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Iran-Iraq War (1980-88)

Iran and Iraq entered into a period of war stretching over 1980-88, basically known as the Persian Gulf War. The war which was initiated by Iraq, brought in its wake colossal damages for the bellicose neighbors viz, the war cost enormous lives and material things too. The idea of plunging into war proved a futile attempt because neither side succeeded in the military conflict nor any change occurred in their geographical contiguity. It was due to the unceasing struggle of the UN Security council that, at least, both sides succeeded in seeking out a ceasefire in 1988.

Furthermore, Iran witnessed a Shiite revolution in 1979, which replaced the monarchical structured government of Shah of Iran by Ayotullah Khomeini and Iranian province Kurd, inhabiting people of Iraqi origin provided one of the pretexts for invasion to Iraq. But the actual causes of invading Iran could be traced back from their rich history of oil reserves and strategic location.


Iran is one of the main countries constituting Middle East and by invading and subduing her Iraq could easily become the sole power of Middle East. So, the main causes of Iraq’s Invasion of Iran were economy based and a desire of becoming the sole power of Middle East. In addition, the war covering the period from 1980-88 not only brought cataclysmic damages for both sides but also ended in a stalemate. Iraq invaded Iran from 1980-82 and from then onward Iraq made several attempts to convince Iran for a cease fire.


Ayotullah Khomeini, the incumbent ruler of Iran, turned down the proposal for a ceasefire and extended the course and period of war to 1988 owing to his inflexible nature. What happened that the disaster of war got triple and the state’s treasuries of both sides become empty. Iran and Iraq fought aggressively with each other for nearly eight years but gained nothing from going to war.  The peace treaty which was concluded with the help of UN Security Council returned them to pre-war borders. Though, the consequences of war for both sides proved to be a complete wastage of time, resources, and innocent lives.


Moreover, the major powers of the world left no stone unturned in responding to the Iran-Iraq War. The two worth mentioned Global powers of that time world viz, Soviet Russia and United States of America whole heartedly supported Iraq whereas Iran remained almost ignored on the behalf of major powers. Soviet Russia had friendly relations with Iraq and, therefore, it eagerly favored her and equipped with technologically advanced modern weapons.

On the other hand, United States of America had fraught and strained relations with the Khomeini regime because US did not wish Ayotullah Khomeini to be replaced by Shah of Iran, renown for US blessing and mercy. This was the reason that US sided with Iraq and blessed her in modern arms and ammunition. US got interested in Iran-Iraq war to such extent that on one occasion US that time incumbent President Ronald Reagon could not help saying that US could not afford Iran victory to Iraq because She would loss an access to Middle East oil reserves.


Further, Pakistan, one of the major powers of Islamic world donated her whole heartedly support to Iraq on the grounds that Iran was a country with Shia Muslim majority while Iraq was a Sunni. At time of Iran-Iraq war, the world was also experiencing cold war, a race of Global domination between the Communist and Capitalist block headed by Soviet Russia and US respectively. In cold war era, Pakistan, joined US-led Capitalist block, therefore, it could also be the reason of Pakistan for supporting Iraq instead of Iran. In addition, the Iran-Iraq war which was not less than a catastrophe for Muslim world shed the blood and economy of Muslim populace like water was purely Western designed. It has been the history of Islamic world that it has always been fallen prey to Western imperialist set clutches and Iran-Iraq War is one of such examples. If there was no Iran-Iraq war Muslim world would surely escape one occasion for earning notoriety of destabilizing Global peace.


To recapitulate, Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88, not only ruined the economy and men power of both sides but also presented the dark and distorted picture of Pan-Islamism. It was a war of no again because both sides fought with each other aggressively for nearly eight years and finally ended it in a stalemate.



About Ali Tariq

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