The Iran Iraq War And the Superpowers

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The Iran Iraq War and the Superpowers

The Iran-Iraq war was a conflict that spanned about eight years which started with the Iraqi armys cross of the Iran-Iraq border and Irans response to this trespass. The leader responsible for the Iraqi intrusion was president Saddam Hussein, his Iranian counterpart was Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini propagated the overthrow of the Iraqi government, and instilled the idea of revolutionary war to the people of Iraq.

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Khomeinis vision for a united nation was that under him, the union would be brought together under the religion of Islam. This brought on acts of domestic terrorism carried out by Iranian Shiites called on by Khomeini. In Husseins eyes, Khomeinis arrival in Iraq meant a threat to his rule and so war was the only option.

The root of the problem began with the Algiers Accords that would have settled some territorial disputes over that Iran-Iraq border, access to waterways and avoid the meddling of either country with each others domestic affairs. As for the U.S., while they looked down in disapproval at Khomeinis Iran, they didnt feel a close relation with Iraq, the fact that the U.S. believed Iraq began the war didnt make matters any better. When Hussein was asked to remove Khomeini from Iraq under the clause against meddling, Khomeini disregarded the clause as an secret understanding between Iraq and the U.S. and went into Iraq anyways, thus beginning a war he didnt realize how many lives and how much money it would cost the middle east.

Irans wish for an islamic union caused the ayatollah to continue pushing for terrorism in an Iraq with extremist groups, this threatened American interests due to the frozen assets they held for the Islamic Republic of Iran and a previous connection with Iraq . With the USSR so close to Iran and Iraq, the U.S.s policy towards containment of communism drove Reagans administration to call for other countries of the middle east in support against the USSR. The Reagan Doctrine would support third world countries that held anti-communist views, this was the push-back aimed toward keeping the USSR to their own, therefor making them back either of the two countries that did not partake in the Reagan Doctrine. Iraq was pro-soviet and Iran wasnt warming up to America but per usual, the U.S. needed to take care of its individual economic interests and so when the war was at its beginnings, the declared neutrality.

There were two instances where the U.S. had fallen under attack by islamic extremist groups, both resulting in casualties. The detail that dictated who the U.S. would prefer in this war was that both of these extremist groups who had attacked marine barracks and an embassy were funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran. From then on, the U.S. would assist Saddam Hussein in war against Iran by helping with combat and air attack planning, providing arms, and figuring out the location of Iranian troops with technology not readily available to the Iraqis like satellite imaging. Through the conflict, it is that the U.S.s relations with Iraq changed for the better short-term, they were removed from a terrorist-supporting list and they were beginning to be viewed as the tool, (not ally) against Iran. About halfway through the war, the embassies supplying the arms for this war were asked to halt their assistance in this manner due to the worldwide effort of bringing the Iran-Iraq war to an end.

This war not only led to the devastation of many lives, but many other countless events connected to it. An example of this would be the fact that the United States was suspected by both Iraqis and Iranians of manipulating both parties. The United States reached out to both Iran and Iraq in secrecy during the war in hopes of building a strategic partnership. The Iran-contra affair between the US and Iran, otherwise known as the arms-for-hostages policy, was one of the main reasons Iraqis believed the United States was playing on both sides of the conflict. The arms-for-hostages policy was a major political scandal in which the United States sold weaponry to Iran in secrecy in hopes of the release of the US hostages. This major political scandal took place during the second term of the Reagan administration.

Reagan was featured on national television in order to speak about the weapons sales, which had become public in November of 1986. He did not deny Iran receiving weapons from the United States, but stated that no hostages were obtained from the affair. The ongoing investigation on the affair was obstructed after large amounts of documents that addressed the scandal had been destroyed or withheld by officials in the Reagan administration. Reagan made another appearance on national television in March of 1987. During this televised announcement he took full responsibility of what had happened and made it clear that the original intention was to form a strategic plan in order to get the US hostages back, but it unfortunately turned into a major political scandal in the process.

In 1987, the Reagan administration brought forth an executive order that would compromise trade with Iran; said executive order banned imports coming from Iran in order to hinder the sponsoring of terrorists from extremist groups. In another attempt to hurt Irans financial goods, Iraq destroyed some of Irans oil reserves therefore bringing down one of their main sources of income that helped fund both the war and the terrorist groups that were affiliated with them.

During the time of the war France, a superpower during this time, ultimately sided with Iraq. They were one of the top two weapon providers for Iraq behind the USSR and in front of China. The French government feared that if they publically decided to side with Iraq over Iran they would break any friendly alliance they had with Iran and cause violence from Iranians. They were in the middle of deciding between keeping the arms trade and industrial relations with Iraq and breaking the trust and bond they had with Iran.

Eventually, the Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesperson spoke about the issue and stated that the commercial relations they had with Iraq did not dictate the trust and bond they shared with Iran. Though the French government had hoped this announcement would reassure both Iran and Iraq that France was not making an enemy out of either side, Iranian representatives flew to Paris and warned them that any further commercial connections with iraq would lead to the end of any relations between Tehran and Paris. France then responded by giving their full dedication and support to Iraq.

The Iran-Iraq war lasted a total of eight years. On July 12, 1988 Saddam Hussein ordered the launch of operation Tawakalna ala Allah towards Dehloran. The Iraqis attacked Iranian sectors and recaptured their oil field frontiers, which had been held by Iranians for longer than 5 years. At nightfall, they captured Dehloran, which allowed them the control of a large bridgehead. With the significant amount of territory gained, Saddam Hussein threatened the capital of Iran, Tehran. He stated that if the Iranian army did not extract from Iraqi Kurdistan they would take control of Irans oil wells. That night Iranian leaders decided it would be best to oblige to the orders of Hussein since they were not left with enough men or equipment to fight back, their weakness showing was the last thing they needed.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani announced the extraction of his his troops from Iraqi Kurdistan on July 15. The next day the rest of Iranian troops receded back to home territory. On July 17, Hussein gave a list of conditions that the opposing party would have to agree on in order to end the war and begin peace. He asked for direct negotiations, immediate cleanup of the Shatt al-Arab, free navigation for Iraq in the Gulf, an end to the attacks on maritime traffic, and a prisoner exchange. At this time, Saddam Hussein ordered his Iraqi troops out of the conquered territory in Iran as an act of peace.

Saddam Hussein agreed to order a ceasefire with the exception that Tehran recognized all the terms. When Hussein did this he brought validity to the Algiers Accord, which resulted in the end of the Iran-Iraq war. The Iranian government agreed to all the terms in exchange for a ceasefire. Iraqis began to withdraw slowly after the announcement that the Iranian government would agree to the terms. On August 20, 1988, seven years and 11 months after the start of the war, the ceasefire agreement became effective. Though this marked the ending of the war it did not mean the ending of all problems for the two parties.

The Iran-Iraq war is considered one of the most expensive wars fought both in finances and human capital. The part the U.S. played was that of the duplicitous party, they not only openly supported the war on Iraqs side in order to look after their own interests, but The Reagan administration also assisted the opposing side by trading arms in exchange for hostages but not only failed at it, they also happened to be exposed leading to the discovery that they had helped continue the war and possibly even the sponsoring of the extremist groups they themselves were trying to dismantle.

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