Report: CIA Files May Show That U.S. Aided Iraq in Chemical Weapons Use
Just as the U.S. decides what to do about accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its people, a new report alleges that the U.S. may have actually helped another Middle Eastern country with a chemical weapons attack.
According to an exclusive report from Foreign Policy, the U.S. provided critical information to Iraq's military forces in the 1980's that helped them gain a huge advantage over Iran through the use of chemical weapons.
Based on declassified Central Intelligence Agency documents, Foreign Policy says that the United States used satellite imagery to figure out that Iran's forces were about to gain an advantage in the war against Iraq in 1988. The U.S. then conveyed the coordinates of Iranian forces to Saddam Hussein's government, knowing that they would use chemical weapons including sarin nerve gas in order to thwart the attack. The report also alleges that Iraq used mustard gas and sarin four other times that year — with the help of U.S. intelligence.
The U.S. has long denied any knowledge that Hussein planned on using chemical weapons when they provided Iraq with intelligence information. But according to interviews conducted by Foreign Policy, that might not exactly be true. Retired Air Force Col. Rick Francona, a military attaché in Baghdad during the 1988 attacks reportedly said, "The Iraqis never told us that they intended to use nerve gas. They didn't have to. We already knew."
The report also alleges that the United States kept information that would've helped Iran prove that Iraq used illegal chemical weapons against them under lock and key.
The new allegations pointedly come on the heels of the White House's condemnation of chemical weapon use, brought on by reports that nerve gas was dropped on rebels in Syria, killing hundreds including women and children.
The United States has joined several countries around the world in calling for an investigation from the United Nations.