By Mohammad Mazhari

Saddam rewarded those who backed him against Iran by capturing Kuwait: Iraqi expert

September 26, 2020 - 20:48

TEHRAN - Najah Mohammad Ali, an Iraqi analyst, says that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia took a very hostile position against Iran during Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran in the 1980s but Saddam rewarded them by capturing Kuwait.

Noting that Arab countries decided to support Saddam despite their political contradictory positions with him, Mohammad Ali tells the Tehran Times that after his failure to defeat Iran, Saddam occupied Kuwait and almost occupied the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What was the real reason for the start of the Iran-Iraq war? Did Iran incite Iraq to attack?
 
A: I do not think that war is an Iraqi-Iranian war. This term cannot be used. We must say Saddam's war against the Iraqi and Iranian people. 

It was Saddam who took the decision to wage war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which had been just established after a massive popular protest that overthrew the Shah regime. 

It is a war against the Iranian people who went to a public referendum on April 1, 1980, and on this basis, it is Saddam's war against the Iranian people. This was also a war against the Iraqi people because Saddam forced the Iraqi people by arms and drove them to the battlefields to fight the Islamic Republic.

The evidence that the Iraqi people were not convinced is that thousands of Iraqi army personnel, whenever they found and opportunity, tried to escape from battlefields or preferred being captured by Iranians. I was a journalist at that time. I met these prisoners of war from various military ranks on the battlefronts, including senior officers; even those who commanded a warplane. 

I met these officers in special rooms at the beginning of the war, and they explained that they were forced to participate in this war. There is a minority who participated in the fighting, believing that Saddam made the right decision. They also changed their mind after noticing health and social services that they were receiving from the Islamic Republic.
 
I say it is Saddam's war, not the Iraqi regime's war because the regime is headed by Saddam, which is made up of a group that rules Iraq. The regime did not play a role in this war.

The evidence is that Saddam Hussein carried out a campaign of executions before the beginning of the war that included his closest generals in the Al-Khalid Hall. He gathered them there and accused them of treason.
After he forced Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, the former Iraqi President, to retire and resign, Saddam became the president of the Iraqi Republic. The leaders close to Saddam Hussein admitted in some interviews that Saddam was the main cause of that war, and so much evidence confirms that Saddam alone made the decision to go to the war, and he waged war on Iran. Saddam also occupied Kuwait, and his forces advanced to Khafji on the Saudi border in the 1990 war.

“I do not think that war is an Iraqi-Iranian war. This term cannot be used. We must say Saddam's war against the Iraqi and Iranian people.” 

Q: Critics of the Islamic Republic say that Iran raised extremist mottos after the Islamic Revolution's victory, which incited the Arab leaders. What is your comment?

A: As for the Islamic Republic, it did not incite Iraq because Iran's revolution was young, preoccupied with its internal situation; it did not have a strong army. In fact, the Iranian army was disbanded. The Iranian government was trying to collect the weapons that were distributed between citizens after the collapse of the Shah's regime. 

Some religious figures spoke against Saddam, but they were not officials, and this is not an acceptable excuse to wage war on Iran. The war has its reasons and definitions. On September 17, 1980, Saddam Hussein tore apart the Algiers agreement on television that had been signed with the ousted Shah in March 1975 through the mediation of the late Algerian President Houari Boumediene.

When Saddam tore up this agreement, immediately he launched the war, and this denies what some media outlets like Arabic language Russia Today are trying to say and give the impression that the war began on September 4, to present Iran as the initiator, as Saddam and his regime claimed.

This must be documented. The report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Peres, in December 1991, sent a committee to the two countries, which affirmed that the initiating party in this war was Iraq, meaning Saddam Hussein.

َQ: What was the role of Western and European countries in helping the continuation of the war between Iran and Iraq and undermining the power and capabilities of the two countries?

A: Of course, it is not a secret to anyone that the United States and the entire Western countries helped Saddam's regime in the war. Rather, the war could not have occurred until after a visit by the then British foreign secretary and the U.S. deputy secretary of state to Baghdad when Saddam Hussein was Vice President of Iraq.

An agreement was reached with Saddam about the war. After these two visits, when Saddam went to Basra near the borders with Iran, he was accompanied by the chief Iraqi journalist at the time, the editor-in-chief of the Alif Baa magazine, Hassan Al-Alawi. He mentioned this in many of his interviews and wrote that he asked Saddam the reason for this visit, and Saddam replied that he is thinking of launching a war. Several British newspapers, including The Independent, published a study prepared by Patrick Kockburn, a correspondent in international affairs. He addresses the Iran-Iraq war's ramification in the Middle East (West Asia).

He talks about the beginnings of the war and the mass genocide committed by Saddam's regime against the Shiites and the Kurds and the American role in prolonging the war's duration, describing the American role as hypocrisy.

Kockburn remarkably indicates that the United States of America wanted this war to affect the unity between the Iraqi and Iranian people, especially the Shiites.
The impact of the war on the politics of the region and the Middle East (West Asia) in particular, and the relationship between Sunnis and Shiites, was another goal of Saddam and the West. They particularly wanted to push the Shiites to fight among themselves because most of the Iraqi army personnel are Shiites, and of course, most of the Iranian forces in the army and the Revolutionary Guards are Shiites.

“They (Westerns) particularly wanted to push the Shiites to fight among themselves because most of the Iraqi army personnel are Shiites, and of course, most of the Iranian forces in the army and the Revolutionary Guards are Shiites.”
One of the West's most important objectives is split Shiites and driving a wedge between Sunnis and Shiites.

 Now the results are clear. When we go to Iraq, especially after the October demonstrations last year, which were preplanned and non-spontaneous, you will see the results of the war launched by Saddam, meaning the children, the young generations of Shiites and Sunnis who their fathers were killed or captured in the war, and you will find them among the most enthusiastic in these demonstrations against Iran. They forget the positive Iranian role in fighting ISIS and its martyrs in supporting Iraq. Even during the blockade imposed on Iraq at the time of Saddam Hussein, Iran broke this siege and helped Iraq to smuggle its oil. These are the confessions of Issam Mulla Huwaish, governor of the Central Bank of Iraq at the time, confirming that the Islamic public was selling Iraq’s oil and its derivatives to help Iraqis to obtain food and medicine, while the United States of America, with its blockade, caused the deaths of more than two million Iraqis.

This is interesting and important. America and its Western allies did not mediate to stop the war until after they saw that the Islamic Republic was about to enter Iraq, topple Saddam's regime, and to realize the slogan of the “Jerusalem road passes through Karbala”.

 If there was a connection between Iraq and Iran, the Islamic Republic would be able to reach Syria as far as the Golan Heights, and this matter, of course, poses a danger to the Zionist regime and facilitates the process of liberating Jerusalem.

So the U.S. intervened directly after it helped Saddam's regime by its intelligence service and Satellite images and aircraft that provided to Saudi Arabia to support Saddam in the war.
 America directly targeted an Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf waters that killed more than 290 civilians. It struck Iranian oil installations while Western countries remarkably turned a blind eye to Saddam's crimes in using poisonous gases and chemical weapons in a large scale in the war. After twenty years of war, official documents from the U.S. State Department confirmed that Saddam's regime had been using chemical weapons every day since 1983.

Propaganda by the Western media outlets, especially by the Americans, in addition to the Arab media, was talking about false Iraqi victories that exaggerated the political and military power of Saddam's regime before and after the war. They tried to leave Iran preoccupied with itself and its problems and undermine its expanding influence in the region, but they failed. In any case, the West, the United States, in particular, stood by Saddam with all their might.

Q: What support did the Persian Gulf states give to Saddam during the eight-year war against Iran?

A: Although they recognized the Islamic Republic, the Persian Gulf states, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, felt threatened by a different political system. Suddenly in the region, a new regime arose, neither a royal nor an Emirate nor a sheikhdom, but a democratic Islamic system based on the opinion of the citizens, while in the Persian Gulf states, the people have no voice or opinion.

“They (Iraqi prisoners of war) changed their mind after noticing health and social services that they were receiving from the Islamic Republic.”

These countries decided to support Saddam despite their political contradictory positions with him and the Baath Party.
Based on various forms of financial funding, logistical support, and political endorsement from these countries, Saddam's regime continued its crazy and disastrous war against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iraqi people. It is clear that this funding became one of the reasons that pushed Saddam to invade Kuwait, given that Kuwait demanded the return of these funds that were given to Saddam in the form of a loan, while Saddam considered them a gift to defend these countries from the eastern gate and block what he called the Iranian tide and the Islamic revolution. Of course, many of the Persian Gulf states were forced to provide this support because there was a contradiction between political systems and positions. Some, such as Oman, turned a blind eye to the ships carrying weapons and equipment to the Islamic Republic of Iran, but Kuwait and Saudi Arabia took a very hostile position alongside the Iraqi regime, but Saddam rewarded them by launching a war on them. He occupied Kuwait and almost occupied the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Arab media outlets used to strongly incite people against Tehran and always convey the Saddam regime's viewpoint, focusing on weakening the morale of the Iranian forces. 
With clear Persian Gulf funding, the media concentrated on sowing discord between the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian army and also created contradictions within Iran's ruling establishment. At that time, I produced a program under the title "We and What around Us" specialized in misinformation by these countries, especially Arab radio stations, in particular those directed by the Persian Gulf states.

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