When the Mob Came for the Jews of Baghdad

Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the farhud, the brutal Baghdad pogrom that accompanied the fall of a short-lived pro-Nazi Iraqi regime. In the weeks beforehand, Arab nationalist leaders, German agents, and the mufti of Jerusalem had inundated Iraqis with anti-Semitic propaganda. Joseph Samuels, who was ten years old and living in Baghdad at the time, recollects:

Soldiers in civilian clothes, policemen, and large crowds of Iraqi men, including Bedouin brandishing swords and daggers, joined in the pillage, helping themselves to loot as they plundered more than 1,500 Jewish homes and stores. For two days, the rioters murdered between 150 and 780 Jews—exact counts aren’t known—injured 600 to 2,000 others, and raped an indeterminable number of women. Some say 600 unidentified victims were buried in a mass grave. All through the night we heard their screams. We heard gunshots too, then sudden quiet. Unarmed and unprepared to defend themselves, Jews were vulnerable and helpless. I was shaken, desperate, and angry.

My family reinforced our front door by stacking heavy furniture against it. I carried buckets of water to the roof to boil and stay ready to toss on marauders should they attempt to break in. We stayed up through the night, barricaded in our home. My father was praying and reading the book of Psalms, but I was too preoccupied to join. Not wanting to appear weak to my older brothers, I cried myself to sleep in silence.

Later, I heard of Muslim men protecting Jewish homes by standing guard with guns and daggers. Some even sheltered Jews in their own homes and saved them. . . . They were the true heroes.

After Iraq’s failure in its May 1948 war to extinguish Israel, the new Jewish state, the Iraqi government reignited its assault on its own Jewish citizens. New waves of accusations, arrests, tortures, and hangings shook the Jewish community’s faith in the future. Fear of a second farhud took over.

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Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Baghdad, Iraqi Jewry, World War II

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin