Talk:United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Military history (Rated B-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
B This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject United States (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Iran (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Iran, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to articles related to Iran on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please join the project where you can contribute to the discussions and help with our open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Iraq (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Iraq, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Iraq on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

Reorganization thoughts[edit]

This page presents events and information roughly in the order that they became public knowledge. The page would be more useful if it presented events and information in the order that they occurred. PRRfan 03:54, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


I replaced one source since I've discovered that it was a forgery. I've replaced it with a link to a copy of the genuine article. Unfortuneately, this means that some data was lost, so I added a link. Prezen 23:40, 17 January 2007 (UTC) Warning: the link does not work — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:19, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

additional source[edit]

This source should be used in the article:

Highly informative.--Zereshk 11:52, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

More NPOV title?[edit]

The second paragraph mentions supply from "Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and West Germany."

Later, "By far, the largest suppliers of precursors for chemical weapons production were in Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and Germany (1,027 tons). One Indian company, Exomet Plastics (now part of EPC Industrie) sent 2,292 tons of precursor chemicals to Iraq. The Kim Al-Khaleej firm of Singapore supplied more than 4,500 tons of VX, sarin, and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq." A German newspaper is quoted as mentioning 150 foreign companies supplied Iraq.

I do not dispute the US supported Iraq, but would a move NPOV title for this article be "External Support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War"? Presumably, there should be a symmetrical article for external support for Iran, such as the US and Israel, at the least, with Iran-Contra.

It would not be unreasonable, in each of these articles, to indicate which nations cut off supplies. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 22:50, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Sounds sensible --BoogaLouie (talk) 18:40, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
The title is perfectly neutral. Article deals specifically with United States support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. There is a lot more to say about the covert nature of this assistance (such as the secret CIA military aid programme known as "Bear Spares", and how the US diverted Soviet military hardware to Saddam). Pressed for time right now, but I will remove the passage identified (above) shortly. Feel free to create a page on French support, etc. smb (talk) 19:41, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree, the problem is not this page's focus on the United States, the problem is that nobody has created pages to deal with the role played by other countries. Pepik70 (talk) 12:23, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
That is incorrect. There are quite a few pages on this topic, including U.S. support for Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. See the full list in the main article here: Iran-Iraq War#Foreign support to Iraq and Iran. Thanks, Erxnmedia (talk) 16:23, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm a little confused about the point of creating a page for each country. Thinking of the dispute over the Iran-Iraq War userbox, with the difficulty of explaining that a given country, at a given time, could have given support to either or both belligerents, having an article where this can be compared and contrasted allows for more exposition. On the WMD front, I believe it significant to show the multiple suppliers to Iraq's campaign, and the criticality of what they supplied.
If you left the title as it is, then where does one see the various aspects of US support to both sides? Early in the war, the US supported Kurds against Iraq. Later, a key part of the Iran-Contra Affair was providing large numbers of TOW antitank missiles and other weapons to Iran. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:57, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't see how respective pages hinder editors from explaining the convoluted nature of material support. Individual focus allows history to be told as completely as possible, without compromise (e.g. not having to worry about adding/removing material because of space constraints). The French story could fill a page on its own, easy. So too the history of support from the Soviet Union. On the other hand, I can understand the argument to bring all of this information together in a single place. Taking into consideration the size and scope of your proposal, would it not be a good idea to develop the idea separately, perhaps first in user namespace? A sound starting point from which we can move forward. If it works out, then this page can serve as a redirect to the new article. It does not seem sensible to start backwards, by first renaming this page, then gradually adding material to justify the name change. If balance could be restored in short order, yes, but I'm not convinced this would happen. In any case, let's give some time to hear other views on the matter. smb (talk) 02:40, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not necessarily opposed to a userspace draft, and yes, it is worth hearing more opinion. Another aspect may be that a joint article may be especially important with respect to the Iraqi WMD programs, which, if one doesn't have some technical knowledge of the way the weapons are made, can be very misleading. For example, much media play has been given to Iraq ordering bacteria from the American Type Culture Collection, especially anthrax. Bacillus anthracis is endemic in the Middle East, and getting the cultures is the least difficult part of a biological weapons program. The industrial-scale processing equipment that came primarily from France and the USSR are much more specialized and also much harder to build without the appropriate industrial base, while even in the US, there are opportunities for veterinarians and public health specialists to get B. anthracis cultures in the space of a few months.
Something like the Airbus shootdown was, in my opinion, criminal and had a political coverup. When the US is clearly the villain, as it was there, I am not in favor of whitewashing it. Rogers was hyperaggressive, incompetent with his ship, or both. I am not in favor of trying to hide improper US actions, but when the second paragraph in an article about the US immediately identifies other countries, it does give the impression POV that only the US gets an article. This is especially glaring in the case of the chemical and biological equipment and supplies. Much is dual-use, but others, from various countries, were inherently suspicious but rarely called out as such. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 03:13, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

The title does not reflect what really happened during the war. U.S. had involvement with and supported multiples parties in the war. UPI says:

former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

Also, U.S. was involved with the Kurds early in the war. I think a better title would be U.S. involvement in the Iran-Iraq war, Imad marie (talk) 07:06, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

In all seriousness, could we define "involvement"? Is providing arms involvement? Is sailing a tanker to a port on the other side, in the absence, as far as I know, of a declared blockade, involvement? Is providing military advice involvement -- and note that the US isn't especially competent to advise on French or Russian weapons? Is providing materials that can be used for WMD involvement? These are all questions.
I'm not familiar with the details of how Arab League soldiers were allowed to "volunteer", but, especially if they did so as units, that raises questions of international law.
Where does freedom of navigation fit into this? Blockades are acts of war. Release of drifting mines probably violates Laws of the Sea conventions, as a nation mining international waters is expected to declare the boundaries of the area being mined.
Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:14, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Alleged CIA meeting with Saddam[edit]

Intelligence officers of countries frequently meet to provide an informal, deniable form of communications. Saddam may well have said he planned to invade Iran.

Contrast this with Saddam's meeting with the ranking US diplomat at the time, Ambassador April Glaspie. Her communication with Saddam, which was not well handled by the United States Department of State, could have been interpreted by Saddam that the US would not object to Iraq invading Kuwait. The rather immediate US response to said invasion indicates things were mishandled on the US side, at the very least. I have not read Glaspie's book, but I am under the impression she had conflicting instructions.

Nevertheless, a meeting with intelligence officers alone, with no indication of a followup meeting or agreement, does not imply approval; this is not unique to the US. If a pattern of meetings with intelligence officers, over time, could be sourced, then that would be suggestive of a covert action agreement. If diplomats or military officials met on a continuing basis, that would suggest support. A single meeting with unnamed CIA personnel, with no second sourcing, does not go far to establish US coordination.

I'm reminded of a documented conversation between Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger, in which Zhou mentioned that China had, at various times, supported all three sides in Angola, sometimes more than one at a time. Hassan al-Turabi of Sudan simultaneously negotiated with Saddam and his Kurdish opposition.

The point is that international relations are rarely as simple as some would like them to be, and a single report does not constitute substantial evidence of anything, either support or nonsupport. I'm sorry, but I believe the situation is far more often that the enemy of the enemy of the US is its temporary friend, rather than there being a real alliance. De Gaulle stated a truth for more than his country when he said "France has interests, not allies." Now, there are cases of alliances, such as NATO countries, but I would suggest that there was no formal alliance in many such cases.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:28, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I have read Christopher Hitchens saying on two or three occasions that Saddam informed the American government of his intention toward Iran, which met with approval:
"There might perhaps even be a ticklish-to-write paragraph, saying that America is not proud of everything it is has done in the past—most notably Jimmy Carter's criminal decision to permit Saddam to invade Iran." [1]
When someone asked Christopher Hitchens for documentary evidence, he pointed to Andrew/Patrick Cockburn's book as a source, before adding that Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Advisor, had confirmed the story to him personally. [2] Perhaps another user can provide clear source material. smb (talk) 00:25, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
I find this rather ironic. Iraq was not dependent on the US for weaponry. Let us assume Saddam informed Carter he intended to invade. Precisely how was the US to stop him from doing so? Perhaps something unthinkably insane, such as invading Iraq? Ah...perhaps provide the Iranians with serious antitank weapons, such as the TOW?
It's not completely clear that a full US effort to restore military spare parts and the like to Iran, which did depend far more on US weaponry, would be decisive. Realistically, that would have been a political impossibility in the US. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 02:53, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
We have this reference that says that Saddam met three senior CIA agents in Amman to discuss his plans to invade Iran. In case you are wondering why would Saddam consult the CIA, Saddam and CIA are allies since the year 1959, when the CIA helped Saddam seize power. Through his history, Saddam didn't do anything without consulting the Americans first: the Ba'th coup, the Iran-Iraq war and invading Kuwait. Imad marie (talk) 05:00, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Please see the chronological entries under CIA activities in the Near East, North Africa, South and Southwest Asia#Iraq. There seems, for example, a disparity between the original Baa'th coup dates (1963) and Saddam taking power (1968). Again, I'm not yet convinced that the US had a veto power of what the Iraqis, or, indeed, people in a number of countries, were doing in various coups. Even in South Vietnam in the sixties, where there was a major US ground presence, there would be coup plotters, sometimes who would inform the CIA station and sometimes not. In the case of Diem, for example, the US had given up on Diem, who by no means was a legitimate leader, and simply told coup plotters they would not intervene -- and that was a country where they had some resources that would let them intervene.
Now, in the Middle East, from the standpoint of the day, which often involved a militant anticommunism that is hard to understand if one didn't experience it, there might be more or less support to one group of plotters. Sometimes, there was no real support one way or the other, but various declassified documents at the George Washington University National Security Archive, or in the Foreign Relations of the United States series, have reporting about a potential coup. That, after all, is one of the functions of an intelligence agency that isn't a pure covert action agency: informing policymakers, sometimes correctly and sometimes not, what the locals were planning.
In these cases, one really has to look at sourcing in the context of what ability the US actually had to influence the event. For example, in some countries and cases, the coup plotters might get funding or weapons. In other cases, there was no more than acceptance of notification and passing it to Washington. There may well have been examples (I just woke up with a stuffed-up head, so I'd want to check references), but I think I remember instances where the government in place -- legitimacy didn't have much to do with the decision one way or another -- was warned of the coup.
What I'm attempting to say here is that after studying the CIA, around the world and in many cases, I find that its ability to influence events is sometimes much overstated, as, indeed, is that of the entire US government. Again, to take the example of Saddam with the Iran-Iraq war, as opposed to the invasion of Kuwait, how, if the US disapproved, was it actually going to stop him? Further, was it the responsibility of the US to do so, especially if neither side was especially an ally of the US? I'm sadly amused about how the US is wrong to intervene in one case, and wrong not to intervene in another case. The world, especially with respect to the shadowy world of intelligence and covert operations, is often not as black and white as many believe. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 08:35, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The title does not reflect what really happened during the war. U.S. had involvement with and supported multiples parties in the war. UPI says:

former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate. "When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

Imad marie (talk) 11:56, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Hi Imad,

I agree, this is why I added section "US Support for Iran" in the article.

Also if you want to see a really lengthy circular debate about this topic, look in the debate for who should be included as a Belligerent in the infobox in Talk:Iran-Iraq War.

Thanks, Erxnmedia (talk) 13:43, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

There should be formal request for move before a controversial page move, I am restoring the original title until such request has been filed and discussed. --CreazySuit (talk) 22:21, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
What is the procedure for such a request? Further, under the circumstances, I wonder if it might not be appropriate to ask a question rather like is done for mediation: will the participants accept going through with a mediation process? In this case, I would like to ask if the parties are willing to look for consensus, or will insist on one position and one position only.
If there are people that will only accept a page title that refers exclusively to the US, there is little point to trying to reach a consensus. A true consensus might well have some page title that no one has considered as yet. If there is no flexibility, then it might as well move directly to arbitration. Neither informal consensus or mediation are likely to work in the face of entrenched positions.
Given the fury over something as trivial as a userbox, I wish I were more optimistic that the playground cast of characters could manage "plays nicely with others." Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:08, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Requested_moves for instructions. However, the US dealings with Iran were minimal to be classified as "support" in the scale that US aided Iraq. --CreazySuit (talk) 23:24, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I differ, unless you want to be much more quantitative about the alleged US support. My position is that the US did enter into direct combat with Iran, but the disagreement was between the US and Iran, not to support Iraq. As far as Iran, 2000 TOW missiles, with a 70-90% of killing any tank of the time, was a very significant involvement. Look at the intensity of the US political reaction to Iran-Contra.
Let me ask you directly, CreazySuit. Are you personally willing to enter into serious discussion of a page title that, for example, might refer to support of Iraq and Iran by more than one nation, without prejudging what the wording of that title might be? This is no more of a challenge than is common at the beginning of an attempted mediation. I ask because you are already making flat statements that US dealings with Iran were minimal, without any discussion of that point, which is, indeed, controversial. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:34, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I strongly support a request for mediation Wikipedia:Requests for mediation on the subject of title, opening paragraph and inclusion of other countries. I would like to see a more comprehensive article that lists all material participants, and which does not minimize USA's contribution to Iran's side of Iran-Iraq war, which several people are insisting on minimizing.

Since we are reverting each other on matters of substance and people are clearing pushing particular interpretations, this is the only way to go.

Note however the mediation page says there is a backlog, so to resolve this more quickly we could jump the queue by asking for Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration.

I don't feel like getting shouted down on these issues, it's too important to see how all the players actually played their hands, not just to see simplistic generalizations, and not to exclude evidence based on scale -- for example, "only" 2,000 TOWs will kill "only" 2,000 tanks, which is really quite a lot of tanks.

Thanks, Erxnmedia (talk) 02:40, 25 March 2008 (UTC)


I'm not seeing more discussion on this, so, per CreazySuit, I will put a note in Wikipedia:Requested moves to change the title of this article to "Foreign support for Iran and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War", and, after allowing 2-3 days for discussion, I will do the move assuming consensus in that page is favorable.

Also I will revert the rewrite of the first paragraph which is slanted towards US only supporting Iraq, which is not supported by the historical facts. 2000 TOWs and satellite images are 2000 TOWs and satellite images.

Thanks,sparate Erxnmedia (talk) 14:14, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone have references that cites that USA supported the Kurds early in the war? If yes, then I suggest renaming the article to: "Foreign involvement in the Iran-Iraq war" Imad marie (talk) 14:34, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

I am actively working on that, and will probably make some phone calls to historians today and tomorrow. Obviously, I can't use personal knowledge as a source, but I did know US Special Forces personnel that were assigned to work with the Kurds early in the Iran-Iraq War. They genuinely liked the Kurds, were furious about being ordered out, and there were rumors some people may have deserted and stayed there. The problem in online searching is that Special Forces were extensively involved in 2003 on, and I get huge number of hits that turn out to be recent, rather than from the time period I'm looking for. It was a sufficiently ugly and unwise action that I'm reasonably confident I will find references.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:57, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I am opposed to move per WP:NPOV - It's well-documented that US support for Iraq was on a different scale and much more significant than her dealings with Iran, which can hardly be classified as "support", but rather shady arms-for-hostages deals. It's therefore dishonest and POVish to equate USA's extensive support for Iraq with USA's limited dealings with Iran. I am opposed to renaming this page, but I am not opposed to creating a new article titled "Foreign involvement in Iran-Iraq war" which this article can be a sub-page of. However, U.S. support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war is a significant well-researched and discussed topic that merits an article of her own. --CreazySuit (talk) 10:43, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
First, a good night's sleep helped me think about this more clearly. Apologies if I was getting irritable last night.
CreazySuit, thank you; that was a well-stated comment. I still am in favor of the move, for two basic reasons, and the assistance to Iraqi Kurds mentioned above. We may be moving to consensus, or may not. You see, my first reason is that there was very substantial military supply to Iraq from other countries. My second is that I do not equate "support" to "belligerent". As far as the first reason, look at the actual major arms (tanks, aircraft, missiles, etc.) used by both sides. Iraq used Soviet armored vehicles, and a mixture of Soviet and French aircraft. I have to check farther about how early the Kari air defense system was built; it certainly was operational in 1991, and Kari is the French word for Iraq spelled backwards.
Getting into the meaning of "support", my experience in military history is that means continuing, working- as well as policy-level coordination, and joint operations. For example, every one of these criteria is met when talking about the US and Kuwait in the Tanker War. Due to the history of the US in considering freedom of navigation as a critical national interest that it will fight over, I can rationally explain, in my own mind, the Tanker War as primarily about freedom of navigation. It involved direct combat with Iran, although Iraq was forgiven "accidentally" attacking the USS Stark--and Stark made some errors with its air defense system.
Now, was the US generally anti-Iran during the Tanker War? Of course! Both countries, Iran and the US, had recently done things that infuriated one another: support of the Shah even in exile, and the Embassy seizure. That led to both sides being aggressive to each other. If I combine those factors with the freedom of navigation issue, I get an adequate rationale for compbat that has nothing to do with a coordinated military alliance with Iraq.
Touching on supply support again, the US was not the most extensive supplier of materials to the Iraqi WMD program, by the current Wikipedia article and other sources that can be added.
Whatever form the "support" issue takes as far as articles, I urge that Iran-Iraq War focus on those two countries, and we stop arguing over the infobox, preferably deleting it until there is a reasonably acceptable main article. Essentially, I'm suggesting we first deal with things where there is the greatest agreement. There is a matter of relative priority, as I don't see the infobox, much less the arguments about it, as terribly important.
How do you describe the French and Soviet actions as supplying the Iraqis with their major weapons systems, and, AFAIK, continuing to supply parts and technical support? I find that to be as strong a "support" as anything done to the US, even without getting into the messy arms-for-hostages matter. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 13:57, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Opposed - I agree with editor CreazySuit much for the same reasons (see my earlier comments above). There is a wealth of information on this topic from reliable sources. Credible reports say the United States encouraged Saddam to destabilise Iran early on, and the consensus is that the U.S. proactively supported Iraq during this period by attempting to restore full diplomatic ties, removing Iraq's name from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, and dispatching military specialists to stand next to, and help direct, Iraqi forces on the battlefield. The CIA also supplied Iraq with non-U.S. origin weaponry, including Soviet tanks, and helped keep this hardware operational through its secret Bear Spares military aid programme. The page makes no mention of this at present. Much more can be said of this support, such as U.S. efforts to help Saddam develop and protect Iraqi oil supply - not by sea, but over land to the West. The same cannot be said about Iran. smb (talk) 14:27, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The article seems to be about US support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq title seems appropiate. That the US aided Iraq is hardly a contested belief so I'm not sure how POV the current title is. The proposed title does not describe the contents. Narson (talk) 16:31, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - The title of this article excludes the fact that US also supported Iran and was not interested in either side winning. Therefore it is a highly misleading title and should be changed. Also it excludes the idea that other nations offered material support of one kind or another to one or both sides. It is highly misleading not to provide that information. To eliminate both kinds of bias, a better article title and organization would be to retitle the US article as Foreign support of Iraq and Iran in the war, give equal space to US support of Iran, and give equal space to the involvements of other nations in this conflict. (Another workaround to these biases is to create a separate article for US support of Iran during the Iran-Iraq War and then a parent article for Foreign support during the Iran-Iraq war, and then link to the Foreign article in the Iran-Iraq War page.) Erxnmedia (talk) 03:01, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose , the article's name must give the reader, an idea about the main concepts of the article. The title of this article, in in its current form, should not be changed. Pejman47 (talk) 14:40, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
What you say about agreement about title and article is quite true. I think, however, there is an underlying question about whether the content of the present article is POV, at least in the absence of articles about other countries providing substantial support. How do you feel about the proposal to have an top-level article about support to both parties, and then articles about individual country support to Iran, Iraq, or both? If you look at U.S. support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war#Parties involved, there is material not about the US in the US article. If your reasonable argument about title and article being consistent, where should that material go since it is not about the US? I believe there are other articles referring to other examples of foreign assistance, at least to Iraq, but I'd need to look farther. Thanks! Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 15:27, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
OK. This article, according to its title, should only contain information about U.S. support of the parties during the war. You may remove every thing in this article which is not related to U.S. and put it in some new article (e.g. Supports for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war).--Pejman47 (talk) 10:12, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Simply because an article has a particular title does not mean that the title is necessarily a good one, or that it is NPOV if seen without other articles. For the record, I have been working on individual country articles in my userspace. You can look at the user page, and see a long list of countries for which some evidence of support for Iraq, Iran, or both appear; some are red-linked due to lack of time, but I assure you I have at least some text for every country red- or blue-linked there.
Let's turn it around. If there were an article entitled "Things Iran did to jeopardize neutral shipping during the Iran-Iraq War", without a higher-level article that fit it into a context that may nations did irresponsible things, or at least things that solely supported individual national positions, would you consider that fair? I would not, if I were an Iranian. The reason to start with an overview article, with links, even red links, to specific countries, is to provide a broad view that cannot be called POV.
Correct me if I misunderstand, but it seems as if it is very important to several editors to have an article talking about bad things done by the US, yet those same people are not terribly concerned with having other articles, or a higher-level article, about anything other than U.S. support. That doesn't give me a comfortable feeling that everyone is working together to come up with the most accurate possible set of articles. As I have said, just because an article has a title doesn't mean it is a good title, within the broader context of the subject. There have been moves for deletion of articles with titles that seem POV. All I am asking is that to give the appearance of NPOV, there is as much concern with giving coverage to support to Iraq/Iran from Germany, France, Singapore, Italy, and the Soviet Union as from the US -- and each of those nations was as strong a supplier, if not stronger, than was the US to Iraq. Iraq wasn't flying, for example, US aircraft, but French and Soviet.
Is there a commitment, even though all the articles can't be written at once, to having a comprehensive structure where the many national interactions can be seen, or is there only an interest in a POV about the US being the puppetmaster for Iraq? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 11:13, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
It would be POV if, say, User: A were unreasonably thwarting User: B's efforts to assist the readers' understanding of any given topic. I welcome the creation of other pages, as per WP:NOTPAPER (they should have appeared far sooner, as stubs). It may take time - perhaps several months - but I'm sure editors will help gradually expand them (understand, however, that some editors only contribute to pages they know something about, so one or two may develop faster than others). One important observation at the moment: the French page in your user space appears to be one big copyright violation, as so much of it is plagiarised. If you are pressed for time, simply create a stub article to get things rolling. smb (talk) 21:49, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

National articles, stub and more complete[edit]

As you (SMB) point out, there is an article on France, as well as on other countries, in my userspace, not in mainspace. Since it is in userspace and under active construction, you might be a bit premature to charge plagiarism. Also, several of the key sources are U.S. government documents not subject to copyright. In my mind, when something is actively being written, having some copied text that does not appear in the "published" version is fair use, not much different than working from photocopies, for personal reference, when writing a paper for general publication.

At present, that article has eight references, four of which are US government. I expect to have very few direct quotes, and those under fair use, when I move the article to mainspace. Do we still have a problem with an accusation of plagiarism?

As you presumably noticed, I have perhaps 30-odd sandbox pages on national assistance to Iraq, Iran, or both. My preference is to put them into at least a "start" rather than "stub" quality before moving to mainspace, especially for significant suppliers such as France and the Soviet Union. I'm more willing to have a stub for a country that did not provide finished military equipment, but for such things as dual-use components suspected of being used in WMD programs.

What would be your suggestion on handling the pages for the less major suppliers, both in terms of putting stubs into mainspace? Do you accept the idea that all of them reasonably would be wikilinked from articles about foreign support to Iran and/or Iraq? I should clarify that I am speaking here primarily of supplies and possibly military advisors. The "Tanker War", which I'd rather have seen under the name "Iran-US War", is in a separate category, as would any other material about countries who engaged in direct combat. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 22:09, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Previous coments about renaming and forking[edit]

  • Comment I understand that some editors want to emphasize on the US relations with Iraq and with Saddam in particular. So I am suggesting: we can rename this article to (US support to Iraq and Iran) and the article Saddam_Hussein_-_United_States_relations can emphasize on the claimed relation. Sounds fair? Imad marie (talk) 18:09, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Based on this feedback I will create separate pages for US support for Iran and Foreign Support, and link these in tandem with US Support for Iraq page.

Thanks, Erxnmedia (talk) 15:07, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Whose feedback? As the majority of the editors here have pointed out, it's POVish to equate USA's extensive support for Iraq ( a topic on which a large body of academic research and work exists) with USA's limited dealings with Iran (Iran-Contra affair, which has an article anyway). What you're doing here is a volition of WP:Point as well. --CreazySuit (talk) 06:13, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Oppose. Alleged USA support for Iran (if any) was notthing compared to its large direct and indrect miltary support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. See also that talk page.--Babakexorramdin (talk) 13:12, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Suggested example of dispute resolution[edit]

Please take a look at both the article and discussion page about an equally controversial subject, Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sri_Lanka_Reconciliation. I'm not directly involved, except when I was working on a military article (Counter-terrorism if it's of interest), one of the editors objected to an example I used that mentioned Sri Lanka.

Everything worked out well, improving both the counterterrorism article and the Sri Lanka project. The key thing that was being miscommunicated was that when I referred to "terrorism", and the forms of antiterrorism and counterterrorism defense, I was in no way being political. The terminology I was using is common in military writing, and does not refer to a "Global War against Terror", or even assume that terror or defense against it are necessarily good or evil.

The editor concerned, with considerable informal mediation (so informal we didn't call it that) from User: Black Falcon, realized he had never thought of "terrorism" in other than political terms. He interpreted my reference to counterterror in Sri Lanka as separating the sides in their civil war to "good" and "evil". Indeed, Black Falcon, IIRC, made the point that my usage was not Manichean, as opposed to the way the Bush Administration speaks of an "axis of evil".

I'm going to copy this to the other Iraq-Iraq talk pages, as I think it's a very useful example. Before we get back to structuring the article(s), I strongly suggest that we see if we can adopt some of that project's techniques for keeping argument focused and polite. It's worth noting that their project has "reconciliation" in its name, even though they are dealing with current events. From my personal standpoint, the discussions here have not at all been focused on getting to truth and reconciliation, but refighting wars and finding guilt. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 16:39, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Special Forces support to Iraqi Kurds, which was then stopped[edit]

This isn't the greatest reference, but look at the commentary about abandoning the Kurds in 1975. That was prior to open hostilities between Iran and Iraq, but does show that at one time, the US supported an anti-Iraq faction that helped Iranian agendas.,pubID.27327/pub_detail.asp

Also, from Ralph McGehee's CIA and the Kurds (see below). McGhee is a former CIA officer and current critic, which, if anything, is an anti-US site, a note on CIA and Special Forces support. Again, a POV source, with yet a different (anti-CIA) POV. (text at the bottom of the page):

United States had organized a Kurdish insurrection against Saddam Hussein as a favor by President Nixon to the Shah of Iran, only to abandon the Kurds to destruction when the Iranian and Iraqi leaders settled their border dispute. Account appears in th e leaked version of the House of Representatives Pike Committee report of 1976.

"Our movement and people are being destroyed in an unbelievable way, with silence from everyone. We feel, your Excellency, that the United States has a moral and political responsibility towards our people, who have committed themselves to your country' s policy." written by Mustafa Barazini, to Secretary of State Kissinger on 3/10/75. Letter could have been written to Bush by Massoud Barazani, leader of the devastated Kurds in 91 article 1975: background to betrayal; How Kissinger, Nixon and the S hah rallied--then shrugged off--an uprising. [Washington Post 4/7/91 d3]

I'll continue researching this, as I don't think that is quite enough. How do people feel about anti-Iraq operations that took place under the Shah? Clearly, the US supported the Shah, but my point is that the US was willing to support anti-Iraqi rebels as part of that.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 17:19, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

hmmm, it seems US didn't support Kurds during the war, so I guess it's not logical to create a page Foreign involvement in the war instead of Foreign support for Iraq and Iran during the war... Imad marie (talk) 07:49, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Iraq vs. Saddam terminology[edit]

I have corrected that the United States explicitly supported Saddam, rather than Iraq. The main U.S. policy of "tilting to Iraq" meant using Iraq as a counterbalance to Iran. Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, if deposed, could in no way be a counterbalance to Iran, but his successor could have directed Iraq to continue or enhance such a policy.

Given the general demonization of Saddam, admittedly one of the world's more unpleasant characters, stating that the US supported "Saddam" rather than "Iraq" comes across as needlessly inflammatory for encyclopedic writing. There is neither reason to believe the U.S. would have given asylum to Saddam had he been deposed and lived, nor that the U.S. would not have continued with whoever controlled Iraq.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 04:25, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Very good, for some reason; the formatting of the page is ruined after the last edit, in the references section. At least this is what I have in my firefox. Imad marie (talk) 06:33, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Oil / Aqaba pipeline[edit]

Placing this text here for the moment. It will fit better in the Oil security section:

"In March 1983, Reagan signed a NSDM with the originally classified title, "U.S. Policy toward the Iran–Iraq War".[1] This placed the highest priority on keeping the Strait of Hormuz open."

Wanted images[edit]

  • Ronald Reagan meeting with Tariq Aziz at the White House. [3]
  • Bell 214ST: 48 of these were sold to Iraq by the United States in 1984. [4]

Ted Koppel's quote[edit]

I cannot find a reliable source for the whole quote.

The top part I can attribute based on the book Journalism at the end of the American century, 1965-present by James Brian McPherson at page 125. But the bottom part, about "dual-use", I cannot find a source for. Does anyone have anything? The Squicks (talk) 19:27, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

This transcript includes the second quote. [5] Dynablaster (talk) 22:21, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
This website is hardly a reliable source. It's just some guy's home website. The Squicks (talk) 22:24, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Do we have reason to assume the transcript is bogus? A solid reference is provided in the main body (Koppel, Ted. "The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War", ABC News. July 1, 1992.) but it's currently disconnected from the lead. We can easily fix the problem with a unique identifier, which takes care of the second quote. The reference above takes care of the top part. Dynablaster (talk) 23:14, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, that person's website seems to indicate that they are a weirdo conspiracy theorist. We have no real evidence to disbelieve them, however, so I guess that the main body that you noted right there is fine. The Squicks (talk) 23:23, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Sources will occasionally get removed accidentally. It can be useful to examine early page history to see what, if any, reference was originally provided. Dynablaster (talk) 23:33, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Too much emphasis on U.S. "green light"[edit]

I have restored the original version for three reasons: (1) Kenneth Timmerman does not write that Zbigniew Brzezinski met with Saddam Hussein in July of 1980. Editor NYCJosh was made aware of this discrepancy several weeks ago. (diff) (2) Robert Parry's discovery of a secret 1981 memorandum is described in a footnote.11 There is no good reason to quote Parry twice. (3) The new material is copied verbatim from a separate Wikipedia article and is pasted without care and consideration of the existing formatting. Dynablaster (talk) 20:35, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

No Secret to US Media?[edit]

I know the official report was released in 1992 but is there really any evidence that the support for Saddam (especially the biological weapons etc.) was known about? --CartoonDiablo (talk) 04:12, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

Robert Parry on Advance Knowledge of Attack[edit]

Parry's claim to have found "an X-file" in "a remote Capitol Hill storage room" is utterly ridiculous. You might like to know that Parry has a long history of making such claims. "Robert Parry revealed on his investigative news website Consortium News that he had recently discovered, in an abandoned Capitol Hill bathroom in which Lee Hamilton's October Surprise Committee stored files, a Russian report that had been hand-delivered to the US Embassy in 1993 confirming that the October Surprise actually did occur." He claims to have broken into Capitol Hill dozens of times, finding the secret documents the MSM doesn't want you to know about! It sure is amazing that only he can find all of these incredible pieces of evidence with ease! Amazing that such documents had been left sitting on a bathroom floor for decades! Amazing that he keeps breaking into government buildings and never gets stopped! Amazing that all of the "documents" support his predetermined theories to a "T"! Nevertheless, his rantings remained here until I removed them. Don't get me wrong--there were several months of frequent cross-border attacks on Iraq by Iran and vice-versa prior to Iraq's formal declaration of war, and the U.S. did not intervene to stop the hostilities from escalating. But to say that the U.S. had secret knowledge of the date and time of the invasion, encouraged it, and planned it all out is outrageously POV and completely unsupported by any reliable source.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 06:35, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ Reagan, Ronald (19 March 1982), "National Security Decision Directive 114: U.S. Policy toward the Iran–Iraq War", in Battle, Joyce, Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82