Iran-Iraq War

  • Historical Traumas Underline Iranian Reliance on Missiles

    As the United States increases its pressure campaign against Iran, the country’s missile program has emerged as a major source of contention. However, Iran is unlikely to heed US demands to halt its development of ballistic missiles, which comprise the backbone of its defense doctrine. 

    In order to better analyze Iran’s defense strategies, it is important to note that for Iran, the line between security concerns and national pride is blurred. Iran’s traumatic historical experiences play a critical role in shaping its approach to defense and in particular, to missiles.  

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  • Reflecting on the Iran-Iraq War, Thirty Years Later

    This August marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War ending. This tragic eight-year conflict was a transformable event for Tehran and Baghdad. There were over one million casualties on both sides, and the conflict effectively transformed the entire Middle East, too.

    The narrative of “futile war” comes to mind when one tries to look at the Iran-Iraq War objectively and retrospectively. Who lost? Or, perhaps one should ask, who gained at the end of this almost decade conflict? The war had many air and ground battles across the 1,000 km border that neither Iraq nor Iran was able to declare permanent victory, or force their will and agenda on the ceasefire which took place on August 20, 1988.

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  • Tehran’s Foreign Policy Originates from the Iran-Iraq War

    Every so often, the Iranian Committee to Find Missing Soldiers of the Iran-Iraq War announces the return of soldiers’ remains. A funeral procession of coffins draped with the Iranian flag—sometimes only containing a dog tag—is followed by hordes of Iranians wailing and mourning, as if the eight-year war only ended yesterday.

    To this date, tens of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi families await news of their shahid-e gomnam, nameless martyrs. These images are a reminder of the sacrifices made thirty years ago and tells of a country in perpetual mourning about that very war. It also speaks to a reality: Each recovered shahid-e gomnam reinforces Iran’s foreign policy today.

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  • Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War: Iranian Minorities Won’t Lead Transformative Change

    Before joining the Trump administration, National Security Advisor John Bolton penned an article on how to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement. In it, he also advocated helping ethnic minorities in Iran. Like previous American administrations, the Trump Administration seeks regime change in Tehran. And like the current White House, but more fervently, the Washington establishment assumes Iranian minorities will join in what is being called in certain circles “transformative change.”

    Recent nationwide demonstrations in Iran—over the state of the economy, Tehran’s regional activities, corruption, and general disenchantment with the Islamic government—are strengthening...

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  • Badr Brigade: Among Most Consequential Outcomes of the Iran-Iraq War

    The burly, graying men in the mismatched camouflage arrived in the late winter of 2003, setting up camp within the green hilly folds of northern Iraq. They were members of the Badr Brigade, a Shia fighting force that had been sheltering in exile inside Iran during the reign of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. They told visitors that they were Iraqi patriots returning to their country to help take on Saddam at the invitation of the Iraqi Kurds.

    But the stickers on the Badr militamen’s outdated equipment immediately gave their origins away: “Property of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the major branch of the Iranian armed forces. Their history as a veritable Iraqi unit of the IRGC during the war between the two countries was known to all Iraqis.

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