The Illegal Arms Trade – Iraq–Iran War 1980 – 1988 (Part 2)
Iranian War Dead
In this second part of the current series we will now look at to how the money freely flowed between the west and Iraq and also how it was the wish of all the major player’s to keep this war going for as long as possible.
Italy also played an important role in arming Iraq through a US branch of the state owned largest bank in Italy. There were so many complex arrangements that allowed Iraq and its supporters to bypass the embargo. Moving land and sea mines production to Singapore was a typical example. Yugoslavia also sold weapons for the entire duration of the conflict as did Portugal. Spain sold 172 Million Euros of weapons. Spain also sold 4X4 vehicles, BO-105 helicopters, explosives and ammunitions. It should also be noted that an unexploded chemical Iraqi warhead found in Iran was also manufactured in Spain. Turkey also supplied civilian help during the conflict. Turkey’s export jumped from $200 million in 1981 to $2 billion in 1985, which made up 25% of Turkey’s export. Turkish construction projects in Iraq totaled $2.5 billion between 1974 – 1990.
Iraq’s main financial backers were the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, mainly Saudi Arabia ($30.9 billion), Kuwait ($8.2 billion) and the United Arab Emirates($8 billion).
The Iraqgate scandal revealed that an Atlanta branch of Italy’s largest bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, relying partially on U.S. taxpayer-guaranteed loans, funneled $5 billion to Iraq from 1985 to 1989. These clandestine and illegal loans to Iraq were used to part fund the purchase of arms and weapons technology.
It also became clear that the US was funding Iraqi chemical and nuclear research programme. It was stated that during the 1980’s Iraq had received around $35 billion in loans from the west and between $30-40 billion from the Persian Gulf states.
Many victims in Iran were innocent civilians and it is believed that more than 100,000 were victims of chemical weapons during the length of the war. The final figure is hard to calculate owing to the long term illnesses that followed the war. Reports show that Nerve Gas killed about 20,000 Iranian soldiers and many thousands continue to seek medical treatment on a regular basis with many more critical cases being hospitalised.
What is totally unacceptable to me is the fact that the UN knew of these breaches of the Geneva Convention and did nothing apart from condemning its usage. Needless to say that once again the US was right in there and refused to accept the condemnation. It was not until 1988 that the UN Security Council passed Resolution 612 condemning the use of chemicals. I guess you would ask “Well so what.”
It became apparent that President Reagan was certainly not too concerned as to what Weapons of Mass Destruction were being used as the US were more concerned that the Iraqi’s did not lose the war. Even after the Iraqi had used chemical weapons on the Kurds the US continued its support of Iraq
Maybe it is time to reflect on the bitter pill that Iran has had to swallow both during and after this terrible event. Perhaps we can all see now why Iran could never trust the US, UK and to some degree other EU countries with such a two faced policy. We have to understand that nothing that is done by the west is anything to do with democracy or because of peoples suffering. This is a power game that comes under the title of Geo – Politics. It is “Imperialism” at its best, an urge to take control of the world’s resources, their markets and the transit corridors that deliver them.
What we see is a western foreign policy that is extremely aggressive with the US as the instigator, a world full of almost daily “False Flags” that are well orchestrated in order to justify action or to point fingers at some innocent country they want to rape….such is the world of today. The US uses its relations with other countries like hot and cold taps….they turn them off and on whenever it suits them and certainly when this spoilt child doesn’t get its way it unleashes it so called “Shock and Awe” policy.
The Hands of Victory arch in Baghdad is a bitter pill to swallow for the Iranians. The arch was manufactured in Germany and shipped to Iraq. To celebrate his “victory” over Iran, Saddam decided to build a Triumphal Arch. The colossal Hands of Victory monument has dominated Baghdad’s skyline since the end of the Iran-Iraq war. The triumphal arch is shaped as two pairs of crossed swords, made from the guns of dead Iraqi soldiers that were melted and recast as the 24-ton blades of the swords. Captured Iranian helmets are in a net held between the swords (now since removed). And surrounding the base of the arms are another 5,000 Iranian helmets taken from the battle field. This arch was built to celebrate his victory over Iran which is far from the truth and is of very bad taste.
As with all wars the human cost was extremely high. The economic cost amounted to around $1.2 trillion and one could ask for what? Iraq achieved absolutely nothing in their failed attempt to take over more territory and Iran’s natural resources.
What I did find out was the fact that the UN did to some extent support Iran when the Secretary – General made the following statement to the UN Security Council:
“Even if before the outbreak of the conflict there had been some encroachment by Iran on Iraqi territory, such encroachment did not justify Iraq’s aggression against Iran—which was followed by Iraq’s continuous occupation of Iranian territory during the conflict—in violation of the prohibition of the use of force, which is regarded as one of the rules of jus cogens (compelling law or of the highest law).” “On one occasion I had to note with deep regret the experts’ conclusion that “chemical weapons had been used against Iranian civilians in an area adjacent to an urban center lacking any protection against that kind of attack”
Donald Rumsfeld a major player in the illegal arms trade
I will now continue with exactly what was supplied to Iraq during the war with Iran and by whom and to give some insight and meaning to the term “What goes around comes around.”
Firstly one has to look at the money trail and see which countries were propping up Iraq. The main contributors were: US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Japan and in the Middle East were Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Jordan. Basically it all amounted to more than $130 billion debt for Iraq….the largest portion of this money came from the Gulf States.
As we have already discussed the Iraq’s also took advantage of the competition between the supply of military equipment from both the French and the Russian and tactfully used this to manipulate supply. Russia provided most of the equipment with France running a close second. The French military equipment was considered to be more high tech. Russia was sort of piggy in the middle during this conflict and they proffered Iran over Iraq and yet needed to maintain ties with both, such is the role that Geo-Politics plays in any conflict.
Part 3 will cover what was actually exported to Iraq and by whom as well as a detailed manifest of Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) that were shipped. It will also explain how they were used not only against Iran but also against their own people, the US and Coalition Forces and attempts to strike Israel.
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant – 15/1/2012