Iran Iraq War Facts

Iran Iraq War Facts
The Iran-Iraq War was a major Cold War era war between the Middle Eastern nation-states of Iran and Iraq from September 22, 1980 to August 20, 1988. The people in the two countries had a history of deep cultural relations going back to the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258) of the Middle Ages, but the two countries have been more prone to conflict in the Modern Era. Most of the conflicts between the two countries have been over the border they share and control/access to the Persian Gulf shipping lanes. After the shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979 by Islamic fundamentalists, the conflict took a more cultural and religious tone. Iran was ruled by fundamentalist Shiite Muslims and most of the people of the country are ethnic Persians. Although Iraq was predominantly Shiite, the ruling party, known as the Baath Party, was secular with most in the government being Sunni Muslim Arabs. Iraq's dictator at the time, Saddam Hussein, viewed Iraqi Shiites as a problem and a fifth column. The war began with the Iraqi's striking first and by the time it was over both sides suffered more than 100,000 casualties, with some sources claiming more than 200,000 each. The war finally ended in a stalemate after U.N. sponsored peace negotiations.
Interesting Iran Iraq War Facts:
The Shatt al-Arab Waterway, which is known in Persian as the Arvand Rud, was the major point of contention between the two countries. It runs for about 120 miles, emptying into the Persian Gulf and forms a border between the two countries, although both claim it.
Although Iran began the war with a slight numerical advantage, its military hardware was old compared to the Iraqis'. The Islamic Revolution essentially isolated Iran from both capitalist and communist worlds, while Iraq traded and worked with both the Soviet Union and the United States.
Ruhollah Khomeini was the leader, or ayatollah, of Iran during the war.
Iran's population and economy was three times the size of Iraq's at the start of the war.
Most of the Iranians' military hardware was supplied by the Americans before the Islamic Revolution. They were forced to improvise to fix and keep using those weapons without American support.
The Iraqis made great gains in the first two years of the war, but the Iranians' numbers became an issue, putting the Iraqis on the defensive for the final six years.
Saddam Hussein ordered several chemical weapon attacks on Iran. He also ordered attacks on Kurds living in Iraq. Many of the Kurds supported the Iranians, hoping that by doing so they could achieve an independent homeland.
The Iranians took advantage of their numerical superiority by using human wave attacks. Many of those used in the human wave attacks were boys who were told they would be martyrs.
Although Syria was ruled by the secular Baath Party as in Iraq, its leaders were members of the Alawite Shiite clan. Because of that religious connection to Iran, Syria's leaders cut off the oil pipeline that ran from Iraq.
Beginning in 1984, Saddam began attacking civilian targets in Iranian cities with bomber planes. The Iranians responded by attacking Bagdad and other Iraqi cities with missiles. The attacks became known as the "War of the Cities."


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