Chemical weapons have been used by Saddam Hussein's regime against Kurds in Iraq itself as well.
However, although the US government knew about this quite well, during the entire Iran-Iraq war, it didn't make any attempts of stopping the Hussein regime from gas attacks.
As it became known from the declassified documents, back in 1983, the CIA obtained reliable information that Iraq was using chemical weapons (at that time, it was mustard gas) against Iran.
At first, the US authorities chose not to interfere. But in the mid 1980s, the US was already supplying both Iraq and Iran with chemical weapons.
The magazine "Foreign Policy" says that in the end of 1987, CIA's satellites discovered that Iran was concentrating forces around Basra, which was Iraq's most vulnerable point at that moment. The US reported about this to Saddam Hussein, although CIA people realized quite well that, very likely, Saddam would respond to this with a gas attack against Iranian troops near Basra – and he really did it. This time, it was not mustard gas, the effect of which on a human organism is very serious but, as a rule, still not lethal, but a much more poisonous gas – sarin.
In April 1988, Iraq held its last large-scale operation in this war, known as "Ramadan Mubarak". As a result of this operation, Iraq regained control over the Faw Peninsula. After that, the waring sides, exhausted by the war, concluded a truce with the help of the UN as a mediator.
Rick Francona, a retired US Air Force colonel, who was a military attache in Baghdad in 1988, has said to "The Foreign Policy" magazine that the decision to pass over the CIA's intelligence information to Iraq was taken after President Reagan had received a secret report that Iran was concentrating its forces near Basra. The president wrote on the margins of this report "Iran's victory should not be permitted!" Before that, the CIA and the US State Department didn't share their intelligence information with Iraq, calling Saddam Hussein's regime "bandits". At the same time, the US authorities did not hurry to investigate the cases of using chemical weapons by Iraq. They passed over this investigation to independent agencies. Moreover, when it turned out that Saddam's regime had used chemical weapons against Kurds in the town of Halabja, killing several thousand civilians, the US authorities announced that this attack was allegedly held by Iranians.
Colonel Francona says that soon after the battle at the Faw Peninsula, he visited the battlefield and saw lots of syringes with remains of atropine – a substance that is used as an antidote against some poisonous gases, including sarine. However, this didn't stop the US authorities from claiming that it was Iran who used chemical weapons in the Faw battle – although now, it is known for certain that Iran never used chemical weapons in that war.
Commenting on the article in "The Foreign Policy" magazine, some readers said that it was in fact a secret for nobody that the US authorities knew about Iraq's gas attacks against Iran quite well. However, only 25 years after the end of the Iraq-Iran war, the US authorities acknowledged this officially. With such a trend, it should be expected that the entire truth against the recent gas attacks in Syria will be officially published no earlier than somewhere in the 2030s. - Voice of Russa: Declassified documents say US knew Iraq used chemical weapons in war against Iran
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