Khorramshahr in a long war: A reliable book about recapturing Khorramshahr

With a brief look at the cultural report card of the war, we find out that basically three publicizing, artistic and historical realms and flows, have been in charge of defining and explaining the Sacred Defense; the realm of public media -in written and oral forms (periodical newspapers and journals, radio and television,…) the realm of art and literature and the realm of cultural research and political-historical inquiry.
Unfortunately in cultural projects in this flow, aside from 2 or 3 exceptional cases and titles, there cannot be found any precious and notable research. Also in the political realm, nearly no important or significant measures has been taken except for some articles and the likewise that has been provided. But it seems that during the Sacred Defense, a purposeful flow in the area of writing and reviewing history and political-historical inquiries has been in charge of this crucial deed, as it continuously and methodically has set foot on this ground with the intention of narrating and writing the history of the Sacred Defense. The extent to which this movement is based on objective scientific criteria or approvable and justifiable innovations is a different subject that we are not going to deal with in this report. However the origins of this thought and action is of importance and should be subject to comprehensive contemplation.
 ((Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ Center for the Sacred Defense Documents)), formerly known as ((Center of War Research and Studies)) and before that known as ((Political Office)), which has past the elementary tests for writing the history of war, has recently published the fourth edition of ((Khorramshahr in a long war))- designated book of the festival of "Quarter of a Century of Sacred Defense’s book of the year "_ with a renewed edition in octavo size and 528 pages, in 2000 copies. This book, written by Mahdi Ansari, Mohammad Doroodian, and Hadi Nakhaei, is the most comprehensive book yet published about the predicament, in which Khorramshahr was occupied, and the defense and persistence of this city’s people for 35 days.
 Authored in ten successive and detailed chapters, according to the sequence of events and themes, this book contains 4 fundamental and significant themes. These 4 themes consist of A: political- religious conditions of Khorramshahr before end after the triumph of the Islamic revolution and the primary grounds for the incidence of war, B: the commence of the aggression and the circumstances of the assault on Khorramshahr, C: defense and resistance of revolutionary forces and military power against the enemy d: its downfall and occupation by the Iraqi forces.
 In the book’s brief and useful prologue the historical precedent of, Khorramshahr since the period of Mohammad Shah of Qadjar Dynasty and the assault of Baghdad’s governor on this port in 1874 and the Arz-Room contract and the significance of Khorramshahr district are surveyed, then the occupation and liberation of the city in the imposed war is analyzed and the book tends to the fact that in Khorramshahr, lies two epics; the epic of resistance and the one of liberation. In this prologue, after introducing the entry and the content of the book, the source books and resources for this work are presented to the reader as: …((contents are approved by the documents gained through long times of primary research and complimentary researches. These documents consist of direct interviews with witnesses and those who fought in the battlefield of Khorramshahr and also individuals who had accurate information about this specific battle. Another part of the documents are corpus of reports, circulars, and telephone-grams and… in written form that are issued or published by various military or disciplinary organs and revolutionary institutions and other civil organizations and…)) another sentence which comes after this statement goes as: ((…what has been stated in the book, is what this center should afford…)). It seems that the explanation of two momentous points is and has been necessary. One is the presentation of authors’ procedures and methods for writing a book and the other is the exhaustive critique and inquiry of resources and source books used and relied on in the text. In fact tending to these two issues can familiarize the reader with the creators’ procedure and appliances and answer the meticulous and curious reader’s questions and dubieties in advance. For example if the citation of news could be a reliable and truthful unit, how and why? Or do all of the books written by organs and institutions, and letters sent by them and telephone-grams have exactly the same value in view of the soundness and the level of validity, and the other question is that on which kind of the mentioned evidences has the main emphasis of the authors been? Of course in reading and reviewing the text-especially in the second part of the book- the reader notices that the basis of the contents and the main emphasis is on the oral utterances of the eye witnesses of the events and the other mentioned resources have been complimentary and of secondary importance.
 The first part of the book, in four successive chapters is related to explaining the political history and conditions and ways of thinking and religious thoughts before the revolution in Khorramshahr. The first chapter by the name of ((Khorramshahr Till The Triumph of the Islamic Revolution)) indicates the ethnic orientations and religious thoughts, a brief explanation about their activities and also Iraq’s movements and its endeavor to take advantage of the fact that people in the area spoke Arabic. In the rest of this chapter, the expounding of the activities of religious groups in Khorramshahr and their condition is tended to, and at the end of the chapter, revolution days and thoughts of Ayatollah Ahabir Khaghani in these days are briefly reviewed.
 The second chapter by the title of ((Ill-fated disputes of ethnic orientations in Khorramshahr)) tends to the beginning of ethnic oriented activities in Khorramshahr after the after the triumph the Islamic revolution and their efforts to dominate Khorramshahr having the Iraqi regime supporting them and with the advocacy of Sheik Shabir. In the rest of the chapter it has indicate the activities of religious-revolutionary forces of Khorramshahr in order to counteract the anti-revolutionary and ethnic oriented activities, and the conflicts between two parties through which Iraq raised up the spirits of its inner agents and persuaded them to continue the tension, and the fact that the anti-revolution focused on Sheikh Shabir and with sabotaging, armed demonstrations and slogans like ((autonomy for Arabia ,democracy for Iran)) aggravated the situation. This chapter finishes with clarifying how a revolutionary movement and wave was shaped that put an end to the riot about autonomy and ethnicity.
 The third chapter by the title of ((the new position of Iraqi in the America’s Strategy)) pertains to the period of Iraq’s preparation for a full-scale military war. In this chapter, besides exploring the reason for the resignation of Hassan Al-Bakr and the seizure of absolute power in Iraq by Saddam Husain, explains the kind of future that awaited Iraq after Saddam Husain gained power. In the rest of the chapter we read about the economic sanctions against Iran and the halting of relations between Iran and America and it is concluded from a corpus of the western media’s analysis that the war between Iran and Iraq is quite contingent, and Iraq definitely has much more power, so its victory is unchallenged. At the end of this chapter the failure of Tabas assault and Nozheh coup d’état and the countdown to the beginning of the imposed war are reviewed.
((Khorramshahr in the war of explosions)) is the title of the forth chapter which tends to the change of Iraq’s approach and tactic after the failure of its((Arab-making)) of Khuzestan via its associate agents and groups inside, through public and open activities in the disguise of independence seekers and ethnicity worshipers. In this chapter, after the explosions and the identity of the bombers and the consequences of explosions and their prevalence in different regions are surveyed, a list of numerous explosions is presented which took place in different regions of Khuzestan province during the year before the beginning of the war by the agents of Iraq, with the indication of time, place and a brief report of the incident, along with the source of the news. The second part of the book by the title “Khorramshahr in the overall assault of Iraq” consists of 6 chapters in which the final preparations of Iraq for the beginning of the direct military attack until the complete capture of Khorramshahr is tended to.
 The first chapter of the second part of the book that is named "Khorramshahr on the threshold of Iraq’ assault, at first tends to the circumstances of the border and the city of Khorramshahr in late September 1980, and then it indicates military condition and the measures taken after Iraq’s movements on the border. In the rest of the chapter, we can review the operations and movements of Iraq around the border after the triumph of the Islamic revolution and the reactions of responsible organizations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. At the end of this chapter the plan of attack and the formation of Iraqi regime in south of Iran are available.
 The title of the sixth chapter is ((the delusion of capturing Khorramshahr the easy way)). This chapter in the beginning takes look at Khorramshahr at September 1980, how the all-out invasion started in this region, the extraordinary fire that opened on the defenseless people of the area and the reaction of the people to it. It continues with going over the ways in which the ground attack took place, beginning to transgress the borders and territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Khorramshahr region, aggressive units, axes of aggression and the circumstances of counteractions during the first three days of the assault. The rest of the chapter under the title of ((establishing basic resistance)) is dedicated to establishing and organizing of defense forces and then with indication to the axes of the assault, it clarifies the measures taken in each axis during the first week of the assault in order to counteract the enemy. Matters such as Iraq’s failure to achieve a fast victory and the declaration of a ceasefire by this regime and the reaction of the Islamic Republic of Iran to this issue, are indicated at the end of this chapter. ((The occupation of Khorramshahr becoming the main issue and the concentration of forces)) is the title of the seventh chapter which is about the failure of Iraq in its first approach to quickly occupy Khuzestan, and the main concerns of Iraqi regime which were the concentration of forces and the occupation of Khorramshahr and Abadan. It continues with the second stage of the enemy attack in September 27th 1980 which is executed through the two axes of Pole No and the prefabricated buildings and also the pursuit of it in 28th and 29th of September through three axes: the port, around the port and the prefabricated buildings. Then the procedures of the counteraction by the defenders and the failure of the enemy in gaining success in these attacks are explained. Next it depicts how the enemy forces had the intention of finishing up Khorramshahr with a heavy assault of armored forces; an intention which with the heroic sacrifices of the defenders was doomed to an ignominious failure. At the end of the chapter an example of the effects of the artillery fire on the defenders’ refreshment camp has been set.
 The 8th chapter is named ((ten days of war behind the gates of Khorramshahr)). This chapter first depicts the disappointing conditions of supporting forces and the commandment and the forces’ state and the organization. Then the passing of Karoon by the enemy and the inattention to the warnings are indicated. In the rest of the chapter, the procedure of attacks and conflicts taken place in 1st and 2th of October behind the gates of Khorramshahr and the efforts of the enemy to enter the city and the resistance of the defenders in order to prevent them and eventually the predicament of gaining a foothold in the entrance of the city by the aggressors are stated.
 ((The enemy in the blood city)) is the ninth chapter pertaining to the enemy’s penetration into the city after 22 days of backbreaking efforts and enduring heavy casualties. Also the circumstances of the insider forces and the inattention to fundamental support of Khorramshahr and the commanding house, process of enemy progress in the city and axes it chose to achieve this aim are among the other constituents of this chapter.
 This chapter ends with elaborating the excruciating street battle and the brave counteraction against those aggressors who made a blood city out of Khorramshahr, by the defenders which hindered the incontestable downfall of the city in 14th of October.
 In the 10th chapter ((final assault and the occupation of Khorramshahr)) we go through the pursuit of the defenders’ resistance and house to house fight in order to prevent Khorramshahr from falling. Then we read about the critical situation of supporting due to the Great Mosque being in the range of enemy fire and the efforts to prevent the enemy from reaching this spot. This chapter continues with the plans of the enemy for the final assault and the occupation of the blood city, inside and enemy forces’ condition before this assault and the enemy’ resolve to launch the final assault, and the reason for its 3 days halt or delay. The final assault of the enemy was launched with the equipped and fresh units with strong support in numerous axes in the dawn of the 2nd of Abadan and the few remaining defenders of Khorramshahr resorted to resisting with all their power, but eventually with the dominance of the enemy on the only remaining route to Khorramshahr (Karoon bridge) and with the order to the survivors of this prodigious epic to void the city, the city of blood was occupied by the enemy, so this chapter ends with these events.
 Two attachment of the book by the names of ((the role of women in the epic of the blood city)) and ((a remembrance of the martyr Sheikh Mohammad Hassan Sharif Ghanooti)) is a praise of the endeavors of the committed women in Khorramshahr in the current of the city defense and the deeds they did in the direct clash with the enemy, supporting the fighters and outreaching them.
The second attachment is an expression of just some small fractions of the life and strife of the martyr Sheikh Sharif who in 14th of October 1980 was savagely and brutally martyred by the Iraqi army. In addition to what was said the content and the theme in the elbow room, taking into consideration the good prose of the text and the proper beginning and ending of Hassan Mazidi’s work would be becoming. The attention of the authors of this book to the approximately homogeneous and especially non-slogan and emotionless prose is evident nearly the entire of the book. The logical and correct beginning and ending of the chapters and parts and the fluency clarity of the text is well felt in the book. Adhesion of the final attachments and the indexes of documents, resources and the names of important characters are significant because they have presented the book as one of the source books in the fields of war and The Sacred Defense and associates it with the recapturing of Khorramshahr-Beit-ul-moghaddas Operation.

Asgar Abbasnezhad
Translated by: Arash Yazdanpanah

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