ABC News: A brief paragraph in the mountain of Wikileaks documents shed a sliver of light on what officials claim is a viscious and coldly efficient Iranian campaign of revenge on Iraqi air force pilots who bombed Iran during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
The systematic elimination of Iraqi air force pilots by Iran was a little noticed vendetta amid the crossfire of ethnic fighting and urban combat that convulsed Iraq in the years after the U.S. invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Iran used the chaos in the aftermath of the invasion to settle scores from the Iran-Iraq war, an eight-year slug fest from 1980 to 1988 in which an estimated 500,000 Iranians and Iraqis died. The war was largely a bloody standoff that resembled World War I at times with trench warfare, poison gas, human wave and bayonet attacks.
Iran, however, has taken a special vengeance on the pilots of the Iraqi air force and the lawlessness that followed the collapse of Saddam’s regime gave Iran its opportunity.
In addition to the 182 pilots who have been hunted down and killed by Iranian agents, the assassination campaign prompted another 800 Iraqi pilots to flee the country, according to statistics released by the Iraqi Defense Ministry.