The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 3, 1980-Page'5
MAJOR CITIES STILL INTACT; NO REAL VICTORIES YET
Little gained in Iran-Iraq war
BASRA, Iraq (AP)-Despite a week
and a half of bitter fighting in the
desolate wasteland along the border
with Iran, the Iraqi army has precious
little to show for its effort.
Although Iraq has seized hundreds of
square miles of Iranian territory, it has
failed to capture any major city or
achieve any decisive victory at its
various points of incursion.
IRAQ HAS WON complete control
over a 30-mile portion of the Shatt al-
Arab, the 120-mile-long border water-
way that empties into the Persian Gulf
20 miles south of this port city.
But for the moment, that remains a
hollow victory because all commerical
traffic has been shut down, the docks at
Basra are idle and dozens of cargo
ships and countless fishing vessels have
The major Iraqi oil terminal at Al-
Faw, at the southern tip of the Shatt,
reportedly has suffered severe damage
from Iranian artillery.
THE IRAQI ARMY struck into Iran
on Sept. 22 at points near Qasr-e-Shirin,
Naftshah, Mahran, Dezful, Ahwaz,
Khorramshahr, and Abadan, gobbling
up vast stretches of Iranian territory
and crushing a number of minuscule
There is no front, as such, rather a
series of incursions punched into Iran
with wide territorial gaps separating
them. There are no accurate figures on
how many troops are involved in the
fighting on either side.
In the crucial southern theater where
Iran has major oil facilities, the
Khuzistan province cities of Ahwaz,
Khorramshahr, and Abadan have stub-
bornly refused to give way to the Iraqi
IRAQ CLAIMS TO have entered par-
ts of Ahwaz, capital of Khuzistan, but
no journalist has been able to travel
closer than 15 miles from the city and
army officers acknowledge they still
are meeting stiff resistance to the
An Iraqi army spokesperson said his
troops were fighting beyond Ahwaz
while continuing to battle the Iranians
about 6 miles to the south.. That claim,
however, could not be verified indepen-
At Khorramshahr almost daily
predictions of an Iraqi victory have
proved unfounded as the continuous
pounding of the city with artillery has
failed to beat it into submission. Jour-
nalists visiting the front as late as Wed-
nesday said they were halted farther
from Khorramshahr than on similar
trips last week.
AT ABADAN, WHERE one of the
world's largest oil refineries has been
set on fire, the heavy Iraqi shelling has
not yet dislodged the city's defenders.
Iranian Phantom jets continue to
roam over the desert with -impunity,
hitting military targets at will in the
apparent absence of Iraqi MiGs.
Although to all appearances the
Iraqis have been fought to a standstill:
in the southern oil region, observers are
reluctant to call it a draw. One theory
for the slowdown, according to diplomts
who declined to be identified, is that':
Iraq is employing the strategy of:;
devastating cities with long bombar-
dments with heavy weapon fire before
committing itself to an all-out assault.
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RESIDENTIAL AREAS NEAR the Iranian Abadan oil complex continue to
burn as Iraqi forces pummel the area with artillery. Hundreds of area persons
were reportedly killed or wounded yesterday.
Arabs strengthen oil
defenses, fear war
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP)-Conser-
vative Arab oil nations in the Persian
Gulf are concerned that the Iran-Iraq
war could spread to their shores and
touch off a superpower confrontation in
the Middle East.
"The conflict has gone on longer than
is safe," said one Arab diplomat in the
11th day of the Iran-Iraqi war.
THOUGH FEW countries have
publicly taken sides in the conflict,
many tend to sympathize with the Arab
Iraqis, locked in struggle with a Per-
sian country Since the Islamic
revolution in Iran, many nations have
been jittery about repeated calls from
Tehran for "export" of the revolution.
Saudi. Arxbia, worried about its
vulnerability to attack should the war
spread, asked for and received, four
sophisticated American planes that can
provide early warning of air attack.
,Beirut diplomats say both Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait have strenghtened
their oil field defenses, a precaution
against Iranian threats to unleash war-
planes all along the Persian Gulf if the
Americans intervene or if the regime of
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is
threatened by defeat.
KUWAIT AND Saudi Arabia share
borders with Iraq and are just across
the Persian Gulf from Iran. Their
diplomats in Beirut say both countries
look to the United States and other
Western countries for protection if Iran
widens the war or if the Soviet Union
decides to move into the oil-rich area.
Although they are not Arabs, -the
Iranians are Moslems of the Shiite sect
and their revolution has arousedf the
ambitions of Shiites in many gulf states
ruled by Sunni Moslems. A case in point
is Iraq, ruled by Sunnis but with 60 per
cent of the population Shiite.
That is why the war has religious
overtones and why the Shiite leadership
in Tehran calls the Sunni regime of
President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad
"infidel" and brands' Hussein a
"corruptor" and "blasphemer."
Iran has repeatedly accused Persian
Gulf states of 'aiding the Iraqis by
trucking oil from Saudi Arabia to Iraq
for domestic consumption, allowing
Iraqi ships to seek haven in gulf ports
and, in the case of Jordan, allowing air-
fields to be used by Iraqi planes.
1980 ELECTION DEBATE
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