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Posted by Melmac on February 16, 2003 at 09:01:17:
The Iran-Iraq War
· Early 1980s: Iran seen as the biggest threat to US interests in the Persian Gulf.
· The US encouraged Iraq to invade Iran; Iraq did so in September 1980.
· The Iran-Iraq war ended in August 1988. About 1 million people had been killed; neither country gained any territory.
The U.S. Role in the Iran-Iraq War
· During the war, the Pentagon sent intelligence to Saddam
· US sold arms to both sides.
· US also sold Iraq botulinum toxin, anthrax and vials of West Nile virus between 1985 and 1989.
· France was Iraq’s main supplier of high-tech weaponry
· the Soviet Union was Iraq’s largest weapons supplier
· Israel provided arms to Iran
· The UN tried to end the war, but the US continued to encourage the hostilities.
· A State Department official in 1983: "we don't give a damn as long as the Iran-Iraq carnage does not affect our allies in the region or alter the balance of power."
· 1982: US removes Iraq from its list of nations supporting international terrorism and Washington extends a $400 million credit guarantee for US exports to Iraq.
· December 1983: Reagan sends envoy to meet with Saddam in Iraq. Saddam was already using gas against the Iranians at this time; the envoy was there to arrange the re-opening of the US embassy and to secure better economic relations with Iraq.
· March 1984: envoy has a friendly meeting with Tariq Aziz, on the same day that the US releases a report on Saddam’s use of poison gas.
· The envoy’s name: Donald Rumsfeld.
· November 1984: US restores diplomatic relations with Iraq, which had been ruptured in 1967.
· 1988: Saddam uses poison gas to massacre tens of thousands of people (mostly Kurds)
· Shortly afterward, Secretary of State George Schultz meets with an Iraqi representative in Washington
· Schultz’s message: “we want to have a good relationship with you, but this sort of thing makes it very difficult.”
· US continues to aid Iraq, providing $500 million in credit guarantees for the purchase of American farm products.
· These friendly meetings occur despite the fact that the US is well aware of the brutal methods being employed by the Iraqis (e.g. beatings, electric shocks, mutilations, chemical weapons).
· 1983: State Department document refers to Iraq’s "almost daily use of CW" and suggests approaching Baghdad in response.
· Another recommends that the approach occur as soon as possible to avoid "unpleasantly surprising" the Iraqis with "public positions we may have to take on this issue."
· 1989: President George H.W. Bush provides Iraq with germ seed for anthrax, helicopters, and “dual-use” material that could be used for chemical and biological weapons.
· During this period, US issues verbal reprimands against Iraq, saying “the US strongly condemns the prohibited use of chemical weapons wherever it occurs”
· State Department also condemns Iran’s attempt to topple Iraq’s “legitimate government”.
· April 1990: five U.S. senators (including Bob Dole) visit Baghdad, carrying a private message from President Bush that the U.S. wanted to improve relations with Iraq.
· Three of the five senators (including Dole) then led the opposition to sanctions against Iraq for its use of chemical weapons.