In This Review

The Gulf War: Its Origins, History And Consequences
The Gulf War: Its Origins, History And Consequences
By John Bulloch and Harvey Morris
Methuen, 1989, 309 pp
After The War: Iraq And The Arab Gulf
After The War: Iraq And The Arab Gulf
Edited by Charles Davies
Carden, 1990, 422 pp

The war in question is the eight-year struggle between Iran and Iraq. In The Gulf War two experienced British journalists present a good general survey that does justice to both sides while raising pertinent questions about the aims and judgment of the leaders in what was in essence a bloody, costly and pointless war. The book is at its best in delving into the murky and often contradictory policies of outside states, not least the United States and the Soviet Union. In dealing with the two belligerents, After the War, based on a 1989 symposium, covers some of the same ground and also antedates the crisis brought on by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Many of its predictions and conclusions, especially those on Iraq, fare badly in the light of subsequent events. There is nevertheless much solid information on the effects of the years of war on Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states. The chapters on the broader strategic issues, though making some telling criticisms of American policy, are less enlightening.