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Iran-Iraq War Causes and Effects

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rebecca abelson

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Iran-Iraq War Causes and Effects

$600 billion debt accumulated with destruction of economic developments
Relations with allies grew tense as Iraq unable to pay back debts
Slowed GDP growth
Eventually became most indebted poor country in the world 8 years of fighting in vain, for both sides
Deadliest conflicts since WWII
Both countries were devastated economically
Iran seemed to have learnt from mistakes, while bankrupt Iraq found itself involved in another conflict
In 1990, Saddam Hussein recognized Iranian rights over eastern half of Shaat-Al Arab
First widespread use of chemical warfare since 1918
Iran became more militaristic and anti-western
Aftermath: Iraq The causes of the Iran-Iraq conflict can be attributed to a wide range of issues
Political Causes --> historical claims of territory, Shatt al Arab waterway dispute, and result of the Six Day War
Economic Causes --> occupying of Khuzestan, religious
Cultural Causes --> cultural differences between Iran and Iraq and results of the Iranian revolution Causes Long term causes Short term causes Overview of Causes Saddam Hussein ordered the exile of Iraqi citizens that had been born in Iran
Invaded Iran in 1980 as culmination of disputes between two countries Border and Shatt al Arab waterway disputes
Overwhelming sense of nationalism Long term Causes Historical Disputes
It granted the Persians southern Caucasus and all of Mesopotamia to the Ottomans
This treaty however did not end the animosity between Iran and Iraqis
18 additional treaties were signed before the turn of the twentieth century 7th Century BC The historical disputes over the Shatt al Arab waterway and border can be traced back to the Islamic period that occurred in the 7th century
Invasions and counter invasions occurred between Mesopotamia and Persia regions 1639 AD Border lines between countries had always been vague when described in the Treaty of Zuhab (1639)
This treaty was signed between the former Ottoman Empire (the Iraqis) and the Safavid Empire (Iran)
Treaty of Zuhab stated that the border between Iran and Iraq would run between the Zagros Mountains and the Tigris River This treaty acted as a final solution to the hundred year territorial dispute between the two countries Shatt al Arab waterway is responsible for the connection between the Persian Gulf with Iranian ports of Khorramshahn and Abadan and Iraqi port of Basra Shatt al Arab Waterway dispute The Shatt al Arab is of utmost significance as it acts as the current Iraq’s only access to the Persian Gulf
As well allows for the export and import of worldwide oil to and from Iran and Iraq
The worldwide community soon became involved over the dispute of this river Importance of Shat al Arab The Russians supported the desired claim of the eastern bank waterway to the Persians, while the Britain backed up the Ottoman in occupying both banks
The support from the Russians and Britain in the occupying of the river would give them each an upper hand with their trading partners Importance of Shat al Arab (continued) 1847 treaty was established and stated that the Shatt would act as a boundary Khorramshahn and Abadan
Iraq would maintain complete control of this waterway and Iran would not be granted access to the river
However, Iran only agreed upon these terms in exchange for the two Iraqi cities
They in turn reduced their dependence on the river Shatt al Arab treaty Short Term Causes Short term Causes The participation of Iraq during the October War, more commonly referred to as the Six Day War, under the governing of the Ba’ath Party was quite minimal
Their minimal participation is primarily attributed to Iraq’s poor preparation
This resulted in Iraq’s mentality to improve their warfare and expand militarily
Iraq purchased 1,600 additional tanks from the USSR and 200 more aircrafts
Ba’ath Party promoted Saddam to head of military competence, essentially giving Saddam the right to complete military control Result of the Six Day War Nationalism and Rivalry for Power VS. The Occupation of Khuzestan Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979 by radical Islamists and Communists
Ayatollah Khomeini came into power
The Iranian government led by the Shah, was previously pro Western and anti-socialist; turned into a highly religious and theocratic government
Israel and the United States were now seen as enemies
Mentality of Iranian government was drastically altered Result of Iranian Revolution * Iraq’s population was primarily composed of Arabs with a small minority of Kurds

* Iran’s population was more diverse; Persian, Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmans, and other Turkic groups 1420 AD * Safavid Empire began rebelling against dominance of Ottoman Empire in Middle East

* Ottoman empire was in control over Iraq and Safavid Empire was in control of current Iran

* Distinct branches in Islam (Shi’I and Sunni) became more distinct

* Resulted in the beginning of present day nationalism Treaty of Zuhab 1847 AD Treaty of Ezerum * 1847 treaty of Erzerum was signed by two countries deeming the waterway as a border

* Russia and Britain assumed roles as mediators to 1847 treaty

* Iraq would maintain complete control of this waterway and territories to the east and Iran would only be granted minimal access to the river

* However, Iran only agreed upon these terms in exchange for the two Iraqi cities

* However, shortly after Iran began to push their claims west

* Wanted to maintain part, if not all of Shatt waterway and have unlimited access 1937 AD * A revised treaty was established in 1937, between the newly established and independent Iran and Iraq

* The boundaries were to run along the left bank (east bank) of Shatt al-Arab, except for a stretch of 8 kilometers in front of Abadan (Iranian town)

* Iran and Iraq maintained a somewhat friendly relationship

* Relationship was later disrupted by instability of monarchies Religious and Governmental Differences difference in ideologies and religious beliefs between Iran and Iraq was an outstanding issue
newly established leaders caused an increased level of nationalism With the overthrowing of the Shah dictatorship, the Shi’i Muslims of Iran saw this as a new beginning for the country
They developed a strong sense of pride and nationalism in their country
Ayatollah Khomeini accused Saddam’s regime of being anti-Islamic and overly secular
Looking to overthrow Iraqi regime
This was part of Khomeini’s broader plan of expanding the Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East Quest for Dominance Iran Iraq Populated by Sunni Muslims
Led by Ayatollah Khomeini
Anti-socialist and Pro-Western under the Ba’ath regime
Religious and theocratic government under role of Ayatollah Khomeini Populated by Shi’i Muslims
Led by Saddam Hussein
Pro socialist and Soviet
Regime was quite secular Sadam Hussein, in Iraq, was at the same time looking to establish himself as a great leader in the Arab community
Their neighbour’s in the west were seen as their largest threat
Iran was viewed as militarily vulnerable as a result of their recent revolution in 1979 It is difficult to pinpoint precisely to when the war broke out
Earliest forms of violence between two countries include the following: the attack of Iranian villages of Khmoneini supporting Iraqis in 1979 by Iraq and the support of rebel groups, and the deportation of Irani born Iraqi civilians
Majority of these acts of violence occurred at the border between Iran and Iraq
The invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein acted as a culmination to fighting Another geographic region that was considered valuable in addition to the Shatt al Arab, was Khuzestan
Iraq strategized to seize control over Khuzestan (occurred in 1980), which is located in southwestern Iran across from the waterway
Khuzestan is rich with oil and is responsible for majority of Iran’s oil supply
Saddam was convinced that the capture of this valuable piece of land would result in a new Iranian revolution that would call for the instillation of a government whose interests were more comparable with Iraq’s No clear military gain for either side; 1983-84 stalemate
Iraq began facing difficulties prior to 1987
Lacked capability to counter-attack Iranian offensives
Outnumbered by population
Iran strengthened by war
Strong initiative in 1987 attacks
Seemed better able to survive long conflict The Final Stages: 1987-1988 Since regaining all lost territory in 1982, Iran was on the offensive until 1988
Course of war changed radically in spring of 1988, moving nations to cease-fire
Series of Iraqi victories in 1988 compelled Iran to accept previously refused ceasefire agreement Tanker War of 1984 Iraqi attempt to sabotage Iran
Strait of Hormuz one of the most strategically important passages for oil transport
United States threatened to invade Iran if they closed the Strait
Iraq attacked Iranian Kharg Island oil tankers in 1984
Iran retaliated by attacking tankers of all countries that supported Iraq
Both nations attacked oil tankers and merchant ships in an effort to bankrupt opponent
US involvement lead to death of 290 innocent passengers on mistaken airline, strike on 5 Iranian oil vessels
Damaged Iranian American relations War of the Cities Stalemate 1985-1987
Iraqi forces better trained, outnumbered by Iranian forces
Civilians became new target
Started by Iraq February 1988
Iraq attacked 65 Iranian cities in 42 days
8 missile targets killed 65 children in an elementary school
Iranian civilian aircrafts, trains
Tehran Oil Refinery
100,000 total casualties Tanker War War of the Cities Stalemate 1985-1987
Iraqi forces better trained, outnumbered by Iranian forces
Civilians became new target
Started by Iraq February 1988
Iraq attacked 65 Iranian cities in 42 days
8 missile targets killed 65 children in an elementary school
Iranian civilian aircrafts, trains
Tehran Oil Refinery
100,000 total casualties Iraq launched 520 Scuds at Iran, received 177 in return
In March, Iran retaliated by launching 3 Scud missiles at Baghdad
Gave Iraq excuse to sharply escalate war
Iran was losing morale after 8 years of conflict
Repeated offensives exhausted Iranian capabilities for the war
Iranians no longer supported the war

Publicizing the war pushed for UN ceasefire
Iran ambiguously 'accepted'
USSR and China denied US, UK, and France's arms embargo
Iraq angrily denied USSR limited missile ceasefire
Paralyzed UN Final Stages - Moving Towards Ceasefire 1988 critical turning point in war's outcome

3 Factors
Decline of Iran's ability to continue fighting due to political and military losses
Western presence in Gulf combined with Iran's diplomatic isolation
Critical changes to Iraq's armed forces and methods of warfare Ceasefire Following major setbacks, Iran accepted Peace Resolution 598 on August 20 1988
Both sides agreed to pre-war boundaries Aftermath: Iran Political Effects Immediately rebuilt broken ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain
Relations with European countries
Diplomatic problems with West untouched
US was looking to contain Iran Ayatollah Khomeini dies, Ali Khamenei elected as Supreme Leader of Iran by Assembly of Experts
Akbar Rafsanjani elected as President New Iranian Leadership
1989 Adopted 'Economy First' policy
Attempted to boost foreign investment and trade through liberalizing Iranian markets
Supported privatization policy
Economic reforms helped spur Iranian regrowth
Collapsing economy, further declined collapse from Islamic Revolution
1 million casualties
Exhausted foreign reserves (14.6 billion to 1 billion)
Saudi Arabia vetoed Iranian OPEC attempt to cut production and raise prices Economic Effects Shi'a muslims continued to dominate
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps created to defend theocratic rule (Shiite National Guard)
Before his death, Khomeini tried influencing Sunni Iranians with his own theocratic beliefs
The 90s saw an imbalance of religion and republicanism Cultural Effects Effects of the Iran-Iraq War Economic Effects Oil revenue dropped from $20 billion in 1982 to $5 billion in 1988
Oil reserves have yet to recover from extensive damages
Cheaper investments lead to less debt
Ayatollah's interpretation stopped borrowing US-Iraq ties
US largest Western supporter of Iraq during war
Iraq believed it could act without consequence in Gulf War
President Bush signed NSD 26
US wanted to maintain 'friendly relations' with Gulf oil states
National security for US and stability in Gulf
Political Effects Iraq relied on oil exports to rebuild economy
Law of Supply: As supply increases, price decreases (vice versa)
Kuwait refused to implement quota
Iraq's economy unable to rebuild from war reparations
Accusations of Kuwait drilling illegally in Iraqi oil fields
Lead to invasion of Kuwait in 1990 Pathway to Gulf War Hussein introduced austerity measures to mobilize population for war effort
All citizens required to donate blood
To gain Shiite support, more were let into the government
Bought support by making generous contributions of Shia waqf Cultural Effects March 1988
Poison gas attack on Iraqi Kurds in Southern Kurdistan
Iraqi method of punishing Kurds for supporting Iranian forces
5000 immediately dead, 7000 suffered from poisoning Cultural Effects: Halabjah Massacre Systematic attacks against Kurdish population
US assisted Iraq in avoiding repercussions from worldwide condemnation
Mustard gas, Sarin chemical weapons
Massacred 50,000 - 100,000 civilians
Destroyed 4,000 villages, 4,500 schools,mosques, hospitals, and 27 churches Cultural Effects: Kurdish Genocide Operation Al-Anfal Political Effects : Rafsanjani Presidency Post War Resolution 598: Accept ceasefire and withdraw forces
Settle border disputes under UN held negotiations
Same terms as 1982 Resolution
Final exchange of POW in 2003 1. The Final Stages of War

i) The Tanker Wars - 1984-87

ii) The War of the Cities - 1988

iii) Final Phases to Conclusion

2. Ceasefire

3. Effects on Iran

4. Effects on Iraq Technological Effects Outcome of war influenced scientific advancements in Iran
Experienced technological and research revival
Has fastest scientific growth rate Cultural Effects War brought international attention to Kurdish oppression
UN passed Resolution 688 in 1991, condemning Iraqi oppression of Kurds
Demanded access to humanitarian aid
Iraq's Chemical Capability Iraqi controlled portion
Historically oppressed by the Iraqi government
Kurdish support for Iran angered Iraq
Iraq launched heavy poison gas attacks on Halabjah, March 1988 Iraqi Kurdistan
Khomeini showed will to accept resolution 598
"Happy are those who have departed through martyrdom...Unhappy am I that I have drunk this poisoned chalice."
United States only nation that did not publicly condemn use of chemical warfare
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