This article examines the domestic causes of the Iran–Iraq War. It delves into secret discussions among Iranian political and military elites during the conflict, their analyses of their own performance on the battlefield, and their revealing public disputes and blame game decades later. It contends that an underexplored and yet critical driving force behind Iran’s prosecution of the war was factional politics. Along with state-level geo-strategic, regime-level security and individual-level ideological concerns, factional factors must also be examined to understand Tehran's war-time decisions. Iran’s factional rivalries began between the Islamists and the nationalists; and between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the army at war’s outbreak, and eventually penetrated into the heart of the Islamist camp between the militant clerics and the IRGC.
Read the full article in Journal of Strategic Studies.