Salman Rushdie Wasn’t Targeted for Insulting Islam, but for Insulting the Ruler of Iran

Aug. 25 2022

Looking carefully at Salman Rushdie’s 1988 The Satanic Verses, Hussein Ibish argues that “no reader could come away with the idea that the novel was attempting to tell the tale of the birth of Islam or critique the religion.” What then, explains the price put on Rushdie’s head by the Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which provoked his recent stabbing? Ibish answers:

Chapter 11 of the novel paints a stinging and remarkably incisive caricature of Khomeini himself. It depicts “the Imam”—a fanatical cleric forced to live in the West, just as Khomeini was when he was exiled to France after being expelled from Iraq by Saddam Hussein. Among the many absurdities of this character is that he wants to stop time, an obvious parody of Khomeini’s passionate hatred of progress and modernity.

It is hard to imagine a more precise and stinging lampoon of Khomeini and his malevolent mission. There’s more besides in chapter 11 about the Imam character that would have caused Khomeini additional, and indeed greater, personal offence and outrage. He and his followers were certainly well aware of it when they decided the author had to die. Of course, they claimed to be responding to an attack “against Islam, the prophet of Islam, and the Quran.” But there is no doubt it was, above all, about the wounded ego of a man anointing himself a “supreme leader.”

That Khomeini and his followers recognized him and his fanatical regime in the character of the Imam—and then acted precisely according to monstrous type in 1989 and ever since—tells us everything we need to know about their ongoing addiction to violence and hostility to creativity and freedom of thought. . . . Rushdie’s attacker is unlikely to see any of the promised millions. But Iranian gloating confirms who is responsible for this heinous attack.

At the moment, the U.S. government is considering whether to extend billions of dollars of sanctions relief to the Islamic Republic as part of a revived nuclear deal.

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Read more at The National

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran, Radical Islam

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship