Today Woodrow Wilson Center Director, President and CEO Jane Harman and National Defense University President Vice Admiral Ann E. Rondeau signed a Memorandum of Agreement for a joint research and conference program on Iraqi records captured in the wake of the 2003 invasion.

First steps in the joint research project include the release of documents at a conference on the Iran-Iraq War in October 2011. Studying recordings of Saddam Hussein's conversations with his top generals, Iraqi intelligence assessments and other Iraqi documents will shed new light on Iraqi decision-making during the eight-year war.

"We need to review the relevant historical record carefully" said Harman. "Thanks to the digitized Iraqi materials at NDU, we now have a chance to learn the Iraqi side of the story." According to Rondeau, "gaining insights into authoritarian regimes is difficult without a view from the inside. In the case of Saddam's Iraq, we now have one."

Newly released documents from the National Defense University's Conflict Records Research Center will be at the center of the October conference, and the broader Wilson Center-NDU partnership. Through their joint research program both institutions aim to enlarge the universe of readily accessible Iraqi documents, and to encourage academics and policy-makers to draw on insights from these records in their work.