
the offensive for the first time since late 1980, on 28 January 1985. However, the
offensive did not produce any significant gains, and the Iranians responded in kind with
their own offensive on 11 March 1985, directed against Basra, which was codenamed
Operation Badr. By this time, the failure of the unsupported human-wave attacks during
1984 meant that Iran was trying to develop a better working relationship between the
army and the Pasdaran. The Iranian government also worked on moulding the Pasdaran
units into a much more conventional fighting force. The attack did succeed in capturing a
part of the Baghdad-Basra highway, the highway which had proved elusive during
Operation Dawn 5 and Operation Dawn 6. Saddam responded to this strategic emergency
by launching chemical attacks against the Iranian positions along the highway, and by
initiating the second 'war of the cities', with a massive air and missile campaign against
twenty Iranian towns, including Tehran.
[edit] The Tanker War and direct U.S. support for Iraq

The Iranian minelayer Iran Ajr was captured by the U.S. Navy.

Donald Rumsfeld meets Saddam Hussein on 19 December - 20 December 1983.


Rumsfeld visited again on 24 March 1984, the day the UN reported that Iraq had used
mustard gas and tabun nerve agent against Iranian troops. The NY Times reported from
Baghdad on 29 March 1984, that "American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied
with Iraq and the U.S., and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been established in
all but name."[10]
Main article: U.S. support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war
Starting in 1981, Iran and Iraq attacked oil tankers and merchant ships, including those of
neutral nations, in an effort to deprive each other of trade. After Iraqi attacks on Iran's
main oil export facility on Khark Island, Iran attacked a Kuwaiti tanker near Bahrain on
May 13, 1984, and a Saudi tanker in Saudi waters on May 16. Attacks on ships of
noncombatant nations in the Persian Gulf sharply increased thereafter. This phase of the
conflict was dubbed the "Tanker War."
In 1982 with Iranian success on the battlefield, the U.S. made its backing of Iraq more
pronounced, supplying it with intelligence, economic aid, normalizing relations with the
government (broken during the 1967 Six-Day War), and also supplying weapons.[11]
President Ronald Reagan decided that the United States "could not afford to allow Iraq to
lose the war to Iran", and that the United States "would do whatever was necessary and
legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran."[12] President Reagan formalized this
policy by issuing a National Security Decision Directive ("NSDD") to this effect in June,
1982.[13]
Lloyd's of London, a British insurance market, estimated that the Tanker War damaged
546 commercial vessels and killed about 430 civilian mariners. The largest portion of the
attacks were directed by Iran against Kuwaiti vessels, and on November 1, 1986, Kuwait
formally petitioned foreign powers to protect its shipping. The Soviet Union agreed to
charter tankers starting in 1987, and the United States offered to provide protection for
tankers flying the U.S. flag on March 7, 1987 (Operation Earnest Will and Operation
Prime Chance). Under international law, an attack on such ships would be treated as an
attack on the United States, allowing the U.S. Navy to retaliate. This support would
protect ships headed to Iraqi ports, effectively guaranteeing Iraq's revenue stream for the
duration of the war.
On May 17, an Iraqi plane attacked the USS Stark (FFG 31), a Perry class frigate, killing
37 and injuring 21.[14] However, U.S. attention was focused on isolating Iran; it criticized
Iran's mining of international waters, and sponsored UN Security Council Resolution
598, which passed unanimously on July 20, under which it skirmished with Iranian
forces. During the Operation Nimble Archer in October 1987, the U.S. attacked Iranian
oil platforms in retaliation for an Iranian attack on the U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tanker Sea
Isle City.[15]
On April 14, 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian
mine. U.S. forces responded with Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, the United
States Navy's largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian
ships were destroyed, and an American helicopter crashed killing the two pilots.[16]
In the course of these escorts by the U.S. Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down
Iran Air Flight 655 with the loss of all 290 passengers and crew on July 3, 1988. The
American government claimed that the airliner had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14
Tomcat, and that the Vincennes was operating in international waters at the time and
feared that it was under attack[17]. The Iranians, however, maintain that the Vincennes was
in fact in Iranian territorial waters, and that the Iranian passenger jet was turning away
and increasing altitude after take-off. U.S. Admiral William J. Crowe also admitted on
Nightline that the Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters when it launched the
missiles.[18] . The U.S. eventually paid compensation for the incident ($131,800,000)), but
never apologized.
According to an investigation conducted by ABC News' Nightline, decoys were set
during the war by the US Navy inside the Persian Gulf to lure out the Iranian gunboats
and destroy them, and at the time USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian airline, it was
performing such an operation. [19]
See also: Iran Air Flight 655
[edit] "War of the Cities"
Toward the end of the war, the land conflict regressed into stalemate largely because
neither side had enough self-propelled artillery or airpower to support ground advances.
The relatively professional Iraqi armed forces could not make headway against the far
more numerous Iranian infantry. The Iranians were outmatched in towed and self-
propelled artillery, which left their tanks and troops vulnerable. What followed was the
Iranians substituting infantry for artillery. Both sides turned to more brutal weapons and
tactics.
Iraq's air force soon began strategic bombing against Iranian cities, chiefly Tehran,
starting in 1985. In response, Iran began launching SS-1 "Scud" missiles against
Baghdad. Iraq did not respond in kind against Tehran until early 1988, able to deploy
only air raids against the Iranian capital up until that point. In October 1986, Iraqi aircraft
attacked civilian passenger trains and aircraft, including an Iran Air Boeing 737
unloading passengers at Shiraz International Airport.
In retaliation for the punishing Iranian Operation Karbala-5, an early 1987 attempt to
capture Basra, over 42 days Iraq attacked 65 cities in 226 sorties bombing civilian
neighborhoods. Eight Iranian cities came under the attack from Iraqi missiles. Bombings
killed 65 children in an elementary school in Borujerd alone.The Iranian also responded
with the scud missiles attack on Baghdad which struck a primary school there. These
events became known as "the war of the cities".[20]
[edit] Towards a ceasefire

People's Mujahedin of Iran supported by Sadam started their ten day operation after the
Iranian government accepted UN Resolution 598. Casualties ranged from 2,000 to
10,000.
1987 saw a renewed wave of Iranian offensives against targets in both the north and
south of Iraq. Iranian troops were stopped cold by Iraqi prepared defenses in the south in
a month-and-a-half long battle for Basra (Operation Karbala-5), but met with more
success later in the year in the north as Operations Nasr 4 and Karbala-10 threatened to
capture the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk and other northern oilfields. However, the Iranian
forces were unable to consolidate their gains and continue their advance, and so 1987 saw
little land change hands. On 20 July, the Security Council of the United Nations passed
the US-sponsored Resolution 598, which called for an end to fighting and a return to pre-
war boundaries. Iraq, which had lost important pieces of land over the course of the war,
eagerly accepted the resolution. Iran, however, was loathe to surrender its gains when
total victory seemed close at hand, and so the fighting continued.[21]
By April 1988, however, the Iraqi forces had regrouped sufficiently to begin a new series
of devastating attacks on the Iranians, and in quick succession recaptured the strategic al-
Faw peninsula (lost in 1986 in Operation Dawn-8) and territory around Basra and also
struck deep into the Iranian north, capturing much matériel.[22] Following these major
setbacks, Iran acceded to the terms of Resolution 598. However Iraq, which had seen
major victories in the end of the war, thought it could invade Iran once more, Iraqi forces
managed to make small gains in Khuzestan but were halted by the Iranians and so Iraq
also accepted the peace and on 20 August 1988 peace broke out.
The People's Mujahedin of Iran started their ten day operation after the Iranian
government accepted UN Resolution 598. While Iraqi forces attacked Khuzestan, the
Mujahedin attacked western Iran and battled the Pasdaran for Kermanshah. Close air
support from the Iraqis contributed to whatever gains the Mojahedin made. However,
under heavy international pressure for ending the war, Saddam Hussein withdrew his
fighter aircraft and the sky opened for the Iranian airborne forces to be deployed behind
Mojahedin lines. The operation ended in a Bay of Pigs style disaster for Mojahedin.
Casualties ranged from 2,000 to 10,000.
See also: Operation Mersad
[edit] List of major Iranian operations during the war
1. 27 September-29 September 1981: Operation Samen-ol-A'emeh; Iran retakes
Abadan.
2. 29 November-mid-December 1981: Operation Tarigh ol-Qods; Iran retakes
Abadan and area north of Susangerd.
3. 21 March-30 March 1982: Operation Fath-ol-Mobeen (Operation Undeniable
Victory; Iran expels Iraqi troops from Dezful-Shush area.
4. 30 April-24 May 1982: Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas; Iran retakes Khorramshahr
and drives Iraqis back across the border.
5. 14 July-28 July 1982: Operation Ramadan; Failed Iranian offensive to capture
Basra.
6. 9 April-17 April 1983: Operation Valfajr-1/Dawn(-1)); Failed Iranian offensive in
Ein Khosh to capture Basra-Baghdad highway.
7. 19 October-mid November 1983: Operation Valfajr-4/Dawn 4; Iranian offensive
in Iraq's Kurdistan near Panjwin makes small gains.
8. 22 February-16 March 1984: Operation Kheibar; Iranian offensive captures the
Iraqi Majnoon Islands in the Haur al-Hawizeh marshes.
9. 10 March-20 March 1985: Operation Badr; Unsuccessful Iranian offensive to
capture the Basra-Baghdad highway.
10. 9 February-25 February 1986: Operation Valfajr-8/Dawn 8; Three-pronged
Iranian offensive leads to capture of al-Faw Peninsula.
11. 2 June 1986: Operation Karbala-1.
12. 1 September 1986: Operation Karbala-2; Iranian offensive in the Hajj Umran
area of Iraqi Kurdistan.
13. 9 January-26 February 1987: Operation Karbala-5; Iranian offensive in southern
Iraq to capture Basra.
14. 21 June 1987: Operation Nasr 4. Iranian Operation captures Kirkuk
15. 16 March 1988: Operation Valfajr-10/Dawn 10; Iranian offensive in Iraqi
Kurdistan.
16. 27 July 1988: Operation Mersad.
[edit] List of major Iraqi operations during the war
1. 22 September-mid November 1980; Iraqi invasion of Iran
2. 9 March-10 March 1986; Unsuccessful Iraqi offensive to recapture Al-Faw
Peninsula.
3. 17 May 1986; Iraqi offensive captures Mehran.
4. 16 April-18 April 1988; Iraqi offensive recaptures Al-Faw Peninsula. Use of
chemical weapons
5. 23 May-25 May 1988; Iraqi offensive in northern and central sectors recaptures
Shalamche using chemical weapons.
6. 19 June-22 June 1988; Iraqi offensive captures Mehran.
7. 25 June 1988; Iraqi offensive recaptures Majnoon Islands.
8. 12 July 1988; Iraqi offensive retakes all Iraqi territory in the Musian border
region.
9. 22 July-29 July 1988; Iraqi offensive along the entire Iran border, captures some
territory in the central and southern sectors with the help of Mojahedin-e-Khalq,
but fails in the northern sector.
[edit] Order of Battle
Main article: Order of battle during the Iran-Irak War
[edit] Iran's armament and support
[edit] Military armaments/technology
See also: Iran-Contra Affair
During the early years of the war, Iran's arsenal was almost entirely American-made, left
over from the Imperial Armed Forces of the dethroned Shah. Iran's foreign supporters
gradually came to include Syria & Libya. It purchased weaponry from North Korea and
the People's Republic of China, notably the Silkworm anti-ship missile. Iran acquired
weapons and parts for its Shah-era U.S. systems through covert arms transactions from
officials in the Reagan Administration, first indirectly through Israel and then directly. It
was hoped Iran would, in exchange, persuade several radical groups to release Western
hostages, though this did not result; proceeds from the sales were diverted to the
Nicaraguan Contras in what became known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
According to the report of the U.S. Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-
Contra Affair issued in November 1987, "the sale of U.S. arms to Iran through Israel
began in the summer of 1985, after receiving the approval of President Reagan."[23] These
sales included "2,008 BGM-71 TOW anti-Tank missiles, and 235 parts kits for MIM-23
Hawk surface-to-air missiles had been sent to Iran via Israel." Further shipments of up to
US$2 billion of American weapons from Israel to Iran, consisting of 18 F-4 fighter-
bombers, 46 A-4 Skyhawk fighter-bombers, and nearly 4,000 missiles were foiled by the
U.S. Department of Justice, and "unverified reports alleged that Israel agreed to sell Iran
AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, radar equipment, mortar and machinegun
ammunition, field telephones, M-60 tank engines and artillery shells, and spare parts for
C-130 transport planes."[24] The London Observer also estimated that Israel's arms sales to
Iran during the war totalled US$ 500 million annually,[25] and Time Magazine reported
that throughout 1981 and 1982, "the Israelis reportedly set up Swiss bank accounts to
handle the financial end of the deals."[26] For more on Israeli Hawk missile sales to Iran
see. "[27]
[edit] Aircraft
Further information: Iranian Air Force in Iran-Iraq war
During the war, Iran operated U.S.-manufactured F-4 Phantom and F-5 fighters, as well
as AH-1 Cobra light attack helicopters. It also operated a number of F-14 Tomcat
fighters, which, according to a few sources, proved devastating to the Iraqis in the early
phases of the war. However, due to the Iranian government's estrangement from the
United States, spare parts were difficult to obtain. Despite this the Iranians managed to
maintain a constant presence with their Tomcats during the entire conflict, mostly due to
a combination of spare parts acquired on the black market and parts made in Iran. These
were supported by KC-135s, a refueling tanker based on the Boeing 367-80.[28]
[edit] Military tactics
Perhaps the most unique and much commented-on characteristic of the war was the use
of human wave attacks and suicide brigades by Iran, including the use of thousands of
teenage Basij volunteers who sacrificed their lives to clear the marshes of mines. Wearing
white headbands and shouting 'Shaheed, shaheed!' ('Martyr, martyr!') as they were blown
up, these youths ran over fields of landmines to clear the way for Iranian ground assault.
[29]
Their devotion earned the reverence of pious Iranian revolutionaries but ultimately did
not overcome Iraqi defenses. To this day, the use of estesh-hadiyun (martyrdom-seekers)
remains part of Iranian military doctrine. [30]
[edit] Iraq's armament and support
Further information: Arms sales to Iraq 1973-1990, U.S. support for Iraq during
the Iran-Iraq war, and Iraq-gate (Gulf War)
[edit] Military armaments/technology
Iraq's army was primarily equipped with weaponry it had purchased from the Soviet
Union and its satellites in the preceding decade. During the war, it purchased billions of
dollars worth of advanced equipment from the Soviet Union, France,[31] as well as from
the People's Republic of China, Brazil, Egypt, Germany, and other sources (including
Europe and facilities for making and/or enhancing chemical weapons). Germany[32] along
with other Western countries (among them United Kingdom, France, Spain (Explosivos
Alaveses), Canada, Italy and the United States) provided Iraq with biological and
chemical weapons technology and the precursors to nuclear capabilities (see below).
The sources of Iraqi arms purchases between 1970 and 1990 (10% of the world market
during this period) are estimated to be:

Suppliers in Billions (1985 $US) % of total

Soviet Union 19.2 61

France 5.5 18

People's Republic of China 1.7 5

Brazil 1.1 4
Egypt 1.1 4

Other countries 2.9 6

Total 31.5 98.0

The U.S. sold Iraq $200 million in helicopters, which were used by the Iraqi military in
the war. These were the only direct U.S.-Iraqi military sales and were valued to be about
0.6% of Iraq's conventional weapons imports during the war.[33]
Ted Koppel of ABC Nightline reported the following, however, on June 9, 1992: "It is
becoming increasingly clear that George Bush Sr., operating largely behind the scenes
throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and
military help that built Saddam's Iraq into [an aggressive power]" and “Reagan/Bush
administrations permitted — and frequently encouraged — the flow of money,
agricultural credits, dual-use technology, chemicals, and weapons to Iraq.”
According to New Yorker, the Reagan Administration began to allow Jordan, Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt to transfer to Iraq American howitzers, helicopters, bombs and
other weapons. [34] Reagan personally asked Italy’s Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti to
channel arms to Iraq.[35]
The United States, United Kingdom, and Germany also provided "dual use" technology
(computers, engines, etc.) that allowed Iraq to expand its missile program and radar
defenses. The U.S. Commerce Department, in violation of procedure, gave out licenses to
companies for $1.5 billion in dual-use items to be sent to Iraq. The State Department was
not informed of this. Over 1 billion of these authorized items were trucks that were never
delivered. The rest consisted of advanced technology. Iraq's Soviet-made Scuds had their
ranges expanded as a result.[36]
Yugoslavia sold weapons to both countries for the entire duration of the conflict. Portugal
helped both countries: it was not unusual seeing Iranian- and Iraqi-flagged ships side-by-
side in Sines (a town with a deep-sea port).[citation needed]
[edit] Aircraft
Iraq's air force used Soviet weapons and reflected Soviet training, although it expanded
and upgraded its fleet considerably as the war progressed. It conducted strategic bombing
using Tupolev Tu-16 Badgers. Its fighters included the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, later
supplemented by large purchases of Sukhoi Su-22s and French Dassault Mirage F1s. It
also deployed the Anglo-French Aérospatiale Gazelle scout helicopter and the Exocet
anti-ship missile.[37]
[edit] Chemical weapons
According to Iraq's report to the UN, the know-how and material for developing chemical
weapons were obtained from firms in such countries as: the United States, West
Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China.[38]
In December 2002, Iraq's 1,200 page Weapons Declaration revealed a list of Eastern and
Western corporations and countries, as well as individuals, that exported a total of 17,602
tons of chemical precursors to Iraq in the past two decades. By far, the largest suppliers
of precursors for chemical weapons production were in Singapore (4,515 tons), the
Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and Federal Republic of
Germany (1,027 tons). One Indian company, Exomet Plastics (now part of EPC
Industrie) sent 2,292 tons of precursor chemicals to Iraq. The Kim Al-Khaleej firm,
located in Singapore and affiliated to United Arab Emirates, supplied more than 4,500
tons of VX, sarin, and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq.[39]
According to Iraq's declarations, it had procured 340 pieces of equipment used for the
production of chemical weapons. More than half came from Germany, the remainder
mostly from France, Spain, and Austria. [4] In addition, Iraq declared that it imported
more than 200,000 munitions made for delivering chemicals, 75,000 came from Italy,
57,500 from Spain, 45,000 from China, and 28,500 from Egypt. [5]
Declassified U.S. government documents indicate that the U.S. government had
confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons "almost daily" during the Iran-Iraq
conflict as early as 1983. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld even met with
Saddam Hussein the same day the UN released a report that Iraq had used mustard gas
and tabun nerve agent against Iranian troops.[40] The New York Times reported from
Baghdad on 29 March 1984, that "American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied
with Iraq and the U.S., and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been established in
all but name."[41] The chairman of the Senate committee, Don Riegle, said: “The
executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of
dual-use technology to Iraq. I think it’s a devastating record”.[42] According to the
Washington Post, the CIA began in 1984 secretly to give Iraq intelligence that Iraq used
to "calibrate" its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. In August, the CIA establishes a
direct Washington-Baghdad intelligence link, and for 18 months, starting in early 1985,
the CIA provided Iraq with "data from sensitive U.S. satellite reconnaissance
photography...to assist Iraqi bombing raids." The Post’s source said that this data was
essential to Iraq’s war effort.[43]
In May 2003, an extended list of international companies involvements in Iraq was
provided by The Independent (UK).[44] Official Howard Teicher and Radley Gayle, stated
that 31 Bell helicopters that were given to Iraq by U.S. later were used to spray chemical
weapons.[45]
Iraq's chemical weapons program was mainly assisted by German companies such as
Karl Kobe, which built a chemical weapons facility disguised as a pesticide plant. Iraq’s
foreign contractors, including Karl Kolb with Massar for reinforcement, built five large
research laboratories, an administrative building, eight large underground bunkers for the
storage of chemical munitions, and the first production buildings. 150 tons of mustard
were produced in 1983. About 60 tons of Tabun were produced in 1984. Pilot-scale
production of Sarin began in 1984.[46] Germany also supplied reactors, heat exchangers,
condensors and vessels. France, Austria, Canada, and Spain provided similar equipment.
[47]
The Al Haddad trading company of Tennessee delivered 60 tons of DMMP, a chemical
used to make sarin, a nerve gas implicated in so-called Gulf War Syndrome. The Al
Haddad trading company appears to have been an Iraqi front company. The firm was
owned by Sahib Abd al-Amir al-Haddad, an Iraqi-born, naturalized American citizen.
Recent stories in The New York Times and The Tennessean reported that al-Haddad was
arrested in Bulgaria in November 2002 while trying to arrange an arms sale to Iraq. Al-
Haddad was charged with conspiring to purchase equipment for the manufacture of a
giant Iraqi cannon, a design based on the Canadian HARP program. In 1984, U.S.
Customs at New York's Kennedy Airport stopped an order addressed to the Iraqi State
Enterprise for Pesticide Production for 74 drums of potassium fluoride, a chemical used
in the production of Sarin. The order was placed by Al-Haddad Enterprises Incorporates,
owned by an individual named Sahib al-Haddad. [6]
The U.S. firm Alcolac International supplied one mustard-gas precursor, thiodiglycol, to
both Iraq and Iran in violation of U.S. export laws for which it was forced to pay a fine in
1989. Overall between 300-400 tons were sent to Iraq.[7] [8] [9][10]
[edit] Biological
Iraq did not use biological weapons in the war, but built up its capability during that time.
[citation needed]

On 25 May 1994, The U.S. Senate Banking Committee released a report in which it was
stated that pathogenic, toxicological, and other biological research materials were
exported to Iraq, pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of
Commerce. It added: "These exported biological materials were not attenuated or
weakened and were capable of reproduction."[48] The report then detailed 70 shipments
(including Anthrax Bacillus) from the United States to Iraqi government agencies over
three years, concluding that "these microorganisms exported by the United States were
identical to those the UN inspectors found and recovered from the Iraqi biological
warfare program."[49]
A report by Berlin's Die Tageszeitung in 2002 reported that Iraq's 11,000-page report to
the UN Security Council listed 150 foreign companies that supported Saddam Hussein's
WMD program. Twenty-four U.S. firms were involved in exporting arms and materials
to Baghdad[50] Donald Riegle, Chairman of the Senate committee that made the report,
said, "UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had
been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of
Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and
nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs." He
added, "the executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses
for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control sent Iraq 14 agents "with biological warfare
significance," including West Nile virus, according to Riegle's investigators.[51]
[edit] Financial support
Iraq's main financial backers were the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, most notably Saudi
Arabia ($30.9 billion), Kuwait ($8.2 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($8 billion).[52]
The Iraq-gate scandal revealed that an Atlanta branch of Italy's largest bank, Banca
Nazionale del Lavoro, relying partially on U.S. taxpayer-guaranteed loans, funneled $5
billion to Iraq from 1985 to 1989. In August 1989, when FBI agents finally raided the
Atlanta branch of BNL, the branch manager, Christopher Drogoul, was charged with
making unauthorized, clandestine, and illegal loans to Iraq — some of which, according
to his indictment, were used to purchase arms and weapons technology.
Aside from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and ABC's Ted Koppel, the
Iraq-gate story never picked up much steam, even though the U.S. Congress became
involved with the scandal.[53] This scandal is covered in Alan Friedman's book "The
Spider's Web: The Secret History of How the White House Illegally Armed Iraq."
Beginning in September 1989, the Financial Times laid out the first charges that BNL,
relying heavily on U.S. government-guaranteed loans, was funding Iraqi chemical and
nuclear weapons work. For the next two and a half years, the Financial Times provided
the only continuous newspaper reportage (over 300 articles) on the subject. Among the
companies shipping militarily useful technology to Iraq under the eye of the U.S.
government, according to the Financial Times, were Hewlett-Packard, Tektronix, and
Matrix Churchill, through its Ohio branch[54]
In all, Iraq received $35 billion in loans from the West and between $30 and $40 billion
from the Gulf States during the 1980s. [11]
[edit] Comparison of Iraqi and Iranian military
strength
Power of Iranian and Iraqi armies were unbalanced. The strength of Iraq and Iran is seen
on the table by The Economist estimates:[55]

Im Ira Ira
bal q n
an
ce
of
Po
we
r
(19
80-
19
87)

Ta 27 17
nks 00 40
in
19
80

Ta 45 10
nks
in 00 00
19
87

Fig 33 44
hte 2 5
r
Air
cra
ft
in
19
80

Fig 50 65
hte 0+ *
r
Air
cra
ft
in
19
87

Hel 40 50
ico 0
pte
rs
in
19
80

Hel 15 60
ico 0
pte
rs
in
19
87
Art 10 10
ille 00 00
ry +
in
19
80

Art 40 10
ille 00 00
ry + +
in
19
87

[edit] Weapons of mass destruction


See also: Halabja poison gas attack

Chemical weapons which were used by Saddam Hussein killed and injured numerous
Iranians and Kurds.
With more than 100,000 Iranian victims[56] of Iraq's chemical weapons during the eight-
year war, Iran is one the countries most severely afflicted by weapons of mass
destruction.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization dedicated to preserving the memory
of the Holocaust, released a list of U.S. companies and their exports to Iraq.
The official estimate does not include the civilian population contaminated in bordering
towns or the children and relatives of veterans, many of whom have developed blood,
lung and skin complications, according to the Organization for Veterans of Iran.
According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger:
"Nerve gas agents killed about 20,000 Iranian soldiers immediately, according to
official reports. Of the 90,000 survivors, some 5,000 seek medical treatment
regularly and about 1,000 are still hospitalized with severe, chronic conditions.
Many others were hit by mustard gas..."[57]
Iraq also used chemical weapons on Iranian civilians, killing many in villages and
hospitals. Many civilians suffered severe burns and health problems, and still suffer from
them. Furthermore, 308 Iraqi missiles were launched at population centers inside Iranian
cities between 1980 and 1988 resulting in 12,931 casualties.[56]
On 21 March 1986, the United Nations Security Council made a declaration stating that
"members are profoundly concerned by the unanimous conclusion of the specialists that
chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian
troops and the members of the Council strongly condemn this continued use of chemical
weapons in clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 which prohibits the use in war
of chemical weapons." The United States was the only member who voted against the
issuance of this statement.[58]
According to retired Colonel Walter Lang, senior defense intelligence officer for the
United States Defense Intelligence Agency at the time, "the use of gas on the battlefield
by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern" to Reagan and his aides, because
they "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose." He claimed that the Defense
Intelligence Agency "would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against
civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi
struggle for survival",[59] however, despite this allegation, Reagan’s administration did not
stop aiding Iraq after receiving reports affirming the use of poison gas on Kurdish
civilians.[60][61][62]
There is great resentment in Iran that the international community helped Iraq develop its
chemical weapons arsenal and armed forces, and also that the world did nothing to punish
Saddam's Ba'athist regime for its use of chemical weapons against Iran throughout the
war — particularly since the US and other western powers soon felt obliged to oppose the
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and eventually invade Iraq itself to remove Saddam Hussein.
The Defense Intelligence Agency also accused Iran of using chemical weapons. These
allegations however, have been disputed. Joost Hiltermann, who was the principal
researcher for Human Rights Watch between 1992-1994, conducted a two year study,
including a field investigation in Iraq, capturing Iraqi government documents in the
process.
According to Hiltermann, the literature on the Iran-Iraq war reflects a number of
allegations of chemical weapons use by Iran, but these are "marred by a lack of
specificity as to time and place, and the failure to provide any sort of evidence".[63] Gary
Sick and Lawrence Potter call the allegations against Iran "mere assertions" and state: "no
persuasive evidence of the claim that Iran was the primary culprit [of using chemical
weapons] was ever presented".[64] Policy consultant and author Joseph Tragert also states:
"Iran did not retaliate with Chemical weapons, probably because it did not possess any at
the time".[65]
At his trial in December 2006, Saddam Hussein said he would take responsibility "with
honour" for any attacks on Iran using conventional or chemical weapons during the 1980-
1988 war but he took issue with charges he ordered attacks on Iraqis.[66][67]
• Further reading on surviving veterans of these weapons:[68]
[edit] Aftermath

Cemetery for Iranian fallen during the war in Yazd.


The war was disastrous for both countries, stalling economic development and disrupting
oil exports. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties,[69] and $350 billion.[70] Iraq was
left with serious debts to its former Arab backers, including US$14 billion loaned by
Kuwait, a debt which contributed to Saddam's 1990 decision to invade.
Much of the oil industry in both countries was damaged in air raids. Iran's production
capacity has yet to fully recover from the damages during the war.
The Iraqi government commemorated the war with various monuments, including the
Hands of Victory and the Al-Shaheed Monument, both in Baghdad.
The war left the borders unchanged. Two years later, as war with the western powers
loomed, Saddam recognized Iranian rights over the eastern half of the Shatt al-Arab, a
reversion to the status quo ante bellum that he had repudiated a decade earlier.
The war was extremely costly, one of the deadliest wars since World War II (see list of
wars and disasters by death toll). Prisoners taken by both sides were not released until up
to 10 years after the conflict was over.
Declassified US intelligence available[71] explores both the domestic and foreign
implications of Iran's apparent (in 1982) victory over Iraq in their then two-year old war.
Iran especially had the opportunity to cut off Iraq from the Persian Gulf at the Al-Faw
Peninsula and win the war in the late stages of the conflict.
[edit] Final ruling
On 9 December 1991, the UN Secretary-General reported the following to the UN
Security Council:
"That Iraq's explanations do not appear sufficient or acceptable to the international community is
a fact. Accordingly, the outstanding event under the violations referred to is the attack of 22
September 1980, against Iran, which cannot be justified under the charter of the United Nations,
any recognized rules and principles of international law or any principles of international morality
and entails the responsibility for conflict."
"Even if before the outbreak of the conflict there had been some encroachment by Iran on Iraqi
territory, such encroachment did not justify Iraq's aggression against Iran—which was followed
by Iraq's continuous occupation of Iranian territory during the conflict—in violation of the
prohibition of the use of force, which is regarded as one of the rules of jus cogens."
"On one occasion I had to note with deep regret the experts' conclusion that "chemical weapons
had been used against Iranian civilians in an area adjacent to an urban centre lacking any
protection against that kind of attack" (s/20134, annex). The Council expressed its dismay on the
matter and its condemnation in resolution 620 (1988), adopted on 26 August 1988."[72]

[edit] References
1. ^ http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html
2. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
3. ^ Speech made by Saddam Hussein. Baghdad, Voice of the Masses in Arabic, 1200 GMT
02 April 1980. FBIS-MEA-80-066. 03 April 1980, E2-3. E3
4. ^ Islam and Revolution : Writing and Declarations of Imam Khomeini. Berkeley: Mizan
Press, (1981), p.122
5. ^ Mackey, Sandra, The Iranians : Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation, New York :
Dutton, c1996 p.317
6. ^ Radio broadcast April 8, 1980, in Mackey, Iranians, (1996), p.317
7. ^ See:
○ R.K. Ramazani, "Who started the Iran-Iraq war?"
○ The Virginia Journal of International Law 33, Fall 1992, pp. 69–89
Link: http://www.student.virginia.edu/~vjil
8. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
9. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
10. ^ National Security Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82
11. ^ See: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
12. ^ See statement by former NSC official Howard Teicher, dated 1/31/95, to the US
District Court, Southern District of Florida:
○ UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. Case No. 93-241-CR-
HIGHSMITH, CARLOS CARDOEN, FRANCO SAFTA, JORGE BURR,
INDUSTRIAS CARDOEN LIMITADA, DECLARATION OF a/k/a INCAR,
HOWARD TEICHER, SWISSCO MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. EDWARD
A. JOHNSON, RONALD W. GRIFFIN, and TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC.,
d/b/a, TELEDYNE WAH CHANG ALBANY. 1/31/95. A link about the trial:
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1291
13. ^ Ibid.
14. ^ See: http://www.navybook.com/nohigherhonor/pic-stark.shtml
15. ^ See: http://www.navybook.com/nohigherhonor/pic-nimblearcher.shtml
16. ^ See: http://www.navybook.com/nohigherhonor/pic-prayingmantis.shtml
17. ^ Which appears later to be clearly a lie. Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation -
The Conquest of the Middle East; (October 2005) London.
18. ^ See: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/ir655-nightline-19920701.html
19. ^ See: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/ir655-nightline-19920701.html
20. ^ Ibid.
21. ^ http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761580640_2/Iran-Iraq_War.html
22. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
23. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-
Israel/Iran_Contra_Affair.html
24. ^ Links:
○ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/intro.htm
○ http://www.consortiumnews.com/2005/russiantext.html
25. ^ The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: http://www.washington-
report.org/backissues/1186/8611002.html
26. ^ Time Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/europe/timetrails/iran/ir861208.html
27. ^ Richard Johns, "Arms Embargo Which Cannot Withstand The Profit Motive," Financial
Times (London), 13 November 1987
28. ^ See: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/airforce.htm
29. ^ Wright, Sacred Rage, 2001, p.37
30. ^ Iran's Suicide Brigades Terrorism Resurgent by Ali Alfoneh Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2007
31. ^ BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3324053.stm
32. ^ Deutsche Welle report: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,716376,00.html
33. ^ See: SIPRI
34. ^ Phythian, p. 35. Phythian cites Murray Waas and Craig Unger, "In the Loop: Bush's
Secret Mission," New Yorker, p. 70.
35. ^ Phythian, p. 35. p. 36 Phythian cites Alan Friedman, Spider's Web: Bush, Saddam,
Thatcher and the Decade of Deceit, (London: Faber, 1993), pp. 81-84.
36. ^ See:
○ http://www.iraqwatch.org/suppliers/LicenseMD.html
○ http://www.iraqwatch.org/bulletins/vol2iss1jan03.htm
37. ^ See: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/airforce.htm
38. ^ Link: The Independent, Wednesday, 18 December, 2002:
http://foi.missouri.edu/terrorbkgd/uscorpsiniraq.html
39. ^ See What Iraq Admitted About its Chemical Weapons Program:
http://www.iraqwatch.org/suppliers/nyt-041303.gif
40. ^ Joyce Battle. Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-
1983. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82. The National Security
Archive. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
41. ^ National Security Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82
42. ^ How America armed Iraq. Sunday Herald (2004-06-13). Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
43. ^ Bob Woodward, "CIA Aiding Iraq in Gulf War; Target Data From U.S. Satellites
Supplied for Nearly Two Years," Washington Post, 15 December 1986.
44. ^ Link: The Independent, Wednesday, 18 December, 2002:
http://foi.missouri.edu/terrorbkgd/uscorpsiniraq.html
45. ^ Phythian, p. 38. Phythian cites former NSC official Howard Teicher and Radley Gayle,
Twin Pillars to Desert Storm: America's Flawed Vision in the Middle East from Nixon to
Bush, (New York: William Morrow, 1993), p. 275.
46. ^ Central Intelligence Agency report:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/chap5.html
47. ^ Link: http://www.iraqwatch.org/suppliers/nyt-041303.gif
48. ^ Link: http://www.gulfwarvets.com/arison/banking.htm
49. ^ See:
○ One list: http://cns.miis.edu/research/wmdme/flow/iraq/seed.htm
○ Another list:
http://groups.msn.com/exposureofthetruth/biologicalssoldtoiraq.msnw
50. ^ Link: http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
51. ^ Saint Petersburg Times report:
http://www.sptimes.com/2003/03/16/Perspective/How_Iraq_built_its_we.shtml
52. ^ Iraq debt: non-Paris Club creditors:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-
report/ch2_anxd_img06.jpg
53. ^ Federation of American Scientists report:
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1992/h920519l.htm
54. ^ Report by Colombia Journalism Review: http://www.cjr.org/archives.asp?
url=/93/2/iraqgate.asp
55. ^ The Economist: 19-25 September 1987
56. ^ a b Center for Documents of The Imposed War, Tehran. (‫)مرکز مطالعات و تحقیقات جنگ‬
57. ^ Link to article by the Star-Ledger:
http://www.nj.com/specialprojects/index.ssf?/specialprojects/mideaststories/me1209.html
58. ^ [51] S/17911 and Add. 1, 21 March 1986. Note that this is a "decision" and not a
resolution.
59. ^ Colonel Walter Lang, former senior US Defense Intelligence officer, New York Times,
Aug. 18, 2002.
60. ^ Galbraith and van Hollen, p. 30
61. ^ Jentleson, p. 78.
62. ^ Robert Pear, "U.S. Says It Monitored Iraqi Messages on Gas," New York Times, 15
September 1988.
63. ^ Lawrence Potter, Gary Sick. Iran, Iraq, and the legacies of war. 2004, MacMillan.
ISBN 1-4039-6450-5 p.153
64. ^ Lawrence Potter, Gary Sick. Iran, Iraq, and the legacies of war. 2004, MacMillan.
ISBN 1-4039-6450-5 p.156
65. ^ Joseph Tragert. Understanding Iran. 2003, ISBN 1-59257-141-7 p.190
66. ^ Saddam admits Iran gas attacks
67. ^ Saddam says responsible for any Iran gas attacks
68. ^ See links:
○ A report on Iranian victims of Iraqi blister agents, Medical Management of
Chemical Casualties. Link: http://www.sc-
ems.com/ems/NuclearBiologicalChemical/MedicalAspectsofNBC/chapters/chapt
er_7.htm
○ Report by The New Jersey Star-Ledger, Link:
http://www.nj.com/specialprojects/index.ssf?/specialprojects/mideaststories/me1
209.html
○ Report by The South Africa Star, Link: http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?
fArticleId=39470
○ Report by The NY Times, Link:
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0213-05.htm
○ Report by MSNBC, Link: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068535/site/newsweek
○ Report: Iranian WMD Veterans sue Germany, Link: http://www.netiran.com/?
fn=artd(1585)
○ Report: Vets suing the U.S., Link:
http://www.payvand.com/news/00/nov/1108.html
○ NPR audio report on Iranian WMD veterans, Link:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1742878
○ More medical reports:
http://www.chronicillnet.org/PGWS/tuite/IRMED/IRANTOC.htm
69. ^ Rajaee, Farhang. The Iran-Iraq war: the politics of aggression. Gainesville : University
Press of Florida, 1993. p. 206
70. ^ Rajaee, Farhang. The Iran-Iraq war: the politics of aggression. Gainesville : University
Press of Florida, 1993. p. 1
71. ^ SNIE 34/36.2-82 link: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB167
72. ^ See items 6, 7, and 8 of the UN Secretary General's report to the UN Security Council
on Dec 9, 1991:[1][2][3]
○ Secondary link source: p1 p2 p3
73. ^ See: http://www.casi.org.uk/info/usdocs/usiraq80s90s.html
74. ^ See: http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/1992/h920325wp.htm
75. ^ See:
○ University of Missouri School of Journalism database
○ University of Sussex report
○ A Global Policy Forum Report
○ Text of the U.S. Senate Riegle Report
○ NSA Archives
○ Sydney Morning Herald report
○ Litigation of involved corporations
○ Consortium News article
○ Friedman Alan, Spider's Web: The Secret History of how the White House
Illegally Armed Iraq. New York, Bantam Books, 1993.
○ Jentleson Bruce, With friends like these: Reagan, Bush, and Saddam, 1982-1990.
New York, W. W. Norton, 1994.
○ Phythian Mark, Arming Iraq: How the U.S. and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's
War Machine. Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1997.
○ Dennis Bernstein, Arming Iraq: Made in America, San Francisco Bay Guardian,
Feb 25, 1998. Link to copy:
http://www.geocities.com/iraqinfo/gulfwar/arms/madeinamerica.html

[edit] See also


• History of Iraq
• Military of Iraq
• Saddam's trial and Iran-Iraq War
• History of Iran
• Military of Iran
• Military history of Iran
• Battle of al-Qādisiyyah
• Frans Van Anraat
• Iran-Israel relations
• US-Iran relations
• Iran Ajr, the minelaying ship captured by the U.S.
• Iran-Contra Affair
• Hands of Victory
• Three Whom God Should Not Have Created: Persians, Jews, and Flies
• Algiers Agreement (1975)
• Morteza Avini, prominent photographer of the Iran-Iraq war
[edit] External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Iran-Iraq War

Wikisource has several original texts related to:


Iran-Iraq War
• Documentary about the war
• List of US companies and countries that sold chemical weapons to Iraq
• More indepth reading, includes many links
• Video footage from the war
• Iraqi nerve agents
• Paul Reynolds. How Saddam could embarrass the West, BBC, December 16,
2003. (regarding foreign powers which armed Iraq)
• Global map of countries who took sides in the Iran-Iraq war
• Kendal Nezan. When our 'friend' Saddam was gassing people, Le Monde
Diplomatique, March 1998.
• Robert Fisk. Poison gas from Germany, The Independent, December 30, 2000.
• Robert Fisk A dictator created then destroyed by America, The Independent,
December 30, 2006.
• Lev Lafayette. Who armed Saddam?, World History Archives, July 26, 2002.
• Norm Dixon. How the U.S. armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons, Green Left
Weekly, August 28, 2002.
• Neil Mackay, F. Arbuthnot. How did Saddam get his Chemical Weapons?,
Sunday Herald, September 8, 2002.
• U.S. helped Saddam acquire Biological Weapons, Congressional Record,
September 20, 2002.
• Eric Margolis. British helped Saddam develop biological weapons, The American
Conservative, October 7, 2002.
• Robert Fisk. America wants us to forget about the sources of Saddam's WMD,
The Independent, October 8, 2002.
• Robert Fisk. Did Saddam's army test poison gas on missing 5000?, The
Independent, December 13, 2002.
• Elaine Sciolino. Iraq WMD condemned, but West once looked the other way,
New York Times, February 13, 2003.
• Paul Bond. British built Chemical Weapons plant in Iraq, World Socialist Web
Site, March 13, 2003.
• Tom Drury. How Iraq built its weapons programs: with help from the West, St.
Petersburg Times, March 16, 2003.
• Iraqi scientist reports on German, other help for Iraq Chemical Weapons program,
Al-Zaman, December 1, 2003.
• Elaine Sciolino. Saddam's gas victims blame the West, New York Times, February
14, 2003.
• Eddie Davers. Australia's support for Saddam in the 1980s, Overland, Autumn
2003.
• Alan Maass. When the U.S. supported Saddam: The crimes of a U.S. ally,
Socialist Worker, January 2, 2004.
• Joseph Kay, A. Lefebvre. The diplomacy of imperialism: Washington-Saddam
connection, World Socialist Web Site, March 19, 2004.
• Alex Lefebvre. The diplomacy of imperialism: Reagan administration deepens
ties with Saddam, World Socialist Web Site, March 24, 2004.
• Alex Lefebvre. The diplomacy of imperialism: U.S. financial assistance for
Saddam in the 1980s, World Socialist Web Site, March 26, 2004.
• Joseph Kay. The diplomacy of imperialism: The end of the Iran-Iraq war, World
Socialist Web Site, March 29, 2004.
• Joseph Kay, A. Lefebvre. The diplomacy of imperialism: American policy after
the Iran-Iraq war, World Socialist Web Site, April 2, 2004.
• Robert Fisk. When I reported Saddam's use of mustard gas, British government
told me to stop criticizing our ally, Saddam, The Independent, April 10, 2004.
• Norm Dixon. How Reagan armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons,
CounterPunch, June 17, 2004.
• Jacob Hornberger. Reagan’s WMD connection to Saddam, Future of Freedom
Foundation, June 18, 2004.
• Aaron Glantz. The West should go on trial with Saddam, Inter Press Service, June
18, 2004.
• 100,000 Iranians are victims of chemical weapons, supplied by the West, IRNA,
June 30, 2004.
• Eric Margolis. Put Saddam's backers on trial, Foreign Correspondent, December
20, 2004.
• Dutchman charged for selling chemicals to Saddam, BBC, March 18, 2005.
• Iranian survivors of nerve gas attack testify in Chemical Frans' trial, IRNA,
December 1, 2005.
• Dutchman know the chemicals were for nerve agents, Agence France-Presse,
December 3, 2005.
• Trial Watch: Frans Van Anraat
• Chemical Frans: Saddam's Dutch link, BBC, December 23, 2005.
• Jeff Moore. Saddam: Made in the USA, Bainbridge Neighbors for Peace.
• Shaking hands with Saddam: U.S. supports for Iraq in the 1980s, U.S. National
Security Archive.
• A report on Iranian victims of Iraqi blister agents, Medical Management of
Chemical Casualties
• Martsching, Brad. "Iran-Iraq War and Waterway Claims," American University
Inventory of Conflict & Environment, May 1998.
• Center for Strategic and International Studies: The Lessons of Modern War:
Volume Two - The Iran-Iraq Conflict, with Abraham R. Wagner, Westview,
Boulder, 1990.
• Center for Strategic and International Studies: Weapons of Mass Destruction in
Iran and Iraq , March 27, 2000.
• GlobalSecurity.org: Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)
• United States Marine Corps: FMFRP 3-203 - Lessons Learned: Iran-Iraq War, 10
December 1990.
• A timeline of U.S. support for Saddām against Iran[73]
• The statement of Henry B. Gonzalez, Chairman, House Committee on Banking,
Finance, and Urban Affairs on Iraq-gate[74]
• Center for Nonproliferation Studies: Foreign Suppliers to Iraq's Biological
Weapons Program
• And more sources:[75]
[edit] Iranian sources
• John King. Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Direct Involvement, Iran
Chamber Society, March 2003
• Iran Veterans Affairs Organization
• Memoirs, photos, and essays about the war, Iranian.com.
• Isfahan's War Veterans Foundation.
○ Pictures from the foundation's war memorial museum: [12]
• Islamic Republic News Agency, Sacred Defense Epic
• sajed.ir The Official site of Holy Defiance - Iraq-Iran War 1980-88
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq_War"
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[This is a footnoted version of the article "The United States and the Gulf War,"
which appeared in _Z_ magazine, Feb. 1990. A revised version appears in my
_Imperial Alibis_ (Boston: South End Press, 1993).]

THE UNITED STATES AND THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR


STEPHEN R. SHALOM

The war between Iran and Iraq was one of the great human tragedies of recent
Middle Eastern history. Perhaps as many as a million people died, many more
were wounded, and millions were made refugees. The resources wasted on the
war exceeded what the entire Third World spent on public health in a decade.<1>
The war began on September 22, 1980, when Iraqi troops launched a full-scale
invasion of Iran. Prior to this date there had been subversion by each country
inside the other and also major border clashes. Iraq hoped for a lightning victory
against an internationally isolated neighbor in the throes of revolutionary
upheaval. But despite Iraq's initial successes, the Iranians rallied and, using their
much larger population, were able by mid-1982 to push the invaders out. In June
1982, the Iranians went over to the offensive, but Iraq, with a significant
advantage in heavy weaponry, was able to prevent a decisive Iranian
breakthrough. The guns finally fell silent on August 20, 1988.
Primary responsibility for the eight long years of bloodletting must rest with the
governments of the two countries -- the ruthless military regime of Saddam
Hussein in Iraq and the ruthless clerical regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.
Khomeini was said by some to have a "martyr complex," though, as U.S.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance wryly observed, people with martyr complexes
rarely live to be as old as Khomeini. Whatever his complexes, Khomeini had no
qualms about sending his followers, including young boys, off to their deaths for
his greater glory. This callous disregard for human life was no less characteristic
of Saddam Hussein. And, for that matter, it was also no less characteristic of
much of the world community, which not only couldn't be bothered by a few
hundred thousand Third World corpses, but tried to profit from the conflict.
France became the major source of Iraq's high-tech weaponry, in no small part to
protect its financial stake in that country.<2> The Soviet Union was Iraq's largest
weapon's supplier, while jockeying for influence in both capitals. Israel provided
arms to Iran, hoping to bleed the combatants by prolonging the war. And at least
ten nations sold arms to both of the warring sides.<3>
The list of countries engaging in despicable behavior, however, would be
incomplete without the United States. The U.S. objective was not profits from the
arms trade, but the much more significant aim of controlling to the greatest extent
possible the region's oil resources. Before turning to U.S. policy during the Iran-
Iraq war, it will be useful to recall some of the history of the U.S. and oil.

SOME CRUDE HISTORY


Much of the world's proven oil reserves are located in the limited area of the
Persian Gulf (called by Arab nations the "Arabian Gulf," and by those who try to
keep their gazetteers politically neutral, simply "the Gulf").
Less than four percent of U.S. oil consumption comes from the Gulf, but,
according to the official argument, Western Europe and Japan are extremely
dependent on Gulf oil and hence if the region fell into the hands of a hostile
power, U.S. allies could be brought to their knees, and U.S. security would be
fundamentally and irreparably compromised. If one examines the history of U.S.
policy in the Gulf, however, protecting the oil interests of Western Europe and
Japan never seemed to be one of Washington's foremost goals.
As far back as the 1920s, the State Department sought to force Great Britain to
give U.S. companies a share of the lucrative Middle Eastern oil concessions. The
U.S. Ambassador in London -- who happened to be Andrew Mellon, the head of
the Gulf Oil Corporation (named for the Mexican, not the Persian/Arabian, Gulf) --
was instructed to press the British to give Gulf Oil a stake in the Middle East.<4>
At the end of World War II, when the immense petroleum deposits in Saudi
Arabia became known, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal told Secretary of
State Byrnes, "I don't care which American company or companies develop the
Arabian reserves, but I think most emphatically that it should be
_American_."<5> And it wasn't the Russians that Forrestal was worried about.
The main competition was between the United States and Britain for control of
the area's oil.<6>
In 1928, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil had joined British and French oil
interests in signing the "Red Line Agreement," under which each pledged not to
develop Middle Eastern oil without the participation of the others. Nevertheless,
after World War II these two U.S. firms (together with Texaco and Standard Oil of
California) grabbed the Saudi concessions for themselves, freezing out the
British and French. When the latter sued on the grounds that the Red Line
Agreement had been violated, Mobil and Jersey told the court that the agreement
was null and void because it was monopolistic.<7>
In the early 1950s, oil was used as a political weapon for the first time -- _by_ the
United States and Britain and _against_ Iran. Iran had nationalized its British-
owned oil company which had refused to share its astronomical profits with the
host government. In response, Washington and London organized a boycott of
Iranian oil which brought Iran's economy to the brink of collapse. The CIA then
instigated a coup, entrenching the Shah in power and effectively un-nationalizing
the oil company, with U.S. firms getting 40 percent of the formerly 100 percent
British-owned company. This was, in the view of the _New York Times_, an
"object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid" when an oil-rich Third World
nation "goes berserk with fanatical nationalism."<8>
In 1956 the oil weapon was used again, this time by the United States against
Britain and France. After the latter two nations along with Israel invaded Egypt,
Washington made clear that U.S. oil would not be sent to Western Europe until
Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal schedule.<9> The U.S. was not
adverse to overthrowing Nasser -- "Had they done it quickly, we would have
accepted it," Eisenhower said later<10> -- but the clumsy Anglo-French military
operation threatened U.S. interests in the region.
In October 1969 the Shah of Iran asked the U.S. to purchase more Iranian oil as
a way to boost his revenues. But the Shah's request was rejected because, as an
assistant to then President Nixon explained, "a substantial portion of the profits
from these purchases would go to non-American companies if Iranian oil were
sought," while if Saudi oil were purchased, the U.S. share would be larger.<11>
By the end of the sixties the international oil market was far different from what it
had been two decades earlier. Oil supplies were tight, the number of oil firms had
grown, and the producing countries, joined together in the Organization of
Petroleum Exporting Countries, were seeking to improve their financial position.
Crucial talks on oil prices began in 1970 between U.S. companies and the
government of Libya. Significantly, Washington did not weigh in on the side of the
companies, and in fact, the companies themselves did not put up much
resistance to the price increases. For the oil companies, higher prices would be
beneficial, making profitable their growing investments in the developed nations
(for example, in Alaska and the North Sea).<12> Any higher prices could be
passed on to consumers -- and, indeed, in 1972-73 the companies raised their
prices to a greater extent than crude costs alone warranted.<13>
In 1972, the Nixon administration was advocating higher oil prices.<14>
According to a study by V. H. Oppenheim, based on interviews with U.S. officials,
"The weight of the evidence suggests that the principal consideration behind the
indulgent U.S. government attitude toward higher oil prices was the belief that
higher prices would produce economic benefits for the United States vis-a-vis its
industrial competitors, Western Europe and Japan, and the key Middle Eastern
states, Saudi Arabia and Iran."<15> And Henry Kissinger has confirmed that this
was U.S. Government thinking: "The rise in the price of energy would affect
primarily Europe and Japan and probably improve America's competitive
position."<16>
Amid growing warnings about a possible oil embargo, the industrialized Western
countries held meetings to decide their response. Showing its concern for its
allies, the United States proposed that resources be shared, but on the basis of
each country's sea-borne imports, rather than on the basis of total energy
requirements. Since the U.S. was much less dependent on imports than other
countries, this formula meant that in the event of an embargo U.S. energy
supplies would be cut far less than those of its "allies."<17>
After the October 1973 Middle East war broke out, but before the Arab embargo,
U.S. oil company officials wrote to Nixon, warning that the "whole position of the
United States in the Middle East is on the way to being seriously impaired, with
Japanese, European, and perhaps Russian interests largely supplanting United
States presence in the area, to the detriment of both our economy and our
security."<18> Note that the Russian threat was considered only a possibility, the
allied threat a certainty.
In late 1973 and on into 1974, the Arab oil producers cut their production and
imposed an embargo against the United States and the Netherlands for their pro-
Israeli position. The public has memories of long lines at the gas pump, rationing,
and a crisis atmosphere. In fact, however, in Kissinger's words, "the Arab
embargo was a symbolic gesture of limited practical impact."<19> The
international oil companies, which totally monopolized petroleum distribution and
marketing, pooled their oil, so the shortfall of Saudi supplies to the U.S. was
made up from other sources. Overall, the oil companies spread out the
production cutbacks so as to minimize suffering, and the country most supportive
of Israel -- the U.S. -- suffered among the least. From January 1974 to March, oil
consumption in the U.S. was only off by 5 percent, compared to 15 percent in
France and West Germany.<20>
Even these figures, however, overstate the hardship, because in fact, "_there
was at no time a real shortage of petroleum on the European market._
Consumption simply responded to the increase in prices....Between October,
1973, and April, 1974, the reserves of oil products in the countries of the
European Community never descended below the 80-day equivalent of
consumption; and in Italy the reserves in fact increased by 23 per cent."<21> In
Japan, there were about two million barrels of oil more than the government
admitted, as the bureaucracy, the oil industry, and industrial oil users sought to
exploit the crisis for their own advantage.<22>
In the aftermath of the embargo, U.S. allies tried to negotiate their own bilateral
petroleum purchase deals with the producing nations without going through the
major international oil companies. Washington opposed these efforts.<23> In
short, the well-being of U.S. allies has never been the key consideration for U.S.
policymakers.
Nor for that matter has the crucial concern been the well-being of the average
American. One former Defense Department official has estimated that it cost
U.S. taxpayers about $47 billion in 1985 alone for military expenditures related to
the Gulf;<24> former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman put the annual figure at
$40 billion.<25> What could be worth these staggering sums?
These expenditures have _not_ been necessary for the survival of the West. In
extremis, according to former CIA analyst Maj. Gen. Edward B. Atkeson, if all
Gulf oil were cut off, the elimination of recreational driving (which in the U.S.
accounts for 10% of total oil consumption) would reduce Western petroleum
needs to a level easily replaceable from non-Gulf sources. Even in wartime,
Atkeson concluded, Gulf oil is not essential to Western needs.<26> And in a
protracted global conflict, one can be sure that oil fields would not last very long
in the face of missile attacks.
The billions of dollars, however, are a good investment for the oil companies,
given that they are not the ones who pay the tab. To be sure, the multinationals
no longer directly own the vast majority of Gulf crude production. But they have
special buy-back deals with the producers, whereby they purchase at bargain
prices oil from the fields they formerly owned. For example, according to former
Senator Frank Church, U.S. firms "have a 'sweetheart' arrangement with Saudi
Arabia, notwithstanding the nominal nationalization of their properties...."<27>
Radical regimes want to sell oil as much as conservative ones do, but a change
of government in any Gulf state might eliminate the privileged position of the oil
companies.
The internal security of regimes like Saudi Arabia depends heavily on outside,
particularly U.S., support. Many Saudis believe that in return their country has
been overproducing oil to please the United States, to the detriment of their
nation's long-term interests. Selling oil beyond the point at which the proceeds
can be productively invested is economically irrational, particularly given the fact
that oil in the ground appreciates in value.<28> More democratic or nationalistic
governments in the Gulf may not be so willing to sacrifice their own interests. And
such governments will also be less willing to accommodate a U.S. military
presence or to serve as U.S. proxies for maintaining the regional status quo.
And thus for more than forty years, through many changed circumstances, there
has been one constant of U.S. policy in the Gulf: support for the most
conservative available local forces in order to keep radical and popular
movements from coming to power, no matter what the human cost, no matter
how great the necessary manipulation or intervention. The U.S. has not been
invariably successful in achieving its objective: in 1979, it lost one of its major
props with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, who had policed the Gulf on
Washington's behalf. But the basic pattern of U.S. policy has not changed, as is
well illustrated by its policy toward the war between Iran and Iraq.

THE GULF WAR


The United States did not have diplomatic relations with either belligerent in 1980
and announced its neutrality in the conflict. One typically humanitarian State
Department official explained in 1983: "we don't give a damn as long as the Iran-
Iraq carnage does not affect our allies in the region or alter the balance of
power."<29> In fact, however, the United States was not indifferent to the war,
but saw a number of positive opportunities opened up by its prolongation.
The need for arms and money would make Baghdad more dependent on the
conservative Gulf states and Egypt, thereby moderating Iraq's policies and
helping to repair ties between Cairo and the other Arab states. The war would
make Iran -- whose weapons had all been U.S.-supplied in the past -- desperate
to obtain U.S. equipment and spare parts. The exigencies of war might make
both nations more willing to restore their relations with Washington. Alternatively,
the dislocations of war might give the U.S. greater ability to carry out covert
operations in Iran or Iraq. And turmoil in the Gulf might make other states in the
area more susceptible to U.S. pressure for military cooperation.
When the war first broke out, the Soviet Union turned back its arms ships en
route to Iraq, and for the next year and a half, while Iraq was on the offensive,
Moscow did not provide weapons to Baghdad.<30> In March 1981, the Iraqi
Communist Party, repressed by Saddam Hussein, beamed broadcasts from the
Soviet Union calling for an end to the war and the withdrawal of Iraqi troops.<31>
That same month U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig told the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee that he saw the possibility of improved ties with
Baghdad and approvingly noted that Iraq was concerned by "the behavior of
Soviet imperialism in the Middle Eastern area." The U.S. then approved the sale
to Iraq of five Boeing jetliners, and sent a deputy assistant secretary of state to
Baghdad for talks.<32> The U.S. removed Iraq from its notoriously selective list
of nations supporting international terrorism<33> (despite the fact that terrorist
Abu Nidal was based in the country)<34> and Washington extended a $400
million credit guarantee for U.S. exports to Iraq.<35> In November 1984, the U.S.
and Iraq restored diplomatic relations, which had been ruptured in 1967.<36>

THE SOVIET THREAT AND THE RAPID DEPLOYMENT FORCE


At the same time that the war was furthering the U.S. position in Iraq, it was also
extending U.S. military relations with the other Arab Gulf states.
Washington typically justified its desire for military ties in the Gulf and the
development of forces for use there by warning of the Soviet threat. In January
1980, President Carter proclaimed the "Carter Doctrine," declaring that the U.S.
was willing to use military force if necessary to prevent "an outside power" from
conquering the Gulf. As Michael Klare has noted, however, the real U.S. concern
was revealed five days later when Secretary of Defense Harold Brown released
his military posture statement. Brown indicated that the greatest threat was not
Soviet expansionism but uncontrolled turbulence in the third world. "In a world of
disputes and violence, we cannot afford to go abroad unarmed," he warned. "The
particular manner in which our economy has expanded means that we have
come to depend to no small degree on imports, exports and the earnings from
overseas investments for our material well-being." Specifically, Brown identified
the "protection of the oil flow from the Middle East" as "clearly part of our vital
interest," in defense of which "we'll take any action that's appropriate, including
the use of military force."<37>
Brown did not explicitly state that the United States would intervene militarily in
response to internal threats, like revolution, but after he left office he explained
what could be said openly and what could not: "One sensitive issue is whether
the United States should plan to protect the oil fields against internal or regional
threats. Any explicit commitment of this sort is more likely to upset and anger the
oil suppliers than to reassure them."<38>
Gulf touchiness on explicit U.S. commitments to "defend" the oil fields had two
sources. First, the sheikdoms do not like to be seen as dependent on U.S. force
against their own populations. And, second, the Gulf states were made nervous
by the frequent talk in the United States about taking over the oil fields in the
event of another embargo.<39> There was even a Congressional study of the
feasibility of seizing the oil fields; and though the study concluded that such an
operation would be unlikely to succeed militarily, the mere fact that this was
considered a fit subject for analysis did not instill confidence in Gulf capitals.<40>
Given this sensitivity, Brown advised that the United States should prepare plans
and capabilities for intervention -- against coups and other threats -- but should
avoid an explicitly declared policy to this effect.<41>
The Carter administration began the formation of a Rapid Deployment Force
(RDF) to project U.S. military power into the Gulf region. Originally proposed in
1977, the planning did not make much progress until after the Soviet invasion of
Afghanistan. The fundamental purpose of the RDF was always, in the words of
Carter's National Security Adviser, "helping a friendly government under a
subversive attack";<42> nevertheless, to justify the RDF the Soviet threat had to
be magnified. Accordingly, Carter spoke in apocalyptic terms about the strategic
significance of the invasion of Afghanistan, even though U.S. military experts
were aware that a "thrust through Afghanistan would be of marginal advantage to
any Soviet movement through Iran or the Gulf."<43>
In 1980, the Army conducted a gaming exercise called "Gallant Knight" which
assumed an all-out Soviet invasion of Iran. The Army concluded that they would
need 325,000 troops to hold back the Soviet colossus. According to a former
military affairs aide to Senator Sam Nunn, the Army deliberately chose this
scenario to guarantee that immense forces would be required.<44> And though
an RDF of this size might seem unnecessarily large for combating Third World
troublemakers, the Pentagon noted that in the mid-1980s Third World armies
were no longer "barbarians with knives." The U.S. could no longer expect to
"stabilize an area just by showing the flag."<45>
When Reagan became president, he added what became known as the "Reagan
Codicil" to the "Carter Doctrine," declaring at a press conference that "we will not
permit" Saudi Arabia "to be an Iran."<46> The codicil did not represent new
policy, but merely made explicit what had always been policy.
Under Reagan, the CIA secretly concluded that the possibility of a Soviet
invasion of Iran was "remote"<47> -- not surprisingly, given that the Red Army
was hardly having an easy time with the Afghanis, who had half the population
and were much less well equipped.<48> The remoteness of the Soviet threat,
however, did not slow down the build up of the RDF.
In 1982 the Pentagon's secret _Defense Guidance_ document stated that the
Soviet Union might extend its forces into the Gulf area "by means other than
outright invasion." It continued: "Whatever the circumstances, we should be
prepared to introduce American forces directly into the region should it appear
that the security of access to Persian Gulf oil is threatened...."<49> In the
Senate, many argued that there was too much emphasis on countering the
USSR, whereas the focus should be on "deterring and, if necessary, fighting
regional wars or leftist or nationalist insurgencies that threatened U.S. and allied
access to the region's oil supplies."<50>
The official line was that the RDF would be deployed when a government invited
it in to repel a Soviet attack. But, as a Library of Congress study noted, this view
was belied by "guidance documents which say that the forces must be capable of
coercive entry without waiting for an invitation."<51> Senators Tower and Cohen
stated that they favored greater emphasis on marines who could shoot their way
ashore against military opposition. The administration pointed out that RDF plans
all along had included a "forcible entry" option, relying on Marines. "We must be
able to open our own doors," the Marine Commandant testified in March
1982.<52> In short, these folks are not just "barbarians with knives."
To support the RDF, the Pentagon needed a network of bases, and not just in
the Middle East, but worldwide. "To all intents and purposes," a former senior
Defense Department official observed, "'Gulf waters' now extend from the Straits
of Malacca to the South Atlantic."<53> Nevertheless, bases nearer the Gulf had
a special importance, and Pentagon planners urged "as substantial a land
presence in the <54> as can be managed."<55> The Gulf states were reluctant
to have too overt a relationship with the United States, but the Iran-Iraq war
served to overcome some of this reluctance. In 1985, as Iranian advances
seemed ominous, the _New York Times_ reported that Oman "has become a
base for Western intelligence operations, military maneuvers and logistical
preparations for any defense of the oil-producing Persian Gulf."<56> A few
months later, a secret U.S. report was leaked indicating that Saudi Arabia had
agreed to allow the United States to use bases in its territory in a crisis.<57> The
doors to U.S. influence were opening wider.

TWO TRACKS TO TEHERAN


U.S. policy with respect to Iran was more complicated, because it followed two
tracks at once. On the one hand, U.S. officials saw "a great potential" for a covert
program to undermine the government in Teheran;<58> on the other hand,
Washington tried to build ties to that same government.
U.S. actions in pursuit of the first track showed quite clearly that Washington's
opposition to the Khomeini regime had nothing to do with its lack of democracy,
for the groups that the U.S. backed against Khomeini were often supporters of
the previous dictator, the Shah.
Starting in 1982 the CIA provided $100,000 a month to a group in Paris called
the Front for the Liberation of Iran, headed by Ali Amini, who had presided over
the reversion of Iranian oil to foreign control after the CIA-backed coup in
1953.<59> The U.S. also provided support to two Iranian paramilitary groups
based in Turkey, one of them headed by General Bahram Aryana, the Shah's
army chief, who had close ties to Shahpur Bakhtiar, the Shah's last prime
minister.<60>
In 1980, under the Carter administration, the United States began clandestine
radio broadcasts into Iran from Egypt, at a cost of some $20-30,000 per month.
The broadcasts called for Khomeini's overthrow and urged support for
Bakhtiar.<61> Other broadcasts contained anti-Soviet material.<62> In 1986, the
CIA pirated Iran's national television network frequency to transmit an eleven
minute address by the Shah's son over Iranian TV. "I will return," Reza Pahlavi
vowed.<63>
Simultaneous with these activities, the U.S. pursued its second track: trying to
establish ties with the Iranian mullahs based on the interest they shared with
Washington in combating the left. The U.S. purpose, Reagan announced in
November 1986, after the Iran-Contra scandal blew open, was "to find an avenue
to get Iran back where it once was and that is in the family of democratic nations"
-- a good trick, as Mansour Farhang has commented, since pre-1979 Iran was
hardly democratic.<64>
According to the Tower Commission, "In 1983, the United States helped bring to
the attention of Teheran the threat inherent in the extensive infiltration of the
government by the communist Tudeh Party and Soviet or pro-Soviet cadres in
the country. Using this information, the Khomeini government took measures,
including mass executions, that virtually eliminated the pro-Soviet infrastructure
in Iran."<65> These massacres elicited the expected level of concern from U.S.
officials. "The leftists there seem to be getting their heads cut off," remarked an
undersecretary of state from the Carter administration.<66> The U.S. also
passed to the Iranians "real and deceptive intelligence" about the Soviet threat
on Iran's borders.<67>
Reagan administration officials claimed that their efforts in Iran were designed to
build ties to moderates. In fact, however, they were aware that they were dealing
with the clerical fanatics. Oliver North told Robert McFarlane and John
Poindexter in December 1985 that the anti-tank weapons the U.S. was secretly
providing to Iran would probably go to the Revolutionary Guards, the shock
troops of the mullahs.<68> In August 1986, the special assistant to the Israeli
prime minister briefed George "Out-of-the-Loop" Bush, telling him, "we are
dealing with the most radical elements....This is good because we've learned that
they can deliver and the moderates can't."<69>
The idea of building a strategic connection to Iran had wide support in the U.S.
government, though the policy of using arms transfers to achieve it did not. The
Tower Commission, for example, stated that while it disagrees with the arms
transfers, "a strategic opening to Iran may have been in the national
interest."<70> And it should be made clear that a strategic opening does not
simply mean beginning a dialogue with or acting civilly toward an former
adversary; rather, it was part of a policy to prevent any comparable access for
the Soviet Union. Thus, a CIA position paper in 1985 noted that whichever
superpower got to Iran first would be "in a strong position to work towards the
exclusion of the other."<71> Another CIA official wanted to achieve "a securing of
Iran" so that it would again "have a relationship with the U.S." and be "denied to
the Soviets."<72> And McFarlane cabled to Poindexter after a secret meeting in
Teheran in May 1986: "we are on the way to something that can become a truly
strategic gain for us at the expense of the Soviets."<73>

ARMS TO THE AYATOLLAH


The main tool by which U.S. policy makers sought to secure their position in Iran
in 1985 and 1986 was secretly providing arms and intelligence information. As a
proclaimed neutral in the Iran-Iraq war, the United States was not supposed to
supply weapons to either side. Nevertheless, U.S. allies kept the combatants
well-stocked.<74> Israel transferred vast quantities of U.S.-origin weapons to
Iran;<75> to what extent U.S. permission for these shipments was obtained (as
required by U.S. law) is not known, but surely the U.S. had enough leverage to
prevent the transfers if it had wanted to.
In 1984, because of Iranian battlefield victories and the growing U.S.-Iraqi ties,
Washington launched "Operation Staunch," an effort to dry up Iran's sources of
arms by pressuring U.S. allies to stop supplying Teheran.<76> U.S. secret arms
sales to Iran in 1985 and 1986 thus not only violated U.S. neutrality, but undercut
as well what the U.S. was trying to get everyone else to do. The cynical would
note that Operation Staunch made the U.S. arms transfers to Iran that much
more valuable.
When this arms dealing became known, the Reagan administration was faced
with a major scandal on several counts. Proceeds from the arms sales had been
diverted to the Nicaraguan contras in violation of the Boland Amendment. And
though the administration's professed uncompromising stand on terrorism was
always hypocritical, given its sponsorship of terrorism in Nicaragua and
elsewhere, being caught trading "arms-for-hostages" was particularly
embarrassing.
Now, in fact, this would not have been the first time the U.S. offered Teheran
arms for hostages. In October 1980 the Carter administration had declared that
spare parts for U.S. military equipment could be sold to Iran if the U.S. embassy
hostages were released promptly.<77> There was even talk among U.S. officials
about pre-positioning some spare parts in Germany, Pakistan, and Algeria so
that the Iranians could get the equipment as soon as possible.<78> Republicans
charged that Carter was trying to buy the hostages out in time for the election;
there is some evidence that the Republicans in the meantime were engaged in
an election maneuver of their own: negotiating with Iran to keep the hostages
until after the election to ensure a Reagan victory.<79>
In any event, political influence not hostages was the Reagan administration's
objective. Regardless of what was in the President's mind (as it were), the
National Security Council was clear that the political agenda was key.<80>
Whatever the arguments for purchasing the freedom of hostages, trading
weapons to obtain their release is another matter entirely, since one is
exchanging for the lives of some hostages the lives of those who will be fired on
by the weapons. And trading weapons for "a strategic opening" is more
reprehensible still, particularly so when the weapons are going to the country
whose army is on the offensive. Reagan claimed that the weapons were all
defensive in nature,<81> but this is nonsense. Anti-tank missiles in the hands of
an advancing army are offensive. And U.S. officials knew exactly what Iran
wanted the weapons for: for example, as the Tower Commission noted, North
and CIA officials discussed with their Iranian contacts "Iran's urgent need" for
"both intelligence and weapons to be used in offensive operations against
Iraq."<82>
The intelligence that the United States passed to the Iranians was a mixture of
factual and bogus information. The CIA claimed that the false information was
meant to discourage Iran's final offensive, by for example exaggerating Soviet
troop movements on the northern border.<83> But if the U.S. simply wanted to
discourage an Iranian attack, it could have done this more easily by telling Iran of
Washington's contingency plans to use U.S. air power in the event of an Iranian
breakthrough against Iraq.<84> The misinformation about the Soviet Union,
however, had the added advantage of inciting Iranian hostility to Moscow and to
the local communists.
U.S. intelligence did not deal only with the Soviet Union, but covered the Iraqi
front as well. CIA deputy director John McMahon claimed that he warned
Poindexter that such intelligence would give the Iranians "a definite edge," with
potentially "cataclysmic results," and that he was able to persuade North to
provide Iran with only a segment of the intelligence.<85> North, however,
apparently gave critical data to Iran just before its crucial victory in the Fao
Peninsula in February 1986.<86> It is unclear to what extent North was acting on
his own here, but it is significant that despite McMahon's warnings, neither
Poindexter nor CIA Director Casey reversed the plans to provide the Iranians
with the full intelligence information.<87>
At the same time that the U.S. was giving Teheran weapons that one CIA analyst
believed could affect the military balance<88> and passing on intelligence that
the Tower Commission deemed of "potentially major significance,"<89> it was
also providing Iraq with intelligence information, some misleading or
incomplete.<90> In 1986, the CIA established a direct Washington-to-Baghdad
link to provide the Iraqis with faster intelligence from U.S. satellites.<91>
Simultaneously, Casey was urging Iraqi officials to carry out more attacks on
Iran, especially on economic targets.<92> Asked what the logic was of aiding
both sides in a bloody war, a former official replied, "You had to have been
there."<93>
Washington's effort to enhance its position with both sides came apart at the end
of 1986 when one faction in the Iranian government leaked the story of the U.S.
arms dealing. Now the Reagan administration was in the unenviable position of
having alienated the Iranians and panicked all the Arabs who concluded that the
U.S. valued Iran's friendship over theirs. To salvage the U.S. position with at
least one side, Washington now had to tilt -- and tilt heavily -- toward Iraq.

THE AMERICAN ARMADA


The opportunity to demonstrate the tilt came soon. Kuwait had watched with
growing nervousness Iran's battlefield successes, perhaps made possible by
U.S. arms sales and intelligence information. Iran was now also attacking ships
calling at Kuwaiti ports, and to protect itself Kuwait decided to try to draw in the
United States. In September 1986 (before the scandal broke), it approached both
Washington and Moscow and asked if they would be interested in reflagging
some Kuwaiti vessels, that is, flying their own flags on Kuwaiti ships and then
protecting these new additions to their merchant marine. The initial U.S. reaction
was lackadaisical. But when the U.S. learned in March 1987 that the Soviet
Union offered to reflag eleven tankers, it promptly offered to reflag the same
eleven ships -- which would both keep Soviet influence out of the Gulf and give
the United States the opportunity to demonstrate its support for Iraq.<94>
The Kuwaitis accepted the U.S. offer, declining Moscow's, though chartering
three Soviet vessels as a way to provide some balance between the U.S. and the
USSR,<95> the Kuwaitis being less afraid of Soviet contamination than their
American saviors were. Undersecretary of Political Affairs Michael H. Armacost
explained in June 1987 that if the USSR were permitted a larger role in protecting
Gulf oil, the Gulf states would be under great pressure to make additional
facilities available to Moscow.<96> The U.S. view was that only one superpower
was allowed to have facilities in the region, and that was the United States. Thus,
when in December 1980 the Soviet Union proposed the neutralization of the Gulf,
with no alliances, no bases, no intervention in the region, and no obstacles to
free trade and the sea lanes,<97> Washington showed no interest. By August
1987, the U.S. had an aircraft carrier, a battleship, six cruisers, three destroyers,
seven frigates, and numerous supporting naval vessels in or near the Gulf,<98>
in what a Congressional study termed "the largest single naval armada deployed
since the height of the Vietnam war."<99>
The Reagan administration claimed that the reflagging was merely intended to
protect the flow of oil. It warned that "any significant disruption in gulf oil supply
would cause world oil prices for all to skyrocket," grimly recalling how events in
1973-74 and 1978-79 demonstrated that "a small disruption -- of less than 5% --
can trigger a sharp escalation in oil prices."<100>
In fact, however, oil -- and oil prices for that matter -- were never threatened.
There has been a worldwide oil glut since the early 1980s, with much underused
production capacity in non-Gulf nations. Despite the horrendous human costs of
the Iran-Iraq war, oil prices had actually fallen by 50 percent during the course of
the conflict.<101> By the end of 1987, two thirds of all the oil produced in the
Gulf was carried by pipeline. The Congressional study noted that even in the
unlikely event of an actual shutdown of the Gulf, the impact on oil supplies and
prices would be minimal.<102> In no sense then could the Strait of Hormuz be
viewed as the "jugular" of the Western economies.<103>
Fewer than two percent of the ships that did transit the Strait came under attack,
and even this figure is misleading because many of the attacks inflicted relatively
minor damage.<104> Only one Iranian attack in ten caused serious
damage.<105>
Significantly, Iran became more aggressive in attacking shipping _because_ of
the U.S. naval presence.<106> Between 1981 and April 1987, when the U.S.
reflagging was announced, Iran struck 90 ships; in the little over a year
thereafter, Iran struck 126 ships.<107> As the Congressional study noted,
"shipping in the Gulf now appears less safe than before the U.S. naval build-up
began."<108>
If the U.S. were concerned with free navigation, it might have given some
consideration to a Soviet proposal that the U.S. Navy and all national navies
withdraw from the Gulf, to be replaced by a United Nations force.<109> But
Washington wasn't interested. Indeed, some, like the _New York Times_, noted
that it was the United States that could close the Gulf -- to Iranian exports --
though the _Times_ added that "such action would of course be unthinkable
unless requested by the Arab states of the region."<110> So much for freedom of
navigation.
It was Iraq that started the tanker war in the Gulf proper in 1981, and that
continued these attacks into 1984 without a parallel Iranian response at sea. Two
months after Iraq stepped up the pace and scope of its attacks in March 1984,
Iran finally began responding.<111> Iraqi attacks, however, outnumbered those
by Iran until after the United States announced its reflagging.<112> The U.S.
Navy protected the reflagged vessels, and in April 1988 extended its protection to
any neutral vessels coming under Iranian attack.<113> In practice, this meant
that Iraq could strike at Iranian vessels with impunity, with the U.S. Navy
preventing retaliation by Teheran.
Washington justified its policy by noting that Iraq only attacked Iranian ships,
while Iran targeted the ships of neutrals: Kuwait, in particular. This was a dubious
legal argument on two counts. First, Kuwait was a neutral engaged in rather
unneutral behavior. Among other things, it opened its ports to deliveries of war
material that were then transported over land to Iraq.<114> Second, Iraq too hit
neutral ships, even Saudi Arabian ships -- when they called on Iran.<115> Iraq
declared certain Iranian waters a "war exclusion zone," but as an international
law expert has noted, Iraq's "method of enforcement has closely resembled
German methods" in World War II, and "under any analysis the Iraqi exclusion
zone cannot be justified." The "attacks on neutral merchant vessels by both sides
must be condemned as violations of international law."<116> There was thus no
legal justification for the U.S. to take Iraq's side in the tanker war.
Still less was there any sense in which the U.S. Navy could be referred to as a
"peacekeeping" force. Gary Sick, a former National Security Council officer in
charge of Iran, asserted that American naval units "have been deployed
aggressively and provocatively in the hottest parts of the Persian Gulf." "Our
aggressive patrolling strategy," he observed, "tends to start fights, not to end
them. We behave at times as if our objective was to goad Iran into a war with
us."<117> According to a Congressional report, officials in every Gulf country
were critical of "the highly provocative way in which U.S. forces are being
deployed."<118> When in April 1988 the U.S. turned a mining attack on a U.S.
ship into the biggest U.S. Navy sea battle since World War II,<119> _Al Ittihad_,
a newspaper often reflective of government thinking in the United Arab Emirates,
criticized the U.S. attacks, noting that they added "fuel to the gulf tension."<120>
The aggressive U.S. posture was in marked contrast to the posture of the Soviet
Union. The Soviet Union too was escorting ships in the Gulf, particularly vessels
carrying weapons to Kuwait for Iraq. On May 6, 1987, Iranian gunboats attacked
a Soviet merchant vessel,<121> and two weeks later one of the Soviet ships
chartered by Kuwait was the first victim of a mine attack since 1984.<122> These
facts are not widely known, because the Soviet response was extremely mild.
Soviet policy in the Gulf was the subject of a study commissioned by the U.S.
Army and written by reputed intellectual heavyweight Francis Fukuyama of the
Rand Corporation. Fukuyama concluded that Gorbachev's "new thinking" in
foreign policy was only rhetoric as far as the Persian Gulf was concerned
because Moscow continued to pursue "zero-sum" (that is, totally competitive)
policies vis-a-vis the United States. But the facts presented in the study suggest
a rather different conclusion. Fukuyama notes that the "Soviets, it is true, were
facing a U.S. administration that was itself playing very much a zero-sum game
in the Gulf....What the Soviets would have done if faced with a more collaborative
United States is untestable and consequently unknowable." Nevertheless, for
Fukuyama the USSR is to blame since Gorbachev had been accommodative in
other areas of policy in the face of U.S. intransigence and thus might have been
so in the Gulf as well.<123>
Fukuyama acknowledges that the Soviet Union refrained from following other,
more aggressive policies in the Gulf, such as trying to outbid Washington for
influence with Kuwait. He observes that Soviet naval units in the Gulf were not
offensively deployed, in contradistinction to those of the United States. (Indeed,
Fukuyama points out that since the early 1970s Moscow had slowed the
development of its power projection capability, unlike the United States.) The
USSR sought to use economic and political instruments of policy in the Gulf,
rather than predominantly military ones as the U.S. did. And when Moscow did
seek its own advantage in relations with Iran, it did so in response to the secret
dealings in Teheran by the White House.<124> In short, if Soviet policy in the
Gulf can be criticized for insufficient "new thinking," by comparison U.S. policy
reflected a Stone Age approach.
The provocative U.S. naval deployments in the Gulf took a heavy toll on innocent
civilians. In November 1987, a U.S. ship fired its machine guns at night at a boat
believed to be an Iranian speedboat with hostile intent; it was in fact a fishing
boat from the United Arab Emirates. One person was killed and three were
wounded.<125> The most serious incident was the shooting down by the U.S.
cruiser _Vicennes_ of an Iranian civil airliner, killing all 290 people aboard. The
commander of another U.S. ship in the Gulf noted that while "the conduct of
Iranian military forces in the month preceding the incident was pointedly non-
threatening," the actions of the _Vicennes_ "appeared to be consistently
aggressive," leading some Navy hands to refer to the ship as "Robo
Cruiser."<126>
These tensions in the Gulf continued to promote one important U.S. goal: they
encouraged the Gulf states to enhance their military cooperation with the United
States. As noted above, the United States had used the Iran-Iraq war as a lever
for obtaining additional basing rights in the Gulf region. The reflagging operation
further enhanced the U.S. position. According to an Associated Press report, the
U.S. general in charge of the RDF claimed that the "United States gained
unprecedented credibility with Arab leaders as a result of its large-scale naval
commitment in the Persian Gulf." This commitment, he said, enabled the U.S. to
establish better diplomatic and military ties with Gulf states.<127>

INDIFFERENCE AND DIPLOMACY


Aggressive U.S. naval deployments in the Gulf elicited no dissent from the _New
York Times._ The editors acknowledged that Washington's "profession of
neutrality is the thinnest of diplomatic fig leaves," that in reality "America tilts
toward Iraq." But the tilt was "for good reason," for it was a strategy designed to
achieve peace.<128> The administration had been confused, the _Times_
admitted, but now Washington had developed "a coherent policy to contain Iran.
It has thereby earned the right to take risks in the gulf."<129> And when the risks
resulted in the destruction of the Iranian airliner, the editors declared that the
blame might lie with the Iranian pilot, but if not, then it was certainly Teheran's
fault for refusing to end the war.<130>
This is the common view of the war, widely promoted by Washington -- that Iran
was the sole obstacle to peace. A review of the diplomacy of the war, however,
shows that while Khomeini certainly bears tremendous blame for the bloodshed,
the blame does not stop with him.
When Iraq attacked Iran on September 22, 1980, the United Nations Security
Council waited four days before holding a meeting. On September 28, it passed
Resolution 479 calling for an end to the fighting. Significantly, however, the
resolution did not condemn (nor even mention) the Iraqi aggression and did not
call for a return to internationally recognized boundaries. As Ralph King, who has
studied the UN response in detail, concluded, "the Council more or less
deliberately ignored Iraq's actions in September 1980." It did so because the
Council as a whole had a negative view of Iran and was not concerned enough
about Iran's predicament to come to its aid. The U.S. delegate noted that Iran,
which had itself violated Security Council resolutions on the U.S. embassy
hostages, could hardly complain about the Council's lackluster response.
Iran rejected Resolution 479 as one-sided -- which it was. When Norway called
for an internationally supervised withdrawal of forces, Iraq replied -- accurately --
that this violated 479. Iran refused to engage in any discussions as long as Iraqi
forces remained on its soil.<131> In the meantime, State Department officials
proposed "a joint U.S.-Soviet effort to promote a settlement," but Brzezinski
argued that this "would legitimate the Soviet position in the Gulf and thus
objectively undercut our vital interests."<132> No U.S. initiative was forthcoming.
A few more unfruitful Security Council meetings were held into October, and then
there were no further formal meetings on the subject of the war, despite the
immense carnage, until July 1982.<133>
There were a number of third party mediation efforts. The first was undertaken by
Olof Palme, representing the UN Secretary General. Palme proposed that as an
initial step the two sides agree to have the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway
cleared. Iraq, however, would only agree if it could pay the full costs (thus
legitimating its claim to the entire river), and no agreement could be
reached.<134> Then, the Nonaligned Ministerial Committee proposed a cease-
fire simultaneous with withdrawal, with demilitarized zones on both sides. Iran
accepted and, for a while, Iraq did as well. But Baghdad soon changed its mind,
hoping to win on the battlefield. In neither of these instances was any significant
outside pressure put on Iraq to settle.<135>
In early 1982 another mediation effort was begun by the government of Algeria,
which had helped Iran and Iraq reach a border agreement in 1975 and had also
served as a go-between for the release of the U.S. embassy hostages. On May
3, 1982, however, an aircraft carrying the Algerian foreign minister and his team
of experts was shot down in Iranian airspace by an _Iraqi_ fighter plane. Five
years later a captured Iraqi pilot was said to have admitted that the attack was
intentional, with the objective of having Iran be blamed for the action.<136>
Whether this is true or not, the shootdown eliminated from the scene the most
experienced mediators.
By the end of May, 1982, Iran had recaptured nearly all its territory and Iraq was
looking for a way out of the war. The Islamic Conference Organization and the
Gulf Cooperation Council tried to mediate a settlement. On June 3, three men led
by an Iraqi intelligence officer attempted to assassinate the Israeli ambassador to
Britain, according to one report with the hope of provoking an Israeli invasion of
Lebanon that would create the conditions for the Gulf combatants to end their
fighting so they might face their common enemy, Israel.<137> Israel needed no
encouragement to march into Lebanon; it knew the provocation had nothing to do
with the PLO or Lebanon, but invaded anyway. But the Lebanon war did not
dissuade Iran from continuing the Gulf war, and may even have derailed the
mediation efforts.<138>
Iraq offered to withdraw its remaining forces from Iran and to cease fire. In
Teheran a vigorous debate ensued as to whether to accept the offer or to
continue on. The militant mullahs had seen their power grow during the war;
though the Shah had originally been ousted by a wide range of political forces,
the crusade against Iraq had enabled the right-wing clerics to mobilize the
population and to prevail over their domestic opponents. In addition, just as Iraq
had erroneously assumed that Iran was on the verge of collapse in September
1980, so now it looked to Iran as though Saddam Hussein was about to fall.
Khomeini decided to go on with the war, declaring that Iran would not stop
fighting until Saddam Hussein was overthrown, Iraqi war-guilt assigned, and
reparations paid.
The government of Iran thus bears major responsibility for the death and
destruction that followed. But, significantly, no industrial country gave strong
support to a peace settlement at this time.<139> Within the United States
government, Secretary of State Alexander Haig proposed some sort of
international peace conference (though without U.S. participation, and of course
with no Soviet participation). The proposal, Haig recalls, "failed to win the
attention of the White House." Haig notes that the "war was then at a critical
stage, an Iranian offensive having recovered nearly all of Iran's lost territory, and
it is possible that a properly designed initiative could have succeeded in ending
the hostilities."<140>
On July 12, 1982, the Security Council met on the issue of the war for the first
time since 1980 and called for a withdrawal to the pre-war boundaries. Iran
considered this further proof of the bias of the United Nations, since the call for
withdrawal came at the first moment in the war when Iranian forces held any Iraqi
territory.<141>
Iraq responded to Iranian victories on the ground by making use of its advantage
in technology: it escalated the tanker war, employed chemical weapons, and
launched attacks on civilian targets. Iran retaliated by striking Gulf shipping
starting in 1984 and launching its own attacks on civilians, though on a lesser
scale than Iraq. Iran charged that the Security Council's handling of each of these
issues reflected animus against Iran.
In 1984 the Security Council passed a resolution on the tanker war that was
directed primarily against Iran's actions and made no reference to Iraqi conduct
except to call for all states to respect the right of free navigation.<142>
On chemical weapons, the Security Council passed no resolution. The United
States condemned the use of chemical weapons, but declined to support any
Council action against Iraq.<143> The Council did issue a much less significant
"statement" in 1985 condemning the use of chemical weapons, but without
mentioning Iraq by name; then, in March 1986, for the first time a Council
statement explicitly denounced Iraq. This, however, was two years after Iraq's
use of chemical warfare had been confirmed by a UN team.<144>
In 1983 a UN team found that both sides had attacked civilian areas, but that Iran
had suffered more extensive damage than Iraq. Teheran wanted the Security
Council to pass a resolution that indicated Iraq's greater responsibility, but the
Council refused to do so, and no statement was issued.<145> In June 1984 the
Secretary General was able to get the two sides to agree to cease their attacks
on civilians. Both sides soon charged violations, but UN inspection teams found
that while Iraq was indeed in violation, Iran was not. By March 1985, the
moratorium was over.<146>
At this time, jockeying for position with Moscow was still a crucial consideration
for the United States. In a section of a draft National Security document that
elicited no dissent, U.S. long term goals were said to include "an early end to the
Iran-Iraq war without Soviet mediation...."<147>
Iran remained committed to its maximum war aims, a commitment not lessened
by the fact that Oliver North, apparently without authorization, told Iranian officials
that Reagan wanted the war ended on terms favorable to Iran, and that Saddam
Hussein had to go.<148> But it was not just North's unauthorized conversation
that encouraged Iranian intransigence; the authorized clandestine dealings
between Washington and Teheran no doubt had the same effect.
In late 1986 the Iran-Contra scandal broke, forcing the U.S. to go all-out in its
support for Iraq in order to preserve some influence among the Arab states jolted
by the evidence of Washington's double-dealing. In May 1987, U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Murphy met with Saddam Hussein and promised him
that the U.S. would lead an effort at the UN for a mandatory arms embargo of
Iran; a resolution would be drawn up calling on both sides to cease fire and
withdraw, and imposing an embargo on whoever didn't comply, presumably Iran.
The U.S. drafted such a resolution, but the non-permanent members of the
Security Council altered it to include the formation of an impartial commission to
investigate the origins of the war, as Iran had been insisting, and to eliminate the
mandatory sanctions. On July 20, 1987 the revised document was passed
unanimously as Security Council Resolution 598.<149>
Iraq promptly accepted 598, while Iran said it would accept the cease-fire and
withdrawal of forces if the impartial commission were set up first. The U.S. and
Iraq both rejected Iran's position, asserting that Iran had no right to select one
provision out of many in the resolution and impose that as a first step.<150>
The Secretary General then travelled to Teheran and Baghdad to try to work out
a compromise and he made some progress. According to the leaked text of his
private report to the Security Council, Iran agreed to accept an "undeclared
cessation of hostilities" while an independent commission was investigating the
responsibility for the conflict; the cessation would become a formal cease-fire on
the date that the commission issued its findings. This was not an acceptance of
598, but an informal cease-fire might have meant an end to the killing as surely
as a formal one. Iraq, however, insisted that "under no circumstances" would it
accept an undeclared cease-fire.<151> Instead of seizing the Iranian position as
a first step toward a compromise, the United States, in the words of Gary Sick,
"pressed single-mindedly for an embargo on Iran, while resisting efforts by
Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to fashion a compromise cease-
fire."<152>
"Could the war have been ended by a compromise in early 1988?" Sick has
asked. "The answer will never be known, primarily because the United States
was unwilling to explore Iran's offer. The U.S. position -- and sensitivities about
even the perception of any sympathy toward Iran -- were a direct legacy of the
Iran-contra fiasco. They may have contributed to prolonging the war for six
unnecessary months."<153>
Finally, in July 1988, with Iranian anti-war sentiment growing widespread,
Ayatollah Khomeini decided to end the fighting. On July 18, Iran declared its full
acceptance of Resolution 598. But by this time Iraq had turned the tide of the
land battle, having regained virtually all of its own territory, and Saddam Hussein
refused to accept the cease-fire. Baghdad continued offensive operations, using
chemical weapons both against Iran and its own Kurdish population. It was not
until August 6 that international pressure got Iraq to agree to a cease-fire, and it
went into effect two weeks later.<154> Both regimes continued to kill their own
citizens -- Kurds in Iraq and dissidents, especially leftists, in Iran -- but the Gulf
war was over.
The Iran-Iraq war was not a conflict between good and evil. But though both
regimes were repugnant, it was the people of the two countries who served as
the cannon fodder, and thus ending the war as soon as possible was a humane
imperative. Instead of lending its good offices to mediation efforts and diplomacy,
however, Washington maneuvered for advantage, trying to gain vis-a-vis the
Soviet Union and to undercut the left. The United States provided intelligence
information, bogus and real, to both sides, provided arms to one side, funded
paramilitary exile groups, sought military bases, and sent in the U.S. Navy -- and
all the while Iranians and Iraqis died.
Three months after the end of the war, U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy
Seth Cropsy expressed his hope that the outcome of U.S. operations in the Gulf
would dispel the "national reluctance to interpose American military forces in third
world conflicts when important issues are at stake."<155> Those opposed to U.S.
interventionism will not share this hope. Not that there weren't important issues at
stake; there were. But they were not the danger of Soviet invasion or the threat
that the Western economies might be deprived of oil. For Washington the
important issue was whether it would be able to maintain the status quo in a
region of great strategic value to the Pentagon and economic value to the oil
companies. But for those outside the corridors of power, the real issues have
been, and will continue to be, how to promote peace, justice, and self-
determination in the Gulf and elsewhere -- and these issues do not lend
themselves to gunboat diplomacy.

NOTES
1. Casualty figures are uncertain: see Anthony H. Cordesman, _The Iran-Iraq
War and Western Security, 1984-87_, London: Jane's Publishing Co., 1987, p. 9;
_New York Times_, 10 Aug. 1988, p. A8; in 1982 the U.S. State Dept. estimated
that the war had created 2 million refugees: Anthony H. Cordesman, _The Gulf
and the Search for Strategic Stability_, Boulder: Westview, 1984, p. 671; health
spending from Ruth Leger Sivard, _World Military and Social Expenditures,
1987-88_, Washington, DC: World Priorities, 1988, table II.
2. Diana Johnstone, "'Little Satan' Stuck in the Arms Export Trap," _MERIP
Reports_, no. 148, Sept.-Oct. 1987, pp. 8-9.
3. Mansour Farhang, "The Iran-Iraq War: The Feud, the Tragedy, the Spoils,"
_World Policy Journal_, vol. 2, Fall 1985, p. 668; see also Cordesman, _Iran-Iraq
War..._, pp. 23-36; Nita M. Renfrew, "Who Started the War?" _Foreign Policy_,
no. 66, Spring 1987, pp. 104-06.
4. Joe Stork, _Middle East Oil and the Energy Crisis_, New York: Monthly
Review Press, 1975, p. 26.
5. Quoted in William B. Quandt, _Saudi Arabia in the 1980s: Foreign Policy,
Security, and Oil_, Washington, DC: Brookings, 1981, p. 48.
6. See Michael J. Cohen, _Palestine: Retreat from the Mandate_, New York:
Holmes & Meier, 1978, pp. 154-55; Stork, _Middle East Oil..._, pp. 34-35.
7. George W. Stocking, _Middle East Oil: A Study in Political and Economic
Controversy_, Nashville: Vanderbilt U.P., 1970, pp. 103-06.
8. Quoted in Stork, _Middle East Oil..._, p. 74.
9. Kennett Love, _Suez: the Twice-Fought War_, New York: McGraw Hill, 1969,
p. 651.
10. Love, _Suez..._, p. 387.
11. Henry Kissinger, _Years of Upheaval_, Boston: Little Brown, 1982, p. 858.
12. Michael Renner, "Restructuring the World Energy Industry," _MERIP
Reports_, no. 120, Jan. 1984, p. 13.
13. Edith Penrose, "The Development of Crisis," in _The Oil Crisis_, ed.
Raymond Vernon, New York: Norton, 1976, p. 49.
14. V. H. Oppenheim, "Why Oil Prices Go Up; The Past: We Pushed Them,"
_Foreign Policy_, no. 25, Winter 1976-77, pp. 30, 32-33.
15. Oppenheim, "Why Oil Prices...," pp. 24-25.
16. Kissinger, _Years of Upheaval_, p. 863.
17. Robert B. Stobaugh, "The Oil Companies in the Crisis," in _The Oil Crisis_,
ed. Raymond Vernon, New York: Norton, 1976, p. 185.
18. Quoted in Mira Wilkins, "The Oil Companies in Perspective," in _The Oil
Crisis_, ed. Raymond Vernon, New York: Norton, 1976, p. 173.
19. Kissinger, _Years of Upheaval_, p. 873.
20. Stobaugh, "Oil Companies...," p. 193, table 3.
21. Romano Prodi and Alberto Clo^, "Europe," in _The Oil Crisis_, ed. Raymond
Vernon, New York: Norton, 1976, p. 101.
22. Yoshi Tsurumi, "Japan," in _The Oil Crisis_, ed. Raymond Vernon, New York:
Norton, 1976, p. 123.
23. Horst Menderhausen, _Coping with the Oil Crisis_, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1976, pp. 60-61.
24. Hearings, _Offshore Oil and Gas Oversight_, Subcommittee on Panama
Canal/Outer Continental Shelf, House Merchant Marine and Fisheries
Committee, 1984, pp. 469-74.
25. Richard Halloran, "What Price U.S. Patrols in the Gulf," _New York Times_,
21 Feb. 1988, p. 2E.
26. Maj. Gen. Edward B. Atkeson, "The Persian Gulf: Still A Vital Interest?"
_Armed Forces Journal International_, vol. 124, no. 9, April 1987, p. 54.
27. Frank Church, "The Impotence of Oil Companies," _Foreign Policy_, no. 27,
Summer 1977, p. 49.
28. Cordesman, _The Gulf..._, p. 264.
29. _Time_, 25 July 1983, p. 28, quoted in Mansour Farhang, "The Iran-Israel
Connection," in _Consistency of U.S. Foreign Policy: The Gulf War and the Iran-
Contra Affair_, ed. Abbas Alnasrawi and Cheryl Rubenberg, Belmont, MA:
AAUG, 1989, p. 96.
30. John W. Amos II, "The Iraq-Iran War: Conflict, Linkage, and Spillover in the
Middle East," in _Gulf Security into the 1980s: Perceptual and Strategic
Dimensions_, ed. Robert G. Darius, John W. Amos II, Ralph H. Magnus,
Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1984, p. 65.
31. Cordesman, _The Gulf..._, p. 717; Robert O. Freedman, "Soviet Policy
Toward the Persian Gulf from the Outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War to the Death of
Konstantin Chernenko," in _U.S. Strategic Interests in the Gulf Region_, ed. Wm.
J. Olson, Boulder: Westview, 1987, p. 55.
32. Freedman, "Soviet Policy...," p. 55.
33. Joe Stork and Martha Wenger, "U.S. Ready to Intervene in the Gulf War,"
_MERIP Reports_, nos. 125/126, July-Sept. 1984, p. 45.
34. Freedman, "Soviet Policy...," p. 63; _New York Times_, 10 Nov. 1982, p. 5.
35. Stork & Wenger, "U.S. Ready to Intervene...," p. 45.
36. _War in the Persian Gulf: The U.S. Takes Sides_, staff report to the
Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Nov. 1987, Committee Print S.
Prt. 100-60, pp. 21-22. Hereafter cited as S. Prt. 100-60.
37. Michael T. Klare, "The RDF: Newest 'Fire Brigade' for U.S. Intervention in the
Third World," in _U.S. Strategy in the Gulf: Intervention Against Liberation_, ed.
Leila Meo, Belmont, MA: AAUG, 1981, pp. 99-100, 104.
38. Harold Brown, _Thinking About National Security_, Boulder: Westview, 1983,
p. 157.
39. For examples for policymakers and the press, see Maya Chadda, _Paradox
of Power: the United States in Southwest Asia, 1973-1984_, Santa Barbara:
ABC-Clio, 1986, pp. 111-12.; and for a particularly gross example, _Business
Week_, 19 Nov. 1979, p. 190, quoted in James F. Petras and Roberto
Korzeniewicz, "U.S. Policy Towards the Middle East," in _U.S. Strategy in the
Gulf: Intervention Against Liberation_, ed. Leila Meo, Belmont, MA: AAUG, 1981,
p. 84.
40. A point made by Chadda, _Paradox of Power_, p. 112.
41. Brown, _Thinking About National Security_, p. 157.
42. Zbigniew Brzezinski, _Power and Principle_, New York: Farrar, Straus,
Giroux, 1987, p. 450.
43. Cordesman, _The Gulf..._, p. 847.
44. Deborah Shapley "The Army's New Fighting Doctrine," _New York Times
Magazine_, 28 Nov. 1982, p. 47.
45. Klare, "...Fire Brigade," p. 107.
46. _Public Papers of the Presidents, Ronald Reagan, 1981_, pp. 870-71.
47. Stephen Engelberg, "Iran and Iraq Got 'Doctored Data, U.S. Officials Say,"
_New York Times_, 12 Jan. 1987, p. A1, A6.
48. Brown, _Thinking About National Security_, makes this point, p. 149.
49. _New York Times_, 25 Sept. 1982, quoted in Christopher Paine, "On the
Beach: The Rapid Deployment Force and the Nuclear Arms Race," _MERIP
Reports_, no. 111, Jan. 1983, p. 11.
50. Congressional Quarterly Inc., _U.S. Defense Policy_, 3rd ed., Washington,
DC: 1983, p. 193. The quote is Congressional Quarterly's summary.
51. James P. Wooten, _Rapid Deployment Force_, CRS Issue Brief No.
IB80027, updated 16 July 1984, p. 4, quoted in Martha Wenger, "The Central
Command: Getting to the War on Time," _MERIP Reports_, no. 128, Nov.-Dec.
1984, p. 20; see also Richard Halloran, "Pentagon Draws Up First Strategy for
Fighting A Long Nuclear War," _New York Times_, 20 May 1982, pp. 1, 12.
52. Quoted in Congressional Quarterly, _U.S. Defense Policy_, pp. 195-96.
53. Cordesman, _The Gulf...,_, p. 62.
54. Middle East.
55. Wenger "Central Command," p. 22, citing Wooten.
56. Judith Miller and Jeff Gerth, "U.S. Is Said to Develop Oman as Its major Ally
in the Gulf," _New York Times_, 25 Mar. 1985, pp. A1, A8.
57. Bernard Gwertzman, "Saudis To Let U.S. Use Bases in Crisis," _New York
Times_, 5 Sept. 1985, pp. A1, A10.
58. _President's Special Review Board_ (_The Tower Commission Report_),
New York: Bantam Books/Times Books, 1987, pp. 294-95. Hereafter cited as
Tower Commission.
59. Farhang, "Iran-Israel Connection," p. 95; Bob Woodward, _Veil: The Secret
Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987_, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987, p. 480.
60. Leslie H. Gelb, "U.S. Said to Aid Iranian Exiles in Combat and Political Units,"
_New York Times_, 7 Mar. 1982, pp. A1, A12.
61. David Binder, "U.S. Concedes It Is Behind Anti-Khomeini Broadcasts," _New
York Times_, 29 June 1980, p. 3; Woodward, _Veil_, p. 480.
62. Leslie H. Gelb, "U.S. Said to Aid Iranian Exiles in Combat and Political Units,"
_New York Times_, 7 Mar. 1982, pp. A1, A12.
63. Tower Commission, p. 398; Farhang, "Iran-Israel Connection," p. 95.
64. Farhang, "Iran-Israel Connection," p. 92.
65. Tower Commission, pp. 103-04.
66. Quoted in Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, _The Iran-
Contra Connection_, Boston: South End Press, 1987, pp. 160-61.
67. Tower Commission, p. 271.
68. Tower Commission, p. 194.
69. Tower Commission, p. 388.
70. Tower Commission, p. 65.
71. Tower Commission, p. 113.
72. Tower Commission, p. 261.
73. Tower Commission, p. 299.
74. Cordesman, _Iran-Iraq War..._, pp. 23-36.
75. Leslie H. Gelb, "Iran Said to Get Large-Scale Arms From Israel, Soviet and
Europeans," _New York Times_, 8 Mar. 1982, pp. A1, A10; Cordesman, _Iran-
Iraq War..._, p. 31.
76. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 21.
77. Murray Gordon ed., _Conflict in the Persian Gulf_, New York: Facts on File,
1981, p. 163.
78. Brzezinski, _Power and Principle_, p. 504.
79. Christopher Hitchens, _Nation_, 20 June 1987 and 4 July 1987.
80. Tower Commission, p. 27.
81. _Public Papers of the President, Reagan, 1986_, p. 1546.
82. Tower Commission, p. 48; see also p. 398.
83. Tower Commission, p. 427.
84. Stork & Wenger, "U.S. Ready to Intervene...," pp. 47-48, citing _Newsday_,
20 May 1984.
85. Tower Commission, pp. 239-40.
86. Cordesman, _Iran-Iraq War..._, p. 38.
87. Tower Commission, pp. 239-40.
88. Tower Commission, p. 279.
89. Tower Commission, p. 73; see also Cordesman, _Iran-Iraq War..._, p. 38.
90. Stephen Engelberg, "Iran and Iraq Got 'Doctored Data, U.S. Officials Say,"
_New York Times_, 12 Jan. 1987, pp. A1, A6.
91. Woodward, _Veil_, p. 480.
92. Woodward, _Veil_, p. 480.
93. Stephen Engelberg, "Iran and Iraq Got 'Doctored Data, U.S. Officials Say,"
_New York Times_, 12 Jan. 1987, pp. A1, A6.
94. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 37.
95. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 37.
96. U.S. Dept. of State, _U.S. Policy in the Persian Gulf_, Special Report No.
166, Washington, DC: July 1987, p. 11.
97. Freedman, "Soviet Policy...," p. 52; Michael Lenker, "The Effect of the Iran-
Iraq War on Soviet Strategy in the Persian Gulf," in _Gulf Security and the Iran-
Iraq War_, ed. Thomas Naff, Washington, DC: National Defense University
Press, 1985, p. 95.
98. _Washington Post_, 16 Aug. 1987, p. A23.
99. S.Prt. 100-60, p. ix.
100. Dept. of State, _U.S. Policy in the Persian Gulf_, pp. 1-2.
101. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 2.
102. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 4.
103. S.Prt. 100-60, p. vii.
104. Ronald O'Rourke, "The Tanker War," _Proceedings_, U.S. Naval Institute,
May 1988, p. 34.
105. Ronald O'Rourke, "Gulf Ops" _Proceedings_, U.S. Naval Institute, May
1989, pp. 42-43.
106. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 3.
107. Rourke, "Tanker War," p. 32; Rourke, "Gulf Ops," p. 43.
108. S.Prt. 100-60, p. ix.
109. Fox Butterfield, "Soviets in UN Council Ask for U.S. Pullout From Gulf,"
_New York Times_, 16 July 1988, p. 2.
110. "What If Iran Attacks Again?" _New York Times_, 20 Oct. 1987, p. A34.
111. Rourke, "Tanker War," p. 30.
112. Rourke, "Tanker War," p. 32; Rourke, Gulf Ops," p. 43.
113. Rourke, "Gulf Ops," p. 47.
114. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 37.
115. Robert L. Bambarger and Clyde R. Mark, _Escalation of the Conflict in the
Persian Gulf_, CRS, May 30, 1984, printed in Hearings, _Offshore Oil..._, p. 593.
116. Ross Leckow, "The Iran-Iraq Conflict in the Gulf: The Law of War Zones,"
_International and Comparative Law Quarterly_, vol. 37, July 1988, pp. 636-38,
644.
117. Gary Sick, "Failure and Danger in the Gulf," _New York Times_, 6 July
1988, p. A23.
118. S.Prt. 100-60, p. 29.
119. Rourke, "Gulf Ops," p. 44.
120. Steve Lohr, _New York Times_, 20 Ap. 1988, p. A16.
121. U.S. Policy in the PG, p. 5.
122. Rourke, "Tanker War," p. 30.
123. Francis Fukuyama, _Gorbachev and the New Soviet Agenda in the Third
World_, R-3634-A, Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, June 1989, pp. viii, 43.
124. Fukuyama, _Gorbachev..._, pp. 60, 47, 28-29, 53, 45.
125. Rourke, "Tanker War," p. 33.
126. Commander David R. Carlson, "The _Vicennes_ Incident," letter,
_Proceedings_, U.S. Naval Institute, Sept. 1989, pp. 87-88.
127. AP, "U.S. Wins Arab Respect with Gulf Ship Escorts," _Newark Star
Ledger_, 19 Oct. 1988, p. 4; see also Richard Halloran, _New York Times_, 4
Dec. 1988, p. 32.
128. "Why the U.S. Navy is in the Gulf," _New York Times_, 6 July 1988, p. A22.
129. "What If Iran Attacks Again?" _New York Times_, 20 Oct. 1987, p. A34.
130. "In Captain Rogers's Shoes" _New York Times_, 5 July 1988, p. A16.
131. R. P. H. King, "The United Nations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1986," in
Brian Urquhart and Gary Sick eds., _The United Nations and the Iran-Iraq War_,
New York: Ford Foundation, August 1987, pp. 10, 14-16, 23.
132. Brzezinski, _Power and Principle_, p. 453.
133. King, "The United Nations...," p. 10.
134. Farhang, "Iran-Iraq War...," p. 673; King, "The United Nations...," p. 18.
135. Farhang, "Iran-Iraq War...," pp. 673-75.
136. Gary Sick, "Trial By Error: Reflections on the Iran-Iraq War," _Middle East
Journal_, vol. 43, no. 2, Spring 1989, p. 236.
137. Dilip Hiro, _Iran Under the Ayatollahs_, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
1985, p. 211; Noam Chomsky, _The Fateful Triangle_, Boston: South End Press,
1983, 197n.
138. Hiro, _Iran Under the Ayatollahs_, p. 211.
139. Farhang, "Iran-Iraq War...," pp. 675-76.
140. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., _Caveat_, New York: Macmillan, 1984, p. 334n.
141. King, "The United Nations...," p. 17.
142. Leckow, "The Iran-Iraq Conflict...," p. 640.
143. Elaine Sciolino, "How the U.S. Cast Off Neutrality in Gulf War," _New York
Times_, 24 Ap. 1988, p. 2E.
144. King, "The United Nations...," pp. 19-20.
145. King, "The United Nations...," p. 18.
146. King, "The United Nations...," p. 19.
147. Tower Commission, pp. 117-118.
148. Tower Commission, pp. 49-50.
149. Sick, "Trial By Error," p. 240.
150. Hearings, _Developments in the Middle East, September 1987_,
Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East, Committee on Foreign Relations,
Senate, Sept. 1987, p. 19; Sick, "Trial By Error," p. 241.
151. Kuwait KUNA, 19 Sept. 1987, _Foreign Broadcast Information Service_,
FBIS-NES-87-183, 22 Sept 1987, pp. 45-47.
152. Gary Sick, "Failure and Danger in the Gulf," _New York Times_, 6 July
1988, p. A23.
153. Sick, "Trial By Error," p. 241.
154. Sick, "Trial By Error," pp. 242-43.
155. Bernard E. Trainor, "Navy Sees Gulf Activity as Portent of New Era," _New
York Times_, 25 Nov. 1988, p. B10. The words are Trainor's.

First Gulf War


Iran vs. Iraq: 1980-1988

The borderlands between Iran and Iraq have never made any sense.
Rather than defining any real ethnic homeland, the border merely
marks where two expanding imperial dynasties -- the Ottomans and
Persians -- ran into each other in the Sixteenth Century. The final
treaty signed some two centuries later split Kurds, Shiites and Arabs
between two alien overlords along a vague line drawn somewhere in
the wild mountains. Even the break-up of the Ottoman Empire after World War One
didn't improve matters much, as the non-Turkish provinces were turned over to the
British and French as mandates under the League of Nations rather than formed into
logical nation-states.
Under the 1975 Algiers Agreement, Iraq ceded 518 km2 of oil-rich borderlands along the
Shatt al-Arab in exchange for an Iranian agreement to stop supporting Kurdish rebels in
Iraq. By 1979, however, Saddam Hussein had clawed his way to the top of the ruling
junta of Iraq and took advantage of the chaos unleashed by the recent Iranian Revolution
to shift the disputed border back in Iraq's favor, with the excuse being that the
predominantly Arab population of this region would prefer being part of the
predominantly Arab state of Iraq. His armies crossed into Iran in September, 1980. After
some initial success, the Iraqis stalled in the outskirts of Abadan.
When two of the world's leading suppliers of oil go to war, the world has to take sides,
but when the war pits a corrupt dictatorship against a fanatic theocracy, it's hard to know
which side to take. As a purely practical matter, however, it's best to line up with corrupt
dictatorships because they're usually more willing to work a deal. During the Iran-Iraq
War, the world as a whole tossed in with Iraq. The two superpowers openly assisted the
Iraqis, as did most centrist Moslem states such as Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Taking Sides:

There were exceptions, however. Most of the diplomatically isolated nations of the
world, such as Israel, South Africa, Taiwan, Libya and Argentina, supported their fellow
outcast, Iran, if only to score one more rare ally and trading partner. Although the Soviets
openly supported their traditional client state, Iraq, they covertly assisted Iran in
exchange for not meddling in Afghanistan. The United States supplied the Iraqis with
intelligence, and committed the US Navy to safeguarding the flow of oil out of (and the
flow of money and arms into) Iraq, but secretly sold arms to Iran in order to fund anti-
Communist rebels in Nicaragua, and gain influence with hostage-holding Muslim militias
in Lebanon.
In May 1982, an Iranian counterattack restored the antebellum border, and shifted the
momentum of the conflict. Over the next couple of years, the Iranians gradually slugged
deeper into Iraq, until once again the war stalled in the suburbs of a major objective.
Finally, in August 1988, the two exhausted countries agreed to a cease-fire negotiated by
the U.N.

Contemporary Context:

• Selected Sources:
○ Dockrill 1991
○ Bulloch & Morris, The Gulf War: It's Origins, History and Consequences
(1989)
○ Laffin WA2
○ Overy 1996
○ Daniel Pipes, "A Border Adrift: Origins of the Iraq-Iran War" (1983)
[http://www.danielpipes.org/article/164]

to Table of Contents
Last updated March 2003
Copyright © 2000-03 Matthew White

Ho
me|
Art
&
Cul
tur
e|
His
tor
y|
Ira
n's
Gu
ide|
Po
diu
m

Tuesday, Top
of
September For Bott
m om
25, 2007 of
For
Bott m
om
of
For
m

Iran
-
Iraq
War
198
0-
198
8
Pag
e: 1
23

Pag
e1

Iran
-
Ira
q
Wa
r,
198
0-
198
8
Iraqi president Saddam
Hussein ordered the
invasion of Iran on 22
september 1980
The
Iran
-
Iraq
War
per
man
entl
y
alter
ed
the
cour
se
of
Iraq
i
hist
ory.
It
strai
ned
Iraq
i
polit
ical
and
soci
al
life,
and
led
to
seve
re
eco
nom
ic
disl
ocat
ions
.
Vie
wed
fro
ma
hist
oric
al
pers
pect
ive,
the
outb
reak
of
host
ilitie
s in
198
0
was,
in
part,
just
anot
her
phas
e of
the
anci
ent
Pers
ian-
Ara
b
conf
lict
that
had
bee
n
fuel
ed
by
twe
ntiet
h-
cent
ury
bord
er
disp
utes.
Man
y
obse
rver
s,
how
ever
,
beli
eve
that
Sad
dam
Hus
sein'
s
deci
sion
to
inva
de
Iran
was
a
pers
onal
mis
calc
ulati
on
base
d on
amb
ition
and
a
sens
e of
vuln
erab
ility.
Sad
dam
Hus
sein,
desp
ite
havi
ng
mad
e
sign
ifica
nt
strid
es in
forg
ing
an
Iraq
i
nati
on-
state
,
fear
ed
that
Iran'
s
new
revo
lutio
nary
lead
ersh
ip
wou
ld
thre
aten
Iraq'
s
deli
cate
Sun
ni-
Shia
bala
nce
and
wou
ld
expl
oit
Iraq'
s
geos
trate
gic
vuln
erab
ilitie
s--
Iraq'
s
mini
mal
acce
ss to
the
Pers
ian
Gulf
, for
exa
mpl
e. In
this
resp
ect,
Sad
dam
Hus
sein'
s
deci
sion
to
inva
de
Iran
has
hist
oric
al
prec
ede
nt;
the
anci
ent
rule
rs of
Mes
opot
ami
a,
feari
ng
inter
nal
strif
e
and
fore
ign
con
ques
t,
also
eng
age
d in
freq
uent
battl
es
with
the
peo
ples
of
the
high
land
s.

The
Iran
-
Iraq
War
was
mult
ifac
eted
and
incl
ude
d
relig
ious
schi
sms,
bord
er
disp
utes,
and
polit
ical
diff
eren
ces.
Con
flict
s
cont
ribu
ting
to
the
outb
reak
of
host
ilitie
s
rang
ed
fro
m
cent
urie
s
old
Sun
ni-
vers
us-
Shia
and
Ara
b-
vers
us-
Pers
ian
relig
ious
and
ethn
ic
disp
utes,
to a
pers
onal
ani
mos
ity
bet
wee
n
Sad
dam
Hus
sein
and
Aya
tolla
h
Kho
mei
ni.
Abo
ve
all,
Iraq
laun
che
d
the
war
in
an
effo
rt to
cons
olid
ate
its
risin
g
pow
er in
the
Ara
b
worl
d
and
to
repl
ace
Iran
as
the
dom
inan
t
Pers
ian
Gulf
state
.
Phe
be
Mar
r, a
note
d
anal
yst
of
Iraq
i
affai
rs,
state
d
that
"the
war
was
mor
e
imm
edia
tely
the
resu
lt of
poor
polit
ical
judg
eme
nt
and
mis
calc
ulati
on
on
the
part
of
Sad
dam
Hus
sein,
"
and
"the
deci
sion
to
inva
de,
take
n at
a
mo
men
t of
Iran
ian
wea
knes
s,
was
Sad
dam
's".

Iraq
and
Iran
had
eng
age
d in
bord
er
clas
hes
for
man
y
year
s
and
had
revi
ved
the
dor
man
t
Arv
and-
Rou
d
(Sha
tt al
Ara
b)
wat
erw
ay
disp
ute
in
197
9.
Iraq
clai
med
the
200-
kilo
met
er
cha
nnel
up
to
the
Iran
ian
shor
e as
its
terri
tory,
whil
e
Iran
insis
ted
that
the
line
runn
ing
dow
n
the
mid
dle
of
the
wat
erw
ay
neg
otiat
ed
last
in
197
5,
was
the
offi
cial
bord
er.
The
Iraq
is,
espe
ciall
y
the
Baat
h
lead
ersh
ip,
rega
rded
the
197
5
treat
y as
mer
ely
a
truc
e,
not
a
defi
nitiv
e
settl
eme
nt.

The
Iraq
is
also
perc
eive
d
revo
lutio
nary
Iran'
s
Isla
mic
age
nda
as
thre
aten
ing
to
their
pan-
Ara
bis
m.
Kho
mei
ni,
bitte
r
over
his
exp
ulsi
on
fro
m
Iraq
in
197
7
after
fifte
en
year
s in
An
Naj
af,
vow
ed
to
ave
nge
Shia
victi
ms
of
Baat
hist
repr
essi
on.
Bag
hda
d
beca
me
mor
e
conf
iden
t,
how
ever
, as
it
wat
che
d
the
onc
e
invi
ncib
le
Imp
erial
Iran
ian
Arm
y
disi
nteg
rate,
as
mos
t of
its
high
est
rank
ing
offi
cers
wer
e
exec
uted
. In
Kho
uzes
tan
(Ara
bist
an
to
the
Iraq
is),
Iraq
i
intel
lige
nce
offi
cers
incit
ed
riots
over
labo
r
disp
utes,
and
in
the
Kur
dish
regi
on,
a
new
rebe
llion
caus
ed
the
Kho
mei
ni
gov
ern
men
t
seve
re
trou
bles.

As
the
Baat
hists
plan
ned
their
mili
tary
cam
paig
n,
they
had
ever
y
reas
on
to
be
conf
iden
t.
Not
only
did
the
Iran
ians
lack
coh
esiv
e
lead
ersh
ip,
but
the
Iran
ian
arm
ed
forc
es,
acco
rdin
g to
Iraq
i
intel
lige
nce
esti
mat
es,
also
lack
ed
spar
e
part
s for
their
Am
eric
an-
mad
e
equi
pme
nt.
Bag
hda
d,
on
the
othe
r
han
d,
poss
esse
d
full
y
equi
ppe
d
and
train
ed
forc
es.
Mor
ale
was
runn
ing
high
.
Aga
inst
Iran'
s
arm
ed
forc
es,
incl
udin
g
the
Pas
dara
n
(Re
volu
tion
ary
Gua
rd)
troo
ps,
led
by
relig
ious
mull
ahs
with
little
or
no
mili
tary
exp
erie
nce,
the
Iraq
is
coul
d
mus
ter
twel
ve
com
plet
e
mec
hani
zed
divi
sion
s,
equi
ppe
d
with
the
lates
t
Sovi
et
mat
eriel
.
Wit
h
the
Iraq
i
mili
tary
buil
d-up
in
the
late
197
0s,
Sad
dam
Hus
sein
had
asse
mbl
ed
an
arm
y of
190,
000
men
,
aug
men
ted
by
2,20
0
tank
s
and
450
aircr
aft.

In
addi
tion,
the
area
acro
ss
the
Arv
and-
Rou
d
(Sha
tt al
Ara
b)
pose
d no
maj
or
obst
acle
s,
parti
cula
rly
for
an
arm
y
equi
ppe
d
with
Sovi
et
rive
r-
cros
sing
equi
pme
nt.
Iraq
i
com
man
ders
corr
ectl
y
assu
med
that
cros
sing
sites
on
the
Kha
rkhe
h
and
Kar
oun
rive
rs
wer
e
light
ly
defe
nde
d
agai
nst
their
mec
hani
zed
arm
or
divi
sion
s;
mor
eov
er,
Iraq
i
intel
lige
nce
sour
ces
repo
rted
that
Iran
ian
forc
es in
Kho
uzes
tan,
whi
ch
had
for
merl
y
incl
ude
d
two
divi
sion
s
distr
ibut
ed
amo
ng
Ahv
az,
Dez
ful,
and
Aba
dan,
now
cons
iste
d of
only
a
num
ber
of
ill-
equi
ppe
d
batt
alio
n-
size
d
for
mati
ons.
Teh
ran
was
furt
her
disa
dva
ntag
ed
beca
use
the
area
was
cont
rolle
d by
the
Reg
iona
l 1st
Cor
ps
hea
dqu
arter
ed
at
Bak
htar
an
(for
merl
y
Ker
man
shah
),
whe
reas
oper
atio
nal
cont
rol
was
dire
cted
fro
m
the
capi
tal.
In
the
year
foll
owi
ng
the
shah
's
over
thro
w,
only
a
han
dful
of
com
pan
y-
size
d
tank
unit
s
had
bee
n
oper
ativ
e,
and
the
rest
of
the
arm
ored
equi
pme
nt
had
bee
n
poor
ly
mai
ntai
ned.

For
Iraq
i
plan
ners
, the
only
unc
ertai
nty
was
the
figh
ting
abili
ty of
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e,
equi
ppe
d
with
som
e of
the
mos
t
sop
histi
cate
d
Am
eric
an-
mad
e
aircr
aft.
Des
pite
the
exec
utio
n of
key
air
forc
e
com
man
ders
and
pilot
s,
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e
had
disp
laye
d its
mig
ht
duri
ng
loca
l
riots
and
dem
onst
ratio
ns.
The
air
forc
e
was
also
acti
ve
in
the
wak
e of
the
faile
d
Unit
ed
Stat
es
atte
mpt
to
resc
ue
Am
eric
an
host
ages
in
Apri
l
198
0.
This
sho
w of
forc
e
had
imp
ress
ed
Iraq
i
deci
sion
mak
ers
to
such
an
exte
nt
that
they
deci
ded
to
laun
ch a
mas
sive
pre-
emp
tive
air
strik
e on
Iran
ian
air
base
s in
an
effo
rt
simi
lar
to
the
one
that
Isra
el
emp
loye
d
duri
ng
the
June
196
7
Ara
b-
Isra
eli
War
.

Ira
qi
Off
ensi
ves,
198
0-
198
2

Ira
qi
Sc
ud
Mi
ssil
es
wer
e
con
tin
uo
usl
y
lau
nch
ed
aga
inst
Ira
nia
n
civi
lian
tar
get
s

Des
pite
the
Iraq
i
gov
ern
men
t's
con
cern
, the
erup
tion
of
the
197
9
Isla
mic
Rev
oluti
on
in
Iran
did
not
imm
edia
tely
dest
roy
the
Iraq
i-
Iran
ian
rapp
roch
eme
nt
that
had
prev
aile
d
sinc
e
the
197
5
Algi
ers
Agr
eem
ent.
As a
sign
of
Iraq'
s
desi
re to
mai
ntai
n
goo
d
relat
ions
with
the
new
gov
ern
men
t in
Teh
ran,
Pres
iden
t
Bak
r
sent
a
pers
onal
mes
sage
to
Kho
mei
ni
offe
ring
"his
best
wis
hes
for
the
frie
ndly
Iran
ian
peo
ple
on
the
occa
sion
of
the
esta
blis
hme
nt of
the
Isla
mic
Rep
ubli
c."
In
addi
tion,
as
late
as
the
end
of
Aug
ust
197
9,
Iraq
i
auth
oriti
es
exte
nde
d an
invit
atio
n to
Meh
di
Baz
arga
n,
the
first
Pri
me
Min
ister
of
the
Isla
mic
Rep
ubli
c of
Iran,
to
visit
Iraq
with
the
aim
of
imp
rovi
ng
bilat
eral
relat
ions
.
The
fall
of
the
mod
erat
e
Baz
arga
n
gov
ern
men
t in
late
197
9,
how
ever
,
and
the
rise
of
Isla
mic
mili
tant
s
prea
chin
g an
exp
ansi
onis
t
fore
ign
poli
cy
sour
ed
Iraq
i-
Iran
ian
relat
ions
.
The
prin
cipa
l
eve
nts
that
touc
hed
off
the
rapi
d
dete
rior
atio
n in
relat
ions
occ
urre
d
duri
ng
the
spri
ng
of
198
0. In
Apri
l the
Iran
ian-
sup
port
ed
Ad
Da
wah
atte
mpt
ed
to
assa
ssin
ate
Iraq
i
fore
ign
mini
ster
Tari
q
Azi
z.
Sho
rtly
after
the
faile
d
gren
ade
atta
ck
on
Tari
q
Azi
z,
Ad
Da
wah
was
susp
ecte
d of
atte
mpti
ng
to
assa
ssin
ate
anot
her
Iraq
i
lead
er,
Min
ister
of
Cult
ure
and
Info
rmat
ion
Lati
f
Nay
yif
Jasi
m.
In
resp
onse
, the
Iraq
is
imm
edia
tely
roun
ded
up
me
mbe
rs
and
sup
port
ers
of
Ad
Da
wah
and
dep
orte
d to
Iran
thou
sand
s of
Shia
s of
Iran
ian
orig
in.
In
the
sum
mer
of
198
0,
Sad
dam
Hus
sein
orde
red
the
exec
utio
ns
of
pres
ume
d
Ad
Da
wah
lead
er
Aya
tolla
h
Say
yid
Mu
ham
mad
Baq
r as
Sadr
and
his
siste
r.

In
Sept
emb
er
198
0,
bord
er
skir
mis
hes
erup
ted
in
the
cent
ral
sect
or
near
Qas
r-e
Shir
in,
with
an
exc
han
ge
of
artil
lery
fire
by
both
side
s. A
few
wee
ks
later
,
Sad
dam
Hus
sein
offi
ciall
y
abro
gate
d
the
197
5
treat
y
bet
wee
n
Iraq
and
Iran
and
ann
oun
ced
that
the
Arv
and-
Rou
d
(Sha
tt al
Ara
b)
was
retu
rnin
g to
Iraq
i
sove
reig
nty.
Iran
reje
cted
this
acti
on
and
host
ilitie
s
esca
late
d as
the
two
side
s
exc
han
ged
bom
bing
raid
s
dee
p
into
each
othe
r's
terri
tory,
begi
nnin
g
wha
t
was
to
be a
prot
ract
ed
and
extr
eme
ly
cost
ly
war.

Bag
hda
d
orig
inall
y
plan
ned
a
quic
k
vict
ory
over
Teh
ran.
Sad
dam
exp
ecte
d
the
inva
sion
of
the
in
the
Ara
bic-
spea
king
,
oil-
rich
area
of
Kho
uzis
tan
to
resu
lt in
an
Ara
b
upri
sing
agai
nst
Kho
mei
ni's
fund
ame
ntali
st
Isla
mic
regi
me.
This
revo
lt
did
not
mat
erial
ize,
how
ever
,
and
the
Ara
b
min
orit
y
rem
aine
d
loya
l to
Teh
ran.

The
first
day
of
the
war
ng Iranian territories

On
Sept
emb
er
22,
198
0,
for
mati
ons
of
Iraq
i
Mi
G-
23s
and
Mi
G21
s
atta
cke
d
Iran'
s air
base
s at
Meh
raba
d
and
Dos
hen-
Tap
pen
(bot
h
near
Teh
ran),
as
well
as
Tab
riz,
Bak
htar
an,
Ahv
az,
Dez
ful,
Uro
miy
eh,
Ha
mad
an,
San
and
aj,
and
Aba
dan.
Thei
r
aim
was
to
dest
roy
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e on
the
grou
nd--
a
less
on
lear
ned
fro
m
the
Ara
b-
Isra
eli
June
196
7
War
.
The
y
succ
eede
d in
dest
royi
ng
run
way
s
and
fuel
and
am
mun
ition
dep
ots,
but
muc
h of
Iran'
s
aircr
aft
inve
ntor
y
was
left
inta
ct.
Iran
ian
defe
nses
wer
e
cau
ght
by
surp
rise,
but
the
Iraq
i
raid
s
faile
d
beca
use
Iran
ian
jets
wer
e
prot
ecte
d in
spec
ially
stre
ngth
ene
d
han
gars
and
beca
use
bom
bs
desi
gne
d to
dest
roy
run
way
s
did
not
total
ly
inca
paci
tate
Iran'
s
very
larg
e
airfi
elds.
Wit
hin
hour
s,
Iran
ian
F-4
Pha
nto
ms
took
off
fro
m
the
sam
e
base
s,
succ
essf
ully
atta
cke
d
strat
egic
ally
imp
orta
nt
targ
ets
clos
e to
maj
or
Iraq
i
citie
s,
and
retu
rned
hom
e
with
very
few
loss
es.

Sim
ulta
neo
usly
, six
Iraq
i
arm
y
divi
sion
s
ente
red
Iran
on
thre
e
fron
ts in
an
initi
ally
succ
essf
ul
surp
rise
atta
ck,
whe
re
they
drov
e as
far
as
eigh
t
kilo
met
ers
inla
nd
and
occ
upie
d
1,00
0
squa
re
kilo
met
ers
of
Iran
ian
terri
tory.

As a
dive
rsio
nary
mov
e on
the
nort
hern
fron
t, an
Iraq
i
mec
hani
zed
mou
ntai
n
infa
ntry
divi
sion
over
whe
lme
d
the
bord
er
garr
ison
at
Qas
r-e
Shir
in, a
bord
er
tow
n in
Bak
htar
an
(for
merl
y
kno
wn
as
Ker
man
shah
an)
Pro
vinc
e,
and
occ
upie
d
terri
tory
thirt
y
kilo
met
ers
east
war
d to
the
base
of
the
Zag
ros
Mo
unta
ins.
This
area
was
strat
egic
ally
sign
ifica
nt
beca
use
the
mai
n
Bag
hda
d-
Teh
ran
high
way
trav
erse
d it.

On
the
cent
ral
fron
t,
Iraq
i
forc
es
capt
ured
Meh
ran,
on
the
west
ern
plai
n of
the
Zag
ros
Mo
unta
ins
in
Ilam
Pro
vinc
e,
and
pus
hed
east
war
d to
the
mou
ntai
n
base
.
Meh
ran
occ
upie
d an
imp
orta
nt
posi
tion
on
the
maj
or
nort
h-
sout
h
road
,
clos
e to
the
bord
er
on
the
Iran
ian
side.

The
mai
n
thru
st of
the
atta
ck
was
in
the
sout
h,
whe
re
five
arm
ored
and
mec
hani
zed
divi
sion
s
inva
ded
Kho
uzes
tan
on
two
axes
,
one
cros
sing
over
the
Arv
and-
Rou
d(S
hatt
al
Ara
b)
near
Basr
a,
whi
ch
led
to
the
sieg
e
and
eve
ntua
l
occ
upat
ion
of
Kho
rra
msh
ahr,
and
the
seco
nd
hea
ding
for
Sou
sang
erd,
whi
ch
had
Ahv
az,
the
maj
or
mili
tary
base
in
Kho
uzes
tan,
as
its
obje
ctiv
e.
Iraq
i
arm
ored
unit
s
easil
y
cros
sed
the
Arv
and-
Rou
d(S
hatt
al
Ara
b)
wat
erw
ay
and
ente
red
the
Iran
ian
prov
ince
of
Kho
uzes
tan.
Deh
lora
n
and
seve
ral
othe
r
tow
ns
wer
e
targ
eted
and
wer
e
rapi
dly
occ
upie
d to
prev
ent
rein
forc
eme
nt
fro
m
Bak
htar
an
and
fro
m
Teh
ran.
By
mid
-
Oct
ober
,a
full
divi
sion
adv
ance
d
thro
ugh
Kho
uzes
tan
hea
ded
for
Kho
rra
msh
ahr
and
Aba
dan
and
the
strat
egic
oil
field
s
near
by.
Oth
er
divi
sion
s
hea
ded
tow
ard
Ahv
az,
the
prov
inci
al
capi
tal
and
site
of
an
air
base
.
Sup
port
ed
by
hea
vy
artil
lery
fire,
the
troo
ps
mad
ea
rapi
d
and
sign
ifica
nt
adv
ance
--
alm
ost
eigh
ty
kilo
met
ers
in
the
first
few
days
. In
the
battl
e for
Dez
ful
in
Kho
uzes
tan,
whe
re a
maj
or
air
base
is
loca
ted,
the
loca
l
Iran
ian
arm
y
com
man
der
requ
este
d air
sup
port
in
orde
r to
avoi
da
defe
at.
Pres
iden
t
Ban
i
Sadr
,
ther
efor
e,
auth
oriz
ed
the
rele
ase
fro
m
jail
of
man
y
pilot
s,
som
e of
who
m
wer
e
susp
ecte
d of
still
bein
g
loya
l to
the
shah
.
Wit
h
the
incr
ease
d
use
of
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e,
the
Iraq
i
prog
ress
was
som
ewh
at
curt
aile
d.

The
last
maj
or
Iraq
i
terri
toria
l
gain
took
plac
e in
earl
y
Nov
emb
er
198
0.
On
Nov
emb
er 3,
Iraq
i
forc
es
reac
hed
Aba
dan
but
wer
e
repu
lsed
by a
sma
ll
Pas
dara
n
unit.
Eve
n
thou
gh
they
surr
oun
ded
Aba
dan
on
thre
e
side
s
and
occ
upie
da
port
ion
of
the
city,
the
Iraq
is
coul
d
not
over
com
e
the
stiff
resis
tanc
e;
secti
ons
of
the
city
still
und
er
Iran
ian
cont
rol
wer
e
resu
ppli
ed
by
boat
at
nigh
t.
On
Nov
emb
er
10,
Iraq
capt
ured
Kho
rra
msh
ahr
after
a
bloo
dy
hou
se-
to-
hou
se
figh
t
with
the
loca
l
peo
ple.
The
pric
e of
this
vict
ory
was
high
for
both
side
s,
appr
oxi
mat
ely
6,00
0
casu
altie
s for
Iraq
and
eve
n
mor
e for
Iran.

Iraq'
s
blitz
-like
assa
ults
agai
nst
scatt
ered
Iran
ian
forc
es
led
man
y
obse
rver
s to
thin
k
that
Bag
hda
d
wou
ld
win
the
war
with
in a
matt
er of
wee
ks.
Inde
ed,
Iraq
i
troo
ps
did
capt
ure
the
Arv
and-
Rou
d
(Sha
tt al
Ara
b)
and
did
seiz
ea
fort
y-
eigh
t-
kilo
Iraqi Tanks back
met
er-
wid
e
strip
of
Iran
ian
terri
tory.

Iran
may
hav
e
prev
ente
da
quic
k
Iraq
i
vict
ory
by a
rapi
d
mob
iliza
tion
of
volu
ntee
rs
and
depl
oym
ent
of
loya
l
Pas
dara
n
forc
es to
the
fron
t.
Besi
des
enli
stin
g
the
Iran
ian
pilot
s,
the
new
revo
lutio
nary
regi
me
also
reca
lled
vete
rans
of
the
old
imp
erial
arm
y,
alth
oug
h
man
y
exp
erie
nce
d
and
well
train
ed
offi
cers
had
bee
n
purg
ed.
Furt
her
mor
e,
the
Pas
dara
n
and
Basi
j
(wh
at
Aya
tolla
h
Kho
mei
ni
call
ed
the
"Ar
my
of
Twe
nty
Mill
ion"
or
Peo
ple's
Mili
tia)
recr
uite
d at
least
100,
000
volu
ntee
rs.
App
roxi
mat
ely
200,
000
sold
iers
wer
e
sent
to
the
fron
t by
the
end
of
Nov
emb
er
198
0.
The
y
wer
e
ideo
logi
call
y
com
mitt
ed
troo
ps
(so
me
me
mbe
rs
eve
n
carri
ed
their
own
shro
uds
to
the
fron
t in
the
exp
ecta
tion
of
mart
yrdo
m)
that
foug
ht
brav
ely
desp
ite
inad
equ
ate
arm
or
sup
port.
For
exa
mpl
e,
on
Nov
emb
er 7
com
man
do
unit
s
play
ed a
sign
ifica
nt
role,
with
the
nav
y
and
air
forc
e; in
an
assa
ult
on
Iraq
i oil
exp
ort
term
inal
s at
Min
a al
Bak
r
and
Al
Faw
.
Iran
hop
ed
to
dimi
nish
Iraq'
s
fina
ncia
l
reso
urce
s by
redu
cing
its
oil
reve
nues
.
Iran
also
atta
cke
d
the
nort
hern
pipe
line
in
the
earl
y
days
of
the
war
and
pers
uad
ed
Syri
a to
clos
e
the
Iraq
i
pipe
line
that
cros
sed
its
terri
tory.

Iran'
s
resis
tanc
e at
the
outs
et of
the
Iraq
i
inva
sion
was
une
xpe
cted
ly
stro
ng,
but
it
was
neit
her
well
orga
nize
d
nor
equ
ally
succ
essf
ul
on
all
fron
ts.
Iraq
easil
y
adv
ance
d in
the
nort
hern
and
cent
ral
secti
ons
and
crus
hed
the
Pas
dara
n's
scatt
ered
resis
tanc
e
ther
e.
Iraq
i
troo
ps,
how
ever
,
face
d
unti
ring
resis
tanc
e in
Kho
uzes
tan.
Pres
iden
t
Sad
dam
Hus
sein
of
Iraq
may
hav
e
thou
ght
that
the
appr
oxi
mat
ely
3
mill
ion
Ara
bs
of
Kho
uzes
tan
wou
ld
join
the
Iraq
is
agai
nst
Teh
ran.
Inst
ead,
they
join
d
the
Iran'
s
regu
lar
and
irre
gula
r
arm
ed
forc
es
and
foug
ht in
the
battl
es at
Dez
ful,
Kho
rra
msh
ahr,
and
Aba
dan.
Soo
n
after
capt
urin
g
Kho
rra
msh
ahr,
the
Iraq
i
troo
ps
lost
their
initi
ativ
e
and
beg
an
to
dig
in
alon
g
their
line
of
adv
ance
.

Teh
ran
reje
cted
a
settl
eme
nt
offe
r
and
held
the
line
agai
nst
the
mili
taril
y
supe
rior
Iraq
i
forc
e. It
refu
sed
to
acce
pt
defe
at,
and
slo
wly
beg
an a
seri
es
of
cou
nter
offe
nsiv
es in
Janu
ary
198
1.
Bot
h
the
Basi
j
(Po
pula
r
Mo
biliz
atio
n
Arm
y or
Peo
ple's
Arm
y)
volu
ntee
rs
and
the
regu
lar
arm
ed
forc
es
wer
e
eage
r to
figh
t
bac
k.
Arm
ed
forc
es
wer
e
seei
ng
an
opp
ortu
nity
to
rega
in
pres
tige
lost
beca
use
of
their
asso
ciati
on
with
the
shah
's
regi
me.

Iran'
s
first
maj
or
cou
nter
atta
ck
faile
d,
how
ever
, for
polit
ical
and
mili
tary
reas
ons.
Pres
iden
t
Ban
i
Sadr
was
eng
age
d in
a
pow
er
stru
ggle
with
key
relig
ious
figu
res
and
eage
r to
gain
polit
ical
sup
port
amo
ng
the
arm
ed
forc
es
by
dire
ct
invo
lve
men
t in
mili
tary
oper
atio
ns.
Lac
king
mili
tary
exp
ertis
e,
he
initi
ated
a
pre
mat
ure
atta
ck
by
thre
e
regu
lar
arm
ored
regi
men
ts
with
out
the
assi
stan
ce
of
the
Pas
dara
n
unit
s.
He
also
faile
d to
take
into
acco
unt
that
the
grou
nd
near
Sou
sang
erd,
mud
died
by
the
prec
edin
g
rain
y
seas
on,
wou
ld
mak
e
resu
pply
diffi
cult.
As a
resu
lt of
his
tacti
cal
deci
sion
mak
ing,
the
Iran
ian
forc
es
wer
e
surr
oun
ded
on
thre
e
side
s. In
a
long
exc
han
ge
of
fire,
man
y
Iran
ian
arm
ored
vehi
cles
wer
e
dest
roye
d or
had
to
be
aba
ndo
ned
beca
use
they
wer
e
eith
er
stuc
k in
the
mud
or
nee
ded
min
or
repa
irs.
Fort
unat
ely
for
Iran,
how
ever
, the
Iraq
i
forc
es
faile
d to
foll
ow

up
with
anot
her
atta
ck.

Ab
ada
n
suf
fer
ed
hea
vy
da
ma
ges

Iran
stop
ped
Iraq
i
forc
es
on
the
Kar
oun
Riv
er
and,
with
limi
ted
mili
tary
stoc
ks,
unv
eile
d its
"hu
man
wav
e"
assa
ults,
whi
ch
used
thou
sand
s of
Basi
j
(Po
pula
r
Mo
biliz
atio
n
Arm
y or
Peo
ple's
Arm
y)
volu
ntee
rs.
Afte
r
Ban
i
Sadr
was
oust
ed
as
pres
iden
t
and
com
man
der
in
chie
f,
Iran
gain
ed
its
first
maj
or
vict
ory,
whe
n, as
a
resu
lt of
Kho
mei
ni's
initi
ativ
e,
the
arm
y
and
Pas
dara
n
sup
pres
sed
their
rival
ry
and
coo
pera
ted
to
forc
e
Bag
hda
d to
lift
its
long
sieg
e of
Aba
dan
in
Sept
emb
er
198
1.
Iran
ian
forc
es
also
defe
ated
Iraq
in
the
Qas
r-e
Shir
in
area
in
Dec
emb
er
198
1
and
Janu
ary
198
2.
The
Iraq
i
arm
ed
forc
es
wer
e
ham
pere
d by
their
unw
illin
gnes
s to
sust
ain
a
high
casu
alty
rate
and
ther
efor
e
refu
sed
to
initi
ate a
new
offe
nsiv
e.

Des
pite
Iraq
i
succ
ess
in
caus
ing
maj
or
dam
age
to
exp
osed
Iran
ian
am
mun
ition
and
fuel
dum
ps
in
the
earl
y
days
of
the
war,
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e
prev
aile
d
initi
ally
in
the
air
war.
One
reas
on
was
that
Iran
ian
airpl
anes
coul
d
carr
y
two
or
thre
e
time
s
mor
e
bom
bs
or
rock
ets
than
their
Iraq
i
cou
nter
part
s.
Mor
eov
er,
Iran
ian
pilot
s
dem
onst
rate
d
cons
ider
able
exp
ertis
e.
For
exa
mpl
e,
the
Iran
ian
air
forc
e
atta
cke
d
Bag
hda
d
and
key
Iraq
i air
base
s as
earl
y as
the
first
few
wee
ks
of
the
war,
seek
ing
to
dest
roy
sup
ply
and
sup
port
syst
ems.
The
atta
ck
on
Iraq'
s oil
field
com
plex
and
air
base
at
Al
Wal
id,
the
base
for
T-
22
and
Il-
28
bom
bers
,
was
a
well
-
coor
dina
ted
assa
ult.
The
targ
ets
wer
e
mor
e
than
800
kilo
met
ers
fro
m
Iran'
s
clos
est
air
base
at
Uru
miy
eh,
so
the
F-4s
had
to
refu
el in
mid
air
for
the
miss
ion.
Iran'
s air
forc
e
relie
d on
F-4s
and
F-5s
for
assa
ults
and
a
few
F-
14s
for
reco
nnai
ssan
ce.
Alth
oug
h
Iran
used
its
Mav
eric
k
miss
iles
effe
ctiv
ely
agai
nst
grou
nd
targ
ets,
lack
of
airpl
ane
spar
e
part
s
forc
ed
Iran
to
subs
titut
e
heli
copt
ers
for
clos
e air
sup
port.
Heli
copt
ers
serv
ed
not
only
as
gun
ship
s
and
troo
p
carri
ers
but
also
as
eme
rgen
cy
sup
ply
tran
spor
ts.
In
the
mou
ntai
nou
s
area
near
Meh
ran,
heli
copt
ers
prov
ed
adv
anta
geo
us
in
find
ing
and
dest
royi
ng
targ
ets
and
man
euv
erin
g
agai
nst
anti
aircr
aft
gun
s or
man
-
port
able
miss
iles.
Duri
ng
Ope
ratio
n
Kar
bala
Five
and
Ope
ratio
n
Kar
bala
Six,
the
Iran
ians
repo
rtedl
y
eng
age
d in
larg
e-
scal
e
heli
copt
er-
born
e
oper
atio
ns
on
the
sout
hern
and
cent
ral
fron
ts,
resp
ecti
vely
.
Chi
noo
ks
and
sma
ller
Bell
heli
copt
ers,
such
as
the
Bell
214
A,
wer
e
esco
rted
by
Sea
Cob
ra
cho
pper
s.

In
conf
ront
ing
the
Iraq
i air
defe
nse,
Iran
soo
n
disc
over
ed
that
a
low-
flyi
ng
grou
p of
two,
thre
e, or
four
F-4s
coul
d hit
targ
ets
alm
ost
any
whe
re in
Iraq.
Iran
ian
pilot
s
over
cam
e
Iraq
i
SA-
2
and
SA-
3
anti
aircr
aft
miss
iles,
usin
g
Am
eric
an
tacti
cs
dev
elop
ed
in
Viet
nam
;
they
wer
e
less
succ
essf
ul
agai
nst
Iraq
i
SA-
6s.
Iran'
s
Wes
tern
-
mad
e air
defe
nse
syst
em
see
med
mor
e
effe
ctiv
e
than
Iraq'
s
Sovi
et-
mad
e
cou
nter
part.
Nev
erth
eles
s,
Iran
exp
erie
nce
d
diffi
cult
y in
oper
atin
g
and
mai
ntai
ning
Ha
wk,
Rap
ier,
and
Tige
rcat
miss
iles
and
inst
ead
used
anti
aircr
aft
gun
s
and
man
-
port
able
miss
iles.

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