How far do you agree that instability in the Gulf Region in the period 1979-2001 was primarily caused by the actions of the Iraqi Government? The Iraqi government in the period from 1979 to 2001 was under the control of the Ba’ath Party and lead by Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim whereas most of Iraq is Shiite Muslim. Hussein took control-as in became President of Iraq-in 1979, following the resignation of his predecessor, under claims of poor health. The main countries in this Gulf region may be noted as Iraq, the larger Iran and the much smaller Kuwait, as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Iran-Iraq war, initiated by the Iraqi government, would be an important source of instability in the Gulf region even after its conclusion. The Iran-Iraq war was fought from 1980-88 and may have been started by the Iraqi government in orders to expand their coastline and gain full control of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. However it is more likely that Saddam Hussein was fearful of being overthrown by the new Iranian regime, and felt that an opportunity now existed to attack his prime rival. The course of the war would largely be a stalemate after the initial Iraqi advances, and became a similar situation to the one of the First World War. The economic and political fallout was immense. At least half a million people died, and upper estimates stretch to 1.5 million, while neither side had achieved its war aims. Khomeini had not overthrown Saddam and Saddam had not overthrown Khomeini or forced him to re-draw the border in Iraq's favour. Although the Iraqi leader sought to claim victory, in reality he had merely staved off defeat - and even that had required a large amount of foreign assistance. Iraq's economic plight was one of the factors that led Saddam to take the fateful decision to invade Kuwait in 1990. And on that occasion the Western and regional powers which had come to his aid in fighting Iran united in opposing him. For Iran, the consequences were no less...
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