The use of deception and the third-person effect to exploit an administrative process for military advantage.
He knew that they were paranoid.
He knew that the Iranians guarded their oil facilities with their F-14s, and his Air Force [the Iraqi’s] was terrified of dog-fighting the F-14s because at the time the F-14 was pretty much unmatched as a fighter aircraft.
So he figured the best way to get our aircraft to strike the oil refinery is to get the F-14s out of the air and the only way to get them out of the air is to ground them.
We don’t have the means to strike their airfield, so he called one of the Gulf leaders, I’m not sure if it was the Saudi king or somebody else, and he essentially told them, “Hey, we have received intelligence that an Iranian F-14 wants to defect in a couple of nights and they are going to come to your country, so just keep an eye out – there’s an F-14 coming.”
[Saddam] knowing full-well that that Gulf leader was going to leak that information to the Iranians – they did.
The Iranians heard ‘one of your F-14s is going to defect.
They panicked and put all of the F-14 pilots in jail, and while all the F-14 pilots were in jail being investigated for a possible treason plot, Saddam struck the oil refinery.Aram Shabanian, How the Iran-Iraq War Shaped the Modern World, Angry Planet
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