RT News: US gave Saddam blessing to use toxins against Iranians

The report below “US gave Saddam blessing to use toxins against Iranians” was published by RT News on August 26, 2013. Kindly note that (excepting the three pictures by RT News) the pictures and captions inserted in the article below were not published in the original Reuters release.

Readers are also encouraged to consult the following article:

Shane Harris & Matthew M. Aid (August 26, 2013): CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran | Foreign Policy

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As Washington ponders over whether to hammer Damascus over unidentified use of toxic agents in Syria, declassified CIA documents reveal that 25 years ago the US actually indulged ruthless Saddam Hussein to use chemical warfare gases in war with Iran.

Saddam in his OfficeSaddam in his office with the uniform he often wore during his 1980s war against Iran (Photo: RT News).

The recently declassified documents at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, suggest that the US was closely following the use of chemical weapons by the Saddam Hussein’s regime both against the enemy in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and against Iraq’s Kurdish population, reports Foreign Policy magazine.

Despite the fact that the US establishment regarded Saddam Hussein as ‘anathema’ and his officials as ‘thugs’, the policies of President Ronald Reagan’s administration through 1980s was to ensure that Iraq would win the war with Iran, the FP stated.

Iraqi T-62 tanks invade Iran sept 22 1980Pan-Arabism and Persophobia graduate from hate literature to violence: T-62 tanks of the Iraqi 6th Armored Division crossing the border into Iran on 1400hrs September 22, 1980. Saddam Hussein and the Baath party were convinced that as their tanks rolled into Khuzestan, they would be greeted as liberators by the Iranian Arabs. This may partly explain why the Iraqis may have miscalculated in the first few days of their invasion of Khuzestan province by not allowing more infantry to accompany their rapid-moving armor (see Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2001, pp.344-355). Instead of being hailed as liberators, Saddam Hussein’s forces were greeted with bitter opposition by the Iranian Arabs whose dogged resistance assisted the overall Iranian effort at slowing down the Iraqi advance  (Photo: www.Acig.org).

Former CIA official retired Air Force Colonel Rick Francona has said exclusively to Foreign Policy that starting from 1983 the US had no doubts that Hussein’s Iraq was using prohibited chemical weapons (mustard gas) against its adversary, while Iran lacked solid proof and could not bring the case to the UN.

Experienced Arabic linguist Rick Francona, who worked for both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), shared that the first time he had proof of Iraq using toxins against Iranians was in 1984, while he was serving as the US Air attaché in Amman, Jordan. He had solid proof that Iraqis had used Tabun nerve agent (GA) against Iranian troops advancing in southern Iraq.

IRAQ-TRIAL-SHIITES-ALIA handout picture dates March 16, 1988 and released by the Iranian official news agency IRNA shows two Kurdish children killed by an Iraqi chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in northeastern Iraq (Photo: RT News).

It has also been revealed that Saddam Hussein’s military industrial complex could not produce shells with toxic chemical substances itself and was heavily dependent on foreign equipment, with Italy been mentioned as one of the sources for the special equipment.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend – and then my enemy. Video of Donald Rumsfeld (Special envy of President Ronald Reagan) shaking hands with President Saddam Hussein on December 20, 1983 (see also report by Norm Dixon: How Reagan Armed Saddam with Chemical Weapons). Rumsfeld was then to be one of the most vociferous advocates of removing Saddam by force in 2003.

But Reagan’s administration was willing Baghdad to win the war, so it turned a blind eye on Iraq using lethal nerve agents against Iran, since that could turn the tide of war into a right direction, Foreign Policy reports.

The 1925 Geneva Protocol banned chemical warfare, while the Chemical Weapons Convention banning production and use of chemical arms was introduced in 1997. Iraq never bothered to sign the document, while the US did so in 1975, and by 1980s the US had international obligations to prevent the use of chemical weapons.

ali_chemicalChemical Ali (Al Majid), one of the chief architects of the Baathist regime’s chemical weapons programs. Eric margolis has noted of the role of Western nations in helping Saddam Hussein develop non-conventional weapons. For more click here…

During the war with its neighbor, Iran was in a state of heavy international isolation that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and Iran’s military was lagging behind if compared to Iraqi Army.

Still, with the population fanatically supporting the Islamic leadership, Iran used inhumane tactics of ‘human wave’ attacks, turning its soldiers into expendables and thus nullifying Iraq’s military superiority.

Destroyed Mig-23 and Iraqi pilotWARNING-GRAPHIC PHOTO -[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An Iraqi  Mig-23 just before it was shot down by Iranian forces (left) and the remains of its unfortunate pilot after the plane crashed (right) (Photo: Military Photos Net). Iraqi Mig-23 aircraft suffered heavy losses at the hands of Iranian F-14s – despite much Soviet-East Bloc, French-Western, US, UK, Egyptian, Pakistani and some Indian assistance, right up to the last days of the war (Picture: AviationLive.org).

In 1987, US satellite intelligence suggested that Iran was concentrating troops for a powerful offensive on Iraq’s southern Fao Peninsula in the direction of the key city of Basrah. The US believed that in spring of 1988 the Iranians might undertake a decisive attack, capitalizing on tactical mistakes by the Iraqi military which could result in Iraq’s defeat.

According to Francona, after acknowledging with the intelligence data, President Ronald Reagan wrote a margin for the US Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci: “An Iranian victory is unacceptable.”

iraqi bombing of school at Mianeh 1988The result of an Iraqi air raid against a children’s school in Mianeh, Azarbaijan (northwest Iran) in 1988, killing more than 60 children and teachers. This horrific event was ignored  by the Western press which was pro Saddam Hussein at the time (Picture source: Cooper, T. & Bishop, F. (2004). Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat. Oxford: Osprey Publishing).

Thus, the Americans opted to share intelligence information with Baghdad, authorizing the DIA to give detailed data on exact locations of all Iranian combat units, Air Force movements, air defense systems and key logistics facilities.

Rick Francona described the satellite imagery and electronic intelligence provided as “targeting packages” enabling the Iraqi Air Force to destroy Iranian targets.

In 1988, Iraq conducted four highly successful chemical attacks on Iranian troops with sarin nerve agent, killing hundreds, if not thousands on the spot. The attacks precluded heavy artillery assaults and were disguised, being accompanied with use of smoke shells.

Iraqi-T-55-with-British-gunnery-simulator3[Click photo to Enlarge] An Iraqi T-55 training with an advanced British-manufactured tank gunnery simulator in 1987. Iraq’s armored corps had undergone a massive training and rearmament program by 1987-1988 – thanks to the the assistance of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, Egypt, India, Pakistan, England and numbers of Western countries (Picture Source: Armed Forces journal, July 1987 , p. 354; see also Farrokh, Iran at War, 2011, pp.400-402). British military personnel also refurbished and re-activated captured Iranian Chieftains for Saddam Hussein’s forces. For more on the role of England in supporting Saddam Hussein’s military machine, click here…

Official Iranian statistics of the dead in these attacks is still unavailable.

IRAQ-UNREST-HALABJA-ANNIVERSARYA handout file picture dated March 16, 1988 and released by the Iranian official news agency IRNA shows Kurdish adults and children lying dead following an Iraqi chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in northeastern Iraq (Photo: RT News).

At the time Francona was serving as the US military attaché in Baghdad and he witnessed the aftermath of the attacks himself. He visited the Fao Peninsula shortly after it had been captured by the Iraqis. On the battlefield he saw hundreds of spent syringes with atropine, which Iraqi troops had been using as antidote to sarin’s lethal effects. Francona took several of these injectors to Baghdad as proof of chemical weapons use.

Francona told Foreign Policy that Washington was “very pleased” with the Iranians being stricken preemptively to prevent them from launching their offensive.

Sardasht-Iran-Saddam-AttackIranian victims of Saddam Hussein’s chemical warfare during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. The above photo is from some of the victims of Iraqi warplanes that dropped mustard gas bombs on the Iranian town of Sardasht on June 28, 1987. Official reports of this attack cite nine thousand people exposed and 130 dead. As reported by The Los Angeles Times: “They [Iranian civilians] dropped dead on the cobbled streets of the town center. They cried out as their eyes burned and skin bubbled.” Despite the rapacity of these actions, Western Press-media outlets, (the majority of) Human Rights Organizations, and Politicians continued to support Saddam right up to his Kuwait invasion in August 2-4, 1990 (Photo forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com on August 26, 2013).

Also, in March 1988, Iraq launched a nerve gas attack on separatist Kurdish village of Halabja, some 240km northeast of Baghdad, killing 5,000, while 7,000 more suffered long-lasting health problems.

Battle Simulation: Celtic Warrior versus Iranian Immortal Guard

One primary that has been not been asked in depth by military historians (and historians in general) is what would have happened if the armies of Xerxes had succeeded in conquering Greece in 480 BCE?

If Greece had fallen, the gates of Europe (Oropia in Greek) would have flung open to conquest by Achaemenid armies. Eastern Europe and parts of the Balkans were already settled by Iranian-speaking peoples kindred to the Medes and the Persians. These were the ancient Scythians (Saka Paradraya or “Saka beyond the Sea” in Old Persian). As noted by Cotterell:

“…the close relations of the Scythians with the Persians is perhaps most illustrative…in the… fact that…Scythians and Persians spoke closely related languages and understood each other without translators” (Cotterell, A. (2004). The Chariot: The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World’s First War Machine. London, England: Pimlico, p.61).

Saka ParadrayaThe Scythians or Saka Paradraya in Eastern Europe (circa 4th century BCE). As noted by Newark: “They [Scythians] were Indo-European in appearance and spoke an Iranian tongue that bought them more closely to the Medes and Persians” (Source: Newark, T. (Historian) & Mcbride, A. (Historical Artist) (1998). Barbarians. London: Concord Publications Company, p.6; Color Plate p. 7).

The professional military backbone of the Achaemenid army was composed of Persians, Medes and Scythians (symbolic of their authority is the fact that all three peoples are seen carrying the ceremonial Akenakes dagger at the depictions at Persepolis).

 Pic7-Saka MedeMede and  Saka Tirgrakhauda (Old Persian: Saka with pointed hat) at Persepolis, note the ceremonial Akenakes dagger worn by both Iranian figures (Source: Kaveh Farrokh, 2001).

The Achaemenid military was instrumental in facilitating the expansion of the empire into not only the entire ancient Near and Middle East but also into Central Asia, the northwest portion of the Indian subcontinent, Africa (into ancient Egypt), and (at its maximum extent in 480-479 BCE) across the Hellespont into Europe. Only the militarily efficient and professional Greek Hoplites stood between the Achaemenid military machine and the European continent.

achaemenid Elite Immortal Guards

Reconstructions and depictions by Ardashir Radpour of Immortal Guardsmen of the Achaemenid military (Source: Ardashir Radpour & Holly Martin Photography).

Who would Achaemenid troops have faced in battle if Greece had been conquered by the empire? By 480 BCE, much of the interior of Europe had fallen under the sway of the mighty Celtic warriors. The Celts are known to be among ancient history’s most formidable and robust warriors, who at the height of their power even challenged Rome itself.

Celtic raid into Greece

Celts attack the Greeks in 3rd Century BCE: (Left) Celtic raid into northern Greece (right) Celtic chieftain Brennus (Celtic: King) and his warriors engaged in the sack of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece (3rd Century BCE) (Source: Newark, T. (Historian) & Mcbride, A. (Historical Artist) (1997) Hong Kong: Concord Publication Company, pp. 12, 14, Color Plates 5-6). The Greeks eventually prevailed and ejected the Celts with Brennus then reputedly taking his own life. A fearsome warrior race, Celtic warriors were of large stature and build, wielding the longsword and Celtic lance.

It was through the hard campaigning of Roman General, Consul and Statesman, Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) and his successors when Rome finally gained military superiority over the various Celtic tribes of Gaul and Brittania in Western Europe.

 Celtic Europe

Map of Europe at the height of Celtic power. Roman conquests, Germanic expansion and Celtic infighting led to the demise of the Celts. A number of Celtic raiders arrived into Anatolia, with numbers of Galatian Celts settling in the region of modern-day Ankara, capital of the Turkish Republic. The Celtic legacy endures in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and northern France (Brittany).

How would Achaemenid troops have fared against the tough, dour and robust Celtic warriors of Continental Europe? Without Greece to bar the Empire, the scenario of Achaemenid troops (especially the elite Immortal guards) facing the Celts in battle could have been a distinct possibility. The economic powerhouse of Continental Europe would probably have been too enticing for the commercially-minded Achaemenids to resist.

The first serious study of warfare between the Celts and the Achaemenids was recently addressed in the TV Program Deadliest Warrior. The weapons, personnel and training of Achaemenids and Celts were examined and compared, followed by 1000 computer simulations. The outcomes yielded interesting results: out of one thousand battle simulations, the Celts won 311 engagements, with the Achaemenid Immortals winning 689.

Immortal Guards

(number of kills)

Celtic Warriors

(number of kills)

Bow & Arrow

180

1

Sling

Spear

247

126

Lancea (javelin)

Chariot (Scythed)

135

14

Burda (Celtic Club)

Sagaris (Persian Axe)

127

170

Long Sword

Total Kills

689

311

Total Kills

The results suggest that despite the physical advantages of the Celts, they most likely would have been militarily overcome by the Achaemenids. The Immortals achieve kills in the triple-digit range with all of their major weapons: archery, spears, scythed chariots and the Sagaris Persian battle axe.

The Celts’ best weapons, the Lancea (javelin) and the Long Sword, achieved the highest kills against the Achaemenids. Surprisingly the deadly Burda (battlefield club) which could literally explode heads when wielded by a large and powerful Celt, proved of little effectiveness. The major reasons for the success of the Immortals in the simulations was attributed to rigorous training, fighting as a cohesive unit and the overall effectiveness of their major weapons. The below video clip provides a summary of this discussion.

Video clip of “Deadliest warrior: Celtic warrior versus Persian Immortal”. The comparisons and simulations of Celtic vs. Immortal weapons systems, training and battle tactics suggest that the Immortals would have militarily prevailed over the Celts by a wide margin. 

While more studies are required to reach a definitive conclusion, it would appear at this juncture that had the Immortal Guards faced the Celts in battle, the Achaemenid Empire would most likely have gained territory at Celtic expense, in continental Europe. How far the Achaemenids would have advanced into Europe can only be guessed.

 

Images of Iranian Kurdistan

Below are select images of Iranian Kurdistan. For more on the topic and Kurds in general consult: The Kurds.

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Iran-Kurdistan-DervishKurdish Sufi mystics partake in local Dervish ceremonies (Images  forwarded to Kavehfarrokh.com on July 14, 2013 by Dr. Mohammad Ala, winner of the 2013 Grand Prix Film Italia Award for the documentary work Immortality). Many of these rites resonate with ancient Iranian mystical cults (ie. Mithrasim, Zurvanism, etc.) which gave rise to movements such as those of Mazdak during the Sassanian Empire (224-651 CE) and Babak Khorramdin in Azarbaijan who led a major revolt in 816- 837 CE aimed at liberating Iran from the Abbasid Caliphate.

3-Taq-Bostan[Click to Enlarge] Investiture scene above the late Sassanian armored knight at the vault at Tagh-e Bostan. To the left stands Goddess Anahita with her right hand raised, holding a diadem of glory or “Farr” towards Khosrow II at center who receives a diadem with his right hand from Ahura-Mazda or the chief Magus. Anahita was a revered goddess of war among Sassanian warriors (Source: Shahyar Mahabadi, 2004).

Girl from SanadajGirl from Sanadaj (Source: www.whoophy.com).

Heracles-vicinity of BisotunA carved image of Heracles, vicinity of Bisotun (Source: Turismo en Iran).

Iran Kurdistan04Village of Palangan at Dusk (Source: Amos Chapple of www.guardian.co.uk)

Angel-TBImage of an angelic figure at Taghe Bostan (Photo courtesy of Amiri-Parian).

iranian-kurd-talks-phone-mobile.siAn Iranian-Kurdish woman chats on her mobile phone in the city of Marivan in Iran’s Kurdistan province (Source: Reuters-Morteza Nikoubazl).

Anahita Temple-Kangavar[Click to Enlarge] The Anahita Temple at Kangāvar in Kermanshah Province. The Kangavar remains reveal a Hellenistic character at the edifice, with Iranian architectural designs. The column base for example, features very large dimensions measuring at just over 200m on a side. This combined with the site’s megalithic foundations, are harking back to the Achaemenid tradition of stone platforms, which are distinctly Persian in character (Source: Trek Earth).

kermanshah jamshid hotelThe Jamshid Hotel at Kermanshah (Source: www.key2persia.com)

 

Voices of Friendship: Soprano Carolina Ghigliazza and Iranian Maestro Sattar

The interview below was originally published in the WAALM Diplomatic Journal. The United Nations affiliated organization ACUNS has noted that The World Academy of Arts, Literature and Media – WAALM was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 (see also the Persianesque on-line Journal).

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WAALM recently announced that a music project called “Dare To Live / Vivere” is on its way, which yet again it can assist the establishment of Cultural Diplomacy and promotion of Human Values. To listen to the musical piece, “Dare To Live / Vivere” , kindly click on the poster below:

Carolina-Sattar-1

Now we are with Carolina Ghigliazza, a beautiful Soprano from Argentina, who is one of the contributing vocal artists to this nice piece of music.

Carolina-Sattar-2

DJ: Carolina, welcome to 6Qs

CG: My pleasure.

Q1. What made you to become a singer?

CG: Since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to become a singer and I have never thought to go for a different career. As the matter of fact, I made a strong commitment, dedication and effort to study music with great masters and tried to improve day by day, and now that I look back, I can say it worth it.

Q2. Does music have a major role in Argentinian Culture?

CG: Music is very important in my country. It is part of the national cultural heritage. Each Argentinian province has its own folk music adding flaviour and tast to the melting pot of the national music. For instance, in 1880´s, the Tango was born in the City of Buenos Aires and still it is one of the most well-know and influential styles of music around the world. Among the Tango´s great pioneer masters, I can name: Astor Piazzolla, Homero Manzi and Enrique Santos Discépolo.

As for other styles, there are many distinguished Argentinian musicians, who have achieved international prestige: Lalo Schifrin, Daniel Barenboim, Bruno Gelber, Alberto Ginastera and Martha Argerich, just to mention a few.

Q3. What do you think about the role of music in Cultural Diplomacy and establishment of dialogue amongst nations?

In my opinion music has a universal language, it is a representative of peace. In addition, the musical sounds can transmit different emotions and moods. So, it can sensitize the human beings. Music can truly accomodate the diverse nationalities, cultures, religions and ideologies and it facilitates sharing passion.

Carolina-Sattar-3

Q4. Vocal artists often lend their talents to raise the bars of social awareness, you are recording a duet in name of “Dare To Live (Vivere)” with Maestro Sattar, what is the message of this song and what it hopes to achieve?

CG: I feel truly honored for being chosen by Maestro Sattar. Through his generous gesture he allows me to share with his marvelous voice this message of universal peace. Hence, it is a way to contribute to the integration of the human beings, leaving aside old disputes and do our best to be more supportive to each other in our daily lives, starting from home to the society at large.

Q5. How did you find this international collaboration and do you think projects as such will continue?

CG: As an artist I feel deeply grateful to be recognized by an institution as prestigious and well-known as WAALM in England. I hope that this sort of projects carry on. Also I wish for all other artists around the world to experience the same rewarding collaboration as I did and wish them to get the same opportunity to participate in such honorable calls.

 sattar2008i

Iranian Maestro Sattar. For more see: Masters of Linguistics and Music: Sattar and Italy’s Andrea Bocelli, the WAALM Initiative for Turkish Iranian Dialogue, and Selections of Sattar’s music from the 1970s.

Q6. Tell our readers about your future artistic plans and upcoming events and productions?

CG: “Dare to live / Vivere” gave me a vivid inspiration for the rest of this year. Soon I will be finishing the recording of my debut CD. Additionally, I have several concerts on my schedule with the Coral Canticorum and some concerts in Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, I will continue with my job as a Vocal Coach, as it really makes me happy to teach and to see my students accomplish their aims. That is yet another rewarding activity I enjoy doing.

DJ: Carolina, thank you very much for your time attending this. We wish you all the best for this and for your other projects.

CG: Thank you for having me.

Dare To Live (Vivere) Official Broadcasting PSA: Argentinian soprano Carolina Ghigliazza discusses her forthcoming duet with Iranian Maestro Sattar (a veteran Iranian Pop-Lyric accomplished Tenor). In the above interview, Ghigliazza states “I became Maestro Sattar’s fan and fell in love with his voice…”.