"Saddam Hussein, a Sunni who ruled over a Shia majority in Iraq, invaded Iran the following year in a regional and sectarian power struggle. " All references to the Iran-Iraq war as a sectarian conflict misses the point and falls into the trap of retroactive analysis. Remember that the bulk of the Iraqi army at the time were Shi`ites who did not defect to the Iranian side, as Hanna Batatu always remarked. Also, neither of the two warring regimes invoked sectarian language against one another during that war. Their enmity was expressed in nationalist and political terms.