The Causes and Effects of the the Iran-Iraq War

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Submitted By kayzhu2005
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Iran-Iraq War, An Iraqi soldier carrying an AK-47 assault rifle during the Iran-Iraq War.
[Credit: © Jacques Pavlovsky/Corbis](1980–88), prolonged military conflict between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s. Open warfare began on Sept. 22, 1980, when Iraqi armed forces invaded western Iran along the countries’ joint border, though Iraq claimed that the war had begun earlier that month, on September 4, when Iran shelled a number of border posts. Fighting was ended by a 1988 cease-fire, though the resumption of normal diplomatic relations and the withdrawal of troops did not take place until the signing of a formal peace agreement on Aug. 16, 1990.

The roots of the war lay in a number of territorial and political disputes between Iraq and Iran. Iraq wanted to seize control of the rich oil-producing Iranian border region of Khūzestān, a territory inhabited largely by ethnic Arabs over which Iraq sought to extend some form of suzerainty. Iraqi president Ṣaddām Ḥussein wanted to reassert his country’s sovereignty over both banks of the Shaṭṭ al-ʿArab, a river formed by the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that was historically the border between the two countries. Ṣaddām was also concerned over attempts by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary government to incite rebellion among Iraq’s Shīʿite majority. By attacking when it did, Iraq took advantage of the apparent disorder and isolation of Iran’s new government—then at loggerheads with the United States over the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehrān by Iranian militants—and of the demoralization and dissolution of Iran’s regular armed forces.

In September 1980 the Iraqi army carefully advanced along a broad front into Khūzestān, taking Iran by surprise. Iraq’s troops captured the city of Khorramshahr but failed to take the important oil-refining centre of Ābādān, and by December 1980 the Iraqi offensive had…...

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