The Oral History of the Sacred Defense Narrated by Ali Ishaqi

Electronic Warfare*

Reyhaneh Mohammadi
Translated by: Zahra Hosseinian


Electronic Warfare is a book on the Sacred Defense narrated by Ali Ishaqi which was published in 2018 by Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center, thanks to the efforts of Yadollah Izadi. The book includes 27 interviews with this commander of Sacred Defense and covers his childhood until the adoption of Resolution 598 and the end of the Iran-Iraq War. Due to the continuity of topics in some interview sessions, the content of the book was organized in 23 chapters.

As it is read in the preface, "Ali Ishaqi began his serving in the intelligence unit at the beginning of his presence in the operational areas of Khuzestan province, and after a while he set up a small group in the intelligence unit called ‘eavesdropping’. The successful ‘eavesdropping unit' in Operations Samen-ol-A'emeh and Tariq al-Qods, and its effective role in the success of these operations, led this unit to play a role in Operations after Operation Fath-ol-Mobin, in the name of Electronic Warfare unit (or Janga’al). Janga’al was one of the influential units in the eight year Iran-Iraq war. By monitoring the activities of enemy units from the front lines to the depths of battlefield, analyzing the obtained information, and briefing the results to the commanders, the staffs of this unit helped the commanders to adopt a fighting method."

The first interview is about the life of narrator in childhood and adolescence. He explained that when he was three, immigrated to Iraq with his family from Isfahan and stayed there until the end of high school, when the Ba'ath party came to power and persecuted and expelled Iranians, so they return. Also, he described how he spent the military service, how he worked in Esfahan Steel Company, and how he was involved in buying and selling and repairing motorcycles. Furthermore, he mentioned his marriage in 1972, activity in the Islamic Revolutionary Committee, being dispatched to Gonbad Kavous and Sistan and Baluchestan, and doing several missions to end some rebellions in the early days of the Islamic Revolution's victory in these areas.

In the second interview, Ali Ishaqi narrated his presence in the south of the country at the same time as the beginning of the war, and assuming responsibility for intelligence in the south of Ahvaz to Darkhoveyn, and controlling the activities of Ba'athist units in this region. In this section, he explained how to eavesdrop the conversations of enemy units and the formation of ‘eavesdropping unit’.

In the third interview of the book, which includes the period of Operations Samen-ol-A'emeh and Tariq al-Qods, Ishaqi pointed the mission of ‘eavesdropping unit’ was to eavesdrop the enemy’s conversations in intelligence-based unit of Darkhoveyn. In the next interview, he explained about the development of equipment and training of human resources of the ‘eavesdropping unit’ in the period of Operation Fath-ol-Mobin. According to him, after the role of eavesdropping became apparent in the Operation Tariq al-Qods, the eavesdropping unit was activated independently by order of the IRGC commander, and a number of Iraqi Mujahidin worked alongside Iranian staffs in the unit.

In the following, the narrator explained that the main mission of the eavesdropping unit was to analyze the information collected from the conversations of enemy’s army units, which helped the commanders to gain a correct and realistic understanding of the latest situation and actions of the Ba'athists. About the Operation Fath-ol-Mobin, he pointed to the construction of five eavesdropping sites for the Karbala base as the central base of operations and four operational bases under its command, so that the base was fully aware of the enemy's behavior. He added that with this effective action of the eavesdropping unit, the commanders were informed of the actions of the enemy units in this operation.

The most important discussion in the sixth interview, entitled ‘The Establishment of the Electronic Warfare Unit’, is the role and mission of this unit in the Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas. In this regard, the narrator said that in the last days of the Operation Fatah al-Mubin, the commander-in-chief of the IRGC announced the mission of the next operation, namely the liberation of Khorramshahr, to the electronic warfare unit. Also, the unit was assigned the task of identifying and tracking the movement of ships in the Persian Gulf. In the next interview, the talks were around the Operation Ramadan. The narrator believed that before the Operation Ramadan, the enemy made good use of the experience of the four major operations of the Islamic Republic during the liberation period, and was able to succeed against the Iranian forces, unlike previous operations.

In the following, Ali Ishaqi explained the evolutionary course of the electronic warfare unit until the Operation Muharram and enumerated the capabilities of this unit in this period. Controlling the fifth column elements of the enemy in the depths of the local region and monitoring the telecommunication connections of the enemy's support posts in the Persian Gulf were his other discussion in the eighth interview.

In the following interviews, Operations Before The Dawn, Dawn-1, Dawn-2, Dawn-3, and Dawn-4 were discussed, and the narrator explained how the information gathered from the depths of the enemy zone and also the first mission of Janga’al unit in Operation Dawn-2 on the northwestern fronts.

In the 13th interview, Ishaqi spoke about the activities of the electronic warfare unit in the Operation Kheibar at the Hawizeh Marshes region. Warnings of Janga’al unit on Iraq's chemical attacks and briefing the information and continuous analysis of the Iraqi army's performance during the operation were among the issues discussed in this meeting.

In the next interview, the situation of the enemy forces in the Hawizeh Marshes region, the period between the two Operations of Kheibar and Badr, were discussed. And the fifteenth interview deals with vulnerability reduction in the Operation Badr.

Titled ‘Electronic Warfare Narrated by heads of Unit’, the 16th chapter is interview with seven former heads and old staff of ‘eavesdropping unit’ and electronic warfare, including Sardar Ali Ishaqi, Hossein Ishaqi, Akbar Ghasemi, Akbar Jazini, Hossein Panahi, Ismaeil Sadeghi, Nouri Alavi and Seyyed Habibollah Mortazavi, who served in this unit from the beginning of its formation until 1986.

In the following, three interviews were dedicated to discuss about Operation Dawn-8; the 17th interview is about the preparation period for Operation Dawn-8 in Al-Faw region. In the 18th interview, Ishaqi described the function of Janga’al unit in Operation Dawn-8. In the next interview, he pointed to the Operation Dawn-8 as the culmination of the Janga’al's success.

Discussions on the next interviews focus on the two main issues: Operation Karbala-1 with the aim of liberating Mehran, and comparing the performance of the Iraqi army and Iranian military forces in analyzing the battle and taking advantage of past experience. The main topic of the next interview is about the grounds and reasons on which Ali Ishaqi separated from the electronic warfare unit in 1986; the unit he himself had founded and played a big role in its development. In the 23rd interview, which is the final interview about the oral history of Ali Ishaqi, his responsibilities and activities in the war after his separation from the electronic warfare unit were discussed. The list of indexes and some documents related to the intelligence and electronic warfare were attached at the end of book.

The book, titled Oral History of Sacred Defense: Narrated by Ali Ishaqi / Electronic Warfare was published in 591 pages, 1,000 copies and a price of 45,000 Tomans.


* Electronic Warfare is equivalence to ‘Jang Electronic: جنگ الکترونیک’ in Persian, which is abbreviated to ‘Janga’al:  جنگال.

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