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C O U R S E 
War for the Greater Middle East
Andrew Bacevich, Boston University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
1980s: The United States, Iran and Iraq
Notes taken on February 25, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
September 1980
Iraq invaded Iran
Saddam believed that the Iranian revolution had weakened Iran militarily
1979 Iranian Revolution
the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty
the ruling house of Iran from 1925 until 1979
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
the Shah of Iran
ruled from 1941-1979
wanted to seize territory
a short, victorious war would put Iraq in dominance in the region
not Shia majority Iran
but Sunni governed Iraq
not Persian religious zealots
but secular oriented Arab Baathists
means "renaissance"/"resurrection"
an Arab nationalist ideology that promotes the development and creation of a unified Arab state through the leadership of a vanguard party over a progressive revolutionary government
no one ever took Saddam Hussein for being a military genius
he miscalculated
got into more than his army could handle
Iran-Iraq war lasted eight years
January 20, 1981
Ronald Reagan's inauguration
Iran released Americans who had been held captive for 444 days
enabled them to focus on the Iraqi threat
both countries needed to acquire weapons
Iraq had suppliers in the Soviet Union and France
Iran need to repair its relations with the West
releasing the hostages was one way of doing that
Iraq-Iran war
U.S. official stance was to avoid taking sides
U.S. voted in favor of UN Security Council Resolution 479
passed days after the Iraqi invasion
Iran succeed by 1982 in turning the tables
Iraq now on the defensive
U.S. did not want Iran to become the dominant power in the Gulf
Secretary of State George Schultz
an Iran victory would intimidate and inundate US allies in the region
U.S. abandoned neutral posture to rescue Saddam Hussein
Iraq had severed its relations with the U.S. in 1967 in the wake of the Six-Day War
Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld
a once and future Secretary of Defense
goal was to get Iraq to lean toward the United States
Reagan made the United States a party to the Iran-Iraq War on the side of Saddam Hussein
resumed relations
removed Iraq from the list of state sponsors of terrorism
started providing Hussein with intelligence about Iranian troop movements
U.S. helped Iraq get weapons from France and other Western nations
Operation Staunch
aimed to prevent Iran from acquiring new weapons
U.S. approved Iraqi purchases of made-in-USA computers, transport planes, helicopters and navigation aids
allowed Iraq to buy on credit
Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons on Iran and his own people
The Carter Doctrine
January 23, 1980
the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf
a response to the Soviet Union's intervention of Afghanistan in 1979
modeled on the wording on the Truman Doctrine
1947, pledged to contain Soviet threats to Greece and Turkey
1823, Monroe Doctrine, further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention
yet the United States was aiding a power that was also seeking preeminence in the Persian Gulf
Iran remembered the 1953 coup in Iran backed by the United States