The Social Origins of the Iran-Iraq War
This paper calls attention to the social costs of the war through an exploration of its social foundations. The Iran-Iraq war was largely engendered through the play of indigenous social forces. External actors had little direct role in its outbreak. In its most straightforward formulation, the Iran- Iraq war may be understood as a dramatic political manifestation of extended social struggles endemic to both societies. We must contemplate this war, therefore, from the perspective of the Iranian and Iraqi social tapestries first and foremost. Analysis must unravel the complex class, communal and state dynamics at work in both countries. Through this society-centred approach we will arrive at a richer account of the origins of the Iran-Iraq war, a clearer explanation of its protracted course and why efforts to resolve it relatively quickly were largely unsuccessful, and foster a deeper appreciation of its stunning social costs.