Iran Iraq War ( ) Causes & Consequences

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1 Iran Iraq War ( ) Causes & Consequences

2 In 1980 Saddam Hussein decided to invade Iran. Why? Religion Iran was governed by Muslim clerics (theocracy). By contrast, Iraq was a secular state. The Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, had called on Irakis to rise and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Saddam and his allies were Sunni, while the majority of Iraq s population were Shia like the Iranians. MARCH 22, 1985 CREDIT: MICHAEL COYNE Young soldiers pray while they prepare for combat with Iraq. Near Ahvaz, Iran.

3 SOURCE ANALYSIS: Importance of religion in Iran Iraq War (booklet p. 17)

4 Territory Saddam wished control of the Shatt al-arab waterway Saddam aimed to seize oilrich SW Iran (Khuzestan)

5 Politics Saddam had evidence that Iran was involved in the assassination of leading members of the Baathist party. He feared they were plotting to overthrow him.

6 Economy in chaos Western trade boycott because of the capture of the US Embassy Iranian armed forces recently purged by the Revolution End of Iran USA alliance ended American supply of parts for tanks and artillery Iran was weak after the Shah s fall

7 Domination of the Gulf Saddam hoped that with the annexation of Khuzestan and renewed control of the Shatt al-arab, Iraq s oil reserves could be expanded at the expense of Iran signalling a shift in the balance of power. He hoped to make Iraq the leader of the Arab world following Egypt s expulsion from the Arab League in 1979 as a result of their peace accords with Israel.

8 Stalemate (p.16) Iran offered little resistance when Iraq invaded in September 1980 but within a month they were halted in the desert. Iraq then started the War of the Cities. Iraq had superior fire power but Iran, sent in hundreds of thousands of new recruits. Many of them were willing to be martyrs. Most Iranians believed they were fighting for good against evil. MAY 01, 1988 CREDIT: THOMAS HARTWELL Equipment littering the Iran-Iraq war front near the border of the two countries.

9 Photo: Kaveh Golestan

10 Within two years, Iran had recaptured all of its land and had cut off Iraq from its only sea ports. There were calls for ceasefire but Iran said that it would not stop until overthrowing Saddam. When Iran stated that its target was Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, the Iraqi forces became more determined. By 1984, the two sides were bogged down in trench warfare along the 1600 km border.

11 Foreign involvement Iran's Revolutionary Guards prepare to burn an American flag on the al- Fao Peninsula after it was recaptured by Iranian forces from the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq War, 15th February 1986.

12 Support for Iraq Most of the Arab states: Saudi Arabia and other rich oil-states, Egypt and Jordan provided $ and arms Jordan also provided a route. France, Germany, USSR and USA: USA used satellite tech to keep Iraq informed of Iranian troop movements, and also provided equipment used to make chemical weapons 1984 War of the Tankers USA became even more involved Support for Iran Syria

13 From 1986 fighting was focused on the Gulf. Iraqi air force controlled the skies but the Iranian navy was much stronger. Iran began to attack Kuwaiti ships in retaliation so the USSR offered to help Kuwait. USA hurried to protect Kuwaiti ships (2 reasons) When the Iranians cut off Iraq s access to the Gulf through Shatt al-arab, the US provided protection for Iraqi ships and destroyed much of the Iranian navy.

14 Ceasefire July, 1988 There was no peace treaty, only a truce, and both sides continued to re-arm. No one knows the exact casualties. Estimates: 1 million Iranians and ½ million Iraqis War of the Cities had killed many civilians In both cases, national feelings had been stronger than ethnic feelings and minorities did not rise to help invaders.

15 Consequences Both Saddam and Khomeini remained in power. There was no change in the borders The Western powers soon aligned against Saddam in the First Gulf War.

16 Consequences For Iraq Economy and society suffered extensive damage Debts of $80 billion but still Saddam kept a million men in arms and developed Iraq s army. The value of oil had fallen. Many lost their jobs and added to demobilised soldiers this increased unemployment. Riots and strikes. Some opposition coordinated in the mosques. Main opposition came from the army. For Iran Khomeini disliked the ceasefire. He died a year later. The Islamic Republic continued to attract wide support in Iran. It was still a major power. It had not succeeded in exporting its Shiite brand of Islam

17 Yet Saddam claimed the war had been a great victory for Iraq. He had halted the spread of the Islamic Revolution and prevented Khomeini from toppling his regime.

18 Soon, Saddam would start another war.

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