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The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s - Essay Example

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The origin of Iran-Iraq War The Iran-Iraq war began in 1980 and lasted for approximately 8 years. This war marked the end for warfare of the Industrial style, which was characterized by mass: extremely large armies, supported by logistical networks that were complex in nature. …
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The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s

Download file to see previous pages... The war, however, was frustrating for both parties, with a victory that was decisive eluding them both. Various factors relating to the regime changes in both countries led to a full-blown war between Iraq and Iran, and a proxy war between Iran & the US. The premise of this paper is to analyze this war and the role the US had to play in it. 2. Iraqi army and Iran troops In 1979, Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim, took over power in Iraq, and set out to make Iraq the leading state in the Middle East (Kilborn 79). While Saddam and most of his supporters were Sunnis, the majority of Iraqi’s were Shia’s. Saddam did not trust them. Iran a neighbour to the east was predominantly Shia. In 1979, the Iranians, led by Ayatollah Khomeini, also overthrew their government, which had been under the Shah, a treasured ally of the US and Israel, and this led to an enmity brewing between these two entities. The revolution in Iran also marked the first time that clerics of Islam had harnessed the authority of religion to overthrow a modern and secular state with a theocracy (Jacek 39). 3. Saddam Hussein’s personality The most potent catalyst for the Iraq-Iran war was Saddam Hussein’s personality. Repeatedly, he aggressed against the Iranians, and it was only a matter of time before war broke out. A number of reasons were to nudge Saddam into starting a war. These were longstanding issues like access to the gulf of Persia by the Iraqi’s, & a few recent ones like the mistrust that the Iraqi’s felt towards the Iranians and their new government (Phythian 71). The Iraqi has historically claimed the oil rich province of Khuzestan, which had a large Arab population of non-Persian population, with historical ties to Iraq. A few small islands in the gulf of Persia, which were militarily occupied by Iran, were also laid claim to by Iraq. There was also the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which was disputed by both countries. 4. Diplomatic ties between Iraq and Iran Tensions between Tehran and Baghdad heightened in 1980. A group sponsored by the Iranians attempted to assassinate the foreign minister of Iraq, while Iraq captured and hanged Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, the grand Ayatollah, and a staunch, public defender of the Islamic Revolution (Phythian 79). Diplomatic ties were cut, with minor skirmishes along the border. Iraq, in September, declared Shatt al-Arab waterway as their territory, before invading Iran on the 22nd. The invading Iraqi’s were remarkably successful at first, managing to gain large swathes of territory, including Khuzestan. However, their march began to lose steam, due in large part to the ferocity with which the Iranian public responded, and the bravery of the Air Force of Iran. In January of 1981, the Iranians mounted a counteroffensive, which was unsuccessful & led to a stalemate period (Kilborn 91). 5. United States’ Contributions During the war, both countries attacked oil tankers bound for each other’s nation, in an attempt to cripple their foreign exchange sources. As the stalemate dragged on, neutral vessels were attacked with increasing regularity in the middle 1980s. This was especially a paramount concern for Western oil importing countries. After Iranians attacked Kuwait’s vessels, the United States’ president, Ronald Regan, gave the green light for Kuwaiti vessels to fly under the US flag, placing them under the patronage of the US, and giving the US the right to strike back if these ships were attacked ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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