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The Iran-Iraq War: Strategy of Stalemate
CSC 1985
                            WAR SINCE 1945 SEMINAR
                             The Iran-Iraq War:
                            Strategy of Stalemate
                       Major Robert E. Sonnenberg, USMC
                                 1 Apri1 1985
                    Marine Corps Command and Staff College
                Marine Corps Development and Education Command
                          Quantico, Virginia  22134
Author:  Sonnenberg, Robert E., Major USMC
Title:   The Iran-Iraq War: Strategy of Stalemate
Date:    1 April 1925
     On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting a war that
continues  to  devastate  both  countries.    Over   one   million
casualties  have  been  reported.   The  interest  shown  in  this
conventional war had been low due to superpower noninvolvement and
restrictions on foreign  press  agents  in  the  war  zone.   Yet,
because of oil resources, Southwest Asia has been determined to be
of vital interest to the United  States.   The  stability  of  the
entire region is jeopardized by this war.
     This paper began as an analysis of this  lengthy  war  during
the period 1983 to 1984.  However, such an approach seemed to lack
a comprehensive understanding of the causes of  the  conflict  and
the reasons the war has lasted as long as  it  has.   To  properly
understand the Iran-Iraq war, it is necessary to examine the  many
facets that have contributed to the calamity from  the  beginning.
Chapter 1 is a historical perspective of Iran and Iraq,  examining
the religious and ethnic aspects of the two warring nations.   The
political  and  military  development  of  both  nations  is  also
considered, along with their relations prior to the war.
     The war itself is covered in Chapter 2.  A detailed  analysis
of battles is purposely avoided, since the reader  can  find  such
analyses in other sources.   But  the  progression  of  the  three
phases of the war is examined to demonstrate how the  strategy  of
stalemate has evolved.
     An analysis of the conflict is covered  in  Chapter  3.   The
strategies of both countries, and their  leaders,  is  considered,
along with the tactics involved, weaponry used, and  the  problems
created for the entire region.  These problems include  superpower
involvement and, specifically, the  problems  encountered  by  the
United States interests in the war and its outcome.
     Finally, the last chapter examines  possible  outcomes,  U.S.
policy in the war, and considersations for the U.S. military.  The
question of 'what next?' in this seemingly  endless  war  is  also
asked and a speculative answer is provided.
     No primary sources were  used  for  this  paper  due  to  the
paucity of information  available  from  such  sources.   However,
several papers, articles and books have been written  on  the  war
and contain excellent viewpoints, though somewhat  biased  towards
the West.  These sources  provided  valuable  information  for  an
understanding of what has taken place.  This paper is written as a
comprehensive study of the entire Iran-Iraq war that  will  enable
the reader  to  basically  understand  a  conflict  that  is  very
involved and complicated.  If this understanding is achieved,  and
questions concerning U.S. involvement are raised, then the  intent
of the author has been achieved.
     Though this war is still ongoing, with  major  events  taking
place during March 1985, this paper is limited to events that have
occurred through the first part of February 1985.  It would appear
that yet another phase in the fighting is beginning,  but  due  to
time limitations, these events will not be addressed.
Introduction                                                    1
Chapter   1.  Historical Perspective                            3
              Religion                                          3
              Ethnic Makeup                                     5
              Development of Iraq                               6
              Development of Iran                              12
              Iran-Iraq Relations Before the War               18
              Chapter 1 - Footnotes                            19
Chapter   2.  The War                                          22
              Phase I - The Iraqi Offensive, Sept - Nov 1980   23
              Phase II - Stalemate, Nov 1980 - May 1981        29
              Phase III - Iranian Counteroffensive             32
              Breaking the Stalemate                           39
              The Air War                                      43
              The Naval War                                    46
              Chapter 2 - Footnotes                            46
Chapter   3.  Analysis of the War                              49
              Iraqi Strategy                                   49
              Iranian Strategy                                 55
              Tactics                                          58
              Weaponry                                         60
              The Regional Problem                             62
              Superpower Involvement                           62
              United States Interest                           64
              Chapter 3 - Footnotes                            65
Chapter   4.  Conclusions                                      67
              Possible Outcomes                                68
              United States Policy                             69
              Considerations for the U.S. Military             71
              What Next                                        75
              Chapter 4 - Footnotes                            76
Annotated Bibliography                                         77
                    LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Figure                                                     Page
  1.  Gulf War - Theatre of Operations                       26
  2.  Khorramshar and Abadan                                 27
  3.  Extent of Iraqi Invasion, 1980                         30
  4.  Antagoni Incident                                      40
  5.  The Persian Gulf Area                                  72
  1.  Opposing Forces, 1980                                  24
  2.  Gulf War Power Balance, 1984                           42
     September 22,  1980.   Saddam  Hussein,  President  of  Iraq,
executes  his  decision  to  invade  neighboring  Iran.    Several
divisions attack at three places  along  the  733  mile  Iran-Iraq
border in an effort to rapidly overcome any Iranian defenses.  The
result of this invasion is war between two ancient  enemies  --  a
war that most observers thought might be over in 2-4 weeks.   Now,
after more than 52 months of fighting, the war continues  with  no
end in sight.  Both sides are fatigued from continual  combat  and
the two nations are weary with death and destruction, costing over
180,000 killed and some  900,000  casualties.   Even  though  this
region is important to  the  entire  world  because  of  vast  oil
resources, little attention seems to have been paid  to  the  war.
This is partly because of restrictions on foreign news services in
the area and, partly, because of other world events that have kept
the war in the shadows.  Additionally,  neither  superpower  seems
able to intervene on either side, nor do they want to risk a wider
regional  conflict.   The  Iran-Iraq  war  has  become  a  war  of
attrition; each side practices the strategy of stalemate.
     The conflict itself  is  fairly  easy  to  follow.   But  the
reasons for war and its continuation are  complex  and  rife  with
intrigue.  As each side makes a move, the  precarious  balance  of
the Middle-East shifts, requiring the other  side  to  contravene.
To properly understand the war, the  backgrounds  of  the  warring
nations must be examined  as  well  as  the  economic,  political,
religious, and military conditions existing on both sides.
     This paper will explain how and why the war started in  1980,
the military aspects of  the  fighting,  the  changing  conditions
brought on by extended warfare, and lessons that  can  be  learned
from an outside observer's limited  and  unclassified  perception.
The lessons may be of  particular  significance  to  U.S.  CENTCOM
forces since they are deeply interested in the military aspects of
the entire Southwest Asian region.
                            Chapter 1
                     HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
     The current conflict between Iran and Iraq can be considered
another phase in a regional struggle that has been  going  on  for
hundreds of years.  To properly understand this  struggle,  it  is
necessary to investigate the religious and ethnic differences that
have  contributed  to  the  unique  stresses  afflicting  the  two
countries, as well as how the current governments came into power.
Coupled with the rise of the leaders involved,  a  review  of  the
military growth of each country is  necessary  to  understand  all
that has happened during the war.
     Islam has been the dominant  religion  in  the  area,  though
Judaism and Christianity have some roots in the region.  Islam was
the last of the three to be established when Mohammed  emerged  in
610 A.D. to "preach the truth concerning God, Allah".  Differences
of opinion concerning who was the rightful successor  of  Mohanmed
led to the creation of rival Shiite and Sunni factions of Islam.
     The  Shiite  Moslems  believe  that  successors  of  Mohammed
descend from Ali, Mohammed's son-in-law.   These  descendants  are
known as Imams and are considered the infallible teachers and sole
source of religious guidance.  Every aspect of the  Shiite's  life
is governed by his belief in the Imam's infallible guidance.   The
Shiites are still awaiting the return of  the  Twelfth  Imam,  who
disappeared in 940 A.D. without leaving an heir.  The Twelfth Imam
is to re-emerge from hiding at the right  moment  to  establish  a
purified Islamic government of justice.  To  carry  on  the  line,
Imams have been designated and the faithful must  believe  in  all
Imams, especially any current ruler.1
     Sunni (orthodox) Moslems believe that the line from  Mohammed
passed to his daughter Fatima, wife of Ali.  The  Sunnis  discount
the Imams, choosing instead to honor a caliph, or successor,2
their ruler.  The caliph is not necessarily the religious  leader.
The Sunnis, thus, do not consider an Imam infallible, but rely  on
the caliph for guidance and instruction.
     Sunnis accept the  legitimacy  of  an  authorized  leader  no
matter how his position is obtained; Shiites  only  acknowledge  a
ruler as legitimate if he is a descendant of Ali.   His  authority
is accepted as long  as  he  abides  by  the  Shiite  guidance  in
following the laws and rules governing the Moslem  lifestyle,  the
Sharia.  Modern Sunni religious leaders are paid by the state  and
have no intermediary between them and God.  The  Shiite  religious
leaders owe no allegiance to the state and are maintained by their
     The concept of 'jihad', or Holy War, must also be  explained.
The jihad requires believers of Islam to spread the  teachings  of
Mohammed to pagans who do  not  worship  a  god.   Other  Moslems,
Christians, and Jews, are exempt from the jihad.  If  a  jihad  is
declared the responsibility  to  wage  Holy  War  falls  upon  all
Moslems; Sunni and Shiite.  A caliph or  Imam  has  the  power  to
declare the jihad.4
     Iran has historically been the bastion of the  Shiites  while
Iraq has been predominantly oriented to  the  Sunni  branch.5
Sunnis account for more  than  80%  of  the  world's  750  million
Moslems.  The Shiites predominate in Iran, Iraq and Bahrain.6
 Of course, a mix of Shiites and Sunnis exists in  both  countries
and they coexist with Jews and Christians, as well.  The important
point is that the ruling class of each country is oriented  toward
different religious beliefs.  This difference, combined  with  the
ancient ethnic differences between  Persians  and  Arabs,  creates
unstable political situations.
     Iran has historically been the center of Shiite opposition to
Sunni  caliphs.    The   Ayatollah   Khomeini's   Shiite   Islamic
Revolution,  his  jihad,  is  an  attempt  to  use  the  religious
differences  in  the  region  to  advantage.   His  actions   have
threatened the stability of the entire region.
                           Ethnic Makeup
     The  Iranian  plateau  is  considered  the  core  of  Persian
civilization.   To  the   west   lies   Iraq,   encompassing   the
Tigris-Euphrates  river  basin.   The  basin  has  been   governed
predominantly by both Arab and Turkish rulers.7  Conflicts in
the region date back to the third  century  when  Sassanid  rulers
attempted to reestablish a centralized government.8
     A cultural divide has separated Arabs and Persians since  the
seventh century when Arab armies conquered Persians  east  of  the
Zagros Mountains in western Iran.9
     Another group of people who bear on the state of  affairs  in
both Iran and Iraq are the Kurds.  These  ancient  people  present
ethnic problems for both governments, as they have been seeking to
establish a nation state for some time.10  Kurdish people are
spread across the border between Iran and  Iraq  in  the  northern
regions of both countries and spill into Turkey.  Each country has
had to deal with the  rebellious  Kurds,  which  has  resulted  in
continuing intrigue, bloodshed, and antipathy.
                        Development of Iraq
     Iraq was encompassed by  the  Turkish  ruled  Ottoman  Empire
until the Empire was defeated by Iran in 1823 when the  Treaty  of
Erzerum was established.  Iran was then anxious about an  invasion
of Afghanistan by the Russians, and ceded territory to  the  Turks
in the treaty, thus creating 'friendly'  relations  with  them  in
case an alliance was needed.
     By 1842, border hostilities between  Iran  and  Turkey  again
created the possibility of war.  Great Britain and Russia had  met
in Erzerum to clearly define the 733 mile border between Iran  and
what is now Iraq since this question  had  not  been  resolved  in
1823.  The  Second  Treaty  of  Erzerum  was  signed  in  1847  to
demarcate the border.
     Iraq  is  essentially  land-locked  except  for  a  40   mile
coastline on the Persian Gulf.11  Access to the Persian  Gulf
from the second largest city of Basra is  extremely  important  to
the economy of the country.  Basra is accessed by  ship  via  only
one river -- the Shatt al-Arab.
     One issue addressed in the 1847 Erzerum Treaty was the  Shatt
al-Arab waterway.  The Shatt al-Arab is formed by  the  confluence
of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers  and  proceeds  south  for  130
miles where it empties into the Persian Gulf.  A total of 55 miles
of the Shatt forms a common border between Iran  and  Iraq.   Iran
was given freedom of  navigation  of  the  river  by  this  second
treaty. 12  Navigational rights and  ownership  of  the  Shatt
al-Arab have been sources of controversy ever  since  because  the
river is an important artery for both countries and affects  their
economic stability.
     During  the  latter  stages  of  World  War  I,  the  British
conquered that backward province  of  the  Ottoman  Empire  called
Iraq.  On January 6, 1921, an Iraqi Army was  established  by  the
British, who also set up Amir Faisal ibn Husein as King  Faisal  I
of independent Iraq.
     The new army was composed mostly  of  Arabs,  organized  into
volunteer  battalions.   In  1935,  military  service   was   made
obligatory and by 1940, there  were  four  divisions  and  several
independent  regiments  numbering  36,000  troops.   The   British
continued to run the army, covertly supplying arms while  training
promising  officers  in  India  and  Britain.   The  British  also
maintained two airbases.  One was near Baghdad; the other near the
Persian Gulf.
     In 1936, a coup was attempted by a Kurdish  general  who  was
subsequently assassinated.  Discontentment with British  influence
continued to grow.  A few  Iraqi  officers  contacted  the  German
government for aid.  In 1941, some nationalist officers  overthrew
the existing government and refused the British the right to  free
passage --  a  right  guaranteed  by  treaty.   The  British  then
attacked Iraq and quickly restored a more accomodating government.
This one lasted until the end of World War II.
     Resentment toward a privileged elite surrounding the  British
implemented monarchy continued to grow, especially when more Iraqi
officers began to be drawn from the lower middle  classes.   Iraqi
forces saw action in northern Israel in 1948.   That  Arab  defeat
contributed to new uprisings in Iraq.  These  were  squelched  and
King Faisal II continued in power.
     The army mounted a another coup in 1958 killing the king, the
prince, and the prime minister.  Iraq then broke  with  the  West,
and turned toward the Soviet Union.  The USSR became  a  principal
arms supplier for Iraq.
     Ten years of turbulent rule followed since the  new  president
could not consolidate power completely.   Hostility  towards  Arab
neighbors, purges of political opponents, discoveries of  real  or
imagined coup attempts, and increasing dependence  on  the  Soviet
Union marked the period.  By 1963, the Iraqi army had increased to
70,000 men.
     President Kassem was assassinated in 1963 by  army  officers,
and Colonel 'Abd as-Salam Arif became president.  He was killed in
1966 in a plane crash and the presidency passed  to  his  brother.
Serious  economic  crises  and  continual  struggle  with  Kurdish
dissidents weakened the regime.  By the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the
army numbered some 80,000 men.
     On JuLy 17, 1968, Baath party  officers  staged  a  bloodless
coup, ushering in what is currently the Baathist regime  in  Iraq.
The Baath party, or Arab Socialist Renaissance  party,  rules  two
Arab countries overtly -- Syria and Iraq.  In Iraq, the party  has
both civilian and military wings and is dedicated to  pan-Arabism,
anticolonialism,  the  destruction  of  Israel,  and  a  socialist
     The  Revolutionary  Command  Council,  made  up  of  military
officers, ruled the country.  In 1969, the Council was expanded to
15 members and included civilians.  In 1971, an obscure  civilian,
Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, became vice-chairman  of  the  Council.
By 1979, the civilian arm of the  Baath  party,  led  by  Hussein,
exerted predominance over the military arm.  Military members  had
been gradually removed  or  assassinated,  clearing  the  way  for
Saddam Hussein to become president  when  President  Bakr  stepped
down for health reasons.  Hussein had  considered  it  prudent  to
accept an honorary appointment  to  lieutenant  general  in  1976.
Nonetheless, in 1979, for the first time in twenty years, Iraq was
ruled by a true civilian, Saddam Hussein. 13
     Prior to the Iran-Iraq war,  the  Iraqis  had  gained  combat
experience in endless campaigns with the Kurds.  Nearly 20 percent
of the Iraqi population is Kurd, about 2 million, and the  Kurdish
search for  self-rule  has  primarily  occurred  in  Iraq,  though
Kurdistan includes areas of Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
     The pattern of fighting in  each  campaign  was  roughly  the
same.  The Kurds would rebel,  isolating  army  garrisons  in  the
mountains, and either starve or overrun  them.   The  Kurds  would
then  attack  oil  fields  near   Kirkuk.    Army   forces   would
counterattack, driving the Kurds back into the mountains,  relying
on overwhelming air power, artillery, and  tanks.   The  difficult
terrain would eventually blunt the attack, and a  ceasefire  would
result.  This pattern was repeated again and again.
     Iraqi  forces  also  had   limited   participation   in   the
Arab-IsraeLi  War  of  1973.   Two  armored  divisions  and  three
infantry brigades, about 60,000 troops and 700 tanks, were sent to
the front.  Many of the tanks were  forced  to  travel  to  Golan,
about 1200 kilometers, under their own power because of  the  lack
of tank transporters.  Due to breakdowns enroute, only  300  tanks
were able to take part in the fighting, degrading  the  effect  of
the Iraqi armored forces in the battle.
     The Iraqi combat role was brief and had no real impact on the
outcome.  It was,  however,  Iraq's  first  experience  in  modern
conventional  warfare.   The  Iraqi  performance  was  scrutinized
closely and deficiencies were corrected.  Actions  taken  included
acquisition  of  tank  transporters  and  logistics  vehicles   to
facilitate more rapid movement of armored forces.   Reconnaisance,
anti-tank, and air defense capabilities were also improved.
     The seven years  between  1973  and  1980  witnessed  dynamic
military growth.  The Iraqi army became the  second  largest  Arab
army behind the Egyptians,  more  than  doubling  in  size.   More
modern Soviet equipment was procurred and the ground  forces  were
transformed  into  a  conventional   armored   force.    Training,
maintenance, and logistics were improved.  Baghdad vowed to  match
the Iranian arms buidup man for man, and tank for tank.  A contest
for power was clearly in the making and Iraq planned on playing  a
large role in any future Arab-Israeli confrontations.
     The 1973 oil embargo  and  subsequent  price  hikes  provided
Baghdad with the funds necessary to pursue this buildup,  as  well
as increase the standard of living throughout Iraq.  Such measures
tended to underwrite the Baathist government and  demonstrated  to
the Iraqi people that Saddam Hussein was a great  leader,  looking
out for the welfare of his country.  Building up the military  was
a natural consequence to safeguard the popular government.
     Using oil revenues, Baghdad increased salaries  and  improved
facilities for the  military.   Nearly  all  eligible  males  were
drafted.  Service was encouraged to develop a  sense  of  national
identity.  About 85  percent  of  the  army  is  now  composed  of
two-year conscripts.  Kurds and Shiites, composing some 70 percent
of the population, make up the lower ranks  of  the  army.   Sunni
Moslems are heavily represented in the NCO ranks  and  the  senior
and middle officer level.  Senior officers are carefully  selected
for their loyalty to Hussein and are all members of  the  Baathist
dominated by a corps headquarters.  The regions correspond to  the
three major types of terrain  and  the  various  force  structures
reflect this terrain.  To the north are  mountains,  suitable  for
infantry forces.  In the center are plains, ideal for  armor.   To
the   south    are    marshlands,    suitable    for    mechanized
operations.14  The  210,000  man  army  consisted  of  twelve
divisions designed around Soviet and British models as the  recent
war started.
     Saddam Hussein, as Commander-in-Chief, exercises  very  tight
control of his forces.  Field commanders achieve exactly  what  is
dictated from the headquarters in Baghdad.  It would  appear  that
delegation of authority to prosecute the war at  the  field  level
has been withheld for political reasons, nullifying  the  positive
effect  and  initiative  a  field  commander  might  have   during
prosecution of battle.15
                        Development of Iran
     Examining the evolution of the  Iranian  Army  is  no  simple
matter and required an examination of  sociocultural  developments
affecting the Iranian military tradition.
     The spiritual father of the Iranian Army is Cyrus the  Great,
founder of the Achaemenid Empire.  He was  able  to  unify  tribal
contingents into  effective  fighting  forces.   The  Achaemenians
placed a high social value on military service,  and  service  was
marked by a  regimen  designed  to  strengthen  the  soldier  both
physically and psychologically.  Training began at  an  early  age
during which pride was cultivated, and service was  'owed' for most
of adulthood.
     The concept of elitist units was also established  by  Cyrus.
Supposedly, a  force  of  10,000  'elite'  soldiers,  better  than
run-of-the-mill, would be attached directly to whomever  held  the
throne  in  order  to   secure   and   consolidate   the   ruler's
     Throughout the centuries, there were  continual  attempts  to
organize  armies  from  tribal  contingents  and   to   centralize
government.  None were particularly successful  until  1730,  when
Shah Nadir Quli revamped the army and reestablished the calvary as
an elite unit.  He  then  successfully  waged  war  on  India  and
Bahrain, but was assassinated in 1747.
     The pattern of rise  and  fall  of  governments  within  Iran
continued.  The British began to exert  influence  in  the  entire
area because of their interest in the Suez.  The Russians, another
world power of the ninteenth century, were concerned  about  their
southern flank and had expansionist leanings in the area.17
     The first two decades of  the  20th  century  can  be  called
Iran's nadir.  The British, in the south, and the Russians in  the
north, kept the political aspirations of those in the middle  well
in check.  World War I saw Turkish and German forces intevening in
the region.  By 1920, with the Soviets battling counterrevolution,
the USSR stepped up pressure on Iran.  A treaty averted  open  war
but triggered a coup d'etat in  February  1921  which  ushered  in
modern Iran.
     The principal actor in Iran far the next 20  years  was  Reza
Khan.  He became Shah  in  1925  and  hastened  to  modernize  his
country.  Military modernization was his major focus.  He did much
to strengthen the army, including standardization of uniforms  and
arms, establishment of schools for training, and formulation of  a
General Staff.18
     Reza Khan is considered the father  of  the  current  Iranian
Army.  His efforts helped convince Iranians that their army is the
real foundation of the throne.  This factor, of course, goes  back
centuries.  Essentially, the army was the only  organization  upon
which the Shah could rely.  This dependency  leads  to  inordinate
concern for loyalty, which is  focused  upon  the  man  in  power.
Thus, loyalty often  superceded  competence  when  promotions  and
assignments were made.  The loyalty factor tended to make the army
the Shah's army, not the nation's.
     Additionally,  Reza  Khan's   army   became   a   socializing
mechanism.  Illiterate conscripts were taught to read; developed a
sense of nationalism and  loyalty;  and  got  the  opportunity  to
operate increasingly complex weapons and machinery.  This resulted
in strengthening the army, as well as strengthening the nation.
     World War II halted Reza's  developments.   He  abdicated  in
favor of his son, Muhammed Reza, and retired to South America.
     At the end of the war, Iran's oil became an important  factor
in area politics.  The Soviet Union began to  interfere  in  Iran,
but by mid-1946, had retreated.  The United States,  sensitive  to
what was happening, decided to strengthen Iran by selling arms and
providing advisors.  This occurred in 1948.
     An assassination attempt  was  made  on  the  Shah  in  1949.
During 1951-1953, revolution was threatened.  These events led  to
an even closer alliance of the Shah and his army and made him very
suspicious of political opposition.   From  the  mid-1950's  until
1979, The Shah ruled Iran and, it appears, wrote the final chapter
to Iran's imperial history.19
     There are two aspects of the military worth mentioning.   The
first is that personalism plays a great part.   Though  there  are
classes in Iran, they are not distinct since one is always  moving
to a higher class.  Many times, this is accomplished by  buying  a
position.  As has already been said, service in the army  of  Iran
was  considered  prestigious  service.   It  was  inevitable  that
positions,  and   rank,  would  be  bought  to   advance   personal
interests.  This  tends   to  create  an  atmosphere  of  mistrust.
Mistrust is manifested by unwillingness to delegate authority.  A
simple example would be 'scrambling' a flight of three  airplanes.
Two take off because the third is  locked  and  because  the  crew
chief, who is on  leave,  has  the  key.   Ramifications  of  this
mistrust are easy to contemplate.
     The military and the population, in general, is  addicted  to
paperwork.  Nothing gets done unless it is written down.  And,  if
something is written down, it is gospel.  An example: No one could
figure out what to do with 14 'gun  tubes'.   Inspection  revealed
that these tubes were actually steel poles.  However,  the  supply
document said 'gun tubes' and no  one  would  refute  the  written
     These things lead to the idea that one simply cannot be wrong
once something is stated in writing.  To manintain a position, one
must do nothing wrong.  One must  receive  praise  for  doing  the
right thing.  If the wrong thing is done, no blame can  be  placed
on a person who had no knowledge because the information  was  not
written down.  Leaders tend to  do  the  safe  thing.   A  perfect
example is using a great number of guards for  security  in  areas
where there is little, if any, risk.20
     The Shah believed that the Soviet Union  and  Iraq  were  his
greatest threats.  His military organization was designed to  meet
these external threats, rather than possible domestic disturbance.
When the revolution broke out, the military could not  effectively
handle the situation.  Disproportionate force was used which  only
served to increase the violence and put the regular  army  in  bad
stead with the revolutionaries.
     The Shah had counted on the  military,  with  his  handpicked
loyal generals, to maintain him in power.  But the  generals  were
unable to cope with the situation because the Shah was not  around
to issue the customary detailed, written orders to which they were
accustomed. 21
     The lower ranks of the army, mostly conscripts, turned to the
religious revolution when it became  apparent  that  they  had  no
leadership.  Besides, the revolutionaries were from the same class
of society as the soldiers, the lower and middle classes, and they
had no strong bonds with upperclass leaders.22
     By purging the military, Khomeini opened the way for  younger
officers to rise in  position.   These  younger  men  also  became
supporters of the Ayatollah,  eventually  resulting  in  an  armed
force that backed the revolution.  Though the army was Khomeini's,
distrust continued for some time and army units were  not  allowed
to operate without Revolutionary Guards to  ensure  accomplishment
of assigned missions.
     In 1979, the Revolutionary  Council decreed that  the  entire
Iranian nation would become soldiers of  the  revolution.   During
the hostage crisis, Khomeini emphasized this theme and called  for
the creation of an "Army of Twenty Million".23  This resulted
in development of a huge staff  for  mobilization  and  widespread
weapons  training  courses.   The  creation  of  a  vast  pool  of
semi-trained  soldiers  meant  that  the  regular  army  could  be
maintained  at  its  present  size,  eliminating  possible   power
struggles or coup attempts.
     In the wake of the  Iranian  revolution,  decimation  of  the
Iranian army seemed  natural.   The  Shah's  army  was  considered
counterrevolutionary and purges could be expected.  By the fall of
1980, 10,000 military personnel had been dismissed, imprisoned, or
executed.24  Western trained  officers  were  eliminated  and
Shiite clergy were installed at each base and  at  each  level  of
     One method of countering the armed  forces  potential  threat
was to create a separate paramilitary force  (the  'elite'  guard)
loyal to  the  regime.   The  Islamic  Revolutionary  Guards  were
fanatically loyal to the Ayatollah  and  his  revolution.   Though
they lacked military training  they  assumed  the  duties  of  the
regular armed forces.25
     When the war started, it appeared that two  separate  Iranian
armies were fighting.  The Revolutionary Guards, or Pasdaran, bore
the brunt of the early fighting which helped to  strengthen  their
place in the Iranian military picture.  They  fought  with  fervor
and intensity that surprised not only the Iraqis, but many Western
observers as well.
                Iran-Iraq Relations Before the War
     The Shah believed that the Soviet Union  and  Iraq  were  the
primary threats to Iran.26  In an effort to keep Iraqi forces
occupied so that they could not  mass  on  the  border,  the  Shah
encouraged Kurdish rebellion and supplied the  Kurds  in  northern
Iraq with material to wage limited warfare and keep the Iraqis  in
     When civil war threatened Iraq in 1975, Hussein was forced to
do something to stop it.   The  1975  Algiers  Accord  was  signed
wherein the Shah agreed to stop backing the Kurds in exchange  for
setting the thalweg, or  center,  of  the  Shatt  al-Arab  as  the
boundary between the two countries.
     The Ayatollah Khomeini  was  exiled  to  Iraq  for  anti-Shah
activities during  a  period  of  rapproachment  between  the  two
countries.  To placate the Shah,  Hussein  placed  Khomeini  under
house arrest in 1975.  Three years  later,  Hussein  expelled  the
Ayatollah, who fled to France.27
     In  1977,  one  of  the  Ayatollah's  sons  was  mysteriously
murdered in Iraq.   One  of  Iraq's  leading  Shiite  clerics  was
executed to quell the Islamic  fundamentalist  movement  that  was
brewing.  The execution was personally ordered by Hussein.28
     When Khomeini came to power in 1979, he immediately  declared
that Iraq "belongs in the dustbin of history."29  Asked  who
his enemies were, the Ayatollah replied, "First the Shah, then the
American  Satan,  then  Saddam  Hussein  and  his  infidel   Baath
Party."30  The feeling between the leaders of the two warring
nations was, and is, quite bitter.
                       Chapter 1 - Footnotes
     1Martin  J.  Martinson,  "The  Iran-Iraq  War:  Struggle
Without End," Research  Paper,  Marine  Corps  Command  and  Staff
College (Quantico, Virginia, 1984), pp. 5-6.
     2Thomas M. Daly, "The  Not  Too  Forgotten  War,"  Naval
Institute Proceedings, June 1984, p. 39.
     3Ibid, p. 41.
     4Martinson, "The Iran-Iraq War: Struggle  Without  End,"
pp. 6-7.
     5Stephen  R.  Grummon,   "The   Iran-Iraq   War;   Islam
Embattled," The Center for Strategic  and  International  Studies,
(Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 1982), p. 2.
     6"Shi'ites: A Feared Minority," Time, July 26, 1982,  p.
     7Grummon, "The Iran-Iraq War; Islam Embattled," pp. 1-2.
     8Richard A. Gabriel, Fighting Armies, Antagonists in the
Middle East, A Combat Assessment (Westport Connecticut;  Greenwood
Press, 1983), p. 86.
     9William O. Staudenmaier, "A Strategic Analysis  of  the
Gulf  War,"  (Carlisle  Barracks,  Pennsylvania:  U.S.  Army   War
College, 1982), p. 2.
     11David Evans and Richard Campany, "Iran-Iraq:  Bloody
Tomorrows," Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1985, p. 34.
     12Daly, "The Not Too Forgotten War," pp. 41-42.
     13Gabriel, Fighting Armies, pp. 63-67.
     14Ibid., pp.70-76.
     15Ibid., p. 77.
     16Ibid., p. 78.
     17Ibid., pp. 85-86.
     18Ibid., p. 89.
     19Ibid., p. 91.
     20Ibid., p. 93.
     21William F. Hickman, Ravaged and  Reborn:  The  Iranian
Army, 1982 (Washington, D.C., The Brookings Institution, 1982), p.
     22Ibid., p. 7.
     23Ibid., p. 13.
     24Ibid., p. 16.
     25Ibid., p. 1.
     26Lbid., p. 3.
     27"Personal Power, Personal Hate," Time, July 26,  1982,
p. 25.
     28Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 33.
     30"Personal Power, Personal Hate," p. 25.
                            Chapter 2
                             THE WAR
    Saddam Hussein  had  to  justify  the  invasion  of  Iran  in
September 1980.  He outlined his initial aims  by  demanding  that
     1) Recognize Iraq's legitimate and sovereign rights over  its
land and waters, particularly the Shatt al-Arab.
     2) Refrain from interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.
     3) Adhere to the principle of good neighborly relations.
     4) Return the Iranian occupied islands in the Persian Gulf to
the United Arab Emirates.1
     However, there were other objectives that were not so clearly
and officially stated.
     +  Iraq  wanted  to  secure  its  Baathist  government   from
Khomeini's stated intent to overthrow it.
     +  To secure Iraq's borders, especially near Qasr e-Shirin and
Mehran, which cover the main Iranian approach to Baghdad.
     +  To demonstrate that Iraq, not Iran, was the dominant  power
in the Gulf, and to enhance Iraqi status in the Arab world.
     +  To destroy Iranian military power while Iran  was  weakened
by its revolution and cut off from U.S. supplies and support.
     +  To  create  conditions  to  facilitate  the  overthrow  of
     +  To 'liberate' Arab Khuzistan and secure Iraqi access to the
     +  To demonstrate to all Gulf nations that Iraq was strong and
able to lead the Arab states.2
     Hussein was ready to fight.   The  size  of  each  force  and
primary weaponry of both nations is shown for comparison  purposes
in Table 1.
                   Phase I - The Iraqi Offensive
                   22 Sept 1980 - November 1980
     The attack on Iran began with a three pronged  invasion.   To
the north, the Iranian border town of Qasr e-Sherin, on  the  main
highway between  Baghdad  and  Teheran,  was  seized  in  a  night
flanking attack with part of a mountain division.  Advancing  some
15 miles into the foothills of the Zagros mountains, the  division
effectively blocked an obvious Iranian counteroffensive route.
     On the central  front,  the  other  main  counterattack  route
through Mehran was blocked with  the  remainder  of  the  mountain
division.  Both attacks were tactically sound.   Terrain  west  of
these towns was  relatively  flat  and  undulating,  suitable  for
armored movement.  To the east, only a few miles within Iran,  the
mountainous country prevented vehicular maneuver.4
     These attacks were to support a main  thrust  to  the  south.
The Iranian province of Khuzistan contained 80 percent of  Iranian
oil  installations.   The  Iraqis  considered  Khuzistan  an  Arab
province, since 2 million of the 3.5 million inhabitants were
Click here to view image
Arab.  They believed the province should have been  part  of  Iraq
when the Ottoman Empire was carved up after World War I.
     Six Iraqi armored columns, each about battalion size,  headed
into the open country for towns like Ahwaz, Dezful  and  Susangerd
in the south of Iran.  The  province  of  Khuzistan  contains  the
industrial and residential complexes of  Khorramshar  and  Abadan.
The map in figure 1 shows the theatre of operations.
     Khorramshar and Abadan  border  the  Shatt  al-Arab  and  are
adjacent to the Persian Gulf.  Abadan is on an 'island' formed  by
the Shatt, the Gulf, the Bahamsheer  River on the  east,  and  the
Karun River to the north.  The Karun River  separates  Khorramshar
from Abadan.   The  Iraqis  intended  to  take  Khorramshar,  then
Abadan, securing the Shatt  al-Arab,  the  only  outlet  from  the
oilport of Basra to the Gulf.  The  successful  capture  of  these
areas would be a strategic victory for Iraq.  Figure 2 shows  this
area in detail.
     Three Iraqi armored regiments were ferried across  the  Shatt
to the north  of  Khorramshar  and  promptly  attacked.   However,
fighting in this built-up area proved to be a  deathtrap  for  the
armored units.  Small groups staged ambushes  using  only  rifles,
grenades and home-made bombs and successfully ensnarled the Iraqis
in the network of  narrow  streets  filled  with  obstacles.   The
Iranians renamed Khorramshar after the battle honoring the  fierce
fighting.  They now call it Khuninshar, or "City of Blood".7
     Each of the  Iranian  services  displayed  a  total  lack  of
coordination when Iraq invaded.  They each planned and conducted
Click here to view image
              Figure 2.  Khorramshar and Abadan6
their own operations against the enemy.  The Iranian army did  not
play a major role in the fighting.  Small units were stationed  in
Khuzistan, but the initial defense was the responsibility  of  the
Pasdaran and local militias.   With  no  coordination  and  bitter
rivalries,  chaos  prevailed.8   Units  could  not  be  mixed
because troops would not follow orders if the  commander  was  not
one of their own.  That the Iranians were able to  defend  at  all
was probably due to nationalism and revolutionary fervor.9
     The Iraqis expected Iranian  resistance  to  be  light.   But
Pasdars fought with fanatical  bravery.   Fifteen  days  and  5000
casualties were required to occupy Khorramshar.  The  Iraqis  then
halted for three weeks as other  special  units  were  trained  in
street fighting.
     From the Iraqi side of the Shatt, artillery fire had set  oil
tanks on fire in Abadan.  In late October, infantry forces crossed
the Karun River to advance on Abadan.  The Bahansheer River halted
flanking movements to the east.  Two of the three  bridges  across
the Karun were seized and by mid-November, once rains  had  halted
large scale troop movement, Abadan was totally besieged.
     In the northern sector of Khuzistan,  armored  columns  moved
unopposed across dry salt flats.  They had expected to be welcomed
by the Arab inhabitants  as  liberators,  but  the  Iranian  Arabs
remained passive.  Armored columns made disjointed spurts  in  the
area but failed to seize key objectives like Susangerd and Ahwaz.
The Iraqis failed  to  take  advantage  of  tactical  surprise  to
overwhelm a small defensive force.
     The tactical keys to this sector were the town of Dezful  and
its air force base.  But Iraqi units stopped at the Karkheh River,
giving President Bani-Sadr, of Iran, the  opportunity  to  set  up
forward  headquarters  at  Dezful.   Hussein  was  apparently  not
willing to accept high casualty rates by taking the cities.10
 Within days, thousands of Iranian  troops  had  been  moved  into
Khuzistan.  Iraqi tank formations could not move without  integral
infantry.  Concern about the rear precluded an  Iraqi  opportunity
to thrust forward into Dezful.
     During November, rains quickly turned  the  salt  flats  into
quagmires, preventing vehicular traffic across country.  The front
lines straggled 200 miles  across  the  plain.   Iraqis  began  to
construct flood control banks and a network of  all-weather  roads
for logistical support.  The first phase of the war, which was  to
have been over  within  weeks,  ended  as  the  weather  precluded
further heavy fighting.11  Figure 3 shows the extent  of  the
invasion at the time.
                      Phase II - Stalemate
                     November 1980 - May 1981
     The war slowed down because both  sides  wanted  to  conserve
ammunition,  weapons,  and  vehicles.    Small   infantry   patrol
skirmishes and firing of missiles and shells at  each  other  were
the only actions noted.  A steady stream of  casualties  began  to
mount.  The jugular was not found.
     The Soviet Union stopped supplying arms to Iraq when the  war
started, presumably because they had not been consulted.   Hussein
had refused to grant increased port facilities to the  Soviets  in
exchange for arms, but since Soviet  weapons  performance  was  at
stake on the battlefield, spare parts  and  ammunition  were  soon
forwarded.  Eventually, weapons and vehicles were  replaced  on  a
one-for-one basis.  Conservation and caution  on  the  battlefield
became important to the Iraqis.  During this  period,  the  Iraqis
purchased  about  2  billion  dollars  worth   of   weapons   from
Click here to view image
     Significant changes took place during this period,  improving
the effectiveness of the Iranian military.  The regular  army  had
been redeployed to Khuzistan  to  assume  responsibility  for  the
fighting.   Little  effort  was  made   to   conduct   coordinated
operations with the Pasdaran or local  militia.   Political  games
were played in Teheran and mistrust between the forces  continued.
Positioning the  Pasdaran  behind  regular  troops  on  the  line,
presumably  to  prevent  withdrawal  or  desertion,  caused   hard
     Pressure  on  Bani-Sadr  continued.   He   had   promised   a
counter-offensive, but was unable to combine his  forces  into  an
effective army.  He launched the promised counteroffensive anyway.
This resulted in a  January  1981  battle  near  Dezful  in  which
Iranian   forces   were   severely   battered   in   fierce   tank
     The offensive began on January 5, 1981.  Three small  armored
regiments advanced between Ahwaz and Susangerd.  The  Iraqis  were
alerted to this movement and feigned a withdrawal.   Iraqi  forces
formed three armored regiments into a three-sided box ambush.  The
Iranians blundered into the ambush and the two tank forces battled
for four days in a sea of mud.
     The Iranians withdrew, leaving many tanks stuck in  the  mud,
or, because of logistical misplanning, out of fuel and ammunition.
The condition of the terrain prevented  a  clean  break  from  the
battle and did not allow the Iraqi forces to pursue what was  left
of the Iranian  force.   Over  100  captured  Iranian  tanks  were
displayed in  Iraq,  though  Iran  only  admitted  to  losing  88.
Bani-Sadr insisted that the Iraqis had lost twice as many.
     No major spring offensive occurred since the Iraqis  were  so
spread out along the front and the Iranians were still  trying  to
organize their forces.  Bani-Sadr was reforming his  army  with  a
new set of handpicked colonels.15
     Bani-Sadr eventually was dismissed by the  Ayatollah,  partly
because of his failure in January.  During the next phase  of  the
war, the reconstituted military seized the initiative and  finally
emerged  as  an   effective   fighting   force.    Major   factors
contributing to this revival were, 1) elimination  of  conflicting
guidance  from  Teheran  due  to  the  elimination  of  the  power
struggle, 2)  resolution  of  differences  between  the  army  and
Pasdaran, 3) allowing increased cooperation and joint  operations,
and 4) improved tactics, intelligence and planning on the part  of
the military.16  The effectiveness of this rejuvenated  force
was demonstrated when the siege of Abadan was lifted in  September
                             Phase III
                     Iranian Counteroffensive
                       May 1981-October 1983
     On September 2, 1981, Iranian armor, artillery  and  infantry
moved to strike at selected points of the  Iraqi  frontline.   The
Iraqis  were  pushed  back  at  several  places.   There  was   an
indication by Western journalists (who for  the  first  time  were
allowed to visit the  combat  zone)  that  the  Iranian  army  was
apparently coming back to life.
     The objective of this Iranian offensive  was  the  relief  of
Abadan.  On the 26th, five infantry  regiments  pushed   armor  and
artillery across the Bahamsheer River and attacked the   Iraqis  in
the flank and rear.  The Iraqis fell back across the  Karun  River
and settled into Khorramshar during three days of heavy  fighting.
By the 29th, the Iranians claimed a victory, restoring  morale  to
its forces, since Abadan had been besieged for a year.    Hussein's
hope of dominating the Shatt were spoiled, perhaps  for  the  long
     Four military leaders who had led  the  Iranian  attack  were
tragically killed in an airplane crash while returning to Teheran.
The victory at Abadan had surprised Teheran, and the joint-service
capability of the services  almost  alarmed  them.   Everyone  was
suspicious of a military coup.
     Limited aerial activity followed.  Oil installations in  Iraq
were bombed, as  well  as  two  oil  facilities  in  Kuwait.    The
bombings of  Kuwait  were  indications  that  the  war  was   being
extended slightly, and proved to be a warning to  Kuwait.    Kuwait
had been providing refined petroleum products to Iraq  and   was  a
main route for supplies flowing into Iraq.17
Operation "Undeniable Victory", March 1982
     On March 21, 1982, the  Iranians  launched  a  multi-division
operation, code named "Undeniable Victory".  It aimed  at  cutting
the communications lines between Iraqi forces  in  the  north  and
those in Khuzistan.  The week long operation changed  the  pattern
and tempo of the war.
     Improved relations and better planning  allowed  the  Iranian
military to gain a clear initiative.  Major  offensives  could  be
planned using regular forces, Pasdaran, and the  "Army  of  Twenty
Million".   During  "Undeniable  Victory",  combined   arms   were
effectively blended with the tactic of human wave  assaults.   The
Iranians demonstrated that they  had  finally  developed  into  an
efficient shock force.18
     Iran did not, however, have the logistical power  to  sustain
the attack and crush surprised Iraqi  forces.   Nonetheless,  over
15,000  Iraqi  troops   were   captured.19    The   strategic
initiative had shifted to Iran.20
Operation "Jerusalem", April 1982
     Iran gave Iraq little time to recover from  the  defeat.   On
April 29th and  30th,  Iran  launched  another  attack,  Operation
"Jerusalem", or "Holy City".  The attack focused on Khuzistan  and
was conducted in three main thrusts.  The northern attack was just
south of Susangerd.  The center  attack  was  against  Hamid,  the
major rail and road route from Khorramshar to Ahvaz.  The  primary
effort was against Khorramshar, to recover that city.
     Night infantry attacks led off the  assault.   Major  armored
thrusts  as  well  as  fighter  and  helicopter  attacks   quickly
followed.  The initial attack regained 309 square miles of Iranian
territory.  The Iraqis made good use of defensive  positions,  but
were unable to stop the advance.
     Iran cut the  highway  that  was  the  major  Iraqi  line  of
communication to Ahvaz.  Iranian positions across the Karun  River
were reinforced, and the defensive  positions  around  Khorramshar
were breeched.
     On  May  3,  Iraq  counterattacked,  making  heavy   use   of
helicopters and aircraft.  The Iranians were pushed back somewhat,
but replied with helicopter attacks on Fuka, about 200 miles south
of Baghdad, to halt resupply of Iraqi forces.
     By May 9, 1982, Iran seemed to have scored a  major  victory,
though both sides characteristically exaggerated  casualty  claims
and territorial gains/losses.  Fighting continued apace as Iranian
forces seemed positioned to claim total victory.21  In  late
June, Saddam Hussein announced that he was ready to  withdraw  all
Iraqi  forces  from  Iran,  an  admission   that   the   war   was
Operation "Ramadan", July 1982
     Khomeini was not interested in peace except on his own terms.
By early August, Iran had launched three major drives directed  at
cutting off Basra from Iraqi  forces  in  the  south.   The  first
attack was on July 13th, and drove  ten  miles  into  Iraq  before
Iranian forces  were  ambushed  and  checked  with  heavy  losses.
Another Iranian attempt  on  July  21st  was  also  stopped.   The
Iranians apparently lacked the command and control, air power, and
logistics to sustain an attack.
     The third major assault occurred on July  28th.   The  attack
gained nothing.  The lives of large numbers of teenagers, who  had
filled the ranks of infantry,  were  expended.   Plastic  keys  to
paradise were found clutched in cold hands and bodies  cloaked  in
battle jackets bore  stenciled  signs  that  proclaimed  that  the
wearer had the Imam Khomeini's permission to enter  heaven.23
These offensives raised the human cost of  the  war  to  at  least
80,000 killed, 200,000 wounded, and 45,000 captured.24
     The attacks gained Iran a strip of territory 10 miles long by
two miles deep.  The strategically worthless strip was in a swampy
area near Basra, where it was reported that 25,000 Iranian zealots
had  been  slaughtered.25   Iran  had   shown   that   better
leadership, equipment and  logistics  were  needed  for  sustained
attack, and that human wave attacks, even in a hi-tech  war,  were
still effective.  Iraqi forces showed that they would  fight  much
more determinedly for their own territory.
Fall 1982 Iranian Offensive
     September 30, 1982, witnessed another  Iranian  attack,  this
time against Baghdad.  They drove on the town of Mandali, south of
the Iraqi defended border town of  Qasr  e-shirin.   Fighting  was
intense and, again, the Iranians lacked enough armor  and  air  to
punch through Iraqi defenses.  Human wave tactics were again  used
as both sides incurred heavy casualties.  The fighting raged until
October 10th, with no significant outcome.
     Both sides were hurt by this  continual  fighting  which  had
devolved into a war  of  attrition.   The  Iranians  had  a  heavy
manpower advantage and seemed to tolerate high losses politically.
Iraq had the advantage of  strong  defensive  positions,  but  was
being sapped economically.  Hussein realized that continued losses
were dangerous to his regime.
     The Iraqis attempted to  counter  by  threatening,  and  then
conducting, air attacks on tankers and facilities at Kharg Island,
and  by  launching  air-to-surface  missiles  at  Iranian  cities.
However, no serious military  damage  was  done.   Iraqi  MiG  and
Mirage fighters lacked range,  accuracy,  and  accurate  stand-off
munitions capable of inflicting  sufficiently  serious  damage  to
heavily defended facilities at Kharg Island.
     Iran launched another offensive on November 2,  1982,  aiming
this time for Fakah in Iraq.  Fakah lies just across  the  border,
between Baghdad and  Basra,  280  miles  to  the  south.   Iranian
infantry, followed by M-60 and Chieftan tanks, attacked  at  night
to minimize the effects of Iraqi air  and  artillery.   Iran  came
within artillery range of main roads linking Baghdad and Basra and
scored some minor successes.  Iraq lost another 240  square  miles
of Iranian territory and had to use its last reserves  to  fortify
defensive postions.
     The offensive ended in what has  by  now  become  a  familiar
pattern.  Political squabbling continues in both countries.   Iran
demonstrated it could not sustain offensives and suffered  further
casualties and loss of equipment.  Iraqi forces remained locked in
static  defensive  positions.   They  lacked  the  leadership  and
tactics to conduct effective counteroffensives with their reserves
and did not take advantage of air superiority.
     By January  1983,  both  sides  remained  locked  in  awkward
positions.  Iraq continued to attempt  to  interrupt  Iranian  oil
flow by attacking tankers and facilities in  the  Gulf.   But  the
attacks were relatively ineffective.   Air  defenses  and  covered
facilites kept the oil flowing.  Meanwhile, Iran  was  gearing  up
for further offensives.26
Operation "Before Dawn", February 1983
     Operaton "Before Dawn" was launched on February 6, 1983.   It
was directed at the Iraqi city of Al Amarah, west of Fakah.   Iran
boasted that it was,  "the  final  military  operation  that  will
determine the final destiny of the region."27
     The main forces were six Iranian divisions.  It  was  clearly
intended to be decisive.  The upshot was that Iran  recovered  120
square miles of territory, but was again unable to score  a  major
breakthrough.  Terrain contributed to the problem since it  was  a
difficult area in which to fight.  The Iraqi's had  three  dug  in
lines ranging from low hills to the edge  of  marshes,  forming  a
semi-circle around Al Amarah.  The Iranians were forced to  attack
across the wetlands, or attack Iraqi positions on ridges  and  low
hills, across a relatively open plain.
     Iraq was able to use its air superiority effectively, as  the
pilots were  finally  learning  how  to  fly  low  with  increased
accuracy.  Iraq also used  attack  helicopters  with  considerable
effect, compensating for tanks used in  a  static  defense  rather
than as maneuver elements.
     The results were characteristic.  Iran could  not  sustain  a
penetration against heavily defended positions.   Iraq  could  not
mount a counteroffensive to weaken or destroy  the  Iranian  army.
The massive war of  attrition  has  continued.   It  was  becoming
increasingly  clear  that  the  war  would  not  be  won  or  lost
militarily,  but  would  end  only   when   one   side   collapsed
economically or politically.28
     In August of 1983, a small battle took place  in  the  rugged
Zagros mountains in northern Iran.  Iranian troops  were  pursuing
Kurdish rebels who had raided  Iranian  outposts.   This  was  the
largest action thus far in the  war  in  this  rugged  terrain  of
Kurdistan, but was considered a diversionary tactic.  An  imminent
attack was expected on the  central  front,  just 80  miles  from
                     Breaking the Stalemate
     During 1984, Iraq began  looking  for  a  way  to  break  the
stalemate of the war.  Initially, Hussein attempted to  raise  the
human cost of continued fighting by using chemical weapons,  which
reportedly had been employed as early as August 1981.30  Iraq
also purchased millions of dollars  of  new  armaments  and  began
constructing extensive fortifications to channel Iranian  assaults
into preplanned killing zones.
     During February 1984, a new  round  of  violence  began  when
Iraqi aircraft launched missile and rocket attacks against Iranian
towns, killing innocent civilians.  Iran retaliated with artillery
shelling of Iraqi border settlements and  an  air  attack  against
Baquba, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad.  The shellings and bombings
were a prelude to an expected huge  infantry  assault  across  the
border west of Baghdad.31
     The Iraqis had also been trying to induce  other   nations  to
join in the conflict against Iran by increasing their  air  attacks
on tankers and  Iranian  oil-producing  facilities.    In  November
1983, an Exocet missile was used to sink the Greek tanker Antagoni
near Kharg Island.  Figure 4 shows the location of  the  incident.
This was an attempt to halt the flow of Iranian  oil  through  the
Persian Gulf, but it also had the effect of slowing oil flow  from
other Persian Gulf countries from which Iraq was receiving
Click here to view image
     By June 1984, attacks on shipping in the Gulf  had  increased
alarmingly.  But Iraq was  concerned  about  rumors  that  half  a
million Iranian soldiers were poised to launch an  attack  in  the
southern province.  This gigantic offensive has not  yet  occured,
though there is little doubt that should  Khomeini  so  order,  it
will take place.33
     Meanwhile, peace initiatives are continually advanced.  Saudi
Arabia, Turkey, and Algiers have  all  attempted  to  start  peace
talks to no avail.  Hussein will not  talk  as  long  as  Khomeini
insists on toppling the Baathist Iraqi government.34    But  by
July, West German diplomats were indicating that the Iranians  may
be  ready  to  talk.   They  are  economically  drained  and  need
artillery, spare parts and protective gear from  chemical  attacks
if they are to continue the war.35
     Hussein offered to meet  personally  with  Khomeini  at  some
neutral location.  Teheran adamantly opposed any such meeting  and
instead attacked Majnun  Island.   In  answer  to  Iraq's  use  of
chemical weapons, including 'yellow rain', Iran imported a Swedish
chemical plant to provide chemical weapons.   Iraq  threatened  to
bomb the site if construction was not  halted.   There  were  also
reports   that   Iran   was   attempting   to   develop    nuclear
     By October, Iran was announcing yet another offensive against
Baghdad, though this was not the long  expected  major  offensive.
Iraq announced that the Iranians had been driven back.  Iraq seems
to have gained some advantage  by  stifling  the  Iranian  economy
through air attacks on shipping in the Gulf.  In  the  mean  time,
Iraq has rearmed and is reported to have a 6  to  1  advantage  in
fighter aircraft, 5 to 1 in tanks, and  4  to  1  in  heavy  guns.
Table 2 shows the power balance in 1984.  The Iraqis are unlikely
Click here to view image
to  attack  Iran,  but  should  the  major  Iranian  offensive  be
launched, the Iraqis are well prepared to repel it.37
     On January  31,  1985,  the  Iraqis  launched  a  corps-sized
offensive against Iranian positions in  the  Qasr  e-Shirin  area.
Caught by surprise, the Iranians suffered many casualties and lost
large quantities of arms and equipment.  The attack was the  first
Iraqi offensive in 17 months  and  was  designed  to  disrupt  any
Iranians  plans  for  a  major  offensive.   Though  this  was   a
significant offensive, it has not been publicized  in  the  United
States and is indicative of a lack of  interest  by  the  American
people for military actions  in  Southwest  Asia.   The  offensive
could, however, signal a new phase in the prolonged war  in  which
Iraq might regain the larger initiative.39
                            The Air War
     Preemptive air strikes were conducted against  ten  airfields
in Iran when the war began.  Though surprise was achieved,  little
destruction  was   accomplished.40    The   Shah   had   made
considerable effort  to  strengthen  defenses  at  the  airfields.
Iraqi pilots dropped bombs on the runways,  forsaking  the  better
targets of aircraft in the open.  Damage was easily repaired.  The
mistargetted Iraqi attacks had been essentially useless  and  were
doctrinally unsound.
     On the second day of the war, Iranian planes  surprised  Iraq
by  conducting  strikes  against  Basra  and  Baghdad.   Iraq  had
dispersed many  airplanes  to  neighboring  Arab  countries,  thus
protecting its air assets.
     Neither air force has been used to provide decisive advantage
to one side or the other.   Both  sides  seem  to  want  to  avoid
conflict in the air.  The weak pattern  of  air  warfare  was  set
during the first weeks  of  the  war.   Each  side  conducts  deep
strikes into the  interior  of  the  other  country,  seeking  out
high-visibility economic and psychological targets.  These attacks
are conducted by two to four aircraft that  are  able  to  proceed
unimpeded because of ineffective air defense systems.
     Although some close air support was provided during the early
part of the war, the sortie rates have been very  ineffective  for
both sides.  Helicopter gunships have been  used  effectively  and
have scored some tank kills using heat-seeking  missiles.   Iran's
performance has been hampered by  poor  maintenance  and  lack  of
trained pilots.  Iraqi performance  must  be  attributed  to  poor
pilot performance, though Hussein insists that he has poor  Soviet
     Iran has been able to use its air force to exert influence on
other nations in the Gulf region.  At the beginning  of  the  war,
overt support for Iraq was  more  evident  than  it  is  now.  As
previously mentioned, Iraqi aircraft had been dispersed  to  other
Arab states like Jordan,  Saudi  Arabia,  Oman,  the  United  Arab
Emirates, North Yemen, and Kuwait.41  As a  warning,  Iranian
fighters attacked Kuwait, which had been  transshipping  goods  to
Basra by land.  This warning caused other  nations  to  reevaluate
support for Iraq, since it was now evident that  Iranian  fighters
could seriously disrupt economies by  hitting  oil  installations.
Iraqi planes were  forced  to  return  to  Iraq  and  these  other
countries became less overt  in  supporting  Iraq.   Saudi Arabia
requested support in  protecting  the  oil  fields  and  the  U.S.
answered with AWACS aircraft in 1981.42
     Neither side has  been  able  to  use  its  anti-air  defense
weapons  successfully.   This  is  probably  because   of   faulty
maintenance and lack of training.  Iraq's ZSU-23-4's  do  not  use
radar to track a target.  Instead, fire is massed at  a  point  in
the air in hopes that a plane or helicopter will fly into it.
     When Iraq decided to interdict shipping in the Gulf,  it  was
readily apparent that Iraqi pilots did not have adequate  training
to conduct such attacks.  Weapons were unsuitable  for  long-range
stand-off attacks.  To correct the situation, Iraq  acquired  five
Super-Etenard  fighters  with  Exocet  missiles  from  France   in
November 1983.
     This formidable shift in air power caused  serious  reactions
to the perceived threat.  It appeared that Hussein was willing  to
escalate the war by interdicting Iranian  shipping  in  the  Gulf.
Khomeini then  stated  that  if  Iranian oil   installations  were
seriously damaged, Iran  would  prevent  ships  from  entering  or
leaving the Gulf by  closing  the  Strait  of  Hormuz.   This,  of
course, would have had a serious impact on the rest of  the  world
and would have threatened vital interests of the West.43
                           The Naval War
     The war at  sea  began  simultaneously  with  the  land  war.
Patrol craft of both navies  fought  from  September  to  November
1980.  Iranian vessels attacked Basra and the  two  oil  terminals
near the Iraqi city of Fao.  Iran supposedly lost  56  percent  of
its naval assetts compared to Iraq's 66 percent.  In any case, the
Iranian navy prevailed and has been able to  maintain  it's  naval
     Iran blockaded Iraq from the first day  of  the  war  and  69
ships remain trapped in the war zone.  The navy could not blockade
other ports on the Gulf through which supplies could  reach  Iraq.
For  all  practical  purposes,  little  has  resulted  from  naval
                       Chapter 2 - Footnotes
     1Grummon, "The Iran-Iraq War; Islam embattled," p. 15.
     2Anthony H. Cordesman, "Lessons of  the  Iran-Iraq  War:
The First Round," Armed Forces Journal International, April  1982,
p. 33.
     3Ibid.,  p.42.   Adapted  from  The  Military   Balance,
     4Edgar O'Ballance, "The Iran-Iraq  War,"   Marine  Corps
Gazette, February 1982, p. 44.
     5Staudenmaier, "A Strategic Analysis of the  Gulf  War,"
p. 11.
     6O'Ballance, "The Iran-Iraq War," p. 47.
     7Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 37.
     8Hickman, Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army," p. 20.
     9Ibid., p. 13.
     10Ibid., p. 20.
     11O'Ballance, "The Iran-Iraq War," pp. 44-47.
     12Anthony H. Cordesman, "Lessons of the  Iran-Iraq  War:
Part Two, Tactics, Technology, and Training," Armed Forces Journal
International, June 1982, p. 72.
     13Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 37.
     14Hickman, Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army, p. 23.
     15O'Ballance, "The Iran-Iraq War," pp. 47-49.
     16Hickman, Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army, p. 26.
     17O'Ballance, "The Iran-Iraq War," p. 50.
     18Hickman, Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army, p. 30.
     19Staudenmaier, "Military Policy  and  Strategy  in  the
Gulf War,"Parameters, Volume XII, June 1982, p. 30.
     20Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 38.
     21Cordesman, "Lessons of the Iran-Iraq War:   Part  Two,"
pp. 69-70.
     22Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 38.
     24Anthony H. Cordesman, "The  Iran-Iraq  War:  Attrition
Now, Chaos Later," Aarmed Forces Journal International,  May  1983,
p. 38.
     25Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 38.
     26Cordesman, "The Iran-Iraq War:  Attrition  Now,  Chaos
Later," p. 41.
     29"Counterthreats," Time, August 8, 1983, p. 42.
     30Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 38.
     31Quiet  War:  Iran  and  Iraq  Go  Full  Tilt,"  Time,
February 27, 1984, p. 63.
     32"Unsafe Passage," Time, December 5, 1983, p. 58.
     33"Fight to the Finish," Time, June 11, 1984, p. 36
     35"Finally a Crack in the Door," Time, August  6,  1984,
p. 42.
     36Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 38.
     37"Situation Stalemate," Time, October 29, 1984, p. 59.
     38Charles Doe, "U.S.  Restraint  in  Persian  Gulf  Seen
Paying Off," Army Times,  September  17,  1984,  p.  18.   Source:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
     39Article from Arab newspaper Alwatan, February 1, 1985,
translated by Ltcol. Abdul Wahab Al-Anzi, Army of Kuwait.
     40Staudenmaier, "Military Policy  and  Strategy  in  the
Gulf War," p. 31.
     41Ibid., p. 32.
     43James Kelly, "Battling for Advantage,"  Time,  October
24, 1983, p. 35.
     44Staudenmaier, "Military Policy  and  Strategy  in  the
Gulf War," p. 31.
                             Chapter 3
                        ANALYSIS OF THE WAR
     Wars are not normally started at the whims of those in power.
Usually, there is some  calculated  decision  made   to  launch  an
attack on another country, based upon intelligence   that  provides
the aggressor with suitable confidence that he will  be  successful
in his endeavor.
     Such was the case in the Iran-Iraq war.  Saddam   Hussein  had
determined clear political  objectives  well  prior   to  September
1980.  These objectives were stated earlier in this   paper.   But,
Hussein had to have indications on  when  the  best   time  for  an
attack would occur.
                          Iraqi Strategy
     In 1979, Iran was in the midst  of  revolution,  led  by  the
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.  This fundamentalist  Islamic  revolt
posed a threat  to  Iraq  by  promising  to  encourage  the  Shiite
majority to rebel against the Sunni led govenment.  The turbulence
of the  young  revolution  also  indicated  to  Hussein  that  the
Iranians  would  be  disorganized  and  far  too  concerned  about
internal affairs to contend with an attack from  another  country.
From his past dealings with Khomeini, Hussein also knew  that  the
Ayatollah had a score to settle.1
     Khomeini injected further bad feelings into the fray when  he
rejected the  1975  Algiers  Accord,  claiming  the  entire  Shatt
al-Arab belonged to Iran.  Hussein  could  not  sit  idly  by  and
acquiesce, since the Shatt provides single access to the Gulf from
Basra, Iraq's major  port  and  most  vital  to  Iraqi  oil  flow.
Hussein countered by denouncing the  Algiers  Accord  himself  and
again claimed the important waterway.
     Hussein grasped the opportunity to energe as  leader  of  the
Arab world by buffering the contagion of the Islamic revolution to
other Arab states.  No single country had  emerged  to  take  over
from the Egyptians, who were viewed as having sold  out  the  Arab
world at Camp David.  Hussein, in a quick trounce of  Iran,  could
become leader of the Arab nations, could promote pan-Arabism,  and
could, at the same  time,  unite  the  Arab  armies  for  a  final
confrontation with Israel.  A conference  of  non-aligned  nations
was to be held in Baghdad in 1982,  and  if  Hussein  could  first
defeat  Iran,  he  would  possess  enhanced  influence   at   that
conference.2   Both  situations  were  in  line  with  stated
Baathist goals.
     Since 1973, oil prices had helped Iraq, and Iran,  develop  a
strong economy.  Hussein was certainly able to use oil  income  to
improve the standards of life throughout Iraq, showing  the  Iraqi
people the  success  of  socialism,  another  Baathist  objective.
Hussein also calculated that he could increase Iraqi oil income by
taking the southern Iranian province of  Khuzistan,  and,  at  the
same time, liberate the Arabs in the province.3
     All of these factors contributed to making  Hussein  and  his
advisors overly confident.  They also considered that Khomeini was
not firmly entrenched in power  and  that  Iranian  society  would
probably not support Khomeini.  The Kurds in  northern  Iran  were
also taking advantage of the revolution by insisting on  autonomy.
The armed forces of Iran were in a  shambles  and  probably  would
lack leadership, the highest of whom had all been purged, to  wage
an effective defense against an invasion.  And lastly, the  United
States, who had supplied Iran with most of her arms  and  military
supplies, had embargoed the flow of spare  parts  because  of  the
hostage crisis.  Thus, the Iraqis guessed that most of the Iranian
war machine was inoperative.4
     Saddam Hussein, therefore, had  very  good  indications  that
Iran was ripe for attack.  He also  knew  he  had  to  launch  the
assault before the rainy season started in  November,  since  this
would bog him down and  allow  Iran  to  reorganize.   Of  course,
Hussein, as well as most Western analysts, did not think  the  war
would last more than a few weeks.
     Hindsight is a wonderful teacher.  It is  easy  to  see  what
went wrong for the Iraqis.  But at the  time,  Hussein  could  not
have guessed that  he  would  fail.   He  had  planned  well,  but
Clausewitz's 'friction of war' would disrupt his plans.
     Iraqi forces quickly conquered the border.   Two  attacks  in
the central and northern regions were supporting  attacks  to  the
main blow designed for Khuzistan.   The  supporting  attacks  were
tactically sound, blocking any  route  of  advance  from  Iran  to
Baghdad.  The mountainous  area  in  the  north  had  few  avenues
through which an army could pass and could be  secured  relatively
     To the south the Iraqi army found that the Iranians were much
more tenacious than would have  been  thought.   Elements  of  the
Regular Army, the Pasdaran, and the "Army of Twenty  Million"  put
up a tremendous fight.  But the Iraqis managed  to  move  forward.
They eventually seized Khorramshar, but stopped short  of  seizing
Dezful and Ahvaz, since Hussein  did  not  want  to  expend  Iraqi
lives.  Using tanks in built  up  areas  was  proving  disastrous.
Therefore, laying siege to these cities, and to Abadan, seemed  to
be appropriate.  By November, the Iraqis had advanced  as  far  as
they were going to, and dug in to wait out the rainy season.  This
loss of momentum was to be Iraq's  downfall.   By  stopping,  Iran
would have time to reorganize and reequip it's forces.
     Strategically, Iraq had to secure all of  Khuzistan  if  they
hoped to insure the integrity of  the  Shatt  al-Arab.   The  main
Iraqi port of Basra lies within artillery range  of  Iran  and  if
Iraq expected to keep its economy alive, control of the Shatt  all
the way to Basra was extremely important.
     Iraq never concentrated forces on the  most  critical  front.
Forces  were  diverted  to  Abadan  when  they  should  have  been
attacking Ahvaz and the airbase at Dezful, where the enemy  forces
were.   This  strategy  violated  a  considered  must  of  combat:
concentrate on defeating the enemy s military force.5
     In Khuzistan, Hussein  was  surprised  that  the  local  Arab
population did not rise up to help the Iraqis 'liberate' them.  It
would seem that fighting for  one's  homeland  is  sometimes  more
important than fighting for ethnic or religious beliefs.
     Saddam Hussein erred grossly in judging the  enemy.   He  was
not prepared to wage a long war since he had to maintain  a  guard
against not only Iran, but his hated  enemy  Syria  to  the  west.
Also, he had to be continually concerned with the Kurds.  Fighting
along a 733 mile border would  be  difficult  enough,  but  adding
other fronts would make the  war  impossible  to  fight.   Hussein
faced a conundrum indeed.
     So Hussein found himself in a precarious position in November
of 1980.  He had not won a quick, decisive victory.  The  prospect
of continued war  was  very  real  and  he  would  be  fighting  a
religious fanatic who had professed the rise of Shiite Moslems  to
overthrow their Sunni leaders.   Would  the  Iraqi  Army,  led  by
Sunnis, but composed mostly of Shiites, continue to  fight?   Yet,
Hussein had started the war well, but he could not lose  face  now
by pulling out with no gain.  He  would  have  to  reevaluate  his
strategy to determine the next move.
     In June 1982, Hussein made peace  overtures.   He  could  not
continue to fight with limited manpower.  The population had grown
weary of war.  Iraqi offensives had all faltered and  Iran  seemed
to have the initiative.
     When Khomeini refused to talk, Hussein had no choice  but  to
hunker down in defensive positions and hope to destroy any Iranian
offensives.  While waiting for inevitable attacks, he could rearm,
but to rearm meant he would have to increase oil sales and  affect
other regional economies.
     During 1982, Syria had cut-off  the  Iraqi  pipeline  to  the
Mediterranean.  Saudi Arabia had agreed to build a  pipeline  from
Iraq  to  the  Red  Sea,  but  this  would  take  four  years   to
complete.6  Iranian special forces units had also cut the oil
pipeline through Turkey.7
     Hussein was caught in a tough situation.  He could  not  stop
the war he had started without losing power.  And,  he  could  not
continue the war without weapons.  The  Iranians  seemed  to  have
unlimited manpower that they were willing to waste  in  human-wave
assaults.  Iraq did not.  The Iranians had  shown  resiliency  and
the ability to organize their forces for offensives.
     While he continued to rely on other Gulf states for financial
support, particularly Saudi Arabia, Hussein decided the  only  way
he could hurt Iran was by stopping their oil flow.  To do this  he
would use his air assets to attack shipping in the Gulf.  He  knew
Iran was also suffering from the war, and if  he  could  interdict
the oil flow, he might still have a chance.
     France boosted Hussein's prospects by supplying Super-Etenard
fighters and Exocet missiles in November of  1983.   This  allowed
Hussein to attack Gulf shipping, and Kharg Island,  with  relative
impunity.  To date, the most accurate figures  available  show  75
attacks  have  been  made  on   merchant   ships,   46   of   them
     These attacks have not seriously interrupted Iran's oil flow.
But they have given Iraq  time  to  rearm  and  rebuild  defensive
positions.  By the last half of 1984,  Iraq  seemed  to  have  the
advantage in weaponry and was prepared to continue the war.
     Hussein had dug himself into a precarious position,  but  had
not been ousted.  His attempts to end the war seem to have put him
in good stead with the population and showed  the  world  that  he
could accept peace.  Yet, he could not end it by stepping down and
admitting total failure.   By  continuing  the  conflict,  he  has
stopped the Islamic revolution from spreading.  Saddam Hussein, in
1985, is sitting exactly where he wants.  All he has to do is hold
off  a  massive  Iranian  offensive  and  wait  for  the  unstable
situation in Iran to develop.  The strategy of stalemate is  alive
and well.
                          Iranian Stragey
     Iraq's attack  on  Iran  served  to  strengthen  the  Iranian
revolution,  rather  than  demoralize   it.    The   tenacity   of
revolutionary movements should not  be  underestimated.   Khomeini
was able to use the invasion to his advantage and consolidate  his
position of power.
     The attack was not a surprise to  Khomeini.   His  hatred  of
Hussein  and  his  desire  to  broadcast  Islamic   fundamentalism
threatened Iraq and he  knew  it.   Bani-Sadr  had  been  informed
throught the summer of 1980 that the Iraqis were massing forces on
the border, a  strong  indication  that  something  was  about  to
     Yet Iran had big problems of their  own.   The  U.S.  hostage
crisis was still occupying the  country's  time  and  Iran  feared
attempts to free the hostages, or, even more serious, an  invasion
by U.S. forces.  Khomeini also had thrown out the Soviets, yet  he
was vulnerable in the north from the Soviet  Union  and  from  the
east in Afghanistan  where  war  was  raging.   At  the  time,  he
probably would have been content to continue  his  rise  to  power
isolated from all the threats in the region.
     Once the war started, the Iranians, though disorganized,  put
up a tenacious fight.  The Pasdaran, in  the  south,  fought  with
amazing revolutionary zeal for promised martyrdom  in  service  to
their country.   Many  young  boys  and  old  men,  though  poorly
trained, fought heroically in the cities of  Khorramshar,  Dezful,
Susangerd, and Ahvaz.  Their efforts stopped the Iraqi army.
     The Iranians then had to decide what to  do  about  the  war.
They successfully blockaded the Shatt al-Arab, a move  that  could
potentially strangle  the  Iraqi  economy.   They  also  began  to
reorganize their forces, reestablishing a  command  structure  and
combining the efforts of the Pasdaran and the regular army.   This
was most difficult, given the distrust of  the  Pasdaran  for  the
army that existed prior to the war.
     The most obvious move was to drive the invading army  out  of
Iran.  Coupled with this objective, Khomeini calculated  he  could
drive to Baghdad and  ensure  the  downfall  of  Hussein  and  his
Baathist   government   by   liberating   the   Shiite   majority.
Accordingly, President Bani-Sadr  began  to  plan  for  the  first
Iranian counteroffensive.
     The first Iranian offensive in January 1981 proved  to  be  a
failure.  Coordination of all forces was  notably  lacking.   Iran
stumbled into an ambush that cost them dearly.  Yet, Khomeini  was
now able to claim  the  initiative.   As  the  Islamic  revolution
progressed, he bacame  more  powerful  by  fighting  the  invading
devils of Iraq.
     Khomeini fired Bani-Sadr, the  only  other  legitimate  power
broker in Iran, and further consolidated his power.  The  military
resolved their problems and finally became an  effective  fighting
force.  Successful battles were waged from  1981  to  1983,  using
human-wave assaults, that proved  Khomeini  could  fight  the  war
successfully.  But he could not sustain the drive necessary to end
the war.  Logistically, he was in serious trouble.  Every  attempt
to break through Iraqi lines and continue the attack had failed.
     Khomeini  was  uninspired  by  the  negotiating  table.   His
revolution had shown real power and he had grander designs for the
whole region.  Personal hatred of Hussein  prohibited  discussions
of peace.   He  continued  the  fight  and  attempted  to  restore
     By 1984, however, his lack of success in defeating  Iraq  was
beginning to take its toll.  Iranians were beginning  to  question
human-wave  tactics  and  the  terrible  loss  of  life  that  was
occurring.  Though the Imam claimed to be strong, he could not end
the war.  He had massed a half million  soldiers  on  the  border,
ready to pursue the final offensive, yet he had  not  ordered  it.
Perhaps he was beginning to fall out of favor with the  population
and did not want to risk defeat or  annihilation  of  his  forces.
For whatever  reason,  Khomeini  has  practiced  the  strategy  of
stalemate as well as Saddam Hussein has.
     Despite a sizeable armored Iraqi force used  in  the  initial
southern  attack,  Iraq  failed  to  concentrate   the  tanks   and
consistently lost  time  and  space  advantages.    Despite  Soviet
doctrine of 'daring thrusts', Iraq used World War II tank  tactics
and hesitated after each tactical success.  This was  particularly
true at Dezful and Ahvaz,  where  they  should  have  aggressively
attacked while defenses were still relatively weak.
     Problems were compounded by using tanks  to  attack  built-up
areas, without  infantry  support.   This  resulted  in  continual
losses of the tanks and an  inability  to  mass  artillery  fires.
Thus, the towns were not secured, but a siege was imposed.
     Both sides made good use of terrain and  defensive  position.
Channeling the enemy into killing zones has worked well, but shows
the inability of  opposing  forces  to  use  maneuver  warfare  to
outflank the  defenses.   At  those  times  when  penetrations  of
defensive positions have been  made,  the  Iraqis  have  shown  an
inability to redeploy or use their reserves effectively.10
     The sophisticated weaponry possessed by both  sides  has  not
been used as intended.  For instance, tank  gun  sights  and  fire
controls are not used well because  of  a  lack  of  training  and
understanding.  Tanks tend to shoot  from  200-300  yards,  making
them particularly vulnerable.  Because of  this,  the  tanks  have
come to be used more as mobile artillery.   They  are  dug  in  to
reduce vulnerability, but lose manueverability.
     Another problem with the armor was the inability to resupply.
Many tanks were abandoned on the battlefield because of shortages,
and it is indicative of a poorly trained and commanded army.
     Both sides have demonstrated poor  battlefield  tactics  with
armor.  But Iraq has used the lesson of the 1973  Israeli  War  to
advantage.  Behind the lines, they have been able  to  move  armor
using tank transporters procured after 1973.   These  transporters
save wear and tear  on  the  tanks  and  AFV's  and  allow  faster
movement.   This  is  a  factor   which   Western   armies   might
     Both sides have shown  an  inability  to  use  combined  arms
effectively.  This is indicated by a lack of integration of  armor
and infantry, as previously mentioned.  But it is also evident  in
the use  of  artillery.   Artillery  is  used  primarily  on  area
targets, such as suspected enemy  positions,  or  to  blast  enemy
positions when armor is advancing or  digging  in.   Shifting  and
massing  of  fires  to  support  maneuver  is   characteristically
lacking, as is counter-battery fire.12
     The infantry on both sides have  fought  bravely,  even  with
poor training and lack of  supporting  arms.   They  have  adapted
rapidly to the terrain and are able to use the  terrain  to  their
advantage, especially in defensive positions.  Any invading  force
should  recognize  the  potential  tenacity  of  untrained  troops
fighting for their homeland and their ability to  use  terrain  to
their advantage in the defense.
     Leadership has also been questionable for  both  sides.   The
political entities of both countries tend to distrust military men
and are  always  concerned  with  possible  coup  attempts.   This
results in inflexibility in  combat  operations  since  commanders
will probably not be trusted should they  attempt  to  demonstrate
initiative and take advantage of  tactical  situations.   Lack  of
initiative and inability to operate independently pervades even to
NCO ranks and accounts for some of the combat failures suffered on
both sides.  This is not surprising given the traditional lack  of
trust deriving from personalism.  Lack of  initiative  results  in
fear of failure.
     Logistics has also caused the combat arms to  suffer.   Lines
of communication are extremely long and subject to interdiction by
artillery and air.  Several offensives by Iran have failed because
of lack of logistical support.   Iraq  seems  to  have  maintained
LOC's relatively well, though logistical resupply suffers  without
     At the beginning of  the  war,  both  sides  had  been  armed
heavily after years of trading with the superpowers.  Iran,  under
the Shah, had purchased U.S. weapons.  Iraq, though  beginning  to
diversify in 1979, had purchased  mainly  Soviet  weaponry.   Both
countries relied on superpower assistance to provide  spare  parts
and provide advisors for training and operations.
     The day the war started, the  Soviet  Union  stopped  further
sales of arms to Iraq as a  kind  of  retribution  for  not  being
informed of Iraqi plans to invade Iran.  Iran, of course, had been
cut off from U.S. assistance since the hostage crisis had begun.
     As the war progressed, resupply of weapons  and  spare  parts
became essential.  Oil revenues  could,  of  course,  be  used  to
purchase weapons.  There were many countries throughout the  world
willing to act as suppliers since big money was involved.
     Money is a powerful tool in third world countries.   Advanced
technology weapons are highly  sought  after  and  appear  readily
available, even though  the  arms  suppliers  operate  beyond  the
bounds of "normal" international relations.13
     The Iraqis soon obtained weapons from  Warsaw  Pact  nations,
China, Egypt, North Korea, the Soviet  Union  and,  most  notably,
France.  France has reportedly supplied Iraq with over  9  billion
dollars of quality weaponry.14
     This situation emphasizes the need for a  short  war  between
nations without  an  industrial  base  to  manufacture  their  own
instruments  of  war.   To  continue  such  a  war,  nations  will
necessarily rely on more powerful nations for resupply.  And this,
of course, is contingent on the ability to pay.
     As it turns out, the Arab saying, "The enemy of my  enemy  is
my friend," has  been  applied  to  the  Iran-Iraq  war.   Israel,
worried about Iraq and the Arab world, began supplying  Iran  with
U.S. manufactured weaponry and spare parts.  It  was  in  Israel's
best  interest  to  distract  Iraq,  who  has  a  stated  Baathist
objective of defeating the  Israelis.   Syria,  in  an  effort  to
discredit Iraq and assume the role as the most  powerful  Baathist
state, also began supplying Iran with Soviet made weaponry.15
                       The Regional Problem
     Fears of an expanded war have  been  intense  in  other  Gulf
states.  Given the stated intent of Khomeini's revolution to be  a
holy crusade throughout the Islamic world, the other  Gulf  states
do not want to become drawn into the war, since it would obviously
destroy their economies.  Overt support for either  side  is  also
out of the question, as taking sides could have  serious  reprisal
implications should the other side win.
     Yet, it would seem that the Gulf states might have  supported
Iraq before Iran.  In  fact,  Saudi  Arabia  underwrites  a  great
portion of the Iraqi war expense.  Kuwait  openly  supported  Iraq
until they were bombed by Iran, a warning not only to  Kuwait  but
to all other regional onlookers.
     To support each other and provide some semblance of security,
the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was established  in  1981.   It
has worked very well by expressing political solidarity.  The  six
member nations are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab  Emirates,
Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.16
                      Superpower Involvement
     Both superpowers, the United States  and  the  Soviet  Union,
were caught off-guard by the start of the war.  The United States,
of course, had been attempting to solve the hostage  crisis  since
before the war started and was not on friendly  terms  with  Iran.
And, the U.S. had not had diplomatic relations with Soviet  backed
Iraq since 1968.  The Soviets had not been welcomed in Iran by the
Shah, and were tied down in Afghanistan.   Khomeini,  a  religious
fanatic, was definitely not willing  to  deal  with  the  Soviets.
When Iraq  invaded,  the  Soviets  immediately  stopped  supplying
weapons since Iraq had not consulted them concerning  the  attack.
The Soviet Union  did,  however,  sign  a  treaty  of  'peace  and
friendship' with Iraq after the war began and has  been  supplying
weaponry ever since.
     It would seem that neither superpower has any desire  to  see
either side win the war.  The balance of power in the region is at
stake and a decision remains  delicately  poised.   When  the  war
started,  both  superpowers  calculated  that  it  would  be  over
quickly, at which  time  they  could  influence  the  winners  and
losers.  A wait-and-see attitude  prevailed,  and,  as  the  world
waited, the war continued with less and less chance of  superpower
     Both superpowers are, of course, interested in the outcome of
the war.  But intervention  is  ruled  out  because  of  potential
escalation and confrontation.  The wait-and-see attitude will most
likely continue until there is an end to the  fighting,  at  which
time both the U.S. and the Soviet Union could be expected to  make
a move.17
                      United States Interest
     The most important U.S. concern in the Gulf  is  oil,  though
this is not the sole concern.  In 1973, Western Europe derived  60
percent of its oil, and Japan 90 percent, from Gulf suppliers.  In
1984, these figures were about 40  and  60  percent  respectively.
The U.S. gets only about 3 percent of its  oil  from  the  Persian
Gulf.18  Because of  this  heavy  supply  of  oil  to  allied
countries, keeping the oil flowing has become a vital interest  to
the United States.
     Of primary concern, then, is keeping  the  Strait  of  Hormuz
open to shipping.  Khomeini threatened closure of the Strait  when
Iraq started shooting at tankers, but has not yet  attempted  this
drastic step.   Oil  production  seems  to  have  continued  at  a
relatively even pace with no serious  degradation  since  the  war
began.  Though Iraq has continued to shoot at tankers in the Gulf,
driving insurance rates up, there is no shortage  of  vessels  and
voluntary crews to transit the Strait.19
     The U.S. has three major policy objectives with  respect  to
the current Gulf crisis.  One is  to  prevent  disruption  of  oil
shipments that would cause serious hardship for Western economies.
Another is to ensure the security of oil-producing governments  in
the area that have been friendly to the  West  and  have  resisted
Soviet expansionism in the Gulf.  And lastly, the U.S. would  like
to ensure that whatever the outcome of the war, the  Soviet  Union
would not have a dominant position in either country.20
     The Carter Doctrine of 1980 addressed the stated intention of
the U.S. to intervene militarily in the region if the shipment  of
oil was  halted  or  curtailed.21  President  Reagan,  in  a
February 22, 1984 press conference, also said  that  the  U.S.   is
committed to keeping the Strait of Hormuz  open.22   Keeping
friends in the area is vitally important for the prosecution of   a
military campaign.  And, the U.S. is taking steps to defuse Soviet
influence in Iraq; diplomatic  relations  were  renewed  with  the
opening of embassies in both countries  in  December  1984.23
Iraq had been removed from  the  "anti-terrorist"  list  in  early
1982, opening the way for renewed relations.24
                       Chapter 3 - Footnotes
     1Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 33.
     2Staudenmaier, "Military  Policy  and  Strategy  in  the
Gulf," p. 28.
     3Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 34.
     4Ibid., p. 36.
     5Cordesman, "Lessons of the  Iran-Iraq  War:  The  First
Round," p. 47.
     6Kelly, "Battling for the Advantage," p. 35.
     7Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 37.
     8Drew Middleton, "Will Iran's  'Vietnam'  Be  Khomeini's
Downfall," Navy Times, February 11, 1985, p. 23.
     9Hickman, Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army, p. 18.
     l0Cordesman, "Lessons of the Iran-Iraq War:  Part  Two,"
p. 73.
     11Ibid., p. 74.
     13Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 40.
     15William E. Smith, "A Quest for Vengeance," Time,  July
26, 1982, p. 21.
     16Michael Sterner, "The Iran-Iraq War," Foreign Affairs,
Fall 1984, p. 141.
     17"Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 40.
     18Sterner, "The Iran-Iraq War," p. 138.
     19Ibid., p. 139.
     20Ibid., p. 140.
     21Grummon, "The Iran-Iraq War: Islam Embattled," p. 88
     22Daly, "The Not-too Forgotten War," p. 38.
     23Don Oberdorfer,  "U.S., Iraq Resume  Diplomatic  Ties,"
Washington Post, November 27, 1984.
                             Chapter 4
     Each year the war continues, analysts predict an imminent end
within months.  However, this writer believes that  the  Iran-Iraq
war will not end until the leaders of one government,  Hussein  or
Khomeini, are overthrown or die, naturally  or  unnaturally.   The
war has now sputtered since September  1980.   With  each  passing
month,  hatreds  become  entrenched.   The  devastation  has  been
immense and both sides appear tired.
     Hussein first made overtures for peace  in  June  1982.   But
Khomeini still refuses to talk.  Iran did not start  the  war  and
the Ayatollah will not consider peace until Hussein  is  executed;
his Baathist party toppled from power;  and  an  Islamic  republic
emerges  to  pay  reparations  for  the  devastation  of   Iranian
     Of course, Hussein will not agree  to  these  terms.   If  he
admits failure and steps down, he will have weakened Iraq and  the
roots of his Baathist party.  He is willing to withdraw,  so  long
as the Shatt al-Arab dispute is settled.  Finally, Iraq  does  not
have $100 billion to pay reparations.  So the  war  continues,  if
only to the extent that shipping is being attacked  in  the  Gulf.
The most likely outcome is that  the  restoration  of  Iraq's  oil
income and rebuilt force will enable her to wait out  the  Iranian
                         Possible Outcomes
     It is wise for U.S. analysts to consider  different  outcomes
of the war in order to steer U.S. policy.  Some suggested outcomes
are detailed below.
     Suppose the Iraqis stage a  mass  air  attack  on  Iran  that
fails.  The Iraqis certainly have the resources to stage  such  an
attack, but it would probably fail if it would be aimed at the oil
production capabilities at Kharg Island and Bandar Khomeini.  This
would not shut down Iran's larger  economy  and  could  result  in
weakening the Baathist government since any failure in a perceived
last-ditch effort might cause Hussein to  lose  his  grip  on  the
Iraqi nation.  Iran could emerge as too powerful in the  Gulf  and
could coerce  other  Gulf  states.   This  Iranian  victory  would
subject other Arab nations to the  prospect  of  exported  Islamic
     The second possibility  would  be  for  Iran  to  launch  its
long-awaited massive offensive, including broadening  the  war  by
attacking Iraq's Gulf  neighbors.   Such  an  attack  would  be  a
bloody, three front war  in  which  Iranian  forces  might  simply
overrun Iraqi positions with manpower.  Cost in human lives  would
be  tremendous.   Results  of  the  attack,  however,  given  past
performance of Iraqi troops in defensive positions, would  not  be
certain.  At best, the  Iranians  would  be  able  to  bring  down
Hussein.  But the high human cost of victory could put Khomeini in
jeopardy and might lead to his downfall.  If  Khomeini  wanted  to
escalate the war to other Gulf states, he would  probably  attempt
to close the Strait of Hormuz, drawing the U.S. into  the  action.
If the U.S. gets involved, there is a good  possibility  that  the
Soviet Union would respond.  Escalation is a real possibility with
Iran becoming a battleground for the superpowers.  The stakes seem
extremely high.4
     The third major possibility is that a  negotiated  settlement
might be reached between the warring nations.  This is, of course,
highly unlikely, but must be considered.  If a cease-fire could be
reached, it would probably be very tenuous.  Both sides would have
time to rebuild  and  rearm  to  await  further  combat.   Through
rearming, Iran and Iraq would maintain their status  as  the  most
powerful states in the Gulf, with trained, experienced armies.  If
they were to ignore each other, they  would  probably  attempt  to
wage war somehere else, given their stated  political  objectives.
Iraq could go after Syria or even mount  an  Arab  attack  against
Israel.  Iran could go after the other Gulf states in the name  of
the Islamic revolution.  In any event,  stability  in  the  region
would still be tenuous, as long as  the  current  leaders  are  in
                       United States Policy
     Iran is clearly the more  valuable  strategic  prize  in  the
region.6  Although  wounds  are  still  festering  after  the
overthrow of the Shah and the subsequent hostage crisis, the  U.S.
must keep channels open to Iran to ensure Soviet  interference  is
     The religious leader Khomeini, however, despises  the  United
States.  It is unlikely that relations can be implemented while he
is in power.  Given the apparently strong position of Iran in  the
war,  the  U.S.  must  take  precautions  to  ensure  the  Islamic
revolution does not spread.  If it did,  Iran  would  control  the
entire Persian Gulf and  oil  prices,  or  embargoes,  could  hurt
Western economies.  Given past U.S. performance  in  dealing  with
complex religious issues  in  this  part  of  the  world,  actions
favorable to the U.S. may be difficult to ascertain.
     While claiming strict neutrality, the U.S. has taken steps to
ensure  a  strong  blocking  position  against  Iran.   Diplomatic
relations have been reopened  with  Iraq.   Support  for  the  GCC
member nations has been ensured.   U.S.  arms  sales  continue  to
Saudi Arabia as well as participation in the AWACS  program.   The
U.S. must ensure the GCC that they are willing to support them  in
the face of escalation, but should insist on GCC suppport for U.S.
forces should the occasion for intervention arise.   Such  is  not
now the case.
     Arab states tend to be somewhat leery of the U.S., given  the
U.S. policy of supporting Israel.  Past U.S. diplomacy in  dealing
with the Arabs has not been stellar.  No Arab state  wants  to  be
put into such a precarious position of dependence on the U.S. that
it cannot support other Arab nations, particularly with regard  to
the Arab-Israeli problems that have existed for years.8
     The  U.S.,  then,  must  ensure   that   its   policies   are
middle-of-the-road and attempt not to alienate any of the  nations
involved.  This is a very complex issueand a difficult position in
which to be, but necessary if influence  in  the  area  is  to  be
               Considerations for the U.S. Military
     The  U.S.  Central  Command  is  charged  with  the  military
responsibility of Iran and Iraq.  By studying the  Iran-Iraq  war,
some lessons can be learned to enhance U.S. forces success  should
military intervention ever  be  required.   Before  listing  those
lessons, though, the U.S. military should determine where and  how
they could intervene.
     Iran  is  the  most  likely  target  for   hostile   military
intervention, given its control of the Strait of Hormuz, the choke
point to Persian Gulf oil.  There  are  essentially  three  routes
into Iran that could  be  pursued  with  amphibious  assault,  air
assault, or ground assault.  Any one,  or  a  combination  of  all
three methods, could be conducted.  Figure 5 details the  area  in
     An  amphibious  assault  could  probably  only  be   executed
southeast of the Strait of Hormuz since any amphibious task  force
would be at high risk attempting to enter the Persian Gulf through
the Strait.  Thus, that portion of Iran on the Gulf of Oman  would
seem to be the most likely route from the sea.
     An air assault, though very  difficult,  could  be  conducted
from friendly countries on the western side of the  Persian  Gulf,
across the Gulf, into Iran.  The UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia  are
candidates for staging areas.  An air assault would be very  risky
since the forces would have to be light to get into  Iran.   Lines
of communcicaton would be extended and open to interdiction.  Any
air assault would probably have to be performed in support  of  an
amphibious assault.
Click here to view image
     A ground assault could come from Pakistan or through  Turkey.
Both of these operations would risk direct confrontation with  the
Soviet Union given the proximity of Soviet  units  in  Afghanistan
and the USSR respectively.  The narrow border between  Turkey  and
Iran could pose problems, as well as the  rugged  terrain  of  the
Zagros mountains.  From Pakistan, ground forces would have to move
great distances to get to the strategic objective of the Strait of
Hormuz,   creating   line   of   commmunications   problems    and
vulnerability of the force.
     These  alternatives  must  be  considered  in  terms  of  the
strategic objective of any  military  action.   The  most  obvious
strategic objective, given the stated U.S. policy of  keeping  the
oil flowing, is the Strait of Hormuz.   It  is  unlikely  that  an
objective  of  toppling  the  government  in  Teheran   would   be
contemplated, though the Iranians  would  have  to  be  kept  from
interdicting oilers transiting the Gulf.
     Whatever  the  strategic   objectives   are,   the   tactical
objectives must fit the situation, a lesson  Hussein  learned  too
late.  U.S. forces would necessarily have  to  occupy  controlling
terrain, but should  also  concentrate  on  destroying  the  enemy
military machine.  And, once the objectives  have  been  achieved,
the U.S. should  plan on   how  to  get  out  of  the  region.   A
prolonged war would probably be avoided.
     The Iran-Iraq war, in some ways very similar to  conventional
warfare as fought  in  World  Wars  I  and  II,  has  demonstrated
considerations of modern mid-intensity warfare that must be  taken
into account.  The lessons of the war should  be  learned  by  the
U.S. military as they apply to this type of conflict.
     Even though armed with high-technology weapons, both Iran and
Iraq demonstrated  that  they  could  not  use  them  effectively.
Training is essential if these weapons are to be used as intended.
Spare  parts  must  also  be  available,  as  well  as  fuel   and
ammunition, to keep weapons working.   The  U.S.  military  should
never plan that a confrontation will be short-lived and  therefore
not require considerable logistical support.
     The U.S. should not discount the enemy's lack of training and
inability to use modern weaponry.  The enemy can still wreak havoc
when he  is  fighting  tenaciously  for  his  homeland  or  for  a
religious cause.  The fanatic  enemy  may  also  consider  use  of
chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons if he believes  all
is lost.  Never underestimate the enemy.
     The Iran-Iraq war has also shown that it is vitally important
to be able to use coordinated arms attacks to be successful.   The
U.S.  stresses  the  importance  of  offensive  maneuver  warfare.
Boldness, speed in the attack, coordinated use of all weapons, and
combined  arms   operations   are   all   important   aspects   of
doctrine.10  U.S. commanders must ensure that  this  doctrine
is adhered to, and they must be given the latitude to exploit  the
enemy weaknesses by applying  doctrine  as  required.   Using  all
available assets to win the battle as quickly as  possible  should
be the primary concern of the on-site commander.
     Should the U.S. ever have to intervene  in  Iran,  there  are
other considerations to take into account.  The  terrain  is  very
important.  Depending on where attacks will be made, terrain  will
have an impact on the composition of forces.  The  region  is  not
all flat desert, suitable for mechanized operations.  Fighting  in
marshlands or  mountains  must  also  be  considered.   Combat  in
built-up areas should be avoided, but if required,  troops  should
know how to conduct this type of battle.
     The weather is also a prime consideration.  The rainy  season
runs from November to February, during which movement is  severely
curtailed.  The cold in the winter can be devastating, as well  as
the extreme heat during the summer months.  Dust storms can create
severe problems, limiting  visibility  and  permeating  everything
with which it comes in contact.   The  extreme   weather  can   have
disastrous effects on men and machinery and  non-combat losses   can
be expected to be heavy unless proper precautions are taken.
     Disease is also a concern in the area.  Diseases  carried  by
mosquitoes  and  sand  flies  often  reach  epidemic  proportions.
Non-combat losses from sickness must be considered.
     These lessons from the Iran-Iraq war  should be heeded by   the
U.S. military forces assigned to CENTCOM.   It   is  unlikely  that
military  intervention  will  be  required  as   long  as  the   war
continues.  But planning for the intervention  should  proceed    at
high pace.  The stability in the region has  been suspect for   some
time, and will probably continue to be so.
                                   What Next
     In this writer's opinion, the Iran-Iraq war will continue  as
long as Hussein and Khomeini are in  power.   The  U.S.,  and  the
Soviet Union, will continue to  remain  neutral,  though  covertly
trying to influence events in the  region.   Iran,  the  strategic
prize for both superpowers, will not be  touched  by  either  side
until Khomeini is removed.  At that time, it  would  seem  prudent
for the U.S.  to  attempt  to  bring  Iran  back  into  the  fold.
Something like injecting the Shah's exiled son  into  power  would
serve the U.S. well.  Whatever happens, though, the U.S.  must  be
ready  to  intervene  militarily  in  the  region  to  ensure  the
currently thriving economies of the Western nations continue.
                       Chapter 4 - Footnotes
     1Evans, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody Tomorrows," p. 43.
     2Anthony H. Cordesman, "The Iran-Iraq War  in  1984:   An
Escalating Threat to the Gulf and the West,"  Armed Forces Journal
International, March 1984, p. 30.
     5William J. Olson, "The Iran-Iraq War and the Future  of
the Persian Gulf," Military Review, March 1984, volume 64, p. 18.
     6Grummon, "The Iran-Iraq War: Islam Embattled," p. 57.
     7Smith, "A Quest for Vengeance," p. 45.
     8Sterner, "The Iran-Iraq War," p. 143.
     9Daly, "The Not-too Forgotten War," p. 40.
     10Staudenmaier, "Military Policy  and  Strategy  in  the
Gulf War," p. 30.
                      Annotated Bibliography
A.   Primary
There are no primary sources used in this paper.
B.   Secondary
Gabriel, Richard A., Fighting Armies, Antagonists in the Middle
    East, A Combat Assessment.  Westport Connecticut: Green
    wood Press, 1983.  A comprehensive analysis of the
    histories of many mid-East armed forces.
Grummon, Stephen R., The Iran-Iraq War, Islam Embattled.
    Georgetown University, 1982.  A very good synopsis of
    the war through 1982.
Hickman, William F., Ravaged and Reborn: The Iranian Army,
    1982.  The Brookings Institution, 1982.  An excellent
    history of the Iranian armed forces.
     Theses and Research Papers
Martinson, Martin J., "The Iran-Iraq War: Struggle Without
    End," Quantico, Virginia, Marine Corps Command and
    Staff College, 1984.  Covers the first three years
    of the war.
Radwan, Ann B., "Iraq-Iran and the Gulf: The Regional
    Dynamic," Carlisle Barracks,  Pennsylvania, U.S.
    Army War College, 1982.
Staudenmaier, William O., "A Strategic Analysis of the
    Gulf War," Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, U.S.
    Army War College, 1982.  Well written paper cover-
    ing all aspects of the war.
    Journals and Periodicals
Beck, Melinda and James Pringle, "The Point of No
    Return," Newsweek, 11 June 1984, p. 50.
Brelis, Dean, "In Jordan: An Interview with King
    Hussein," Time, 26 July 1982, pp. 22-23.
Brelis, Dean, "Massacre at Fish Lake," Time, 2 Aug-
    ust 1982, p. 27.
Cordesman, Anthony H., "The Iraq-Iran War: Attrition
    Now, Chaos Later," Armed Forces Journal Inter-
    national, May 1983, pp. 36-44+.  All of Cordesman's
    articles are extremely informative, well written, and
    superb analyses of the war.
Cordesman, Anthony H., "Lessons of the Iran-Iraq War:
    Part Two, Tactics, Technology, and Training," Armed
    Forces Journal International, June 1982, pp. 68-85.
Cordesman, Anthony H., "Lessons of the Iran-Iraq War:
    The First Round," Armed Forces Journal International,
    April 1982, pp. 32-47.
Cordesman, Anthony H., "The Iran-Iraq War in 1984: An
    Escalating Threat to the Gulf and the West," Armed
    Forces Journal International, March 1984, pp. 22-30+.
Cook, Nick, "Iraq-Iran: The Air War," International
    Defense Review, 1984, Volume 17, No. 11, pp. 1605-1607.
Cottam, Richard, "The Iran-Iraq War," Current History,
    January 1984, pp.9-12+.
Daly, Thomas M., "The Not-too Forgotten War," Naval
    Institute Proceedings, June 1984, pp.38-45.
Deming, Angus and Ray Wilkinson, "The Gulf War:
    Raising the Stakes," Newsweek, 5 December 1983,
    pp. 78-79.
Doe, Charles, "U.S. Restraint in Persian Gulf Seen
    Paying Off," Army Times, 17 September 1984, p. 18.
Drozdiak, William, "Drums Along the Border," Time,
    19 July 1982, pp.44-45.
Drozdiak, William, "Death Struggle in the Desert,"
    Time, 9 August 1982, p. 26.
Ellis, William S., "Iraq at War: The New Face of
    Baghdad," National Geographic, Volume 167, No. 1,
    January 1985, pp. 80-109.
Evans, David and Richard Campany, "Iran-Iraq: Bloody
    Tomorrows,"  U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings,
    January 1985, pp. 33-43.  A very good article.
Hillenbrand, Barry, "A Way to Distract the Enemy,"
    Time, 13 August 1984, p. 36.
Horton, Bob, "Khomeini's Iran: A Turn Toward Moder-
    ation?," U.S. News and World Report, 22 October
    1984, pp. 39-40.
Howarth, H.M.F., "The Impact of the Iraq-Iran War on
    Military Requirements in the Gulf States," Inter-
    national Defense Review, 1983, No. 10, pp. 1405-1409.
Kelly, James, "Battling for the Advantage," Time,
    24 October 1983, pp. 34-36.
Kohan, John, "Iraq Deals Death at Sea," Time, 9 July
    1984, p. 57.
Kohan, John, "Finally, A Crack in the Door," Time,
    6 August 1984, p. 42.
Liner, Bennice L., "Iran-Iraq:An Overview," Naval War
    College Review, July-August 1984, pp.97-102.
Medina, Sarah C., "A Costly, Bloody Stalemate," Time,
     29 November 1982, p. 42.
Middleton, Drew, "Will Iran's 'Vietnam' be Khomeini's
    Downfall," Navy Times, 11 February 1985, pp. 23-24.
O'Ballance, Edgar, "The Iran-Iraq War," The Marine
    Corps Gazette, February 1982, pp. 44-50.
Olson, William J., "The Iran-Iraq War and the Future
    of the Persian Gulf," Military Review, March 1984,
    Vol. 64, pp. 17-29.
Sciolino, Elaine, "A War Without End," Newsweek, 15 August
    1983, pp. 33-34.
Sciolino, Elaine, "A Strategy of Terror," Newsweek, 27 Feb-
    ruary 1984, pp. 49-50.
Smardz, Zofia, "Iraq's Nerve-Gas Factory," Newsweek,
    27 August 1984, p. 47.
Smith, William E., "A Quest for Vengeance," Time,
    26 July 1982, pp.18-25.
Smith, William E., "Sand, Flies and Corpses," Time,
    2 August 1982, pp.26-27.
Smith, William E., "Fight to the Finish," Time,
    11 June 1984, p. 36.
Staudenmaier, William O., "Military Policy and Strategy
    in the Gulf War," Parameters, Volume XII, No. 2,
    June 1982, pp. 25-35.  A rehash of his paper.
Stengel, Richard, "Arming a Quiet Bystander," Time,
    2 July 1984, p. 23.
Sterner, Michael, "The Iran-Iraq War," Foreign Affairs,
    Fall 1984, pp.128-143.
Trimble, Jeff, "Report From the Gulf: Bracing for War,"
     U.S. News and World Report, 11 June 1984, pp. 35-36.
Utting, Gerald, "Arming Iran and Iraq", World Press Review,
    June 1984, pp.49-50.
"Shi'ites: A Feared Minority," Time, 26 July 1982, p. 24.
"Personal Power, Personal Hate," Time, 26 July 1982, p. 25.
"Multiple Mission: Iraq Wins Some Support," Time,
    24 January 1983, p. 42.
"The Last Blow: Iran's Latest Offensive Founders,"
    Time, 21 February 1983, p. 46.
"Counterthreats: Iran's Diversionary Tactics," Time,
    8 August 1983, p. 42.
"Nowhere to Hide: Civilians are Often Targets," Time,
    7 November 1983, p. 75.
"Unsafe Passage: The Last Voyage of the Antigoni,"
    Time, 5 December 1983, p. 58.
"Quiet War: Iran and Iraq Go Full Tilt," Time,
    27 February 1984, p. 63.
"Bomblets Away: A Chilean-Iraqi Connection," Time,
    27 August 1984, p. 34.
"Situation: Stalemate," Time, 29 October 1984, p. 59.
"Making Up: The U.S. and Iraq Renew Ties," Time,
    26 November 1984, p. 75.
Alwatan, Arab newspaper from Kuwait, 1 February 1985,
     translated by LtCol. Abdul Wahab Al-Anzi, Army of Kuwait.
Oberdorfer, Don, "Iraqi Hails Peace Bid," Washington
    Post, 7 October 1984, p. A21+.
Oberdorfer, Don, "U.S., Iraq Resume Diplomatic Ties,"
    Washington Post, 27 November 1984.
"Iran Takes Range in Iraq; Baghdad Says Invasion
    Halted," Washington Post, 21 October 1984, p. A28.
"Iran Hints at Easier Stance On Ending War with Iraq,"
    Washington Post, AP, 28 October 1984, p. A35.
"Iraqi Warplanes Attack Greek Supertanker in Gulf,"
                 Washington Post, 16 December 1984, p. A28.
"Iraq Says It Downed Two Iranian F4s," Washington Post,
    30 December 1984, p. A16.

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