This volume offers a wide-ranging examination of the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88), featuring fresh regional and international perspectives derived from recently available new archival material.

Three decades ago Iran and Iraq became embroiled in a devastating eight-year war which served to re-define the international relations of the Gulf region. The Iran–Iraq War stands as an anomaly in the Cold War era; it was the only significant conflict in which the interests of the United States and Soviet Union unwittingly aligned, with both superpowers ultimately supporting the Iraqi regime.

The Iran–Iraq War re-assesses not only the superpower role in the conflict but also the war’s regional and wider international dimensions by bringing to the fore fresh evidence and new perspectives from a variety of sources. It focuses on a number of themes including the economic dimensions of the war and the roles played by a variety of powers, including the Gulf States, Turkey, France, the Soviet Union and the United States. The contributions to the volume serve to underline that the Iran–Iraq war was a defining conflict, shaping the perspectives of the key protagonists for a generation to come.

This book will be of much interest to students of international and Cold War history, Middle Eastern politics, foreign policy, and International Relations in general.

chapter 1|11 pages


part |62 pages

Part I Waging the war

chapter 2|18 pages

Lessons learned

Civil—military relations during the Iran—Iraq War and their influence on the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War

chapter 3|23 pages

Saddam and the Iran—Iraq War

Rule from the top

chapter 4|19 pages

Mustazafin and taghutti

Iran and the war, 1980–1988

part |31 pages

Part II Economic dimensions of the war

chapter 5|15 pages

The role of oil in the outcome of the Iran—Iraq War

Some important lessons in historical context

chapter 6|14 pages

The finances of war

Iraq, credit and conflict, September 1980 to August 1990

part |39 pages

Part III Regional perspectives on the war

chapter 7|16 pages

The Gulf States and the Iran—Iraq War

Cooperation and confusion

chapter 8|21 pages

The ostensible ‘silent victor'?

The long-term impact of the Iran—Iraq War on Turkey

part |64 pages

Part IV American policy and the war

chapter 11|15 pages

Critical Oral History

A new approach to examining the United States' role in the war

part |32 pages

Part V International perspectives on the war