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The Iran-Iraq War, Volume 2

The Iran-Iraq War, Volume 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2017 Title The Iran-Iraq War, Volume 2
Author E.R. Hooton, Tom Cooper, Farzin Nadimi Publisher Helion
Published 2017 ISBN 9781911096573
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $35.00

Review

Iran's May 1982 recapture of Khorramshahr exposed Iraq's southern city of Basra to Iranian attack.

Operation Beit-ol-Moqaddas had effectively neutralized invading Iraqi forces. And Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, sought to "rein-in his troops on the Iranian side of the frontier and consolidate the [1979] revolution".

Other Iranians, however, feared that "the end of the war would destroy a national unifying factor in the face of continued revolutionary turmoil". "Iran," they argued, "had to carry the war to the enemy until [Iraq's] secular Ba'athist [sic: Ba'athist] regime was defeated and overthrown."

That's where authors E.R. Hooton, Tom Cooper, and Farzin Nadimi launch volume 2 of The Iran-Iraq War – sixth installment in Helion's "Middle East@War" series, available in North America from Casemate.

Subtitled "Iran Strikes Back, June 1982-December 1986", the admirably annotated account charts major phases of combat during the period.

After Khorramshahr, Iran sought to expand its tenuous toehold on Iraqi territory by capturing Basra. This resulted in several unsuccessful offensives – largely spearheaded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and paramilitary volunteers – around the Hawizah Marshes.

Undertaking a "massive arms-spending spree", Iraq chose "an active defense policy which included limited offensives to improve its positions". And both belligerents continued slog and stalemate and slaughter over limited territorial swaps.

Contents conclude with Operation Valfajr 8 – Iran's successful "capture and retention of Faw", the "high point of Iran's war effort" and a "major blow to Saddam's prestige".

Coverage comes packed with fascinating facts. Wartime structure, tactics, capabilities and performance of Pasdaran and Basij forces proved especially illuminating. And how about that Iranian AH-1J with Maverick air-to-surface missiles?

Equally intriguing were Iranian efforts to acquire weaponry from international dealers at vastly inflated prices.

Interesting, too, were more conventional contracts with, for instance, China, North Korea and Vietnam. The last included captured ARVN assets – M48 tanks and M113 APCs.

Tehran also required spares for Shah-era US weapons purchases. Efforts to circumvent those international embargoes proved equally enthralling. And who could forget the scandalous Iran-Contra affair? Check Chapter 4 for more.

Again, color and B&W photos illustrate Helion's account. Abbreviations, extended captions, maps, selected bibliography and chapter endnotes also enhance the effort. And a dozen color profiles – six AFVs and six helicopters – provide plenty of model project inspiration.

Quibbles?

The ZSU-57-2 used a modified T-54 chassis. The Pilatus PC-7 trainer and light-strike aircraft is a Swiss design – and not a "Brazilian Embaer" [sic: Embraer] product.

Thankfully gone are the proofing problems plaguing volume one. I only spotted one AWOL hyphen. That's more of what I expect from Helion's usually superb "@ War" titles.

Strongly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!

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