In a tradition that dates back to the time of Thucydides, and the Peloponnesian War, the systematic examination of conflict and war has long been a preoccupation of political scientists seeking to resolve the enduring question: Why do wars occur? This study directly engages this question with a specific focus on explaining the conflict between Iran and Iraq, arguably the longest and one of the more costly conventional wars of the twentieth century. Explaining the systemic nature of conflict within the Middle East, and specifically between Iran and Iraq, the book illustrates how IR theory can be utilised in explaining conflict dynamics in the Middle East. The author's integrated approach to understanding interstate conflict escalation demonstrates that when taken together issues, interaction and power capabilities lend themselves to a much richer account of the dyadic relationship between Iran and Iraq in the lead up to war in 1980. Addressing a disparity between international relations and Middle Eastern area studies, this book fills an important gap in the existing scholarly literature on the causes of war. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of peace and conflict studies, Middle Eastern studies and International Relations.