Lasting for eight years, the Iran-Iraq War is widely considered to be the longest
lasting war of the 20th Century. Also the bloodiest, it was initiated by Iraq, with little
consideration for the intended outcome. The First Persian Gulf War had been
smoldering for centuries over a bed of coals fueled by differing religious beliefs,
and economical and political views, with encouragement from Third Party countries.
Finally sparked by an intended land grab, neither side appeared to have considered the
financial nor human cost racked up during hostilities. Nor did either side appear to
foresee the continuing cost that would go on for years after Official hostilities had
Prior to the beginning of the conflict, Iran and Iraq had both been colonies of
European nations. After the Second World War, both nations became sovereign and
began rebuilding themselves. Unfortunately, both nations ended up being ruled by
leaders who were deemed tyrannical and so went through many years of in-fighting and
attempted coups. Some of these leaders were protested against because of reported
corruption and mistreatment of their respective populaces but, underlying this was also
the sectarian separation between the Sunni and Shi-Ite sects of Islam.
After the final coop that stabilized Iraq, the Baath Socialist Party became the
ruling party. This group was almost exclusively Sunni even though the majority of the
populace were Shi-ite. Internal strife between the majority and the minority led to many
uprising attempts and the subsequent government reprisals. In October of 1978,
Saddam Hussein, at the insistence of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, expeled
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomein; who had been an exile in Iraq for 13 years.
Iran-Iraq War: Ignoring the outcome 4
In February of 1979, after the ouster of the Shah of Iran, Khomein returned to run
the new Shi-ite government. Shortly afterwards, he called for the overthrow of the
Baathist Regime of Iraq. In response, Saddam expeled 40,000 Shi-ites (Langtree),
widening the gap between sects. Also after taking control of Iran, the new Iranian
government began to exile, imprison and execute many of the Government leaders who
had not already left. This included almost the entire Military Officer’s Corps and much of
the Non-Commissioned Officers. Having the effect of leaving Iran disorganized from the
overthrow of the ruling government, it also left them with very little in the way of
leadership and experts to defend the country. This fact did not go unnoticed by their
Seeing the Shi-ite uprisings and the possible threat in Iran, other countries of the
Middle-East and West lent aid to Iraq in hopes of keeping the new threat occupied.
Threatened by the neighboring coop, encouraged by offers of support from wealthy
neighbors, and enticed by the oil-rich lands just across the border and the possibility of
a larger port for...