The Gulf War: A History Just For Kids!

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They are shot, bombed, raped, starved, and driven from their homes. A week later, in Pforzheim, Germany, 17, people were killed in 22 minutes.

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In Russia, after the three-year battle of Leningrad, only , civilians remained in a city that had held a population of 2. One million were evacuated, , were conscripted into the Red Army, and , died. In April , during the Iraqi War, half of the 1. How many refugees axe there? In , 40 million people were displaced from their homes because of armed conflict or human rights violations. Refugees have been a concern throughout the twentieth century.

Five million Europeans were uprooted from to Approximately 2. More than 2 million Rwandans left their country in In , , people were driven from Afghanistan to Pakistan. In early , 45, Liberians were displaced from their homes. What are the consequences of becoming a refugee? Refugees have very high mortality rates, due primarily to malnutrition and infectious disease. Rwandan refugees in Zaire in had a death rate 25 to 50 times higher than prewar Rwandans.

Iraqi Kurdish refugees in Turkey in had a death rate 18 times higher than usual. How does war affect children? More than 2 million children were killed in wars during the s. Three times that number were disabled or seriously injured. Twenty million children were displaced from their homes in Many were forced into prostitution.

A large percentage of those will contract AIDS. Children born to mothers who are raped or forced into prostitution often become outcasts. How many child soldiers are there? More than , worldwide. Soldiers are sometimes recruited at age 10 and younger. The youngest carry heavy packs, or sweep roads with brooms and branches to test for landmines. When children are hostile, the opposing army is more likely to consider every civilian a potential enemy. Why do children join armies? They are often forced to.

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Some are given alcohol or drugs, or exposed to atrocities, to desensitize them to violence. Some join to help feed or protect their families. Some are offered up by their parents in exchange for protection.

Children can be fearless because they lack a clear concept of death. How can war affect women? Women often take on larger economic roles in wartime. They must find ways to compensate for their husband's military deployment or unemployment. Those in war zones must search for food, water, medicine, and fuel despite shortages. Some women in war zones are forced into prostitution to provide for their family.

Famine and stress cause increased stillbirth and early infant death. AIDS risk increases for many women in war, from prostitution, husbands who return from military duty with HIV, or rape. What is genocide? Genocide is any number of acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, according to the United Nations. Others include political and social groups in the definition, making genocide more broadly the annihilation of difference.

Genocidal campaigns have become more frequent since World War I. Modern industrial weapons have made mass killings easier to commit. How many genocides have occurred since World War I? The most devastating include those in the Soviet Union, where approximately 20 million were killed during Stalin's Great Terror s ; Nazi Germany, where 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps along with 5 million or more Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other "enemies of the German state" ; Cambodia, where 1.

How is the U. The U. It oversees the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, which are responsible for land, sea, and air fighting respectively. Excerpted by permission. By , Iraq would have 1 million soldiers, giving it the fourth largest army in the world. Some of their equipment, such as tanks, outnumbered the Iranians' by at least five to one.

Iranian commanders, however, remained more tactically skilled. After the Dawn Operations, Iran attempted to change tactics. In the face of increasing Iraqi defense in depth, as well as increased armaments and manpower, Iran could no longer rely on simple human wave attacks. Iran launched frequent, and sometimes smaller offensives to slowly gain ground and deplete the Iraqis through attrition. The Army and Revolutionary Guards worked together better as their tactics improved.

Iran began training troops in infiltration, patrolling, night-fighting, marsh warfare, and mountain warfare. Iran used speedboats to cross the marshes and rivers in southern Iraq and landed troops on the opposing banks, where they would dig and set up pontoon bridges across the rivers and wetlands to allow heavy troops and supplies to cross. Iran also learned to integrate foreign guerrilla units as part of their military operations. By , the Iranian ground forces were reorganised well enough for the Revolutionary Guard to start Operation Kheibar , [] [] which lasted from 24 February to 19 March.

The marshes negated Iraqi advantage in armor, and absorbed artillery rounds and bombs. Iran launched two preliminary attacks prior to the main offensive, Operation Dawn 5 and Dawn 6. Operation Kheibar began on 24 February with Iranian infantrymen crossing the Hawizeh Marshes using motorboats and transport helicopters in an amphibious assault.

On that day, a massive array of Iranian helicopters transporting Pasdaran troops were intercepted by Iraqi combat aircraft MiGs , Mirages and Sukhois. In what was essentially an aerial slaughter, Iraqi jets shot down 49 of 50 Iranian helicopters. Iraq ran live electrical cables through the water, electrocuting numerous Iranian troops and then displaying their corpses on state television.

By 29 February, the Iranians had reached the outskirts of Qurna and were closing in on the Baghdad—Basra highway. The Iranians retreated back to the marshes, though they still held onto them along with Majnoon Island. The Battle of the Marshes saw an Iraqi defence that had been under continuous strain since 15 February; they were relieved by their use of chemical weapons and defence-in-depth , where they layered defensive lines: even if the Iranians broke through the first line, they were usually unable to break through the second due to exhaustion and heavy losses.

Four years into the war, the human cost to Iran had been , combat fatalities and , wounded. Iraqi combat fatalities were estimated at 80, with , wounded. Unable to launch successful ground attacks against Iran, Iraq used their now expanded air force to carry out strategic bombing against Iranian shipping, economic targets, and cities in order to damage Iran's economy and morale. The so-called "Tanker War" started when Iraq attacked the oil terminal and oil tankers at Kharg Island in early Iraq declared that all ships going to or from Iranian ports in the northern zone of the Persian Gulf were subject to attack.

Iraq repeatedly bombed Iran's main oil export facility on Kharg Island, causing increasingly heavy damage. As a first response to these attacks, Iran attacked a Kuwaiti tanker carrying Iraqi oil near Bahrain on 13 May , as well as a Saudi tanker in Saudi waters on 16 May.

Because Iraq had become landlocked during the course of the war, they had to rely on their Arab allies, primarily Kuwait, to transport their oil. Iran attacked tankers carrying Iraqi oil from Kuwait, later attacking tankers from any Persian Gulf state supporting Iraq. Attacks on ships of noncombatant nations in the Persian Gulf sharply increased thereafter, with both nations attacking oil tankers and merchant ships of neutral nations in an effort to deprive their opponent of trade.

The air and small-boat attacks, however, did little damage to Persian Gulf state economies, and Iran moved its shipping port to Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian Navy imposed a naval blockade of Iraq, using its British-built frigates to stop and inspect any ships thought to be trading with Iraq. They operated with virtual impunity, as Iraqi pilots had little training in hitting naval targets.

Some Iranian warships attacked tankers with ship-to-ship missiles, while others used their radars to guide land-based anti-ship missiles to their targets. These speedboats would launch surprise attacks against tankers and cause substantial damage. Iran also used F-4 Phantoms II and helicopters to launch Maverick missiles and unguided rockets at tankers.

Lloyd's of London , a British insurance market, estimated that the Tanker War damaged commercial vessels and killed about civilian sailors. The largest portion of the attacks was directed by Iraq against vessels in Iranian waters, with the Iraqis launching three times as many attacks as the Iranians.

The Soviet Union agreed to charter tankers starting in , and the United States Navy offered to provide protection for foreign tankers reflagged and flying the U. Iran accused the United States of helping Iraq. During the course of the war, Iran attacked two Soviet merchant ships. Seawise Giant , the largest ship ever built, was struck by Iraqi Exocet missiles as it was carrying Iranian crude oil out of the Gulf. Meanwhile, Iraq's air force also began carrying out strategic bombing raids against Iranian cities. While Iraq had launched numerous attacks with aircraft and missiles against border cities from the beginning of the war and sporadic raids on Iran's main cities, this was the first systematic strategic bombing that Iraq carried out during the war.

This would become known as the "War of the Cities". Iraq used Tu Blinder and Tu Badger strategic bombers to carry out long-range high-speed raids on Iranian cities, including Tehran. Fighter-bombers such as the Mig Foxbat and Su Fitter were used against smaller or shorter range targets, as well as escorting the strategic bombers. In response, the Iranians deployed their F-4 Phantoms to combat the Iraqis, and eventually they deployed Fs as well. Most of the Iraqi air raids were intercepted by the Iranian fighter jets and air defense, [ citation needed ] but some also successfully hit their targets, becoming a major headache for Iran.

By , Iran also expanded their air defense network heavily to take the load of the fighting off the air force. By later in the war, Iraqi raids primarily consisted of indiscriminate missile attacks [ citation needed ] while air attacks were used only on fewer, more important targets. Iran also launched several retaliatory air raids on Iraq, while primarily shelling border cities such as Basra. Iran also bought some Scud missiles from Libya , and launched them against Baghdad.

These too inflicted damage upon Iraq. On 7 February , during the first war of the cities, Saddam ordered his air force to attack eleven Iranian cities; [56] bombardments ceased on 22 February Though Saddam had aimed for the attacks to demoralise Iran and force them to negotiate, they had little effect, and Iran quickly repaired the damage.

Nevertheless, the attacks resulted in tens of thousands of civilian casualties on both sides, and became known as the first "war of the cities".

The First Iraq War Was Also Sold to the Public Based on a Pack of Lies

It was estimated that 1, Iranian civilians were killed during the raids in February alone. While interior cities such as Tehran, Tabriz, Qom, Isfahan and Shiraz did receive numerous raids, it was the cities of western Iran that suffered the most death and destruction. By , Iran's losses were estimated to be , soldiers, while Iraq's losses were estimated to be , Both sides also abandoned equipment in the battlefield because their technicians were unable to carry out repairs. Iran and Iraq showed little internal coordination on the battlefield, and in many cases units were left to fight on their own.

As a result, by the end of , the war was a stalemate. By , Iraqi armed forces were receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Persian Gulf states, and were making substantial arms purchases from the Soviet Union, China, and France. For the first time since early , Saddam launched new offensives. On 6 January , the Iraqis launched an offensive attempting to retake Majnoon Island. However, they were quickly bogged down into a stalemate against , Iranian infantrymen, reinforced by amphibious divisions. Iraq also carried out another "war of the cities" between 12—14 March, hitting up to targets in over 30 towns and cities, including Tehran.

Iran responded by launching 14 Scud missiles for the first time, purchased from Libya. More Iraqi air attacks were carried out in August, resulting in hundreds of additional civilian casualties. Iraqi attacks against both Iranian and neutral oil tankers in Iranian waters continued, with Iraq carrying out airstrikes using French bought Super Etendard and Mirage F-1 jets as well as Super Frelon helicopters, using Exocet missiles.

The Iraqis attacked again on 28 January ; they were defeated, and the Iranians retaliated on 11 March with a major offensive directed against the Baghdad-Basra highway one of the few major offensives conducted in , codenamed Operation Badr after the Battle of Badr , Muhammad's first military victory in Mecca.

It is our belief that Saddam wishes to return Islam to blasphemy and polytheism The issue is one of Islam versus blasphemy, and not of Iran versus Iraq. This operation was similar to Operation Kheibar, though it invoked more planning. Iran used , troops, with 60, more in reserve. They assessed the marshy terrain, plotted points where they could land tanks, and constructed pontoon bridges across the marshes.

The Basij forces were also equipped with anti-tank weapons. The ferocity of the Iranian offensive broke through the Iraqi lines. The Revolutionary Guard, with the support of tanks and artillery, broke through north of Qurna on 14 March. That same night 3, Iranian troops reached and crossed the Tigris River using pontoon bridges and captured part of the Baghdad—Basra Highway 6 , which they had failed to achieve in Operations Dawn 5 and 6. Saddam responded by launching chemical attacks against the Iranian positions along the highway and by initiating the aforementioned second "war of the cities", with an air and missile campaign against twenty to thirty Iranian population centres, including Tehran.

They then launched a pincer attack using mechanized infantry and heavy artillery. The Iranians retreated back to the Hoveyzeh marshes while being attacked by helicopters, [54] and the highway was recaptured by the Iraqis. Operation Badr resulted in 10,—12, Iraqi casualties and 15, Iranian ones. The failure of the human wave attacks in earlier years had prompted Iran to develop a better working relationship between the Army and the Revolutionary Guard [56] and to mould the Revolutionary Guard units into a more conventional fighting force.

To combat Iraq's use of chemical weapons, Iran began producing an antidote. They were primarily used in observation, being used for up to sorties. For the rest of , and until the spring of , the Iranian Air Force's efficiency in air defence increased, with weapons being repaired or replaced and new tactical methods being used. The Iraqi Air Force reacted by increasing the sophistication of its equipment, incorporating modern electronic countermeasure pods, decoys such as chaff and flare , and anti-radiation missiles.

Instead, they would launch Scud missiles, which the Iranians could not stop. Since the range of the Scud missile was too short to reach Tehran, they converted them to al-Hussein missiles with the help of East German engineers, cutting up their Scuds into three chunks and attaching them together.

Iran responded to these attacks by using their own Scud missiles. Aside from extensive foreign help to Iraq, Iranian attacks were severely hampered by their shortages of weaponry, including heavy weaponry. Large portions of them had been lost during the last several years. Iran still managed to maintain 1, tanks often by capturing Iraqi ones and additional artillery, but many needed repairs to be operational.

But by this time Iran managed to procure spare parts from various sources, helping them to restore some weapons. Iran later reverse-engineered and produced those weapons on their own as well. On the night of 10—11 February , the Iranians launched Operation Dawn 8, [] in which 30, troops comprising five Army divisions and men from the Revolutionary Guard and Basij advanced in a two-pronged offensive to capture the al-Faw peninsula in southern Iraq, the only area touching the Persian Gulf. The resistance, consisting of several thousand poorly trained soldiers of the Iraqi Popular Army , fled or were defeated, and the Iranian forces set up pontoon bridges crossing the Shatt al-Arab, [note 1] allowing 30, soldiers to cross in a short period of time.

The sudden capture of al-Faw took the Iraqis by shock, since they had thought it impossible for the Iranians to cross the Shatt al-Arab. On 12 February , the Iraqis began a counter-offensive to retake al-Faw, which failed after a week of heavy fighting. However, their attempts again ended in failure, costing them many tanks and aircraft: [56] their 15th mechanised division was almost completely wiped out. In March , the Iranians tried to follow up their success by attempting to take Umm Qasr , which would have completely severed Iraq from the Gulf and placed Iranian troops on the border with Kuwait.

The battle bogged down into a World War I-style stalemate in the marshes of the peninsula. Immediately after the Iranian capture of al-Faw, Saddam declared a new offensive against Iran, designed to drive deep into the state.

On 15—19 May, Iraqi Army's Second Corps, supported by helicopter gunships, attacked and captured the city. Saddam then offered the Iranians to exchange Mehran for al-Faw. Iraq then continued the attack, attempting to push deeper into Iran. The Iranians built up their forces on the heights surrounding Mehran. On 30 June, using mountain warfare tactics they launched their attack, recapturing the city by 3 July. Iraqi losses were heavy enough to allow the Iranians to also capture territory inside Iraq, [54] and depleted the Iraqi military enough to prevent them from launching a major offensive for the next two years.

Through the eyes of international observers, Iran was prevailing in the war by the end of Iraq responded by launching another "war of the cities". In one attack, Tehran's main oil refinery was hit, and in another instance, Iraq damaged Iran's Assadabad satellite dish, disrupting Iranian overseas telephone and telex service for almost two weeks. Iraq continued to attack oil tankers via air.

Iraq continued to attack Kharg Island and the oil tankers and facilities as well. Iran created a tanker shuttle service of 20 tankers to move oil from Kharg to Larak Island, escorted by Iranian fighter jets. Once moved to Larak, the oil would be moved to oceangoing tankers usually neutral. By now they almost always used the armed speedboats of the IRGC navy, and attacked many tankers. Iraq got permission from the Saudi government to use its airspace to attack Larak Island, although due to the distance attacks were less frequent there. The escalating tanker war in the Gulf became an ever-increasing concern to foreign powers, especially the United States.

In April , Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa declaring that the war must be won by March The Iranians increased recruitment efforts, obtaining , volunteers. Faced with their recent defeats in al-Faw and Mehran, Iraq appeared to be losing the war. Iraq's generals, angered by Saddam's interference, threatened a full-scale mutiny against the Ba'ath Party unless they were allowed to conduct operations freely. In one of the few times during his career, Saddam gave in to the demands of his generals. However, the defeat at al-Faw led Saddam to declare the war to be Al-Defa al-Mutaharakha The Dynamic Defense , [54] and announcing that all civilians had to take part in the war effort.

The universities were closed and all of the male students were drafted into the military. Civilians were instructed to clear marshlands to prevent Iranian amphibious infiltrations and to help build fixed defenses. The government tried to integrate the Shias into the war effort by recruiting many as part of the Ba'ath Party.

Scenes of Saddam praying and making pilgrimages to shrines became common on state-run television. While Iraqi morale had been low throughout the war, the attack on al-Faw raised patriotic fervor, as the Iraqis feared invasion. At the same time, Saddam ordered the genocidal al-Anfal Campaign in an attempt to crush the Kurdish resistance, who were now allied with Iran.

The result was the deaths of several hundred thousand Iraqi Kurds, and the destruction of villages, towns, and cities. Iraq began to try to perfect its maneuver tactics. Prior to , the conscription -based Iraqi regular army and the volunteer-based Iraqi Popular Army conducted the bulk of the operations in the war, to little effect. The Republican Guard, formerly an elite praetorian guard , was expanded as a volunteer army and filled with Iraq's best generals.

However, due to Saddam's paranoia, the former duties of the Republican Guard were transferred to a new unit, the Special Republican Guard. Meanwhile, Iran continued to attack as the Iraqis were planning their strike. In the Iranians renewed a series of major human wave offensives in both northern and southern Iraq. The Iraqis had elaborately fortified Basra with 5 defensive rings, exploiting natural waterways such as the Shatt-al-Arab and artificial ones, such as Fish Lake and the Jasim River, along with earth barriers. Fish Lake was a massive lake filled with mines, underwater barbed wire, electrodes and sensors.

Behind each waterway and defensive line was radar-guided artillery, ground attack aircraft and helicopters, all capable of firing poison gas or conventional munitions. The Iranian strategy was to penetrate the Iraqi defences and encircle Basra, cutting off the city as well as the Al-Faw peninsula from the rest of Iraq.

They then set up a pontoon bridge and continued the attack, eventually capturing the island in a costly success but failing to advance further; the Iranians had 60, casualties, while the Iraqis 9, When the main Iranian attack, Operation Karbala 5, began, many Iraqi troops were on leave. This battle, known for its extensive casualties and ferocious conditions, was the biggest battle of the war and proved to be the beginning of the end of the Iran—Iraq War.

At the same time as Operation Karbala 5, Iran also launched Operation Karbala-6 against the Iraqis in Qasr-e Shirin in central Iran to prevent the Iraqis from rapidly transferring units down to defend against the Karbala-5 attack. The attack was carried out by Basij infantry and the Revolutionary Guard's 31st Ashura and the Army's 77th Khorasan armored divisions. The Basij attacked the Iraqi lines, forcing the Iraqi infantry to retreat. An Iraqi armored counter-attack surrounded the Basij in a pincer movement, but the Iranian tank divisions attacked, breaking the encirclement.

The Iranian attack was finally stopped by mass Iraqi chemical weapons attacks. Operation Karbala-5 was a severe blow to Iran's military and morale. By , Iran had become self-sufficient in many areas, such as anti-tank TOW missiles, Scud ballistic missiles Shahab-1 , Silkworm anti-ship missiles, Oghab tactical rockets, and producing spare parts for their weaponry. Iran had also improved its air defenses with smuggled surface to air missiles.

While it was not obvious to foreign observers, the Iranian public had become increasingly war-weary and disillusioned with the fighting, and relatively few volunteers joined the fight in — Because the Iranian war effort relied on popular mobilization, their military strength actually declined, and Iran was unable to launch any major offensives after Karbala As a result, for the first time since , the momentum of the fighting shifted towards the regular army.

Since the regular army was conscription based, it made the war even less popular. Many Iranians began to try to escape the conflict.

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As early as May , anti-war demonstrations took place in 74 cities throughout Iran, which were crushed by the regime, resulting in some protesters being shot and killed. Other people including the more nationalistic and religious as well as the clergy, and the Revolutionary Guards, wished to continue the war. The leadership acknowledged that the war was a stalemate, and began to plan accordingly. On the Iranian home front, the combination of sanctions, declining oil prices, and Iraqi attacks on Iranian oil facilities and shipping took a heavy toll on the economy.

While the attacks themselves were not as destructive as some analysts believed, the U. By the end of , Iraq possessed 5, tanks outnumbering the Iranians six to one and fighter aircraft outnumbering the Iranians ten to one. Iraq also became self-sufficient in chemical weapons and some conventional ones and received much equipment from abroad.

While the southern and central fronts were at a stalemate, Iran began to focus on carrying out offensives in northern Iraq with the help of the Peshmerga Kurdish insurgents. The Iranians used a combination of semi-guerrilla and infiltration tactics in the Kurdish mountains with the Peshmerga.

During Operation Karbala-9 in early April, Iran captured territory near Suleimaniya, provoking a severe poison gas counter-attack. During Operation Karbala , Iran attacked near the same area, capturing more territory. Despite that, Iran managed to restore some damaged planes into service. The Iranian Air Force, despite its once sophisticated equipment, lacked enough equipment and personnel to sustain the war of attrition that had developed, and was unable to lead an outright onslaught against Iraq. The Soviets began delivering more advanced aircraft and weapons to Iraq, while the French improved training for flight crews and technical personnel and continually introduced new methods for countering Iranian weapons and tactics.

The main Iraqi air effort had shifted to the destruction of Iranian war-fighting capability primarily Persian Gulf oil fields, tankers, and Kharg Island , and starting in late , the Iraqi Air Force began a comprehensive campaign against the Iranian economic infrastructure. Navy ships tracked and reported movements of Iranian shipping and defences. The attacks on oil tankers continued. Both Iran and Iraq carried out frequent attacks during the first four months of the year. Iran was effectively waging a naval guerilla war with its IRGC navy speedboats, while Iraq attacked with its aircraft.

In , Kuwait asked to reflag its tankers to the U. They did so in March, and the U. Navy began Operation Earnest Will to escort the tankers. Iran also deployed Silkworm missiles to attack some ships, but only a few were actually fired. Both the United States and Iran jockeyed for influence in the Gulf. To discourage the United States from escorting tankers, Iran secretly mined some areas in the Gulf.

The United States began to escort the reflagged tankers, but one of them was damaged by a mine while under escort. While being a public-relations victory for Iran, the United States increased its reflagging efforts. While Iran mined the Persian Gulf, their speedboat attacks were reduced, primarily attacking unflagged tankers shipping in the area. On 8 October, the U. Navy destroyed four Iranian speedboats, and in response to Iranian Silkworm missile attacks on Kuwaiti oil tankers, launched Operation Nimble Archer , destroying two Iranian oil rigs in the Persian Gulf.

Iran managed to shoot down 30 Iraqi fighters with fighter jets, anti-aircraft guns, and missiles, allowing the Iranian air force to survive to the end of the war. On 28 June, Iraqi fighter bombers attacked the Iranian town of Sardasht near the border, using chemical mustard gas bombs. While many towns and cities had been bombed before, and troops attacked with gas, this was the first time that the Iraqis had attacked a civilian area with poison gas.

While little known outside of Iran unlike the later Halabja chemical attack , the Sardasht bombing and future similar attacks had a tremendous effect on the Iranian people's psyche. By , with massive equipment imports and reduced Iranian volunteers, Iraq was ready to launch major offensives against Iran. With their tankers protected by U. These attacks began to have a major toll on the Iranian economy, morale, and caused many casualties as well.

In March , the Iranians carried out Operation Dawn 10 , Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas 2 , and Operation Zafar 7 in Iraqi Kurdistan with the aim of capturing the Darbandikhan Dam and the power plant at Lake Dukan , which supplied Iraq with much of its electricity and water, as well as the city of Suleimaniya. Key areas, such as supply lines, command posts, and ammunition depots, were hit by a storm of mustard gas and nerve gas , as well as by conventional explosives.

Helicopters landed Iraqi commandos behind Iranian lines while the main Iraqi force attacked in a frontal assault. Within 48 hours, all of the Iranian forces had been killed or cleared from the al-Faw Peninsula. The Iraqis had planned the offensive well. Prior to the attack the Iraqi soldiers gave themselves poison gas antidotes to shield themselves from the effect of the saturation of gas.


The heavy and well executed use of chemical weapons was the decisive factor in the Iraqi victory. To the shock of the Iranians, rather than breaking off the offensive, the Iraqis kept up their drive, and a new force attacked the Iranian positions around Basra. Using artillery, they would saturate the Iranian front line with rapidly dispersing cyanide and nerve gas, while longer-lasting mustard gas was launched via fighter-bombers and rockets against the Iranian rear, creating a "chemical wall" that blocked reinforcement. The same day as Iraq's attack on al-Faw peninsula, the United States Navy launched Operation Praying Mantis in retaliation against Iran for damaging a warship with a mine.

Iran lost oil platforms , destroyers , and frigates in this battle, which ended only when President Reagan decided that the Iranian navy had been put down enough. In spite of this, the Revolutionary Guard Navy continued their speedboat attacks against oil tankers. Faced with such losses, Khomeini appointed the cleric Hashemi Rafsanjani as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces , though he had in actuality occupied that position for months. With aircraft sorties and heavy use of nerve gas, they crushed the Iranian forces in the area, killing 3, and nearly destroying a Revolutionary Guard division.

On 25 May , Iraq launched the first of five Tawakalna ala Allah Trust in God Operations , [93] consisting of one of the largest artillery barrages in history, coupled with chemical weapons. The marshes had been dried by drought, allowing the Iraqis to use tanks to bypass Iranian field fortifications, expelling the Iranians from the border town of Shalamcheh after less than 10 hours of combat. Iraqi commandos used amphibious craft to block the Iranian rear, [54] then used hundreds of tanks with massed conventional and chemical artillery barrages to recapture the island after 8 hours of combat.

These losses included more than of the 1, remaining Iranian tanks, over armored vehicles, 45 self-propelled artillery, towed artillery pieces, and antiaircraft guns. These figures only included what Iraq could actually put to use; total amount of captured materiel was higher. Since March, the Iraqis claimed to captured 1, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, heavy artillery pieces, 6, mortars, 5, recoilless rifles and light guns, 8, man-portable rocket launchers, 60, rifles, pistols, trucks, and 1, light vehicles.

During the battles, the Iranians put up little resistance to the Iraqi offensives, having been worn out by nearly eight years of war. However, this came too late, and due to the capture of of their operable tanks and the destruction of hundreds more, Iran was believed to have fewer than remaining operable tanks on the southern front, faced against thousands of Iraqi ones.

Saddam sent a warning to Khomeini in mid, threatening to launch a new and powerful full-scale invasion and attack Iranian cities with weapons of mass destruction. Shortly afterwards, Iraqi aircraft bombed the Iranian town of Oshnavieh with poison gas, immediately killing and wounding over 2, civilians. The fear of an all out chemical attack against Iran's largely unprotected civilian population weighed heavily on the Iranian leadership, and they realized that the international community had no intention of restraining Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraqi conventional bombs and missiles continuously hit towns and cities, as well as destroyed vital civilian and military infrastructure, and the death toll increased. Iran did reply with missile and air attacks as well, but not enough to deter the Iraqis from attacking. Under the threat of a new and even more powerful invasion, Commander-in-Chief Rafsanjani ordered the Iranians to retreat from Haj Omran, Kurdistan on 14 July. Dozens of villages, such as Sardasht , and some larger towns, such as Marivan , Baneh and Saqqez , [] were once again attacked with poison gas, resulting in even heavier civilian casualties.

The lack of international sympathy disturbed the Iranian leadership, and they came to the conclusion that the United States was on the verge of waging a full-scale war against them, and that Iraq was on the verge of unleashing its entire chemical arsenal upon their cities. At this point, elements of the Iranian leadership, led by Rafsanjani who had initially pushed for the extension of the war , persuaded Khomeini to accept the ceasefire.

Happy are those who have departed through martyrdom. Happy are those who have lost their lives in this convoy of light. Unhappy am I that I still survive and have drunk the poisoned chalice The news of the end of the war was greeted with celebration in Baghdad, with people dancing in the streets; in Tehran, however, the end of the war was greeted with a somber mood. Both Iran and Iraq had accepted Resolution , but despite the ceasefire, after seeing Iraqi victories in the previous months, Mujahadeen-e-Khalq MEK decided to launch an attack of its own and wished to advance all the way to Teheran.

Saddam and the Iraqi high command decided on a two-pronged offensive across the border into central Iran and Iranian Kurdistan. In the north, Iraq also launched an attack into Iraqi Kurdistan, which was blunted by the Iranians. The Iranians had withdrawn their remaining soldiers to Khuzestan in fear of a new Iraqi invasion attempt, allowing the Mujahedeen to advance rapidly towards Kermanshah , seizing Qasr-e Shirin , Sarpol-e Zahab , Kerend-e Gharb , and Islamabad-e-Gharb. Iranian paratroopers landed behind the MEK lines while the Iranian Air Force and helicopters launched an air attack, destroying much of the enemy columns.

The last notable combat actions of the war took place on 3 August , in the Persian Gulf when the Iranian navy fired on a freighter and Iraq launched chemical attacks on Iranian civilians, killing an unknown number of them and wounding 2, Resolution became effective on 8 August , ending all combat operations between the two countries. The majority of Western analysts believe that the war had no winners while some believed that Iraq emerged as the victor of the war, based on Iraq's overwhelming successes between April and July While the war was now over, Iraq spent the rest of August and early September clearing the Kurdish resistance.

Using 60, troops along with helicopter gunships, chemical weapons poison gas , and mass executions, Iraq hit 15 villages, killing rebels and civilians, and forced tens of thousands of Kurds to relocate to settlements. By 3 September , the anti-Kurd campaign ended, and all resistance had been crushed.

At the war's conclusion, it took several weeks for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran to evacuate Iraqi territory to honor pre-war international borders set by the Algiers Agreement. The Security Council did not identify Iraq as the aggressor of the war until 11 December , some 12 years after Iraq invaded Iran and 16 months following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

The Iran—Iraq War was the deadliest conventional war ever fought between regular armies of developing countries.

The 1991 Gulf War a BBC production

While revolutionary Iran had been bloodied, Iraq was left with a large military and was a regional power , albeit with severe debt, financial problems, and labor shortages. According to Iranian government sources, the war cost Iran an estimated ,—, killed, [31] [32] [34] [41] or up to , according to the conservative Western estimates. Both Iraq and Iran manipulated loss figures to suit their purposes. At the same time, Western analysts accepted improbable estimates.

With the ceasefire in place, and UN peacekeepers monitoring the border, Iran and Iraq sent their representatives to Geneva , Switzerland , to negotiate a peace agreement on the terms of the ceasefire. However, peace talks stalled. Foreign powers continued to support Iraq, which wanted to gain at the negotiating table what they failed to achieve on the battlefield, and Iran was portrayed as the one not wanting peace.

They also continued to carry out a naval blockade of Iraq, although its effects were mitigated by Iraqi use of ports in friendly neighbouring Arab countries. Iran also began to improve relations with many of the states that opposed it during the war. Because of Iranian actions, by , Saddam had become more conciliatory, and in a letter to the now President Rafsanjani, he became more open to the idea of a peace agreement, although he still insisted on full sovereignty over the Shatt al-Arab. Rafsanjani reversed Iran's self-imposed ban on chemical weapons, and ordered the manufacture and stockpile of them Iran destroyed them in after ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Iraq had lost its support from the West, and its position in Iran was increasingly untenable. A peace agreement was signed finalizing the terms of the UN resolution, diplomatic relations were restored, and by late early , the Iraqi military withdrew. The UN peacekeepers withdrew from the border shortly afterward. Most of the prisoners of war were released in , although some remained as late as Most historians and analysts consider the war to be a stalemate. Certain analysts believe that Iraq won, on the basis of the successes of their offensives which thwarted Iran's major territorial ambitions in Iraq and persuaded Iran to accept the ceasefire.

That [Iraq's] explanations do not appear sufficient or acceptable to the international community is a fact 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 ha[d] been used against Iranian civilians in an area adjacent to an urban center lacking any protection against that kind of attack.

He also stated that had the UN accepted this fact earlier, the war would have almost certainly not lasted as long as it did. Iran, encouraged by the announcement, sought reparations from Iraq, but never received any. Throughout the s and early s, Iran and Iraq relations remained balanced between a cold war and a cold peace. Despite renewed and somewhat thawed relations, both sides continued to have low level conflicts. Iraq continued to host and support the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, which carried out multiple attacks throughout Iran up until the invasion of Iraq including the assassination of Iranian general Ali Sayyad Shirazi in , cross border raids, and mortar attacks.

Iran carried out several airstrikes and missile attacks against Mujahedeen targets inside of Iraq the largest taking place in , when Iran fired 56 Scud missiles at Mujahedeen targets. After the fall of Saddam in , Hamdani claimed that Iranian agents infiltrated and created numerous militias in Iraq and built an intelligence system operating within the country. In , the new government of Iraq apologised to Iran for starting the war. The war also helped to create a forerunner for the Coalition of the Gulf War , when the Gulf Arab states banded together early in the war to form the Gulf Cooperation Council to help Iraq fight Iran.

The unsustainable economic situation compelled the new Iraqi government to request that a considerable portion of debt incurred during the Iran—Iraq war be written off. The war had its impact on medical science: a surgical intervention for comatose patients with penetrating brain injuries was created by Iranian physicians treating wounded soldiers, later establishing neurosurgery guidelines to treat civilians who had suffered blunt or penetrating skull injuries. Iraq's military was accustomed to fighting the slow moving Iranian infantry formations with artillery and static defenses, while using mostly unsophisticated tanks to gun down and shell the infantry and overwhelm the smaller Iranian tank force; in addition to being dependent on weapons of mass destruction to help secure victories.

Therefore, they were rapidly overwhelmed by the high-tech, quick-maneuvering U. At first, Saddam attempted to ensure that the Iraqi population suffered from the war as little as possible. There was rationing, but civilian projects begun before the war continued. After the Iranian victories of the spring of and the Syrian closure of Iraq's main pipeline, Saddam did a volte-face on his policy towards the home front: a policy of austerity and total war was introduced, with the entire population being mobilised for the war effort.

Mass demonstrations of loyalty towards Saddam became more common. In the summer of , Saddam began a campaign of terror. More than Iraqi Army officers were executed for their failures on the battlefield. To secure the loyalty of the Shia population, Saddam allowed more Shias into the Ba'ath Party and the government, and improved Shia living standards, which had been lower than those of the Iraqi Sunnis. The most infamous event was the massacre of civilians of the Shia town of Dujail. Despite the costs of the war, the Iraqi regime made generous contributions to Shia waqf religious endowments as part of the price of buying Iraqi Shia support.

Israeli-British historian, Ephraim Karsh, argues that the Iranian government saw the outbreak of war as chance to strengthen its position and consolidate the Islamic revolution, noting that government propaganda presented it domestically as a glorious jihad and a test of Iranian national character. Iranian workers had a day's pay deducted from their pay cheques every month to help finance the war, and mass campaigns were launched to encourage the public to donate food, money, and blood.

According to former Iraqi general Ra'ad al-Hamdani , the Iraqis believed that in addition to the Arab revolts, the Revolutionary Guards would be drawn out of Tehran, leading to a counter-revolution in Iran that would cause Khomeini's government to collapse and thus ensure Iraqi victory.

In June , street battles broke out between the Revolutionary Guard and the left-wing Mujaheddin e-Khalq MEK , continuing for several days and killing hundreds on both sides. In addition to the open civil conflict with the MEK, the Iranian government was faced with Iraqi-supported rebellions in Iranian Kurdistan, which were gradually put down through a campaign of systematic repression. The war furthered the decline of the Iranian economy that had begun with the revolution in — As a result, Iran funded the war by the income from oil exports after cash had run out.

In January , former prime minister and anti-war Islamic Liberation Movement co-founder Mehdi Bazargan criticised the war in a telegram to the United Nations, calling it un-Islamic and illegitimate and arguing that Khomeini should have accepted Saddam's truce offer in instead of attempting to overthrow the Ba'ath.

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