At a time when a country is engaged in active combat in two countries, and is losing troops daily in both those countries one would think the last thing on the mind of said countries leaders would be to attack another country...right? Wrong. America is now blaming the death of at least 170 US Soldiers on Iran. Senior Bush Officials are claiming the Iranians are supplying the Shia extremists with 81mm Explosive Mortars, capable of destroying tanks or other armored vehicles. Bush officials also authorized Military force against Iranians on a special list of 31,690 men and women believed to be supporting the Shia extremists inside Iraq.
Condelezza Rice even went so far as to say that Iranians are "Training Shia militants". Dick Cheney added to that by saying "I think it's been pretty well-known that Iran is fishing in troubled waters, if you will, inside Iraq. The threat that Iran represents is growing, it's multi-dimensional, and it is, in fact, of concern to everybody in the region". This from the man who said "We Will be greeted as Liberators" and "The War is in its last throws". However, a man who hasn't been proven to be a liar yet also supports the claims. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week that serial numbers on the mortar shells are "pretty good" evidence that Iran is providing weapons to the militants. Pretty Good? Reminds me of his predecessor saying he was sure their wear Chemical and Biological weapons in Iraq and he knew where they were. An Uneasiness came over me as i looked at headline after headline about Iran supporting Shia Militants.
So I decided to do a little more research about Iran, about the Iran-Iraq war and about Americas relationship with Iran over the past 15-20 years. Toda we will start by taking a look at the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), the pre-cursor to the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), and sometimes referred to as Persian Gulf War I. If there was ever a time for America to have a serious problem with a country using Chemical and Biological weapons, this was it. Saddam's regime and Military used Sarin, Mustard Gas and VX on the Iranians (A Nerve Agent causing all muscles in the body to contract, leading to death by asphyxiation). However this time, the United States was on Iraqs side.
In the Summer of 1980 United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski met with King Hussein of Jordan to discuss plans for a Military cout against Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. To grasp why America had such a problem with Khomeini it is necessary to know what the Iranian White Revolution of 1963 did to help spread Democracy, Liberalism and Peace in Iran. The White Revolution was an Economic, Political and Cultural Policy Reform started by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in order to improve literacy, the economy and the overall health of Iran. The Revolution was extremely controversial because it opposed many traditional Shia values, and took away power from the Clergy. As wonderful as an idea as the White Revolution was, it like all things in politics fell victim to corruption, scandal and general mismanagement. And sadly this was not the Shahs first error, failure to meet Oil Revenue profits promised, creation of SAVAK (an SS like Military Police with unlimited power), and his creation of a political monopoly with one party ruling all led to the Iranian Revolution.
This Revolution led to Ayatollah Khomeini seizing power and turning the Monarch into the Islamic Republic. Before coming to power Khomeini was the leading critic of the White Revolution, and extremely opposed to the westernization of Iran. Khomeni successfully stopped the Shah from granting women the right to vote, and from passing a law giving women legal equality in Marriage issues. Khomeni promised a government that would adhere to values of Islam, opposed westernization and more importantly ridding the Middle East of all western influence. Khomeni believed that Shia leaders all through the Middle East could rise up and come to power the same way he had, and together form a united Islamic Republic. This was a strong force to have bordering Saddams Secular Iraq (something that Khomeni viewed as completely against the foundations of Islam) and one that posed a serious threat. Lucky for Saddam a group of Iranians opposed to Khomenis rule were planning a coup under the leadership of former Iranian Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. And that gets us back too why the United States National Security advisor was in a sweaty conference room with Saddams closest friend on July 7th, 1980.
Clearly Khomeni wasn't just a threat to Iraq and the Middle East, but to the United States. If his Radical Islamic, Anti-Western ideas spread to countries with military capability to attack America. Not to mention the Iran Hostage Crisis, which involved the capture of the US embassy workers in Tehran and their being held captive for 444 days (the Hostages were still being held at this point). So the US asked Saddam to support the military coup and try and overthrow Khomeni, and he agreed. There was just one problem, the coup was shot down before it could even get under way as Khomeni had learned of the coup ahead of time, and had USSR operatives hunt down Bakhtiar in France and kill him, along with 600 of his supporters in Iran.
Lucky for us, Saddam decided to invade Iran himself, starting an 8 year war, with the US supporting Iraq the entire. The US sold Iraq over 200 Million dollars in Helicopters, guns and other technology, hoping it would win out over the Radical Regime of Khomeni. And in the Irony of Ironies the US even sold Iraq the material to develop Chemical weapons that we would someday not even be able to find. Chemical weapons that were used to kill over 100,000 Iranians, and injure thousands more. The two countries also battled for control of oil in the region, consistently destroying oil tankers and damaging each nations economy. After 8 years of bloody conflict the UN finally stepped in after the US Navy launched and Operation Praying Mantis on Iran because of Damage sustained to the USS Samuel B. Roberts. Before this turned into a Global Conflict with the West vs Radical Islam the UN was able to get Iran and Iraq to agree to a cease-fire.
In the end Saddams soldiers had killed over a million Iranians (over 100,000 using Chemical weapons as i said before) and had economically crippled Iran. That was over twenty years ago that the Iraq-Iran war ended, have relationships between the two former enemies really turned into a conspiracy against America. Is Iranian President Ahmadinejad just getting back at the US for their support of Iraq over 20 years ago? Is he trying to form the Islamic Republic that Khomeni wanted? Or is this all just another pack of lies being fed to us by the Bush Administration?
Continued in the US vs. Iran: The Second Gulf War