The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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1. Iraq simply was not a "client" of the US during that period. Iraq
trying very hard to improve relations with Washington, but it certainly
cannot be labeled a client-state.
M: Yes, I agree it cannot be labelled a client-state. What I was briefly trying to say in my original email was that, Iraq in it's pre-Kuwait invasion state was a favoured friend of the US and the west, Hussein was supported militaraly and economically (the French among others supplied arms in the war against Iran).
2. The Iran-Iraq war. Iran certainly was not an innocent victim.
that time was being ruled by the most extreme reactionary elements who
needed a foreign crisis to consolidate power and to decimate the leftist and
progressive forces. The revolutionary regime had inherited the massive army
of the Shah, who the US had armed to the teeth. Iran is three times the size
and three times the population of Iraq. The new Iranian regime targeted
Iraq, as the next logical step to export the Islamic "revolution". The new
Iranian regime hated Iraq's secular government and society. Iran conducted
an extensive campaign of terrorist bombings and assasination attempts inside
Iraq, and even started shelling Iraqi border towns--all before the war
started. If Iran had even done half of that against the US, you can be sure
that the US would have gone to war too!! It takes two to fight a war. Don't
lay all the blame on Iraq. And no matter how it started, there is absolutely
no question that the Iranian regime prolonged that war for years and years.
Years when so many people died and so much potential of both countries was
wasted. The Iran-Iraq war was a terrible war, it set the entire region back
decades, it destroyed the potential of the two most beautiful and advanced
countries in the region. So many people suffered so very much because of
that terrible war. It is simply unjust, unfair and completely inaccurate to
lay all the blame for this on Iraq!!
M: I do not lay all the blame for the Iran - Iraq war on Iraq, I also lay the blame on the west (as I mentioned in my original email). I utterly refute your description of events leading up to the war, any border skirmishes which took place before the war began in earnest where a direct response to Iraqi or Iranian counterrevolutionary aggression along the Iran -Iraq border. After the 1979 revolution in Iran, Iraq's rulers saw the weakening of the old Iranian armed forces as an opportunity to seize oil-rich Khurzistan province and the Shatt-al-Arab waterway and nearby port facilities along Iraq's long eastern border with Iran. At the same time they feared the political example of the Iranian revolution on the workers in Iraq and it's destabilising impact on the capitalist-land lord regimes throughout the region. Baghdad expelled the Ayatollah Ruhollah khomeini from Iraq and opened it's doors to high ranking officials of the Shah's regime and members of the officer corps of the SAVAK and Iranian army. Iraq helped to establish base camps from which to organize armed operations and coup attempts against the new government in Tehran. While welcoming these counterrevolutionary forces in spring 1980 Iraq expelled tens of thousands of Iraqis, alleging they were of Iranian origin. On september 22nd 1980 Baghdad launched an invasion of Iran. They were armed during the conflict by several western governments including France, Britain and Italy. The monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other Gulf states as well as virtually all the other governments in the Arab league (except for Algeria, Libya and Syria) backed Iraqs war against Iran. Many provided economic support. Suffice to say after a bloody war in which hundreds of thousands lost their lives in Aug 1988 Iran agreed to a cease-fire on terms favourable to Iraqi regime, leaving the entire Shatt-al-Arab waterway and some other Iranian territory in Iraqi control. Two years later that territory was ceded back to Iran to releive military pressure of its eastern flank during the US build up in Saudi Arabia. To further illustrate the point that Iraq has no qualms about violating Irans sovereignty, in recent years Iraq has crossed deep into Irans territory several times in order to pursue its attacks against the Kurdish people. Iran has condemmed these intrusions but has not retaliated militaraly. Finally I will concede that Iran made some errors during that war internally and externally which cost many civillian lives on both sides. It was indeed a terrible conflict that should never have happend.
3.First you should know the history of northern Iraq. For the
last 150 armed Kurdish groups have consistently harassed and periodically
massacred the non-Kurdish populations of that region. The
Assyrians/Chaldeans and Armenians were brutally massacred by Kurdish
guerillas (before, during AND after World War I). Even today in the safe
haven, non-Kurds (Assyrians/Chaldeans, Yezidis, Armenians, Arabs, Turcomen)
live in a state of fear. A massacre is a massacre and must be condemned no
matter who commits it, BUT you give a completely wrong impression when you
only speak of Kurds as victims without giving the other side of the story.
And of course, it is well known that the Kurds were given far more rights
and respect in Iraq, than in either Turkey or Iran (including the Monarchy
and the Islamic Republic).
M: I do know my history my friend. However another emailer Ben Rempel has made several points on this issue already. Although I will try to add to these when I have a little more time, suffice to say I do agree with most of your comments concerning Kurdish rights and respect in Iraq other than to agree that Turkey and Iran have been guilty of mistreatment of the Kurdish people, by far the worst being Turkey who I would say are equally guilty of waging a murderous war on the Kurds as Iraq. Turkey are of course another US/ Westrern allie.