By: Mir M.Hosseini
The Iraqi Army staged a surprise attack on Iran on September, 22, 1980. In order to destroy the Iranian air force on the ground, Iraq launched numerous sorties against Iranian air fields. There was a chaos in Iranian leadership and while leftists and rightists were engaged in a power struggle, the Iraq captured the Iranian city of Khorramshahr and Saddam issued 25 Dinar banknotes with drawings from the historical Battle of Al-Qadesiya in which Arabs defeated the Sassanid army.
Iranians pulled themselves together fast. While civil resistance struck the invading army forcing it to stop at the Karoon River, the Iranian Navy paralyzed the enemy at sea in November, 1980 asserting full dominance of the Persian Gulf. That was when Iraq started crying for peace but petro-dollars from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia began pouring into Saddam's accounts. Western powers and USSR supported the Iraqi dictator logistically and provided him with arms and intelligence. They were afraid that the Iranian Revolution would spread worldwide.
Despite the fact that Iran was under US embargo and the Fifth Column staged widespread bombings and assassinations throughout the country, most Iranians became united against the common enemy.
Operation Fatholmobeen started one day after Norooz of 1982, precisely 18 months after the invasion. Iranians launched an armored thrust by constant human-wave attacks. Three Iraqi divisions were encircled in the operation and destroyed within a week. After heavy Iraqi losses, Saddam ordered a retreat on the 28th of September and Iranians commenced several operations to retake lost territory. This victory was followed by other operations such as Qods that leaded to liberation of Khorramshahr on May, 25, 1982.
The Iraqis eventually stabilized their armed forces after their retreat from Iran. Iranians were not able to succeed in assaults against Iraq army due to Iraqi chemical weapon attacks. The Iranian government was also weak in international politics. Moreover, some fractions in Iran were reluctant to negotiate peace because they had benefits at war. Iraq was strongly supported by both the United States and the Soviet Union who saw Saddam's regime as a much better option than the revolutionary Iranians chanting anti-imperialist slogans that annoyed USSR as well.
The eight year Iran–Iraq War left many bitter memories such as a chemical bomb attack on Sardasht in 1987, and US Navy attack on a civilian Iranian airplane in 1988.
The imposed war and western atrocities opened way for extremist fractions in Iran that somehow diverted Iranians from their revolutionary goals: Independence, Liberty and Islamic Republic.
The Iran–Iraq War is over, but US military presence in neighboring countries proves that nations in the region have a much longer way to go in terms of social awareness.