Role of Lebensraum as a Concept in Forming Iraq Foreign Policy and Political Behavior

Document Type : Original Article


1 - Assistant Professor of Political Geography, Tarbiat Moaalem University, Tehran, Iran

2 -M.A Student of Political Geography,Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Assessing the national power in the current situation and creating favorable situation which involves national security interests, require rulers and political elites to consider the geopolitical strategy. Strategy forms in the relation with other regional and international powers and environmental constraints and opportunities. Hence, political systems have tried to deal with the territorial and resource constraints by occupying or penetrating into the territories that they can be geopolitical complementary. This article probes the issue of Iraq geopolitical restrictions of accessing to free waters that has caused aggressive behavior to the nature of Iraqi foreign policy and its politicians that frequently decide to cancel or modify the contents of the Algeria treaty in spite of the Baath regime collapse. It seems that the stable geopolitical challenges in Iraq will affect its relations with Iran.
Definitions about national power and its components have emphasized on the importance of concrete elements such as size, location, resources, and the number of population, access and ... as the key concepts. Power enforcement and tendency to spread it among human communities and political units has created related concepts and theories. Living Space approach in states foreign policy denotes acquisition of land and its resources for self-sufficiency and national power gain. Such an approach has had prominent role in the emergence of colonialism and expansionism. According to Nazi approach of lebensraum (vital space) with racial bias the expansion of Germany as a central place was justified. It seems that the geopolitical characteristics of Iraq's foreign policy shows aggressive signs which has derived from the lebensraum theory.
The main research question is: Why Iraq’s Foreign policy has had aggressive nature?
The research hypothesis is: Iraq’s Geopolitical Characteristics has formed its Foreign policy aggressive in behavior. Required information has been gathered from library sources and documents. Required information has been gathered from library sources and documents. The methodology determined descriptive and analytical, to analyze the role of lebensraum (living space) theory in Iraq’s foreign policy.
Discussion and Results
Efforts to strengthen national power and to influence the transnational relations, forms states foreign policy. Geopolitical factors and variables affect the national power. Enjoyment or Privation of the extensive land, location, resources have led to opportunities and constraints for state. Lebensraum (living space) theory directs Governments to define the situation and favorable conditions which provides Geopolitical strategy, by considering violence, war and the land Expansion. The term Lebensraum in this sense was coined by Friedrich Ratzel in 1901, and was used as a slogan in Germany referring to the unification of the country and the acquisition of colonies, based on the English and French models, and the westward expansion of the United States. Chaotic condition of Germany after world war I. caused the Lebensraum theory to become operational in which devastating consequences created on global scale.
Iraq’s geopolitical situation and its immutable geopolitical components and factors, make its foreign relations challenging, which lead Iraq’s Geopolitical Characteristics to appear aggressive in behavior.


Volume 8, Issue 25
March 2012
Pages 112-134
  • Receive Date: 24 June 2010
  • Revise Date: 26 August 2010
  • Accept Date: 13 February 2011
  • First Publish Date: 20 March 2012