The Social Origins of the Iran-Iraq War

By Bahry, Louay | The Middle East Journal, Summer 1996 | Go to article overview

The Social Origins of the Iran-Iraq War


Bahry, Louay, The Middle East Journal


The Social Origins of the Iran-Iraq War, by W. Thom Workman. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1994. x + 174 pages. Index to p. 178. $35.

Reviewed by Louay Bahry

The Iran-Iraq war, with eight years of active hostilities (1980-88), was the longest conventional war fought in the 20th century. Although, for the two belligerents, the war ended in a virtual military draw, it caused hundreds of thousands of human casualties and significant damage to the economies of both Iran and Iraq. Neither country has yet recuperated. Moreover, the consequences of the war did not end with the cease-fire. Iraqi president Saddam Husayn, frustrated by the war's unsatisfactory outcome and suffering from an empty treasury, sought to regain his prestige and recoup his financial losses by invading and then annexing the defenseless but oil-rich Kuwait.

W. Thom Workman, seeking a social basis for the monumental Iran-Iraq conflict, finds that this "was a war between two societies in crisis ... [that] entrenched repressive political regimes and continually eroded the social power of subordinate constituancies" (p. 171). With such a construct as the foundation of his study, the author draws the reader into the intricacies of the recent sociopolitical history of the two countries. He sketches the last days of the Iranian monarchy and the rise of the Islamic revolution in Iran. He claims that the repressive methods used by the new revolutionary regime to silence and repress its opponents, and impoverish the middle and lower classes, made it easier to conduct and justify the war against Iraq. The new Iranian government appealed to the Islamic sentiments of its population, urging them to march first on Iraq to help the oppressed Muslim population of Iraq and then on to Israel to free Palestine. When the Iranian government failed to deliver on these outsized ambitions, its leaders were forced to accept the cease fire offered by Iraq through the United Nations. As usual, the poorer classes were the ones who suffered the highest loss of life and the greatest economic losses.

Workman's analysis of Iraq since the arrival to power of the Ba`th party in 1968 generally follows the same line of reasoning. The Ba`th used its power to oppress the majority of the Iraqi people, and the war with Iran helped secure this objective. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Social Origins of the Iran-Iraq War
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.