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Iran and Iraq Are Traditional Rivals. While Iran is A

Iran and Iraq Are Traditional Rivals. While Iran is A

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Published by: pratheekkumar on Sep 24, 2009
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Iran and Iraq are traditional rivals. While Iran is a non-Arab Shiitedominated Islamic Republic, Iraq is an ethnically Arabian country withits Shiite majority long dominated by the Sunni regime of SaddamHussain. The Iran-Iraq culminated in the long Iran-Iraq War from 1980to 1988. The suspicion of the Shiite leadership of Iran helping the longsuppressed Shiite majority of Iraq to rebel against the Saddam Hussainregime apart from the long standing border disputes between thecountries prompted Iraq President Saddam Hussain to attack Iran in1980. Iraq invaded Iran on September 22, 1980. The mess and turmoilthen existed in Iran after the Islamic Revolution helped SaddamHussain’s decision to invade Iran. The political situation in the PersianGulf after the Iranian Revolution prompted the United States of America and other western allies to side with Iraq against radicallyIslamist Iran to counter-balance the rise of the post-Revolution Iran.But, the Iranian forces forced Iraq to retreat in June 1982 and Iran tookthe mantle of aggression thereafter till the war ended on August 20,1988.Kuwait, the neighboring Arab country, was a close ally of Iraq andprovided tactical and financial support to Iraq during theIraq-Iran war.But the relationship soured after the war culminating in invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990. The Kuwait demand of repayment of 40 billion dollars it providedto Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War deeply strained the relationshipbetween Iraq and Kuwait. Iraq after the Iran-Iraq War was not inposition to repay the amount. It maneuvered in the meetings of the
Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increasethe world oil price to enable it to repay the borrowings from Kuwait.Kuwait on the other hand increased the quantum of its oil productioncausing severe damage to the Iraq efforts to increase the world oilprice. Fall of world oil price by one dollar a barrel caused a loss of onebillion dollars to the annual revenue of Iraq and it was estimated thatIraq lost 14 billion dollars a year due to Kuwait's oil price strategy. TheIraq Government called this attitude of non-cooperation by KuwaitGovernment as a kind of Economic Warfare. Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing its oil and claimed that Kuwait historically belonged to Iraq upto 1913 until the United Kingdom carved out Kuwait as a separatestate from Iraq. It was in this background that Iraq invaded Kuwait onAugust 2, 1990.Within two days of the invasion, theIraqi Republican Guards vanquished Kuwait and Kuwait ruling elite escaped toneighboringSaudi ArabiaandBahrain. Iraq President, Saddam Hussain declared Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq and Kuwait remained inIraq’s possession for seven months till “Operation Desert Storm” of theUnited States of America snatched back Kuwait from Iraq in February1991 and restored to its former rulers. The United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canadamet Iraq’s military action on Kuwait witheconomic sanctionsagainstIraq on the call of theUN Security Counciland with preparations forwar. Forces of these countries joined the regional troops of Bahrain,Kuwait,Oman,Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and theUnited Arab Emiratesin powerful show of strength against Iraq for a decisive victory for thecoalition forces within a month in February 1991.
Iraq War of 2003 was forced on Iraq by the governments of theU.S. and the UK on the unfounded claim that Iraq is producing and is inpossession of Weapons of Mass Destruction(WMD) and thereforeposed an imminent threat to the security of the world. They alsoclaimed Iraq PresidentSaddam Husseinof harboring andsupporting theAl-QaedaIslamic militant outfit that was responsible forthe World Trade Centre attack of September 11, 2001. These countriesemployed all their diplomatic skills and political muscles to forge analliance of friendly countries to invade Iraq. Most possibly, Iraq'soil reservesand personal distastes between the then President of theUnited States of America, George Bush and the then Iraq President,Saddam Hussain were strong reasons in the decision to invade Iraq.Anyway, Saddam Hussain and Iraq were cleared of all blames andaccusations by the later investigations and probes. Theinvasion of Iraqled to anoccupationand the eventual capture of Saddam Hussein, who was laterexecutedby the Iraqi Government. Violence against coalition forces soon led to uncontrolledIraqi insurgencyand low-intensity civil war betweenSunniandShiitesects throughout Iraq. The invasion and the insurgency ensued provided a foothold toAl-Qaeda in Iraqand rapidly grew in strength there. The uncalled war led to the death of more thana million civilians and uprooting of more than five million people or16% of the Iraq population.Coalition that was formed to invade Iraq slowly disintegrated aspublic opinion went against the invasion of Iraq and Iraqi forces beganto take responsibility for its security. PresidentBarack Obamaon

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