The Iran-Iraq War

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Lasing from the September 1980 to August 1988, the Iran-Iraq war was not only the longest conventional war of the 20th Century; it was also the most destructive 20th Century conflict since WWII. The conflict produced over one million refugees and casualties and costed the combatant countries as much as one billion dollars per month, and the total costs have been estimated in excess of three hundred billion dollars. The end state of the conflict was catastrophic for not only the combatants but the region as a whole. The relatively prosperous economies of Iran and Iraq were crippled, oil production showed remarkable decline, and the instability of the end state precipitated future conflicts in the region. In hindsight, I believe the most pertinent …show more content…
Iraq’s decision to invade Iran was reflective of President Saddam Hussein’s desire to seize the Shatt al-Arab waterways and the oil producing province of Khuzestan and topple the Khomeini regime pursuant to his fears of Iranian hegemony and his aspirations of asserting Iraq as the pre-eminent Arab state. Within this framework, blame for the conflict rests with the Ba’athist ruled Republic of Iraq. Prior the war, Iraq enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in the Arab world. In alliance with Syria, Iraq was building a military front against Israel, and in so doing, aligning its foreign policies to the popular interests of pan-Arab nationalists. Furthermore its economy was experiencing unprecedented growth with record oil revenues of 30 million dollars in 1980. Prior to the conflict Hussein was positioning himself to fill the power vacuum left by the decline of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser orienting himself and Iraq as the center of the pan-Arab nationalist …show more content…
Iraqi leaders believed that under a theocratic regime Iran would continue to sow domestic discord in order to expand its revolutionary movement and overthrow the Iraqi Baath party. As a religious state Iran was an irrational actor and could not be negotiated with. The possibility that Iran sought once again to expand its influence coupled with the potential instability arising from an Iraqi population that was more than sixty percent Shia made war appear to be the only viable solution. Furthermore in order to secure Iraq as the center of the pan-Arab nationalist movement, it would be necessary to undercut the influence Iran held over the

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