Murray and Woods, The Iran-Iraq War

by Nida Alahmad
published in MER275

Williamson Murray and Kevin M. Woods, The Iran-Iraq War: A Military and Strategic History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

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The War and the Struggle for the State

by Eric Rouleau
published in MER98

“Was it not your KGB which indirectly passed on to us the secret plan for the Iraqi offensive?” President Bani-Sadr’s point-blank question clearly embarrassed the Soviet ambassador. Vladimir Vinogradov lapsed into an embarrassed silence but his face was lit by a smile which was as broad as it was enigmatic. The Iranian head of state had pointed out that the invasion of the Islamic Republic, which had begun more than 36 hours before his conversation with the diplomat, followed a scenario described in detail in a report given to him weeks previously. Who but the Kremlin, he wondered, could have access to the plans of Baghdad’s general staff?

Debating the Iran-Iraq War on Film

by Narges Bajoghli
published in MER271

For supporters of the Islamic Republic, it is the Iran-Iraq war, and not the 1979 revolution, that evokes the true spirit of the Islamic Republic. In 1979, the plethora of political groups that poured into the streets was united in the desire to get rid of the US-backed Shah, but divided as to the shape of post-revolutionary society. Only after the outbreak of the “imposed war” with Iraq (1980-1988) were Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his fellow clerics able to consolidate the Islamic Republic as a state. The war allowed the regime to imprison the opposition for reasons of “national security” and to mobilize the population in defense of the revolution as the regime defined it.

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Iraq Buys Cluster Bombs from Chile

by Tim Frasca
published in MER122

On Wednesday, March 14, at 4 pm, an Iraqi Airways Boeing 747 jumbo jet took off from Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez Airport reportedly loaded with “thousands” of 500-pound cluster bombs. The Iraqis apparently bought the bombs from the Chilean firm Industrias Cardoen SA. Cardoen had been displaying its various military wares at the annual International Air Fair (Feria Internacional del Aire, FIDA-84), which was held March 3-11 at the El Bozque Air Base in the Santiago community of San Bernando.

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER122

The war between Iran and Iraq has entered its most gruesome phase. Iran has stepped up its “human wave” attacks, sending tens of thousands of new recruits, including many young boys, to face entrenched Iraqi gun positions or to serve as human mine detonators. Tehran, with some evidence, accuses the Iraqi high command of using chemical weapons, including mustard gas, to turn back the Iranian attacks. Iraq’s deputy foreign minister, in Washington in mid-March, weakly responded to these charges by pointing to US use of chemical weapons, such as napalm and Agent Orange, in Indochina, and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as if to say that Iraq was entitled to some quota of war crimes.

Two Books on the Iran-Iraq War

by Mansour Farhang
published in MER125

Shirin Tahir-Kheli and Shaheen Ayubi, The Iran-Iraq War: New Weapons, Old Conflicts (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1983).

Tareq Y. Ismael, Iraq and Iran: Roots of Conflict (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1982).

Much of the growing literature on the Iran-Iraq war is devoted to how the conflict has affected oil exports from the Gulf or the geopolitical designs of the United States in the area. The books under review are exceptional in that they concentrate on the national and regional perceptions, objectives and priorities of the principal protagonists.

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El-Azhary, The Iran-Iraq War

by Peter Sluglett
published in MER125

M. S. el-Azhary, ed., The Iran-Iraq War (London and New York: Croom Helm and St. Martin’s Press, 1984).

This volume comprises papers presented at a conference organized by the Universities of Exeter and Basra, at Exeter in July 1982, together with an introduction and conclusion written in the spring or summer of 1983. Some of the contributions thus have a rather dated air. John Duke Anthony, for example, thought that it was “unlikely that the Gulf states [would] be able to finance Iraq in the period ahead” in the way that they had in the first two years of the war, when in fact their munificence shows no immediate signs of abating.

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Rafsanjani Discusses Timing of Next Iranian Offensive

published in MER125

Excerpts from the Friday prayer speech of Hojjat-ol-Islam Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the Imam’s representative to the Supreme Defense Council, and Speaker of the Majles, broadcast on Tehran radio, July 6, 1984.

Oil and the Outcome of the Iran-Iraq War

published in MER125

Excerpts from a report by Thomas McNaugher and William Quandt of the Brookings Institution, published on May 14, 1984 by Cambridge Energy Research Associates. These excerpts appeared in Arab Oil and Gas (Paris), June 1, 1984.

Arms Merchants in the Gulf War

by Joe Stork
published in MER125

Both sides in the Gulf war have had to import billions of dollars worth of weapons, ordnance and military services in order to maintain and expand their battle forces. As the tables show, the number of military suppliers to both belligerents has expanded greatly in the period since the war began. Before the war, the.US and the USSR were the major suppliers to Iran and Iraq respectively, although Iraq had already made efforts to diversify its suppliers. The present roster displays the extent to which European, South American and Asian industrializing countries have taken advantage of the war to boost their arms exports and improve their positions for other sales and contracts as well.