What Happened During The Iran-Iraq War? (And What Caused It?)

Revisiting the deadly conflict

Grant Piper

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(Public domain)

On September 22nd, 1980, Iraq launched a surprise attack on their neighbor Iran. Aircraft went screaming over the border, and explosions tore up strategic airfields. The initial bombings were the prelude to a broad attack across a 400 mile front. Iraqi troops poured into Iran, starting a war that would last far longer than anyone envisioned and kill hundreds of thousands. The Iran-Iraq War would last nearly eight years and become one of the bloodiest and most protracted wars in the post-WWII era.

What caused the Iran-Iraq War? Why does no one seem to remember the conflict in any great detail? Why did the war spiral into a year’s long struggle?

Against a backdrop of chaos in the Middle East and with the specter of a regional war rising once more, it is prudent to look back on the Iran-Iraq War. The last time a major regional war broke out in the Middle East, it left hundreds of thousands dead and laid the groundwork for future conflicts and continued instability.

Causes of The War

(Public domain)

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Grant Piper

Professional writer. Amateur historian. Husband, father, Christian.