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The War that Reshaped the Middle East Forever

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The War that Reshaped the Middle East Forever

Causes of the Iran-Iraq War

International Involvement in the War

Escalation of the War

  • Iraq used chemical weapons against the Kurds and Iranians, despite international laws prohibiting their use.
  • The US supported Iraq by providing technology and money, enabling Iraq to develop chemical and biological weapons.
  • The war expanded into an oil war, with Iraq attacking Iranian oil tankers and Iran retaliating, resulting in hundreds of civilian sailor deaths.
  • Saddam escalated the war by bombing Iranian cities, leading to massive civilian casualties and retaliatory strikes from Iran.

US Involvement and the Iran-Contra Scandal

  • The US engaged in double-dealing by selling missiles to Iran while supporting Iraq, using the profits to fund an anti-communist militia in Nicaragua, which later became known as the Iran-Contra Scandal.

Chemical Attack on Halabja and US Response

  • In 1988, Iraq launched a chemical attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja, killing over 5,000 civilians and prompting a broader campaign of genocide against the Kurdish people.
  • The US turned a blind eye to Saddam's war crimes, blaming Iran instead, causing fear and suspicion in Iran.

End of the War and its Impact

  • The war ended in a ceasefire in 1988, with no significant border changes, but it set the stage for ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
  • The war shaped Iran's relationship with the world, particularly the US, leading to a belief that they could not trust outside powers and emphasizing the importance of nuclear weapons for self-defense.
  • Saddam Hussein emerged from the war weakened, facing internal resistance and huge war debts, which led to his invasion of Kuwait and subsequent downfall.
  • The US, which had supported Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War, turned against him after the invasion of Kuwait, leading to his defeat and the ongoing instability in the Middle East.

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