The Iran-Iraq war. Part 1

The Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from 1980 to 1988, was one of the worst and bloodiest conflicts in modern history of mankind. Relations between Tehran and Baghdad have been strained since the creation of the Kingdom of Iraq (1921 year). Both countries have territorial claims against each other. In 1937, between the countries signed an agreement under which the border was to the left (Iranian) side of the Shatt al-Arab.

Throughout the twentieth century, the Iraqi government claimed the east-saving value of the Shatt al-Arab (the Persian version — Arvand Rud). There were placed two large port and industrial center — Abadan (in the town of the former Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was created by one of the world's largest oil refineries) and Khorramshahr (naikrupneyshy trading port and railway junction in the south of Iran). The river Shatt al-Arab, was formed by the merger of the Tigris and Euphrates, and its banks were found rich deposits of black gold. Preserving the East River belongs to Tehran, western — Baghdad. The river is the principal thoroughfare and water resource. The Iranians have insisted, that border was at the center of the river bed. At issue were also 6 small portions of the land boundary, the total area of 370 km. These sites were located north of Khorramshahr, Fuca, Mehran (two sites), Naft-Shahr and Qasr-Shirin.

The conflict provoked anti-government forces and support each other: Baghdad indulged Arab separatism in Khuzestan (the Iraqi government believed that the province should be part of the Arab countries), the two countries have flirted with the Kurds.

The fall of the monarchy in Iraq, the establishment of a republic and the rise to power of the Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'ath) did not improve the business with Iran. The monarch of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, saw political configurations that have occurred in Iraq, a direct threat to his own power. In this he was also intensely assured Washington and London, which by this time firmly ensconced in the Shah's Iran, linking it to yourself to strong threads of military, financial, economic and political dependence. U.S. and Britain tried for Iraq (which began to focus on the USSR) was reincarnated for Iran to head the enemy in the region. All military and political activities of the Shah's regime began to get right expressed anti-Iraq orientation. Also in Tehran decided that Iraq was weakened by internal shocks (coups, Kurdish rebellion under control of Mustafa Barzani, the economic decline). The Iranian government April 19, 1969 in the one-sided manner denounced the contract in 1937. Now the border between Iran and Iraq took place strictly in the center of the river. As expected the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (reigned from 16 September 1941 to 11 February 1979), Iraq was obliged to accept.

In the upcoming business continued to run high. January 20, 1970 a group of conspirators tried to stage a coup in Iraq. Baghdad has accused the Iranian embassy in subversive activities in the country of Iraq. In response, the Iranian government has ordered the Iraqi ambassador to leave Iran within days. In 1971, Iran seized several Iraqi islands in the Strait of Hormuz — Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tunb. And in Iraq, launched an information campaign demanding the return of Khuzestan (Arabistan) Arabs.

October Crisis in 1973 led to the restoration diplomatically relations between Iran and Iraq. But the fundamental contradictions between countries were not permitted. Tehran as previously supported the rebellious Kurds in March 1974, the Iranians opened the border for Kurdish separatists, retreating from Iraq under pressure from government troops. On the territory of Iran had made camp for military training Kurds. Baghdad as a countermeasure in 1975-1978 along the Iran-Iraq border made of so-called. "Arab belt" width up to 25 km — it resettled Iraqi Arabic origin. The situation came to war.

OPEC (Organization of — Petroleum Exporting Countries) was not interested in the aggravation of relations between 2 large oil exporters. With the mediation of the organization between Tehran and Baghdad talks began. As a result, March 6, 1975 in Algeria (in these days of the conference was working there at the OPEC Summit) vice-president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, brokered by the head of Algeria's Houari Boumedienne signed a new agreement on the boundaries in the Shatt al- Arab. Was annulled a contract from 1937 and formally established the thalweg boundary (middle of the fairway) of the river. In response, Iran has pledged to end support for Kurdish separatists. The agreement was backed by 13 June 1975 contract on borders and good neighborly relations between the two states-name. Tehran had to withdraw some troops from the disputed areas. The Iraqi government has conceded Iran 518 square meters. km its territory. The parties agreed to continue negotiations with a view to resolving all the complex contradictions, including the issue of the border regime and the problem of Iraq expelled persons (first 1970 were deported from Iraq to Iran up to 60 thousand people of Iranian origin in order to eliminate the country's "fifth column" ).


Unfortunately, the peace process was not continued. All these initiatives fit tore the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Shah Pahlavi was overthrown and the monarchy abolished, and the new management of Iran referred to the Iraqi Baathists very bad. For example, Ayatollah Khomeini — the leader of the Islamic Revolution and founder of the new order, was once expelled from Iraq Baathists at the request of the Shah of Iran. In addition to a range of different contradictions imposed the religious confrontation: the ruling was the peak of Iraq with the Sunni north-western areas of the country, highlighting the oppression of Shiite unrest in the south in February 1977. Shiite shrines in Karbala, Najaf and other Iraqi towns have become another embodiment of mutual claims.

Being in power in Baghdad and Tehran 2-one hundred percent aggressive to each other regimes did and so complex situation critical. In 1979, Iran's religious government, led by Khomeini, demanded that Baghdad give Shiite shrines, which were in Karbala and Najaf in Iranian city of Qom. Of course, that Baghdad has reacted very negatively. In 1979, all the power in Iraq captured Saddam Hussein's favorite hard. He went on a personal insult Shiites, in October 1979, visiting the holy Shiite city of Najaf, Hussein showed a sketch of a family tree, which has built its lineage to the Prophet Muhammad.

Saddam Hussein decided that a limited military conflict to reason with Iran. He took into account the fact that the international community (West) reacted to Iran's Islamic revolution sharply negative. Now the West has been an ally of Iraq, not Iran. Also in Iran was a process of cleansing the revolutionary armed forces — the army was reduced from 240 to 180 thousand and 250 generals were changed commanders junior level or priests, who were prone to military affairs. As a result, combat capability of the Iranian army had fallen significantly. Hussein took account of this factor.

17 September 1979 the Iraqi government announced the one-sided denunciation of the Algiers Agreement in 1975 on the establishment of the Iran-Iraq border in the Shatt-al-Arab in the center of the fairway. The war became imminent. The society grew brutal mood. October 7, 1979 in Khorramshahr was destroyed Iraqi representation. Tehran officially renamed the Persian Gulf to the Islamic Gulf. The Iranian government supports the creation of a clandestine Iraqi Shiite movements. Baghdad, in turn, funding and arming the Revolutionary Democratic Front for the Liberation Arabistan, troops of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, the grouping o
f "Mujahideen of the people."

The main premise of the war:

— At the base of contradictions between Tehran and Baghdad lay territorial disputes, as the military and political rivalry between them, the struggle for leadership in the Persian Gulf and in the midst of Islamic states.

— Played a significant role conflict Sunni control of Iraq and Iran's Shiite clergy.

— Policies aggravated the situation of the Muslim Shiite clergy led by Ayatollah Khomeini to export the Islamic revolution in the region, Tehran has tried to overthrow the Ba'athist regime in Iraq.

— The personality of Saddam Hussein, his ambitions. Hussein wanted to become a favorite of the Arab world, to weaken the opponent in the Persian Gulf, to use the temporary weakening of Iran, which has lost the support of the West.

— It is worth noting inflammatory activities of Western intelligence agencies, first American that means specially selected disinformation encouraged Saddam Hussein to direct war with Iran. Apparently played a role and interests of Western companies, including the military.

First skirmish

Since the beginning of 1980 between the countries was the de facto border war. Baghdad has calculated from February 23 to July 26, up to 244 "acts of aggression" by the Iranians. Immediately there was an active mental and Information war. April 1, 1980 to the deputy head of the Iraqi government Tareq Aziz during a meeting with students of the Institute of Al-Mustansiriya bomb was thrown. Aziz was injured several people were killed. Hussein accused of attempted Tehran and the Shiite terrorist group hell da'wah. April 5 at the funeral of the victims of an assassination attempt in the institute into a mass bomb was thrown, killing several people. Hussain said that he gave the order to execute the head of Iraqi Shiites (and the head of the organization Hell da'wah) Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr Sadr and his sister. In addition, Iraqi troops bombed the Iranian city of Qasr-Shirin.

There were international scandals. In April, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sadeq Gotbzade during a visit to Syria, said that Hussein Tipo killed during a military coup, and that Tehran is ready to help the Iraqi opposition. Iraq has asked the UN Security Council to demand that the Iranians immediately released a series captured in the 1971 Islands. In response to the Iranian people's favorite Khomeini called on Iraq to overthrow the regime "enemy of Islam and the Koran," Saddam Hussein.

In the summer of 1980, Saddam Hussein really headed for war. In July, at a press conference for foreign journalists had made the statement that Iraq would not "sit warehouse hands" in the face of Iranian aggression. In order to support their own plans on the part of the Arab world's favorite Iraq in August 1980 made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Arab monarchs maintained course Hussein for war, because they detested and feared Khomeini feared the ability to spread the Islamic Revolution in the region. Chronicle visit Hussein of Mecca was broadcast across the Arab world. In addition, Hussein has enlisted the support of the United States, he had good relations with the Soviet Union. Iran is only supported Syria and Libya.

4-6 September 1980 began the first significant armed clashes on the border with the introduction of the heavy artillery, air force and navy in the Qasr el-Shirin. September 8 Charge d'affaires of Iran in the Iraqi capital presented a document stating that Baghdad was in self-defense is obliged to take measures to prevent the occupation of the region Zein Al-Kaus. The memorandum expressed the hope that Tehran will liberate the Iraqi countryside, previously occupied by the Iranians. But this proposal was left unanswered. September 9th Iraqi forces have squeezed the Iranians from the area of Zein al-Cowes. By September 16 the Iraqi army "liberated" 125 m. km territories. In response, Tehran closed for Iraqi aircraft air space of their own country and imposed a ban on navigation on the Shatt al-Arab and the Strait of Hormuz. Sept. 17 at a special meeting of the State Council, Saddam Hussein said on lopsided cancellation of the Algiers Agreement of 1975. He said that the Shatt al-Arab to become only the Arab and Iraqi. September 22, 1980, Iraqi forces launched a strategic advent of the Khuzestan.

Hussein had reason to believe that the war will be a winning one. The Iraqi armed forces had a significant advantage on manpower (240 thousand troops, plus 75 thousand so-called.'s Army, about 5 thousand security forces) on the tanks (about 3 thousand tanks, 2.5 million units armored vehicles). Iran has had 180 thousand people, about 1,600 tanks. In artillery and aircraft were approximately equal. Exclusively in the Navy Iranians had a certain advantage, since the Shah once dreamed to be a "policeman" Persian Gulf and paid great attention to the development of the Navy. The Iranian army has been weakened by revolutionary cleaning, yielded several Iraqi aircraft from a technical point of view. Major weakness of the Iranian Armed Forces had no combat experience, in contrast to his own enemy: Iraqi troops engaged in war against the Jewish state (in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973) and had the experience of counterinsurgency war in Kurdistan (1961-1970, 1974-1975) . In Khuzestan Iraqi military could meet the benevolent attitude of the Arab population. Hussein was in "trump card" — significant supplies of chemical weapons and developing nuclear programm. The Iraqi army had to overcome enormous odds in the short campaign. But Iraq ought to be afraid of a protracted war. Iran has had a significant human resources (in Iraq in 1977, there were 12 million people). 50 million of the Islamic Republic of Iran's long war of attrition grind Iraqi troops, and then go to the offensive. In addition, the public has a strong patriotic, religious and revolutionary core.

To be continued …

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