Glimpses of Epic of 8-Year Holy Defense (39)
In the previous program we talked about the 4th and last phase of the great Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation. In this operation, Khorramshahr was liberated after 575 days of occupation by the Iraqi Baathist forces. The heroic and exemplary 34-day resistance of defenders of Khorramshahr before the fall of the city with literally no weapons or equipment became eternal in Iran’s history.
The great Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation and liberation of Khorramshahr was one of the sensitive junctures in the 8-year holy defense by Iranian people against Saddam's Ba'athist regime which was strongly supported by then western and eastern superpowers and their lackeys in the region. The liberation of Khorramshahr was considered as a model of resistance and victory of Iran's combatants, and Saddam had said that the retaking of Khorramshahr would be tantamount to giving the key to Basra to Iranians. World military commentators, by observing strongholds and defensive positions of the Iraqi army in the city, likened it to the battle of "Stalingrad" in WWII. But what happened to this "Stalingrad" of Saddam that within 24 hours it fell in the hands of the Muslim Iranian combatants?
Among the main causes of this crushing victory were the initiatives and tactics adopted in the operation. The strategy of liberating the occupied regions with the effective participation of the combined forces of the army, the IRGC and Basiji popular forces yielded spectacular results and political and military achievements for the Islamic Republic. The Fat’h ul-Mobin operation, which had been launched a few weeks before the great Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation and was as a prelude to the latter, achieved its goals in a short time and exposed the Iraqi army's inefficiency more than ever. Along with the victories of the Iranian combatants on the battlefields, inside the country irreparable blows were inflicted on counter-revolutionary groups, especially the MKO terrorist outfit, supported by then western and eastern blocs.
At this juncture in time, Iran's political and military victories tilted the balance of power in favor of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the world's political and security analysts stated that Iran had overcome domestic and foreign crises and the regional countries will soon see the impact of this movement in the region. This was an alarm to their interests in the region. For this reason, new initiatives were made in the region with the axis of Israel. In fact, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon took place at the same time. In addition, the US and the reactionary Arab regimes of the Persian Gulf and North Africa made big efforts to strengthen Iraq and prevent the domino of its defeats. Increasing Saudi and Kuwaiti financial aid to Iraq, normalizing Egypt's relations with Iraq and providing British arms aid to the regime were all done to this end.
Among other outcomes of Fat’h ul-Mobin operation were to increase the intelligence capability of Iranian forces and their dominance in operational planning. These paved the ground for Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation. This operation was considered the last ring of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military strategy for liberation of occupied territories in Khuzestan province. What revealed the position of the operation was to achieve the highly strategic and sensitive port of Khorramshahr. This goal was of a very great importance to the Iraqi army. The Iraqi Ba'athist regime considered it a very strong tool to put pressure on the Islamic Republic at the negotiating table, while the Islamic Iran considered liberation of this city as an imposition of its political will on the aggressor and to prove its military superiority. Thus, the outcome of the Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation was vital and fateful for both countries. There were other tactical objectives which added to its importance.
In addition to the Iraqi dictator Saddam and its invading army, many military experts and media analysts were stupefied by the speed of action and the operational features of the Iranian combatants during the liberation of Khorramshahr. In addition to their lack of belief in the capabilities of the Iranian forces, they were quite reluctant to accept the top political-military position of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was achieved by conquering Khorramshahr and its consequences in the Persian Gulf and West Asia. With the start of Bayt ul-Moqaddas operation, all spoke of the advancement of the Iranian combatants and crushing the Iraqi strongholds in a state of utter incredulity.
The French state-run Radio Monte Carlo considered it impossible for Iran to retake Khorramshahr because of the many obstacles created by the Ba'athist army. Another state-run radio and the mouth-piece of the British Royal family, BBC, while stressing the difficulty of retaking Khorramshahr, said: "If Iranians are trying to retake Khorramshahr, they have chosen the hardest walnuts to break." With the start of Bayt ul-Moqadass operation, the Financial Times wrote: "Khorramshahr is the key to winning the war; this city is the only real sign of the victory of Iraq and represents Iran's stubborn resistance." Algeria-based daily Alshaab also emphasized the growing trend of Iranian military victories as a turning point that "will determine the future of the Iraqi regime." The German daily Deutsche Zeitung, quoted by its reporter Karl Buchala, referring to the consequences of the liberation of Khorramshahr, wrote: "The danger of Iran's victory and, and the ensuing collapse of Iraq, threatens the ruling regimes of the region after the downfall of the Ba'athist regime in Baghdad, and also leads to the interference of the superpowers."
The liberation of Khorramshahr changed the world view on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The strategic goal of the US in provoking and supporting Saddam in invading the Islamic Republic of Iran was to overthrow the new-found Islamic Republic system. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the US spared no effort to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran. These efforts included: economic sanctions, military coup d'état, military intervention, instigation of sectarian and separatist skirmishes, support for terrorist acts and assassination of thousands of senior figures in the Islamic Republic and even laymen.
In the wake of the political instability in the advent of the Islamic Revolution, the US was convinced that the Iraqi all-out aggression against the Islamic Republic would result in overthrowing the Islamic Republic system and instating a puppet regime in Iran. The liberation of Khorramshahr nullifies all these sinister dreams. Saddam's invasion of the Islamic Republic led to the consolidation of the Islamic Republic and further bolstered national unity under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, the great leader of the Islamic Revolution. The rapture of the Iranian nation after the liberation of Khorramshahr was one of the most brilliant events which has been imprinted indelibly in the history of the Islamic Revolution. No sooner had the news of liberation of Khorramshahr released, the Iranians, from all walks of life, took to the streets to rejoice this unmatched victory. The people were congratulating each other with tears in their eyes, distributing flowers, chocolates and sweets. This nationwide celebration showed to what extent the Islamic Republic of Iran was based in the hearts of the Iranian nation.
The liberation of the strategic city of Khorramshahr changed the power equity in the war and the region for good. From then on, the UN and other organs, which have long been under the influence of big powers especially the US, hastened to relieve the tottering regime in Baghdad by calling the two sides of the war- Iraq and Iran- to come to the negotiating table for the so-called peace talks without mentioning the aggressor and the initiator of the war. In fact, these efforts were made to halt the advancement of the Iranian forces and gain time for the wretched army of Saddam to restore its strength and morale. Next time we will continue the discussion.