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Synopsis

Behind the Iran-Iraq war rests a history of conflict stretching back to the Ottoman Turks and the Persians. This book examines the deep-seated and complex factors involved in the rivalry between these two nations. It focuses particularly on the period between 1969 and 1984, a time that saw both the rise of the Ba’th party in Iraq and Khomeini’s return to power in Iran. These changes did much to escalate tensions. The Ba’th party’s ideological, socialist regime and its emphasis on political secular concerns stood in marked contrast to Iran under Khomeini and his efforts to spread an Islamic revolution among the nation’s Shiite majority. The author discusses how these differences have affected three long-term problems: Iraq’s and Iran’s rivalry for dominance in the Arabian Gulf region; disputes over the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which serves as a boundary between the two nations; and the Kurdish rebellion in Iraq, supported by Iran. The volume also looks at the most recent episodes of crisis and analyzes the evolution of the Iran-Iraq war and its implications both regionally and globally. Unlike other studies of Iraq’s relations with Iran, Abdulghani’s is distinguished by its systematic and comprehensive synthesis which interlocks legal, cultural, historical and political issues that have characterized relations between the two countries.

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