Skip to comments.The tragic saga of the Iraqi who dared come to Israel
Posted on 05/14/2005 7:55:39 PM PDT by Alouette
Coiffed, groomed and impeccably suited, Mithal al-Alusi cuts an imposing figure at this trendy hotel. In the empty bar lounge, he makes himself at home to a breakfast of fresh fruit, strong coffee and a constant flow of cigarettes.
The leader of the Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation is in town to promote his vision for a new Iraq and accept an accolade from an unlikely sponsor the American Jewish Committee who honored him with a Moral Courage award at their annual dinner last week.
His act of courage was an attempt to break Iraq's long-standing taboo on initiating relations with an "enemy nation" and becoming the first representative of Iraq's new government to visit Israel.
While head of Iraq's De-Ba'athification Commission during Iraq's interim government, Alusi attended an international counterterrorism conference in Israel last September.
One of his objectives, he said, was to observe a country he says the new Iraq should strive to emulate a democracy "that works."
"I was interested to know how they [Israel] deal with problems and with terror. Why should we have war between Iraq and Israel? How can I forget that there is a modern state in the area which has had success in the democratic process and the economy?" he explained in broken English.
It was a trip that left him pleasantly surprised, he said, with a country he'd only known as the ultimate pariah state while growing up in Iraq.
"I have few friends in my life. Some of them are Israeli it should be like this, this is the only way," said Alusi.
Alusi, a Sunni Muslim, said he was surprised to find that Arab citizens of Israel whether Palestinian or Israeli Arab are given more rights than those living in other Arab countries, a view not widely shared by other Arab leaders.
"I am sure that the Palestinian people in Israel have more rights than in any other Arab country; and even the Iraqi citizens during the time of Saddam [Hussein]," said Alusi.
Resolute in his decision to travel to Israel, Alusi knew his visit would not be without consequence.
"Before I went, I knew I would have a huge trouble in Baghdad, I was very sure I would lose my political position. And I was very sure that I was a target for the terrorists but these taboos should be broken, must be broken, and it is the responsibility of the leadership of both parties," he explained.
He lost more than just his high-ranking political position. After narrowly surviving an assassination attempt at his home in western Baghdad, his two sons Eiman, 30, and Gamal, 22 were both gunned down outside their home last February.
Alusi was promptly removed from Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress and fired as head of the national De-Ba'athification Commission.
He also faced a prison sentence for an unchanged Saddam-era law forbidding relations with an enemy state a crime punishable by death.
"They threw me out of the government, they took all of my security [detail], they put me on a golden plate for the terrorists," he said.
Iraq and Israel's relations have been icy at best, and tensions peaked following Iraq's Scud missile attack during the 1991 Gulf War. The two remained sworn enemies until the collapse of Saddam's regime.
Although Israel has welcomed Iraq's move to democracy, formal relations seem unlikely.
"States that haven't already made gestures towards Israel are not likely to do so, unless movement towards peace is firmly on track," said Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle Eastern program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, adding that Chalabi once said a post-Saddam government could have eventual relations with Israel, although no formal gestures were made.
Still, Alusi believes Iraq and Israel can only benefit from one another, sharing a common enemy and imminent threat Iran. Alusi says the same Hizbullah-backed terrorists operating against Israel are responsible for the daily insurgent attacks in Iraq.
As revolutionary as his ideas about Israel, renegade politics are nothing new for this beleaguered leader.
Opposed to Saddam's Ba'athist regime, he fled Baghdad and landed in Egypt, where he studied engineering in the late 70s. He then lived in Syria where he faced imprisonment for what he called a refusal to work with the country's intelligence service.
He ended up in Germany where he lived until 2003, still active in Iraq's opposition movement against Saddam Hussein.
It was there that Alusi organized an Iraqi resistance group that seized control of Iraq's diplomatic mission in Berlin in August 2002, a move he said aimed to show the world that Saddam's regime was a terrorist network.
Although he claims his men did not use real weapons, he and his opposition group reportedly faced charges of taking hostages, causing bodily harm and trespassing.
Alusi was imprisoned in an isolation cell for just over a year. When he relocated to Iraq with his family in November 2003, he quickly rose to prominence under Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. He was an outspoken critic of hard-line Islamic leadership, which he likens to totalitarian rule.
He still insists that Iraq's survival depends on changing the political landscape of the Middle East and establishing relations not only with Israel, but also with Turkey, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
He also says that Iraqi citizens still visit him in support of his trip to Israel, claiming they once had Jewish Iraqi neighbors, Jewish business partners or even confessing they had loved an Iraqi Jewish girl.
Despite his countless losses, Alusi says his trip to Israel was the right decision, and he'd do it all over again. "Many people told me in Baghdad, you have done a very good step, but this is not the right time," he said. "This is an important step and it is the right time. If not now, when is the right time?"
WARNING: This is a high volume ping list
This man has intelligence and can see the forest through the trees. May many more follow your lead sir. May the God of Creation bless you. Suggestion.. quit smoking.
Actually, he may as well go ahead and enjoy his cigarettes.
I dare say it won't be the smokes that wind up doing him in.
May G-d comfort him in mourning and grant him life in the world to come.
May God protect and bless this man.
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Followup to Alouette’s thread :
Obama policy will lead region to war, warns ex-Iraqi MP whos paid heavy price for dissent
Times of Israel ^ | 5/10/13 | Elhanan Miller http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3018876/posts
Mithal Al-Alusi, whose two sons were killed in a Baghdad ambush soon after he visited Israel, tells The Times of Israel he feels betrayed by the superpower which allowed him to return to his homeland Mithal Al-Alusi is angry. He is angry with Iran for supporting global terrorism. He is angry with Syrian President Bashar Assad for oppressing and killing his own people. He is angry with his own prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq, for colluding with the two.
But most of all, he is angry with US President Barack Obama for allowing this all to happen.
Obama has handed Iraq over to Iran and said do what you like, Alusi, a former Iraqi member of parliament who hails from the tribal Sunni province of al-Anbar in western Iraq, told the Times of Israel in a telephone interview from his home in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
Ten years after freeing Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, the Obama administration has allowed a no less dictatorial regime to emerge, and then handed it over to its avowed enemy Iran, Alusi said.
The current regime is dictatorial, uninterested in the law, the constitution, or human rights, he charged. Saddam Hussein was a professional murderer and a professional liar. The current regime simply belongs to Iran. Members of the ruling party openly admit working for Iranian intelligence and brag about it.
Hugging the current Iraqi regime, Alusi holds, is the last thing the Obama administration should be doing right now. America is making a big mistake. Its policy will lead our region into war, he added. This region must be liberated from corrupt regimes like those in Syria and Iran, but also in [US-allied states] like Bahrain.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesofisrael.com ...——————Obama policy will lead region to war, warns ex-Iraqi MP whos paid heavy price for dissent, Times of Israel ^ | 5/10/13 | Elhanan Miller Posted on Monday, May 13, 2013 3:05:56 PM by Dave346
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