July 1979, Saddam Hussein finally take supreme power after the 'elimination' of his cousin Hassan A1 Bakr, former Iraq president. Context - Iran 35 Million inhabitants Islamic regim after the 1979 revolution Persian = 61 %, Azeris = 16%, Kurds = 90% Shii, 9% Sunni, 1% non muslim (Christians, Jew, Zoroastrians). Economic dependency to oil (79% of government revenues). Others sectors are badly developped. But still contested. Weakness of military forces due to purges of new regims.
Religious differences - Sunni / Shii Had split in 661 after the assassination of All, the 4th Caliph and especially the nephew and son in law of Muhamad as the first one who have convert himself to Islam. Political differences at start. Shii thinks the Caliph should be a descendant of Ali and o Muhamad to have the prophete blood. Sunni gives the caliphate to the best muslim. Religion practice also differs. For Shii, they think Caliphs and Imams can interpret the coran. For Sunni, interpretation. are not really accepted.
There is also the 7 revealed / 7 hidden imman theory in Shiism. Today : 90% of Muslim are Sunni. In the 10th Century, 50% and the two main caliphate were ruled by Shii. Arabs / Persians Economic and Political stakes (Iraqi motivations) Shatt al Arab first reason of the conflict Geostrategic Waterway close to the Persian gulf. - Use to be Iraqi - Since the Alger agreements (1975) the two ountries share the area Iraqi wants to get back Shatt al Arab. The Saddam Hussein governmant (BAAS) is a lay party: Stop the Islamic expansion in the region.
Factors leading to the War Iraqui political and economical motivations Iran is weakened because of the Islamic revolution Saddam feels invincible (30 days of war maximum) Ayatollah Rouhollah khomeini, Islamic revolution leader has bad relationship with Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein thinks that he has support within Iran (Socialist and non-revolutionary partisants) Saddam Hussein thinks that he has gulfs countries support Iranian Stakes for winning the war After having won 1% of the Iranian territory, Saddam strengthened his trust in winning the war and proposed a ceasefire.