The Longest War of the Twentieth Century: The Iran-Iraq War Essay

The Longest War of the Twentieth Century: The Iran-Iraq War Essay

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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...

... middle of paper ...

... hundreds of thousands of “Living Martyrs”, as the Iranian government

proclaimed them; should continue to be a reminder to all leaders of the great cost

inherent in the indiscriminate use of Chemical Weapons.

Works Cited

1. CNN Staff, “Iraq-Iran Fast Facts”, May 6th, 2014,

2. Sam Langtree, “Sunni-Shia Tensions in Iran-Iraq War”, April 12, 2012,

3. The reader's companion to military history. Robert Cowley, Geoffrey Parker, editors. p. cm. Sponsored by the Society for Military History. Includes indexes. 1. Military history. I. Cowley, Robert. II. Parker, Geoffrey, 1943— III. Society for Military History Copyright © 1996Houghton Mifflin Company
4. staff, “Iran-Iraq War”, 2009,

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