U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979–1988
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About the author
James G. Blight, Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) chair in Foreign Policy Development, Balsillie School of International Relations, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
janet M. Lang, research professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
Hussein Banai is an assistant professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College and a research affiliate at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Malcolm Byrne is deputy director and director of research at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
John Tirman, Executive Director and Principal Research Scientist, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Becoming Enemies brings the unique methods of critical oral history, developed to study flashpoints from the Cold War such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, to understand U.S. and Iranian relations from the fall of the Shah in 1978 through the Iranian hostage crisis and the Iran-Iraq war. Scholars and former officials involved with U.S. and UN policy take a fresh look at U.S and Iranian relations during this time, with special emphasis on the U.S. role in the Iran-Iraq War. With its remarkable declassified documentation and oral testimony that bear directly on questions of U.S. policymaking with regard to the Iran-Iraq War, Becoming Enemies reveals much that was previously unknown about U.S. policy before, during, and after the war. They go beyond mere reportage to offer lessons regarding fundamental foreign policy challenges to the U.S. that transcend time and place.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
; May 2012
408 pages; ISBN 9781442208322Read online
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Title: Becoming Enemies
Author: James G. Blight; Janet M. Lang; Hussein Banai; Malcolm Byrne; John Tirman; Bruce Riedel
Foreword: By Bruce Riedel.
Part I: The U.S. and Iran: How “the Enemy Has Become Our Masterpiece.”
Prologue: Kierkegaard in the Desert: A Reader’s Guide to Becoming Enemies.
Dramatis Personae: Who’s Who at the Musgrove Conference.
Chapter One: How It Came to This: The Evolution of Dueling U.S. and Iranian Narratives.
Part II: The Musgrove Conference: A Critical Oral History of the Origins of U.S.-Iranian Enmity.
Chapter Two: The U.S. Confronts The Islamic Republic: The Origins of Enmity, 1979-1982.
Chapter Three: The U.S. Tilt Toward Iraq: A Strategy for Avoiding a “Middle Eastern Armageddon.”
Chapter Four: “A World-Class Rogues’ Gallery of Liars and Crooks”: The Iran-Contra Affair.
Chapter Five: “This Huge Crescendo of Pressures”: Iraqi Resurgence in 1988 and Iranian Preparation for War with the U.S.
Chapter Six: Khomeini Drinks the “Hemlock”: How the United Nations Facilitated the End of the War.
Part III: Revelations, Perspectives and Interpretations.
Chapter Seven: Missed Opportunities? The Virtual History of U.S.-Iran Relations During the Iran-Iraq War.
Epilogue: Takeaways: What Did We Learn From the Musgrove Dialogues?
Appendix I: Chronology.
Appendix II: Annotated Excerpts From Declassified Documents.
About the Authors.
In the press
During the calamitous decade following the fall of the Pahlavi regime the Carter and Reagan administrations struggled to reorient the U.S. policy to a Middle East where a central geopolitical pillar had been upended. This was a decade of enormous violence and confusion, and a period when mutual enmity and suspicion were deeply gouged into the collective minds of the Iranian and U.S. political elite. This novel and commendably lucid volume draws on a trove of declassified documents, as well as top scholars and policy experts to offer fresh accounts of defining episodes of the decade. The often enlightening give-and-take of scholars, diplomats and officials, several of whom played leading roles during this fateful period, lends authenticity to the authors' assessments. Given the dangers that continue to haunt U.S.-Iran relations, Becoming Enemies could not be more urgent to read and ponder.