A combination of military, economic and political factors made 1986 a very difficult year for Iraq, in fact the most difficult since the beginning of its war with Iran. Iraq's difficult economic situation was complicated in 1986 by its accumulating external debts, the high cost of the war and the world oil crisis which drastically curtailed its income. This situation alarmed the regime because it was likely to hamper the war effort and to undermine the social basis on which it rested. The difficult military and economic situation had its repercussions on Iraq's foreign relations and its ability to mobilize support for its cause. The danger of its military collapse prompted some of Iraq's staunchest supporters to open channels of communication with its rival. The military setbacks brought pressure to bear on the political system. The military leadership demanded greater freedom of action.