Oddly this war isn’t discussed much any more, even though it is arguably the breakthrough event for the ongoing collapse of parts of the Middle East. And by many metrics it was the worst and most brutal war since WWII, with the Congo clashes in the running too.
I found Pierre Razoux’s The Iran-Iraq War to be a highly readable and useful account, translated from the French, Harvard Belknap Press. I can’t judge the details of the substance, but I never had the feeling it was overreaching or implausible. Here is one quick excerpt, of relevance to contemporary events:
For his part, Hafez al-Assad saw Saddam Hussein as an even more ruthless rival now that he supported the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The moment hostilities broke out between Iran and Iraq,Assad decided to provide military assistance to Teheran…Syria also provided Iran with numerous pharmaceutical and food products and allowed it to deploy several hundred Pasdaran in London. This gave Irana foothold in the land of the Cedar, allowing it access to the Mediterranean and an opportunity tighten its grip on the Lebanese Shiite community.