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Iraq: Are You Traitors Too? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Iraqi MP Mithal al-Alousi’s second visit to Tel Aviv was criticized as were his justifications for the visit. However it is the reaction of the Iraqi Parliament, from the unanimous agreement to strip al-Alousi, leader of the Iraqi Nation (Ummah) Party, of legal immunity, to his assault, that should be contemplated and criticized.

There is no harm in the Iraqi Parliament taking the appropriate parliamentary procedures in accordance with laws and legislations. But for a parliamentary session to digress from the path of dialogue and respect for laws, and for the matter to reach violence and mistrust is inappropriate.

What happened to al-Alousi in the Iraqi Parliament bears resemblance to the ruling regimes of the past, and the paradox lies in the fact that the majority of those who are holding al-Alousi accountable today are using the Saddam Hussein-ish laws that once applied to them, that is, of course, the law that prohibits contact with Iraq’s enemies and establishing ties with them.

What if somebody told the gentlemen of the Iraqi parliament that they cause “shock and horror” because they did not emerge from the womb of the revolution but off the back of American tanks since many had contact with the Americans and collaborated with Iran when the former Iraqi regime ruled out any contact with both of them? How would the esteemed MPs respond if they were asked this question?

The last issue is how did Iraqi Parliament, with all its various sects and divisions, agree to lift the immunity of al-Alousi? Was it because he attacked Iran, especially considering that he was subjected to a fist fight in parliament for it? It is a strange issue. Where is democracy?

The peculiarity of the unanimous agreement to strip al-Alousi of immunity and the questions that we put forward is because Jalal Talabani, the president of the Iraqi republic, for example, has previously shaken hands with Israeli officials. The president said that he did not do so in his capacity as the Iraqi president but on a personal level. There is talk about ties between Israel and Kurdistan yet the revered parliament did not convene to give its opinion in that regard; so how has it reached a unanimous agreement today to revoke the immunity of al-Alousi?

It is interesting what Osama al Najafi MP, from the parliamentary Iraqi National List, said regarding the lack of action in dealing with al-Alousi’s first visit to Israel. He stated that at the time, al-Alousi was not a member of parliament and that the “situation then was deteriorating and unstable but now the situation is different and calmer and the parliament feels it has a responsibility, and rejects what is happening in Iraq and to our Palestinian brothers and what they have suffered at the hands of Israel.”

The question is what happened to considering the feelings of the Palestinians when the Iraqi president shook hands with the Israelis, especially considering that this hadn’t happened for such a long time?

Did al-Alousi make a mistake? Yes! But it will not be rectified by making more mistakes and casting false accusations. The Iraq that is hoped for is not the one that al-Alousi spoke of when he said that a civilized Iraq must not be against Israel; rather, the anticipated Iraq is that which does not use Saddam Hussein’s laws and tools regarding treachery and falsehood.

In civilized Iraq, members of parliament do not use their fists instead of their mouths even to defend Iran, which has not “convened” members of parliament to make a decision concerning Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, the Iranian vice president, who stressed that his country “is a friend to the Israeli people.” In fact, Mashaei still accompanies Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his trips!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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