Costing up to $1,000,000,000 monthly and possible over $300,000,000,000 in material terms (Swearingen, 1988) over the course of the conflict, the Iran-Iraq War was at face value, an attempt by Iraq to compel Iran to recognize Iraq's territorial rights and to renegotiate the 1975 treaty. Initially, Iraq seemed to have either no clearly formulated strategic goals or had fallen short of them - the first reaction one would have when hearing that Iraq called for a cease-fire 6 days in and issued a set of demands which included a renegotiation of the treaty, return of the islands to the UAE and the non-participation and non-interaction of Iran within the Gulf community.
Most see Iraq coming out of the war as more powerful in absolute power terms but not in relation to the rising power of its neighbours (Parasiliti, 2003, p. 160). According to Parasilati (2003) Iraq's reliance on its economic "strategic rents" - the billions of loans and grants given by the West and other Arab Gulf states - undercut its power relative to its neighbours. Even though it may seem like Iraq hadn't lost territorially, its bid for power failed and dropped it deeper into debt. In addition, the only positive aspect of the war was the slight increase in the national pride amongst Iraqis but none of the important geopolitical issues were addressed.
There was no change in the 1975 agreement over the Shatt al-Arab waterway (Bahadori, 2005, p. 3) nor was Iraq the pre-dominant power in the Gulf. While internal control was once again secure, there was no change on any map as to an increase or decrease in territory.
As Swearingen (1988) mentioned and (Karsh, Military power and foreign policy goals: the Iran and Iraq war revisited, 1987-1988) developed on, Iraqi Sunni elites feared a Sh'i rebellion within Iraq. The revolution in Iran was mainly carried out by the majority Shi'i. Iraq aimed to discredit the Islamic regime as opposed to attacking the idea of Khomeini as a Shi'i muslim leader which would perhaps precipitated an intra-Iraq conflict. With this factor in mind, it can be stated that Saddam Hussein went to war with Iran on the rational that putting immediate pressure on Tehran would alleviate internal Iraqi problems as well as show that Iraq was determined to stand up for itself.
This conflict wasn't completely about...