December 14, 2010: Wikileaks confirmed what had long been only whispered about in Iraq; that Iran funded and directed assassinations of those responsible for the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The latest revelations detail attacks on 1980s era Iraqi Air Force pilots. It was reported that Iranian sponsored death squads had killed 180 of these pilots, and caused another 800 to flee the country.
The Iranians are still eager to punish those responsible for starting and prosecuting the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. For the Iranian government, those considered most guilty are the senior members of the Baath party. Saddam Hussein led that party from the 1970s to 2004, but the Iranian death lists contain several thousand names. For Iran, there can be no peace until all these Baath Party officials are dead. The Wikileaks revelations indicate that the Iranians are also seeking those who killed the most Iranians. Iraqi warplanes were active in bombing Iranian military units with chemical weapons, as well as civilians when urban areas were hit. The Iranians have also sought out those involved with Iraqi chemical weapons.
Four years ago, it was noted that deaths from revenge killings now exceed those from terrorist or anti-government activity. Al Qaeda was beaten, and running for cover. The Sunni Arab groups that financed thousands of attacks against the government and coalition groups, were by then battling each other, al Qaeda, and Shia death squads. It was not civil war, for there were no battles or grand strategies at play. It was not ethnic cleansing, yet, although many Sunni Arabs had fled the country, or were planning to. What was happening here was payback. Outsiders tend to forget that, for over three decades, a brutal Sunni Arab dictatorship killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia Arabs. The surviving victims, and the families of those who did not survive, wanted revenge. They wanted payback. And even those Kurds and Shia Arabs who didn't personally want revenge, were inclined to tolerate some payback. Since the Sunni Arabs comprised only about 20 percent of the population, and no longer controlled the police or military, they were in a vulnerable position. Iran is believed to still be funding death squads that will search out and kill Saddam cronies still on the lists.