The Iran-Iraq War causes

Document Sample
The Iran-Iraq War causes Powered By Docstoc
					The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)
Background and causes
 1979: Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty
 1979: Iranian Revolution
 1980: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
 1982: Israeli intervention in the Lebanese
  Civil War
 Originally the Persian Empire
 Predominantly Shiite Muslim
 Ruled by Shah (king) Mohammad Reza
  Pahlavi (1941-79)
 Close ally of the US until the Iranian
Iranian Revolution (1979)
           The Shah’s policies became unpopular:
            ◦ “White Revolution in 1963” favoured wealthy
            ◦ Heavy reliance on US support
            ◦ Efforts to secularise Iran
            ◦ Corruption
           Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini became
            a political figure after being exiled by the
            Shah in 1963
           Khomeini successfully spread his political
            ideology and united opposition groups
            against the Shah whilst in exile
           Demonstrations against the Shah begin in
           Climax in December 1978; over 10% of
            Iranians demonstrate against the Shah
           The Shah is forced to abandon his position in
 Formerly part of the Ottoman Empire
 British mandate until 1932
 Arab identity; culturally different from the
 3 distinct demographic blocs
    ◦ Sunni Muslims (held majority in the
    ◦ Shiite Muslims
    ◦ Kurdish minority
Rise of Saddam Hussein
          The Hashemite monarchy is overthrown
           in a military coup in July 1958
          The coup was inspired by the pan-
           Arabism movement by Nasser and was
           discontent with Britain’s heavy influence
           in Iraq
          Another coup in 1963 established the
           Arab Socialist Baath Party in Iraq.
           Saddam Hussein was the Party Secretary
           at this time.
          The Baathists formerly seized power in
           a bloodless coup in 1968. Saddam
           Hussein is named President Al-Bakr’s
          Saddam continued to build his power
           base, forcing Al-Bakr to resign in 1979
Shatt al-Arab conflict
   The Shatt al-Arab waterway laid at the Iran-Iraq
    border and was the confluence of many rivers
    that ran through both Iran and Iraq
   Economic importance: The waterway was
    essential to connect Iraqi and Iranian
    cities/oilfields to the Gulf
   The waterway was critical for Iraq as it had a
    limited access to the Gulf
   The ambiguous border and Iranian support for
    the Kurds in Iraq led to open conflict in 1974
   The conflict was resolved by the 1975 Algiers
    Agreement. Iraq agreed to divide the Shatt al-
    Arab equally in return for peace with Iran.
Sunni-Shia divide
   Early historians of the Iran-Iraq War contend that the
    traditional divide between Sunni and Shiite sects
    contributed to the outbreak of war
   The adoption of Shia Islam as the official state religion
    in Persia during the 16th century caused territorial
    fragmentation in the Islamic World. Whilst Ottoman
    rulers sought to re-establish Islamic unity, Persia,
    under Shah Ismail I, sought to separate itself from the
    Sunni faith.
   The divide caused intense rivalry
   Khomeini’s Iranian Revolution can be compared with
    Shah Ismail’s doctrine, since both advocated Shia
    teachings and traditions, and undermined the
    separation of religion and state.
   Essentially the war was a re-emergence of this divide
Results of the Iranian Revolution
 Ayatollah Khomeini seizes power as the Supreme
  Leader of Iran. Under Khomeini, an aggressive and
  xenophobic Shiite theocracy is set up.
 Khomeini needed a distraction from domestic
    ◦ Economic problems inherited from the Shah’s rule
    ◦ Many who had supported the overthrow of the Shah
      now mounted in opposition of Khomeini
 Iran began to openly denounce the Iraqi
  Government, supporting Iraqi opposition groups
  and engaging in border skirmishes
 Saddam Hussein saw this as a violation of the
  1975 Algiers Agreement
Results of the Iranian Revolution
 Khomeini advocated to “export the
  Revolution”. This threatened Iraq, since
  many Shiite communities in Iraq were
  underdeveloped and discriminated against.
 Iraqi fears of a Shiite rebellion was one of
  the motivations of Iraq’s invasion of Iran
  in 1980
Iraqi ambitions
 Saddam Hussein wanted to “restore Iraqi-Arab
  identity” in the region
 Saddam wanted to gain full sovereignty of the
  Shatt al-Arab
 Khuzestan in the southwest of Iran became an
  important ploy in Saddam’s rhetoric:
    ◦ Called “Arabistan” during an autonomous period in
      the Persian Empire
    ◦ It had a predominantly Arab population
    ◦ It was an oil rich region
 Saddam also wanted control of oil rich islands in
  the Straits of Hormuz
 These factors motivated Iraq to invade Iran
Ideological conflict
 After Egypt’s expulsion from the Arab
  League in 1979, a power vacuum emerged in
  the Middle East. Iraq hoped to become the
  new leader of the Arab world. Pan-Arabism
  became a strong part of Saddam’s rhetoric.
 Iran adopted a slightly different doctrine of
  “pan-Islamism”. However, the ideal was
  skewed, implying the unification of Muslims
  under the Shia sect.
 These two doctrines both contested for
  leadership of the Middle East
Clash of personalities
 The egocentric personalities and dogmatic attitudes
  of Saddam and Khomeini, contributed to the
  outbreak of war
 The fiery rhetoric on both sides intimidated the
    ◦ Saddam was called a despotic criminal of the Iraqi Shiites
    ◦ Similar insulting remarks were made about Khomeini
 The exaggerated rhetoric misrepresented the
  concerns of both countries
 Khomeini intentionally did this to quell domestic
 Saddam intentionally did this to establish his position
  in the Arab world
Foreign influence
   An arms race was caused by foreign
    influence in the region cause by Cold War
    ◦ US support of Iran during the Shah’s rule
    ◦ British support of the Iraqi monarchy
    ◦ Soviet support of the Iraqi Republic (before
   The result was a significant stockpile of
    arms on both sides before the outbreak
    of the war
The spark
 Iran and Iraq engaged in tit-for-tat
  diplomacy due to the border skirmishes
 Attempted assassination attempt of Iraqi
  Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is
  blamed on Iran
 Iraq invades Iran on 22 September 1980
Majid Khadduri
   Iraqi-born historian
   Former Iraqi UN delegate
   Book: The Gulf War: the Origins and
    Implications of the Iraq-Iran Conflict.
   Argues that:
    ◦ The origin of the conflict lies in the Sunni-Shia
    ◦ Iran disrespected the Algiers Agreement which
      represented peace between the two nations
    ◦ Iraq did it’s best to seek peace regarding border
      issues after the Iranian Revolution
    ◦ The invasion was a justified pre-emptive measure
Behrouz Souresrafil
 Exiled Iranian journalist
 Book: The Iran-Iraq War
 Argues that:
    ◦ Centuries of cultural differences does not
      cause wars
    ◦ Iran-Iraq War a direct result of the Iranian
    ◦ Iraq feared a Shiite rebellion
    ◦ Also contends that a clash of personalities
      had a part to play
Daniel Pipes
 American historian
 A conservative political commentator who is highly
  critical of Islamic Terrorism
 Book: A Border Adrift: Origins of the Conflict.
 Argues that:
    ◦ Many observers over-attributed cultural antagonisms as a
      cause of the war, due to the surprising nature of the
      Iranian Revolution
    ◦ In the sixteenth century, although at war, Ottoman sultan
      wrote literature in Persian, whilst Shah Ismail wrote in
      Turkic, highlighting minimal cultural tension
    ◦ Iraq launched the war to wrest full control of the Shatt al-
      Arab waterway and gain the prestige of victory
    ◦ Iraq didn’t launch war over fear of a Shia rebellion. There
      were no major problems with Shia groups in Iraq

Shared By: