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Welcome to the Neno's Place!

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    What do you know about the “tanker war” in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war?

    Rocky
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    What do you know about the “tanker war” in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war? Empty What do you know about the “tanker war” in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war?

    Post by Rocky Tue 20 Feb 2024, 4:14 am

    [size=35][size=35]What do you know about the “tanker war” in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war?[/size]
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    02-20-2024 | 03:17
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    Alsumaria News - International The

    "tanker war" currently taking place in the Red Sea, a copy of which previously occurred in the mid-eighties of the last century, in the midst of the "Iraqi-Iranian" war (1980-1988), when President Saddam Hussein's air forces targeted Iranian sites, Tehran responded by targeting Gulf sites, and a “tanker war” broke out in the Gulf waters.


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    At that time, the region was different and so was the world, including Syria. President Hafez al-Assad, who was opposing Saddam in his war, tried to mediate between Tehran and Arab countries, to stop the “tanker war” and prevent its expansion, through truces and understandings.



    Al-Majalla magazine begins publishing episodes from Syrian official documents that include letters between Assad and Arab and Iranian leaders. There is no doubt that it does not reflect everything that was going on in those stormy years, but it gives an idea of ​​some aspects of what was going on in closed rooms.

    These documents, written from a Syrian perspective, reveal previously unknown details about the parties’ positions and trends. Among them is that “Guide” Ali Khamenei, who was the president of Iran at the time, predicted more than once in 1986 that Saddam would change and that a new rule would be formed in Iraq. Explicit Saudi warnings also appeared that Iran's behavior in attacking Saudi and Gulf ships would lead to bringing the Americans militarily into the Gulf waters, which is what happened.

    Iran's attack on Kuwaiti tankers caused America to send its naval forces to the region and entered the fighting by bombing Iranian sites, and the Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988. As for Saddam, after the failure of his invasion, Iran occupied Kuwait, and an international coalition was formed to liberate Kuwait, and Saddam was removed from power in the spring of 2003.
    After about four decades, history repeats itself and Iran returns to attacking tankers via the Houthis in the Red Sea. America responded to the threat to close Bab al-Mandab by forming a military alliance called the “Guardian of Prosperity” and directing retaliatory strikes against Iranian agents in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq.

    In early January 1982, that is, after two years of war between Baghdad and Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar visited the two provinces of Damascus, and met with President Hafez al-Assad and the Foreign Minister at the time, Abdul Halim Khaddam. According to the minutes of official meetings, Al-Assad stressed "the necessity of calming the situation with the Gulf states and taking into account their circumstances and fears, because the tension will increase the volume of their (the Gulf states') cooperation with the Iraqi regime."

    The former Syrian president warned the Iranians that "the expansion of the war will lead to the intervention of external forces to control the region and its resources," and he also spoke about "the concerns of the brothers in the Gulf," and "the keenness of these countries to establish good relations with Iran." Al-Assad asked Velayati to "inform the Iranian leadership of Syria's point of view."

    Indeed, Iran initially committed to “not expanding the war towards the Gulf states, despite some tensions that appeared from time to time, approaching the conflict line,” according to a Syrian document. She pointed out that when the crisis broke out between Iran and Bahrain in 1980, “Syria intervened and worked to calm the situation, and the Iranian leadership agreed to a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sadiq Tabatabai to Manama, accompanied by Khaddam, to meet with Sheikh Isa bin Salman, as the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed The Iranian government said that Iran has no ambitions in Bahrain, and that it desires to establish good relations with Manama.”

    Returning to Velayati’s visit to Damascus, on January 10, 1982, Khaddam went to Saudi Arabia at the request of Assad, to meet with Crown Prince Fahd bin Abdulaziz, and to inform the Saudi leadership of the results of Velayati’s visit.

    Khaddam narrates that he said in Riyadh: “President Hafez informed you that he will discuss relations between you and Iran.



    He also explained to him the danger of marginal conflicts on the countries and peoples of the region and their impact on the future of all of us. The President also spoke about Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states recognizing the Islamic Revolution in Iran and extending a hand of cooperation to it... President Al-Assad also informed the Iranian Minister of the Kingdom’s desire for cooperation... and he The other Gulf countries extended their hands and opened their hearts to the Islamic Revolution, and how the Arabs wanted to cooperate with this revolution, and how statements were issued by Tehran against them... President Al-Assad added to the impression generated that Iran was working to interfere in their (the Gulf countries’) internal affairs, and that It has ambitions in the region, and this is a dangerous matter that will increase the differences, deepen them and make these countries think about how to confront this situation. The President gave examples of what happened during the Hajj season and the events in Bahrain. He also spoke about the media atmosphere and the statements of Iranian and other officials.”


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    Khaddam says in his papers: “Prince Fahd interrupted me by saying: These statements that they made to us incite strife and disagreement among Muslims and harm the Islamic faith... as well as what is published in newspapers, radio, and various media outlets, and what they did in the Noble Sanctuary during the Hajj season and their speeches that do not It is worthy of the sanctity of the place among Muslims and the Iranian revolution.”

    Khaddam continues that Velayati said: “We have a desire to establish normal relations, but these countries are helping in the war against us.” And here Assad responded to him: Our conviction is that the brothers in the Kingdom and the Gulf states want their relations with you to be positive, not negative, and that the issue is not related to them alone. “And they want a positive atmosphere with Iran.”

    An Iranian initiative towards Saudi Arabia
    According to another document, Khaddam conveyed to the Saudi side specific points that Velayati agreed to in front of Assad, which are:

    1- The Iranians’ desire to establish normal and good relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

    2- Non-interference in the internal affairs of any country in the region, and no relationship between the Iranian government and its institutions or any of its officials with the affairs of Bahrain. He also stressed that they have no ambitions in any of the neighboring countries, and that they have a desire to establish good relations with the Kingdom and the Gulf states.

    3- Regarding the Hajj season, he said that they did not do anything that affected Saudi sovereignty or the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia, and that they only issued slogans of hostility to America and Israel, but the Saudi employees prevented them. He said that these slogans were not against Saudi Arabia, but only to take advantage of the opportunity for Muslims from different countries to gather to make them aware that their first enemy is America and Israel, and to urge them to direct their efforts against this enemy.

    Khaddam narrates that Al-Assad commented on the last point in front of Velayati, saying: “This creates confusion. If every country or group wants to put forward slogans during the Hajj season as it wants, then imagine a million people in front of you, what will happen? If everyone does as he wants, what will happen?” During the Hajj season, what will the situation be like? A huge chaos, and no one knows the extent of its bad impact on Muslims.”

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    Velayati responded that they were “ready to stop media campaigns from state-controlled institutions, that is, from government media.”

    He added: “The official opinions of the Iranian Islamic Revolution are expressed only by (Guide) Khomeini, the President of the Republic (Ali Khamenei), the Deputy Prime Minister (Sadiq Tabatabai), or the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Vlayati).” He stressed Iran's readiness to send a goodwill mission to both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and to receive similar missions in Tehran.

    In return, the Iranians asked the Saudis, according to Khaddam, “to stop interfering in the war on the side of Iraq,” while Assad said that he would inform Saudi Arabia of the content of these talks, and “we hope that we can tell them that you have the desire and agree to ask them directly to implement this step to demonstrate the... "Good intentions."

    Khaddam indicated that Riyadh informed him that it "agrees with this line to avoid clashes and tension in the region, and this is an excellent vision in the face of the fait accompli" while being satisfied with Assad's message and efforts, and the desire for them to continue.

    On the second day, Khaddam conveyed similar messages to the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad, in the presence of his Foreign Minister, Sheikh Sabah.

    A Saudi blamed Saddam for
    the official Syrian assessment at the time, according to a position assessment document in Khaddam’s handwriting, which was among his secret papers, which was that there was “concern among the brothers in the Gulf and dangerous possibilities for the situation to develop in the event that the conflict develops and expands and this affects all Arabs and Iranians,” because “ The war is taking place on their borders and sometimes in their waters, and they imagined that the Iraqi regime in its war was capable of deterring and eliminating the Islamic Revolution, and therefore they provided the ruling regime in Iraq with financial and economic assistance and facilities, including the use of ports to transport goods, equipment, etc., in addition to their concern about The "revolution" in Iran for reasons related to national security and its future.

    Another document stated a meeting between the Syrian Minister of Information, Ahmed Iskandar, with a Saudi official in February 1983, that “the Iraqis are asking (from us as Gulf Arabs) to implement the Joint Arab Defense Agreement, and we said to them directly: You ask that we fight with you, but did you consult us in starting the war? Did you inform anyone? Who among the Arabs agreed with your plan to fight Iran? Weren't there better and more secure ways than a devastating war? If you had been consulted, we would have looked for a way to resolve the conflict without fighting, destruction and sacrifices. Saddam and the Algerians went to sign a peace agreement with the Iranian Shah, and he signed the agreement in 1975, and then Saddam canceled this agreement. The agreement and waging war, and now, after two years of fighting, he is demanding a return to the 1975 agreement. Is this logic?

    He continues, "The Iraqis send their ministers to the Gulf states, and ask them not to receive the Iranian envoys. This forced us to tell them that you have no right to do so, and by what right do you ask them for what you ask for? We understand very well Syria's relationship with Iraq, and that the right is with you in Syria. They have wronged you." A lot and unjustly. If we had trusted Saddam and trusted him, we would have suggested to you some form of reconciliation or calming things down, but we know that this is not possible, as Saddam has harmed Syria greatly, and we know that at the beginning of the war and until the end of a year and a half, as I remember, you did not Take any action against Iraq, and we know that you did not want this war, nor do we want it.”

    Referring to the tripartite Syrian-Libyan-Iranian meeting, the official said: “We trust Syria and our confidence is limitless, and we do not allow anything to distort or disturb this trust. We are consulting with you and our confidence is absolute in Brother Hafez, and in Syria under his leadership. I propose to the President Al-Assad should invite Gulf ambassadors to the Syrian Foreign Ministry to explain Syria’s position on the tripartite meeting, and that it is against anyone approaching the borders of the Gulf states.

    Indeed, at the direction of Assad, Khaddam summoned the ambassadors and clarified Damascus’ position to reassure the Gulf states that he was not against them.

    This content is from Al Majalla magazine*

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