The official beginning of the IranIraq War was 22 September 1980, when Iraqui ground forces invaded southwestern Iran (Paxton, 1989). Through several phases and nearly eight years, combat operations between the two countries continued until 18 July 1988, when Iran agreed to accept the United Nations ceasefire resolution, which was proposed in July 1987, and which had been earlier been accepted by Iraq (Metz, 1989). The actual cessation of hostilities between Iran and Iraq occurred 20 August 1988 (Paxton, 1989).
In this chapter, the reasons for Iraq's relatively quick action in accepting the United Nations ceasefire resolution, and the reasons for Iran's footdragging on the issue are examined. Additionally, the current status of the peace negotiations are reviewed, and the probable outcome of these negotiations are projected.
Protagonist Motivations with Respect to
the United Nations Ceasefire Proposal
Security Council Resolution Number 598 (20 July 1987) sought a cessation of hostilities between Iran and Iraq, andbilateral peace negotiations between the two countries. The
1 2United Nations proposal did not cast blame for the hostilities on either of the protagonists. Iraq accepted the United Nations proposal relatively quickly; however, two days short of one year elapsed before Iran accepted the proposal. The motivations for the actions by each of the countries are considered in the discussions which follow.
Justification for hostilities, from Iraq's perspective, was provided by Iran's attempt to turn Iraq's Shi'a majority against the government of Iraq (Metz, 1989). It was Friedrich Nietzche (1901), who provided the most pervasive justification for war of any type, and the romanticized concept of a just war for a just cause. In Thus Spake Zarathustra, he said that "a good war hallows every cause" (Nietzche, 1892, p. 74). American historians often cite Nietzche as the philosophical guru for th...