May 23, 2007

IRAN : General calls liberation of Khorramshahr landmark event in Iranian history

Tehran Times Political Desk

TEHRAN – The liberation of Khorramshahr is one of the most important events in contemporary Iranian history which may only be compared to the victory of the Islamic Revolution over the shah’s regime, Brigadier General Alireza Afshar, the deputy director of the Cultural Department of the Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces, said here on Wednesday.

On the threshold of the anniversary of the Beit-ul-Moqaddas Operation that led to the liberation of the southwestern city of Khorramshar from Iraqi occupation on May 24, 1982, the Mehr News Agency sought the views of three military commanders on the event and the current military capabilities of Iran.

After Saddam Hussein invaded the Islamic Republic, the United States never said that a regional threat had arisen, but when Iran retook Khorramshahr from Iraq, it declared that Iran had become a regional threat, Afshar stated.

In the Beit-ul-Moqaddas Operation, 36,000 soldiers of the Baath regime were killed, 19,000 were captured, and 285 tanks and armored personnel carriers and 40 planes were destroyed, he pointed out.

Iran recaptured Khorramshahr when it was still dependent on other countries for militarily equipment, but now it has managed to domestically produce much of its equipment and even export these products to other countries, he stated. Brigadier General Mohammad Kossari, the director of the Security Office of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, stated, “The liberation of Khorramshahr was Iran’s greatest military achievement in the second year of the Iran-Iraq war, which dealt a severe blow to the enemy and wiped out all their plans, beliefs, and military capabilities.”

The presence of Imam Khomeini in Iranian soldiers’ hearts during all the difficult situations when the enemy was stronger than us in every area inspired the soldiers to ignore the shortcomings and to fight with the enemy with all their strength, he added.

The director of Iran’s military maneuvers, Brigadier General Iraj Amirkhani, said that Operation Beit-ul-Moqaddas was one of the most important operations carried out by Iran in the war, during which the enemy was present in the region in full force in order to retain control of the city of Khorramshahr.

At that time, Iraq had four times more military equipment and troops than Iran, but what led to the liberation of Khorranshahr was the Iranian soldiers’ faith, he added.

During the battle for the liberation of Khorramshahr, the Iraqis became so confused that they left all their military equipment and water and fuel tanks in the region, he said.

Iranian forces prepared to respond to any enemy threat: senior commander

“Through various war games in recent years, our armed forces have shown that they have been successful in implementing Iran’s major military policy, which is a defensive policy,” Afshar stated.

Due to the Islamic Republic’s military might, many experts have advised the White House not to think of any military action against Iran, he said.

Also, as a result of the Armed Forces’ efforts to demonstrate the country’s defensive capabilities, the level of threats against Iran has decreased, he noted. He added, “Even certain Arab countries that were influenced by the U.S. have said that Iran is not a threat to them.”

Kossari said that Israel does not have the power to threaten Iran or to put its threats into practice, adding that the Zionist regime showed its weakness in the war with the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Amirkhani stated that due to the efforts of the country’s young scientists in the defense industry, Iran has now reached a level of military equipment production where it can meet any enemy threat.

“I believe that the U.S. is not crazy that it would to seek a military confrontation with Iran because the Islamic Republic is not a country like Iraq or Afghanistan that it can engage militarily,” he added.

Khorramshahr, symbol of resistance and victory

By Hassan Hanizadeh
On September 20, 1980, in the southwestern Iranian city of Khorramshahr, the first rays of the sun appeared from behind the palm tress on the bank of the Karun River.

Hossein, a worker at the Khorramshahr Port and Shipping Organization, and his wife Zahra were preparing their children Ali and Ahmad for school.

It was the first day of school. Overwhelmed with joy, the brothers were walking to their school in the city center.

With their hope, unawares, the children were building a better future for their poor family.

Meanwhile, in Shalamcheh, on the Iranian side of the border, 25 kilometers away from Khorramshahr, the commanders of Iraq’s Third and Fifth Armored Divisions were studying the operation plan under Baathist General Sa’ad Sheetah.

Sheetah, one of the cruelest high-ranking officers of the Baath Party, was lost in dreams of capturing Khorramshahr and the subsequent boost to his military career.

“Fire!” Sheetah shouted over the wireless. Within a few minutes over 150 batteries began to bombard Khorramshahr and its people with artillery shells.

The first shell hit the ground near Ali and Ahmad. Blood stained their books.

Many people, especially young children, began aimlessly running back and forth in the confusion.

Later the same day, artillery destroyed Hossein’s humble house and his wife Zahra and his 4-year-old daughter Sara were buried in the ruins.

Inflamed by a desire for revenge, Hossein took a rifle and joined the other men building barricades on the outskirts of the city to fight against the Iraqi tanks.

After seven days of bloody fighting, he was hit by a tank shell, and then none remained of his five-member family.

Because of the extensive civilian resistance, the ruthless Iraqi commanders extended the assault by land and air and the targets were most often ordinary people.

With their light weapons, the people of Khorramshahr succeeded in blocking the advance of the well-equipped Iraqi Army for nearly 40 days.

The Iraqi forces suffered 7000 casualties during these battles and their morale declined.

Finally, on October 26, 1980, utilizing extensive firepower and advanced military technology, the Iraqi forces occupied Khorramshahr.

After the fall of Khorramshahr, the Iraqi Army advanced to the neighboring city of Abadan, but met stronger resistance there and was only able to mount a siege of the city.

During the first year of the war, the international community observed the massacre of Iranian citizens in silence. The UN Security Council only issued one resolution, and even that resolution did not condemn the Iraqi invasion.

As Iraq had occupied vast swaths of Iranian territory near the Iraqi border, Iran conditioned a ceasefire on the withdrawal of Iraqi forces.

Finally, military operations started to force the Iraqi Army out of Iranian territory.

Operation Thamin al-A’emmah, which began on September 27, 1981 in the north of the encircled city of Abadan, totally destroyed Iraq’s Third Armored Division. Abadan harbor was liberated from the siege, and the Iraqi commander General Sheetah was killed.

On April 30, 1982, a major operation to liberate Khorramshahr, the Beit-ul-Moqaddas Operation, started.

Iranian forces encircled the occupied city of Khorramshahr and after a courageous battle, liberated the city from 578 days of Iraqi occupation on May 24, 1982.

The liberation of Khorramshahr turned the tide and resulted in successive losses for Saddam’s army.

From its superior position, Iran won brilliant victories despite all the financial and military assistance provided to the Iraqi regime by the United States, certain European countries, and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

In response, the U.S. and some other Western countries tried to prevent the fall of Saddam by facilitating Iraq’s chemical weapons program.

Saddam’s use of these weapons of mass destruction against Iranian border towns resulted in tens of thousands of military and civilian casualties.

Almost nineteen years has passed since the end of the Iran-Iraq war and Saddam has been punished for his war crimes, but the question remains as to who will take responsibility for the blood of Hossein’s family and the tens of thousands of other Iranian families. Perhaps the United States and Europe -- which provided such significant financial and military support to Saddam -- can answer this question.

1 comment:

Hamid said...

As I crossed the main highway linking Khorramshahr to Basra and hunting down fleeing iraqi military vehicles, I could only cry of joy to see the coward iraqi bastards pleading for mercy! Khorraamshar meant to us more than Leningrad and Stalingrad meant to the Soviet Union. The blood of Poor innocent civilians of Khorramshahr is on US, Britain, France and rthe entire Arab World (except syria) 's hands. God bless the brave children of iran who were great in one of the greatest history of mankind!