During the 1980’s, the world was in a state of turmoil. The Middle East was as volatile as ever and the Cold War was still in full swing. The Middle East has always been a hot-bed for controversy and conflict; Iraq and Iran are no exception to this norm. By 1980, Iraq had become the second-largest eastern Arab State in population and size (Goldschmidt & Davidson, 2006). However, Iraq aspired to be more, Saddam Hussein sought to unite the Arabs and become the leader for all Arab states. In order to accomplish this, Iraq needed to prove that it was a strong enough power to replace the League of Arab States. In order to do this, Saddam would need to take some sort of action that everyone would notice. This proof would come on 22 September 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran (Takeyh, 2010). This would kick off a war that would last until 1988 and would become the deadliest war since World War II (Fredman, 2012). This war would shape the future relations in the Middle East and the world due to its economic impacts, the use of chemical weapons, and its political ramifications.
Iraq utilized a territorial dispute over Shatt al Arab, an area that Iran had gained control over with the treaty of 1975 to justify their invasion of Iran (Chubin & Tripp, 1991). Saddam Hussein regained this area from a weakened Iran following the Iranian revolution. Shatt al Arab is located at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers this key piece of terrain is important for two reasons (Chubin & Tripp, 1991). First, Iraq’s longest border is with Iran. Secondly, Iraq is a landlocked country and its only outlet is the Iranian port of Khorramshar, a major oil producing area for Iran, which is located down riv...
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...lt to predict, and if peace cannot be obtained it is possible that more wars will take place. One thing the world does not need is more countries with WMDs using them against each other’s population in another war.
Takeyh, R. (2010). The Iran-Iraq War: A Reassessment. Middle East Journal, 64(3), 365-383. doi:10.3751/64.3.12
Fredman, Z. (2012). Shoring Up Iraq, 1983 to 1990: Washington and the Chemical Weapons Controversy. Diplomacy & Statecraft, 23(3), 533-554. doi:10.1080/09592296.2012.706541
Brands, H. (2012). Saddam Hussein, the United States, and the invasion of Iran: was there a green light?. Cold War History, 12(2), 319-343. doi:10.1080/14682745.2011.564612
Goldschmidt, A., & Davidson, L. (2006). A concise history of the Middle East. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
Chubin, S., & Tripp, C. (1991). Iran and Iraq at war. Boulder: Westview Press.
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