The Iran-Iraq War was one of the longest in the 21st century, as well as one of the most fruitless. A border dispute ballooned into one of the longest conventional wars of the twentieth century. This article is a study of the strategy and tactics that contributed to the war’s inability to accomplish the goals of either side. Three factors explaining the long duration will be discussed: military ineptitude, political and ideological motivations, and geopolitical influences.
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