A Realist Analysis of the First Persian War
Shahd M FadlAlmoula
105-032 World Politics
September 19, 2012
Saddam and Morgenthau: A Realist Analysis of the First Persian War
Feeling insecure, vulnerable, and quite dramatic, Saddam Hussein appeared on live television on September 17, 1980 and ripped apart the 1975 Algiers Agreement, disclaiming the set Iraqi-Iranian borders. He then launched an attack on Iran on the 22nd, which unleashed chaos within the Middle East for eight miserable years. During the course of the war, terrible offenses such as the use of nuclear weapons took place. The war had grave economic and social consequences, some of which led up to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Historians state that the war was just another phase in the Persian-Arab conflict that had been ruffling for centuries. This may explain the social rivalry between the two nations. However, the anti-Ba’athist slogans preached by Khomeini are believed to be one of the main triggers of the outbreak. Furthermore, Saddam can be seen to have practiced offensive realism by invading Iran to heighten his party’s stance and secure his survival. The bandwagoning of other Arab states and the United States alongside Iraq might indicate that other Arab states (with some ancient grievances towards the Persians) might have sought out their own survival and security as they intervened in the war against Iran. This essay intends to analyze the war from a realist perspective, using Mearshiemer’s theories to understand why Saddam Hussein and Khomeini led a spiteful war for eight years, with no obvious victor. Essentially the rivalry between the Arabs and the Persians dates back to archaic times. After the First World War, Britain assigned each of Iraq and Iran, with borders that set states with murky borders that were easier for Iran to accept. Iraq on the other hand, believed that Britain had deliberately given less land to Iraq,...