On September 22, 1980, the Iran-Iraq war began a war that was imposed by the regime’s first supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini on the Iranian people. Every year the regime falsely praises this event as a victory for the Iranian people while it was only a win for its existence.
The description that this regime uses for this eight-year war is the ‘Holy Defense.’ The question is what the history of such an expression is and did we have witnessed such a thing through history.
The adjective “Holy” without any doubt is reminiscing the crusade wars. This series of wars were also called the ‘Holy War’. These wars were started to liberate the Holy Land (Jerusalem).
Pope Urban II initiated the first crusade. Pope Urban II absolved the Christian fighters and created the mental space necessary to continue the war. When a Christian soldier was sworn in, he would receive a cross from the church and become its official soldier.
In Pope Urban’s speech, there was a promise of remission of sins for whoever took part in the crusade. All who die by the way, whether by land or by sea or in the battle against the pagans, shall have immediate remission of sins.
Those who had committed more sins in their lives saw this war as a means of forgiveness for their sins. In his speeches, Pope Urban II clearly stated that forgiveness of sins will only be granted to those who are killed to reclaim Jerusalem, if they return safely, there is no forgiveness.
Exact the same event happened with Khomeini’s Iran-Iraq war, which apparently was in the name of the religion and for God and the conquer of holy places, but, has no other goal than the conquest of new lands. Instead of giving a cross to the soldiers he gave the Iranian soldiers the ‘Key to the heaven’ and with the monodies of the famous Ahangaran sent them to the front and on the minefields to pave the way for his conquest, something that mostly the ‘Basiji’ children were subjected to.
The context for one of the longest wars in the 20th century was Khomeini’s apparent interference in Iraqi affairs. Six months before the war began, Kayhan wrote in a provocative headline:
“Imam Khomeini invites Iraqi army to uprise.”
In addition to securing Khomeini’s conquest goals, the war became an excuse to confront political parties and organizations and inside the country and eliminating them.
Javad Mansouri, the first commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said:
“If there hadn’t been a war, I think the Islamic Revolution would have been defeated. [The war gave us] strength, experience. Many of us had great war outcomes. With the war we were able to suppress the counterrevolutionaries inside, to suppress the groups.”
The conquest of Khorramshahr, meaning the withdrawal of Iraq’s invading forces from Iranian territory, marked the turning point of the Iran-Iraq war. Without a doubt, this could have been a good opportunity for Khomeini to finish the war, if only he had considered the war a ‘crisis’ and not a ‘blessing.’ Nonetheless, Khomeini called the war a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift’.
He considered peace as the ‘burial of Islam,’ while observers contend that in reality peace would have led to the burial of his regime; so, he continued to fight after the liberation of Khorramshahr.
“This battle was a great blessing for you, revealing to you the essences of you. If the war had not happened, it was unclear how we would be and what situation we would be in.” (Khomeini)
Imitating the Crusades, Khomeini called his war a war between Islam and disbelief and marked its goal of ‘conquering Quds through Karbala.’ Of course, he was not satisfied with this. His warmongers started the war first with the slogan ‘war to victory’, later they changed their slogan to ‘War to eliminate intrigue in the world.’
He made different statements for the religious aspect of this war. Let’s look at some of his positions in the message known as the ‘Charter of the Clergy’.
“Every day we have had a blessing in the war that we have used in all scenes. We exported our revolution to the world in war.
“Our war was an aid to Afghanistan, our war will follow the conquest of Palestine, our war made all the leaders of corrupt systems feel humiliated by Islam, our war followed the awakening of Pakistan and India.
“How narrow-minded are those who think that because we have not achieved the ultimate ideal on the front, then martyrdom, sacrifice, and devotion are useless! While the voice of African Islamism is from our eight-year war, the interest in Islamology of the people in America, Europe, Asia, and Africa which means the whole world is from our eight-year war.” (Khomeini’s Sahifeh (Book), C21. Pp. 283)
The losses of this devastating war only on the Iranian side were:
- 2 million dead and disabled
- 40,000 hostages
- 50 cities destroyed
- 3,000 villages destroyed
- 4 million displaced
- 7,000 missing persons
- More than $1,000 billion in material damage
The sad truth is that all the wars in the Middle East are the continuation of the regime ‘export of revolution’ and the ‘holy defense’. With millions of losses and uncountable damages to the countries of this region.