The United States and the Middle East: A Search for New Perspectives

By Hooshang Amirahmadi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Irangate:
The Middle Eastern Connections

Stuart Schaar

Much remains unknown about the Middle Eastern connections in the Iran-Contra affair despite the wide availability of books, press reports, trial transcripts, congressional hearings, and other testimony on the subject. Evidence in the public domain reveals glaring contradictions in U.S. and Israeli foreign policy toward the belligerents in the Iran-Iraq War, which ended in a stalemate by 1988. Washington and Israel followed dual tracks in their relations with Iran. While condemning the Islamic Republic publicly as a terrorist state and telling the international community that it was leading a boycott of arms to Iran, the United States, working with Israel, supplied Tehran with weapons. Israel continued to deliver armaments to Khomeini's regime without interruption since 1979, operating with the knowledge of key U.S. officials. The United States also gave its supposed adversary critical military intelligence and negotiated for a presence in the country for American technicians. The same duplicity is seen in the Reagan administration's initial unwillingness to back coups aimed at removing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, while simultaneously marshalling world opinion against his regime. Rhetorical antiterrorism against Iran helped to build domestic consensus for U.S. intervention into other states, such as Grenada and Libya, but anticommunism made it imperative to ally secretly with the Iranian "terrorist enemy." The contradictions in the policies caught the Reagan administration and several Israeli governments in webs of intrigue.

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