The Long History of Cooperation between Iran and Russia

In the Syrian civil war, Iranian and Russian forces have fought side by side to keep Bashar al-Assad in power. But cooperation between Moscow and Tehran goes back much further, explains Oved Lobel:

[T]he Islamist regime has maintained a deep warmth for Russia, especially after 1988. The Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was the only foreign leader ever to receive a personal letter from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (in 1989) urging him to consider Islam an alternative given the imminent collapse of Communism. . . . While the current relationship is a strategic alliance, the Soviet-Khomeini relationship was more akin to the Russo-Turkish alliance of today, in which their highest mutual priority—the destruction of U.S. influence—allowed them to compartmentalize irreconcilable ideological and geopolitical differences.

The most extreme example of this is Afghanistan, where Khomeini and Moscow came to an arrangement whereby Tehran could replicate its Islamic theocracy in Hazarajat, the area predominantly populated by the Hazara Shiite minority, while the Soviets shored up their Communist state in the rest of Afghanistan. . . . Following the sudden rise of the Taliban, Russia and Iran allied against them and backed the Northern Alliance. . . . But, following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the two countries collaborated in supporting the Taliban.

Since Vladimir Putin took the helm at the Kremlin, the relationship between the two has only grown stronger:

The clearest demonstration of the Russo-Iranian alliance was their joint intervention in Syria to preserve Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but their anti-U.S. alliance spans the globe. For instance, when the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) sought Iranian support during the second intifada, it went to Moscow to connect with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, resulting in the 2002 Karine A affair, when the Palestinian Authority tried to smuggle 50 tons of Iranian-supplied weapons into Gaza in flagrant violation of the Oslo Accords.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Afghanistan, Iran, PLO, Russia

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University