February 25, 1984 – Marines Leaving Beirut – The Never Ending Iran-Iraq War – Making The Cut In Primary Season
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February 25, 1984 – Busy news day. With the lowering of the American flag and the first detachment of Marines on their way out, the U.S. commitment in Lebanon was quickly coming to an end. Almost two years after their arrival, the Reagan administration decided to call it a day and leave the fighting to the Lebanese Army. The complete pullout was expected be finished by the following day, but even at that, fighting was still going on around the city, negating any ceasefire that was agreed to. Rebel units and Lebanese Army troops were busy shelling each others positions in the hills surrounding Beirut as helicopter escorts provided cover as the Marines left.
In other news – the on-going, seemingly endless Iran-Iraq war was continuing, with Iraqi military spokespeople saying their forces had crushed the latest two-pronged Iranian assault. On 15 February 1984, the Iranians began launching attacks against the central section of the front, where the Second Iraqi Army Corps was deployed: 250,000 Iraqis faced 250,000 Iranians. The goal of this new major offensive was the capture of Basra-Baghdad Highway, cutting off Basra from Baghdad and setting the stage for an eventual attack upon the city. The Iraqi high command had assumed that the marshlands above Basra were natural barriers to attack, and had not reinforced them. The marshes negated Iraqi advantage in armor, and absorbed artillery rounds and bombs. Prior to the attack, Iranian commandos on helicopters had landed behind Iraqi lines and destroyed Iraqi artillery. Iran launched two preliminary attacks prior to the main offensive, Operation Dawn 5 and Dawn 6. They saw the Iranians attempting to capture Kut al-Imara, Iraq and sever the highway connecting Baghdad to Basra, which would impede Iraqi coordination of supplies and defenses. Iranian troops crossed the river on motorboats in a surprise attack, though only came within 24 km (15 mi) of the highway.
And the U.S. Presidential Primary season was in full swing with the final weekend of campaigning by Democratic hopefuls who were hoping to make the cut ahead of the New Hampshire primaries. The night before, they all gathered at a DNC Fundraiser outside of Nashua and got some words of advice from former Presidential hopeful Morris Udal who cautioned the candidates not to go after each other because it would give ample fodder for the Republicans to use against them later on. Seems to be sage advice, no matter which campaign for the White House you’re talking about.
And that’s just a small sample of what went on, this February 25, 1984 as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.