“The of Hormuz to their original Arab owners, Iraq

“The first Gulf war – better known as the Iran-Iraq war”1 occurred in 1980. “The war in the Gulf lasted eight years, cost half a million lives, destroying whole cities”2. “Indeed, it was the longest conventional war of the twentieth century”3. As such I wanted to research on the causes which led to long-standing war between the two Gulf countries. “The Gulf War, began as a conflict over territorial sovereignty and frontier security”4 , however, Social issues such as the Islamic Revolution also worsened relations between Iraq and Iran as well as the ideological differences between the Shia’s and the Sunni’s. It could also be said that the personal animosity between Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini led their respective countries into an eight-year war.  “In addition to full control over the Shatt-al Arab and return of the islands in the Strait of Hormuz to their original Arab owners, Iraq wanted several sections of land along the border”5. “Iraq was prepared to seize a large area of Iranian territory in Khuzestan province”6. The border disputes between the two gulf countries were partly due to political reasons and partly due to economic reasons. As per Saddam’s statements which is a vital source in my research, he also suggests that the border disputes were vital to worsening relations between the two Gulf countries. While it could be argued that these disputes were important, many sources suggest that the Iranian Revolution was another key factor that led to the war. “The basic tenet of the Islamic Revolution, we believe, initially disturbed relations between Iran and Iraq and ultimately was responsible for preventing a reconciliation between them”7. “It was the Iranian Revolution that brought down the Shah in 1979 that, more than any other event, kindled new ideological, territorial, strategic, political and personal disputes and led to the longest and bloodiest war between two countries”8. It could be argued that if not for the Iranian Revolution, the territorial disputes would not have occurred and the personal animosity between the two leaders would not have taken place. Hence suggesting that perhaps the Iranian Revolution was the most important cause that led to the Iraq-Iran War. However, there were issues even before the Iranian Revolution such as the Shia-Sunni relationship that will be discussed. “The spiritual leaders of the Shi’a community, the Mujtahids saw themselves as the guardians of the moral and political destiny of a community faithful, recognizing neither territorial nor temporal rule. In Baghdad and Basra, the Sunni legatees of the Ottoman imperial tradition and privileges, reinforced by the British and Assisted by the arrival of the Sherifian elite, sought to maintain their dominant position while identifying themselves with the Sunni Arab”9. The differences between the Sunnis and the Shia’s was also responsible for the war. Ultimately the clash between the Ba’ath regime whose leader was Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini put the nail in the coffin in causing the Iran-Iraq war