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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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The Iran-Iraq War Steels Khomeini’s Regime

The Iran-Iraq War Steels Khomeini’s Regime

(p.93) 6 The Iran-Iraq War Steels Khomeini’s Regime
Cold War in the Islamic World

Dilip Hiro

Oxford University Press

Khomeini’s exhortations to the Shia majority in Iraq to revolt against the regime of President Saddam Hussein, the Sunni head of the secular Arab Baath Socialist Party, incensed not only the Iraqi leader but also the Saudi and Kuwaiti monarchs. Encouraged by reports of low morale in the depleted Iranian military, and by the Saudi and Kuwaiti rulers, Hussein invaded Iran in September 1980. His scenario visualized the ethnic Arab minority in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzistan province welcoming Iraqi soldiers as liberators, and starting a chain reaction that would culminate in the collapse of Khomeini’s regime within a few months. Iran fought the war using its limited resources. By contrast, Iraq received massive financial aid from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which shipped their oil on its behalf, and loans from Western nations and Japan. Nominally neutral America helped it by passing on satellite and high resolution reconnaissance images of Iranian troops to Riyadh, which transmitted these to Baghdad. After ninety-five months of warfare, neither Iran nor Iraq lost much territory. And there was no a regime change in either country. The unintended consequence of the longest war of the twentieth century was to enable Khomeini to consolidate the Islamic revolution.

Keywords:   Iraqi Shias, Saddam Hussein, Baath Socialist Party, Khuzistan province, Iraq invades Iran, Saudis aid Iraq, Kuwaitis aid Iraq, US assists Iraq, War’s inconclusive end

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