The Mother of All Battles: Saddam Hussein's Strategic Plan for the Persian Gulf War

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The Mother of All Battles: Saddam Hussein's Strategic Plan for the Persian Gulf War
By Kevin M. Woods
Naval Institute Press, 2008
336 pp. $25.20
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For students of the Persian Gulf War, this account of what Saddam Hussein thought he was up to fills in a lot of gaps. Based on materials acquired when coalition forces entered Iraq in 2003, it provides a unique insight into Iraqi strategic concepts and plans. It shows the developing sense of threats and opportunities during the 1980s and the war with Iran, including the continuing preoccupation with Israel, the underestimation of U.S. strength, and a growing interest in taking on Kuwait. The delusional quality of Saddam's own thoughts, the sycophancy around the leader, and the lack of hard debate once he had spoken still make it hard to discern what the Iraqis truly believed and whether they really understood what was happening in the field during the Gulf War. In the end, Saddam took comfort from the fact that he outlasted in office George H. W. Bush and that although he might have had to leave Kuwait, he survived the most dire threat to his regime -- the Kurdish and Shiite insurrection of March 1991.