Re: We played this wrong.
Maybe they'd actually used up the ones 'we' sold them while arming both sides in the Iran-Iraq war?
Ah yes, the old bollocks. Don't bother finding out the facts, it's all the West's fault...
Not that we're totally blameless, and certainly having screwed up in Iran it looks like an equally bad decision was made to try and contain Iran by supporting Iraq. But for some factual background:
Iraq used Russian rifles and pistols. Iraq had Russian artillery and rocket launchers. Iraq used Russian SAMs and anti-aircraft guns. They used Russian radars, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and other military vehicles. Iraq had FROG and SCUD missiles (shall I tell you where they bought them? Yup, Russia.). They then had some upgraded SCUDs with the range to hit Israel (which they built/modified themselves). Now when it came to the air-force they had MiG and Sukhoi aircraft, and Russian helicopters, but yep, they did have some nice French Mirages as well. And it was Chirac that sold them the nuclear reactor that Israel bombed in the 80s. Co-incidentally it was France and Russia that vetoed most attempts to tighten sanctions throughout the 90s (and of course war in 2003) and that French and Russian officials (amongst others) were taking bribes in the form of UN oil export credits.
I believe that German companies sold Iraq a bunch of machine tools and chemicals plant. Which were used in the process of making chemical weapons. But that stuff could have been, and was, used in the Iraqi civilian economy for things like making fertilizer. No-one (not even the Russians) sold the Iraqis their chemical weapons, they built them themselves. Even after whatever happened to their remaining stockpiles in the late 90s had happened, Iraq still had the know-how to rebuild their chemical arsenal. As for the biological stuff, I don't think they ever managed to weaponise that successfully.
So nope, the US didn't arm Iraq in the 1980s, although they also didn't stop them arming. The Kuwaitis in particular (along with the other Gulf states) did loan them loads of cash to buy Russian weapons - I guess Kuwait didn't fancy having Iran as a neighbour. The French sold them multiple billions worth of kit (mostly aeroplanes), but the Russians were their main weapons supplier. I know we in the UK sold them some stuff, not sure if it was dual-use or actual military stuff, but I think they had a couple of British patrol boats. The Americans didn't supply much stuff at all. Also Iraq bought some of its kit via Syria and Jordan, to confuse the issue further.
However, no-one sold Iraq any chemical weapons. They built those themselves. I've still not seen anything to say what happened to the stuff the UN inspectors didn't destroy in the 90s. It would seem that there was some stuff found dangerously corroded that were leftovers from the Iran-Iraq or 1991 wars. And Iraq declared some sites when it signed up to the convention on chemical weapons, but they got bombed and were too dangerous to inspect, let alone clean up. I wonder if we'll find out when the Syrian regime collapses? Did Saddam destroy them, given them away, or did the UN Inspectors over-estimate the stockpiles?