Wars of Modern Babylon
A History of the Iraqi Army from 1921 to 2003
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
As long as there have been wars, victors have written the prevailing histories of the world's conflicts. An army that loses -- and especially one that is destroyed or disbanded -- is often forgotten. Nevertheless, the experiences of defeated forces can provide important insights, lessons, and perspectives not always apparent to the winning side.
In Wars of Modern Babylon, Pesach Malovany provides a comprehensive and detailed history of the Iraqi military from its formation in 1921 to its collapse in 2003. Malovany analyzes Iraqi participation in the 1948, 1967, and 1973 Arab wars against Israel as well as Iraq's wars with the Kurds during the twentieth century. His primary focus, however, is the era of Saddam Hussein (1979--2003), who implemented rapid and significant military growth and fought three major wars: against Iran from 1980 to 1988, and against coalition forces led by the United States in 1991 and 2003. He examines the Iraqi military at the strategic, operative, and tactical levels; explains its forces and branches; and investigates its use of both conventional and unconventional weapons.
The first study to offer a portrait of an Arab army from its own point of view, Wars of Modern Babylon features interviews with and personal accounts from officers at various levels, as well as press accounts covering the politics and conflicts of the period. Malovany also analyzes books written by key figures in the Iraqi government and the army high command. His definitive chronicle offers English speakers new and overlooked perspectives on critical developments in twentieth-century history. The book won the Israel Yitzhak Sade Award for Military Literature in 2010.
"In Wars of Modern Babylon, Pesach Malovany has created a nearly comprehensive and accessible reference work that covers both the history and substance of the Iraqi Army. By leveraging a lifetime of professional study, carefully using all available sources, and consulting some of the top scholars in the field, Malovany has created a masterwork and performed an incredible service to current and future scholars." -- Kevin M. Woods, author of The Iran-Iraq War: A Military and Strategic History
"Malovany (Israeli army intelligence analyst, retired) has delivered a truly encyclopedic analysis of the Iraqi army. The author successfully weaves operational and institutional history into an important and timely account." -- Choice
"Retired Israeli Army officer Malovany has produced an excellent history of the Iraqi Army. This is an important book for those interested in the history of the Middle East over the last four decades." -- NYMAS Review
"Malovany, a retired Israeli Army intelligence service colonel who is now a consultant on Arab militaries, has produced an excellent history of the Iraqi Army [and] dispels many myths about Iraqi military prowess.
The Wars of Modern Babylon is an important book for those interested in the history of the Middle East over the last four decades, and the background to the American invasion of 2003." -- Strategy Page
"This insider's look into the Iraqi Army provides another crucial layer to our understanding of Iraqi military history. Malovany successfully paints a picture of an institution comparable to past and present armies -- strategic, operational, and tactical debates; powerful and competing bureaucracies; officer and branch rivalries; and errors in judgment, both fatal and non-fatal." -- Journal of Military History