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Lecture 20

POLS 2200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Iraq War, Iranian Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2200
Cindy Clarke

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Challenges from the Global South
Greg Gause Insecurity dilemmas
The Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988) and the Iraq-Kuwait War (1990)
Gause argues that the Iran-Iraq War (1980- and )raq’s )nvasion of
Kuwait (1990) were driven by regime insecurity
What does this mean?
And what adaptions do we need to make to realism ?
According to Gause, the tradition security dilemma used by realists cannot explain
the outbreak of the war, why not?
Prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the relationship between Iraq and
Iran was not hostile
Iraq and Iran has border crises/ brief wars in 1969 and 1975 but the two
countries resolved the border dispute in 1975.
Furthermore, prior to the Revolution, 1978, Iraq expelled Ayatollah
Khomeini (who has been in exile from Iran)
After the 1979 Revolution, Iraq did not support the Iranian Revolution.
And in 1980, Iraq attacked Iran and started the 8 year war
Iran at that time was in a position of weakness and it was still dealing with
the political, economic and social turmoil of the 1979 Revolution
Iran posed no military threat to Iraq
So why did Iraq attack?
Saddam and Regime Insecurity
How did the success of the Iranian Revolution in February 1979 create an
insecurity dilemma for Saddam’s regime in )raq and become the main reason
for Saddam’s decision to go to war against )ran?
According to the Gause Saddam’s decision to attack can only be explained by the fact
that Saddam believed that:
The Iranian regime was exporting the revolution to Iraq
That these actions were threatening his regime
And that only war would end efforts of the Iranian regime from continuing
Why evidence does Gause have that Saddam believed his regime was under threat?
Almost immediately following the Revolution, )raq arrested )raq Shi’)
religious leaders.
When Iran condemned the Iraqi regime, Iraq resumed support to Kurds in
north Iraq fighting against Iran to gain an independent state from Iran
In response to the arrest and the violent put-down of the demonstrations
against the arrests, the Organization of the Iraqi Ulema (religious scholars)
declared urs support for the use of violence against the Iraqi government
Al-Da’wa, the main )raqi Shi’) political party, formed a military wing at the
end of 1979
April 1980, a member of one of the )raqi Shi’) opposition groups attempted to
kill Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz.
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)n retaliation, the )raqi government executed a leading Shi’a religious leader
and his sister expelled tens of thousands of Shi’a of )ranian origin from )raq.
Domestic threats spill into the international area
In response, Ayatollah Khomenini called upon the Iraqi people and the Iraqi
army to overthrow Saddam’s regime.
Border clashes
July , Saddam’s regime supports a failed military coup attempt in )ran
undertaken by Iranian exiles in Iraq.
Iraq continues to feel threatened (but not militarily) and attacks Iran and
war breaks out
The second Gulf War: )raq’s invasion to Kuwait 
Why did Iraq invade Kuwait when it knew it would be gong against the
United States and an alliance of Western and Arab states?
What is the traditional response as to why they went to war? What did the
documentary state?
As with the Iraq-Iran war, Gause argues that the Iraqi decision to invade
Kuwait was based on fear that neighboring states were attempting to
destabilize the regime domestically.
Six Events Contribute to (ussein’s Perception of (is Regime Being Threatened
1. Low oil prices
Saddam Hussein blames Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates for
forcing oil prices down
Iraq and Kuwait both belong to OPEC, the Organization of Oil
Exporting Countries
2. The Us changes its policies towards Iraq
After aiding Iraq during the war with Iran, US now condemning Iraq
for human rights abuses
Preferential treatment for Iraqi purchases of US rice exports is
partially removed
Negative international reaction to revelations of Iraqi money
3. )nternational media attention to )raq’s nuclear program
British and US efforts to block the export of dual usage technology to
4. )srael was perceived as preparing for a strike on )raq’s nuclear establishment
(as it did not 1981)
5. Fears of international rebellion within military
In response, large numbers of officers executed on charge of
membership in a secret organization working to bring the
government down
6, Evidence that Hussein was suspicion of foreign attempts at espionage
The lead up to Saddam’s )nvasion of Kuwait
In early 1990, Iraq augments its rhetoric against the US, Israel, and
)n January , )raq proposes that Kuwait loan it $ billion
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