This report is an outgrowth of the questions raised in the fall of 1980 and spring of 1981 about the conduct of air operations in the war between Iran and Iraq. Unlike previous Middle Eastern wars, this one had continued over a protracted period while we in the United States and in the US Air Force had been able to observe it only from a distance. As the war haltingly progressed, we began to have a fair picture of what was going on in the air war, though our information was far from complete or detailed. The sketchy picture that emerged, however, seemed to indicate that combatants were using their airpower assets in way contrary to our expectations. Most notably, it seemed that both sides seemed content not to use their airpower and relied instead on ground forces for most combat operations. This report examines the air war between Iran and Iraq, but rather than attempt simply to lay out what happened in the war, it attempts to discern why Iran and Iraq used their airpower as they did. The results of this study do not call into question any basic US Air Force airpower approaches, but they do highlight significant considerations that affect the use of airpower by Third World nations.