In 1984, Grand Ayatollah Khomeini accepted the unconditional surrender of Iraqi forces today, ending four years of bitter fighting that killed hundreds of thousands on both sides and saw the use of horrific chemical weapons.
"The Ayatollah's Triumph", a story by Andrew Beane
The defeat for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was especially damaging, as he faces instability at home given the failed invasion of its Shi'ite neighbor, a shattered economy and possible civil war.
The Iraqi Army crossed the border into Iran on September 22, 1980, with Hussein hoping to catch the Iranians off-guard as the Islamic Revolutionary government attempted to consolidate power in the aftermath of the dramatic overthrow of the Shah. Despite modest early progress on the part of Iraqi forces, which included massive air, artillery and rocket attacks, by June of 1982 the Iranians had regained virtually all of the territory taken by Baghdad.
Unable to bring the Islamic government to the negotiation table, the Iraqi's were forced to pull back deep into their own territory and form a static defense as Iran's army sought to punish Hussein's regime by removing it. Iraq failed to mount a strong enough resistance to the invasion, and was unable to organize new army divisions when the Soviets, France, and the United States all ignored Saddam's call for weapons.
Iran captured Basra in 1983, which prompted Iraq to launch dozens of short-range ballistic missiles, mainly Soviet-designed Scuds with chemical warheads at several Iranian cities. Iran countered with as many as sixty missiles fired upon Baghdad, effectively devastating the city. Iraqi morale never recovered and its command structure disintegrated. By the beginning of 1984, only the Republican Guard still loyal to the ruling Ba'athist Party. Saddam was forced to surrender in order to concentrate his remaining armed force on defeating Kurdish and Shi'ite rebellions.