1968-1979 1990-2003

Iraq 1979-1990

Administration . In 1979 President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr stepped down; he was succeeded by Saddam Hussein. In 1979 purges of the Ba'ath Party, the state administration and the army took place.

Foreign Policy . In 1979 Shah Reza Pahlevi had been ousted in the Islamic Revolution, and the Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed. The revolution had brought about a restructuring of the Iranian forces, as some of the generals were regarded loyal to the old regime; furthermore the Islamic Republic soon found herself in a conflict with the U.S.
Citing Iranian violations of the 1975 border agreement, Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, starting the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988). Iraq claimed to liberate Arabistan (Khuzestan), an Iranian province with a majority Arab-speaking population, located just across the Shatt al Arab, where Iran's oil industry is concentrated.
Iranian resistance was more resolute than expected, and the war required Iraq to focus all its resources. Iraq was secretly supported by the U.S. and the Gulf States; when Iraq threatened the Gulf States in 1986, the latter moved toward openly supporting Iraq. Iraq dropped her criticism of the monarchies in the region.
Iraq continued to support Palestinian factions; relations with Syria remained strained. The importance of Jordan as Iraq's main supply line increased.

The Economy . The Fourth Five Year Development Plan 1981-1985 was suspended due to the war, and no further five year development plans were established.
In 1979, Iraq produced 170.4 million metric tons of crude petroleum, in 1981 43.9 million, in 1985 68.7 million, in 1989 136.6 million (IHS p.364).
In 1975 Iraq becan developing nuclear power stations, the technology being supplied from France. In 1981 the an air raid by pilots from Israel destroyed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear power station.
The Iraq-Iran War eroded Iraq's finances; the country had to borrow heavily in order to finance the continuation of the war.
Baghdad International Airport, under the name Saddam Int'l Airport, was inaugurated in 1982.

Social History . Jan Lahmeyer estimates the population of Iraq in 1979 as 12.65 million, in 1990 as 18.0 million; the 1987 census counted 16.3 million.
In 1980, women were granted the right to vote and run for office.

Ethnic and Religious Minorities . During the Iran-Iraq War, the Kurdish rebellion in northern Iraq flared up again, supported by Iran. In 1985 the Kurdish town of Halabja was subjected to a gas attack delivered by missiles.
Saddam Hussein regarded Iraq's large Shia community as potential collaborators with the enemy. The annual Shi'ite Ashurah procession was banned.

Cultural History . Iraqi athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988.

Wars of Iraq, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Iraq (B. Taylor)
Articles History of Iraq, U.S. support for Iraq during the Iraq Iran War, Iraq Iran War, Iraq at the 1980 Summer Olympics, Iraq at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Iraq at the 1988 Summer Olympics, Saddam Hussein, The Iraq-based Baath Party, Ashurah, Baghdad International Airport, from Wikipedia
Provinces of Iraq, from www.statoids.com
Iraq, from Library of Congress Country Studies
History of U.S.-Iraq Relations, by Mike and Bruce
History of Oil in Iraq, from Global Policy Forum
Iraqi Nuclear Weapons, from FAS
Background on Women's Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government, from Human Rights Watch (2003)
State-Mosque Relations in Iraq, 1968-2004, by Amatzia Baram
1981 Israel bombs Baghdad nuclear reactor, from BBC
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Iraq, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Iraq, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Iraq, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.21, pp.972-996 Article Iraq. KMLA Lib. Call Sign R 032 B862h v.21
Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge : UP 2000 [G]
Courtney Hunt, The History of Iraq, Westport CT : Greenwood 2005, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 956.7 H939h
Samir al-Khalil, Republic of Fear. The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq, NY : Pantheon 1989 [G]
Article Iraq, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1979 pp.457-458, 1980 pp.460-461, 1981 pp.461-463, 1982 pp.460-461, 1983 pp.452-453, 1984 pp.455-456, 1985 pp.487-488, 705, 1986 pp.482-483, 702, 1987 pp.451-452, 671, 1988 pp.411, 623, 1989 pp.410-411, 624, 1990 pp.428, 639 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1979-1980 pp.689-694, 1980-1981 pp.687-692, 1981-1982 pp.689-694, 1983-1984 pp.690-695, 1984-1985 pp.692-696, 1985-1986 pp.695-699, 1986-1987 pp.697-701, 1987-1988 pp.703-707, 1988-1989 pp.705-709, 1989-1990 pp.712-716, 1990-1991 pp.714-718 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : The World in Figures 4th ed. 1984 pp.172-173 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Americana Annual 1988 p.291, 1989 p.291, 1990 pp.284-285 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1983 pp.200-201 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1980 pp.412-414 (Majid Khadduri) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 16th 2007

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