At Risk of Arrest, Prominent Iraqis Call for Peace with Israel

Sept. 27 2021

At a conference held last Friday in the Iraqi city of Erbil, some 300 activists and tribal leaders expressed their support for normalizing relations with the Jewish state, and for engaging in outreach to the Jewish Diaspora. Sahar Karim al-Ta’i, a high-ranking official in the Iraqi government and a key figure at the conference, spoke about the issue with Lazar Berman:

“I was raised in a family that instilled in us the principle of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, that we should say what we feel and what we believe,” [Ta’i] said.

Ta’i insisted that she was not afraid of any consequences for her personal safety. “It is precisely because of these elements—terrorism, violence—that [it is] necessary to take a decisive step,” she stressed. “My family was not altogether relaxed about [my endorsing peace with Israel]; they worried about me. There are dangers to expressing these kinds of ideas. Yet nonetheless this is my conviction and this is my decision.”

“We can live under the repression of terrorism or we can die with courage,” she said.

Ta’i believes that her advocacy, and that of her colleagues in the Erbil conference, will ultimately influence Iraqi policy. . . . And if Iraq’s leaders do not act, Ta’i is ready to keep the pressure on. “We will bring [about peace] through public activism [and will persist] until that result is achieved,” she said.

Muqtada al-Sadr, one of Iraq’s most influential Shiite clerics, promptly condemned this “Zionist terrorist” conference. Yesterday, a court in Baghdad issued a warrant for Ta’i’s arrest, while the government called for the detention of all the attendees.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Iraq, Israel-Arab relations


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy