Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, no voice arguing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein had greater moral weight than that of Kanan Makiya*, notes Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
As Dexter Filkins put it in a 2007 New York Times Magazine profile of the Iraqi-American intellectual, he “made the case for invading because it was the right thing to do—to destroy an evil regime and rescue a people from their nightmare of terror and suffering. Not for oil, Makiya argued, and not for some superweapons hidden in the sand, but to satisfy an obligation to our fellow human beings.”
The city of Najaf is the location of defining crime of Makiya’s new novel, The Rope, Gerecht writes for The Wall Street Journal: the real-life murder in April 2003 of Abd al-Majid al-Khoei, the son of Iraq’s most influential cleric of the 20th century, Abul Qassim al-Khoei.
The book is “an indispensable guide into the ‘warehouses of cruelty’ of the modern Middle East and gives us a better idea of , and why Sunnis and Shiites now so eagerly kill each other,” Gerecht suggests.
*A contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy.