True-life international intrigue behind the scenes of the Iran-contra affair, by a former Israeli military intelligence officer. Here, Segev probes murky dealings that were only hinted at during last year's congressional hearings. The clandestine relationship between Israel and Iran had roots under the Shah and spanned the regimes of Ben-Gurion, Meir, Rabin, and Peres. The hidden factor in this shady affair was the Iran. Iraq War. Despite Khomeini's hatred of Israel, Israeli leaders were smart enough to realize that Iraq was, geographically, a much greater threat to Israel. Consequently, contacts that went back to the Shah's days were maintained. Khomeini was also no stranger to common sense, and, fearing defeat by Iraq, was willing to dance to any tune in order to get access to American planes and weapons--as long as he could publicly maintain his posture of baiting the U.S. Segev brings the reader fight into the discussions between North, Nir, and others, focusing on the tangled web of deceit that ultimately brought the entire scheme to light, particularly the inexperience of Nir, Israel's Advisor on Terrorism Affairs--who paved the way for the humiliation and failure of McFarlane's mission to Iran in May 1986 (which Segev marks as the biggest blunder of all, destroying US government deniability). Of importance, too, is Segev's reporting of Israel's special efforts to persuade Vice-President Bush of the feasibility of the arms-for-hostages deal, which puts the lie to Bush's public posture of having had little knowledge of the deal. A provocative and enlightening sortie into the byzantine world of Realpolitik.