Iran–Iraq War

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Iran–Iraq War


caption=Iranian soldier with gas mask in the battlefield.
date=22 September 1980 – 20 August 1988
place=Persian Gulf, Iranian-Iraqi border
result=Stalemate; UN Resolution 598 (ceasefire); Strategic Iraqi failure; Tactical Iranian failure. Both sides claim victory
territory=Status quo ante bellum; observed by UNIIMOG based on UN Resolution 619
combatant1=flagcountry|Iran
combatant2=flagicon|Iraq|1963 Iraq¹
People's Mujahedin of Iran
flagicon| Arab League Soldiers and volunteers from different Arab countriescitation
title = 1979: The Year That Shaped the Modern Middle East
first = David W. |last= Lesch
page = 85
publisher = Westview Press
year =2001
]
Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, Komalah [ [http://www.asylumlaw.org/docs/iran/mar99_iran_kurds.pdf Kurds in Iran (page2)] ] [ [http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/16496 WHO ARE THE MEN IN THIS PHOTO?]

"He then makes an oblique reference to the fact that Ghassemlou and his party had collaborated with Saddam Hussain during Iraq's war against Iran"
]
flagicon|United States United States Navy
commander1=flagicon|Iran Ruhollah Khomeini
flagicon|Iran Abolhassan Banisadr
flagicon|Iran Ali Khamenei
flagicon|Iran Ali Sayed Shirazi
flagicon|Iran Mostafa Chamran KIA
commander2=flagicon|Iraq|1963 Saddam Hussein
flagicon|Iraq|1963 Ali Hassan al-Majid
Massoud Rajavi
strength1=305,000 soldiers
Est. 400,000 to 700,000 Pasdaran and Basij militia900 tanks
1,000 armored vehicles
1,000 artillery pieces
447 aircraft
750 helicopterscitation
url = http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/irtoc.html
author = Federal Research Division
title = Country Study: Iran
publisher = Library of Congress
]
strength2=200,000 in 1980
800,000 by 1988
5,000 tanks
4,000 armored vehicles
7,330 artillery pieces
500+ aircraft,
100+ helicopters
casualties1= 500,000-1,000,000(widely estimated) [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761580640_2/Iran-Iraq_War.html] Economic Loss= more than US$500 billion [ [http://www.emadbaghi.com/archives/2005/09/000618print.php (امار شهداي جنگ) جامعه شناسي جنگ] from Website of Prominent Iranian Journalist and Rights Activist, Emadeddin Baghi] Other Est. 250,000 - 750,000
casualties2=Est. 250,000-500,000 soldiers/militia/civilians killed or wounded Economic Loss= more than US$500 billion
notes=¹ With support from the U.S.S.R., the People's Republic of China, France, Brazil, Egypt, Denmark, the United States, and other Arab, NATO and Warsaw Pact countries.
The Iran–Iraq War, also known as the Imposed War (جنگ تحمیلی, "Jang-e-tahmīlī") and Holy Defense (دفاع مقدس, "Defā'-e-moghaddas") in Iran, and Saddām's Qādisiyyah (قادسيّة صدّام, "Qādisiyyat Ṣaddām") in Iraq, was a war between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988.

The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of border disputes and fears of Shia insurgency among Iraq's long suppressed Shia majority influenced by Iran's Islamic revolution. Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of revolutionary chaos in Iran and attacked without formal warning, they made only limited progress into Iran and within several months were repelled by the Iranians who regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years Iran was on the offensive.citation
last = Molavi | first = Afshin
title = The Soul of Iran
publisher = Norton
year = 2005
page = 152
] 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. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0DEFDC113EF937A25750C0A9659C8B63 "THREATS AND RESPONSES: BRIEFLY NOTED; IRAN-IRAQ PRISONER DEAL", by Nazila Fathi, New York Times, March 14, 2003] ]

The war is noted for several things. It was of great cost in lives and economic damage - a half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers as well as civilians are believed to have died in the war with many more injured and wounded - but brought neither reparations nor change in borders. It is also noted for its similarity to World War I. Tactics used included trench warfare, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, use of barbed wire across trenches and on no-mans land, 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.

Background

History of war's name

The war was commonly referred to as the Gulf War or Persian Gulf War until the Iraq-Kuwait conflict (Operation Desert Storm Jan-Feb 1991), 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 Gulf War." The United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ongoing conflict there has since been called the Second Persian Gulf War.

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 Assyria (the Fertile Cresent valley, modern Syria) and the rugged highlands to the East (Persia or modern Iran) since the beginning of recorded history in Sumer.

Of strategic importance was 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 (Peace of Qasr-e-Shirin). 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. Today's border comes from the Treaty of Zuhab. Modern Iraq was created from the British Mandate of Mesopotamia, formed after the final collapse of the Ottoman empire following the First World War, thereby inheriting all the disputes with Persia.

Saddam Hussein biographers have described Saddam's anti-Iranianism, developed in his formative years living with his virulently anti-Iranian uncle Khairallah Talfah as a factor in his later foreign policy, including the Iran–Iraq War. citation
url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/03/18/wisad18.xml
title = He dreamed of glory but dealt out only despair
first = David | last = Blair
journal = The Daily Telegraph
date = March 18, 2003
] cite book
first = Con | last = Coughlin
title = Saddam: His Rise and Fall
page = 19
ISBN = 9780060505431
publisher = Harper Perennial
year = 2005
] Talfah was the author of , a pamphlet Saddam's government was later to republish.citation
author = Kengor, Paul
title = The rise and fall of a dictator
journal =The Washington Times
date = January 7, 2007
url = http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5244/is_200701/ai_n20941022
]

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.citation | title = 2005: Tonb (Greater and Lesser) | first = Guive |last= Fendereski
page =
publisher = www.iranica.com Eisenbrauns Inc.
year =2005
] Iraq then expropriated the properties of 70,000 Iraqis of Iranian origin and expelled them from its territory, after complaining to the Arab League and the UN without success. Fact|date=September 2008

One of the factors contributing to hostility between the two powers was a dispute over full control of the Arvand Rūd 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. During the first few years of the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war, the Iraqi government tried to accommodate the Kurds in order to focus on the war against Iran. In 1984, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan agreed to cooperate with Baghdad, but the Kurdish Democratic Party remained opposed. [ [http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22079.pdf CRS Report for Congress: The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq(Page 2)] ]

In the 1975 Algiers Accord 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.

After the Islamic Revolution

[
Hands of Victory’, opened August 1989.] The Pan-Islamism and revolutionary Shia Islamism of Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran; and the Arab nationalism of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime were central to the conflict.

Saddam Hussein was keenly interested in elevating Iraq to a strong regional power. A successful invasion of Iran would enlarge Iraq's oil reserves and make Iraq the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region.

On several occasions Saddam 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." [Speech made by Saddam Hussein. Baghdad, "Voice of the Masses" in Arabic, 1200 GMT 2 April 1980. FBIS-MEA-80-066. 3 April 1980, E2-3. E3]

In turn the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini believed Muslims, particularly the Shias in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, whom he saw as oppressed, could and should follow the Iranian example, rise up against their governments to join a united Islamic republic. [cite book
title = Islam and Revolution: Writing and Declarations of Imam Khomeini
author = Khomeini,Ruhollah and Algar, Hamid (translator)
publisher = Mizan Press
year = 1981
pages = 122
] 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,"cite book
author = Mackey, Sandra
title = The Iranians: Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation
publisher = Dutton
year = 1996
pages = 317
] and called on Iraqis to overthrow Saddam and his regime. 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.

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.Fact|date=February 2008

Iran's embassy in London was 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. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2000/iranian_embassy_siege/intro.stm BBC News Online: Iranian Embassy Siege ] ]

The UN Secretary General report dated 9 December 1991 (S/23273)Clarifyme|date=January 2008 explicitly cites "Iraq's aggression against Iran" in starting the war and breaching International security and peace.citation
first = R.K. Ramazani
title = Who started the Iran–Iraq War?
journal= Virginia Journal of International Law
volume =33
date = Fall 1992
pages = pp. 69–89
url = http://www.student.virginia.edu/~vjil
]

Timeline

eptember 1980: Iraqi invasion

Iraq launched a full-scale invasion of Iran on September 22 1980. Iraq's pretext was an alleged assassination attempt on Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in southern Iraq, which Saddam Hussein blamed on "Iranian agents", in one of his speeches.

"Relations deteriorated rapidly until in March 1980, Iran unilaterally downgraded its diplomatic ties to the charge d'affaires level, withdrew its ambassador, and demanded that Iraq do the same. The tension increased in April following the attempted assassination of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz and, three days later, the bombing of a funeral procession being held to bury students who had died in an earlier attack. Iraq blamed Iran, and in September, attacked.

On September 17, in a statement addressed to the Iraqi parliament, Saddam Hussein stated that "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 disposal rights emanating from full sovereignty over the river."cite book
title = The Iran–Iraq War, 1980-1988
first = Efraim | last = Karsh
page = 22
publisher = Osprey Publishing
year = 2002
]

On September 22 1980, Iraqi air force attacked Iran, attacking ten airfields inside Iran, but failed to achieve their objective of destroying the Iranian air force on the ground. cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
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pages = 22
url =
doi =
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isbn =
] The next day Iraq initiated a ground invasion of Iran along a front measuring 644 kilometres, in three simultaneous thrusts. The purpose of the invasion, according to Saddam Hussein, was to blunt the edge of Khomeini's movement and to thwart his attempt to export his Islamic revolution to Iraq and the Persian Gulf states."citation
title = Iran and Iraq: Perspectives in Conflict
volume = research report
first = Gregory S. | last = Cruze
publisher = U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College
url = http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1988/CGS.htm
date = Spring 1988
] Of the six Iraqi divisions that were invading, four were sent against the Iranian province of Khuzestan, which was located near the southern end of the border, to cut-off the Shatt al-Arab from the rest of Iran, and to establish a territorial security zone. The other two divisions invaded through the northern, and central part of the border, to prevent an Iranian counter-attack into Iraq.cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 23
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] Two of the four Iraqi divisions operating near the southern end, one mechanized and one armored, began a siege of the strategically important towns of Abadan and Khorramshahr. The other two, both armoured, secured the territory bounded by the line Khorramshahr-Ahvaz-Susangerd-Musian, due to an enveloping movement. On the central front, the Iraqis occupied Mehran, advanced towards the foothills of the Zagros Mountains; and were able to block the traditional Tehran-Baghdad invasion route by securing some territory forward of Qasr-e-Shirin. On the northern front, the Iraqis attempted to establish a strong defensive position opposite Suleimaniya to protect the Iraqi Kirkuk oil complex.

Since the Iranian regular military and the Pasdaran conducted their operations separately, the Iraqi invading forces did not face co-ordinated resistance. On September 24, though, the Iranian navy attacked Basra and, on the way, had destroyed two oil terminals near the Iraqi port of Fao, which reduced Iraq's ability to export oil.cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 29
url =
doi =
id =
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] The Iranian air force also begun air strikes in September against strategically important Iraqi targets, including oil facilities, dams, petrochemical plants, and a nuclear reactor near Baghdad. Baghdad was subjected to eight air raids by October 1. In response to these air attacks, Iraq launched a number of aerial strikes against Iranian targets. The Pasdaran fought against the Iraqi invasion with "great fervour and tenacity", and bore the brunt of the invasion.cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 25
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] On October 24, Khorramshahr was capturedcite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 27
url =
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] , and by November Saddam ordered his forces to advance towards Dezful and Ahvaz, but they were not successful in occupying these two settlements.

Iraq had mobilized 21 divisions for the invasion, while Iran countered with only 13 regular army divisions and one brigade. Of these divisions, only 7 of those were deployed to the border.

The objectives of Iraq's invasion of Iran were:
#Control over the Shatt al-Arab waterway
#Acquisition of the three islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, on behalf of the UAE.
#Annexation of Khuzestan to Iraq
#Overthrow of the revolutionary regime in TehranFact|date=January 2008

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.

The invasion stalls

The Iraqi invasion soon encountered unexpected resistance, however, and around March 1981 it stalled. A preemptive strike executed by the Iraqi Air Force on the first day of the war successfully destroyed parts of Iran's airbase infrastructure, but failed to destroy a significant number of aircraft. The IQAF was only able to strike in depth with a few MiG-23BN, Tu-22 and Su-20 aircraft, ineffective in a country as large as Iran. When three MiG-23BN's flew over Tehran, they attacked its airport but damaged only a few aircraft.cite book
title = The Lessons of Modern War: Volume Two - The Iran-Iraq Conflict
author =Cordesman, Anthony and Wagner,Abraham R.
publisher =Westview
year = 1990
page = 102
] Over the next day dozens of Iranian F-4s attacked Iraqi targets, and in a few days the IRIAF gained air superiority over IQAF, allowing them to conduct ground attack missions with fighter-bombers and helicopters.

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, many of them "ideologically committed" volunteers. The Iraqis soon found the Iranian military was not nearly as depleted as they had thought.

For about a year after the Iraqi offensive stalled in March 1981 there was little change in the front, but in mid-March 1982 Iran took the offensive and the Iraqi military was forced to retreat. 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.

Iraq retreats but the war continues

Saddam decided to withdraw his armed forces completely from Iran, and that they should be deployed along the international border between Iraq and Iran. Efraim Karsh states that Saddam made this choice because the Iraqi leader believed that his army was now too demoralised and damaged to hold onto any territory in Iran, and that Iran could be successfully resisted through a line of defence on Iraqi land near the border. Using the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6 1982 as a pretext for a withdrawal, Saddam suggested to Iran that they should stop fighting, and that they should send their troops to assist the Palestinians fighting in Lebanon, an offer which was refused. The withdrawal began on June 20, and was complete by June 30.cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 36
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] Karsh describes Saddam's decision to withdraw his forces from Iran as "one of his wisest strategic moves during the war".

A Saudi Arabia-backed plan to end the war agreed to by Iraq included $70 billion in war reparations to be paid by Arabian states of the Persian Gulf on behalf of Iraq, and complete the Iraqi evacuation from Iranian territory - an offer called by some critics of Iranian government as "extraordinarily favorable to Iran."cite book
author = Molavi, Afsin
title =The Soul of Iran
publisher = Norton
year = 2005
page =270
] Iran rejected Iraq's offer, demanding the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, the repatriation of 100,000 Shi'ites expelled from Iraq before the war, and $150 billion in war reparations. Fact|date=January 2008

On June 21, Khomeini indicated that Iran would invade Iraq shortly, and on June 22, the Iranian Chief-of-Staff Shirazi declared to "continue the war until Saddam Hussein is overthrown so that we can pray at Karbala and Jerusalem". This matched a comment made by Khomeini on the issue of a truce with Iraq: "There are no conditions. The only condition is that the regime in Baghdad must fall and must be replaced by an Islamic Republic."cite book
title = In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade
author = Wright, Robin
year = 1989
pages = 126
publisher = Simon and Schuster
]

Iranian offensive, blunders, and hardening of Iraqi resolve

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.

However, in this offensive, the Iranians encountered an Iraqi enemy which had entrenched itself in formidable defenses. Unlike the hastily improvised defenses that the Iraqis had manned in Iran during the 1980-1981 occupation of the conquered territories, the border defenses were, by necessity, well developed even before the war; and the Iraqis were able to utilize a highly-developed network of bunkers and artillery fire-bases. Saddam had also more than doubled the size of the Iraqi army from 1981's 500,000 soldiers (26 divisions and 3 independent brigades) to 1985's 1,050,000 (55 divisions and nine brigades).Fact|date=January 2008

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, lack of ammunition, meant that the Iranians were now launching human-wave assaults, with no support from other branches of the military. The superior defenses of the Iraqis meant that tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers were lost in most operations after 1982, and the Iraqi defenses would continue to hold in most sectors.

In the Basra offensive, or Operation Ramadan five human-wave attacks were met with withering fire from the Iraqis. The boy-soldiers of Iran were particularly hard-hit, especially since they volunteered to run into minefields, in order to clear the way for the Iranian soldiers behind them. The Iranians were also hard-hit by the employment of gas by the Iraqis.

1983-1985: Iraq battered, but not beaten

, with Iranian soldiers on the front-line. Khameini opposed Khomeini's decision to extend the war into Iraq.cite book
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Iran–Iraq War: 1980-1988
publisher =
date =
location =
pages = 41
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] ] After the failure of their 1982 summer offensives, Iran believed that a major effort along the entire breadth of the front would yield the victory that they desired. Iranian numerical superiority might have achieved a break-through if they had attacked across all parts of the front at the same time, but they still lacked the organization for that type of assault. Iran was getting supplies from countries like North Korea, Libya, and China. The Iraqis had more suppliers like the Warsaw Pact nations, France, Great Britain, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

During the course of 1983, the Iranians launched five major assaults along the front. None met with substantial success. Khomeini's position on a truce remained unchanged.

Saddam had hoped that mounting casualties and the lack of progress would force the Iranians to accept peace, but the Khomeini government again re-iterated their demands for the overthrow of the Ba'ath regime in early 1984.Fact|date=January 2008 Saddam realized that he would need to adopt a more aggressive posture to bring the Iranians to the bargaining table.Fact|date=January 2008 He declared that eleven Iranian cities would come under attack unless Iran halted their acts of aggression by 7 February 1984.

As an answer to this ultimatum, the Iranians launched an attack against Iraqi forces along the northern sector of the front line. Although 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. Iran soon retaliated against urban centers, and these exchanges become known as the first "war of the cities". There would be five throughout the course of the war.

The attacks on the Iranian cities did not destroy the Iranian government's resolve to fight. On 15 February, the Iranians launched a major attack against the central section of the front where the Second Iraqi Army Corps was deployed. 250,000 Iranians faced 250,000 Iraqis.

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 cut the key highway linking Baghdad and Basra. Capture of this road would have made it extremely difficult for the Iraqis to supply and co-ordinate the defenses, but the Iranian forces only came within convert|15|mi|km of the highway.

However, Operation Khaibar met with much greater success. Involving a number of thrusts towards the key Iraqi city of Basra, the operation started on the 24 February and lasted until 19 March. The Iraqi defenses, under continuous strain since 15 February, seemed close to breaking conclusively. The Iraqis successfully stabilized the front but not before the Iranians captured part of the Majnun Islands. Despite a heavy Iraqi counterattack 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.citation
url = http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
title =Iran–Iraq War (1980-1988)
publisher = Globalsecurity.org (John Pike)
]

January 1985 - February 1986: Abortive offensives by Iran and Iraq

With his armed forces now benefiting from financial support from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Persian Gulf states, and substantial arms purchases from the Soviet Union, China and France (among others), Saddam went on the offensive on 28 January 1985, for the first time since late 1980. This offensive, however, did not produce any significant gains, and the Iranians responded in kind with their own offensive directed against Basra, codenamed Operation Badr, on 11 March 1985. 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 molding the Pasdaran units into a much more conventional fighting force. The attack did succeed in capturing a part of the Baghdad-Basra highway that had proven 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.

The Tanker War and U.S. support for Iraq

The Tanker War started when Iraq attacked Iranian tankers and the oil terminal at Kharg island in 1984. Iran struck back by attacking tankers carrying Iraqi oil from Kuwait and then any tanker of the Gulf states supporting Iraq. The air and small boat attacks did very little damage to Gulf state economies and Iran just moved its shipping port to Larak Island in the strait of Hormuz.citation
first = TDP | last = Dugdale-Pointon
date = 27 October 2002
title = Tanker War 1984-1988, | url = http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/wars_tanker.html
]

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.citation
url=http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
title = Arming Iraq: A Chronology of U.S. Involvement
first = John | last = King
date = March 2003
publisher = Iran Chamber Society
] 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 to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran." [See statement by former NSC official Howard Teicher, dated 1/31/95,cite court
litigants = U.S. vs. Highsmith, Carlos Cardoen, Frnco Safta, Jorge Burr, Industrias Cadoen Limitada
vol =
reporter =
opinion = |pinpoint =
court = US District Court, Southern District of Florida
date =
url=

*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.
] citation
url = http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1291
date= May/June 1995
title = Iraqgate: Confession and Cover-Up
first= Robert | last = Parry
] President Reagan formalized this policy by issuing a National Security Decision Directive ("NSDD") to this effect in June, 1982.

Attacks on shipping

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 neutral ships headed to Iraqi ports, effectively guaranteeing Iraq's revenue stream for the duration of the war.Fact|date=April 2008

Iraqi attack on US warship

On May 17 1987, an Iraqi plane attacked the USS "Stark" (FFG 31), a "Perry" class frigate, killing 37 and injuring 21.citation
journal = Military Law Review
Volume = 143
date = Winter 1994
title = Rules of Engagement for Land Forces: A Matter of Training, Not Lawyering
first = Mark S. | last = Martins
pages = 43-46
url = http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/Military_Law_Review/pdf-files/27687D~1.pdf
] citation
title = No Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf
pages = pp. 61-63
Persian Gulf
first = Bradley | last = Peniston
publisher = Naval Institute Press
ISBN = 1591146615.
url = http://www.navybook.com/nohigherhonor/pic-stark.shtml
]

US military actions toward Iran

However, U.S. attention was focused on isolating Iran as well as freedom of navigation, criticizing Iran's mining of international waters, and sponsored , 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".citation
title = Better Lucky than Good: Operation Earnest Will as Gunboat Diplomacy
first = Stephen Andrew | last = Kelley
date = June 2007
volume = Master's Thesis
publisher = U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
]

On April 14 1988, the frigate USS "Samuel B. Roberts" was badly damaged by an Iranian mine, suffering 10 wounded but no dead. 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 oil platforms, two Iranian ships and six Iranian gunboats were destroyed. An American helicopter also crashed.

US shoots down civilian airliner

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, which later appeared to be untrue. cite book
first = Robert | last = Fisk
title = The Great War for Civilization - The Conquest of the Middle East
year = 2007
publisher = Vintage
ISBN-10 = 1400075173
] 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.


George H.W. Bush (U.S. Vice President) [July 14, 1988] :"One thing is clear, and that is that the USS Vincennes acted in self-defense."

Ted Koppel [voice-over] : An official story—Of the American warship as victim.At the right place.At the right time.Minding its own business.

Richard S. Williamson (Assistant Secretary of State, International Organization Affairs, 1988-1989) [July 13, 1988] : "The ship was, at the time of the incident, in international waters."

Ted Koppel [voice-over] :It was official.And untrue.Tonight, the real story of what happened.And why.On July 3, 1988.And why the U.S. government tried to cover it up. citation
url = http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/ir655-nightline-19920701.html
title = The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War
date = July 1, 1992
first = Ted | last = Koppel
journal = ABC Nightline
]

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 airliner, it was performing such an operation.

In 1996 the U.S. agreed to pay $131,800,000 in compensation for the incident, but expressed regret only for the loss of innocent life, and did not make a specific apology to the Iranian government.cite book
title = The Iran–Iraq War: The Politics of Aggression
first = Farhang | last = Rajaee
publisher = University Press of Florida
]

The shooting down of a civilian Iranian passenger plane "Iran Air Flight 655" by the American cruiser "USS Vincennes", was cited by an Iranian scholar Who|date=April 2008 as apparently giving Ruhollah Khomeini reason to withdraw from the conflict: [ [http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=90411. "The 1980-1988 Iran–Iraq War: A CWIHP Critical Oral History Conference", Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, August 11, 2004] ]

"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 air power 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.

Iraq's air force soon began strategic bombing against Iranian cities, chiefly Tehran, in 1985. To minimize losses from the superior Iranian Air Force, Iraq rapidly switched to Scud and Al-Hussein improved Scud launches. In retaliation, Iran fired Scud missiles acquired from Libya and Syria against Baghdad. In all, Iraq launched 520 Scuds and Al-Husseins against Iran and received only 177 in exchange. 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 Iranian Operation Karbala-5, an early 1987 attempt to capture Basra, Iraq attacked 65 cities in 226 sorties over 42 days, bombing civilian neighborhoods. Eight Iranian cities came under attack from Iraqi missiles. The bombings killed 65 children in an elementary school in Borujerd alone. The Iranians also responded with Scud missile attacks on Baghdad and struck a primary school there. These events became known as "the war of the cities".

Towards a ceasefire

1987 saw a renewed wave of Iranian offensives against targets in both the north and south of Iraq. Iranian troops were stopped 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, accepted the resolution. Iran, however, was loathe to surrender its gains when total victory seemed close at hand, and so the fighting continued. [citation
title = Iran–Iraq War: Diplomacy and International Involvement
url = http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761580640_2/Iran-Iraq_War.html
author = MSN Encarta Encyclopedia
]

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. In July 1988 Iraqi airplanes dropped chemical cyanide bombs on the Iranian Kurdish village of Zardan (as they had done four months earlier at their own Kurdish village of Halabja). Hundreds were killed at once, and the survivors are still suffering from a variety of physical and mental disorders. The enraged Iranians considered a huge rearming and nuclear weapons, but decided that this was beyond their means. Following these major setbacks, Iran accepted the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 598. However Iraq, which had seen major victories in the end of the war, thought at first it could invade Iran once more; in the end, Iraqi forces managed to make small gains in Khuzestan but were halted by the Iranians and so Iraq also accepted the terms and on 20 August 1988 peace was restored.

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 defeat for the Mojahedin. Casualty figures range from 2,000 to as high as 10,000.

List of major Iranian operations during the war

#27 September-29 September 1981: "Operation Samen-ol-A'emeh"; Iran retakes Abadan.
#29 November-mid-December 1981: "Operation Tarigh ol-Qods"; Iran retakes Bostan and area north of Susangerd.
#21 March-30 March 1982: "Operation Fath-ol-Mobeen (Operation Undeniable Victory"; Iran expels Iraqi troops from Dezful-Shush area.
#30 April-24 May 1982: "Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas"; Iran retakes Khorramshahr and drives Iraqis back across the border.
#14 July-28 July 1982: "Operation Ramadan"; Failed Iranian offensive to capture Basra.
#9 April-17 April 1983: "Operation Valfajr-1/Dawn-1"; Failed Iranian offensive in Ein Khosh to capture Basra-Baghdad highway.
#19 October-mid November 1983: "Operation Valfajr-4/Dawn 4"; Iranian offensive in Iraq's Kurdistan near Panjwin makes small gains.
#22 February-16 March 1984: "Operation Kheibar"; Iranian offensive captures the Iraqi Majnoon Islands in the Haur al-Hawizeh marshes.
#10 March-20 March 1985: "Operation Badr"; Unsuccessful Iranian offensive to capture the Basra-Baghdad highway.
#9 February-25 February 1986: "Operation Valfajr-8/Dawn 8"; Three-pronged Iranian offensive leads to capture of al-Faw Peninsula.
#2 June 1986: "Operation Karbala-1".
#1 September 1986: "Operation Karbala-2"; Iranian offensive in the Hajj Umran area of Iraqi Kurdistan.
#9 January-26 February 1987: "Operation Karbala-5"; Iranian offensive in southern Iraq to capture Basra.
#21 June 1987: "Operation Nasr 4". Iranian Operation captures Kirkuk
#16 March 1988: "Operation Valfajr-10/Dawn 10"; Iranian offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan.
#27 July 1988: "Operation Mersad".

List of major Iraqi operations during the war

# 22 September-mid November 1980; Iraqi invasion of Iran
# 9 March-10 March 1986; Unsuccessful Iraqi offensive to recapture Al-Faw Peninsula.
# 17 May 1986; Iraqi offensive captures Mehran.
# 16 April-18 April 1988; Iraqi offensive recaptures Al-Faw Peninsula. Use of chemical weapons
# 23 May-25 May 1988; Iraqi offensive in northern and central sectors recaptures Shalamche using chemical weapons.
# 19 June-22 June 1988; Iraqi offensive captures Mehran.
# 25 June 1988; Iraqi offensive recaptures Majnoon Islands.
# 12 July 1988; Iraqi offensive retakes all Iraqi territory in the Musian border region.
# 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.

Order of Battle

Foreign support to Iraq and Iran

During the war, Iraq was regarded by the West (and specifically the United States) as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran. The support of Iraq took the form of technological aid, intelligence, the sale of dual-use and military equipment and satellite intelligence to Iraq. While there was direct combat between Iran and the United States, it is not universally agreed that the fighting between the U.S. and Iran was specifically to benefit Iraq, or for separate, although occurring at the same time, issues between the U.S. and Iran. American ambiguity towards which side to support was summed up by Henry Kissinger when the American statesman remarked that "it's a pity they [Iran and Iraq] both can't lose." [http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-6662950/Like-the-Iran-Iraq-war.html] More than 30 countries provided support to Iraq, Iran, or both. Iraq, in particular, had a complex clandestine procurement network to obtain munitions and critical materials, which, in some transactions, involved 6-10 countries. The most practical way to describe such complex procurement is to put the history in the article for the country in which the sale began.

When a country, at the same or different times, supported both Iran and Iraq, the "export control" section of both articles is apt to be identical, assuming it describes a national policy, or, in some cases, the lack of one. When a country made an exception, that will be noted. Articles in the following table detail of support of other nations to either Iran or Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War:

Weapons of mass destruction

With more than 100,000 Iranian victims of Iraq's chemical weapons during the eight-year war, Iran is one of the countries most severely afflicted by weapons of mass destruction.Center for Documents of The Imposed War, Tehran. (مرکز مطالعات و تحقیقات جنگ)]

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 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." [citation
url = http://www.nj.com/specialprojects/index.ssf?/specialprojects/mideaststories/me1209.html
journal = New Jersey Star-Ledger
title = In Iran, grim reminders of Saddam's arsenal
date = October 27, 2002
author = Fassihi, Farnaz
]

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.

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. [ [51] S/17911 and Add. 1, 21 March 1986. Note that this is a "decision" and not a resolution.]

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", [Colonel Walter Lang, former senior US Defense Intelligence officer, New York Times, August 18, 2002.] Clarifyme|date=January 2008 The Reagan administration did not stop aiding Iraq after receiving reports of the use of poison gas on Kurdish civilians.citation
first1 = Peter W. | last1 =Galbraith | first2 = Christopher Jr. | last2 = Van Hollen
title = Chemical Weapons Use in Kurdistan: Iraq's Final Offensive
volume = staff report to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
date = September 21, 1988
pages = 30
] citation
first = Robert | last = Pear
title = U.S. Says It Monitored Iraqi Messages on Gas
journal = New York Times
date = 15 September 1988
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE6DC1E3BF936A2575AC0A96E948260
] There is great resentment in Iran Fact|date=January 2008 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 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency also accused Iran of using chemical weapons.Fact|date=April 2007 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".citation
last1= Potter | first1= Lawrence |last2= Sick | first = Gary
title = Iran, Iraq, and the legacies of war
year = 2004
publisher = MacMillan
ISBN = 1-4039-6450-5
page = 153
]

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".citation
last1= Potter | first1= Lawrence |last2= Sick | first = Gary
title = Iran, Iraq, and the legacies of war
year = 2004
publisher = MacMillan
ISBN = 1-4039-6450-5
page = 156
] 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".cite book
author = Tragert, Joseph
title = Understanding Iran
year = 2003
ISBN= 1-59257-141-7
page = 190
]

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. [citation
url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20950607-1702,00.html
title = Saddam admits Iran gas attacks]
journal = The Australian
first = Ahmed | last = Rasheed
date = December 19, 2006
] A medical analysis of the effects of Iraqi mustard gas is described a U.S. military textbook, and contrasted with slightly different effects in the First World War.citation
title = Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare
publisher = Office of The Surgeon General, Department of the Army, United States of America
url =http://www.sc-ems.com/ems/NuclearBiologicalChemical/MedicalAspectsofNBC/chapters/chapter_7.htm
contribution = Chapter 7: Vesicants
first1 = Frederick R. | last1 = Sidell
first2 = John S. | last2 = Urbanetti
first3 = William J. | last3=Smith
first4 = Charles G. | last4 = Hurst
]

Aftermath

The war was extremely costly in lives and material, one of the deadliest wars since World War II (see list of wars and disasters by death toll). Both countries were devastated by the war's effect. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties, killed or wounded, and Iranians continue to suffer and die as a consequence of Iraq's use of chemical weapons. Iraqi casualties are estimated at 250,000-500,000 killed or wounded. Thousands of Civilians died on both sides from air raids and missiles.

The financial loss was also heavy, at that time exceeding US$500 billion for each (US$1.2 trillion in total), but shortly after it turned out that the economic cost of war is more profound and long-lasting than estimated right after war. Economic development was stalled and oil exports disrupted. 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 of the war. 10 million shells had landed in Iraq's oil fields at Basra, seriously damaging Iraq's oil production. Prisoners taken by both sides were not released until more than 10 years after the end of the conflict. Cities on both sides had also taken considerable damage.

Not all saw the war in negative terms. The Islamic Revolution of Iran was strengthened and radicalized. [Nasr, Vali, "The Shia Revival", Norton, (2006), p.140] The Iranian government-owned "Etelaat" newspaper wrote:

"There is not a single school or town that is excluded from the happiness of waging war, from drinking the exquisite elixir of death or from the sweet death of the martyr, who dies in order to live forever in paradise." [Column in "Etelaat", April 4, 1983, quoted in Molavi, Afshin, "The Soul of Iran" (Norton), (2006)]

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.

Declassified US intelligence available has explored both the domestic and foreign implications of Iran's apparent (in 1982) victory over Iraq in their then two-year old war. [SNIE 34/36.2-82 link: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB167]

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 center 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." [See items 6, 7, and 8 of the UN Secretary General's report to the UN Security Council on December 9, 1991: [http://www.iranian.com/Kasraie/2005/April/Ahwaz/Images/page1.pdf] ]

In media

*"Dawn of the World". A film about the Iran–Iraq War, directed by Abbas Fahdel in 2008.
* Alhodood Almultahebah (The Flamed Borders) is an Iraqi film released in 1987. It is considered to be the Saving Private Ryan and Enemy at the Gates version of the Iran–Iraq War. The film was a huge hit upon its release, however it is not well known outside Iraq. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkGiB7zvk40 YouTube - Iraqi War Movie ] ] [ [http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/120667/Flaming-Borders/overview Flaming Borders - New York Times] ]

* Kilomètre zéro (Kilometer Zero) is a 2005 French film about a young Iraqi who tries to flee Iraq in the late 1980s. However, he is captured and conscripted into the Iraqi army to fight in the Iran–Iraq War.

* is a documentary that includes a chapter about the Iran Iraq War. [ [http://www.moviesfoundonline.com/iran_iraq.php}] [ [http://www.amazon.ca/Modern-Warfare/dp/B0001MMGTA Amazon.ca: Modern Warfare: DVD ] ] [ [http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Warfare-Various/dp/B0000950XO Amazon.com: Modern Warfare: Various: Movies & TV ] ]

* "Persepolis" is a French animated film based on the eponymous graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi that portrays Satrapi's experiences during the Iranian Revolution and the Iran–Iraq War.

References

ee also

*History of Iran
*Military of Iran
*Military history of Iran
*List of Iranian commanders in the Iran-Iraq War
*Military of Iraq
*History of Iraq
*Saddam's trial and Iran-Iraq War
*Frans Van Anraat
*Iran-Israel relations
*US-Iran relations
*Saddam Hussein - United States relations
*Iran Ajr, the minelaying ship captured by the U.S.
*Morteza Avini, prominent photographer of the Iran–Iraq War
*Kaveh Golestan
*The Night Bus (film)
*Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

External links

* [http://irannegah.com/video_browse.aspx?category=2 Video Archive of Iran–Iraq War]
* [http://www.moviesfoundonline.com/iran_iraq.php Documentary about the war] [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8979584909588245820(on Google)]
*
* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/docs/3203/ FMFRP 3-203 - Lessons Learned: Iran–Iraq War, 10 December 1990] .
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4360137.stm Dutchman charged for selling chemicals to Saddam] , BBC, March 18, 2005.
* Sasan Fayazmanesh, "Historical Amnesia: The Shoot Down of Iran Air Flight 655", Counterpunch, July 11, 2008, [http://www.counterpunch.org/sasan07112008.html] .


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