KCL MUN Study Guide - The 1988 Iran-Iraq War (06/03/2012)

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KCL MUN Study Guide - The 1988 Iran-Iraq War (06/03/2012)

  1. 1. “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     UN  Historical  General   Assembly  (1988)     A  study  guide  written  as  part  of   the  KCL  Model  United  Nations   Chairing  Training  Program  2012   A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University       http://www.mununiversity.org  
  2. 2. 2   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”      Table  of  Contents  Introduction  .........................................................................................................................................................  4   Historical  origins  of  the  conflict  ..................................................................................................................................  4   Background  ....................................................................................................................................................................  4  Key  Political  Actors  ............................................................................................................................................  6   Saddam  Hussein  ...........................................................................................................................................................  7    Causes  for  conflict   ...............................................................................................................................................  8   Khuzestan   ...................................................................................................................   rror!  Bookmark  not  defined.   . E Khuzestan  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  Waterway  ...........................................................................................................................  8   Political  Chaos  in  Iran  ..................................................................................................................................................  8   The  deaths  of  Tariq  Aziz  and  Muhammad  Baqir  al-­‐‑Sadr  .......................................................................................  8  The  War  itself   .......................................................................................................................................................  9   Outbreak  and  early  stages  ...........................................................................................................................................  9   Iraqi  Retreats,  1982-­‐‑1984  ............................................................................................................................................  10   The  War  of  Attrition,  1984-­‐‑1987  ................................................................................................................................  10  The  War  and  its  military  tactics   ......................................................................................................................  12   Introduction  .................................................................................................................................................................  12   1980:  Air  interdiction  (AI)  ..........................................................................................................................................  12   1981:Human  wave  attacks  .........................................................................................................................................  12   1982:Encouragement  of  heroism  and  martyrdom  .................................................................................................  13   1983-­‐‑1984:  Chemical  weapons   ...................................................................................................................................  13   1984:Tanker  tactics  ......................................................................................................................................................  13   1984:Operation  Dawn  5  and  6  ...................................................................................................................................  13   1985-­‐‑1986:Another  round  of  chemical  warfare   .......................................................................................................  14   1987-­‐‑1988:  Poison  gas  attack   .....................................................................................................................................  14   .Casualties   ...........................................................................................................................................................  15   . An  overview  ................................................................................................................................................................  15   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  3. 3. 3   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     Total  figures  .................................................................................................................................................................  16  International  Community  reactions  ..............................................................................................................  17   Bloc  positions  ...............................................................................................................................................................  17   Relevant  UN  Action   ...................................................................................................................................................  18   .Issues  a  resolution  must  address  ...................................................................................................................  19       A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  4. 4. 4   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”      Introduction  Historical  origins  of  the  conflict     Historically,  the  Middle  East  has  always  been  a  spot  of  contention  on  the  world  map.  Wars  have  been  fought  and   people  killed  from  as  far  back  as  632  AD.  From  the  start  of  the  20th  century,  this  region  alone  has  seen  around  37   conflicts,  from  the  Turkish  war  of  Independence  to  now,  in  July  1988.  This  most  recent  conflict  is  one  that  was   brought  on  by  a  number  of  reasons,  chief  among  them  being  the  religious  minority  in  Iraq  and  the  consequent   insecurities  of  its  rulers,  the  Shatt-­‐‑al-­‐‑Arab  waterway,  and  the  oil  rich  region  of  Khuzestan.  This  war  has  been  very   costly  to  both  countries  involved  in  terms  of  both  lives  and  money  lost.    Background     Iraq  and  Iran  have  had  a  long  history  of  conflict  fuelled  by  religious  differences  between  the  Sunni  Muslim  Iraqi   government  and  the  mainly  Shiite  Muslim  Iraqi  population  and  the  Shiite  religious  government  of  Iran.   The  majority  of  the  world’s  billion-­‐‑odd  Muslims  are  Sunnis.  Approximately  10  to  15  percent  of  all  Muslims  follow   the  Shiite  branch  (pronounced  Shi’ite,  Shi’a  or  Shia).  Beyond  that,  it  gets  slightly  complicated,  however.     Who  lives  where,  and  why  the  differences  and  conflicts  between  them?       The  answer  is  less  daunting  than  it  seems.  Sunnis  form  the  overwhelming  majority  in  countries  such  as  Saudi   Arabia,  Egypt,  Yemen,  Pakistan,  Indonesia,  Turkey,  Algeria,  Morocco  and  Tunisia.  Shiites  form  the  majority  only   in  Iran,  Iraq,  Bahrain,  and  Azerbaijan,  but  they  constitute  sizable  minorities  in  Afghanistan,  Kuwait,  Lebanon,   Pakistan,  Saudi  Arabia,  Syria,  and  Yemen.  Islam  has  no  codified  laws  per  se.  It  has  various  schools  of  law.  While   Sunni  doctrine  is  more  rigidly  aligned  in  accordance  with  those  various  schools,  its  hierarchical  structure  is  looser   and  often  falls  under  state,  rather  than  clerical,  control.  The  opposite  is  true  in  Shi’itism:  The  doctrine  is  somewhat   more  open  to  interpretation  but  the  clerical  hierarchy  is  more  defined  and,  as  in  Iran,  the  ultimate  authority  is  the   imam,  not  the  state.       What  are  the  sources  for  Sunni-­‐‑Shi’a  conflict?    Thatʹs  a  loaded,  condescending  question  best  answered  by  raising  a  mirror  to  the  more  familiar:  Why  couldnʹt   Catholics  and  Protestants  get  along  for  hundreds  of  years  (and  in  straggling  cases  still  arenʹt  getting  along?).  The   answer  must  take  account  of  doctrinal  and  historical  differences,  however  irrational  those  differences  might  seem   to  the  objective,  uninvolved  eye.     The  answer  must  also  take  account  of  the  inexplicable:  Religious  differences  are,  ultimately,  as  impossible  to  settle   as  metaphysical  questions.  Peaceful  societies  depend  on  what  mechanisms  or  institutions  they  have  developed   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  5. 5. 5   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     for  channeling  those  differences  into  non-­‐‑violent  conflict.  One  of  the  factors  contributing  to  hostility  between  the   two  powers  was  a  dispute  over  full  control  of  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  waterway  (known  as  Arvand  Rud  in  Iran)  This   waterway  is  the  confluence  between  the  Tigris  and  Euphrates  rivers  and  forms  the  southern  border  between  Iraq   and  Iran.  Iran  claimed  the  border  was  the  middle  of  the  river  while  Iraq  claimed  the  border  was  on  the  Eastern   bank  giving  them  complete  ownership  of  this  navigable  waterway  at  the  head  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  an  important   channel  for  the  oil  exports  of  both  countries.       In  1937,  Iran  and  Iraq  signed  a  treaty  that  settled  the  long-­‐‑standing  dispute,  which  dated  back  to  the  Ottoman-­‐‑ Persian  wars  of  the  16th  and  17th  centuries  over  the  control  of  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab.  In  the  same  year,  Iran  and  Iraq   both  joined  the  Saadabad  Pact1,  and  relations  between  the  two  nations  remained  good  for  decades  afterwards.  In   1955,  both  nations  joined  the  Baghdad  Pact2.  The  1937  treaty  recognized  the  Iranian-­‐‑Iraqi  border  as  along  the  low-­‐‑ water  mark  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  except  at  Abadan  and  Khorramshahr  where  the  frontier  run   along  the  Thalweg  (the  deep  water  line)  which  gave  Iraq  control  of  almost  the  entire  waterway;  provided  that  all   ships  using  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  fly  the  Iraqi  flag  and  have  an  Iraqi  pilot,  and  required  Iran  to  pay  tolls  to  Iraq   whenever  its  ships  used  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab.     The  Iraqi  regimeʹs  dissatisfaction  with  Iranʹs  possession  of  the  oil-­‐‑rich  Khūzestān  province  (which  Iraqis  called   Arabistan)  which  surfaced  in  1959  that  had  a  large  Arabic-­‐‑speaking  population  was  not  limited  to  rhetorical   statements;  Iraq  began  supporting  secessionist  movements  in  Khuzestan.  In  April  1969,  Iran  abrogated  the  1937   treaty  over  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑  Arab,  and  as  such,  Iran  ceased  paying  tolls  to  Iraq  when  its  ships  used  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab.   Iraq  threatened  war  over  the  Iranian  move,  but  when  on  April  24,  1969  an  Iranian  tanker  escorted  by  Iranian   warships  sailed  down  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab,  Iraq  being  the  militarily  weaker  state  did  nothing.  The  Iranian   abrogation  of  the  1937  treaty  marked  the  beginning  of  a  period  of  acute  Iraqi-­‐‑Iranian  tension  that  was  to  last  until   the  Algiers  Accords  of  1975.                                                                                                                              1  The  Treaty  of  Saadabad  (or  the  Saadabad  Pact)  was  a  non-­‐‑  aggression  pact  signed  by  Turkey,  Iran,  Iraq  and  Afghanistan  on  July  8,  1937  2  The  Central  Treaty  Organization  (also  referred  to  as  CENTO,  original  name  was  Middle  East  Treaty  Organization  or  METO,  also  known  as  the  Baghdad  Pact)  was  adopted  in  1955  by  Iran,  Iraq,  Pakistan,  Turkey,  and  the  United  Kingdom.   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  6. 6. 6   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”       A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  7. 7. 7   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    Key  Political  Actors    Iraq:  Saddam  Hussein     In  the  mid-­‐‑1970s,  Saddam  Hussein  had  become  one  of  the  most  influential  figures  in  Iraqi  politics.  In  1979,  he   forced  the  country’s  incumbent  president  to  resign  and  organized  a  meeting  of  the  Ba’ath  Party,  which  is  based   on  socialism  and  not  Islamic  thinking,  during  which  everyone  he  considered  an  opponent  was  seized  and   executed.  This  bloody  ascension  to  the  office  of  president  (or,  as  many  say,  dictator),  left  his  control  over  the   government  shaky  in  the  beginning  of  1980.  However,  Hussein  did  not  regard  himself  as  just  another  of  the   thuggish  dictators  scattered  throughout  the  Middle  East.  He  saw  himself  as  a  great  leader  and  modernizer  whose   goal  it  was  to  move  Iraq  into  the  First  World,  by  making  it  the  Middle  East’s  leading  state.  It  is  notable  that   Hussein,  like  many  of  his  followers  was  a  Sunni  Muslim  whilst  the  majority  religious  group  of  Iraq  is  Shia   Muslims.  Hence,  Hussein  never  received  full  support  of  the  Shias,  who  distrusted  him.  However,  a  greater   problem  existed  in  the  fact  that  their  neighbor,  Iran,  is  the  world’s  preeminent  Shia-­‐‑Muslim  state.        Iran:  Ayatollah  Ruhollah  Khomeini     In  1979,  Iran  underwent  a  radical  change  on  government,  which  entailed  the  overthrow  of  Iran’s  leader  Shah   Mohammed  Reza  Pahlavi,  a  modernizing,  pro-­‐‑Western  monarch  by  a  coalition  of  opponents  who  ranged  across   the  ideological  spectrum,  from  communists  to  Islamic  radicals.  Despite  some  initial  scuffling  for  power,  the   Islamists  came  into  control.  Their  leader,  Ayatollah  Ruhollah  Khomeini  assumed  power  over  the  country  and   reversed  all  the  diplomatic  relations  that  the  Shah  had  forged,  for  example  alliances  with  Israel  and  the  United   States,  and  the  state  took  on  an  active  anti-­‐‑Western  ideology.  Ayatollah  Khomeini’s  charismatic  personality   embodied  the  fears  of  all  secular  despots.  Despite  been  sent  into  French  exile  by  the  Shah,  he  had  laid  the   groundwork  of  the  Islamic  Revolution  by  smuggling  tapes  of  his  sermons  into  the  country,  and  thus  also  got  the   support  of  the  people  of  Iran.         Their  new  boldness  toward  the  United  States  was  clearly  displayed  in  the  Iranian  Hostage  Crisis,  when  a  group   of  radical  young  students  stormed  the  American  embassy  and  took  all  staff  hostage.  Over  the  course  of  the  next   few  weeks,  it  became  clear  that  this  operation  was  backed  by  the  state  for  domestic  and  political  gain.  Not  only   was  this  a  serious  violation  of  International  Law,  it  also  demonstrated  Iran’s  belligerent  new  attitude  toward  the   United  States.  Later  on  in  the  war,  the  Iranian  enmity  with  the  United  States  would  prove  costly.   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  8. 8. 8   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    Causes  for  conflict  Territorial  Claims   Khuzestan     Khuzestan,  which  borders  Iraq,  is  an  oil-­‐‑rich  province  with  a  predominately  non-­‐‑Persian  population  (Persians  are   the  largest  ethnic  group  in  Iran,  and  dominate  the  elite  of  that  country).  Khuzestan‟s  residents  represent  a  variety   of  ethnicities,  but  many  are  Arabs  with  cultural  ties  to  the  Iraqi  neighbors  to  their  west.  Iraq  claimed  a  historical   right  to  control  the  province,  which  Iran  of  course  rejected.  In  addition,  Iraq  also  laid  claim  to  a  number  of  small   islands  in  the  Persian  Gulf  that  were  occupied  militarily  by  Iran.   Khuzestan  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  River     Persia/Iran  and  Iraq  (and,  before  the  creation  of  Iraq,  the  Ottoman  Empire)  had  long  vied  for  control  of  the  Shatt   al-­‐‑Arab.  The  Iranian  cities  of  Abadan  and  Khoramshahr  and  the  Iraqi  city  and  major  port  of  Basra  are  situated   along  this  river.     The  1975  Algiers  Accord  between  the  two  countries  supposedly  settled  the  dispute,  but  when  the  war  began,  Iraq   revived  its  claims  to  complete  control  of  the  waterway.  Unlike  Iran,  which  has  a  long  coastline  with  a  number  of   Persian  Gulf  ports,  Iraq  only  has  very  limited  access  to  the  Gulf,  making  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  economically  and   strategically  critical  to  that  country.  In  1980,  Hussein  released  a  statement  claiming  to  abrogate  the  treaty  that  he   signed,  and  then  he  invaded  Iran.    Political  Issues   Political  Chaos  in  Iran   Following  the  overthrow  of  the  Shah  and  before  Khomeini  had  taken  power  the  political  scenario  in  Tehran  was   chaotic,  with  many  different  factions  vying  for  power.  Also,  what  was  previously  the  Iranian  Military  was  greatly   degraded  due  to  the  fact  that  much  of  the  officer  corps  fled  Iran  during  the  Islamic  Revolution.   Because  of  all  the  above  factors,  Iraq  saw  a  very  good  opportunity  to  strike  Iran  while  it  was  still  down,   effectively  establishing  Hussein  as  the  pre-­‐‑eminent  leader  in  the  Persian  Gulf  and  perhaps  so  discrediting  the   Iranian  Government  as  to  bring  about  its  ultimate  downfall.     The  deaths  of  Tariq  Aziz  and  Muhammad  Baqir  al-­‐‑Sadr   In  the  spring  of  1980,  an  Iranian  sponsored  group,  Ad  Dawah,  attempted  to  assassinate  Tariq  Aziz,  the  Iraqi   Foreign  Minister.  In  a  related  incident  Grand  Ayatollah  Muhammad  Baqir  al-­‐‑Sadr,  a  very  prominent  Iraqi  Shia   cleric  was  arrested  and  executed.  Sadr  had  very  publicly  defended  the  Islamic  Revolution  in  Iran.     A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  9. 9. 9   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    The  War  itself    Outbreak  and  early  stages       1980     Tensions  between  Iran  and  Iraq  were  already  high  because  of  the  aforementioned   incidents  involving  Tariq  Aziz  and  Sadr     September  1980     Iraq  declared  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  waterway  to  be  theirs.       22  September  1980   Iraqi  invasion  of  Iran   The  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  posed  no  major  obstacle  to  the  Iraqi  armies  who  were  well  equipped  with  Soviet   river  crossing  equipment     January  1981   Iran  launched  a  massive  counter-­‐‑offensive   Failed  to  drive  back  Iraqi  forces  but  dented  the  Iraqi  military  armor       September  1981   Baghdad  stopped  the  siege  of  Abadan       December  1981/   Iran  defeats  Iraq  in  the  Qasr  Al-­‐‑Shirin  area   January  1982     1982   Iran  engaged  in  undertaking  suicide  missions  to  pursue  ‘human  wave  attacks’     The  Iraqi  army  correctly  assumed  that  the  two  crossing  sites  of  Khardeh  and  Karun  were  lightly  guarded.  They   pushed  Iranian  forces  back  and  gained  substantial  territory,  including  Khuzestan.  However  their  progress  was   too  slow.  During  the  planning  of  the  campaign,  the  only  uncertainty  in  Iraqi  Army’s  plans  was  the  capability  of   the  Iranian  Air  Force,  who  was  armed  with  the  most  sophisticated  American-­‐‑made  aircrafts.  Their  uncertainty   was  definitely  warranted  when  Iran  launched  a  massive  counter-­‐‑offensive  in  January  1981.  Although  the  attack   failed  to  drive  the  Iraqi’s  back,  it  definitely  dented  the  armor  of  the  Iraqi  military.     Despite  the  ensuing  stalemate,  neither  country  was  willing  to  concede,  nor  negotiate.  Tehran  was  especially   unwilling  to  cooperate  as  long  as  the  Iraqi  army  was  occupying  Iran’s  territory.  Iran  recognized  that  they  would   need  to  harness  their  population’s  religious  fanaticisms  if  they  were  to  gain  an  upper  hand  in  the  war.   Iran’s  clerical  rulers  preached  that  the  “true  believers”  who  died  defending  Iran  would  be  rewarded  as  martyrs  in   the  afterlife,  and  by  1982  thousands  of  Iranians  were  undertaking  what  were  essentially  suicide  missions.   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  10. 10. 10   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     Iran  used  the  tactics  of  “human  wave  attacks”,  in  order  to  overwhelm  the  Iraqi  troops’  military  proficiency  with   pure  numbers.  These  tactics  were  internationally  controversial  as  they  not  only  showed  utter  disregard  for  the   lives  of  the  volunteers  but  also  enlisted  children,  some  of  whom  were  less  than  ten  years  old.     Iran  stopped  Iraqi  forces  on  the  Karun  River  and,  with  limited  military  stocks,  unveiled  its  "ʺhuman  wave"ʺ   assaults.  After  Bani  Sadr  was  ousted  as  president  and  commander  in  chief,  Iran  gained  its  first  major  victory,   when,  as  a  result  of  Khomeiniʹs  initiative,  the  army  and  the  Pasdaran  (Revolutionary  Guard)  cooperated  to  force   Baghdad  to  lift  its  long  siege  of  Abadan  in  September  1981.  Iranian  forces  also  defeated  Iraq  in  the  Qasr-­‐‑e  Shirin   area  in  December  1981  and  January  1982.  The  Iraqi  armed  forces  were  hampered  by  their  unwillingness  to  sustain   a  high  casualty  rate  and  therefore  refused  to  initiate  a  new  offensive.    Iraqi  Retreats,  1982-­‐‑1984    March  1982     Operation  Undeniable  Victory  was  launched  by  Iran         Piercing  Iraq’s  ‘impenetrable’  lines,  forcing  an  Iraqi  reatreat  –  Turning  point  in  the  war        May  1982   Iraqi  armies  had  retreated  to  internationally  recognized  lines   Hussein  believed  this  would  end  the  war,  however,  Iran  did  not  regard  the  withdrawal  as  an  end  of  the   conflict  and  consequently  continued  their  offensives    June  1982   Baghdad  stated  it  willingness  to  negotiate  a  settlement  of  the  war  and  to  withdraw  her  forces,   Iran  refused.    Late  1982     Iraq  launched  a  new  phase  of  the  ground  war,  with  the  help  of  Soviet  materiel  support    1983       Both  sides  displayed  their  ability  to  both  inflict  and  absorb  heavy  casualties  and  losses    Early  1984   Change  in  Iraqi  tactics  from  controlling  Iranian  territory  to  denying  Tehran  substantial  gains  in   Iraq.  Iraq  sought  superpower  involvement  in  order  to  end  the  war    February  1984     Iraq  attacked  Iranian  shippings    The  War  of  Attrition,  1984-­‐‑1987     As  the  conflict  dragged  on,  neither  side  made  a  decisive  military  breakthrough  of  the  sort  that  would  force  its   opponent  to  concede  defeat,  and  the  war  settled  into  a  stalemate.  However,  Iraq  was  facing  far  more  difficult   circumstances  than  was  its  enemy—Iran  was  far  more  populous,  and  the  war  appeared  to  have  strengthened  its   regime.  Thus,  it  appeared  far  better  able  to  survive  a  long  war  of  attrition.  With  Iraq  unable  to  make  a   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  11. 11. 11   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     conventional  military  breakthrough,  it  turned  to  two  gambits  in  an  effort  to  force  Iran  to  agree  to  end  the  conflict:   the  use  of  chemical  weapons  and  the  “war  of  the  cities.”     Within  a  four-­‐‑week  period  between  February  and  March  1984,  the  Iraqis  reportedly  killed  40,000  Iranians  and  lost   9,000  of  their  own  men,  but  even  this  was  deemed  an  unacceptable  ratio,  and  in  February  the  Iraqi  command   ordered  the  use  of  chemical  weapons.  Despite  repeated  Iraqi  denials,  between  May  1981  and  March  1984,  Iran   charged  Iraq  with  forty  uses  of  chemical  weapons.  The  year  1984  closed  with  part  of  the  Majnun  Islands  and  a   few  pockets  of  Iraqi  territory  in  Iranian  hands.  Casualties  notwithstanding,  Tehran  had  maintained  its  military   posture,  while  Baghdad  was  reevaluating  its  overall  strategy.     The  War  of  The  Cities  had  no  clearly  definable  beginning.  Although  there  were  attacks  on  cities  early  on  in  the   war,  it  is  reasonable  to  say  that  the  War  of  the  Cities  began  in  1985  when  Iraq  launched  multiple  air  strikes  on   Tehran,  among  other  cities.  In  retaliation,  Iran  Scud  bombed  Baghdad.  In  early  1988,  Baghdad  launched  a  major   missile  attack  on  Tehran.  The  citizens  of  Tehran,  afraid  of  the  missiles  containing  chemical  weapons,  fled  the  city.   The  objective  of  each  country  was  to  terrorize  the  citizenry  of  the  opposing  country  into  submission.  They  both   used  highly  inaccurate  ballistic  missiles  and  other  weapons  that  were  sure  to  inflict  considerable  collateral   damage.   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  12. 12. 12   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    The  War  and  its  military  tactics    Introduction   Military  tactics  are  the  techniques  for  using  weapons  and  military  units  in  combination  for  engaging  and   defeating  an  enemy  in  battle.  They  have  been  used  since  the  time  of  Pearl  Harbor  where  prevailing  weather  was   exploited  and  Blitzkrieg  (fastidious  utilization  of  speed  resulting  in  a  sudden  shock  of  violence)  used  in  the  World   War.  They  may  range  from  small  unit  tactics  like  ambush  and  guerilla  to  offensive  and  defensive  tactics  including   frontal  assault  (direct  hostile  movement)  and  trench  raiding.     The  geographical  position  of  Iran  and  Iraq  has  been  vital  in  understanding  the  military  tactics  used  during  the   war  of  the  80‟s.  Both  nations  are  surrounded  by  the  sea,  which  was  one  of  the  reasons  for  extensive  use  of  tanker   and  marine  warfare  coupled  with  ground  warfare  tactics.  1980:     Air  interdiction  (AI)   Air  interdiction  is  the  use  of  aircraft  to  attack  tactical  ground  targets  that  are  not  in  close  proximity  to  friendly   ground  forces.  The  objective  of  this  tactic  was  to  capture  the  strategic  town  of  Khorramshahr.  Iraqi  troops   launched  surprise  military  air  strikes  in  order  to  destroy  the  Iranian  air  force  base.  In  retaliation  the  Iranians   subjected  Baghdad  to  7  more  attacks  by  the  1st  of  October.  The  estimated  number  of  deaths  on  both  sides  was   7,000.On  the  7th  of  December  1980  both  sides  decided  to  go  on  the  defensive  and  the  main  tactic  used  during  this   time  was  trench  raiding.    1981:   Human  wave  attacks   On  November  29,  1981  Iran  began  OperationTariq  al-­‐‑  Qods  (Operation  Jerusalem  Way)  which  saw  the  first   Iranian  “human  wave  attacks”  Human  wave  attack,  also  known   as  human  sea  attack,  is  offensive  infantry  tactic,   in  which  an  attacker  conducts  an  unprotected  frontal  assault  with  densely  concentrated  infantry  formations   against  the  enemy  line,  intended  to  overrun  the  defenders  by  engaging  in  melee  combat.  The  goal  of  the  human   wave  attack  is  to  maneuver  as  many  men  as  possible  into  melee  range,  hoping  that  the  shock  from  a  large  mass  of   attackers  engaged  in  melee  combat  would  force  the  enemy  to  disintegrate  or  fall  back.  The  human  wave  attacks   were  carried  out  mainly  by  the  Basij  soldiers  (a  paramilitary  volunteer  militia  established  in  1979).  They  gained   much  honor,  love,  and  respect  for  their  bravery  in  defending  Iran  from  the  Iraqis,  as  well  as  their  piousness  and   devotion.  The  "ʺmartyers"ʺ  signed  "ʺPassports  to  Paradise"ʺ  as  admission  forms  to  the  Basij  were  called.  2,500  Iraqis   and  6,000  Iranians  had  been  killed  in  the  fighting.     A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  13. 13. 13   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    1982:   Encouragement  of  heroism  and  martyrdom   On  the  3rd  of  July  1982  the  Iranian  unit  advanced  towards  Basra  one  of  the  important  cities  of  Iraq.  A  tactic  used   in  this  advance  noted  throughout  the  world  was  the  encouragement  of  heroism  among  young  Iranian  Basij   volunteers  who  launched  human  wave  attacks  on  Iraqi  positions.  They  were  sent  to  the  front  with  wooden  keys   around  their  necks  (to  open  the  doors  of  Heaven  when  they  "ʺmartyred"ʺ  themselves).  To  counter  them  Hussein   had  also  more  than  doubled  the  size  of  the  Iraqi  army  from  200,000  soldiers  (12  divisions  and  3  independent   brigades)  to  500,  000  (23  divisions  and  nine  brigades).  Thus  a  number  of  Iranian  boys  were  slain  during  the   human  wave  attacks.    1983-­‐‑1984:     Chemical  weapons   During  the  course  of  1983,  the  Iranians  launched  five  major  assaults  along  the  front  but  there  was  no  substantial   result  as  the  wave  attacks  were  without  artillery,  air  or  armored  support.  On  February  24,  1984  the  Iranians   launched  Operation  Khaiber  an  offensive  to  capture  Basra.  The  Iraqi  counter  attacked  using  mustard  gas   (strongly  mutagenic  and  carcinogenic  causing  severe  burns)  and  Sarin  nerve  gas  (causes  chronicle  neurological   damage).     This  was  the  first  time  chemical  weapons  had  been  used  in  a  war  since  the  World  Wars.  Iraq  had  been  a  party  in   the  Geneva  protocol  and  this  act  resulted  in  violation  of  international  law.  Approximately  5%  of  all  Iranian   casualties  are  directly  attributable  to  the  use  of  these  agents.  About  100,000  Iranian  soldiers  were  victims  of  Iraqʹs   chemical  attacks  Nerve  gas  agents  killed  about  20,000  Iranian  soldiers  immediately,  according  to  official  reports.   Of  the  80,000  survivors,  some  5,000  seek  medical  treatment  regularly  and  about  1,000  are  still  hospitalized  with   severe,  chronic  conditions.    1984:   Tanker  tactics   The  Tanker  War  started  when  Iraq  attacked  Iranian  tankers  and  the  oil  terminal  at  Kharg  Island  in  early  1984.   Iran  struck  back  by  attacking  tankers  carrying  Iraqi  oil  from  Kuwait  and  then  any  tanker  of  the  Persian  Gulf  states   supporting  Iraq.  This  was  dubbed  as  the  “Tanker  War”  and  was  unique  to  the  First  Gulf  War  as  both  the  nations   involved  were  surrounded  by  water-­‐‑bodies.  It  is  estimated  that  the  Tanker  War  damaged  546  commercial  vessels   and  killed  about  430  civilian  sailors.    1984:   Operation  Dawn  5  and  6     The  goal  of  the  offensive  (Operation  Dawn  5)  was  to  split  the  Iraqi  3rd  Army  Corps  and  4th  Army  Corps  near   Basra.  It  was  fought  between  the  Pasdaran,  Basij  and  the  Iraqi  Army.     Operation  Dawn  6  was  a  military  operation  conducted  by  the  forces  of  the  Islamic  Republic  of  Iran  against  the   armed  forces  of  Saddam  Husseinʹs  Iraq.  It  lasted  from  the  22nd  to  the  24th  February  1984  and,  along  with   A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  14. 14. 14   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”     Operation  Dawn  5,  it  was  part  a  larger  operation  to  secure  part  of  the  Baghdad-­‐‑Basra  highway,  thus  cutting  two   of  Iraqʹs  most  important  cities  from  each  other.    1985-­‐‑1986:Another  round  of  chemical  warfare   On  the  11th  march  1985  the  Iranians  launched  an  offensive  codenamed  Operation  Badr.  Iraq  suffered  10  to  12,  000   casualties  in  Badr  while  the  Iranians  took  15,  000  casualties.  Saddam  responded  to  this  strategic  emergency  by   launching  chemical  attacks  against  the  Iranian  positions  along  the  highway  and  by  initiating  the  second  ʹwar  of   the  citiesʹ  with  a  massive  air  and  missile  campaign  against  twenty  Iranian  towns,  including  Tehran.    1987-­‐‑1988:  Poison  gas  attack   The  Halabja  poison  gas  attack  also  known  as  Halabja  massacre  or  Bloody  Friday,  was  a  genocidal  massacre   against  the  Kurdish  people  that  took  place  on  March  16,  1988,  when  chemical  weapons  were  used  by  the  Iraqi   government  forces  in  the  Kurdish  town  of  Halabja  in  Iraqi  Kurdistan.     The  attack  killed  between  3,200  and  5,000  people,  and  injured  around  7,000  to  10,000  more,  most  of  them  civilians.   In  July  1988  Iraqi  airplanes  dropped  chemical  cyanide  bombs  on  the  Iranian  Kurdish  village  of  Zardan  and  the   same  massacre  that  had  taken  place  in  Halabja  was  repeated.     Attempting  to  capture  Basra,  Tehran  launched  several  attacks;  some  of  them  well  disguised  diversion  assaults   such  as  Operation  Karbala  Six  and  Operation  Karbala  Seven.  These  were  again  strategic  operations  that  used  the   cover  of  the  night  to  capture  important  towns  and  villages.     A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  15. 15. 15   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    Casualties    An  overview       1983   Three  major,  but  unsuccessful  human  wave  offensive  with  huge  losses  along  the  frontier,   resulting  in  120,000  Iranian  and  60,000  Iraqi  casualties     06.02.1983   Iran  used  200,000  soldiers  to  capture  a  40km  stretch  near  Baghdad,  causing  6,000   casualties     1984       300,000  Iranian  and  250,000  Iraqi  troops  killed  or  wounded     Operation  Dawn  5   Over  25,000  fatalities     Operation  Dawn  6       Feb.-­‐‑March  1984   40,000  Iranians  were  killed,  9,000  Iraqis  dead     1985       ‘Operation  Badr’  killed  20,000  Iranians  and  10-­‐‑12,000  Iraqis     Feb.  1986     Toxic  blister  agent  Tabun  killed  16,000  Iranians     1987       Renewed  waves  of  Iranians  offensives,  killing  20,000  Iraqis  and  65,000  Iranians           A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  16. 16. 16   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    Total  figures     Strength  of  armies     Iran   Iraq   600,000   soldiers;  100,000  to  150,000  Pasdaran  and   300,000   in  1980,  1,000,000  by  1988   Basij   100,000  militia     1,000  tanks   4,000  tanks   4,000  armored  vehicles   4,000  armored  vehicles   7,000  artillery  pieces   7,330  artillery  pieces   747  aircraft,  750  helicopters   500+  aircraft,  100+  helicopters     Casualties  and  losses     Iran   Iraq   500,000  to  1,000,000  dead.  Iranian  government   Estimated  300,000  soldiers,  militia,  and  civilians  killed  or   official  figure  of  188,015  soldiers,  militia,  and   wounded   civilians  killed       A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  17. 17. 17   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    International  Community  reactions  Bloc  positions       USA   The  USA  has  always  had  a  large  interest  in  the  Middle  East  due  to  the  large  oil  supplies  the  USA  is  heavily   depending  on.  Prior  to  the  Iranian  Revolution,  thus  under  the  reign  of  the  Shah,  and  the  seizure  of  embassy  staff   in  the  1979  –  1981  Iranian  hostage  crisis,  the  USA  had  supplied  Iran  with  arms.  However,  these  political  events   worsened  the  political  relations  between  the  USA  and  Iran  drastically,  as  the  USA  was  now  turned  against  Iran.   The  USA  was  now  focusing  more  on  Iraq  as  a  reliable  ally  in  the  region  of  the  Persian  Gulf  and  the  Middle  East.   In  the  light  of  these  developments,  the  USA  supplied  Iraq  with  weapons,  intelligence,  technology,  military  and   counterinsurgency  training.  Moreover,  the  USA  removed  Iraq  from  a  list  of  State  Sponsors  of  Terrorism  in  1982  to   facilitate  the  flow  of  dual-­‐‑use  technology  into  the  country.  This  involvement  is  however  not  to  be  understood  as   the  USA  willingly  supporting  Iraq.  In  fact,  the  USA  was  more  focused  on  finding  a  reliable  ally  to  secure  her  oil   interests  in  the  region.  This  stance  is  underlined  by  a  quote  by  Henry  Kissinger  stating  that  ‘it’s  a  pity  that  not   both  countries  can  loose’.     Regardless  of  the  American  support  for  Iraq,  on  August  2,  1990  Iraq  launched  a  full-­‐‑scale  invasion  of  Kuwait  –  a   close  ally  of  the  USA,  turning  Iraq  to  one  of  America’s  most  bitter  enemies.     USSR   The  USSR’s  economic  interests  in  the  affected  region  are  comparatively  low  to  the  American  ones.  Overall,  the   USSR  started  off  by  pursuing  a  very  neutral  course,  named  ‘strict  neutrality’  during  the  beginning  years  of  the   war.  However,  seeing  that  Iraq  had  always  been  a  close  ally  of  the  USSR  in  the  region,  the  USSR  massively   supported  Iraq  in  the  final  years  of  the  war.  Considering  the  ideological  and  political  stakes  for  the  USSR  in  the   region,  the  USSR  was  very  interest  in  containing  a  spread  of  Islamic  revolution  from  Iran  to  other  parts  of  Asia,  as   it  was  a  main  sphere  of  the  USSR’s  communist  sphere  of  influence.  The  USSR’s  support  for  Iraq  can  thus  be   summarized  as  a  strategy  to  avoid  the  spread  of  an  Islamic  Revolution  to  other  parts  of  Asia,  that  would  threaten   the  USSR’s  predominant  position  in  the  region.         Italy,  United  Kingdom  and  France   The  three  countries  named  above  were  the  major  European  countries  involved  in  the  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War.  All  three   countries  supported  Iraq  militarily,  in  terms  of  mines,  military  equipment,  military  training,  naval  and  ground   forces  as  well  as  financially;  especially  Italy  offered  massive  financial  support  for  Iraq  during  the  war  by   supporting  her  with  over  US$  5  billion.               A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  18. 18. 18   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”       Democratic  People’s  Republic  of  North  Korea  (DPRK)   North  Korea  was  one  of  the  very  few  countries  to  side  with  Iran  during  the  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  war,  which  acted  as  a   middleman  between  the  Communist  bloc  and  Iran.  The  aid  was  constituted  of  military  equipment,  naval  warfare   and  missile  technology.     Turkey   Turkey  was  the  only  country  to  oppose  the  US  trade  embargo  imposed  on  Iran  and  Iraq,  and  thus  was  the  only   source  of  international  goods  into  the  two  countries.  As  a  result,  both  countries  became  somewhat  independent   on  Turkey  economically     Gulf  States   The  majority  of  Gulf  States,  particularly  Saudi  Arabia  and  the  United  Arab  Emirates  supported  Iraq,  mainly   financially.  Nonetheless,  diplomatic  relations  with  Iran  were  maintained.      Relevant  UN  Action   At  the  beginning  of  the  war  itself,  the  UN  called  for  a  cease-­‐‑fire  between  the  belligerents.  However,  it  was   completely  unheeded.  Iraq  remained  inside  Iranian  territory  at  the  time.  However,  Iran  was  disillusioned  from   the  UN  a  little  later,  when  they  refused  to  provide  Iran  with  assistance.  Iran  felt  that  the  UN  was  biased  towards   Iraq,  which  is,  in  fairness,  partially  true  as  the  US  prevented  the  UN  condemning  Iraq.     The  international  community  surprisingly  overlooked  Iraq’s  use  of  chemical  weapons  as  well.  The  UN  released  a   statement  that  “chemical  weapons  were  used”.  However,  they  did  not  directly  condemn  Iraq,  in  spite  of  the  fact   that  Iraq  had  clearly  broken  the  Geneva  Protocol  of  1925.     UNSC  Resolution  582,  February  24,  1986   • Condemned  the  escalation  of  the  conflict  (territorial  incursions,  bombing  of  civilian  areas,  violation  of  int’l  law,   use  of  chemical  weapons)   • Called  upon  cease  fire  and  withdrawal  of  military  forces  to  int’l  recognised  borders   • Both  parties  refused  to  implement  it       UNSC  Resolution  589,  July  20,  1987   • Demands  that  Iran  and  Iraq  observe  a  ceasefire  as  a  first  step  towards  a  negotiated  settlement   • Request  that  an  observer-­‐‑team  be  sent  to  the  region   • Requested  that  POW  be  released  and  repatriated     • Question  of  the  responsibility  for  the  conflict       A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  
  19. 19. 19   “The  Iran-­‐‑Iraq  War”    Issues  a  resolution  must  address     How  can  long  lasting  peace  be  achieved  in  the  region?   How  can  the  respective  countries  be  brought  to  justice  for  their  various  unethical  war  practices?  Should   the  UN  take  action  regarding  the  use  of  chemical  weapons?   In  context  to  this  war,  how  can  further  conflicts  in  the  Middle  East,  be  prevented?   Is  there  a  way  to  ensure  communal  tensions  between  the  Shi’ite  and  Sunni  Muslims  in  the  respective   countries  so  as  to  not  lead  to  further  conflict?   Due  to  their  global  importance,  how  can  the  oil  resources  of  these  countries  be  protected  from  mutual   attack  as  well  as  from  usurpation  from  foreign  countries  with  vested  interests?   Can  a  suitable  water  sharing  agreement  be  reached  regarding  the  Shatt  al-­‐‑Arab  waterway  so  that  it  does   not  become  a  catalyst  for  conflict  once  more?         A  study  guide  written  as  part  of  the  KCL  MUN  Chairing  Training  Program  2011     A  didactic  program  by  MUN  University  

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