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An Analysis Of The Outbreak Of The Iran Iraq War

1124 words - 5 pages

In the fall of 1980, one of the largest and most destructive conflicts to occur since the end of the second world war started between the states of Iran and Iraq. Lasting eight years, the war left approximately 1.5 million dead and around a million casualties with thousands of refugees fleeing both nations.
• Cost up to $1,000,000,000 monthly
• Total cost to date may exceed $300,000,000,000
• (Swearingen, 1988)

Using three levels of analysis - the individual, domestic and systemic - the causes of the conflict will be analysed and prove the aforementioned hypothesis.

• Geopolitical:
1. Some contend the it was about 105 km. long Shatt al-Arab boundary (not definitive) ...view middle of the document...

After the initial success in taking oil-rich Khuzistan, a key requirement for its return was the restoration of the waterway to pre-1975 status
5. Iraqi justification of the occupation of Khuzistan emphasized that control of this strategic region would compel Iran to recognize Iraq's territorial rights and to renegotiate the 1975 treaty



According to the Iraqis, Started on 4th September when Iranian troops shelled Iraqi towns and villages along the middle border region
• According to Iran and most observers, on 22 September, Iraq launched a full scale invasion of Iran
• Iran claimed from March 1979 to September 1980 363 airspace violations and 434 attacks by Iraqi artillery, infantry and armored forces
• Iraq claimed 544 violations of borders and airspaces during this time
• After the Iranian Islamic Revolution in Jan 1979, relations between the countries significantly deteriorated
• At outbreak, both sides were evenly matched with:
1. each side having ~250,000 forces
2. Iraq had more tanks (2,900 vs. 2,000)
3. iran had more combat aircraft (450 vs. 330)
• The invasion had 3 fronts:
1. Main one in the south = pentrated deep into Khuzistan and captured a 70 to 100 mile wide strip along the province's western border
2. Central border regions
3. Northern border region
• Khuzistan was considered important because it's population was mainly ethnic Arabs and because it contained the principle oil reserves and refining operations in Iran
• Other 2 fronts weren't very important and there was only a shallow penetration
• High level of military incompetence and misuse of military resources

• Iraq wanted to become a regional hegemon but wasn't able to due to a lack of sufficient power. It chose to attack a significant actor such as Iran because of its population size, its army, its industrial base, its territorial size was a significant threat to Iraqi hegemony. Additionally, due to the revolution, Iran was considered to be an international pariah and Iraq attempted to use this to its advantage. It chose not to attack Saudi Arabia due to several factors such as its huge oil reserves, its ability to wield power throughout the Arab world due to its religious significance,
• however,

Military Power Comparison
• UNKNOWN: Iraq seemed to have either no clearly formulated strategic goals or had fallen short of them -->...

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