{{Information |Description={{en|1=A British Challenger 1 main battle tank moves along with other Allied armor during Operation Desert Storm.}} |Source=[http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DVIC_View_Internal/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DNST9207988&JPGPath=/Assets/Still;IGCSE History events in the gulf

Background to Saddam Hussein's rise to power

  • Iraq became a mandate of the UK in 1920, as it was previously part of the Turkey's empire
  • From 1920-1958 Iraq was ruled by a monarchy, under the Hashemite family (despite a brief coup)
  • In 1958 Abd al-Karim Qasim staged a socialist coup d'etat with the army
  • In 1963 Abdul Salem Arif ousted Qasim in a coup. After his death his brother took control
  • In 1968 the 17 July Revolution took place and the Ba'athist Party took control.
  • What is Ba'athism?

  • Ba'athism is a pan-Arab form of nationalism
  • The ideology means 'renaissance'
  • Created by Syrian academics: notably Michel Aflaq & Zaki al-Arsuzi
  • It calls for a united Arab country, based on Arab values
  • It is secular, but socialist in nature
  • What was the 17 July Revolution?

  • On 17 July 1968, civilian Ba'athists and soldiers seized control of key government buildings
  • They were led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr
  • Tanks arrived outside the Presidential palace, where President Abdul Rahman Arif was residing
  • Arif surrendered after failing to gather enough military support
  • In return, Arif was given safe passage to London with his family
  • al-Bakr was made Prime Minister, President and Chairman
  • After the Revolution, the key military figures - Naif and Daud - involved were swifly exiled and later assasinated
  • Saddam Hussein was put in charge of internal security and intelligence and was Deputy President
  • Its greatest success came with a brief political union of Syria and Egypt into the United Arab Republic fom 1958-61
  • How did Saddam Hussein come to power?

    After joining the Ba'ath Party in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was involved in the October 1959 assassination attempt on President Qasim, which went wrong (Qasim escaped as Saddam opened firing prematurely), leading to Saddam escaping in Syria before living in Egypt until 1963. Upon re-entering Iraq in 1964 he was arrested, escaping in 1967. After becoming a prominent member of the Ba'athist party, he served as Deputy and head of intelligence. After ousting al-Bakr, he purged the party, executing 68 members immediately and hundreds more in the following weeks. But how did he get in to power?

  • Through political skill - as Deputy he was able to kickstart the economy whilst maintaining unity in a very fragmented country; he reclaimed oil sites from overseas companies at a time when oil prices were soaring (esp. 1973). This allowed him to provide popular services through campaigns like 'National Erradication of Illiteracy' and free healthcare
  • By nurturing support in the countryside - subsidies were given to farmers, land was redistributed to poorer farmers and existing machinary stocks were updated. This made him very popular accross the country
  • Through his use of internal intelligence - as he was in charge of the secret police (the mukhabarat) he was free to imprison or silence any dissenting voices. A very favourable impression of him therefore appeared in the national press
  • By appointing supporters in key positions - al-Bakr was elderly and ill in his last years of power, allowing Saddam to build up a network of sympathisers and supporters in government, such as Ramadan (head of Peoples Army). As the de facto ruler of Iraq, he appointed his half-brother to government, as well as his cousin as head of the military in Kurdistan, and ensured dissenters were removed.
  • In response to revolts - notably ICP and Shi'ite uprisings
  • Because of rumours that al-Bakr was planning his succession - al-Bakr was looking to create a united Syrian-Iraq country, but Saddam's position was under threat. He therefore moved to force al-Bakr into resigning before this could happen, on 16 July 1979
  • Key events in Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq

  • 1979 Purge
  • - 68 members of the Ba'ath party were declared as 'traitors' and executed by firing squad. Hundreds more were rounded up and arrested in the following months
  • 1979-1990: Iran-Iraq War 1979-1990
  • Halabja 1988
  • 1990s: The Gulf Wars
  • 2003: Invasion of Iraq
  • Life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein

    Iraq was - and is - a very divided country. Under Saddam it had Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, Ba'athists and Communists, rural and urban populations, Arabs and Kurds. Life under Saddam was therefore different, for different groups.

    Benefits of life under Saddam

  • Rising living standards - as oil prices boomed in the 1970s - thanks in part to OPEC witholding supplies - oil revenue for Iraq rose enormously and contributed to funding a variety of projects, from infrastructure to farming subsidies under the 'National Development Plan.' Many jobs were available - so many that people as far away as Yugoslavia came to work! Oil revenue rose from D219million Iraqi Dinars in 1972 to D8.9billion in 1980!! Economic growth in the 70-80s was about 10%
  • Free Education - a national campaign to erradicate illiteracy took place; schooling was free to all, including university
  • Drawbacks of life under Saddam

  • Heavy propaganda - schools were taught about the greatnest of Saddam (he encouaged the fatherly, first-name basis); the National Assembly was responsible for continuing this propaganda.
  • Repression of any form of resistance
  • - he had complete control over the mukhabarat, which he used to deadly effect.
  • Persecution of minorities - the Kurds and the Shi'ite Muslims (who, incidently were a majority, but Saddam was a Sunni Muslim), were persecuted. 200 000 Shi'ites were sent to Iran in 1980-1
  • IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; Iraq

    Saddam Hussein, 1979 [source: public domain Wikimedia]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; Iraq

    A map showing Baathist interests and involvements in the Arab world 1963-2003 [source: CCAU3.0 Roxanna]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; Iraq

    Baghadad in the 1970s [source: public domain Wikimedia]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; Iraq

    Kurds, fleeing to Turkey in 1991 [source: public domain Phan April Hatton]

    How important was terror in Saddam Hussein's Iraq?

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; Iraq

    Terror organisations in Iraq[source: public domain, C.Duelfer, 2008]
  • Organised Dujail Massacre - after a failed coup against Saddam in 1982 the Mukhabarat rounded up and executed over 140 in Dujail, where the assasinators were from. Hundreds were detained.
  • Attempted assassination of George Bush Snr in 1993 the Mukhabarat orchastrated a foiled plot which led to Bush's successor President Clinton, firing ship missiles at their complex.
  • Case Study Iran


    In 1921, after decades of unrest and invasions from Turkey and Russia, a British backed Iranian Cossack Brigade staged a coup in Iran, installing Mohammed Reza Khan as the Prime Minister, and later as king ("Shah"). When the British and Soviets invaded Iran in 1941, he abdicated and his son Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi assumed the title.

    Who was Mohammed Reza Shah?

  • Born in Tehran, as eldest of 11 children to Moahmmed Reza Kahn
  • He lived in fear of his father, who was quite brutal and violent at times
  • He believed God spoke to him personally, and that he had a divine mission for Iran
  • Studied in Switzerland as a boarder before training in the army in Iran
  • He married into the Egyptian royal family (she was unhappy, he was unfaithful)
  • He had many complexes, including not being tall enough, not being manly enough and seeing women as merely sexual objects
  • He took the Peacock Throne from his father after the Russians and British invaded in 1941, as they wished to get supplies through to each other through the 'Persian Corridor'
  • IGCSE history, cold war, USSR, Czechoslovaki Uprising, 1968

    Map showing modern day Iran's regions: [source: CCASA4.0Peter Fitzgerald]

    {{Information |Description={{en|1=Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, anniversary of the 37. mashruteh revolution, 1942}} |Source=	Catherine Legrand, Jacques Legrand: Shah-i Iran. Creative Publishing International (farsi edition), Minnetonka, MN 1999, S. 43. IR

    Mohammed Reza Shah [source: public domainwikimedia]

    Life under the Shah

    Key events in Mohammed Reza Shah's reign

  • Ascended to the Peacock Throne in Sept 1941
  • Stalin sets up two puppet states in northern Iran: Peoples Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Mahabad
  • Stalin finally takes troops out of Iran in 1946 in return for generous oil rights
  • Iran Crisis of 1946 - the pro-Soviet puppet governments, armed by the USSR, declare independance and begin clashes with Iranian troops. Mahabad had the newly created Peshmerga and were a Kurdish state. Diplomatic pressure from the US and negotiation by Iran sees the Soviets leave, after 2000 casualties. The peshmarga were pushed out into Iraq and many leaders escaped to the USSR.
  • 1949: Assassination Attempt on Shah - at a university ceremony in Tehran, he was shot at by a terrorist, and received injuries to the face. This led to the Shah taking a more active involvement in politics, and created a new Iranian Senate
  • 1951: Nationalisation of Oil Industry - Prime Minister Mosaddegh came to power. He was unhappy with the Shah's involvement in politics. His National Front Party took control of Iran's oil companies. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was key to British interests in the region, and provided Britain with cheap oil.
  • 1953: Iranian Coup - following Mosaddegh's interference with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, plans were drawn up by Britain and America to remove him from power (interestingly, this was orchastrated by Alan Dulles, who was also behind the overthrow of the Guatamalan government, and the Bay of Pigs fiasco!).
    • Abadan Crisis — British engineers were told not to work with Iranians following nationalisation, leading to falling revenue especially in main oil fields like Abadan. The British also blocked exports to Iran. Food prices rocketed, and Mosaddegh began to lose his popular support
    • Alternative support — Mosaddegh needed friends - he was previously reliant on hardline Islamic groups who were abandoning him - and so allied with the Iranian Communist Party amongst others, who took to the streets to violently defend the Prime Minister. The UK saw this as Soviet intervention and feared it would fall to the USSR
    • Political chaos — Mossadegh, desperate to retain control, rigged a referendum and dissolved Parliament, giving himself total power.
    • Operation Ajax — the UK and USA jointly agreed to launch a coup; they felt the time was right as there was political and economic instability in Iran, and feared the USSR's influence. The Shah agreed to it (he had little option!). Mosaddegh, however, learnt of the plot and it became public, causing outrage in the streets. The Shah fled to Baghdad as the Communist Tudeh Party supported the Prime Minister. Mistakenly, Mosaddegh - thinking all was well - called off his supporters. Instead, the West's rival Prime Minister (Zahedi) hatched a plot, where a fake Communist takeover was staged. Horrified as businesses were looted, Iranians turned out against Moseddegh; a shell was fired at his home, and he turned himself in to the army. The Shah returned (he had gone on to Italy).
  • White Revolution Reforms - these were a series of reforms aimed at liberalizing society; women were allowed to vote. Other reforms included: redistribution of land, the acceptance of non-Muslims in government and a drive to full literacy in schools. This led to widespread rioting as Imams from the religious ulema (religious scholars). The Ayatollah (high ranking scholar) Khomeni was one of these
  • Regional Cooperation for Development - closer economic ties with Turkey and Afghanistan
  • 1965: Marble Palace Assassination Attempt - an assassin attempted to get access to the Shah's quarters; he was shot dead.
  • 1967: Coronation from Shah to "Shāhanshāh" ("King of Kings")
  • 1975: Abolition of Parties - all parties were merged into one, called the Rastakhiz
  • Who was the Ayatollah Khomeini?

  • Full name: Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini
  • He was a Shia scholar and cleric (a 'Mujahid'), who became active in Iranian politics and had studied at the holy city of Qom and wrote many books on religion and even poetry
  • Although the Shah was a Muslim, his rule was very secular, and he often drew criticism from more radical Islamic voices like Khomeini
  • He became the voice of opposition to the White Revolution Reforms and compared the Shah to a Sunni tyrant. This led to his arrest, and rioting in the streets, though he was released.
  • He spent 14 years in exile from 1964, mainly in Iraq. He became fiercly critical of the Shah and monarchy in general in the 1970s, and became the figurehead for Islamic opposition, and opposition in general, despite being based in Paris!
  • He returned to great enthusiasm in Iran once the Shah had left in 1979, becoming its Supreme Leader.
  • Why was there a Revolution in Iran in 1979?

    Short Term Reasons

  • The Khomeini article- annoyed that Islamic clericswere playing tapes of Ayatollah Khomeini's sermons, the Shah ordered a damning article to be written about him. It stated he was a corrupt, homosexual, trecherous Indian. This angered his supporters and led to protests in Qom (the holy city of Iran)
  • The Shah's cancer - after being diagnosed with cancer in 1978, the Shah left the capital to receive treatment by the Caspian Sea. The drugs given to him made him volatile and depressed, and he often sank into long periods of doing nothing. As the Iranian government was centred around him (there was now, only one government and Zahedi had long since been removed), this meant nothing got done. As rumours spread, nothing was done to stop them - except for a terribly photoshopped image of the Shah walking! This allowed opposition to grow.
  • Black Friday - On 8th Sept 1978, Iranian troops opened fire on the thousands of protesters that had gathered in Tehran's Jaleh Square.
    • This led to even more protests and outrage, causing the Shah to pass reforms that allowed previously exiled Iranians back into Iraq... including the Ayatollah Khomeini. Strikes then took place around the whole country at protest of Black Friday and the Shah, including from the oil industry. The Prime Minister Bakhtiar then asked the Shah to leave, which he did. Ayatollah Khomeini was invited to set up a religious independant city in Qom, in support for Bakhtiar - he rejected this and his supporters took to the streets. Bakhtiar stood down. Khomeini was now in charge

    Long Term Reasons

  • The Shah's lifestyle- Persepolis celebration 1971 (included 200 French chefs and 300 foreign dignatories!) cars, planes, Hollywood, womanising, Niavaran Complex. This contrasted starkly with the growing popularity of Ayatollah Khomeini, who was seen as pious, unjustly treated (his son was rumoured to have been killed by the secret police the SAVAK) and who portrayed the Shah as the hated Sunni ruler from the past: Yazid
  • Anti-Westernisation - the Shah spoke French, not Persian, to his children; he spent vast amount of times in the West, gave $1bn in loans to the USA and the UK and aligned himself along European lines. He often talked about being part of the 'European world'. This did not sit well with most Iranians, who remembered invasions from both the USSR and UK during WW2, and the UK and USA in 1953. They also saw the West as immoral and a drain on their resources (such as with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company).
  • Inequalities and economic problems - Iran imported heavily from the West, causing farmers to go out of business, whilst the Shah's attempts to modernise industry often meant that many labourers were put out of jobs
  • Growth of Islam - the Shah underestimated the importance of Islam to his people; he angered them by changing the calendar from the Muslim one to one that began with the pre-Islamic Cyrus the Great; his lifestlye contrasteed with Islam and he was repeatedly denounced by the country's ulema.
  • Reaction against oppression - the SAVAK were hated
  • Lack of support from the West - Jimmy Carter had become President in the USA and encouraged a thaw in the Cold War accross the world; the Shah was encouraged to free political prisoners, which he did, but this made opposition groups stronger, such as the Writers Group.
  • IGCSE history, events in the gulf, Iran, Iranian Crisis, 1953

    Participants in 'Operation Ajax': [source:wikimedia]

    Why did the USA get involved in the 1953 coup?

  • To weaken imperialist Britain - the US could improve their relations with Iran at the expense of old colonial powers, by installing US-friendly politicians. This would give them more influence in the region.
  • To gain access to cheap oil - although there was an abundance of global out at the time, the US had strategic interests in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; this would be another potential revenue stream. They also did not want these countries nationalizing their industries too
  • As part of their Containment strategy - the puppet states of Azerbaijana nd Mahabad showed that the USSR was active in the region, as was the fact that Mosaddegh had support from the Tudeh Party and the Iranian Communist Party in government. The Korean War was ongoing, the 'Iron Curtain' had fallen in Europe, and this was part of Truman's Containment strategy.
  • Because of the 'Reds under the Beds' scare - there was public support for intervention owing to a fear of Communists infiltrating all arenas in the USA - this was seen through McCarthysim.
  • What were the consequences of the 1953 coup?

  • The Shah was weakened; the new Prime Minister strengthened
  • The Shah concerned himself with limiting Zahedi's power
  • Split opposition
  • Reforms and a more socialist approach - the Shah realised that Mosaddegh's popularity came from his messages. He therefore set about reforming land ownership and living standards. Seen through the 1963 White Revolution Reforms
  • Repression
  • - other faiths were persecuted, such a the Baha'i, in order to unify the country

    IGCSE history, events in the gulf, Iran,  Ayatollah Khomeini; Iranian Revolution

    Ayatollah Khomeini mural. Tehran, Iran. [source:babeltravel]

    How far did life improve for Iranians under the Shah?

    The Road to War in the Middle East

    Causes of Iran-Iraq War

    On September 22 1980, Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran without warning. For the next eight years, the countries would be at war until August 1988. But what caused this war?

    Long Term Causes

  • Arab-Persian hostilities - Iran and Iraq had a long history of tension and bitter dispute.
  • Tensions over oil
  • A build up of arms
  • Short Term Causes

  • Saddam's actions - Saddam Hussein spoke of becoming the regional Middle Eastern powerhouse, and a decisive victory against Iran would allow him to do this; he would gain access to huge oil reserves and weaken a formidable power. The Middle East would then turn to Iraq, not Egypt as its leader.
  • Ayatollah Khomeini's actions - Khomeini had rejected requests for an alliance from Saddam, and openly called for a Shia Revolution in Iraq. Given that the Ba'ath part was secular, this was fuelling religious tension, especially as Iraq had Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions to deal with.
  • Iran's Revolution of 1978
  • The Events: Iran-Iraq War

    Consequences of Iran-Iraq War

  • Heavy civilian casualties
  • Heavy military casualties and damage
  • Status Quo Ante Bellum - this literally means 'the state that existed before the war'. Neither side was able to make a decisive break through, and so UN Resolution 598 declared that borders were as they originally had been. No gains were made by either side
  • How did the West get involved in the Gulf?

    Why did the Iraq war last so long?

    IGCSE history, events in the gulf, iran-iraq war; 	{{Information |Description={{en|1=English: Montage of Iran-Iraq War}} |Source=''Self-made, uses the following images (all public domain)<br/> Image:Chemical weapon1.jpg<br/> Image:Operation Nimble Archer DN-SC-88-01042.jpg<br/> [[:Image:Iranian

    A montage of the Iran-Iraq war [source: gIre_3piCH2005]

    IGCSE history, events in the gulf, iran-iraq war

    [source: CCASA 4.0 Unknown]

    IGCSE history, cold war, containment, vietnam war

    Civilians sort through the ruins of their homes in Cholon in the Vietnam War. Photo by Meyerson, Joel D. [Public Domain: Source: Good Free Photos

    Click on the video to see the impact of Solidarity
    Click on the video to see an overview of the collapse of the USSR

    Causes of the Gulf War

    Course of the Gulf War

    Consequences of the Gulf War

    Cold war, collapse of USSR, IGCSE History, Gorbechev, 1991