Strategic Interaction and the Iran–Iraq War: Lessons to Learn for Future Engagement?

Jerome Denis Donovan, Cheree Topple, Vik Naidoo, Trenton Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using an interdisciplinary approach combining international relations and Middle Eastern studies, this research examines the Iran–Iraq war using the concepts of strategic interaction and reciprocity as theoretical anchors to illuminate more fully than previous investigations how these two states arrived at the point of war in 1980. Through a case study methodology, the findings demonstrate mixed results for the applicability of IR theory to fully explain the Iran–Iraq war. In particular, as a key interactive element of dyadic relationships, it was proposed that the accumulation of past interactions was likely to propagate future behavior with past conflictual interactions increasing the likelihood of future conflictual interactions and vice versa. The observed findings however indicate that time moderates this relationship such that shorter temporal periods are required to support the role of accumulation in influencing future relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-346
Number of pages20
JournalDigest of Middle East Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


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