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Hal Brands' article, "Saddam Hussein, the United States, and the Invasion of Iran: Was There a Green Light"? (Cold War History, May 2012, pp. 319-343), comprehensively answers all of the criticisms that James Perry made in his 11 Sep. reply to Terry Anderson's review of Brand's article.* Brands notes that "[n]o writer has produced direct documentary evidence establishing American collusion with Saddam in the months prior to the invasion..." (p.321). Brands then goes on show, based on a wide variety of contemporaneous declassified documents, that even though the Carter Administration was in the middle of the hostage crisis caused by Iran, its primary concern was to protect Iran's territorial integrity from possible Soviet encroachments. Prior to the invasion, Carter wrote that he hoped Iran would remain united. Several months later, in a meeting with Jordan's King Hussein, he stated the Soviets were the greatest threat to Iran and that the United States had no plans to drive Tehran into Moscow's arms. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the preeminent consideration in US policy towards the region. On September 5, 1980, 17 days before Iraq's invasion, the US Special Coordinating Committee "resolved to warn Moscow that a Soviet push into Iran would occasion 'a direct military confrontation with the United States'" (p.328). Two days after the invasion, the National Security Council emphasized that the United States had to seek to limit Soviet influence and "to preserve the territorial integrity of Iran." National Security Adviser Brzezinski made the same point with regard to Iran's territorial integrity (p.328). Two weeks after the invasion, Brzezinski wrote a memo about pressuring Iraq to give up its territorial acquisitions against Iran (p.329). Also, shortly after the invasion US diplomats successfully pressured Omani and UAE officials to refuse Saddam's request to use the airfields of those countries to strike Iranian targets (p.329). Supporters of the green light theory must explain why the United States would simultaneously goad Saddam into an invasion but at the time seek to block his efforts to capitalize on that invasion. The coup de gras against the green light theory comes from now declassified Iraqi documents from the period. Brands shows that not only did Saddam not believe that he had a green light to attack, but that he believed the exact opposite. For example, Saddam believed that the United States was behind Khomeini's seizure of power in Iran (p.332). In July 1980, he stated that Arab military cooperation with the United States would be seen as an unfriendly act by Iraq and he told Arab governments not to allow the United States to have military bases on their respective territories (p.333). All of Saddam's efforts prior to the invasion were aimed at keeping both the United States and the Soviet Union out of the Gulf area. Four weeks after the invasion Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam's major advisors, stated that Washington's natural alignment in the Gulf area was with Iran, and also argued that religion would bring the United States and Iran together. Saddam told reporters in November 1980 that the United States was not Iraq's friend in the war. (p.336) In a meeting on October 17, 1980, Saddam worried that information obtained from a US monitoring base in Saudi Arabia would be used to feed information to Iran (p.336). He saw Carter's efforts to swap arms for hostages with Iran as an attempt to encourage Iran's resistance to the invasion (p.336). As Brands observes: "Saddam did not see a friendly wink-and-a-nod coming from Washington; he saw an unfriendly superpower working to thwart Iraq's ambitions" (p.336). Mr. Perry complains that the United States had to know about Iraq's plans to attack Iran. Carter did realize as early as April 1980 that there was a possibility of war, an assessment apparently based on an intelligence report that there was a fifty percent chance of war. (p.326) However, Brands shows that an invasion was not a consideration in the daily intelligence briefings Carter received up to the time of the invasion. Rather, the focus was on the hostage situation, internal Iranian politics, and Soviet inroads into the Gulf. In fact, ten days before Iraq invaded, a National Security Council meeting focused on the possibility of a Soviet invasion of Iran (p.327). Overall Brands shows that Saddam's decision to invade Iran was based on his belief that it would be successful because Iran was weak. Iran's constant calling for Saddam's overthrow was sufficient provocation for a paranoid tyrant to launch a war. One aspect that shocked me is that despite the hostage crisis, the Carter Administration was focused on protecting Iran's territorial integrity because it feared Soviet aggression. For those of us who lived through the crisis and constantly followed developments, this comes a big surprise. My recollection is that the US media at the time was focused almost exclusively on the hostage crisis. The fact that Carter could still focus on the bigger picture of Soviet expansion because of the invasion of Afghanistan speaks well for him, and has caused me to somewhat modify my view of his administration. Finally, it is worth citing Brands' conclusion that "[c]onspiracy theories die hard, especially when it comes to America's role in the Middle East" (p.337). The fact that both Iran and Iraq believed that the United States was behind the other suggests that truer words about that part of the world could not be written. John C. Zimmerman University of Nevada Las Vegas * The review is available here: http://www.h-net.org/~diplo/reviews/PDF/AR365.pdf