Making New Enemies:
The American Government as a Combatant in the Iran-Iraq War
Matthew Mutsalavage, SUNY Buffalo State
Abstract: The Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 has had devastating political and social consequences for the Persian Gulf region for decades. While American foreign policy at the time called for neutrality, it is well documented that the US and its allies were heavily involved in the war. This stemmed from widely held fears of Soviet expansion in the Persian Gulf region. The US government feared if it did not involve itself in the conflict, the Soviet Union would take advantage of the chaos and usurp American influence over the oil producing Gulf States, while its ally Israel would face renewed threats from the Arab world. In response to this, the US would work to prolong the fighting in order to increase its own security presence in the area. A careful reading of declassified CIA and State Department documents reveals the United States fueled the conflict by providing both sides with arms and intelligence. US involvement was viewed as an existential threat by both sides, they saw no other option then to continue the war, all in hopes of winning American favor for their cause. In the meantime, the US intelligence community was under the impression that the best outcome for the Iran-Iraq war was no outcome. Their plan was to let both sides exhaust each other, while providing just enough support to keep the Soviet Union from expanding into the area. All of this was done despite the war’s carnage, Iraqi and Iranian lives were not valued as much as American influence.
As the first year of the Iran-Iraq war came to a close in the winter of 1980, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency issued a Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) titled “Soviet interests, Policies, and Prospects with Respect to the Iran-Iraq War.” The document’s authors strongly believed that the destabilizing effects of the Persian Gulf conflict provided a dangerous number of opportunities for increased Soviet influence over the Persian Gulf region (1). While the Soviet Union already maintained a cordial relationship with the Iraqi government, this document explicitly states that a Soviet aligned Iran was Moscow’s real prize. The United States government was committed to their Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union and it would dictate American policy toward the Iran-Iraq War. From the outset of the conflict, the United States had a public policy of neutrality, but its attitudes toward the Soviet Union ensured this would not be the case. The US government would provide support for both Iraq and Iran directly and indirectly; the government and its Middle East allies saw more benefit in a stalemate than a quick peace (2). The other Persian Gulf States wanted to avoid either side claiming preeminence in the region, while Israel viewed both combatants as potential threats and was happy to see them direct their hostilities at each other. Early in the war, the US intelligence community believed a quick end to the war would have benefitted the Soviet cause the most. The US knew the USSR wanted to avoid direct conflict with NATO in the Persian Gulf (3). A long-term conflict gave the US more time to expand its own influence in the region, pushing out the Soviets. The American public saw Iraq as a westernized nation that could potentially serve as a good ally in the Middle East. Many thought it unimaginable that the US could support a nation like Iran, the media frequently portrayed Iran as a villain working towards the downfall of western society (4). The government understood the dangers the Iranian may have posed, but the threat of a Soviet backed Iran was considered a bigger threat. This would push the US to seek favor with both sides of the conflict, despite any misgivings about their actions on the world stage. The combatants viewed the war as an existential cause for their respective regimes, and US involvement ensured there could be no easy peace between these two warring countries.
Cold War Concerns: Why the US feared a Soviet Led Persian Gulf
The United States was formally neutral for the duration of the Iran-Iraq conflict, but the government feared the potential consequences of Soviet expansion in the Persian Gulf region. Rob Johnson wrote, “The United States sought to influence the Middle East to prevent it falling into the Soviet sphere…” (5) The Persian Gulf was strategically important for both superpowers and if the US did not exert its influence, it risked allowing the Soviets the chance to supplant them in the Middle East. In its SNIE on Soviet interests in the Persian Gulf, the intelligence community expressed concern that both combatants displayed potential weaknesses that the USSR could exploit as leverage (6). This same document remarked that the Soviet government was especially interested in forming a relationship with Iran, a nation formerly aligned with the United States. Iran’s large population and strategic coastline would make it a desirable partner for any Soviet interests in the region. The USSR did not entirely ignore Iraq though, the two nations had signed a treaty of friendship in 1972 and before the start of the conflict the Eastern Bloc provided much of the country’s military hardware (7). The USSR was openly supplying Iraq with weapons while also covertly funneling hardware to Iran both directly and through partners like North Korea and Syria (8). In order to keep pace with the Soviets, Washington would have to find ways to support both sides or risk losing them to Soviet intervention. If both combatants fell into the Soviet sphere of influence, America’s rival would effectively have security control over the strategic Persian Gulf Oil supply. Just before the outbreak of the war, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the Middle East would provide 40% of the world’s oil supply by 1985 (9). That same report also predicted Western European allies and Japan would see a sharp increase in their oil demand as the decade progressed. Persian Gulf oil producers were expected to be their primary supplier. If the US allowed such a critical source of oil to fall under the influence of the Soviet Union, they risked seeing many of their strategic partners drift closer to Moscow. By 1984, the US government had determined that the damage inflicted by the war on the Gulf’s oil infrastructure was not significant enough to halt production, but the possibility of the Soviet’s claiming security control of such a large percentage of the world’s oil supply was unacceptable (10). Much of NATO would be beholden to the Soviet’s for their energy needs, potentially driving a wedge between the US government and its closest allies. The Eastern Bloc could negotiate more favorable trade deals with the Gulf States, influence prices either through intimidation or political coercion, or ensure the Gulf States directed their shipping and pipeline infrastructure through Soviet controlled territory. Energy was not the only concern on the West’s mind, an armed Soviet presence in the Middle East was a direct security risk to NATO’s southeastern flank. The Soviet government already showed its willingness to commit significant forces to the region following its invasion of Afghanistan, while the government had influence over other partners like Syria, Libya, Ethiopia, and South Yemen (11). If the Soviets had direct control over Iran or Iraq (or both), their military presence in the Persian Gulf could grow to ensure the security of their new sphere of influence. US partners like Israel and Saudi Arabia would then have a large Soviet military force on their doorstep, and the Gulf would become another potential launch point to consider in the event of future Soviet aggression. All this threatened the United States’ Cold War strategy and ensured the government could not remain neutral in the Iran-Iraq War if it wanted to compete with the USSR.
To ward off these consequences and strengthen its own position in the Persian Gulf, the US needed a policy that benefitted not just itself, but any regional allies that might be swayed by the Soviets. To accomplish this, the government moved to create a stalemate in the conflict, an especially callous decision when one considers the devastation that occurred by the conclusion of the war. Conservative estimates put the death toll of the Iran-Iraq War around 500,000 people, with at least double that amount injured (12). Vicious tactics were used on both sides of the conflict; Iran suffered massive casualties during human wave attacks reminiscent of World War 1, while the US knew as early as 1983 that Iraq was producing and using chemical weapons to blunt Iranian offensives (13). This violence did not give Washington pause; the war was an excuse for an increased US security presence in the Persian Gulf. while the other Arab states would be hesitant to displease Washington at a time when they feared Iranian expansion.
The Benefits of Conflict: Why Did the US Require A Long War?
The Iran-Iraq War presented Israel, the United States’ principal Middle East ally, with a unique opportunity. For years the Arab world had been preoccupied with disrupting Israel on behalf of Palestine. An early end to the Iran-Iraq war posed significant risks for Israeli security; by 1982 Syria was squaring off with Israel in Lebanon, but it did not have the backing of other Arab leaders because of its support for Iran. The CIA feared that when the war ended, the political barrier between Syria and the rest of the Arab states would fall and Israel would be faced with renewed offensives from its neighbors. The CIA even predicted that Iraqi combat brigades would be redeployed to assist Syria, despite the fact that the two countries were at odds over Syrian support for Iran (14). Iran posed a much more immediate threat for the Arab states than Israel, leaving Syria relatively isolated in Lebanon. Iran and Iraq were both strong military powers in the Middle East with animosity toward the Israelis, they were happy to see them deplete each other’s resources in a protracted conflict (15). As the Arab world watched the two largest militaries in the region destroy each other, the US hoped moderate Arab governments like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait would soften on the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to shore up relations with more stable western powers (16). By creating a stalemate, the US was bolstering a strong friendly military power that could be used to counter Soviet ambition. The question on Washington’s mind was whether Israel was enough.
The US still believed the war was creating significant risk for its standing in the region that could only be dissuaded by increasing the US security presence in the area. A protracted conflict between two of the world’s largest oil producers would not only give the US an excuse to increase their local operations, it would also avert some of Washington’s fears surrounding a short conflict. By 1980 the intelligence community had convinced itself that any swift end to the war would be a victory for the Soviets. In a CIA report from October of that year, the agency expressed these concerns. If Iraq smashed the Iranian military like Saddam had hoped, Iran would fall into a state of chaos. The CIA judged that the various political factions in the country would fracture, presenting the Soviet’s a perfect opportunity to ingratiate themselves. The Revolutionary regime had been resistant to the Soviets up to this point, its own Socialist party known as the Tudeh had been forced underground. If Iraq destroyed the Revolutionary regime, parties like the Tudeh may emerge as willing partners for the Soviets to exploit. Even as early as 1980, Iran had suffered severe damage to its infrastructure. A victory for Saddam would surely increase the country’s hardship; with Iran-US relations paralyzed at this point the government expected Iran would look to the Soviets for post-war recovery (17). A victory for Iran this early in the war did not have the obvious benefits for the Soviets that an Iraqi victory presented, but the CIA knew they would take advantage of it. As stated in a previous paragraph, Iran was the more enticing partner for the Soviets. Iran had a large population to provide military manpower and was strategically positioned to manipulate the Gulf oil supply via the Strait of Hormuz. When Iran began to push Iraq out of its territory in 1982, the CIA again assessed what an early end to the conflict might mean for the Soviets. In a CIA memorandum from that year the agency expressed concern that if the war ended quickly in favor of Iran, the Iranian government would work to undermine the governments of the other Persian Gulf nations (18). Many of the moderate Arab regimes were friendly to the US, their collapse would open the door for their successors to fall into the arms of the anti-American Soviet bloc (19). The US had a lot to gain from a long war, neither combatant had particularly strong relations with America prior to the war but as the war dragged on there was a greater chance of them looking to the west for support. The USSR had a Treaty of Friendship with Iraq but wanted to court the anti-American regime in Iran (20). Publicly acknowledging support for Iran would alienate Iraq, but withholding support fueled Iranian impatience. If the US could keep the war going, they could force the USSR into an unfavorable position with both parties and improve their own (21).
Supporting the Enemy: How and Why Did the US Support Iran?
While the Revolutionary regime of Iran had a very public distaste for the United States, both the Carter and Reagan regimes recognized they would need to try and work with them. The US understood Iran could play an important role in countering global Soviet ambitions. In 1979 the Carter administration made overtures to Iran’s interim government with hopes of rebuilding an intelligence relationship between the two nations. The US urgently wanted to resume surveillance operations directed at the Soviet Union that had been based in Iran prior to the revolution (22). With help from the Shah’s government, the US had covertly established numerous surveillance posts in Northern Iran that collected telemetry data from various Soviet missile testing sites. The US wanted to ensure that the Soviets were complying with international non-proliferation agreements such as the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (23). This surveillance was considered critical for national security, explaining why the government was so eager to work with Iran again. The US tried to facilitate intelligence exchanges with the moderate Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, by feeding him intelligence and even warning his government of the impending Iraqi invasion. The US offered to help Iran monitor Iraqi troop build ups and plan potential countermeasures so they could resist a surprise attack (24). At this point Iraq was still close to the Soviet Union, if they were able to successfully invade Iran and topple the government the US surveillance bases would be lost. Unfortunately, any hopes of cooperation between Carter’s government and the new regime in Tehran failed when the US embassy was stormed in November of 1979.
American attempts to influence Iran would not end with the hostage crisis, Iran would still receive support from the US and its allies for much of the war. In 1983, the Reagan administration initiated a program known as Operation Staunch in response to an increasing amount of Iranian sponsored terrorist attacks and kidnappings around the world. The operation was meant to block all sales of arms and military parts to Iran from around the world, pressuring the Iranian government on its state sponsored terrorism (25). While the United States moved to punish Iran for ignoring international norms, it covertly moved to provide it with aid. Initial concessions were subtle, in 1983 Iran set up shell corporations in the US to purchase parts for its American made arsenal. US officials saw this arrangement as mutually beneficial and decided to ignore it (26). Iran’s hardware needs were only getting larger though, more direct support would be needed if its military was going to continue its push into Iraq. The Iranians would turn to an unconventional source to meet their needs, Israel. According to The New York Times, the Reagan administration had allowed Israel to transfer billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware to Iran as early as 1981 when Iraq seemed poised to overrun Iran (27). Israel would consistently be the facilitator of US aid to Iran during the war, even after the US officially ended these transfers in 1982 (28). American-made weapons continued to move to Iran via Israel, even as officials in the US tried to distance themselves from the sales. US law prohibited the transfer of American military equipment by allies without prior US approval, it is unlikely that Israel would risk alienating its biggest military ally unless it had some form of approval to do so (29). As Iran seemed to have the upper hand after 1982, the US took a step back from direct involvement in the Iran-Israel relationship.
After 1982, the US preferred to let Israel take the lead on weapons transfers to Iran. Direct aid picked up again when the US took note of warming relations between the USSR and Iran. From 1985 to 1986 there had been a series of high-profile meetings between Soviet and Iranian officials, with both sides expressing interest in creating a stronger friendship. Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko called for stronger economic and political ties, while Iranian Petroleum Minister Aqazadeh was hopeful for a renewed relationship (30). The USSR’s relationship with Iraq no longer seemed to be a barrier for Soviet-Iranian cooperation and the US was concerned by the potential effects this could have on its power in the region. The CIA believed the US was far behind the USSR in its efforts to gain favor with Iran, a factor the Reagan Administration was forced to consider when dealing with Iran (31). This came at a time when the Reagan Administration was already dealing with another growing socialist threat. Reagan was actively trying to eliminate the Marxist inspired Sandinista regime in Nicaragua by providing support to rightwing rebels known as the Contras (32). Soviet influence was now growing in Nicaragua and Iran, and the US perceived this as a threat to its interests and had to respond. That response would come in 1985 when the US began shipping TOW missiles and other advanced weapons systems to Iran. The Reagan Administration saw many benefits in this relationship: they could negotiate the release of Americans held by Iranian-backed terrorists, counter Soviet influence over Khomeini’s government, and obtain funds that could support the Contras in Nicaragua (33). These weapons transfers should not be interpreted as Washington favoring Iran, the US had been investing resources into Iraq during this period as well.
A Shift in Loyalty: US Support for Iraq
Though Iran often asserted that the US influenced Saddam’s decision to invade in 1980, American assistance did not ramp up until the war had already begun. As previously mentioned, the US frequently warned Iran of Saddam’s intent to invade and generally preferred an amicable relationship with Iran (34). These feelings began to change when it became apparent that Iraq would not gain the easy victory Saddam had hoped for. By 1983 the Iranians had completely removed Iraq from their territory and were conducting major offensives in Iraqi territory. If Iraq was defeated, Iran was expected to spread their Islamic Revolution to the rest of the region. Washington feared the Soviets would capitalize on this chaos and assert their own position in the Gulf. To curtail this outcome, the US began passing vital satellite imagery and intelligence to Iraq via Saudi Arabia as early as 1983 (35). This information allowed Iraq to reposition its forces and stabilize the front against repeated Iranian assaults in Southern Iraq. While Iraq was traditionally a Soviet partner, the US recognized an opportunity to pull Iraq closer to the West. The Soviets still supplied much of the Iraqi military and had an estimated 1,000 military advisors in the country (a further 200 Iraqis were expected to be in the USSR for training by 1984), but the US did not think they had the economic capacity to preserve their relationship with Iraq (36).The US did not even need to provide Iraq with weapons, it simply stood by as its allies did. France sent Iraq dozens of Mirage fighter planes, advanced Exocet air missile systems, and a steady flow of other military hardware throughout the war (37). The US may have publicly discouraged weapons sales to either side of the conflict, but when Iraq started to lose, they did nothing to stop the French or Iraq’s Arab neighbors from sending aid (38).
In 1986, the US began taking the idea of an Iraqi loss far more seriously, leading to a greater shift towards helping Iraq. In another Special National Intelligence Estimate, the CIA began to recognize the growing cracks in Saddam’s war effort. A major strategy for Iraq was to insulate its civilian population from the war in order to preserve domestic harmony, but oil revenues had dipped significantly by 1985 and everyday people were feeling the pressure. Saddam’s government was already on unbalanced ground, if the home front turned on the war it could mean a collapse of his regime and an Iranian victory. The CIA recommended that the US increase its support for Iraq before the Soviets had the chance to do so. They believed that if the US did not intervene on Iraq’s behalf, the Soviets would take over as the major player in the Gulf (39). The US clearly acted on the CIA’s assessment, in August of 1986 The Washington Post reported that the US had established a direct intelligence link with Bagdad and was actively helping coordinate troop deployments for the Iraqis (40). The Iranians had a distinct advantage over Iraq when it came to personnel, they had far more troops that could be deployed over a growing front. The American government however, believed Iraq had the technological advantage to win the war, but that the sporadic nature in which they chose to deploy those resources was holding them back (41).US intelligence helped minimize the Iranian numbers, Iraq knew where and when they would strike. Their own forces could be rapidly deployed to reinforce vulnerable portions of their defensive line and even gain some offensive success by probing weaker sections of Iran’s front that the US had identified for them. Meanwhile, the US had now made itself indispensable to the Iraqi war effort as the Soviets seemed to fade to the periphery in Baghdad. The war settled into a stalemate as Iraq could now halt the enemy’s advance, but they did not have the numbers to mount any long-term offensives of their own.
While Iraq had superior equipment and received US intelligence to more effectively deploy it against large Iranian attacks, the US also supported the Iraqis in less direct ways. A particularly concerning instance was how the US handled the knowledge of Iraqi chemical weapons use. In 1982, Iraq successfully utilized tear gas to halt an Iranian attack on its defensive position (42). Iraq now viewed chemical weapons as a viable defensive measure against Iran’s superior numbers, an ominous development for an already bloody conflict. The following year the Iraqis turned to chemical warfare more frequently, utilizing deadly compounds like mustard gas. The US State Department was aware of these actions and even knew that western firms were most likely responsible for supplying necessary ingredients for chemical weapons as early as 1983. In an internal memo dated to November, 1983 the Department acknowledged all of this but made no commitment to actually curtailing the use of the weapons. The focus was put on warning the Iraqis of potential blowback from the international community should the information be publicly released; Washington was concerned about alienating Iraq and setting back their war effort (43). The US did not submit any of this information to the UN Security Council for scrutiny, and instead waited for UN observers to come to their own conclusions. The US knew it was risking its international credibility with this position, writing in an earlier report, “It is important, however, that we approach Iraq very soon in order to maintain the credibility of U.S. policy on CW, as well as reduce of halt what now appears to be Iraq’s almost daily use of CW.” (44) What is striking about this revelation is that even though the US approached Iraq about their use, the government would still have accepted a more limited amount of chemical warfare. The US would not publicly condemn Iraq’s use of chemical weapons until March of 1984, only after an independent UN investigator began looking into the situation (45). Iraq would continue to use chemical weapons throughout the remainder of the war, the UN undertook four separate investigations from 1985 to 1988 that repeatedly confirmed Iraq was utilizing deadly nerve agents like Tabun (46). All of this occurred as the US fed Iraq intelligence and helped coordinate its battle plans during the war.
American Public’s View of the War
A key reason the US government felt empowered to interfere in the Iran-Iraq War was the apparent lack of pushback back home. US support for Iraq, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein invaded a sovereign nation, was palatable to the American public because of American aversion to Iran. Iran had not won itself any favors with the American people after the hostage crisis in 1979, but in much of the media’s reporting, Iran appeared as the aggressor in a war initiated by Iraq. In a Boston Globe article from September of 1980, not long after the war began, the author notes that the war is a dangerous situation for the world. Instead of pointing out that Iraq was invading a sovereign state, the author focuses attention on what threat the Iranians pose to the world (47). The author is not concerned that Iraq had initiated an unprovoked invasion or that their air force was bombing important oil infrastructure, instead Iran was still considered the primary threat to world security. Even legitimate military operations undertaken by Iran during a declared war were viewed as attempts to export their Islamic Revolution to foreign soil. On a televised report from the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (now known simply as the PBS Newshour) commentators made sure to point out that any offensive Iran launched into Iraq had the potential to erupt into a greater Islamic Revolution across the Persian Gulf. The conflict was no longer a war of aggression by Saddam’s Iraq, it was now portrayed as a personal vendetta of Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khomeini. One commentator remarked,
He believes that he got Jimmy Carter, and he certainly wants to get Saddam Hussein, who first attacked his country, and then another time threw Khomeini out in exile. You remember he was an exile Najaf[?] and at the Shah's request he finally said, "You've got to leave, Khomeini," and I think Khomeini bitterly resented that. So that he obviously has a personal blood feud with the president of Iraq (48).
For much of the war, Iran struggled to win international support for its action. Even when it was revealed that Iraq had been using chemical weapons on a scale unheard of since the First World War, the media seemed to give Saddam’s regime a pass. The US State Department even took note of this, mentioning the media had lost interest in Iraqi chemical weapon use as of 1986 (49). By this point the US had publicly acknowledged chemical weapon use by Iraq and the UN had commissioned multiple missions that uncovered proof in April of 1985 and March of 1986 (50). Another broadcast from the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour gave little mention to mounting evidence of chemical weapons use in the war, instead it gave the Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, New York Riyadh Al-Quaysi the opportunity to criticize Iran for continuing its attacks in Iraq. Later in the broadcast, the commentators refused to call the evidence against Iraq anything but circumstantial (51). Why would the US government risk alienating its position with Iraq by forcing sanctions or pulling its support after Saddam’s use of chemical weapons if the public was disinterested? The US government was willing to accept Saddam’s criminal actions if it meant the Soviets did not have the chance to do the same.
US Influence Over the International Response to the War
Iran felt that the only way it could receive a fair outcome after the conflict was to achieve total victory, in their minds a negotiated peace would only serve to benefit Iraq and the West. This impression came from the generally tepid international response to the conflict. In 1980, The New York Times reported that the UN security council had made no moves to reprimand Iraq for its invasion of Iran, there was no direct call for a withdrawal and many members seemed to support the conflict as a way of keeping the two states in line (52). When Iran did begin to gain the upper hand against Iraq, the US led international calls for peace that called for a ceasefire and a return to the territorial status quo. Similar calls were not made when Iraq was still in possession of large swaths of Iranian territory (53). The US understood this would be unacceptable terms for the Iranian government; their war aims and the demands of UN negotiators were far too different. Iran had suffered heavy casualties in both lives and infrastructure throughout the war. They held Saddam Hussein responsible for this and made it clear their goals were to extract reparations for his invasion (54). Now they understood that the international community would not take these goals seriously and they would have to continue to fight. The US and the UN’s feeble calls for peace did more to extend the conflict than to end it, falling perfectly in line with American goals for the region.
It should not be concluded that there was no legitimate occasion for the US to involve itself in the Iran-Iraq War; both nations had given the international community plenty of cause to do so. Iraq frequently utilized banned chemical weapons; it is well known that weapons of mass destruction like chemical weapons were used as the casus belli for the United States’ 2003 invasion of Iraq. Their well-documented use in the 1980s was ignored until after the war had concluded in 1988 when the US Congress sanctioned Iraq for using nerve toxins against the Kurds (55). Iranian backed fighters frequently targeted Americans abroad and in one explicit instance, over 200 US marines were killed by Iranian sponsored plot in Lebanon. The problem with US involvement in the war is that it did not stem from these offenses, it stemmed from an inherent need to subvert Soviet ambitions in the Middle East. What should be concluded is that the US played a significant role in dragging out a deadly conflict for its own geopolitical goals. The US government believed that if they remained complacently neutral in the conflict, the Soviet Union would use it as an occasion to bolster their presence in the Persian Gulf and potentially gain control of one of the world’s most strategically valuable oil supplies. Rather than using its influence over the UN and the Security Council to exact a peaceful settlement in a war that resulted in thousands of casualties, diplomats pushed for negotiations that only served to further embitter the combatants. All of these actions were in pursuit of containing the influence of the Soviet Union rather than maintaining global peace.
(1) Central Intelligence Agency, Special National Intelligence Estimate, December 18,1980, Soviet Interests, Policies, and Prospects in Respect to the Iran-Iraq War. https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000273317.pdf.
(2) “US Secretly Gave Aid to Iraq Early in Its War Against Iran,” New York Times, January 26, 1992, Late Edition; “The Iran Pipeline: A Hidden Chapter/A special report.; U.S. Said to Have Allowed Israel to Sell Arms to Iran,” New York Times, December 8th, 1991, Late Edition; Peter Kornbluh, The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History (New York: New Press Distributed by: W.W Norton) 248-250; Michael Sterner, “The Iran-Iraq War,” Foreign Affairs 63, no. 1 (Fall 1984):135.
(3) Central Intelligence Agency, Special National Intelligence Estimate, December 18,1980, Soviet Interests, Policies, and Prospects in Respect to the Iran-Iraq War... https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000273317.pdf
(4) James Blight et al., Becoming Enemies: US-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988 (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014) 40.
(5) Johnson 13
(6) Special National Intelligence Estimate, December 18,1980, Soviet Interests, Policies, and Prospects in Respect to the Iran-Iraq War. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0000273317.pdf.
(7) “Soviet and Iraq in 15-Year Pact,” New York Times, April 10, 1972, Late City Edition
(8) United States Department of State Secret Memorandum, Follow Up Action Plans for Iran-Iraq War. February 26, 1986.
(9) Congress of The United States, “The World Oil Market in the 1980s: Implications for the United States.” May 1980.
(10) Sterner, 138.
(11) Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet Policy Towards Middle East. December 5th, 1986.
(12) Bruce Reidel, “Lessons from America's First War with Iran,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 37, no. 2 (Summer 2013):101
(13) Johnson, 73; United States Department of State Action Memorandum, “Iraqi Use of Chemical Weapons.” November, 21, 1983.
(14) Central Intelligence Agency, Memo to CIA Deputy Director from Charles E Waterman, National Intelligence Officer for NESA. March 19, 1982.
(15) Johnson, 96.
(16) Central Intelligence Agency, CIA Special National Security Estimate 34/36.2-80: Implications of Various Outcomes of the Iran-Iraq War. October 20th, 1980.
(18) Central Intelligence Agency, Memorandum for CIA Deputy Director from Charles E. Waterman: National Intelligence Officer form NESA. March 19, 1982.
(19) R.K. Ramazani, “The Iran-Iraq War and the Persian Gulf Crisis,” Current History 87, No. 526 (February 1988): 63.
(20) Central Intelligence Agency, FBIS Trends: USSR-Iran. August 20, 1986.
(21) Central Intelligence Agency, Memorandum for CIA Deputy Director from Charles E. Waterman: National Intelligence Officer form NESA. March 19, 1982.
(22) Mark Gasiorowski, “US Intelligence Assistance to Iran, May-October 1979,” Middle East Journal 66, No. 4 (Autumn 2012): 627.
(23) Federation of American Sciences Intelligence Resource Program, “A Sourcebook on the TACKSMAN I and TACKSMAN II ELINT bases in Iran.” Version: January 16th, 2022.
(24) Gasiorowski, 620.
(25) Geoffrey Kemp, “The Reagan Administration- The Iran Primer,” USIP, October 5th, 2010. https://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/reagan-administration.; National Security Council, Memorandum for Mr. Melvyn Levistsky: Operation Staunch. August 19, 1997.
(26) Johnson, 101.
(27) “US Secretly Gave Aid to Iraq Early in Its War Against Iran,” New York Times, January 26, 1992, Late Edition.
(28) “The Iran Pipeline: A Hidden Chapter/A special report.; U.S. Said to Have Allowed Israel to Sell Arms to Iran,” New York Times, December 8th, 1991, Late Edition.
(29) Ibid; Cornell Law School, “22 U.S. Code § 2778 - Control of Arms Exports and Imports,” Legal Information Institute. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/2778
(30) Central Intelligence Agency, FBIS Trends: USSR-Iran. August 20, 1986.
(31) Cliff Kincaid, “Focus on the Media: Media Ignores Soviet Contacts with Iran,” Human Events. (December 6, 1986) Digitized by the CIA.
(32) “Under Standing the Iran Contra Affairs: The Sandinistas,” Brown University. https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/n-sandinistas.php
(33) Kornbluh, 213-214.
(34) Gasiorowski, 626.
(35) Johnson, 81.
(36) Central Intelligence Agency, Soviet Policy Towards the Middle East. December 5, 1986. IV, 36.
(37) Johnson, 97.
(38) United States Department of State, Department of State Memorandum, July 15,1982, Memorandum for William Clark: Talking Points for Press Background on Iran/Iraq War. July 15,1982. https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP83M00914R000800100007-0.pdf
(39) Central Intelligence Agency, Special National Security Estimate: Is Iraq Losing the War? April, 1986.
(40) The Washington Post, “CIA Aiding Iraq in Gulf War.” December 15, 1986. Digitized by
(41) Central Intelligence Agency, Iran: Keeping the Pipeline Open. September, 1987.
(42) Johnson, 72.
(43) United States Department of State, Department of State Action Memorandum: Iraqi Use of Chemical Weapons. November 27th, 1983.
(44) United States Department of State, Information Memorandum: Iraq Use of Chemical Weapons. November 1st, 1983.
(45) Central Intelligence Agency, Persian Gulf War. March 5th, 1984.
(46) Frank Barnaby, “Iran-Iraq War: The Use of Chemical Weapons Against the Kurds,” Ambio 17, No. 6 (1988): 407-408.
(47) “If the Iran-Iraq War Expands...” The Boston Globe, September 25th, 1980.
(48) "Taking Sides: Anderson for Mondale; Gulf War: New Power Balance; Grading the System: Teacher Training; Working at Kids' Play". The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. August 28, 1984.
(49) United States Department of State, Secret Memorandum, Follow Up Action Plans for Iran-Iraq War. February 26, 1986.
(50) Barnaby, 407.
(51) "Shaky Finance: Regulating Government Securities Trades; Iran & Iraq: War on Civilians; Rx For Heart attacks.” The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. April 3, 1985.
(52) “Iran-Iraq War: U.N. is Silent.” The New York Times, November 4th, 1980.
(53) Riedel, 103.
(54) Central Intelligence Agency, CIA Special National Security Estimate 34/36.2-80: Implications of Various Outcomes of the Iran-Iraq War. October 20th, 1980.
(55) H.R. 5271- Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988; Office of Congressional Affairs: Legislation Division, Sanctions Against Iraq. September 29, 1988. Preserved by the Central Intelligence Agency.
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PBS Newshour/ Educational Broadcasting
The Washington Post
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