Halabja and America’s Support for Using Chemical Weapons Against Iran


As Americans and others around the world note the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq (the American military commenced hostilities on March 20, 2003), it is equally appropriate to recall another anniversary connected to wars of aggression in the Middle East—the 25th anniversary of Iraqi chemical weapons attacks against the town of Halabja, in Iraqi Kurdistan (on March 16, 1988).  For those who want to appreciate what happened at Halabja—and the context in which it happened—we highly recommend a post by Jean-Pascal Zanders, Senior Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, on Dan Joyner’s excellent ArmsControlLaw.com.  We append a substantial excerpt from Zander’s excellent post below but highly recommend reading it in its entirety, see here.

Halabja marked something of a turning point in the United States’ scandalous support for Saddam Husayn’s war of aggression against the Islamic Republic—including his use of chemical weapons against civilian as well as military targets.  Ever since the Iraqi military had started using chemical weapons in 1982 and Iran had started complaining about it to the United Nations Security Council, the United States had blocked any Security Council action on the matter.  As we recount in Going to Tehran, UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, acting on his own (because the Security Council wouldn’t support him), sent six fact-finding teams to investigate Iraq’s use of chemical weapons between 1984 and 1988.  Their reports consistently confirmed Iran’s charges—and just as consistently, the United States refused to let the Council act.  As then Secretary of State George Shultz later explained, Washington blocked international pressure on Iraq to stop using chemical weapons because “you don’t want Iran to win the war.”

It was only after the Iraqi military was caught red-handed in a chemical weapons attack on Halabja—again, not located in Iran, but in Iraqi Kurdistan—that even the United States felt compelled to let the Council take formal notice.  But when it finally adopted Resolution 612 in May 1988, the Council (at U.S. insistence) merely condemned “the continued use of chemical weapons in the conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq,” without specifying who had been using them, and exhorted “both sides to refrain from the future use of chemical weapons,” though no credible charges that Iran used chemical weapons have ever been advanced.”

American complicity in Saddam’s use of chemical weapons against Iran went beyond protecting Iraq from international sanction for its violations of international law.  As we lay out in Going to Tehran, the United States took Iraq off the state sponsors of terrorism list so it could support Saddam’s war of aggression, working with allies to make sure Iraq had steady supplies of weapons and military technology—including technology used to produce the chemical munitions that Iraqi forces used against Iranian targets, and at Halabja.

So read Zander’s post.  And if you’re American, as we are, think about what your country was promoting in its support for Saddam’s use of chemical weapons—against Iran as well as against Iraqi Kurds.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

Thinking of Halabja—25 Years Later Today

Jean-Pascal Zanders

16 March marks the 25th anniversary of the chemical warfare attacks against the Kurdish town of Halabja.  Since the First World War it was one of the few cases wherein chemical weapons (CW) were deliberately used against a civilian target.  Human Rights Watch documented over 3,200 deaths and many times that number of other casualties.  Since then, thousands more of people have succumbed to their injuries or preventable infections affecting organs damaged by exposure to gas.  Many women also suffered extensive genetic damage, thus passing the consequences of the gas attacks down the generations.

The town of Halabja in northeast Iraq has become a modern-age symbol condemning chemical warfare.  Together with Ieper, a medieval town in the Belgian province of West Flanders.  On 22 April 1915, the day on which scientific research, industrial production and military art finally found each other, German Imperial troops released a chlorine cloud from thousands of canisters buried in the trenches on the northern flank of the Ieper salient.  Two years later, in the night of 12–13 July 1917, the town became associated with the first use of a new chemical warfare agent—mustard gas (which the French subsequently called ‘Yperite’).  Mustard was also one of Iraq’s agents of choice against both the Iranians and the Iraqi Kurds.

The Iran–Iraq war lasted twice as long as the First World War:  from 1980 until 1988.  Iraqi use of toxic chemicals against Iranian soldiers was first reported in 1982, but by the end of 1983 press outlets told of widespread usage of mustard gas and tabun, a nerve agent.  In April of the next year, a UN team of experts confirmed chemical warfare.  From then onwards, Iraqi chemical attacks escalated, reaching a first peak in 1986 in the southern marshes.  Two years later Iraqi forces had also assimilated CW for offensive operations and employed them with increasing effectiveness until Iran’s capitulation on 8 August 1988.

Possibly earlier, but definitively from 1987, Saddam Hussein opened a second chemical front against the Iraqi Kurds in the north.  Names of towns such as Erbil (Hewlêr in Kurdish) in the north of the country or Penjwin, east of Sulaymaniyah, recurred frequently in interviews I had with Kurdish Peshmergas coming for a break to Belgium.  They recounted chemical strikes against agrarian communities in north and east Iraqi Kurdistan.  They described how eating the vegetables from their fields poisoned women and children many weeks after a CW attack.  Unwittingly, they ingested the mustard agent that had settled on the bottom side of the leaves.  The Peshmergas also depicted bombing raids high in the mountains, after which the mustard gas rolled down the mountain sides, penetrating deep into any cave sheltering Kurdish fighters.

About two years later, when listening again to my recordings from 1987, I recognised another town being referred to—Helebce, since then better known in the West as Halabja.  The local population had risen up against Saddam Hussein, who brutally crushed the revolt.  Half of the city fled to Iran, about 15 kilometres to the east, according to the interview.  When Kurdish guerillas fighting alongside Iranian troops ‘liberated’ Halabja on 15 March 1988, supreme vengeance against an insurrectionary town came the next morning in the form of a gas cloud.  Attacks were to continue until the 18th.  Privately I have always been convinced that the 1987 uprising together with the ‘betrayal’ of the Iraqi Kurds seeking to break Baathist control over northeast Iraq with Iranian help in 1988 provoked the extraordinary escalation of chemical warfare against Kurdish guerillas and civilians alike.  From that perspective, Saddam Hussein’s campaigns against the Kurds through August and September 1988 merely systematised the Halabja method on an even grander scale.

Indelible impressions

A few weeks after the attacks against Halabja, members of the Kurdish community in the Leuven area (where many Iraqi Kurds stayed with relatives and local acquaintances for a breather from combat) took me to the Erasmus hospital in Anderlecht, just outside Brussels.  It had accepted four or five victims of chemical warfare for treatment.  One was an Iranian soldier badly affected by mustard gas; one was a boy aged around five recovering from the chemical attacks on Halabja; the remainder were farmers from a wide area surrounding the town…

[M]y Kurdish hosts tore me away from the Iranian soldier.  He was by far the worst victim of gas exposure in the hospital (he was to die not too long after my visit).  His skin looked blackened where white ointment did not fully hide it. Lesions from the vesicles covered parts of his body and his difficult, assisted breathing betrayed internal injuries. A faint, but unforgettable smell of decayed flesh penetrated the dominant odour of disinfectants. He had fallen victim to mustard gas outside of Halabja, possibly being one of the soldiers along whose side the Peshmergas were fighting against Saddam Hussein. The Kurds, however, did not spare a thought for him…

The other face of Halabja

This incident was my first concrete exposure to the deep ethnic, cultural and religious cleavages in the Middle East, difficult to bridge and a perennial source of misunderstanding and hostility.  It also shows why Halabja can never be a symbol for Iran’s suffering from CW in the way Ieper does for all chemical warfare during the First World War…

Iran’s own Halabja is called Sardasht, a municipality without much military significance across the border north of Sulaymaniyah.  Saddam’s air force hit the town on 28 June 1987, almost nine months before Halabja.  Although initial reports of CW victims were low, it soon emerged that almost three quarters of a population of 12,000 had been exposed to the toxicants.  Some 130 people died, most of them civilians.  The international press barely noticed this strike on a target with hardly any military significance.

Sardasht emblemised Iran’s predicament.  The Islamic revolution of 1979 bought the country few friends.  With the hostage taking in the US embassy, pent up anger over Washington’s unwavering support for the Shah’s repressive regime exploded into the open.  The new leadership also refused rapprochement to the Soviet Union.  Meanwhile it called for Islamic uprisings against the corrupt, autocratic leaders in the Gulf and beyond.  When Iraq invaded its neighbour, Saddam Hussein presented himself as the bulwark against Persian territorial designs and Islamic revolutionary fervour.  Although the United States and the USSR found themselves on the same side of the war; having lost a major regional ally, Washington nevertheless sought to pry Iraq away from the Soviet sphere of influence.  The tide soon turned against Iraq, but the international community could not afford to let it lose the war.  Such geostrategic calculations were to clash with international law.

When Saddam Hussein ordered the first chemical attacks, he breached the 1925 Geneva Protocol.  Both Iran and Iraq had been party to the agreement for many decades.  To Iraq, CW were a force multiplier that arrested the incessant Iranian human wave attacks when it was about to lose the war.  National governments expressed their outrage, but the UN Security Council, while condemning the chemical attacks, never specified Iraq as the perpetrator for the duration of the war with Iran.

Countries adopted national sanctions and restricted access to certain chemical warfare agents and their precursors, but, absent a specific designation of responsibility under international law, applied them to both belligerents.  The Geneva Protocol did not deny Iran the right to retaliate in kind, but international ‘evenhandedness’ certainly precluded it from achieving a CW capacity before the war’s end.  The international stance had its moral merit.  This, however, did not apply to the refusal to assist Iran with defensive countermeasures, including gasmasks, decontamination equipment, other types of individual and collective protection or prophylaxis.  In 1985–86 an Iranian delegate to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva even had to travel to several European countries (including Spain) to procure active charcoal in order to develop chemical warfare defences in Iran…

Just like Trotsky concluded after Russia’s capitulation to Germany in 1917, those experiences convinced Iran of the need to overcome technological backwardness in order to survive.  They also taught the country that international law does not guarantee international justice, and it harbours deep misgivings about international promises for assistance.  Adding insult to injury, US officials from 1989 onwards several times indicated that Iran rather than Iraq had gassed Halabja, a claim so preposterous that its motive remains a mystery until today.

Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, autarky in all security-related matters drives today’s political leadership.  Most Iranian politicians of all persuasions, as well as much of the population, belong to the generation that grew up on the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war.  War is therefore not necessarily a state of affairs they will seek to avoid in the pursuit of national interests.  Nor do international confrontation or the threat of war particularly frighten them.  Layer upon layer of fresh economic and political sanctions only confirm convictions that had eight long years to take root in the blood-soaked trenches along the Iran-Iraq border.

Halabja therefore also symbolises the long-term fallacy of short-term interests.  It is the one lesson the world does not seem to have learned.


72 Responses to “Halabja and America’s Support for Using Chemical Weapons Against Iran”

  1. fyi says:

    The Leveretts:

    The one to the last paragraph is an excellent summary of the situation – although it does not mention the deep anger in Iran.

    It is also consistent with the assessment of former Mosad chief who had stated earlier that Iran had been shabbily treated.

    Halabja also symbolises what I had linked earlier “..The strong do what they want…”.

  2. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack:

    The Axis Powers, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan and Turkey have determined that politicvally they cannot afford to terminate their support for the War-to-Wound-Iran-in-Syria.

    For terminating it would mean that Iran has become the dominant power in the Middle East – after the United States.

    The assertion by Mr. Assad yesterday that a long war is ahead must be taken as the assessment of Iranian and Syrian leaders and their determination to continue fighting.

    The repeated recent attacks on Shia in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in Iraq is only going to enrage those people even more – they will not roll over and die.

    Unfortunately, Iranians and Syrians do not have the capacity to retaliate against Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others at the present time.

    But per the posting that initiated this thread, they will now endeavor to overcome that as well.

    The net result will be an even more militarized Middle East and a more capable Iran and Syia and Iraq for waging war.

    I think a jus gentium islamicum in the Middle East is not a possibility until there is regime change in Saudi Arabia.

  3. Smith says:

    Though the anger is still strong in Iran over this issue and will remain for a long time just like the issue of flight 655, but we have to remember why this atrocity happened. This happened because Iran was weak. Even today, it would be a mistake for Iran to rely on US or international law for its national security. Iran must build itself a stronger military and certainly a nuclear deterrence. As Rafsanjani, the operational commander of Iran’s war at that time had said once; Iran had to basically end the war because of fears that Saddam could attack large Iranian cities with chemical weapons and that Iran would be defenseless in such case. As I have said before, crying and getting emotional will not solve Iran’s security needs. Only nuclear deterrence will secure Iran in this century and beyond.

  4. BiBiJon says:

    March 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Iran missiles – as assessment



    On anti-misile missiles from the link

    “blunt the political and psychological effect of Iran’s offensive-missile threat. ”
    “They should help minimize public fear. ”

    I see


  5. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    March 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    It will take more than a regime change in Saudi Arabia. Actually the current Saudi regime is of a soft wahabi variety. Your idea of a just gentium islamicum can only be implemented if the wahabi ideology loses its financial support via oil earnings and its military protection from the west. The other way would be for Iran to form instead a very strong alternative (shia jus gentium) that grows into such a global (nuclear) power that combined with concerted ideological debunking of wahabism, forces the sunni nations and a majority of wahabis to rethink their ideologies and their alliances with western polities. None seem to be on horizon. Though one can hope for their arrival.

  6. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    BiBiJon says:
    March 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    And everything else in that article is pure propaganda designed to denigrate and lie about Iran’s real capabilities to conceal Israel’s real weakness and fear. Just another part of the Zionist propaganda playbook.

  7. Pirouz says:

    On my Native American side of the family, my great-n uncle was an American soldier injured in battle during a German gas attack in the First World War. It rendered his lungs impaired for life. (He’s one of the three Purple Heart recipients in the family.)

    Disappointing news regarding the latest nuclear talks. it appears the U.S. led position remains bent on Iranian surrender.

    Expecting Iran to surrender is as unrealistic as it was for the Germans in their similar expectation of Britain in 1940.

  8. fy says:

    Smith says:

    March 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Saudi Arabia is not a nation by any stretch of imagination. It has a very diverse religious composition of different schools and with a very minimal level of mutual social trust among them; e.g. there is very little intra-Saudi travel as the people from different regions do not trust one another.

    Once the Saudi Monarchy is gone the country, very likely, will disintegrate and there would be an ensuing civil war to control the oil fields in the Northwest. Orderly transition of power in that state from Monarchy to anything else is not likely.

    I imagine a re-think is probable in Syria as the war drags on and with it the misery. I guess it will take a few more years (3 years, perhaps) for the anti-government forces to be worn down.

    In the Persian Gulf area – it will go on.

    The pecking order in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf:-

    1 Bedouin Arabs/Gulf Arabs at the top — i.e. the only ones to have full citizen rights in the country
    2 European and American staff/executives
    3 Educated Arabs from Lebanon, Syria… [Palestinians have had a hard time since the Palestinians supported Iraq in the 1st Gulf War, as I believe they did…]
    4 Other Arabs (e.g.: Egyptians) from the Mid East
    5 Other Arabs from North Africa (also, suspected of not being ‘real’ Arabs or despised for being Berbers)
    6 Sudanese Muslims and the like, employed as police officers for instance
    7 Other Muslims, including Pakistanis/Indians
    8 Non-Muslims such as maids from the Philippines for instance
    9 Africans/Blacks, although, if they are Muslim, and if they are from the region (there are Blacks even in Saudi Arabia, native ones, I believe), they may be on a par with No.7

    I think that sums up their view of the world. And, yes, they are racist. Most Arabs I have known are deeply racist. They particularly dislike Blacks. They don’t care whether those Blacks are Muslim or not.

    They don’t take them seriously since they view them as baboons: what does it matter if a baboon chooses to be a Buddhist or a Muslim or a clown? It is still a baboon… Generally speaking, right across the Arab world, the darker your skin, the more inferior you are.

    And I leave the Iranians out – reviled generally.

    You are right, with this material a jus cannot be made.

  9. Smith says:

    fy says:
    March 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I agree. Basically they never left the jehalat. Though these people though racist, are completely powerless militarily speaking therefore their Arab jehalat fascism is of no consequence to the world. I also think the moment they see a decisive power over their head, they submit and start making an idol out of it. Be that even Iran. It is in the nature of their Sheikhdom regimes to submit to superior powers. And a large chunk of these guys were looking at Iran with awe and deep jealousy in 2006-7 and had become disillusioned with their own impotent regimes. I believe as Iran becomes more powerful, we are going to see more of this disillusions of much greater consequences.

  10. humanist says:

    The following 26 minute video further covers quite a few descriptive, critical and appalling accounts of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons as well as Iran’s medical advancements to help the surviving victims.

    For me it was also a further proof of utter insanity of wars and depravity of wealth and power hungry war criminals.

    The video also indirectly shows how gaining national independence, even if such independence is partial, could swiftly move the liberated countries in all positive directions. Before 1979 Iran’s literacy rate, depending on the published data, was between 18 to 38%. Now over 95% of young Iranians are. not only literate, but the population of university students is at least 10 times larger.

    In my view this remarkable thought provoking video is also another historical document that envelops so much in so little space….. it is a small segment of a legendary long untold story of our troubled humanity.


  11. fy says:

    humanist says:

    March 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    You might be interested to know that the literacy rate in Japan, in 1860s, was higher than 60% as demobilized Samurai warriors became tutors in order to earn a living.

  12. fy says:

    humanist says:

    March 19, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    In Iraq during the year 2006, 30,000 Shia Arabs were murdered by Sunni Muslims.

    I think that calling the murdered as well as their murderers examples of troubled humanity does not go to the heart of the matter.

    For I rather belong to that portion of the troubled humanity that is alive and kicking.

  13. Nasser says:

    fyi says,

    “Unfortunately, Iranians and Syrians do not have the capacity to retaliate against Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others at the present time.”

    – What can Iran do to harm Saudi Arabia as long as the Anglos are protecting them?

  14. Iranian says:

    The West’s history of dealing with Iran is truely evil.

  15. Richard Steven Hack says:

    As predicted…

    Nuclear talks: Iran unmoved by world powers’ latest proposal

  16. Richard Steven Hack says:

    As predicted,,,

    Commander: Contingency plans under way for Syria

    Quote But within individual member countries, the admiral said, “there’s a great deal of discussion” about lethal support to Syria, no-fly zones, arms embargoes and more. “It is moving individually within the nations, but it has not yet come into NATO as an overall NATO-type approach,” he said.

    End Quote

    In other words, if they have to, they will bypass the NATO Charter as well as the UNSC to get their intervention.

  17. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Ever-Closing Windows and Biden Time on Iran at AIPAC

  18. Richard Steven Hack says:

    As predicted…

    Graham calls for American boots on the ground in Syria

  19. James Canning says:


    You linked a piece by Fyodor Lukyanov (prior thread), in which he claimed the Russian people think the US intended to create the mess in Iraq, at vast expense to the American taxpayers. Do you think Lukyanbov is correct?

  20. James Canning says:


    chian and the US are the two largest buyers of crude oil from Saudi Arabia. Both countries will wish to prevent disruption in oil exports from Saudi Arabia.

  21. James Canning says:


    Yes, the Palestinians supported Iraq after it invaded Kuwait, and paid a heavy price as a result.

  22. Smith says:

    Grand Ayatollah Khamenei’s new year message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YP27-DB1JQ

  23. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    So here are several definitive statements that the Zionist in question makes. These statements must be backed up by actual solid evidence right? A Zionist would never make a claim that can be disproven, not even by doing any extensive research but by doing a simple online search right? Or if the statement is one that is being made without solid evidence, than there is nothing online that proves beyond doubt that it is a lie, right?


    “Iran’s longer-range missiles – the Shahab-3 and Ghadr-1 – are capable of striking targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, as well as portions of southeastern Europe. But these missiles are highly inaccurate”


    Looks like yet another Zionist just made a statement without bothering to do any research at all before making it. Yes, that particular Zionist is definitely someone whose statements need to be accepted at face value without any question.

    Let’s look at another laughable unproven assertion from this “expert.”

    “Iran is also unlikely to be able to improve the accuracy of its short-range missiles for at least the next five to ten years. The addition of more sophisticated inertial guidance units – or Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers – could improve accuracy by only 25% if properly incorporated into a Shahab or Fateh-110 missile, and then thoroughly tested.”


    Did this “expert” just wake up from a coma he entered in the late 1980′s and not bother to do any research on any developments since than?

  24. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    From previous thread

    Hmm…Here is the Iranian Defense Minister from an interview that was uploaded in 2006. So…who to believe, an article published online by a random Zionist that provides no proof that actually supports its conclusions or the Iranian Minister of Defense. We know Mr. Hack’s answer to that question already.


  25. Karl.. says:

    Here we go again so past days;
    Obama mum on chemical weapons used by rebels in syria
    Obama once again threat iran with threats and more pressure in israel

    So much for the “unconditional” talks.

    This is the exact hypocrisy Iran have been spoken about for 30 years!
    When Iran was attacked by Saddam with western provided chemical/biological agents, west didnt lift a finger. Now we see US or rather west in general hasnt changed one bit, simply US/west cant be trusted according to Iran and now we once again see how correct they are.

    Obama, what a scam.

  26. jay says:

    ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:
    March 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Establishing the irrelevance of the so-called expert is unnecessary. Extracted from my post in the previous thread, it is the assessment of the US military that engaging Iran carries an unacceptable level or adverse risk. See below…

    It is the overall assessment of the US military that a war at this juncture will not meet the objectives of its proponents. As stated above, “…Iran is a viable opponent…” This fact sets apart the situation of Iran from those of Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, …..and others

    One may accept the proposition that there will be a war with Iran — sometime in the future, perhaps when most of us are not alive to see this war or test the validity of this proposition. However, so long as the time horizon is indefinite, the proposition can be readily supported without the danger of being tested. As to the calculus of war, imperialist or otherwise, which is to gain “something” for “some group”, given that such a “gain” does not currently enjoy reasonable odds (including gains for the rich elite), the time horizon shall remain indefinite.

  27. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    jay says:
    March 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    I agree with your assessment.

  28. Neo says:

    Tomas Young, Dying Iraq War Veteran, Writes Last Letter to Bush and Cheney

    “I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans – my fellow veterans – whose future you stole…

    On every level – moral, strategic, military and economic – Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences… hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.


  29. James Canning says:


    US forces very easily overthrew Saddam Hussein. Eggregious blunder was simply in not pulling out of the country soon after that event.

  30. Smith says:

    From the letter posted above: “It is you who should pay the consequences… hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.”

    I can not believe that people still believe in this nonsense. Greed? oil? That is laughable to put it mildly. The ignorance is the ultimate enemy of humanity. And this ignorance coming from some one who lost his spine in Iraq is really sad. These wars were not for oil and greed and money. US actually has lost a fortune fighting them. The largest in the world’s history. Just before invasion, Saddam regime wanted to go back to its previous role of a western client state and specifically sent signals to western nations, basically saying, they can come in and profit from Iraq’s oil as much as they want. The regime was even ready to give up Saddam and start clean as a more obedient slave. Instead US went to war. If it was for greed or oil, then there was no need to go to war.

    All these wars are religious. These are neo-crusades we are watching. A cult like christian off shoot with enormous amount of power and wealth in western nations is at work here. The cult that came out of the belly of Reagan, his cronies and Christian preachers of 1980’s. They have teamed up with wahabis and zionists to bring about the end of times as per their sick visions for world future. I am not only talking about neo-cons, evangelicans and others. It cuts across the western population.

    They think they are on a mission to change the world and “purify” it as per their cultish visions. Even the so called atheists, humanists and secularists are in the game full time. The main target here is Iran. And has been now for quite a while. These people think differently than the rest of us. Just go to youtube and search for: “What is the Future of Iran in Bible Prophecy?” These guys due to their sick and fascist religious ideologies are not going to back down now. They are not in for money. They are not in for greed. They are as how they see it, performing their religious and ideological duty of the highest order. Bush and Cheney were not into money stuff. They saw themselves as prophets of this new cult ruling the world.

  31. lysander says:

    “US forces very easily overthrew Saddam Hussein. Eggregious blunder was simply in not pulling out of the country soon after that event.”

    German forces very easily reached Paris in 1940. Their mistake was not leaving immediately after that event.

  32. Dan Cooper says:

    Video, Obama & Iranian Children with Cancer

    Patients in Iran are dying of treatable diseases because of shortages in life-saving medicines.


  33. fyi says:


    This from the Atltantic Council:


    In my opinion, the document indicates that US has no positive vision for the Middle East – her best is a Cold War against Iran – after winning in Syria.


  34. Anonymous Lurker says:

    Iran will raze Tel Aviv to ground if Israel attacks: Ayatollah Khamenei


  35. James Canning says:


    You are quite right to say the Iraq War was not an effort to gain access to Iraq’s oil. This is a myth that sometimes is used to conceal a darker truth.

  36. James Canning says:


    Germany was seeking to conquer Europe. Are you arguing the US purpose in invading Iraq was to conquer the Middle East?

  37. Richard Steven Hack says:

    The latest from Kaveh Afrasiabi.

    US maintains pressure on Iran


    Khamenei has already pointed at the significance of Almaty II by saying that it represents a litmus test of West’s sincerity. In light of West’s rather sordid trail of empty promises, half-steps, and disproportionate demands unmatched by tangible offers of sanctions relief, this is likely a test that Washington will fail, particularly since President Obama is in Israel this week, bound to be impressed by the Israeli “Iran threat” hyperbole.

    Henceforth, with new anti-Iran sanctions brewing in the United States Congress, the stage is being set for a major escalation of the Iran nuclear crisis in 2013, unless reason prevails in the Western capitals and culminate in serious sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for Iran’s nuclear compromises. Unfortunately, as stated above, the Istanbul meeting served as a barometer of US’s lack of seriousness, and sincerity, ie, the fact that the upper hand belongs to those in US government who push for sustained stalemate, not a meaningful breakthrough.

    End Quotes

    I agree. The talks are doomed, and the rhetoric for war will heat up for the rest of the year – especially if there is any question about the Iran elections validity, which I assume will be made even if there isn’t any serious argument in Iran itself over them.

    But there will be no Iran war this year because Israel can’t afford to have one until Syria and Hizballah are dealt with which is likely to be done this year. As soon as the Syria and Hizballah situation is resolved one way or the other, however, the push for a blockade of Iran will begin.

  38. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Pepe Escobar on Real liars go to Tehran


    The thought that the president of the United States (POTUS) willfully ignores the verdict of his own alphabet soup of intel agencies on Iran might raise eyebrows in a rational world. But this is not reality; more like a trashy reality show.

    The bulk of WMD “intelligence” presented to Congress [in 2002] and faithfully parroted by corporate media was filtered if not entirely fabricated by Israeli intelligence – something duly detailed, among others, by Shlomo Brom in his study An Intelligence Failure, published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University in November 2003

    So here’s a modern geopolitical parable that would puzzle Aesop. Bibi publicly insults POTUS. He unabashedly supports Mitt Romney (who?) in the US presidential elections. He hits the “peace process” with a barrage of Hellfire “facts on the ground” (with loads of Palestine “collateral damage”). He sticks to his one and only message; Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran. And then POTUS, in theory the mighty Double O Bama with a license to kill (list) but actually behaving like an accidental tourist, lands in Israel with his kill list between his legs, to bask in Bibi’s glory.

    No wonder the rabid American neo-con/Israeli firster/Bomb Iran crowd is gloating. Over 10 years ago their mantra was “Real Men go to Tehran”. The question now is whether POTUS will be able to grow a set of proper cojones and stare them down.

    End Quotes

    Good luck with that last…

  39. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama, Netanyahu Talk Up Israel’s ‘Right’ to Attack Iran
    On Israel Visit, Obama Downplays ‘Differences’ on Iran

    Obama acknowledges Israel’s right of defense on Iran

    PM to Obama: Israel cannot cede right to self defense

    Straight up, Obama green lighted a unilateral attack on Iran by Israel. As far as Obama is concerned, as long as HE’S not blamed for starting the war, it’s all good. Presumably he would prefer Israel not do so either, but he won’t pressure them not to. He would prefer that Israel allow the US to squeeze Iran until Iran retaliates in some way that can be used to “justify” the war. But if Israel decides not to wait, Obama is fully on board with backing Israel – and even if he isn’t, Congress certainly is.

  40. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Obama Vows Unwavering US Support for Israel
    US ‘Commitment’ Will Be Eternal, Irrespective of Situation

  41. Avg American says:

    Smith says:
    March 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Smith, I hate to say it but – EXACTLY!

  42. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Major Clashes Along Syria’s Border with Israel
    Rebels Predict They Will Soon Have Total Control of Border Area

    What is important about that – IF true – is that the entire point of the Syrian crisis is to enable Israel to attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon by going through Syrian territory without having to worry much about Syrian forces causing a “two-front” war.

    If the Syrian insurgents can gain and hold the Syrian-Israel-Lebanon border area, this might enable Israel to attack Lebanon even WITHOUT a US/NATO bombardment of Syria.

    However, the problem there is that the US and Israel wants Syrian missile sites also taken out, which will require the US and NATO to attack Syria at some point regardless of the Hizballah situation.

    However, it’s also possible that Israel is more concerned about Hizballah’s missile arsenal – which is enormous – as compared to the smaller (albeit higher powered) arsenal Syria has. So they might attack Lebanon before Syria is attacked.

  43. Richard Steven Hack says:

    UK: Syria chemical attack boosts case for rebels

    As predicted…

    Everything is going along swimmingly to a US/NATO attack on Syria this year. One way or another they are going to bypass Russia and China in the UNSC and perhaps even the NATO Charter (who in the public even knows what the NATO Charter says about interventions?)

  44. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Congressional Hawks Claim Syria Chemical Attack ‘Probable,’ Demand Action
    White House Promises Probe, But Intel Chiefs Want War

    As predicted…

  45. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:



    “We have followed the government’s requirement to maximize our import volume from Iran (this year),” Yu Xizhi, president of Sinopec Maoming Petrochemical Corp, said.”

  46. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Lesson to all who believe Israeli regime tells the truth.


    “Reuven Pedatzur, a military analyst and former fighter pilot “long skeptical of his country’s antimissile claims,” who found an Israeli police report saying that 109 rockets launched from Gaza – roughly twice the military’s figure – hit urban areas”

    “A Finance Ministry report registered 3,165 claims of property damage”

  47. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Weapons Experts Raise Doubts About Israel’s Antimissile System

    Which is precisely why Israel CANNOT allow Hizballah AND Syria AND Iran to lob missiles at it during an Iran war. Which is why the US and NATO HAVE to attack Syria and Israel HAS to attack Lebanon before an Iran war can occur.

    Which is why the US and NATO WILL attack Syria this year and Israel WILL attack Lebanon at some point during or after that.

    And then we will have an Iran war, assuming those early conflicts are resolved to at least some degree as Israel wishes (which is not a certainty.)

  48. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Chemicals Would Be ‘Game Changer’ in Syria, Obama Says

    That is the likely excuse to start the US/NATO war on Syria along with the ridiculous notion that the US and NATO has to intervene in order to “prevent Al Qaeda from taking over and getting a safe haven”.

  49. Neo says:

    A Gideon Levy classic:

    When Obama speaks (and says nothing)

    “The flattery he heaped on Israel’s leader considerably exceeded diplomatic protocol and even phony American manners. His denial of his values deviated even from the opportunism one might expect from a politician…

    When Obama said he admires Israel’s “core values,” which values was he talking about? The dehumanization of the Palestinians? The attitude toward African migrants? The arrogance, racism and nationalism? Is this what he admires? Don’t separate buses for Palestinians remind him of something? Doesn’t two communities living on the same land, one with full rights and the other with no rights, “ring a bell,” as they say in America?

    To admire “core values” while knowing we’re talking about one of the most racist countries there is, with a separation wall and apartheid-like policies, means betraying the core values of the American civil rights movement that made the Obama miracle possible. Too bad he can’t fulfill his fantasy of wearing a fake mustache and wandering around to have conversations with Israelis; he would hear how they talk about blacks like him. Too bad he can’t sit in a cafe and “just hang out,” as he’d like. He’d hear which “core values” really move Israelis.

    Obama wants to lower expectations of his visit. Well, they can’t get any lower.”


  50. Fiorangela says:

    fyi says: March 21 at 10:22 am

    Use of the words “embrace dignity” is cynical.

    Key concept that Pavel used in his opening comment was to support Arab Spring democratizing movements to “incorporate them into the international economic system.”

    see Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” John Perkins http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Economic-Hit-John-Perkins/dp/0452287081

    Pavel is from Brent Scowcroft Center. Recall that Scowcroft was George H W Bush’s key advisor who encouraged Bush to subvert the efforts of Arab leaders who insisted they could resolve situation of Saddam invading Kuwait. Scowcroft argued that, now that FSU no longer constrained US superpower status, Bush must seize the moment to exert US hegemony and establish US as the leader of the “new world order.”

    Jeffrey Engel provides an overview of the Scowcroft-Bush “imperial pivot” in this discussion at the Scowcroft Institute of the Bush School at Texas A&M University


  51. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says:

    March 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    That article, however shallow, demonstrated the contempt that permeates the Axis Powers attitude towards Arabs – presumably their friends!

    The article, once again, demonstrated that Axis Powers’ analysts live the Dream of Cold War – it is a known territory for them and they feel comfortable in it.

    Except that here the people are not Western and these analysts have no affinity, kinship, or empathy for these – essentially alien – people.

    The new Cold War is to be fought the Axis of Resistance by the Arabs – on behalf of Axis Powers.

    Well – that is a tall order.

    The Persian Gulf Arabs will not fight, the Egyptians are too far away, and the Iraqis are lost.

    If I were a Jordanian planner, I would position Jordan as “an Staunch anti-Iran” ally of the Axis Powers – the Axis States might then throw a few bread crumbs at me that might help me survive.

    In regards to Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait and the subsequent war – there was snow ball’s chance in Hell of other Arabs convincing Iraqi leaders to leave Kuwait.

    The fact is that the late Saddam Hussein did not think Big enough. In 1980, he ought to have attacked both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; incorporated Kuwait and established a Republic in Saudi Arabia.

    He would then have been a trans-national Arab Champion and invincible as no coalition against him could have been created.

    I think that was the real fear of US planners, that having digested Kuwait, he would go on to conquer the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.

    As is, there is nothing between Iran and those same oil fields and there won’t be for a very long time indeed.

  52. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:

    March 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I do not Dr. Afrasiabi’s commentaries being particulary informative or relevant.

    In his speech today, Mr. Khamenei stated a number of things to the Axis Powers and Russiand and Chinese:

    1. He does not oppose negogiate with US provided it is a (Hegelian) dialogue and not Diktat.

    2. That in the nuclear file, the Axis Powers and P5+1 must specify how this files is to be closed. That is, any further negogiations with P5+1 must detail how and when this issue is terminated and the nuclear file closed.

    3. Strategic dialogue with US is possible if she re-orients her policies from enmity to Iran.

    On these last 2 items, US leaders and well as P5+1 have to make a determination as to what path they wish to take with Iran.

    P5+1 as well as EU are now at an analogous juncture as they were in Fall of 2007.

    Mr. Khamenei also articulated the position of the Iranian state in regards to sanctions:

    – Iran will continue on its path and pursue her own policies regardless of the cost of sanctions.

    Mr. Khamenei has publicly asked US and EU and Russia and China to take a different tack with Iran.

    He also has stated his personal opinion that they will not.

    I think that he has been successful in putting the burden of change on US, EU, Russia, and China.

    I think he also has been successful in relieving pressure on himself – if any – by others in the Iranian Establishment who are desirous of negogiations with US. He just neutralized them.

    We could learn the ansewer to Mr. Khamenei’s challenge very shortly.

    By April and the next talks in Almaty, we will have a definite answer.

    [I am willing to predict that Axis Powers will not change tack – they have gone too far in their enmity to Iran to be able to alter course.]

  53. neo says:

    Happy new year to all those celebrating Norooz. Let’s hope this turns out to be a year of good news 🙂

  54. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    It is so obvious at this point…

    From Iran Military Forum poster Harry_Thomason

    “Its a two step propaganda.

    First step: “Iran is evil and capable of mass destruction, preparing to attack not just Israel and PGGC arabs, but also EU and even US. Therefore Iran has to be stopped by all means possible, including war if needed.”

    Second step when talking about consequences: “Iran can be quickly defeated, and is too weak and incapable to retaliate. Therefore its safe to attack Iran.” Thats the line Elleman is preaching.”


    Notice how the current purveyor of the second step on this blog (which logically implies the first) never responds to any actual facts or information that disprove the propaganda that he pushes.

  55. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    “why Israel CANNOT allow Hizballah AND Syria AND Iran to lob missiles at it during an Iran war. Which is why the US and NATO HAVE to attack Syria and Israel HAS to attack Lebanon before an Iran war can occur.”

    The inevitability of Israeli defeat if it attacks either Lebanon, Syria, or Iran really seems to disturb Hack. Wonder why that is? And notice how his claim here is logically incorrect. If Israel could defeat Hezbollah why does it need all those expensive weapons systems that do not work? Oh that’s right, because Israel would be hammered in any future conflict with Hezbollah and Israeli officials know that beyond doubt. Note how that actual realization on the part of Israeli officials differs from the public statements they make that Hack than repeats without criticism here.

  56. ExposingNeoConWarmongeringStooges says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    March 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    “One way or another they are going to bypass Russia and China in the UNSC”

    Right…the US will use its magical extra special ability to make resolutions not subject to being vetoed. Meanwhile on planet Earth Russia has already announced that it is reestablishing its Mediterranean fleet and logistics and supply will come from the base in Tartous. Yes, of course Russia will just sit around and do nothing…not.

  57. James Canning says:

    Writing in The Times (London) March 14th (“Iraq? I’d do it all again in a minute, insists Cheney”), David Taylor notes that Dick Cheney continues to claim Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger! “Mr Cheney holds the line on the most discredited intelligence: that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger”…

    Amazing. Or maybe not so amazing?

  58. nico says:

    There is no way the US could come to terms with Iran other that being forced into it.
    The entire US history from declaration of independance is made of wars.
    China grand bargain took place in other circumstances and certainly not in a place such as the ME.

    The US at this juncture is still not in a position where they would absolutely need to compromise.
    Their position is deeply eroded. However they still think they can control it.

    The next steps are not so far in the future.

    The Iran Pak pipeline needs to be completed and the Afghanistan withdrawal should be well underway by 2014/2015.
    We will see then what is the US real position in the region.

    On the other side there is small chance of direct Nato intervention in Syria and Lebanon.
    It would require a direct and massive ground intervention contrary to Lybia and Nato is not ready for that with the risk that it would involve Iran and Russia.
    Whether US demise comes sooner than later will depend on the ability to neutralize the wahabi influence as well as Turkey position.

    Iran strategic calculus is most likely taking into account the destabilization of Saudi Arabia and putting pressure on Turkey.
    I am wondering why Russia and Iran did not already coordinate their effort to manage Turkey on the Syria issue.
    The only answer is that Iran and Russia believe the Syrian regime is resilient and shall survive in a form or another still advantageous to their interests.
    Turkey can do nothing decisive or participate to direct Military intervention in Syria with Nato as they are dependant on Russian and Iranian oil and gas.

    The other question mark is the Saudi Arabia and Barhain stability with the uprisings and Saudi succession.

    However in order to achieve something tangible in a short term the kurd card could also be played.
    The kurd are in arbitrator position.
    The hearth of it resides in Irak and it spread accross the region.
    The kurds could win a big prize if the Powers offer them something as a state or support their autonomy in the current borders. But something should promised.

    At the end of the day, the situation on western side of Iran is still stable and Iran or Russia have many cards to play.
    What are the cards left to the US and their arab allies ?
    Well they can funnel more money and jihadist.
    Such move can be controlled as there is no surprise here and contingency plan are likely to have been drawn.

    The US and their allies are in defensive position no matter their boasting as proven by their irresponsible moves and their screams. They only spread more death, misery and instability.
    Iran is in the driver seat , calm and with a responsible behaviour and seems to manage the events in carefull way, no matter the MSM propaganda.

    We will see what happens but my opinion is that it will not take generations for the situation to settle down. And it will not be in US favor.
    Anyway at this juncture Iran does not need à grand bargain that would infrige her principled positions.
    And such Grand Bargain could only happen at the expense of the US unprincipled positions.

    As conclusion, the US will never give away their unprincipled positions. A grand bargain is unlikely.
    Wether the current situation will last depend on Iran and Russia moves.
    The only way the US could decisively win the struggle is to find an excuse to nuke Iran.
    My take is that the whole nuclear issue with Iran is to keep open the excuse to Nuke Iran if needed as in self defense.
    It has been proven time and again that the crime will not be a problem for the US.
    The only thing they need is to keep building the excuse.

  59. nico says:

    Following previous post.
    As such Iran will never leave the npt and will try to deny the excuse.
    However it will be interesting to see how the US keep building their rational.
    We saw in the last week the US to jump from enrichment to Iran arak reactor “worries”…

  60. Fiorangela says:

    Happy Norooz, neo and All.

  61. Sakineh Bagoom says:


    Jus, what jus? No jus when it comes to Iran


  62. Ataune says:


    “Amazing. Or maybe not so amazing?”

    What is amazing is to see how deep in ineptitude the anglo-american political elite has fallen to. Not able to lead when the call is clearly to resolve their own internal problems, all they do is to ride on the worst feeling of their populace to preserve their own privileges and powers.

  63. Fiorangela says:

    I’ve added


    to the list of highly informative — and very sophisticated — web sites where a “Leverettine” perspective on Middle East politics and culture prevails.

    Nima Shirazi recently became an editor at Muftah, and a few days ago, on the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, Muhammad Sahimi published this assessment of the impact of the invasion on Iran:

  64. nico says:

    Yep, next battle front is in KSA should the animosity deepen.

  65. Smith says:

    Mr. Khamenei’s response to Obama’s message: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/video-content?id=22232

  66. James Canning says:


    Israel obviously has the power to smash Lebanon again, but it does not have the stomach to conduct a grinding infantry offensive in an effort to root out Hezbollah from southern Lebanon.

  67. nico says:

    Iran climbed the mountain helped by the US mismanagement.
    Now almost at the very top of the mountain the US are pulling at Iran feet.
    What Iran needs now is to jump over the tipping point and establish her position in a stable way.

    The ME dominance for the US rest upon their (unholy) alliance with Israel and KSA.
    Other smaller countries like Kuwait, UAE or Qatar, do not count for much as for population or territorial area importance.
    The other historical pillar of US dominance are long gone with Iran and Irak.

    As long as the unholy alliance is solid it seems difficult for the US to make the needed concessions to Iran.
    It is difficult for Iran to directly influence Israel position.
    Left for Iran to definitly win the battle and achieve hall hier goals that KSA switch her allegiance/alliance.

    Such shift would have seemed impossible years ago.
    KSA was stable and Iran would have been crushed would have she helped the shia population.
    KSA regime alliance with the US will not change.
    KSA is the source of all wahabi extremism from USSR Taliban war up to now. They destabilize the entire region from Pak to Syria, Irak, Bahrein, Lybia… with their money and obnoxious and backward wahabi ideology.
    The current KSA regime is heinous toward shia and there is no way they will come to terms with Iran.

    With such background, not unknown from Iran leaders, what are the odd that KSA will be further destabilized with Iran money and covert operations ?
    Iran is not anymore a weak position and could maybe accord the consequences.

    Obviously there is a risk to accentuate the sectarian and ethnic conflicts in the whole region.
    Iran up to now refrained of such actions or at least remained discreet.
    There is also Iran ideology with the Ummah.
    However I am not sure there is choice for Iran and it seems the next logical moves as far as geostrategy is concerned.

    Smith, Fyi, ExposingNeocon, I would interested to have your opinion about that.

  68. Karl.. says:

    Threats by obama,
    Turkey re-align with Israel
    Lebanon gov. (may) fall apart..

    As I have stated earlier, Iran have had better days.

  69. James Canning says:


    Do you have suggestions for how the government of Saudi Arabia could control Wahhabi extremists?