Iraqi Archives Reveal Saddam Hussein’s Obsession with Jews

When the U.S. and its allies overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003, they seized control of his government’s vast archives. Samuel Helfont describes the “tortured journey” that these troves of documents have taken since then, as well as some of the noteworthy things they contain:

Saddam and the Baathists had an anti-Semitic obsession with Jews. They not only tracked the dwindling population of Iraqi Jews, including those who had converted, but the Iraqi Intelligence Service also maintained an archive that included the personal property of Jews who had fled Iraq during their mass exodus in the 1950s. Apparently, Iraqi intelligence officers thought things such as medieval religious texts and modern school notebooks could provide some insight into the Jewish cabal that secretly ran the world through shadowy conspiracies.

The Americans found the Jewish records in the flooded basement of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. They took the waterlogged documents and artifacts outside into the arid desert air; they rolled Torah scrolls out in the sun in an attempt to dry them. It soon became evident, however, that these records and artifacts risked being eaten away by mold. They needed professional attention from a conservationist. So, these archives . . . were removed from Iraq.

Read more at Engelsberg Ideas

More about: Anti-Semitism, Iraq, Iraqi Jewish Archive, Saddam Hussein

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security