Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Robert McFarlane (Jul.1937 - May.2022)

The efforts of Robert McFarlane, who died last week at the age of 84 in Michigan, to improve US-Iran relationship in the 80's could be a good subject to cover, although I know 99% of the people in today's world care nothing but their iPhone and social media profile and mostly have not even heard of the fella!
Iran-Iraq War is considered the longest and probably the most devastating war of the 20th century. It started in Sep. of 1980 by Iraqi forces crossing to Iran form west (east of Iraq, of course!) That was the time that Iran was not ready and got surprised. Many of the border towns were quickly captured by Iraqi forces and they advanced in Iranian soil and got close to two major cities of Khorram-Shahr and Ababdan in southwestern Iran. khorram-Shahr was eventually fell to Iraqi hands after days of resistance but was freed by Iranian forces after more than a year. 
Iranian Green Beret forces in Khorram-Shahr, after the liberation in 24-May-1982, exactly 40 years ago. H&K G3 was the common rifle in the Iranian army in those days  
The war then, when most of the Iraqi forces moved back behind the border turned to something that they call it " Trench War "! Yes! Quite similar to what was going on during the First European War (which is favoured to be called The First World War, despite the fact that many parts of the world, except for Europe, was in quiet and peace and people had their routine life!). 
One might ask what does that war has to do with the death of McFarlane? He stepped in when Iran, with the help from his supported groups, started abducting and taking hostages of American citizens in Lebanon, amongst them Terry Waite ( I remember the name after all these years!). The US wanted to ask Iran to help to release the hostages in exchange for modern arms, ammunition, etc. McFarlane was the fella who presented the idea and for that, very unexpectedly I'd like to say, traveled to Iran! At the time he was the highest American figure to visit Iran but no officials were in the airport to see him! 
President Ronald Reagan, Foreign Minister George Shultz, on his right are discussing the matters of hostages with McFarlane
He was taken to a hotel and left there for hours! A group of Revolutionary Guard people then met with him and his people but that made him even more furious! Some exchange later took place but not to the extent that McFarlane and his team were expecting and not all they wanted was included in the deal! In addition to that, the money from the trade (the exchange of ammunition and hostages and money) was supposed to be used, and partially used to help the Contra (the guerrilla who were fighting against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua), something that the Congress had banned. That led to a big scandal which involved McFarland, Oliver North and to a extent, Ronald Reagan. This was briefly refereed to in the movie American Made
McFarlane was put aside form the world of politics after that and was never recovered from that. 
(Photo, top: McFarlane during a testimony in regards to Iran-Contra scandal) 

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