Iran was backed by the Kurdish militias of KDP and PUK in North Iraq, both organizations in fact rebelling against Iraqi Ba'athist government with Iranian support.
Iran's foreign supporters gradually came to include Syria and Libya, through which it obtained Scud missiles. It purchased weaponry from North Korea and the People's Republic of China, notably the Silkworm anti-ship missile. It also acquired arms from Portugal, notably after 1984. It also acquired propellants and other weapons related components from Spain and Portugal. The United States also provided covert support for Iran through Israel, although it is debated as to whether U.S. President Ronald Reagan actually ordered the sale of weapons to Iran. Most of this support included TOW missiles.
Iraq was supported by the Mujaheedin-e-khalgh, an armed group of Iranians opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Mujaheedin-e-khalgh usually engaged the pro-Iranian Kurdish forces in the North of Iraq, close to the Iranian border.
Iraq's army was primarily equipped with weaponry it had previously purchased from the Soviet Union and its satellites in the preceding decade. During the war, it also purchased billions of dollars' worth of advanced equipment from France, the People's Republic of China, Egypt, Germany and other sources.[better source needed] Iraq's three main suppliers of weaponry during the war were the Soviet Union followed by China and then France. It also acquired substantial arms from Portugal.
The United States sold Iraq over $200 million in helicopters, which were used by the Iraqi military in the war. These were the only direct U.S.-Iraqi military sales. At the same time, the U.S. provided substantial covert support for Saddam Hussein. The CIA directed non-U.S. origin hardware to Saddam Hussein's armed forces, "to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war." And "dual use" technology was transferred from the U.S. to Iraq.
Germany and United Kingdom also provided dual use technology that allowed Iraq to expand its missile program and radar defenses.
According to an uncensored copy of Iraq's 11,000-page declaration to the U.N., leaked to Die Tageszeitung and reported by The Independent, the know-how and material for developing unconventional weapons were obtained from 150 foreign companies, from countries such as West Germany, the U.S., France, UK, and the People's Republic of China.
The Iraqgate scandal revealed that an Atlanta branch of Italy's largest bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, relying largely on U.S. taxpayer-guaranteed loans, funneled $5 billion to Iraq from 1985 to 1989.
|Country||Support to Iraq||Support to Iran|
|Argentina||Sales of uranium|
|Austria||Construction of munition plant. Sold 200 self-propelled 155mm artillery pieces||Sold 140 GHN-45 Howitzers along with significant stocks of ammunition. Communications equipment.|
|Belgium||Construction of airfields and delivery of various munitions||Sold jet engines for F-4 Phantom aircraft. Delivered artillery shells and other munitions.|
|Brazil||Sale of ammunition, armoured cars, and tactical multiple rocket launcher||Major supplier (Sold 500 Cascavel and Urutu armored vehicles):9|
|Canada||Sales of war materiel|
|People's Republic of China||Some financial support and military exports||Sale of military equipment, including fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, rocket launchers, tanks, and artillery|
|Denmark||Sales of military equipment|
|Ethiopia||Sold 12 F-5 Tiger IIs|
|France||Sale of high-tech military equipment and uranium||Covert sales of large quantities of artillery shells (delivered 500,000 155mm and 203mm shells) Delivery of 60 pieces of 106mm recoilles rifles|
|East Germany||Sales of high-tech military equipment|
|West Germany||Sales of high-tech military equipment. $600 million worth of Electronic countermeasure systems. 1500 trucks and spare parts depot. 300 tank recovery and construction vehicles.||Chemical warfare defense equipment Communications equipment, small arms, and munitions|
|Greece||Sale of arms||$119 million worth of armaments and munitions|
|Hungary||Sales of war materiel|
|Italy||Several billion dollars in funding; sale of land and sea mines as well as uranium||Sale of land and sea mines|
|Japan||Engineering equipment such as trucks, caterpillars and bulldozers etc.||Engineering equipment such as trucks, caterpillars and bulldozers etc.|
|Jordan||Acted as main supply line|
|Netherlands||Optical equipment, including night vision devices for ground forces||Sales of Chemical Warfare defense equipment.|
|Norway||Fire and rescue vehicles||Fire and rescue vehicles|
|North Korea||Sold domestically-produced arms; acted as an intermediate for covert sales by the Soviet Union, Soviet satellites, and China|
|South Korea||$425 million worth of ammunition, jeeps, and quartermaster supplies||Sold 12 F-4 Phantom IIs as well as spare parts, artilleries such as KH-179, and other heavy weapons.|
|Kuwait||Financial support and conduit for arms sales|
|Libya||Armaments, munitions and ballistic missiles.|
|Pakistan||Sold shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile; unaccountable and covert financial support for Iran by Pakistan|
|Poland||Sales of military materiel|
|Portugal||Sale of uranium and arms||Sale of ammunition and explosives:8|
|Qatar||Initial support, though not openly|
|Romania||Sales of military materiel|
|Saudi Arabia||$20 billion in funding|
|Singapore||Provided chemical warfare precursors; acted as a transshipment point for weapons; was manufacturing site of foreign-designed weapons|
|Union of South Africa||Sale of military armament (200 G5 155mm Artillery systems)||30 G5 155mm Artillery systems|
|Soviet Union||Military equipment and advisors||Covert military equipment sales|
|Spain||Sale of conventional and chemical weapons, especially ammunition and explosives||Sale of weapons, especially ammunition and explosives:8 Delivered 200 pieces of 106mm recoilles rifles|
|Sudan||Sent troops to fight alongside Iraqi troops|
|Syria||Armaments, munitions and ballistic missiles.|
|Sweden||Covert sales of RBS-70 surface-to-air missile system, facilities/equipment/explosives/materiel for local weapons manufacturing, and fast-attack boats.|
|Switzerland||Sales of war material and Sales of chemical warfare equipment, also delivered 30 Bravo and Pilatus trainer aircraft||Chemical Warfare defense equipment Delivered 15 PC-6 propeller utility aircraft and 47 PC-7 propeller training aircraft, as well as Cryptology equipment, large quantities of ammunition, and electronic components for radars.|
|Turkey||Sold armaments||Sold armaments|
|United Arab Emirates||Financial aid|
|United Kingdom||Weapons-related equipment and ‘Sodium cyanide for chemical weapons and plutonium and gas spectrometers’||Sales of Chemical Warfare defense equipment. Chieftain tank engines and artillery shells|
|United States||Several billion dollars worth of economic aid; the sale of dual-use technology and non-U.S. origin weaponry; military intelligence; Special Operations training||Secret arms sales (Iran-Contra affair)|
|Yugoslavia||Weapons sales (more than $2 billion worth), construction of five large airbases with hardened underground aircraft shelters by the Yugoslav construction company Energoprojekt .|