The Causes and Effects of the the Iran-Iraq War Essay

910 Words Feb 14th, 2014 4 Pages
Iran-Iraq War, An Iraqi soldier carrying an AK-47 assault rifle during the Iran-Iraq War.
[Credit: © Jacques Pavlovsky/Corbis](1980–88), prolonged military conflict between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. Open warfare began on Sept. 22, 1980, when Iraqi armed forces invaded western Iran along the countries’ joint border, though Iraq claimed that the war had begun earlier that month, on September 4, when Iran shelled a number of border posts. Fighting was ended by a 1988 cease-fire, though the resumption of normal diplomatic relations and the withdrawal of troops did not take place until the signing of a formal peace agreement on Aug. 16, 1990.

The roots of the war lay in a number of territorial and political disputes between Iraq and
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Iraq’s war effort was openly financed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other neighbouring Arab states and was tacitly supported by the United States and the Soviet Union, while Iran’s only major allies were Syria and Libya. Iraq continued to sue for peace in the mid-1980s, but its international reputation was damaged by reports that it had made use of lethal chemical weapons against Iranian troops as well as against Iraqi-Kurdish civilians, whom the Iraqi government thought to be sympathetic to Iran. (One such attack, in and around the Kurdish village of Ḥalabjah in March 1988, killed as many as 5,000 civilians.) In the mid-1980s the military stalemate continued, but in August 1988 Iran’s deteriorating economy and recent Iraqi gains on the battlefield compelled Iran to accept a United Nations-mediated cease-fire that it had previously resisted.

The total number of combatants on both sides is unclear; but both countries were fully mobilized, and most men of military age were under arms. The number of casualties was enormous but equally uncertain. Estimates of total casualties range from 1,000,000 to twice that number. The number killed on both sides was perhaps 500,000, with Iran suffering the greatest losses. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurds were killed by Iraqi forces during the series of campaigns code-named

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