Iran-Iraq War Debate

History and Debate of Iran-Iraq War

The Iran-Iraq war was an armed conflict between the nations of Iraq and Iran. This was also known in the United States as the First Persian Gulf War and lasted from September of 1980 until August of 1988. The war began when Iran invaded Iraq both by air and on land on September 22, 1980. This invasion followed a long history of border disputes as well as religious conflicts. There was an intense fear if Shia Muslim insurgency, which had been influenced by the Iranian Revolution.

Iran held the offensive stance in the war for the majority of its duration. The United Nations Security Council did call for a cease fire, but this was ignored by hostiles on both sides. The war did not end until August 20, 1988 when the United Nations declared another cease fire. It took several weeks for all hostiles to settle down and for the last prisoners of war to be released.

The Iran-Iraq War was one of the costliest wars in the history of the Middle East in terms of economic costs and lost lives. Over one half million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers were killed in the war and many civilians also lost their lives. The tactics used in war were similar to those used in World War I. Machine guns, barbed wire trenches, chemical weapons, and mustard gas were commonly employed.

Much of the conflict in the Iran-Iraq War debate has to do with the support that the United States offered to the nation of Iraq. This backing began in 1982. Ronald Reagan decided that the US could not afford to let Iraq lose the war because of the oil the US was receiving from this nation. In order to keep Iraq from losing, the United States began sending equipment, medical supplies, and communications devices to Iraq. This soon escalated to the point where American soldiers were fighting on the Iraqi side.

The United States took several military actions against Iran. Efforts were focused on isolating the nation as well as maintaining freedom of navigation in the surrounding waters. During Operation Earnest Will, the United States attacked oil platforms on Iranian territory. The US also sends its Navy into the nation's harbors and destroyed several Iranian gunboats and helicopters. The US did make one large blunder in its attacks. In 1988, United States' forces shot down a civilian aircraft that belonged to Iran. The Iranians maintained that this plane had been kept above national waters, but United States' forces insisted that it was in international waters and was mistaken for a military plane.

Opposing Views of the War

The United States used a lot of resources and sacrificed a lot of lives during the Iran-Iraq War. Opinions vary as to whether or not this sacrifice was justified. Economic downturn was experienced as a result, so many living at this time saw the war as a wasted effort. Also, at the end of the war, Kuwait began to produce more oil. This kept the economy of Iraq down and also gave the United States another fuel source, thus undermining the purpose of joining the war.

The Iran-Iraq War debate remains to this day a heated matter of public opinion. Several things, however, remain facts. Wars are always deadly and conflicts should be resolved in peaceful ways whenever possible.

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