There are lots of famous debt crises in history, but the story of Iraq's government debt build-up in the 1980s and subsequent restructuring in the early 2000s is probably one of the most unusual. Iraq transformed from a net creditor to a net borrower in a single decade, tapping a bunch of unusual sources (including funds linked to the CIA) for money to finance war against Iran. All that borrowing eventually culminated in one of the biggest debt restructurings in history. On this episode of the Odd Lots podcast, we speak to Simon Hinrichsen, a doctoral candidate at the London School of Economics, and the first to trace the build-up of Iraq's debt going back to 1979. He walks us through lessons learned from the Iraq restructuring – including one big missed opportunity in the world of sovereign debt.