Iran and Iraq had a long history of territorial and ethnic conflicts. A disputed waterway along their common border had been the focus of a number of conflicts since the 16th century, and in the 20th century, tensions between the two countries built as treaties and pacts were repeatedly made and broken. Tensions increased further in the 1970s as Iran gave shelter and arms to Kurdish rebels fighting against Saddam Hussein’s regime. In 1975, the two countries brokered a deal in the Algiers Agreement in which Iraq made some territorial concessions in exchange for Iran ceasing its support of the Kurdish rebels. Peace was short-lived, however, as the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution espoused a pan-Islamic religious nationalism, which Hussein perceived as a threat to his notion of a pan-Arab nationalism which was more secular in nature and did not include the ethnic Persians of Iran. Antagonisms heated in the summer of 1979 when the new revolutionary leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini called for an Islamic Shia uprising in Iraq to bring down the secular Ba’ath government. When anti-Ba’ath riots erupted in Shia regions of Iraq in the spring of 1980, Hussein blamed the Iranian revolution and argued that the Ayatollah must be stopped before the revolutionary violence and chaos spread across the Arab world. As both sides prepared for war, a series of small border skirmishes in the summer of 1980 further exacerbated tensions between the two countries. On September 22, 1980, Iraq launched a full-scale invasion of Iran into the long disputed region of Khuzestan. Iran responded by launching air strikes on Baghdad. Iraq was accused of using illegal chemical weapons and both sides committed atrocities against civilians; the conflict quickly entered a stalemate that echoed that of the First World War in Europe, trenches included. The war dragged on for eight years, while over 1.5 million soldiers and civilians were killed on both sides. Iraq ended the war in August 1988 after heavy pressure from the UN. The war ended in a stalemate, with both sides agreeing under UN negotiations to return to the pre-war status quo. The loss of life, infrastructure, and economic development would negatively impact both countries for decades to come.
Saddam Hussein’s National Address, 8 February 1980
Bani-Sadr’s Speech at Tehran University, 11 April 1980
Saddam Husayn’s Speech in Ninevah, 15 April 1980
Khomeini’s Speech, 18 April 1980
Iranian Defense Minister’s Speech, 25th April 1980
Saddam Husayn’s Speech on the 17th July 1968 Revolution
Iranian Communique No 1 on Border Operations, 17 September 1980
Iraq President’s Speech: Abrogation of 1975 Agreement with Iran, 17 September 1980
The Iranian Leaders’ Meeting with Islamic Envoys, 23 September, 1980
Iraqi Commentary on the Military Action Against Iran, 23 September 1980
Advice and Appeals to the Iranians, 23 September 1980
Iranian Foreign Ministry Statement, 23 September 1980
Iranian Military Communiques and Reports, 23 September 1980
Hussein’s statement before the third summit meeting of the Islamic Conference, 25-28 January, 1981
Saddam Hussein’s National Address, 8 February 1980Top
Source: Fred More, ed. 1993. “Iraq Speaks: Documents on the Gulf Crisis.”
In view of the present international situation and its possible future developments, and in light of the serious possibilities threatening the Arab sovereignty and national security, on the one hand, and world peace and security, on the other; and in response to the demands of national responsibility to the Arab nation’s land, culture and heritage; and in accordance with the principles of the Non-aligned Movement, Iraq feels called upon to take the initiative by issuing the following declaration, to be taken, first, as a charter regulating the national relations among the Arab countries, and secondly, as a pledge from the Arab nation to the states neighboring the Arab homeland, which declares its respect and commitment to this charter.
The declaration is based on the following principles:
ONE. The rejection of the presence in the Arab homeland of any foreign armies and military forces or any foreign forces and military bases, or any facilities in any form, or under any pretext or cover, or for any reason whatsoever. Any Arab regime that fails to abide by this tenet should be isolated and boycotted politically and economically. Its policies should be isolated and boycotted politically and economically, and its policies should be resisted by all means available.
TWO. Prohibiting the use of armed forces by any Arab state against any other Arab state. All disputes that may arise among Arab countries should be settled by peaceful means and in accordance with the principles of joint national action and the supreme Arab interests.
THREE. The principle mentioned in Article  applies to the relations of the Arab nation and its countries with the neighboring nations and states. No armed forces should be used to resolve disputes with these states except in defending sovereignty in self-defense, and in cases where the security and fundamental interests of the Arab countries are threatened.
FOUR. Solidarity of all Arab countries in the face of any foreign aggression or violation committed by any foreign power against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of any Arab country. In the event of any foreign power declaring war on any Arab country, all Arab countries should jointly resist that aggression or violation and use all means available including military action to thwart it, while a total political and economic embargo should be imposed upon the aggressor. The embargo can be extended to cover all other fields, should that be necessary and in the interest of the nation.
FIVE. Confirming the commitments of Arab countries to the international laws and conventions regarding the use of water, air and land by any country that is not at war with any Arab country.
SIX. Arab countries should keep away from the arenas of international conflicts and wars, and should present complete neutrality and non-alignment towards any party of the conflict or war, except when the Arab territory, sovereignty or rights of Arab countries guaranteed by international laws and conventions. Arab countries should refrain from military participation, – wholly or partially – in wars and military disputes, inside or outside the area, on behalf of a foreign state or party.
SEVEN. Commitment of the Arab countries to establish advanced and constructive inter-Arab relation, to provide and solidify the common ground for advanced Arab economic structure and Arab unity. Arab countries should avoid any act that may harm these relations or block their continuity and development, regardless of their different systems of government, or the marginal differences that may arise among them, so long as the parties concerned remain committed to the principles of this Declaration.
Arab countries should abide by the principle of national economic integration. Arab countries economically competent should offer all kinds of economic aid to the other Arab countries to safeguard against dependence on foreign powers, in a manner infringing these countries’ independence and national will.
EIGHT. In presenting the principles of this Declaration, Iraq confirms its readiness to abide by it with respect of every Arab country, and every party that is committed to it. Iraq is also ready to discuss this Declaration with the Arab brethren, and listen to their comments thereon, to enhance the effectiveness of its principles and deepen its implications.
Iraq also affirms that this Declaration is no substitute for the Arab League Charter and the Treaty of Joint Defense and Economic Co-operation concluded by the Arab League members. Rather, Iraq deems it a reinforcement of the Charter and Treaty and a development thereupon, in line with the developing international conditions, the dangers threatening the Arab nation and its consequent national responsibilities towards the present and future circumstances.
Great people of Iraq! Masses of the glorious Arab nation!
In presenting this declaration, Iraq is urged by its national responsibility which supersedes any subjective or regional interest. While we approach the Arab governments with this declaration, as the authority responsible for applying it and abiding by its principles, we deeply believe that these principles cannot be ascertained and become a charter for Arab relations except through the struggle and support of the Arab masses, because the Declaration ensures their basic interests and responds to their national aspirations in liberty and independence, and paves the way for Arab Unity.
Bani-Sadr’s Speech at Tehran University, 11 April 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Bani-Sadr’s 11th April Speech at Tehran University.” 12 April 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful . . . Concerning the preparedness of our armed forces . . . it is used to be said that our navy had a limited fighting capability. Today, as the result of efforts by our young people, our navy has aquired complete military preparedness to face up to any situation. It is used to be said that there was not sufficient order and discipline in the air force. During the past few days, your children and brothers in the air force have acted with such dedication and enthusiasm that their morele has been one of the reasons why the Iraqis have quietened down . . . Our ground forces which, of course, enjoyed a greater degree of preparedness than the air force and the navy, now enjoy complete preparedness – a hundred times more than before – in order to protect the borders of the Islamic country. The guards of our Islamic revolution, who have always made us of such moments in order to demonstrate their Islamic and revolutionary faith, are now ready to sacrifice their lives . . .
I must say that if the Iraqi Government dares to take a single forward, we shall not stop at punishment alone [shouts of “God is great”]. I have such confidence, hope and trust in the preparedness of our armed forces that I am certain that even if we wish to contain the children of Islam and Iran in the borders they will not stop there. They will regard it as their duty to pursue the enemy, and indeed they will pursue the aggressor within his own borders [shouts of “God is great”].
The nation of Iraq, our brotherly nation, under the jackboots of the Red fascists, is looking for an opportunity to rise against the puppet satan. What better opportunity for us to make of the present situation against the forces of an aggressive government which has no excuse for what it has done against our revolution during the past year; and we shall certainly make use of this opportunity [shouts of “God is great”] . . .
Our economic situation is as follows . . . To be frank with you, I must say that if we do not change our current budget into a development budget, we shall face insoluble economic difficulties. What I mean is that we have plenty of foreign exchange. Our foreign deposits are extremely high, especially if we make changes in our financial policy . . . Even if we assume that the enemy will prevent even one drop of our oil from being exported we shall certainly not face any difficulty during the current year from the viewpoint of our foreign purchases.
However, inside the country our capability is not the same. The buget which we are spending on our current expenses, i.e. our administrative and daily expenses, is equal to all our foreign earnings. We must change this current budget . . . If this year, with the participation of workers and farmers and other strata of society we can spend the money which has spent on development projects and even divert some of our current budget to development projects, then we shall to achieve that miracle whose important outcome is the economic independence of Iran . . .
Now is the time for a revolution among administrative and military cadres and all those whose income is earned through administrative jobs and through services. They should be ready for this great revolution. They should leave their offices in the ministries. With the immense budget which is at the disposal of the Government, they should leave for factories and farms. All over the country they should replace what they are doing in the money and also be able to transform this money into productivity . . .
We now move on to the foreign situation. Let see with whom we have any differences? It is with his nibs the USA. Now one should aks Mr Saddam Husayn: what business have you to meddle in such affairs? . . . You should not dance to the USA’s tune . . . You have been doing so from the very first day. You are fomenting strife in Kordestan, you are doing the same in Khuzestan. You are supplying arms. You are sending in men. You are sending in saboteurs. Why are you doing these things? . . . If you regime were apopular one, you should have welcomed our revolution! But it is because you are not a popular regime that you fear this revolution. You are afraid of the Iraqi people carrying out a revolution similar to ours . . . Because you play such game, we realize that the Iraqi people are not with you . . .
You have come to foment subversion in our midst. Do not do so . . . When I was a minister a number of Arab ambassdors came along, saying: We are ready . . . we kept saying: We have nothing to say to these people . . . Yasir Arafat came and said: They say this and that. We said: Well, fine . . . And I added: It is not a tradition amongst us, Easterners, Muslims, to explode a bomb and then say: we are ready for talks …
Oh, they wish to say that a great danger is threathening the Arab nation and these gents [the Iraqis], who regard themselves as the guardians of the Arab nation, send over all the forces they have. In the midst of all this mfurore his nibs Israel launches and attack on southern Lebanon! So now, Mr Saddam Husayn . . . The people of the world know that this is the game you are playing. If you have any forces, dispatch them to Lebanon . . . Why have stationed your force on our border?!
These Phantoms which we have, why should they fly against your nibs’ MiGs? And if you are telling the truth, then you should take these MiGs of yours to the borders of Israel and we, too, will take our Phantoms there and them let us see whether Israel could be so insolent! . . . And then suddenly your USA is talking of an economic blockade . . . And Mr Saddam Husayn wishes to defend the Arab homeland! . . .
He made a speech saying: we are the sons of Qadisyyah [where the Muslim Arabs defeated the Sassanian Empire]! Well now, tell us how do you relate yourself to Qadisyyah! How come, as you have no religion! . . . [Iranian army of the time came over to the side of Islam.] Qadisyyah is a cause for pride to us and shame to the satans of that era. Today, if you put the matter to the test, if your own Iraqi soldiers do not come over to our side this would prove you were right. If you were to come along and it became clear that the Muslim Iraqi soldier, when faced with the army of Imam Khomeyni [loud cheers] made a stand and did not himself join the army of the Imam, if the Iraqi nation did not turn its back on your army, if that very army did not turn its back on you then you would be telling the truth.
But we are certain that if the Iraqi nation does not soon topple this subservient regime which since the day of its inception has weakened and continues to weaken the front of the Muslim nation vis-a-vis Israel, a regime which ever since its emergence has been obstacle to the growth of revolutionary movements in the region, then this would prove that you are the son of Qadisyyah. But we shall see the nation of Islam, the sons of Qadisyyah, topping you [loud cheers].
On the world scale, the two superpowers think that the arena is theirs – this is not so. Our revolution has succeeded in bringing about a fundamental change in the thoughts and actions of the Muslim people of the world. No army today can accomplish anything unless it relies on its people…
I am confident that no Arab soldier will draw arms against a nation which is ready to wage war for the liberty of Palestine on the side of the Muslim nations and in the forefront of the Muslim nations…
Some people have said that my policy is to throw the two superpowers off the stage and replace them with Japan and Europe. Let me tell them that such talk is either ignorant or, God forbid, an incitement by the same superpowers. Why? Because, first of all, Europe and Japan do not have the capability of becoming superpowers. At the moment, they are under America’s domination. Their people are ready to look for a chance to escape that domination…
You should know that today, we are able to topple empires [shouts of “God is great”]. The time for the fulfilment of God’s promise has arrived. I do not want to put Europe nations who are ready for it out of the domination of the superpowers, to offer the revolutionary Islamic pattern to humanity as the means of salvation in a world in which the order of superpowers has been destroyed…
Saddam Husayn’s Speech in Ninevah, 15 April 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Saddam Husayn’s 15th April Speech in Nineveh.” 18 April 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
O great people. Brother citizens of the valiant Nineveh Governorate. . . In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Do not think that those who died fighting for God are dead, for they are alive in the Lord’s presence [Verse from the Koran].
Brothers, let us stand together and observe a minute’s silence in memory of the martyrs of Mosul and the Arab nation who died for its principled causes, honour and beliefs. . .
Today, you are celebrating sweet days in the protection of your revolution and party. However, in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964 and until July 1968, the Iraqi people were living through black and difficult days. At the time, Shu’ubiyah [an anti-Arab movement in Islamic history] wrongly believed that it could harm great Iraq. But what was the fate of Shu’ubiyah? Its followers are scattered and their influence is outside our borders. They are no longer among us. There are the old Shu’ubis – time passes and once again the Shu’ubis imagine they can achieve in 1980 what they failed to achieve in 1959. [Words indistinct]
Brothers, when we talk about Shu’ubiyah we are not talking about individuals in our society who hate Arabism and Iraq. We are talking about the influence of the great powers and attempts by the great powers to harm your revolution, great country, heritage, beliefs and glories. They believe they can take Iraq back to its former state of poverty and humiliation. But never. I told your brothers in Suwayrah in Kut Governorate that the forces of darkness could not read your faces, because they do not see them well, because their eyes cannot tell the faces well. We are telling them the same thing now from Nineveh Governorate. The people are the same people. When I am here it is the same as when I am in Suwayrah, Maysan, Karbala or Najaf. There are the same sentiments, the same nobility, the same resolve and the same determination to build great Iraq, the solid base of the noble Arab nation.
I would like to send a tape recording of the voices and images of the masses in the governorates of Karbala, Najaf, Maysan, Basrah, Nineveh and Baghdad to Carter, Begin and Khomeyni so that they could see and hear and consider whether or not they could defeat these people. However, some of them read and do not believe their eyes, and some of them neither read nor see. Khomeyni neither reads nor sees. He does not see – he does not allow himself to watch television, listen to the radio or read the newspaper. One cannot say how he can give his opinion on peoples, how he can give his opinion on revolutions. . . We had hoped that the poor Iranian peoples, who have suffered injustice under their rulers throughout their long history, would be happy after the Shah’s departure. But it seems that they have to go a long way to achieve happiness. . .
This mummy Khomeyni appealed to the Iraqi people three days ago to go up to the roofs of their houses and protest against their government on the grounds that it was not of the people. As you know, not a single Iraqi did so. . .
Brothers, we had truly hoped that the Iranian peoples would find the right path, and confirm – contrary to the black pictures of relations between the Arabs and Persians that have been recorded in past history – that this time the Iranian peoples have the opportunity to set a new example of relations between the Arabs and all Iranians, and between Arabs and Persians in particular. Regrettably, however, Khomeyni and his tyrannical clique that exercises power over the Iranian peoples have set the darkest and worst example. They harm only themselves by this action, because those who work against the truth and contrary to principles ultimately harm only themselves and, of course, their peoples. . .
Neither our friends nor our enemies know the Iraqi people truly well. Until now they have not known the Iraqi people’s nobility and their deep-rooted ties to the land. Until now they have not known that all the Iraqis, Arabs and Kurds, love the Arab nation and are prepared to sacrifice themselves for it. . .
Following national independence, following independence from British rule – and in the past the Turks and the Persians used to compete for influence in and control over Iraq – the Turks and the Persians each nominated their own candidate as King of Iraq. The inhabitants of the central Euphrates – and you must give them the credit for this – said that they wanted an Arab ruler, and with their advanced will, supported by all the Iraqi people, they imposed the Arab Faysal I as the first King of Iraq. . .
After all this Khomeyni comes and calls on the Iraqi people, including the inhabitants of the central Euphrates, to go out on the rooftops and protest against their government. He said the Shah had gone and someone else has come. It turned out that it was another Shah but this time wearing a turban.
Some Arab brothers, or to be more precise, some Arab officials say, “Take it easy with them, take it easy.” That is to say, we should let them push our chests, shoulders, and maybe our faces as well. We say to them, “The new Iranian regime, or more correctly the new racist and backward regime, is trying to behave badly.” They say to us “No matter, give them a chance because they are working in a manner that benefits the Arab nation.” We ask, “How do they benefit the Arab nation?” They answer, they say that they support the Palestinian cause.
We address these words to the Iranian people – we have washed our hands of the Iranian rulers – we say to the Iranian people, what have they done for the Palestinian cause? What have they done? Wasn’t Palestine Arab land? Palestine is occupied Arab land. Occupied by whom? Occupied by a foreigner. This foreigner, be he Jewish or something else, is a foreigner who has occupied Palestine. Now, if they support us on the Palestinian cause, let them return the Arab land which they occupied in 1971, if they are truly for the Palestinian cause.
Once I asked the Palestinians, I asked some leaders of the Palestine Revolution, “Have they done something good to you which we do not know about? Have they given you arms or money?” The Palestinian leaders said, “We have not received from them” – what is the Iranian currency – “a single tuman, bullet or rifle.” Then how do they support the Palestinian cause? They had said, “We have broken off relations with Zionism” – because the Shah had consular relations with Zionism? Why? Were they the only ones to break off relations with Zionism?. . . They are making a great fuss about rectifying an abnormal situation, and we are expected to let them use our necks as a bridge so that they can realize their dishonourable goals, their aggressive goals against the Arab nation, is that right?
Some time ago Bani-Sadr delivered a strong and tough speech intended to frighten you and keep you awake all night, eh? [Saddam Husayn laughs] In order to demonstrate his strength and bravado, Bani-Sadr said that I was sending them intermediaries and that they had rejected them. So as to deal with them with decisive wisdom and not with false wisdom, I say to Bani-Sadr and to the Iranian peoples that it is advisable to avoid bad relations with the Iranian peoples. It is not a bad thing to avoid a clash with Iran unless a clash is a patriotic and national duty. When a clash is a patriotic and national duty, we shall wage it in all its forms [cheers]. Who but we will defend the Arab nation’s honour and Iraq’s honour and glory? Bani-Sadr is a poor man, he does not know that half of our ancestors have died on horseback. . . In spite of this, we say to Bani-Sadr and his masters and his group that we did not send him any intermediary, either Arab or non-Arab. We told him directly. Their former Foreign Minister [Ebrahim Yazdi] met me at his request in Havana. He said: We want normal relations with you. I replied: We also want normal relations with you. He said: What are the bases of normal relations? I said: First, you have transgressed against us unjustly. You began to vilify us. You began instigating and imagining that you could harm Iraq. Certain trivial people began to manipulate you and put ideas into your head, and regrettably some of them are citizens of some Arab countries. I said to him: First you have behaved badly towards us and you should stop this immediately. He replied: What more? I said: The three Arab islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa are Arab and should be returned to their owners [prolonged cheers]. He said: What more? I replied: An agreement between us was concluded under special circumstances in 1975 in which you unjustly took a part of Shatt al-Arab. That must be returned to Iraq [Cheers]. I said: Another point is that you must behave properly towards the Iranian peoples. This is our advice to you. You must behave properly towards your peoples. In order to deal correctly with your peoples you must respect their national rights. You must know that those who are in Arabistan [Khuzestan] are Arab, and the blood in their veins is Arab [prolonged cheers].
Do you know what the answer was? It was a mean despicable act. The teachers at their [Iranian community] school hurled handgrenades at a funeral procession. What kind of Muslims are they? They hurled handgrenades and killed children, women and old people. They imagined that these handgrenades they were playing with could weaken the Iraqi people’s determination and divert them from their objectives, glory, legacy and history.
They say they are men of religion. They have nothing to do with the values of religion, throughout the world clergymen are known for being truthful, irrespective of what they think. Recently, these clergymen said Iraq had brought the Egyptian army to fight them. My respect for the Egyptian army notwithstanding, do we need anyone to fight on our behalf?
In order to gain the sympathies of the Iraqis, Bani-Sadr – yes, Bani-Sadr – said recently that he was a sayyid [descendant of the Prophet Muhammad]. Now, tomorrow Carter will say he is a sayyid, and perhaps someone else will, too. Well, if Bani-Sadr is a sayyid, does he not feel for his Muslim Shi’i Arab brothers in Arabistan? He is shooting at them daily; their blood is being shed daily in Arabistan. This man harbours rancour towards Arabism and Islam, because Islam’s banners were carried by the Arabs and defended by Arab swords until it reached the furthest corners of the earth, including the land on which Bani-Sadr now stands. Does he want to remind the Arabs once again? Does he want to tell the Arabs that he, Bani-Sadr, and his group are also among the people who are plotting against the Arabs? We hope the Iranian peoples will find someone other than Bani-Sadr who will have better relations with the Arabs and Muslims, and someone else other than this rotten man Khomeyni. If the Iranian peoples find leaders who are prepared to live honourably and in dignity with the Arabs, co-operate with them and have good-neighbourly relations with them, without friction and hypocrisy, and without harm against the Arabs, the Iranian peoples will find support in us in the face of any enemy they may confront [prolonged cheers]. . .
Brothers, great people! Iraq is destined once again to assume its leading Arab role by serving honourably. Iraq is destined once again to serve the Arab nation, and defend its honour, dignity and sovereignty. Iraq is destined once again to face the concerted machinations of the forces of darkness. . . Once again, we say let them not think we fear the little bombs with which they are playing like children. . .
Let not the great powers whose statements we are now hearing and which are activating their agents in the area imagine that we are afraid of them. We say to them that we are as before. We follow the path of justice, friendship and ethics. We are swords that do not waver or weaken against tyrants and in support of justice [cheers]. . .
You must serve the Arab nation and say to the Arabs everywhere: Those of you who fight the foreigner in defence of honour will find a strong support in the Iraqi army. Tell the Arab nation everywhere: He who wants to protect himself against pitfalls and against the foreigner will find a place in Iraq and among the Iraqi people and share in Iraq’s wealth [cheers].
So far, since the great July revolution, your blood has flowed in defence of Syria, in defence of Damascene women in the Golan, in Jordan, in Lebanon and in dear Sinai. We are sure that you are prepared to shed your blessed blood in defence of the nation, honour, beliefs and every inch the great Arab homeland. . . Yes, brothers. It is a great honour that great Iraq should cry in the face of the forces of darkness and in the face of the superpowers: The Arab homeland must have one land, and the Arab people must be one nation. It must follow the principles that unite the Arabs and not the path that divides it into shares among covetous states [prolonged cheers].
These principles, of course, demand sacrifice, as you know. You are not tired of sacrifice. . . The principles about which we are talking today are the essence of the principles of the pan-Arab charter declared on 8th February 1980. However, US imperialism has succeeded in persuading the Somalis to give it military facilities in Somalia, contrary to these principles. Regrettably, some Arab rulers are now trying to manoeuvre and scheme – they like to scheme a lot – believing that they can circumvent the charter and its principles. The charter and its principles however are written not on paper but in blood and in our hearts. . .
Khomeini’s Speech, 18 April 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Khomeini’s Speech,” 18 April 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
The war that the Iraqi Ba’th wants to ignite is a war against Islam. Will the Iraqi Army agree to fight Islam and will it agree to direct its lances against the Koran? These lances are aimed against the Koran. The Iraqi people and army are obligated to abandon this non-Muslim party and this non-Muslim clique. As the Iranian Army joined the people, O Iraqi Army, join your people. You are responsible before God and do not possess any excuses for your war against the Iraqi people and Islamic Iran. This war is a war against Islam and the Koran. This war, which has been imposed upon you, is a war against God’s Prophet, may God’s prayers be with him. Do the Iraqi people want to fight the Koran and God’s messenger? Iran today is the land of God’s messenger and its revolution, government and laws are Islamic. We want to establish an Islamic state. We want to gather together Arabs, Persians and Turks and other nationalities under the banner of Islam. Why do the Iraqi tribes remain silent, watching this Ba’thist clique kill Iraqi youths in the prisons? Why does the Iraqi Army remain silent and support those who violate Islam and the Koran? Is the Iraqi Army ignorant of the fact that it is being killed in the service of atheism in a war against Islam? Is this army ignorant of the consequences of this act? Doesn’t it know that in case it attacks Iran, Iran will destroy and annihilate it and the Iranian Army will advance towards Baghdad to support the Iraqi people and overthrow the regime there?
Iranian Defense Minister’s Speech, 25th April 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iranian Defence Minister’s 25th April Speech,” 28 April 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
You may have noticed that now that our nation’s glorious, triumphant struggle is reaching its height against the USA, which is being brought to its knees by our nation and cannot wage war against us, that appendage of imperialism [Saddam Husayn of Iraq] comes into the arena and wages war in order to please the USA . . . The USA understands that should its forces enter Iran, our 20,000,000 suicide youths . . . would tear them to shreds and thereby create a greater Vietnam and a deeper vortex for the US forces in Iran . . . [That is why the USA began to think of an economic blockade]
However, regarding this action you may perceive that our nation is celebrating since it does not fear an economic blockade . . . Imperialism understands that it would not gain much from an economic blockade and, therefore, it ought to think up another solution.
It is here that is extends a begging hand to oppressive Israel . . . to land its commandos in our Khuzestan and to snatch the oil from the state of Iran. But Israeli commandos arrive on Iranian soil, 20,000,000 suicide troops would . . . tear them apart there and then . . .
Then puppet Iraq and the blood-letting Saddam Husyan enters the arena. That flunkey of imperialism then takes the momentous responsibility to implement the US plan in Iran . . . Iraq’s divisions are then marshalled along Iran’s borders. But one day, at a meeting of commanders, some of whom feared an attack by the Iraqi army, I candidly told them: Be confident,.
Should the Iraqi army attack our homeland, our nation would fight them tooth and nail . . . And should our army enter the soil of Iraq, Iraqi Shi’is would welcome it with open arms . . .
The moment Iraq’s onslaught begins . . . from among Iraq’s Shi’i soldiery, from within Iraq itself, uprisings take place against the corrupt Saddam Government, the people resort of uprisings . . . It was then that Iraq became filled with terror and, to crush the rising wave of Iraqi Shi’is, dispatched to the torture chamber their illustrious leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammed Baqer Sadr . . .
You may have noticed that one country which more than others claims to be Muslim and Islamic, which more than others attempts to defend Iran’s revolution, in effect harbours the communists, the George Habash and the [word indistinct] and even strengthens our Fada’iyun-e Khalq People’s devotee guerrillas]. In slogans it defends Islam and the Iranian revolution, but in effect extends co-operation to the counter-revolutionary forces and to the anti-ideological forces. It puts its forces into action in order to smash the religious ideological line in these countries [as heard].
Then suddenly you see that with regard to the issue of Afghanistan . . . the selfsame countries [unspecified] which deem themselves revolutionary and Muslim, stand on the side of Soviet Russia and adopt positions against the Muslims of Afghanistan. You see that when the despicable and mercenary Iraqi agents launched mortar attacks on the Iranian Embassy in Beirut . . . none of these “revolutionary forces”, which back the Iranian revolution entered the affray to defend the Iranian . . .
And even one of their great leaders reminded people that, should Iran enter into battle against the USA, they would help Iran. But should Iran enter into war against an Arab government, they would under no circumstances adopt a hostile position against that Arab government. These contradictions arise as a result of their lack of ideology and it is here that we begin to appreciate the significance and value of the illustrious authority, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammed Baqer Sadr, who for years struggled for that ideological and Islamic right and trained people to that end . . .
Saddam Husayn’s Speech on the 17th July 1968 RevolutionTop
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Saddam Husayn’s Speech on the 17th July Revolution Anniversary.” 19 July 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
In the Name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate. Glorious Iraqi people, sons of the proud Arab nation, once again the anniversary of the 17th-30th July 1968 revolution looms before us. After 12 years of the revolution’s march, we are confidently, resolutely and proudly entering a new year in this glorious march. The revolution anniversary has become a genuine celebration for all honest Iraqis who are happy, proud and hopeful. Year after year, the revolution has begun to enjoy a more important status in the conscience of the Arab nation and in its revolutionary contemporary history…
When we talk about the revolution anniversary and about its eruption and rejuvenating spirit for the march forward, we should also recall another day that has a distinct status in the triumphant march of this revolution and its moral values which express its noble spirit. This day is 16th July 1979, when we took over the banner of the official forward position in the party and the state from our struggling father, Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr…
On this day, one year after assuming the official forward position in the party and state, we affirm to the party’s strugglers and the masses of the people in Iraq and the Arab homeland that we will remain faithful to the pledge we took upon ourselves on 17th July 1979…
After 12 years abounding with battles, arduous work and sacrifices to be added to the march of great sacrifices prior to the revolution, we stand on solid ground whose firmness emanates from the faith of the masses in this march and their conviction that its principles and national pan-Arab objectives deserve to be appreciated and defended, even to the point of martyrdom…
A few weeks ago, the Iraqi people experienced a magnificent event that expressed the genuineness of the revolution and the depth of its bond with the masses, i.e. the elections to the National Assembly. The party and revolution sincerely believe in democracy because they believe in the importance of establishing deep and true confidence between the leadership and the masses. We have always rejected any form of procedural democracy that is adopted by certain regimes here and there. We pledged to ourselves not to adopt any formula unless it was genuine and unless the people believed in its seriousness and purity. On this basis, we initiated the move to the phase of establishing the National Assembly…
%furthermore, our belief in democracy does not depend upon transient circumstances. It is a firm trend. When we realized that the circumstances in the revolution’s development had matured into factors for the exercise of democracy in this form, we began this exercise without hesitation. The National Assembly elections in Iraq were not like parliamentary elections that are held in other countries. The elections were an enthusiastic and comprehensive practice exercised by the people in which there were equal opportunities for the Ba’thist and non-Ba’thist candidates. Moreover, the elections were a true referendum that expressed the confidence of the masses in the party and revolution…
Compatriots, we are confident and certain of the future. We are also proud of what we have achieved so far. But we must say, O great Iraqis, that your future roles and sacrifices will not be less important than those of the period either before the 17th July revolution or during the past 12 years. Sacrifices will be needed to build great Iraq by depending on the values and spirit of Iraqi and Arab culture. Sacrifices will be needed to serve the Arab nation by liberating every inch of Arab territory which is still not enjoying Arab sovereignty. Sacrifices will be needed to help every hungry Arab overcome poverty and every seeker of freedom, dignity and honour attain his appropriate place in Arab and human life. Sacrifices will be needed to liberate Palestine and return Arab territory to its people so that the Arab nation will attain its appropriate place among the nations of the world and perform its humanitarian mission…
There are two main reasons for the complicated circumstances in the Arab nation today. The first is this intermingling of regimes, forces and political trends in the Arab homeland. While it was easy several years ago to distinguish between the patriot and the non-patriot, the sincere and the insincere and the reactionary and progressive regime, the situation now has become more complicated and confused. Today, the same arena embraces the patriot and non-patriot, the honourable and dishonourable, the honest and the corrupt, the liar and the sincere…
The second is the fierce struggle among the big powers in this region and their resorting to more complicated methods in expressing their interests. Very often, these methods are not understood by large sections of the Arab public. There are also vestiges of old colonialism in the Arab homeland. All these factors have exposed the Arab world to the political, economic and cultural influences of all powers, making it a target for covertous foreign trends…
But the main danger threatening the Arab nation and the gravest phenomenon currently evident in Arab life is the widespread corruption in some of the Arab countries, both the oil producers and others. This is a result of the enormous increase in the oil revenues. It is also a result of the fact that these countries developed a new mode of life much different from that which existed before, and when international and local forces began influencing and corrupting people. Consequently, he who wants to fight the masses and their aspirations for freedom, justice, progress and complete independence now, no longer depends on traditional reactionary, feudalist and capitalist means as in the past. He depends on the oil power, even if he is not the ruler of an oil-rich country…
Pan-Arab responsibility behoves us to tell the truth. The masses of the people should know the whole truth. They should criticize the manifestations of corruption in order to rectify them. If they do not succeed in doing so, they should resist against these manifestations with a strong will in order to eradicate and uproot them. These manifestations of corruption are not a personal matter related to the conduct of this or that individual. They are not an internal matter related to this or that regime. The issue is a pan-Arab matter on which the Arab nation’s destiny and struggle for liberty, progress and justice depend.
The continuation and spreading of corruption makes the Arab nation unable to face the Zionist entity and stand fast against the dangers of foreign intervention. The continuation and spread of corruption close the doors for future development to us. Catastrophe and destruction will befall several parts of the Arab homeland when the oil wealth, which is now enjoyed by a minority, comes to an end. The oil wealth is like a double-edged sword: it can be a means for building, progress and strength, and it can also be the cause of corruption and destruction…
Citizens, masses of the Arab nation, our stance on the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Zionist conflict is a firm and principled one that emanates from a deep analysis of all the historic and realistic aspects of this issue. Iraq, which feels a pan-Arab responsibility towards the Arab state of affairs and which is determined to provide the requisites for Arab steadfastness, shouldered its responsibilities when it called the Baghdad summit conference in order to attain at least a minimum degree of solidarity among the Arab regimes and agreement against the treasonous and defeatist trend of Egypt’s ruler which was embodied in the Camp David accords.
God granted us success in accomplishing this. The Arab regimes were able to agree on a programme, although, in our opinion, this programme represented the minimum. However, it enabled the Arabs to confront the treason of Egypt’s ruler and put a stop to the collapse in the Arab situation. This programme presented the issue of the Arab-Zionist conflict to the international community in a satisfactory manner.
We affirm our belief in the trend with which the Baghdad summit conference emerged. We also affirm the importance and necessity of this trend at this stage. The basic factors which necessitated this trend still exist. We hope that the forthcoming summit conference in Amman will be an affirmation of the trend we agreed upon in Baghdad, as was the Tunis summit conference. We hope that the Arab brothers will continue their solidarity in confronting the treason of Egypt, the Zionist schemes and the US, in the Gulf…
Proceeding from our belief in the Arab revolutionary movement and the historic necessity of Arab unity, we believe that joint Arab action should not be limited to political fields alone or to the confrontation of crises. Joint Arab action should include all the domains that can provide a sound and permanent groundwork for Arab unity. Serious and continuous co-operation in the economic and cultural fields, transport and the facilitation of travel of Arab citizens for various purposes in the Arab countries strengthens the Arab nation and enhances its international weight. It entrenches the pillars of Arab unity and paves the way for Arab unity.
Brothers, Iraq bases its foreign policy on its principles, founded on freedom and equality, and on national and pan-Arab interests, which are linked to the principles of humanity. Iraq believes in the need to establish international relations based on equality, the exchange of honest and legitimate benefits and the service of mankind’s advancement and just peace. On these bases and principles, Iraq adopted the policy of establishing broad relations with all of the world’s countries, except those that adopt a hostile stand towards it and the Arab nation.
Iraq strongly rejects any Party’s policies of hegemony and intervention in others’ domestic affairs. It struggles firmly against imperialism, neo-colonialism, racism and all forms of exploitation and aggression. It stretches its hand towards the peoples in the world that aspire to liberty, equality and justice.
The escalation of international tension threatens all of the nations on each. It is in the world’s interest to alleviate tension and to refrain from the use of force in resolving international disputes. The world should believe in the right of peoples to utilize all forms of struggle, including armed struggle, in attaining their total liberation. This applies primarily to the right of the Arab nation and of the Palestinian people to wage an armed struggle to liberate their land, which was usurped by Zionism, supported by US imperialism with no consideration for right and justice.
We support the principles of peaceful coexistence between East and West. We shun the cold war policy in all of the world’s countries, rather than just in the great powers and the states that are linked to them through military alliances.
We are satisfied with the increasing understanding of the Palestinian issue and of the facts of the Arab-Zionist conflict shown by most countries in the world. Although they are not in total agreement with our stands and viewpoints, the stands of several West European countries in this respect are considered a positive development. We hope that this trend will continue in the proper direction, free of Zionist and US imperialist blackmail and pressure. We hope that it will affirm the Palestinian people’s full and obvious right to regain their land and to determine their future. We hope that it will fully and frankly recognize the PLO. Finally, we hope that this stand will be adopted by all of the West European states and not just by some of them.
We also hail the stands of the non-aligned countries and of the socialist countries, which back and support the Arab right. Iraq is fully determined to develop its relations with the Third World countries, particularly the non-aligned countries. It deeply believes in the principles of non-alignment. It believes in the need to develop the non-aligned movement and to promote co-operation among its members in the various political, economic and cultural fields. Iraq seeks to enhance the influence and international status of this movement, in serving the struggle against colonialism, racism and all forms of exploitation and hegemony, and in order to establish international economic relations that guarantee the Third World countries’ and basic rights and that are founded on balanced co-operation.
We cannot distinguish between our national and pan-Arab security and the expansion or contraction of the independent non-aligned states’ area in the world in general and in the Third World particularly. Non-alignment is a definite guarantee of independence. Alignment with any given bloc or the act of falling under the non-objective influence of any bloc threatens the independence of nations and encourages the great powers to practise the policy of hegemony and to ignite the flames of war.
Iraq is is determined to continue and develop its relations of co-operation and friendship with the Soviet Union, the East European countries, Yugoslavia, China and Cuba. The founding of these relations on the basis of equality and non-intervention in others’ domestic affairs develops mutual interests and strengthens the bonds of friendship, in the service of joint interests and objectives.
We shall also continue to co-operate and deal with the West European countries and Japan on the basis of mutual interests and non-intervention in others’ domestic affairs in order to develop their stands on the just Arab issues.
Furthermore, we are determined to establish relations of co-operation and good-neighbourliness with the foreign countries neighbouring the Arab homeland, including those neighbouring Iraq, on the basis of joint co-operation, mutual respect and non-intervention in domestic affairs.
At this point, we must dwell on relations with Iran. From the very beginning, we adopted a positive and balanced attitude towards events in Iran. We blessed the Iranian peoples’ aspirations for freedom. Thrugh public stands and direct contacts with the new Iranian officials, we expressed the desire to establish relations of co-operation and good-neighbourliness with Iran, proceeding from the bonds of common history among the Islamic peoples and the relations of mutual respect and non-intervention in domestic affairs. We did this at an early stage and before the nature of events in Iran was exposed to others.
However, that sincere attitude was met by the officials in Iran with animosity, despicable racism and empty vanity. The Iranian regime has exposed its hostile designs against the Arab nation and its pan-Arab revolutionary movement. It also demonstrated its designs on the Arab land and its expansionist designs in the area of the Arab Gulf. These designs, which stem from racism, rancour and backwardness, brought catastrophes to Iran. The new regime is drowning in a sea of problems, bloodbaths and internal conflicts and contradictions. The Iranian regime thus began launching wars of extermination against the Iranian peoples, who aspire for freedom and equality.
The rulers in Iran are totally to blame for the deterioration of their relations with the Arab nation. They are also totally to blame for the destruction that has taken place in Iran as a result of such an irresponsible policy.
We wish only good for Iran and for all the Iranian peoples. We wish total independence, cohesion and progress, hoping that Iran will overcome its current ordeal and not fall into the clutches of foreign influence. We also hope that suitable conditions will prevail in Iran to establish relations of good-neighbourliness and fruitful co-operation with it.
We hail the struggle of the Iranian peoples against backward and tyrannical mentalities and against the deviant trends which hide behind the cloak of religion, while at the same time and through their practices, they reach the extent of committing blasphemy against the true Islamic religion, its noble values and pure heritage.
We hail the struggling people of Arabistan who are offering caravans of martyrs on the road of freedom and equality against the racist clique that is depriving them of the simplest rights of life and aspirations.
Glorious Iraqis, O struggling masses of the Arab nation, while bidding farewell to one year of the march of the revolution and welcoming a new year, we feel stronger and more optimistic about the road to a brighter future for our people and nation…
We would like to note that not all people, whether or not party members, give or produce equally, thus, national duty requires that we confront this situation, that we create a spirit of seriousness, work with precision and increase and develop production in all fields. Indeed, every citizen, whatever his position or responsibilities, should act in this manner, since we believe that the defence of the homeland through bloodshed is not the only symbol of one’s dedication to one’s homeland. In fact, every brick added to our new lofty structure and every dedicated effort exerted in work reflects serious dedication to the homeland, a belief in principles, a high standard of awareness and a feeling of responsibility.
During the past year, the enemies increased their despicable attempts against the party, people and revolution, they exposed their treacherous intentions and their black grudge. However, the revolution – which is strong, thanks to its party, people and principles – managed to remain steadfast, to abort all of these treacherous plots, to continue its progressive march of development in all economic and cultural fields and to continue its activities on the Arab and international arenas, in light of the party’s and revolution’s principles.
O struggling Iraqis and masses of the Arab nation. On this occasion and on this day, we would like to greet all of the brave sons of Iraq and to hail their heroism, steadfastness and self-denial in building their country and in serving their nation. Iraq, which shoulders its pan-Arab responsibilities with honour, will always be committed to these responsibilities, regardless of the sacrifices entailed and the difficulties faced. This is our fate… May the peace and blessings of God be upon you.
Iranian Communique No 1 on Border Operations, 17 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iranian Communique No 1 on Border Operations,” 19 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
Tehran home service 1630 gmt 17 Sep 80 Text of Communique No 1 issued by the Armed Forces Joint Staff In His Exalted Name. The noble, Muslim compatriots are hereby informed that since 10th Shahrivar [1st September] this year, the mercenary army of Iraq, supported by the superpowers whose ultimate aim is the destruction of beloved Islam, embarked on a series of military operations and cowardly attacks all along the border and the towns there from both the ground and the air and started a deliberate war. The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran deems it necessary to make known some of the brave replies and the valiant battles displayed by the sacrificial forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the grateful nation of Iran. The fighting forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, with a spirit of faith in God and aware of the support and solidarity of the revolutionary and risen nation of Iran will advance to the borders of self-sacrifice and not spare the last drop of its blood for the exaltation of the true and rightful faith of Islam’s Prophet and the dear homeland, and will guard and protect Iran. From 10th Shahrivar the town of Qasr-e Shirin came under the fire of long range artillery of the Iraqi army. As a result a number of our Muslim compatriots, including children, women, the young and the old, were martyred, a number were wounded and some Qasr-e Shirin residents migrated from the town. At that time, as a result of the shots fired in reply by the armed forces of Iran, the (?’Ali Mir) post in Iraq was completely destroyed. On 12th Shahrivar, Iraqi planes attacked Ilam’s [word indistinct] and garrisons around Khorramshahr. The attack on garrisons around Khorramshahr was repulsed but because of rockets fired by Iraq a number of air force personnel were martyred, a number were injured and the (?tank) [as heard] was destroyed. On 13th Shahrivar Iraqi forces attacked garrisons in the Mehran and Salehabad areas in Ilam using long range artillery. In these operations the armed forces of Iran destroyed Lenganeh garrison, oil installations and Sarbatiyah arms dumps. The Khambeygi garrison that came under artillery fire from Iraqi forces from 13th Shahrivar was surrounded by armoured units and Gendarmerie garrisons in this area fell on 16th Shahrivar. As a result three Gendarmerie personnel were captured, a number disappeared and some reported to Qasr-e Shirin. Investigations are still going on about that. On 18th Shahrivar the armed forces of Iran came under heavy artillery fire Iraq in the Gilan Gharb and Qasr-e Shirin areas. As a result of counterattacks by the armed forces or Iran heavy damage and casualties were inflicted on the forces on both sides; one of the Iraqi posts in this area was destroyed. On 19th Shahirvar most border areas in Mehran towards Qasr-e Shirin were attacked from the air by the enemy and, in response, the Iranian armed forces confronted them. On 20, 21 and 23rd Shahrivar, once again all along the western border, the Iranian forces confronted Iraqi forces. As a result of these operations a total of five Iraqi MiGs were hit of which three crashed on Iranian soil and the other two crash landed on Iraqi soil near the Iranian border. Five helicopters, nine tanks, two trailers and lorries, and three Iraqi garrisons were destroyed. The Iraqi army suffered heavy personnel losses but because of lack of access to the dead the real number cannot be ascertained. However, according to accounts by people forced to flee and direct observation using field glasses of the battle areas it is possible to make a general estimate. In these confrontations the number of casualties and losses suffered by the armed forces of Iran are; one F-4 – the cause of its crash-landing has not been established yet – one 214 helicopter and three personnel carriers and a few tanks. Eleven Gendarmerie personnel have disappeared, three have been captured and a number have been martyred or wounded. At present along the western border, from Nowsud to the [word indistinct] post, artillery fire and attacks from the air go on night and day between the two sides. The Iraqis control some of the mountains around the Kham Leyli border post and Ilam posts. Battles have been going on for the past few days to take back these mountains. It is worth noting that the mountains controlled by the Iraqi army have been claimed by the B’athist Government of Iraq in accordance with the 1975 Algiers agreement between Iran and Iraq and since the victory of the revolution this has been the basis for disagreement between the two countries. The morale of the personnel of the armed forces, ground force, air force, and Gendarmerie, guards corps and armed local forces is excellent. Eight Iraqi armed personnel have sought refuge with the armed forces of Iran. The Joint Staff of the Armed Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran will inform the fighting, champion nation of Iran of the result of confrontations in a statement every day. Note: Pars (in English 0809 gmt 18 Sep 80) and Tehran radio (0330 gmt 18 Sep 80) said that an Iraqi train carrying fuel and ammunition had blown up when it hit a mine in Khanaqin and all 22 wagons caught fire. ”It was understood that the Moslem Iraqi mujahidin have claimed responsibility for planting the mine.”
Iraq President’s Speech: Abrogation of 1975 Agreement with Iran, 17 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iraq President’s Speech: Abrogation of 1975 Agreement with Iran.” 17 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Brother members of the National Assembly, in accordance with a decision made by the Revolution Command Council we have called you to this extraordinary session to acquaint you with crucial issues concerning the homeland and the nation. We have done this out of the belief of the party and the revolution in your effective role in expressing the national will and defending the people’s rights and the homeland’s sovereignty and also out of our desire to stress the spirit of democracy which is a basic pillar of our national experiment and a true expression of the firm relationship between the masses and the leadership of the party and the revolution and the leading national institutions.
Brothers, our national and pan-Arab issues and problems cannot be separated from our national and pan-Arab History, both past and present. We must study our history and learn basic lessons from it so as to understand present basic facts.
Throughout the past imperialism used all the means in its power to weaken and dominate the Arab nation and exploit its lands and resources. The gravest thing done to the Arab nation by British and French colonialism, US imperialism and all the imperialist forces of our present time was to establish the Zionist entity under known historical circumstances so as to divide and weaken the Arab nation, to exploit it and dominate it.
After establishing itself on the occupied Palestinian territory, the Zionist entity developed its own interests, designs and policies which agree to a large extent with the interests, designs and policies of imperialism. Since its establishment the Zionist entity has been protected not only by world imperialism, but also by world Zionism which is present in many countries of the world and enjoys influence and power. World Zionism supports this entity and provides it with the means to continue its aggressive and expansionist policy against the Arab nation.
The Zionist entity is a frontier post not only for imperialism but also for racist world Zionism and its designs and aggressive and expansionist interests in this vital part of the world. The Zionist entity has performed its task during the past 30 years in dividing the Arab homeland and undermining the Arab nation’s ability to make progress. This Zionist entity has also seized every opportunity to commit aggression against and to expand on Arab territory.
However, the conscious Arab vanguard, which has been closely and carefully following the plans of world Zionism and fighting them, now realizes that the imperialist and Zionist forces are no longer satisfied with the Arab division they caused at the turn of this century. They now want to further divide the Arab countries so that no one Arab country or two united Arab countries, supporting each other and standing on the common border with the Zionist entity, poses a threat to this entity and its expansionist designs on the Arab homeland. Iraq was one of the main targets of this imperialist Zionist plan.
Iraq was chosen for reasons related to its geographical position and for other political, economic and historical reasons, as well as because of the nature of its militant people and the role they have chosen throughout history in defending the Arab nation’s integrity and sovereignty. Iraq was chosen because of its people’s ability to rise and proceed forward once our people owned the basic necessities. Colonialism and Zionism attempted to divide Iraq by instigating contradictions between the domestic national characteristics and its pan-Arab commitments. They tried to start isolationist regional divisions at various times in our modern history. They also tried to create a split between the commitments of its people towards their various sects and religions and their commitment towards the homeland and the nation.
Iraq, brothers, was placed on the table of partition before the revolution of 17th July 1968. The colonialist and world Zionist forces employed every mean method to try to divide Iraq into small and despised states. If such states had ever been established, they would have failed to defend and preserve liberty. Independence and honour and would have prevented Iraq from participating, seriously and effectively, in defending the nation, preserving its integrity, restoring its rights and contributing to its humanitarian mission. Such states would have prevented Iraq from struggling against the Zionist entity and its (?aggressions) and against the colonialist forces that stand behind it and support it.
Although we realize that the Iraqi people existed before the July revolution and had boldly struggled against all manner of colonialist and Zionist plots and designs, yet the historical truth remains that were it not for the July revolution and its great success in prescrving national unity, and its accomplishments at the level of national construction in the various basic fields, Iraq would have been easily divided due to the conditions that prevailed before the revolution. Before the revolution Iraq was suffering from weakness, fragmentation and violations by colonialist and Zionist networks.
Within the framework of this plan, the Zionist and colonialist forces tried before the revolution, and more so after the revolution, to supply the reactionary and agent leadership in the north of the homeland with large quantities of modern weapons and unlimited financial support. That leadership then became a permanent threat, jeopardizing Iraq’s unity and future as well as its national and Pan-Arab leadership at that time.
Iran, supported by US imperialism and world Zionism, used to directly support and back the agent leadership. According to the plan, these parties employed all their military, financial, political and informational capabilities, as well as their sophisticated intelligence organizations.
Iraq, depending on its innocent sons from the various communities, religions and nationalities, waged a fierce struggle against this agent clique and against all those standing behind it, The Iraqi army fought bravely in the battle in order to defend Iraq’s honour, the homeland’s unity, the Arab nation’s glories and mission. The Iraqi army made great sacrifices and presented glorious examples in steadfastness and bravery. Our people also made great sacrifices in the battle which lasted for 12 months-between March 1974 and March 1975. In that battle the Iraqi army lost more than 16,000 casualties martyred killed and wounded. The total losses of the people and the army amounted to more than 60,000 martyred and wounded.
Despite our army’s valour in fighting the agents and the Zionists, the Americans and the Iranian authorities which supported them, and despite the high morale our army enjoyed, it was not possible to ignore the material and objective requisites of the battle. These requisites are sometimes important and decisive in determining political and military results. Our major problem in our battle against the agent mutiny was how to ensure the continued supply of arms and equipment to the battlefields in a manner equal at least to the unlimited arms, ammunition and equipment which the Iranian regime placed at the disposal of the apostate agent clique, acting on behalf of US imperialism and Zionism.
The military situation reached a serious stage at that time. The Iranian regime used the most modern and effective weapons in confronting our valiant forces. The Iranian forces participated directly in fighting against our forces several times. They carried out exercises and moves and concentrated their troops all along our eastern border in order to preoccupy our army on several fronts and back the military position of the agent clique, The purpose of all that was to defeat our valiant army or to keep it from confronting the suspect mutiny by depleting or exhausting its materiel, thus facilitating the implementation of the imperialist-Zionist plot to fragment Iraq, weaken it and end its national and pan-Arab role.
The situation became grave indeed when our basic ammunition and equipment were seriously depleted-in particular that for the decisive and most effective weapons. Ammunition for heavy artillery was almost exhausted. The Air Force had only three heavy bombs left.
Brothers, in today’s world the sale of arms, particularly sophisticated arms, is not governed by purely trade considerations; it is often governed by the strategy and political considerations of the source country.
Our army depends primarily upon the Soviet Union for its arms. Over the past years the Soviet Union has given us sophisticated weapons. However, words indistinct at that time and during our struggle and fight against the apostate agent clique in the north. By revealing this historical fact we do not seek to blame anybody or find pretexts. We only want to clarify a historical fact and put the responsibility for it in its right perspective.
At that time, we concealed the fact of the grave shortage in our war materiel. We confined this information to an extremely limited number within the leadership so that the enemy would not find out about this word indistinct and continue their plots and aggressions, and so that our forces’ morale would not wane and they would continue to fight bravely and honourably with other available weapons. However, this fact had an important impact on our political decision regarding the conflict between us and Iran.
This is one side of the example. The other side of the example, brothers, was the circumstances of the battle that Iraq fought during the October 1973 war against the Zionist enemy. The war against the Zionist enemy broke out without Iraq’s knowledge and without Iraq being given the time to prepare its armed forces. In harmony with its stand and pan-Arab responsibilities, Iraq had to participate in that battle, irrespective of the motives of those who planned it and irrespective of the nature of Iraq’s relations with the regimes that participated in that war. At that time the Iraqi forces stood en masse on the eastern front as a precaution against an Iranian attack against the national soil. In order to provide suitable circumstances for the Iraqi forces’ participation in the battle against the Zionist enemy, the Revolution Command Council issued a statement on 7th October 1973 in which it declared Iraq’s readiness to settle the problems with Iran through peaceful means.
Iraq then sent its combat forces to Syria. Those forces had the honour of effectively contributing to protecting Damascus from falling and of stopping the Zionist invasion of Syrian territory.
The issuing of this statement actually meant Iraq’s readiness to look into Iran’s demands in the Shatt al-Arab; In 1975 President Boumedienne, may God have mercy on him, contacted Iraq and Iran and proposed direct negotiations between them in Algiers on the disputed matters. We agreed to that initiative.
We considered it a good opportunity to save the security and national unity of Iraq as well as the security of the valiant Iraqi army. The Party and government leadership then made a decision to negotiate with Iran on the basis that the Thalwegline would be the border line in the Shatt al-Arab. In exchange, Iran would return the Iraqi territories it retained under previous administrations, contrary to the 1913 Constantinople protocol, including the areas of Zayn al-Qaws and Safy Sa’d liberated by our forces a few days ago, and would also refrain from giving military aid and any other kind of aid to the mercenary renegade gang in the northern part of the homeland.
Negotiations were held with Iran on that basis, and the 6th March 1975 agreement was signed. It was a big event at the time. As soon as the agreement was proclaimed the forces of the mercenary mutiny collapsed and the mutineers surrendered. The weapons seized by the Iraqi army mounted to 50,000 pieces, not counting the many other Iranian weapons that were withdrawn during the two-week respite given them. Even after the end of the two-weeks, the Iranians had to leave behind large quantities of arms and equipment, which were seized by our brave army.
Brothers, the March 1975 agreement was a courageous and serious decision. It was a national and pan-Arab decision. Courage is not only expressed by the skillful use of the rifle and sword on the frontline with the enemy and in attack or defence, but also by the ability of the leadership to make a courageous decision in defence of the people and the nation to safeguard sovereignty when the rifle and sword alone cannot achieve the objective.
The decision, made under those circumstances, saved Iraq from real dangers which were threatening its unity, security and future. That decision enabled our people to continue with their revolution and the process of reconstruction and development and so attain a high level of strength, progress and prosperity, preserving the dignity and sovereignty of the Iraqis and enabling strong Iraq to serve the Arab nation and its great mission.
The decision was not to surrender to a bitter reality although the reality was bitter and grave but was an understanding of the facts through sensible and balanced thinking, one that took all circumstances and capabilities into consideration. The March agreement was the result of circumstances. Our people understood it and considered it, under the circumstances, a great victory -they welcomed it with great rejoicing.
Although our army was courageously fighting the renegades and was not aware of the facts we mentioned earlier, that is, the shortage of vital ammunition, and was dealing punishing blows to the traitor renegades, it, too, welcomed the agreement with great joy because it understood the significance of that agreement to the homeland’s unity and future. It appreciated the objective reasons for concluding the agreement.
Brothers, after the signing of the March agreement many negotiations and contacts were held to implement its provisions, especially those on the demarcation of the borders the setting up of border markers and other matters. The three major protocols attached to the agreement were signed. These were: the protocol on determining the river borders, the protocol on demarcating the land borders and the protocol on border security.
The Iranian side benefited from the protocol on determining the river borders in the Shatt al-Arab but more time was needed to apply the protocol on the land borders. It was as if that was normal the handing over of the land was disrupted by the circumstances resulting from the overthrow of the former Iranian regime in 1978 and 1979.
The new Iranian authorities came. However our lands remained under the control of the other side. We realized that the new regime needed time to carry out its obligations under the agreement. However the group ruling Iran showed hostility towards us right from the first day. It violated the relations of good-neighbourliness. We began hearing continous statements from them that they were not bound by the March agreement.
The ruling group in Iran violated a basic provision in the agreement when it recalled the leader of the mercenary mutiny from the United States. Agent Barzani and some of his sons were getting ready to return to Iran to resume their aggressive activities against Iraq but Barzani died among his American benefactors. His sons and the heads of the mercenary mutiny returned to Iran to use it as a springboard to threaten Iraq’s unity and national security with the support of the ruling authorities.
Since their assumption of power and to date the conduct of the rulers of Iran has demonstrated their violation of the relations of good neighbourliness and their noncommitment to the provisions of the March agreement. Therefore they are legally, totally and actually responsible for the abrogation of this agreement. tate agent clique in the north. By revealing this historical fact we do not seek to blame anybody or find pretexts. We only want to clarify a historical fact and put the responsibility for it in its right perspective.
At that time, we concealed the fact of the grave shortage in our war materiel. We confined this information to an extremely limited number within the leadership so that the enemy would not find out about this word indistinct and continue their plots and aggressions, and so that our forces’ morale would not wane and they would continue to fight bravely and honourably with other available weapons. However, this fact had an important impact on our political decision regarding the conflict between us and Iran.
This is one side of the example. The other side of the example, brothers, was the circumstances of the battle that Iraq fought during the October 1973 war against the Zionist enemy. The war against the Zionist enemy broke out without Iraq’s knowledge and without Iraq being given the time to prepare its armed forces. In harmony with its stand and pan-Arab responsibilities, Iraq had to participate in that battle, irrespective of the motives of those who planned it and irrespective of the nature of Iraq’s relations with the regimes that participated in that war. At that time the Iraqi forces stood en masse on the eastern front as a precaution a
The Iranian Leaders’ Meeting with Islamic Envoys, 23 September, 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “The Iranian Leaders’ 23rd September Meeting with Islamic Envoys,” 25 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
Pars reports that yesterday the heads of the diplomatic missions of the Islamic countries met Dr Abolmasan Bani-Sadr, President of the Republic and C-in-C of the Armed Forces, and Mohammad Ali Raja’i, the Prime Minister.
In his speech to the Islamic countries’ ambassadors, President Bani-Sadr said that Iraq claimed that it had repeatedly called for the holding of peaceful talks and that we had turned that down. All these allegations used by the Iraqi Government to justify its attack on Iran are false and are not compatible with truth and reality. The President of the Republic added: When the Iraqi Government contacted us for the first time, saying that it was prepared to solve the outstanding problems between the two sides by means of talks, we told it that if it was really serious, it must give up its aid to the sabotage groups, stop its intervention in Kordestan’s affairs and end its repeated attacks on the border and that if we found out it was sincere, we would then answer it.
President Bani-Sadr stated: From our point of view, the Iraqi Government attack is not an attack by a neighbour; rather, it is a wide-scale plot aimed at toppling the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Addressing the Islamic countries’ ambassadors, President Bani-Sadr said: In our reaction to Iraq’s aggressions, we have so far taken the following matters into consideration: 1. We believe that if the military clashes on our borders go beyond a specified limit, it is very likely that that will enable Israel immediately to intensify its pressure on the borders. That is bound to harm the Islamic countries. 2. The Iraqi Government has endeavoured and is still endeavouring to make its attack look like a national and racist war, namely, one between Arabs and non-Arabs. We want the Islamic countries’ peoples and the Arab and non-Arab brothers to realize this: there is no confrontation between two races. The fact is that it is a confrontation between the world superpowers and a revolution that managed to overthrow a regime which was a puppet in the hands of those powers. 3. We said and continue to say that the military hardware and facilities should be made ready for the war against our common enemy, Israel. Any war that might lead to the destruction of this hardware is an action serving our common enemy. It is better not to resort to a wide-scale war, but to prove our resistance and revolutionary solidness without involving ourselves in a wide-scale confrontation.
Proceeding from our remarks and considerations, until the wide-scale Iraqi attack, we had not replied to the sporadic Iraqi government attacks nor had we carried out similar action inside Iraqi territory. However, when Iraq launched its wide-scale attack, nothing could justify our commitment to these matters and considerations. Rather, we are compelled to defend our revolution and country.
Nowadays, our responsibilities are joint ones. From an Islamic point of view, the issue interests you as much as it interests us, the damage we sustain during these attacks will harm our general front as well.
The President of the Republic told the ambassadors: In accordance with Islamic solidarity and the respect of rights honoured in one way or the other in this world, we expect you to stand in the face of this aggression.
President Bani-Sadr said: The information we obtained 45 days ago proves beyond any doubt that this is a plot and that the United States is not only involved, but is also participating in implementing this plot. If we want to accept this attack, we will definitely be the cause for the return and settlement of the superpowers in this area to achieve their interests and benefits and to control our countries. Therefore, our resistance to this attack represents the resistance of all Muslims. We want you to handle the issue as we handle it and to exert all your strength to confront this attack.
Addressing the ambassadors, Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Raja’i said: Ever since the inception of our Islamic revolution, the US Government has been trying, with all methods, to change the course of this revolution. Its covert efforts were exposed following the capture of the den of espionage in Tehran. All the US Government’s blatant efforts to save the hostages have failed.
Raja’i said: Following these two rapid failures, the United States set aside the direct attack and colluded with Iraq in its attack on our Islamic revolution. I support the statements of my brother the President of the Republic and assert that Iraq has not made any political or human initiatives to solve the so-called Iraqi-Iranian issue.
Continuing, Raja’i said: Iraq has waged a very unjust war to justify and prove its claims, which cannot be supported by any quarter. In this war, Iraq has attacked our innocent people and our industrial and economic establishments. The Prime Minister added: We have taken over the military bases and equipment which belonged to the tyrant in order to use them to save humanity. But the supreme tyrant, the United States, with the help of Iraq, is blocking our efforts. These bases and equipment were basically poised to defend our people and economic establishments but we are forced to use them for purposes which we do not desire.
The Prime Minister further said: You are undoubtedly well aware of the war reports and know that Iraqi bombs were dropped on our innocent people in crowded areas. We believe that as your countries’ ambassadors to our country, you would do better by receiving the news about our country from reliable sources. Your countries or your media should send the news to all parts of the world.
Iraqi Commentary on the Military Action Against Iran, 23 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iraqi Commentary on the Military Action against Iran.” 25 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
My dear brothers, in order to counter the Tehran rulers and their unprecedented tyranny and aggression, the Revolution Command Council decided to instruct the forces of our valiant army to launch deterrent strikes against Iranian military bases. That was done in order to thwart the plots of the racist Persian regime to undermine the sovereignty of Iraq’s national lands and waters. Our heroic pilots have attacked 10 bases and military airports throughout Iran from which aggression has been mounted against our sectors, lands and Shatt al-Arab. Heavy damage has been inflicted on them.
It seems that the Persian enemy, who is licking his wounds, did not learn a lesson from his defeats in Zayn al-Qaws, Sayf Sa’d and Shatt al-Arab. Out of vanity and irresponsibility, he intends to expand his disputes with our country by waging an all-out war that will bring him defeat and irretrievable loss. . . [Quotation from Saddam Husayn’s speech – see ME/6527/A/1]
The whole world understands the basis of Iraq’s stand and its motivations and has approved the legitimacy of regaining the usurped rights in the lands and territorial waters. The whole world condemns the ignorant and backward clique in Tehran and Qom and regards it with indignation and disrespect because of its continued provocations and aggression against Iraq and its threats to our security and vital installations. This arbitrary conduct by the Persian enemy, out of malice against the Arab nation, culminated in a blockade of ships in the Shatt al-Arab and the closure of the river’s entrance into the Arabian Gulf with the intention of harming international trade, escalating the situation in this vital oil-rich area and consequently endangering its peace. . . [Revolution Command Council statement (ME/6531/A/3) on not striking at civilian installations unless the Iranian side continues striking at Iraqi civilian installations]
We will withdraw from Iranian territory – where defence lines and army security necessitate our presence – as soon as Iran recognizes our sovereignty over our land and respects our vital interest. Therefore, the fraternal and friendly Iranian peoples are called upon to exert the utmost pressure on their rulers, who are stricken with unjustifiable malice against Iraq and Arabism, in order to spare themselves further damage. We do not want to undermine the rights of others. With the use of power we have regained lands and waters that the Shah and Khomeyni have repeatedly refused to return to Iraq as signed agreements and justice demand. Iraq, with its leadership, people and army has risen up full of pride and honour to fight for the Arab nation and defend its eastern flank against the intrigues and plots of the ignorant liar Khomeyni and his entourage, the suckling of American imperialism.
Fighters of our nation. Grandsons of Ali, Umar and Husayn, carriers of rights and values, revivers of the heroism of Sa’ad, Muthanna, Qa’qa and Khalid, strike mercilessly at your vile enemy and draw the teeth of serpent that is wearing the robe of piety without proof: The Qadisiyah [Arab v. Persian battle in the seventh century] is recalling its glories in the Iraq of Saddam Husayn, who is firmly holding the liberation banner to wash away the stains of the despicable Persian occupation.
Khomeyni is the new Trojan horse, and his criminal plots against our nation and people are putting an end to his shaky regime which is stained with blood, harassed by troubles and full of sins. A new page of relations will be opened between Iraq and Iran based on mutual respect and understanding, free of ambitions and without intervention in internal affairs. The plotter will be caught in his own plots. The Shahbanu’s Message
Iranian Foreign Ministry Statement, 23 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iranian Foreign Ministry Statement of 23rd September 1980,” 25 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
The Pars news agency reports that the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement today addressed to Muslims in the Islamic countries of the world, especially the neighbouring Muslim countries, as follows: In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. [Passage quoting from the Koran]. Muslim brothers and sisters of the world, Islamic countries of the world and, particularly the neighbouring Islamic countries. We have a message for you in the name of great Islam, in the name of world oppressed people, in the name of the responsible 1,000 million Muslims in the world. The voice of our Islamic revolution is the voice of a revolution which took form without relying on and resorting to the superpowers; a revolution which has stood on its feet under various blows dealt by all dictatorial powers of the world and which, with God’s help, shall continue to stand. Ours is the voice of an Islam which considers the uprising for God as its highest commendation to its followers. Ours is the voice of an Islam which shall not shout, but for what is good. Ours is the voice that says God is great and our shout is the shout of the supremacy of God. Our message to you sisters and brothers emanates from the throat of a nation that recognises no power but that of God’s as genuine; a nation that recognises the strength of its revolution as dependent on this genuine power.
Our message to you Muslim sisters and brothers is a message from the Koran, namely, co-operation and reliance on righteousness, virtue and avoidance of help for and co-operation with sin, oppression and aggression. As we see it, Islam is the strongest bond between Muslims. Under the circumstances, when this bond is the only way to save Jerusalem and when the rescue of the Palestinian oppressed people from the dictatorial claws of America and Israel is one of the highest aims of the Islamic revolution of Iran, then people like Saddam Husayn, who neither think of Islam nor of the Iraqi nation, by co-operating with the usurping Israel in word and deed are planning to weaken and annihilate the potential and active forces which ought to be deployed against the common enemy. Our nation’s restraint so far in totally strangling this damned voice has been due to the mission our Islamic revolution has felt towards our Iraqi Muslim brothers: fear that the consequences of the madness of the world imperialist servants might encompass the dear Iraqi nation. Our Islamic revolution rules out such action, and that is a point clearly raised in the recent message by our great leader [Khomeyni]. This mission makes it incumbent on us to call on world Muslim brothers and sisters, especially the neighbouring Islamic countries, to safeguard the sanctity of Islamic brotherhood and raise your voice with that of our nation’s legitimate voice, so that this crushing cry may tear apart the veils of oppression and suffocation which the Iraqi aggressive Ba’thist has drawn over the Muslim Iraqi nation, so that all the oppressed Muslims may better understand and better feel that another Sadat, named Saddam, has created another upheaval and a new crisis, an action which might deflect the pressure applied by the Islamic front on the blasphemous target of Israel. We appeal to you in the name of Islam to condemn this deviation and aggression in any way you can. We call on the Islamic governments, particularly neighbouring governments, which claim to be defending Jerusalem, to be an enemy of Israel and to call for the strength and unity of the Islamic world, not to allow their facilities and their air, sea and land to be used by the infidel in this betrayal of the world of Islam but to protest at this open aggression by Saddam. For to defend and support the good is to prevent any material and spiritual aid to the evil. Under our leader’s order, we are determined to continue our efforts by giving an ultimatum – in order to respect the sanctity of the Iraqi Muslim nation – an ultimatum to the aggressors. Our responses so far, the heavy and crushing damage we have inflicted has been solely intended to indicate our readiness to defend ourselves. No doubt, once our ultimatum runs out, the dignity of our Islamic Revolution, which is the dignity of [word indistinct], will not allow such free rein to the traitors to Islam. Having received our leader’s order, our mobilisation shall embrace such enthusiasts of Islamic dignity and martyrdom as well as revolutionary self-sacrifice which shall leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the world-devourers and their servants, as our Islamic revolution did. There are such weapons as faith and virtue in the arsenal of our Islamic movement, which, once combined with the material potentials of the Muslim forces, will no doubt safeguard our Islamic dignity in a proper and unforgettable manner. [Signed] Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Note: The above was also broadcast, in briefer form, by the radio’s Arabic service (1745 gmt 23 Sep 80).
Advice and Appeals to the Iranians, 23 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Advice and Appeals to the Iranians.” 25 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
Baghdad in Persian for Iran 1600 gmt 23 Sep 80 Text of items: Soldiers, officers, NCOs, all the deprived Iranian people, rise to save your country. Rise up against the foreign mercenaries, the plundering, murderous mullahs. You have sensitive moments in front of you. Join our army and crush the traitors of your country. Your up- rising will save millions of Iranians from oppression and despotism. Rise, do not allow the treacherous mullahs to flee. Arrest them and hand them over to your brothers in the armed forces and to the liberators of Iran so that they pay for their crimes and treason. Do not listen to the useless words of the liars of the regime. Identify the heads of the committees. Hand over the criminal thieves to your brothers in the armed forces. Your salvation from the hands of a group of mad plunderers of Iran is near. Listen to our messages and pay attention to our recommendations. Dear listeners, please pay attention, please pay attention. The uprising of our Iranian brothers and the people oppressed by the oppressive and murderous Khomeyni regime has started. Our army does not intend to kill the Iranian brothers. Do not come close to military garrisons. Wherever our army comes to your help, hold your arms above your head and surrender, or join our forces. Your brothers and the armed forces welcome you. Our Iranian brothers and sisters, we have come to your help in order to save you from oppression and the injustice of the regime. Do not be fooled by the words of traitors whose hands are stained with the blood of thousands of Iranians. Identify the criminal revolution guards. Turn their names in to the armed forces. Dear people of Iran, Mullah Khamene’i, member of the Supreme Defence Council, in an announcement that he read out on Radio Tehran, said that the armed forces will give a bitter lesson to the Iraqi forces. He called on the people of Iran to stay calm and to keep away from military garrisons, to wait for Khomeyni’s orders and not to pay attention to rumours against the Islamic revolution of Iran. We should tell Khamene’i, who was promoted from prayer chanting to the Defence Ministry and who is ruling over the brave officers, soldiers and NCO brothers of ours in Iran, that we do not intend to destroy Iran and our fraternal and Muslim nation. It is the regime of the turbanned men and the mullahs who, from a long time ago, intend to destroy Iran and the suffering Iranian people. Our objective is to help the oppressed people of Iran so that they will be saved, as soon as possible, from these mad prayer chanters. The objective of our armed forces is to help the Iranian peoples who each day see tens of hundreds of their children executed on charges of being patriots and revolutionaries. We do not intend to aggress against Iran. Our holy objective is to save Iran and the Muslim Iranian brothers from the claws of the madmen and murderers. Iranian Muslim brothers, rise up against these murderers. Officers, NCOs and revolutionary soldiers, turn your machine-guns on these criminals. Join our army so that your country can taste freedom and democracy. Oust these American mercenaries from your country and do not give them a chance. Arrest any one of them you see and turn them in to the brother soldiers and the rising Iranian people.
Iranian Military Communiques and Reports, 23 September 1980Top
Source: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts. “Iranian Military Communiques and Reports,” 25 September 1980. Downloaded from LexisNexis Academic, 12 April 2012.
(1030 gmt – text of Communique No 34) In His Exalted Name. Now that the aggressive Government of Iraq has ignored all the legal principles and international regulations by violating the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is some evidence that some foreign war units might indirectly interfere in favour of the enemy in the Hormuz Strait and the Persian Gulf. It is hereby announced strongly, that if this matter is proved or is continued, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will establish the hostility of the foreign units and considers itself justified in reacting in any way it deems appropriate. It is obvious that in such a situation, the responsibility for any disturbance in the security and passage of ships and the transportation of oil in the region of the Persian Gulf lies directly with the country which owns the flags of the above-mentioned war units. (Signed) The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Note: Communique No 33 said that many ”committed and Muslim organizations” had announced their readiness ”to assist their brother soldiers in the trenches”. Retired officers, NCOs and retired civilian staff of the forces had also asked to be allowed to volunteer to defend the borders. The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces appreciated these sentiments; a communique would be issued if the need arose for such volunteers. (1630 gmt – Oil Ministry announcement stating that the Abadan oil refinery had been ordered to cease operations; there were good stocks of petrol and oil for domestic heating available) (1630 gmt – Communique No 36) Dear compatriots and Muslims in Iran, under the protection of God the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are fighting their enemy manfully and in an Islamic manner.
Following the shameless attack by the Iraqi mercenary army the air force of the Islamic Republic of Iran has bombed and destroyed only air bases and military installations of the Iraqi army inside Iraqi territory and has never attacked cities and civilian installations. The enemy who now sees that in his battle with the force of Islam he is repeatedly receiving heavy blows has embarked on a propaganda war and idle talk, so much so that through AFP he has put out a false report. The Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly rebuts the AFP report pertaining to the bombing of the centre of Baghdad.
(0430 gmt – excerpt from Communique No 37) Dear compatriots, your soldier brothers are fighting the mercenary enemy in the air, at sea and on the ground. The brave, fighting forces of 92 Division in Ahvaz and 81 Division in Kermanshah are creating legends in facing the aggressive enemy who are loyal to America.
Hussein’s statement before the third summit meeting of the Islamic Conference, 25-28 January, 1981Top
Source: Hussein, Saddam. 1981. Statement of H.E. Mr Saddam Hussein, President of the Republic of Iraq, on the Iraq-Iranian Conflict before the third summit meeting of the Islamic Conference, 25-28 January, 1981, Saudi Arabia.
In the name of God, the Merciful and the Compassionate
Your Highness Prince Fahd
I should like at the outset to express on behalf of the Delegation of Iraq and on my own behalf our sincere thanks and gratitude to his Majesty King Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz, to His Highness prince Fahd for all the untiring efforts in organising this August Conference and ensuring all means of its success. We pray to God Almighty now that the leaders of, the Islamic States are gathered in the holy city of Mecca in the land of divine revelation and the starting point of the great message of Islam to inspire us with determination, strength and reason for the purpose of achieving the great goals for which we are gathered here, and realizing positive results in the service of our holy religion and our believing people.
Iraq has embarked upon the initiative of requesting the convening of special meeting to discuss its conflict with Iran in order to present in detail all the dimensions and historical background of the conflict. This is in order to explain to Their Majesties and Excellencies the Kings and Presidents of the Islamic States and their representatives the present war going on now in our region and which was imposed upon us by Iraq.
Any problem cannot be divorced from its historical framework and direct causes. The efforts to solve the present outstanding conflict in a just and honourable manner require precise understanding to the nature of the conflict and in the light of its correct historical background.
The problem between Iraq and Iran goes back to more than 450 years of history. If we want to trace it chronologically. It is not a mere boundary problem, nor is it a minor conflict of navigational rights. It is much wider than that, as the problem significance itself in Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the neighbouring and adjacent Arab areas.
Historically, and since, 1520, eighteen Treaties have been concluded between the Persian State and its western neighbours regarding its relations therewith including the question of borders. On all occasions, the Persian State chose the opportunity to violate the said Treaties by word or deed….
[Hussein recounts a series of wars, treaties, and treaty violations since 1520]
Before we deal in detail with the Algiers Agreement, we should like to explain to you its immediate background, for that would shed an enormous light on its paragraphs and fundamental objectives.
Since the Revolution of 17 July, 1968, Iraq was and still is one of the firm adherents to the policy of non-alignment, which is based on the principles of non-interference in internal affairs, respect of national sovereignty of all States, and ensuring peace and security in the world.
In addition, our foreign policy does not tolerate any interference in the independence of Iraq and in the Arab countries, our sovereignty, territorial integrity in any form, from any side or on any pretext whatsoever. We have adhered to this policy and these principles in our foreign policy proceeding from a profound need and a long national and Pan-Arab experience in this regards. For, as you are no doubt aware that any disequilibrium in the basis of balance in State relations would certainly lead to impairing the rights and sovereignty of one side in favour of another.
In order to avoid this phenomenon, which has often led to tension and crisis, it is imperative to found international cooperation on rules that aim at the achievement of joint interests within the framework of non-interference in internal affairs. That is particularly true in the case of neighbouring States, because the geographical reality imposes upon them a policy of good neighbourliness, and non-intervention in internal affairs.
In its relations with Iran, Iraq has adhered firmly to that policy, an approach which is based on a number of realities that arise from the geographical neighbourliness and the historical ties between the people of Iraq and the Iranian peoples.
Our relations with Iran have witnessed grave crises because of the policies of successive regimes in Iran which have considered Iraq and the Arab homeland, particularly the Arab Gulf area, as a phere for domination and influence.
The said policies have been expressed in different forms appropriate to the particular exigencies of the time. During the rule of the Shah, arrogance, aggression, territorial expansion at the expense of the Arabs and attempts to harm Iraq’s national sovereignty and the rights of the nation were a constant pattern. Iraq and the Arab nation were regarded as a sphere of influence for the expansionist plans of Iranian interests. That policy has been followed throughout the history by the State of Persia against its neighbours to the west, and as we have shown.
When the Revolution of 17 July, 1968, took place in Iraq, and at the time when Iraq was occupied with building a new society on the basis of justice and welfare, struggling to liberate its national wealth from the exploitation of colonial monopolies, adding its efforts to those of its Arab brothers in the struggle against Zionist aggression, in that particular time, the regime of the Shah in Iran was acquiring arms at a very exceptional level. That regime was preparing itself to exercise the role of the policeman in the region with the full support of, and in coordination with, the United States of America and the colonial forces in the world. That suspect policy drove the Shah to provoke independent Iraq constantly seeking to weaken and harass the national regime brought about by the Revolution. The beginning was a propaganda campaign and numerous attempts at plotting, creating political crises, supporting the rebellious and mutinous movement in northern Iraq openly, and unabatingly, continuing with the territorial encroachments, ignoring international agreements, and committing armed aggression in actual fact.
Then in order to achieve his ambitions, the Shah began to exert military pressure directly or indirectly, believing that the military means would ensure the achievement of his expansionist aims and ambitions.
The Shah began to support the reactionary secessionist rebellion in northern Iraq on a large scale and hence started to exercise a direct role in the field in order to dismember Iraq.
The Sha’s support for the secessionist rebellion was limitless. He provided the reactionary leadership of the rebellion with huge quantities of modern and sophisticated armaments and put at its disposal all his material, military, political and media facilities, including the services of his advanced intelligence apparatus. He presented it with direct military support by sending contingents of his army to the areas of fighting, and amassed his troops along all the borders with Iraq. All that took place under the care and with the encouragement of the United States, and the participation of the Zionist entity through its representatives whose Prime Minister declared on 29 September 1980, that the Zionist entity had provided Barazani with weapons, equipment, instructors, and provided the rebels with training from 1965 to 1975.
Iraq fought a bitter conflict against that agent clique and the aggressive policies of the Shah, in order to defend its sovereignty and national unity. IRaq suffered sixty thousands casualties between martyrs and wounded of armed forces personnel and civil population, aside from the enormous material losses. The military situation reached a dangerous point when the Shah advanced his military troops on numerous occasions to fight directly against our forces in various fronts with a view to supporting the military position of the agent rebellion.
These were the conditions which dictated upon us, and indeed forced us, to work towards a political solution. Hence, when the late President of Algeria, Houari Boumedienne, may God rest his soul in peace, took the initiative of communicating with us and Iran, we agreed to that initiative, and the Algiers Agreement was concluded on 6 March 1975, under these circumstances….
[Details of the Algiers Agreement]
It is evident from what we have said that the Algiers Agreement represented a package deal in which the political and the juridical aspects were balanced in a manner which made the violation of any of its constituent elements a violation of that balance and a reason for the collapse of the Agreement. By the same token, it follows logically that in the implementation of the settlement referred to, the two Parties should be able to achieve the balanced gains which they have agreed upon at the time and in accordance with the circumstances to which we have already referred. But what happened in fact was the Iran scored an instant and direct gain as soon as the Algiers agreement entered into force, for its position in the Shatt-al-Arab became that of a partner in sovereignty over a large part of it. This was because of the redelimination of the frontiers in Shatt-al-Arab on the basis of the Thalweg. As for the Iraqi lands upon which Iran had encroached, they were not delivered to Iraq before the fall of the regime of the Shah. We were in the process of receiving them when the Revolution in Iran began; their delivery was in fact delayed and when the new rulers took over they did not return these lands to us. Iran thus continued to occupy Iraqi lands dear to us. Also, they have not been delivered after the fall of the Shah’s regime as is shown in Maps Nos. 6 and 7 of the Maps Pamphlet, already distributed to you.
The new regime in Iran came to power after the fall of the Shah’s regime, and the situation regarding the implementation of the Algiers Agreements was as I explained. Iran has achieved a new territorial gain which it benefited from at the expense of Iraq, but Iraq has not obtained what was due to it according to all the international agreements concluded before 1975, and the 1975 Agreement itself.
Despite that, we expected or hoped that the new rulers would open a new page in their relations with Iraq and the Arab nation. On this basis, Iraq on its part, took numerous positive initiatives towards achieving that goal….
[Describes details of attempts at peaceful resolution]
We have taken all these steps in order to putting our relations with Iran on correct and positive bases. Our starting point was the policy of good neighbourliness, and the desire to establish normal relations with Iran. But in their well-known arrogance, the new rulers of Iran turned away from all these initiatives. They were determined with full intention to abuse Iraq, and expand at its expense, and go along the same hostile and expansionist path taken by the Shah of Iran. This appeared from the statements made by them, and their deeds and practices, regarding which we have distributed to the distinguished delegations dossiers containing ample and documented information.
The basic motive behind the hostile position adopted by the new regime in Iran is the desire to expand at the expense of Iraq and the Arab countries in the Arab Gulf region and to interfere in its internal affairs. This has taken now a new cover, which is what the Iranian responsible officials terms as the exportation of the revolution to the neighbouring countries.
You all know that this is the policy of the new rulers of Iran which tries to export what is known as their new revolution and its principles to all Islamic countries. There is no one amongst you who does not know that they are interfering in the internal affairs of all Islamic countries.
Iran’s new rulers behaved on this basis, and declared that explicitly on various occasions.
The attitude and intentions of the Iranian regime in the so-called exportation of revolution did not stop at making statements, but passed that limit in the endeavours to transfer it to actual reality against Iraq and other Islamic countries. This took place under the direct supervision of the regime’s leaders. In qom and Tehran, specialized institutions and quarters were established to plot against Iraq and the neighbouring states. The plotting against IRaq was escalated through the commission of acts of terrorism and sabotage by Iranians, which the Iranian authorities helped to infiltrate inside Iraq, and assisted by Iranian residents in Iraq and individuals of Iranian descent. In fact, these groups committed during the first half of 1980 ugly terrorist acts, from which not even the Muslim praying masses in the mosques escaped. ALl these terrorist acts were direct from Qom, as has been established by the instructions issued and broadcast daily to the agents of the Iranian regime from the official Iranian broadcasting stations, which included even instructions as to manufacturing local bombs. This is in addition to the official statements emanating from the responsible Iranian officials which instigated murder, terrorism, and sabotage. The most cruel act of terrorism was the hurling of bombs at a huge student gathering held at al-Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad on 1 April, 1980, which resulted in killing and wounding a large number of students. Similarly, the hurling of bombs on 5 April, 1980, from the Iranian school in Wazriyah at the funeral procession of the martyrs who were killed at al-Mustansiriyah incident. In this second operation, some Iranian officials of the Iranian School’s teachers participated….
[Further details of aggressive activities against Iraqi citizens and agents of the Iraqi government]
Iran has persisted in its hostile attitude, and has not shown any respect to the 1975 Agreement. On the contrary, the Iranian responsible officials stated publicly more than once that they do not recognise that Agreement, describing it as against the interests of Iran. They even described it as dead, saying and some of you present at this session know that – that it was suspicious, and concluded under the auspices of the USA, by Saddam Hussein and the Shah. These declarations were made before and after the rulers of Iran assumed power. In particular, they did not reply to the Iraqi official and written Note of 27 June, 1980, in which we specifically asked them whether they considered that Agreement as still valid between the two countries.
In view of all this clear evidence, it was established by the government of the Republic of Iraq that the Iranian Government had violated the elements of the comprehensive settlement contained in the 1975 agreement and that it had terminated it unilaterally. Consequently, the Iraqi Government decided on 17 September, to consider the said Agreement and those following it and based upon it as terminated on the part of Iraq after Iran had terminated them by word and deed. This was done in accordance with Paragraph (4) of that Agreement and Article (4) of the Treaty on State Frontiers and Good Neighbourliness which was based upon it.
On that occasion, Iraq called upon the Iranian authorities to accept the new situation and act rationally and wisely in view of the exercise by Iraq of its legitimate rights and full sovereignty over all its terrestrial territories and fluvial territory in Shatt-al-Arab.
I personally declared on that occasion that we do not desire any war with Iran, and do not aim at widening the area of conflict with it outside the restoration of Iraq’s legitimate rights in territorial sovereignty, and that Iraq has no territorial ambitions in Iran. Yet, the Iranian government escalated the conflict. It began as from 19 September to shell with heavy artillery and compared with planes densely populated areas and vital economic installations in Iraq, Iraqi and foreign incoming and outgoing commercial vessels in Shatt-al-Arab and the navigational channels in the river as well as its approaches in the Arab Gulf, aiming meanwhile at Iraqi military forces. In addition, the Iranian authorities declared the closure of its air space to civil aviation, and the closure of the Strait of Hormuz to Iraqi navigation, contrary to international law. It also declared public mobilization and amassed with great concentration its military forces along the whole border, and started with wide military operations. The Iranian military forces issued four military communiques, broadcast over Radio Tehran, relation to its activities during the period 18 September, 1980. In its third communique issued on 19 September, 1980 the Iranian authorities boasted that it had set on fire Naftkhana field in Iraq. All this happened before 22 September, 1980, which is considered by some to be the beginning of the war between Iraq and Iran, while the war began on 4th September, 1980, as explained by all these accidents and confirmed by military communiques, broadcast with impunity and boasts.
In the face of these acts, we issued a statement on 22 September, 1980 warning the ruling authorities in Iran of the consequences of that escalation and the indiscriminate strikes which they have committed, putting the full responsibility in connection therewith upon the said authorities. The IRaqi government also explained in that statement that the acts committed by Iran made it necessary to direct preventive strikes against Iranian military targets inside Iran with a view to protecting the safety, security, and vital interests of Iraq. Thus, once again Iraq was forced to exercise its right to preventive self-defence in accordance with international law in order to repel aggression.
When the war was meant to start on Iraqi territory, then let it start on Iranian territory; and when we declare that we will not withdraw our forces from Iranian territory except after they admit an end to the state of war, and recognize our rights as fixed in treaties concluded between us and them; This is because we want to ensure the security of Iraq, and will not withdraw without guarantees of these principles; otherwise Iran will push forth and the war will take place on Iraqi territory, destroying Iraqi economic installations and Iraqi towns. This we shall not allow.
It is clear from what I have said that it was Iran which started the war against Iraq on 4 September, 1980, and expanded it during the following days…Iraq’s patience came to an end when Iran widened its aggression to the extent of closing Shatt-al-Arab, our sole national fluvial outlet to the sea, striking at our vital economic interests and peaceful cities including oil installations and the closing of the Hormuz Straits, and gaining ample evidence as to the wider aggressive intention of Iran, when the totality of Iraq became exposed to a wide military action from Iran. We were forced again on that date to defend ourselves by pushing the Iranian military forces deep inside the Iranian land mass in order that our towns, population, and interests remain secure from aggression.
All these acts and practices committed by the rulers of Iran left noting the provisions of the Algiers Agreement. The Agreement was demolished by Iran in word and deed. And it is surprising that the Iranians raised after a month from the beginning of war on 4 September, 1980, the question of applying the provisions of the 1975 Treaty relating to the settlement of disputes contained in ARticle (6) of the said Treaty…It is untenable logically and legally to have Iran allowing for itself the termination of the Treaty by word, deed, and aggression, and then come to apply a provision which presupposes, at the time of its application, the adherence of Iran to the Treaty that contains it. Any argument to the contrary would be dangerous from the viewpoint of substance, namely that there is a contradiction between the provisions regarding this question and those contained in Article (4) of the Treaty, which incarnated the provisions of Paragraph (4) of the Algiers Agreement which I explained to you earlier. The meaning of this would be to divorce the Algiers Agreement and the Treaty from being a comprehensive settlement composed of indivisible politico-juridical elements.
This is how the war started between us and Iran. Despite all these bitter facts, Iraq cooperated with all the international efforts to settle the conflict and end the fighting. We have offered Iran peace on 28 September, 1980, and declared that what we seek is to regain our legitimate national rights in our lands and waters. We have also declared our full readiness to withdraw from the Iranian territories and establishing normal relations with Iran on the basis of respect to sovereignty and noninterference in internal affairs…Do you realize, gentlemen, how dangerous it is for one side to take the initiative of ceasing fire unilaterally while the two armies are locked in battle? The Iraqi Army was locked in battle with the IRanian Army but when President Zia-ul-Haq asked Iraq to take the initiative as a brotherly, face-saving gesture towards Iran, we responded because we do not want to humiliate the Iranian people or army, but we do not allow anyone to humiliate our people or army, or to violate our sovereignty and security. Thus we accepted a cease-fire in spite of objections by a number of brothers in the leadership to this serious matter at first. We declared our acceptance of this step three days earlier, although Iran rejected it. We adhered to the date and time decided upon to cease fire; but Iran tried to exploit it to launch a counterattack. It is then natural that such a cease-fire is impractical and incorrect. But Iran did not meet these sincere intentions except by its persistence in aggression, arrogance, and hostile statements. Moreover, some have misinterpreted this gesture of goodwill on the part of Iraq, its readiness to establish peace and ceasefire as a weak point, in the hope that Iran, through a military solution, may impose anew fait accompli upon Iraq, contrary to its sovereignty, security and the interests of its people.
We have emphasized to all those who have sought to stop the war and the achievement of a peaceful settlement that we have fought in response to the Iranian aggression and for legitimate rights, and that we aim at restoring those rights and achieving a just and honourable settlement to the conflict and pushing away the evil from our sovereignty and people. We have also emphasized the necessity for the prevalence of the principle of non-acquisition by force in the relations between Iraq and the Arab nation on the one hand, and Iran on the other. The lands and rights which Iran has usurped by force should be restored to its lawful owners. This is one of your constant principles as well as being a principle of international law; a divine as well as a mundane law Iraq is fully ready to restore the Iranian lands occupied in the war. By all this a just and honourable settlement would be achieved. Hence, the appropriate climate for the establishment of normal relations between Iran, the arabs and Iraq, away from the expansionist inclinations and the acts of aggression would be achieved, as well as the appropriate conditions for all the countries in the area for evolution, development, stability, and real independence….
Islam does not ordain disunity and strife. It does not allow breach of pledges and violation of agreements, for although the Algier Agreement was imposed on us, in the conditions I have already described, yet had the new rulers of Iran adhered to it, we would have done the same, not because we believe the Algiers AGreement to be correct, but because we signed it for we do honour agreements while the gentlemen, the new rulers of Iran violated the 1975 Agreement and therefore there can be no return to it. Moreover Islam does not accept the denial of the rights of others. It does not approve of fanning conflicts, enmities, the use of force and violence against Muslims without a legitimate reason….
May Allah help us all to follow His Commands and lead us to wisdom and the correct path.
Peace be upon you all.