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Book Review: Analysis of Iran-Iraq War; Introduction to a Theory

Monday, September 4, 2017

 

The book entitled “Analysis of Iran-Iraq War; Introduction to a Theory,” written by Mohammad Doroudiyan, represents an effort to analyze the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq from a strategic viewpoint. It also means to establish a profound and logical connection between the experience of that war and the present and future needs and necessities of the Iranian society so as to make way for taking advantage of the experience of the Sacred Defense in making major decisions within political and military structure of the country. In other words, the writer has been trying to take a step toward promotion of such discussions from a purely operational level to a strategic level in order to take advantage of the war experience. In doing so, he moves to offer a lasting theory.

In his new book, Doroudiyan has borrowed from his previous books, especially the six-volume “A Review of Iran-Iraq War.” However, in his new book, he has offered a much more complete account. The book gives its readers a profound strategic insight through which the present and future needs and necessities of war and the best way to make decisions on war can be identified to some extent.

The writer has offered a logical and documented explanation of the imposed war and powerfully defends the eight-year Sacred Defense. He uses more arguments and details in his explanation of war compared to his previous books, so as to do away with ambiguities that exist due to complexity of war. He also makes an effort to analyze and discuss new ambiguities and questions raised about issues related to the war during the past decade.

From the viewpoint of Major General Gholamali Rashid, who has supervised the book, the present book “has conducted a good study on factors that have caused the existing potentialities to discuss the war from a strategic viewpoint to be neglected while also touching on reasons behind the damage done to defensive and historical achievements of the Iranian society. It also explains what factors have prevented operational discussions of war from being elevated to a strategic level.”

In the introduction to his book, Mohammad Doroudiyan has explained the necessity of theorization to facilitate the use of war experiences. He writes, “Three major considerations prompted the writing of the present book and made it necessary to look into theoretical fundaments and methodology used in this research. First of all, a large part of the existing potentialities to study the war in its strategic aspects have been ignored due to dominance of the political and propaganda discourse.”

“Secondly,” he adds, “escalation of political disputes on some basic topics and issues of war, along with criticism of the management and decision-making process during the war, especially after recapturing [the southwestern Iranian city of] Khorramshahr [from Iraqi forces], have damaged defensive and historical achievements of the Iranian society.” “Thirdly, it is a common practice in military institutions to study the war mostly from the viewpoint of military operations. Considerations that surround the approach to war in the Iranian society, mostly lead to neglecting the concept of war as a strategic issue. The necessity for looking at the war as a strategic issue is based on the premise that war has do to with elimination or revival of nations and determines the fate and nature of human societies. Therefore, the issue of the war as well as its experience and achievements must be reflected on and revisited from the viewpoint of the country’s defensive and offensive power and with an eye to the future. This is especially true now that the geopolitical position of Iran and its insistence on pursuing independent goals and policies on the basis of religious and revolutionary ideas have made it permanently exposed to military and security threats. At the present time, regional developments have changed in nature, especially following terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, and have encroached on the security environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Therefore, the writer believes that “a suitable and more developed concept of war is needed to be used as a ‘defense and security theory’ to support Iran’s position as a regional power and to counter all kinds of future risks, including the risk of war.”

He goes on to say, “Misconception of war in the past had prevented Iran from being prepared in defensive terms, as a result of which the country was strategically taken by surprise when faced with Iraq’s aggression. At the present time, since the nature of threats as well as the destructive nature of war have changed, if the existing concept of war is not revised and rectified, it is possible for the country to be taken by surprise once again in the face of a possible future war. Therefore, review of the war experience in this book is aimed at studying neglected potentialities in the area of military and strategic concepts in order to meet the country’s present and future needs in this field.”

The books’ table of contents includes a foreword by Major General Gholamali Rashid as supervisor, an introduction, six chapters and a short concluding part. To better explain topics discussed in every chapter, the main framework of those chapters has been laid out by posing one primary and a few secondary questions. In fact, these are questions that preoccupy the Iranian society and include: Why the war with Iraq began at all? Why Iraq resorted to war in order to achieve its goals? How a new defensive power emerged in Iran in the face of aggressors? How was Iran’s offensive power for liberation of occupied parts of the country created and what was its result? And finally, what was Iran’s strategic option for gaining military victory over Iraq and putting an end to war and what was its result?

 

 

 

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