...Redifining Journalism for Development

Imam Khomeini(QS): Historic testimonies of the press, by Yusuf Magaji


Friday Sermon

In the name of Allah Who states “If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: if He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let believers put their trust.” Ali Imran: 160.

May the everlasting peace and blessings be upon the Great Messenger, our Master Muhammad (S) and his purified progeny.

The piece for this week is on the 31st commemoration of Imam Khomeini’s demise, 3rd June 1989. Due to a tight schedule, I couldn’t put pen on paper then. However, it’s better late than never, says a famous adage.

Undoubtedly, Imam was a great man of Allah who demonstrated his love and obedience to Him. He struggled against the enemies of Islam and their local and international stooges to a successful end in the era of advancement in science and technology. But for the Islamic revolution he led, no one could tell the destiny of Islam and Muslims, especially in the Middle-east.

I will like to reflect on the press testimonies of the first decade after the success of the Islamic revolution in 1979 to Imam’s demise in 1989 covering the imposed war aimed at nipping the nascent Islamic republic in the bud.

Obviously, the world powers and their lackeys used all powers at their discretion to avert the success of the revolution. With their woeful failure, they took another option which was the imposed war on baseless reasons.

The imposed war was on the pretext of border disputes against Iran. However, most analysts believed Saddam’s decision for the invasion was a personal miscalculation based on greediness and possibly fear of Iran’s new revolutionary leadership on Iraq’s geostrategic position. The war was linked to religious schisms, border disputes and political differences.

Above all, Iraq launched the war in an effort to consolidate its rising power in the Arab world and to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf State. According to Phebe Marr, the famous analyst on Iraqi affairs; “the war was more immediately the result of poor political judgement and miscalculation on the part of Saddam Hussein,” and “the decision to invade, taken at a moment of Iranian weakness”.

The war took eight years in which hundreds of thousand lives were lost on the two sides, besides millions of casualties and billions of dollars damages. It was one of the most noticed strategic conflicts in modern times involving two major oil producers in the region containing more than half world reserves.

In contrast to the widespread propaganda against Iran, third parties put the blame on Iraq declaring the “WAR WAS IMPOSED ON IRAN”. A good example is a prominent interview conducted by the WASHINTON TIMES, November 8th, 1986 with the French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac; the war has been imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a war imposed by the Iraqi government.

The Iraqi government wanted to take advantage of the weakness of the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the wake of the revolution and invade the country in order to bring the Islamic republic to its knees.

On the “INITIATOR OF THE WAR” also, the ETTELAAT, December 12, 1991, quoted a spokesperson of the foreign ministry: eleven years after the start of the war imposed by the Iraqi regime, one of the key demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran which was rooted in the rightful stance of the Iranian government and nation was eventually met.

The UN Secretary-General- in line with clause 6 of the resolution and the mission of the UN Security Council had entrusted him with – identified Iraq as the aggressor and responsible for the outbreak of the war”.

Like the ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY PROCESS which was based on faith and confidence in Allah the Most-High, the real and successful actors in the imposed war were hailed by Imam Khomeini (QS); “ROLE OF THE CLERGYMEN IN THE EIGHT YEARS OF HOLY DEFENSE” Clergymen, followers of velayat, did their task correctly.

Proof of such claim is clergy martyrs, like; Shah Abadi, Mahalati, Shirazi, Meisami, Zamani, Razeghi etc, and more than two thousand five hundred and ninety-two students of religious schools. They have always defended Islam and their Islamic country in the most difficult situations and have done bravery deeds. So, their names are memorized and honoured in this country’s history.

They modelled Imam Husain’s revolution and went fast to battlefields. They mocked the satanic power of “Baath” political party and its supporters and they, in the company of some brave and Muslim youngsters fought in war zones and created high dignity and sacrifice, in addition to wars familiar with values. They cooperated with young Iranian people on the battlefield.

With the regard to “WOMEN’S ROLE IN HOLY DEFENSE” The Imam said; women in current time proved that they are diligent as men and sometimes they are even prior to men. Iranian Muslim women left behind an unforgettable epic dedication in the victory of the Islamic revolution and dispensation of Islamic values.

They, directly and indirectly, participated in holy defence and self-sacrificed for saving the religion and defending the borderlines. The brave Iranian women resisted against the Ba’athist forces from very beginning days beside the men in the front line and after that stood and tolerated hardships in the backline.

Despite the hardships and superpowers’ conspiracy, women defended their self-respect and prestige. Women as mothers, sisters and wives of martyrs were the messengers of men who crusaded for Islamic dispensation. Women were nursing the war injuries in hospitals in the backline and provided the warriors’ needs by changing their houses to backup and logistic centres.

Although they knew that they must tolerate lots of difficulties, they accepted to marry warriors and war veterans. During 8 years of the imposed war, 4913 women suffered martyrdom, many of them were injured and some of them were captured by Ba’athist forces”.

Apparently, a very wide coalition of world powers and their petrodollars lackeys with their latest military hardware and intensive intelligence waged the war against Iran “AN UNEQUAL WAR” not only its geographical neighbour Iraq.

Same was reported by ETTELAAT Newspaper, August 15th 1988; Renowned Swiss journalist Ahmed Huber: Iran new that the US, France and the Soviet Union were supporting the Iraqi regime in an unbelievable fashion.

In fact, in this war, Iran fought all major powers. By closing the doors of the international arms market to Iran and by boycotting the Iranian oil, the superpowers sought to destroy the Iranian economic and military infrastructure. The Americans guided Iraqi warplanes with their satellite intelligence and the Soviet Union provided Iraq with missiles.

Attesting to what it called “BIGGEST VICTORY, August 18th, 1990” RADIO ISRAEL quoted the JERUSALEM POST as reporting on the comments of Menashe Amir, the head of Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Persian language division, in an interview with THE DAILY.

Mr Amir said that no doubt Saddam’s expression of willingness to swap prisoners, evacuate Iran’s occupied territory and accept the Algiers Agreement amounts to a major victory for Iran.

On its part, FRANCE’S LE MONDE Newspaper, August 17th, 1990 described the defeat as “A REAL SURRENDER” in this war may come with a delay. After eight years of carnage, in august 1988, Iraq won the Persian Gulf War by making concessions.

But on Wednesday, August 15, its rival emerged victoriously. Iran won the post-war political battle without conceding points. Iran suddenly defeated its neighbour two years after the war. The concessions and proposals of President Saddam Hussein were like a political surrender.

The Baghdad strongman abandoned all his previous positions vis a vis his enemy by acquiescing to the 1975 Algiers Agreement, announcing the withdrawal of his forces from Iranian territory and accepting a swift prisoner swap”.

The JOMHOURI-E ESLAMI Newspaper, August 25, 1990; ADMISSION BY SUPPORTERS OF THE AGGRESSOR; Acceptance by Iraq of the 1975 Algiers Agreement after eight -years of war and loss of so many forces and resources amounted to a big political, psychological and cultural defeat for the country.

RADIO COLOGNE January 11, 1991, also commented; LAST SWATH OF IRANIAN LAND; In the Persian Gulf crises, a few days ago, on January 8 to be more exact, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein took another step to soothe the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He ordered Iraqi soldiers to evacuate the last swath of Iranian land, although the Iraqi government (initially) sought to use the evacuation of this part of Iranian soil as a bargaining chip in peace talks with leaders of the Islamic republic.

Once again it was proven that Iran was the ultimate winner of the war Saddam Hussein triggered in the Persian Gulf. As such “IRANIAN LEADERS OVERJOYED” finally emerging victorious from the war with an unpredictable Iraqi regime which suffered huge losses, August 15, 1990.

In what RADIO ISRAEL, 1990 called “CONFIRMING THE DEFEAT” in the second week of the crises, Saddam practically admitted that  Iranian policy had failed. He recognized the very same deal he once tore in front of TV cameras and withdrew within days form part of the Iranian territory he deemed vital to Iraqi security and handed it back to its original owner. He acted as if there had been no eight-year war and as if one million people hadn’t fallen victim to the adventurism of a bullying ruler.

In what VOICE OF AMERICA aired as “A WINLESS END” August 16th, 1990; What will the Iraqi people think about this (the signing of the 1975 Agreement by Iraq? How will they react to losing so many people in this war?

Professor Garry Sick, US National Security Adviser under President Carter; this is a major defeat for Saddam Hussein because it was Saddam Hussein’s interpretation of the 1975 Agreement that triggered the war. After eight years of war and bloodshed, acceptance of Iran’s stance by Saddam Hussein would, in fact, amount to no victory”.

A very interesting thing about “ALL THE DIFFICULTIES SUFFERED BY THE IRANIAN PEOPLE” was their understanding and confidence in the Imam as ETTELAAT Newspaper, August 15, 1988, confirmed in an interview with famous Swiss journalist Ahmed Huber “ON HARDSHIPS AND BONDS” what is worth pondering is that despite an eight-year war, millions of Iranians hold rallies in support of Imam Khomeini and the Islamic establishment.

Despite all the hardships this war has caused, it has boosted the bonds. The Iranian people are very experienced, politically. That is why I am very optimistic about this nation.

MOMENT OF VICTORY; WHAT WE WANTED; After recognizing the 1975 ALGIERS AGREEMENT and accepting to withdraw his forces from Iran and swap prisoners in an official message, Saddam Hussein said; President Rafsanjani, with this decision, things will be clear and all the demands you insisted on would be realized. There is nothing left but to set the deals ready for signing. BAGHDAD RADIO quoted the Iraqi leader telling the Iranian President.

The victory was obviously a DIVINE INTERVENTION looking at Iranian armed forces evidently incapacitated, lacking spare parts and necessary military equipment for combat, highly scorned revolutionary guards led by religious authority and very little or no military experience, compared to Saddam’s military buildup, an army of 190,000, equipped with 2,200 tanks, 450 sophisticated aircraft and other latest Western and Soviet manufactured military equipment.

Added to this was the huge amount of money made available. The ABC News reported; THE S130BLN PRICE TAG; the Iran-Iraq war has cost Saddam Hussein dearly. At the beginning of the war, he had S30 billion in hard currency; at the end of the war, he was S100 billion in debt, September 11, 1990.

Allah states “the unbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend; but in the end, they will have (only) regrets and sighs; at length, they will be overcome: and the unbelievers will be gathered together to hell” Anfal: 36.

The woeful failure of the war imposed on Iran (1980-1988) by the Saddam’s administration with the full support of the West, East and Arab countries has beyond doubt demonstrated the help of Allah to the Imam.

With the overwhelming support from all directions, Saddam and his masters confidently calculated defeat of the overstretched Islamic republic within short period promising a global press conference in Tehran.

“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you: if He forsakes you, who is there, after that, that can help you? In Allah, then, let believers put their trust.” Ali Imran: 160.

Imam Ali (AS) said “Allah will bring forward the martyrs on the day of judgment with such pomp and splendour, that even the prophets if mounted, will dismount to show their respect for them. With such grandeur will a martyr appear on the Day of Judgment”.

When the Imam was struck by Ibn Muljim, the terrorist assassin in the early hours of 19th Ramadan, he said: I have succeeded by the Lord of the Kaaba! Imam Husain said; “my grandfather told me that I was destined to attain a very high spiritual position that could not be attained except through martyrdom”.

Evidently, Imam Khomeini has prophesized the downfall of communism and capitalism and the global rise of Islam that enemies can never prevent. Earlier, he spoke on the humiliating death of Saddam in the hands of his American masters which the world witnessed.

However, despite the prophecy, the Muslim community has to strive sincerely for the manifestation of the noble goal, as the Holy Qur’an states “… verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves with their own souls …” Q13: 11.

While praying for Allah’s mercy on the Great Imam (QS) and his lieutenants, I stress the need for the unconditional release of Sheikh el-Zakzaky (H) and his disciples.

Wassalamu Alaikum.

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