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Osprey Essential Histories 20 : The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988

The Iran-Iraq War, which ended in August 1988, one month short of its eighth anniversary, was one of the longest, bloodiest and costliest Third World armed conflicts in the twentieth century. It was a revolutionary struggle waged for the advancement of an age-old religious doctrine, a war fought with the most advanced weaponry but with largely dated tactics. It involved large scale infantry assaults on heavily fortified positions matched only by those of the First World War, ferocious air and missile attacks on population centres, economic infrastructure and civilian shipping, as well as extensive use of poisonous gas. The war also had far reaching international ramifications, from the destabilization of the world oil market, to the spread of militant Islam, to the acceleration of the Middle Eastern non-conventional arms race: chemical, biological and nuclear. No less importantly, it sowed the seeds of the 1991 Gulf War by bringing Iraq to the verge of economic ruin and, in consequence, leading to the invasion of Kuwait in an attempt to incorporate its fabulous wealth into Iraq's state structure. Professor Karsh addresses the causes of the Iran-Iraq War, unpacking the objectives of the two belligerents and examining how far objectives were matched by strategy. Efraim Karsh assesses the war's military lessons regarding such key areas as strategy, tactics and escalation and in particular the use of non-conventional weapons. Finally, he examines the utility of armed force as an instrument of foreign policy.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Background to War : The Quest for the Empire of God
  • Warring Sides : Strengths and Weaknesses of Iran and Iraq
  • Outbreak : Invasion and After
  • The Fighting : The Delicate Balance of Incompetence
  • Portrait of a Soldier : Iran's Boy Soldiers
  • The World around War : Nations at War
  • Portrait of a Civilian : Death of a Village
  • How the War Ended : The Poisoned Chalice
  • Conclusion and Consequences : A Costly Exercise in Futility

 

Osprey Essential Histories


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