By Ehsan Qaraee
In my previous article, I discussed how Khomeini was looking for a solid alibi to justify his actions in order to pursue conflict, along with his use of psychological warfare. At last Saddam gave Khomeini that alibi by executing
Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Sadr. Sadr was a Shia cleric and founder of the Islamic Dawa Party (the party that would later be led by Nouri al-Maliki), who fought against the Iraqi regime in order to establish an Islamic state similar to Iran in Iraq. Saddam arrested Sadr and his sister on 5th of April 1980 in the Iraqi city of Najaf and three days later executed them. It was the best opportunity that Khomeini could get. Immediately, he and his propaganda system began to make the most out of this incident.
Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (the former chairman of the Judiciary in Iran) expressed his hope in a statement that Muslims from all around the world would avenge the “innocent blood” that was spilled, and would kindle the flames of Islamic revolution in the whole world (Keyhan newspaper, 23.04.1980). After that, the Amal movement (Shia militia group in Lebanon) attacked the Ba'ath Party office in Beirut where they killed 8 people and captured 40 others.
The foreign affairs ministry of Iran published a statement and declared that they would continue their fight until the overthrowing of the “criminal”, “imperialist puppet”, “Zionist puppet”-regime in Iraq and would send Saddam Hussein, “the new Yazid” to hell (Keyhan newspaper, 23.04.1980).
Hussein-Ali Montazeri (the deputy supreme leader) declared that murdering these innocent souls will certainly pave the way for the overthrowing of this cruel and anti-Islamic regime and will bring about an Islamic republic in Iraq just like Iran. “I am sure that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi army will purge this “stigma” from their and Islam’s history”, he said. (Keyhan newspaper, 23.04.1980).
Khomeini himself released a statement and said: “I don’t wonder that Sadr and his sister became martyrs, I wonder why Islamic countries and especially the people in Iraq apathetically do nothing about these crimes. I don’t expect from the high ranked officers in the Iraqi army but I encourage the low ranked officers and soldiers in the army to rise up and destroy this ruthless regime” (Keyhan newspaper, 23.04.1980).
These were just small pieces of the warmongering statements and interviews that took place by Iranian officials five months before the beginning of the war. In fact, everyone in the Iranian regime did their job to provoke Iraq and eventually to initiate this war. In the next article, we will review the last days before the war.
Ehsan Qaraee is an Iranian human rights activist and civil engineering student at Agder University in Norway.