Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

The Iran-Iraq War: Antecedents and Conflict Escalation

Academic journal article Arab Studies Quarterly

The Iran-Iraq War: Antecedents and Conflict Escalation

Article excerpt

Jerome Donovan. The Iran-lraqWar: Antecedents and Conflict Escalation New York: Routledge, 2011. Hardback $115.00

In his book, Jerome Donovan attempts to examine the question of "why do wars occur," while focusing on the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s. He explains that this particular war or conflict is interesting because traditional methods of war analysis could not provide comprehensive examination of the causes of this interstate war. In addition to studying the role of power in interstate conflict, he looks into interstate interaction and issues under contention. In explaining this focus, he tells us: "We narrow the focus to include these two additional methods in explaining conflict escalation due to their ability to identify patterns in the evolution of interactions between states (interstate interaction) and distinguish what states are fighting over (issues under contention)" (2). In his introductory chapter the author refers to several different scholarship foci in terms of the causes of the war between Iran and Iraq, such as territorial disputes and religious differences. However, he calls for a more comprehensive analysis that takes into consideration the three abovementioned methods.

The book is divided into six chapters, including the introduction. In chapter 2, which is the longest and most dense, the author presents the theoretical foundation for his analysis of the circumstances that led to the war. In particular, he investigates "the utility of issues, interstate interaction and power-based approaches to the analysis of wars' causes," arguing for "an integrative approach in studying interstate conflict escalation" (6). …

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