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The Iraq-Iran War

Introduction

The importance of conducting a research on the Iraq-Iran War (1980-988) should not be underestimated. For a long time, the causes of the war have been misunderstood. The reason behind the selection of the subject is that it involves deeper consideration of what the war has entailed. Moreover, the research will allow learning various historical lessons, especially on why the Iraq-Iran War still persists, even after close to three decades after the end of the original war. The subject of the Iraq-Iran War has been a focus of many studies and investigations. It is considered an important study area by investigators, students, and scholars. While the war remains one of the most renowned, it is one of the most misunderstood as well. This paper represents a research on the Iraq-Iran War with the aim of appreciating the impact of the conflict on Iraq and Iran, and the entire Middle East. The subject should be investigated to determine why the war was started as a one-month conflict and developed into one of the longest and devastating wars of the twenties century.

Research and Analysis

Consequences of the Iraq-Iran War

Various scholars have examined different aspects of the Iraq-Iran War and have come up to a consensus that it was indeed one of the most terrible conflicts after the World War II. The Iraq-Iran War lasted nearly eight years, during which both countries suffered millions of casualties and billions of dollars of damages. The collateral damage to the economies was also immense. Karsh (2004) points out that the war was one of the most strategically important conflicts of the modern times seeing that the involved parties were two major oil producers and took place in a region with approximately half of the world’s oil reserves. The Iraq-Iran War was considered the most expensive conflict of the time. Although the values of financial losses could not be accurately verified, it was estimated that economic costs of the conflict might have exceeded $500 billion with ausalities between 1.25 and 1.75 million, involving both civilians and soldiers. Between 1.5 and 2.5 million soldiers and civilians were also injured (Karsh, 2002).  These large numbers are attributed to the use of chemical weapons in the war.

Implications of the war for Iraq. Before the war started in 1980, Iraq had been one of the strongest economies in the Persian Gulf. However, as Karsh (2002) indicates, after being involved in the war during less than one, its levels of oil production fell significantly from about 3.4 million barrels per day to roughly 1 million. When the war ended in 1988, Iraq’s oil revenues had amounted to $11 billion, which was less than half of the revenues in the pre-war period (Karsh, 2002). According to Dugdale (2002), Iraq suffered devastating losses in human lives, where more than 150,000 Iraqis died. 500,000 were injured, while 70,000 were captured (Dugdale, 2002).

Implications of the war for Iran. Just as Iraq, Iran suffered financial and human losses. It experienced an economic dislocation, decreased industrial and petroleum development, as well as the deterioration of the agricultural sector. Iran suffered significant financial losses as a result of declined oil exports, which decreased to 1 million barrels per day down from 1.9 million. Iran’s financial losses were estimated to be $240 billion between 1980 and 1987 (Karsh, 2002). Approximately 500,000 Iranians died during the eight-year war (Dugdale, 2002). Iran suffered higher causalities than Iraq because it had a higher population of around 50 million as compared to the latter that had a population of 18 million people.

Impacts of the Iraq-Iran War on Refugees and Prisoners

Karsh (2002) states that besides human casualties and injuries, the war greatly affected prisoners and refugees. It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 prisoners suffered in the war, while between three and five million people were displaced from their homes (Karsh, 2002). They became refugees and settled in various parts of the world, especially in Syria, Jorddan, Lebanon, United States, and Egypt. Prisoners were subjected to grave and repeated violations of their rights and were subjected to ideological and political pressure, intimidation, and humiliation. The acts of war constituted an affront to the dignity of both refugees and prisoners seeing that their wellbeing was highly disregarded. Some events led to deaths and injuries sustained by these two groups.

Aftermath of the Iraq-Iran War and How It Ended

The Iraq-Iran War was presumably the most deadly conventional war ever fought between regular armies of two developing countries. When the war ended, Iraq has acquired more than half of Iran’s military inventory, which implies that it has a big win in the war. The outcomes of the conflict included massive damages to towns and infrastructure, loss of lives, numerous injuries, and deteriorating economies in both countries (“The Iraq-Iran War,” 2011). It also led to enormous economic, military, and social problems. The war came to an end in August 1988, when Iran accepted the UN Security Council Resolution 598, which led to a ceasefire (“The Iraq-Iran War,” 2011).

Conclusion

The paper has discussed the Iraq-Iran War, which lasted for eight years. The war is perhaps the longest conflict of the twentieth century and the deadliest after the World War II. Both countries suffered immensely through financial losses and losses of human lives. It was estimated that economic costs of the conflict might have exceeded $500 billion with causalities between 1.25 and 1.75 million, involving civilians and soldiers. Between 1.5 and 2.5 million people were injured in both countries. These large numbers are attributed to the use of chemical weapons. Moreover, a vast number of refugees and prisoners were affected by the violation of their human rights. The war came to an end after Iran accepted the UN Security Council Resolution 598. The Iran-Iran War remains an important historical event and the root of the current hostilities that continue today between Iran and Iraq.

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