Why Iraqis Reject the Palestinian Cause

In northern Iraq last week, some 300 tribal leaders, politicians, and other notables—among them both Sunnis and Shiites—gathered to call for peace with Israel. The government swiftly responded by moving to arrest all the attendees, while Iran-backed militias threatened them with violence. Hussain Abdul-Hussain sets the event against the backdrop of Saddam Hussein’s longstanding support for Palestinian terrorism, and Palestinian leaders’ support for him:

When Iraqis think of Islam, they think of their capital Baghdad, the Jewel of the Abbasid Caliphate, which was the apex of Muslim civilization when Muslims were leading the world in knowledge, science, literature, and economics. When Iraqis think of Islam, or Arab nationalism, they rarely think of Jerusalem, and hence, Palestine rarely meant much to their Muslim or Arab identity.

When America launched Operation Desert Storm to eject Saddam’s troops from Kuwait, the Iraqi dictator calculated that he could line up the Arabs behind him by firing scud missiles at Israel. . . . The Arabs—including radicals like Syria’s Hafez al-Assad and Libya’s Moammar Ghadaffi—never took Saddam’s side. Only Palestinians took to the streets and cheered for Saddam, shouting “Oh Saddam our love, hit Tel Aviv.” (It rhymes in Arabic).

After the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the UN imposed an embargo on Iraq, which emptied Saddam’s coffers. Saddam still paid enormous sums to [the families of Palestinians “martyrs”] while Iraqis were suffering a famine. Inside Iraq, Palestinians and their families were Saddam’s most notorious [domestic] intelligence operatives, and enjoyed Saddam’s generosity while Iraqis lived in poverty. When America toppled Saddam, Iraqis brought down Saddam’s statues and ejected his Palestinians.

But for Iran and its proxies—which exercise enormous influence in Baghdad—the anti-Israel cause is of paramount importance. It is they, according to Abdul-Hussain, who are pushing to punish those calling for peace with Israel.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at House of Wisdom

More about: Iran, Iraq, Palestinians, Saddam Hussein

The New Iran Deal Will Reward Terrorism, Help Russia, and Get Nothing in Return

After many months of negotiations, Washington and Tehran—thanks to Russian mediation—appear close to renewing the 2015 agreement concerning the Iranian nuclear program. Richard Goldberg comments:

Under a new deal, Iran would receive $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year and $1 trillion by 2030. [Moreover], Tehran would face no changes in the old deal’s sunset clauses—that is, expiration dates on key restrictions—and would be allowed to keep its newly deployed arsenal of advanced uranium centrifuges in storage, guaranteeing the regime the ability to cross the nuclear threshold at any time of its choosing. . . . And worst of all, Iran would win all these concessions while actively plotting to assassinate former U.S. officials like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and [his] adviser Brian Hook, and trying to kidnap and kill the Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on U.S. soil.

Moscow, meanwhile, would receive billions of dollars to construct additional nuclear power plants in Iran, and potentially more for storage of nuclear material. . . . Following a visit by the Russian president Vladimir Putin to Tehran last month, Iran reportedly started transferring armed drones for Russian use against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Putin launched an Iranian satellite into orbit reportedly on the condition that Moscow can task it to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

With American and European sanctions on Russia escalating, particularly with respect to Russian energy sales, Putin may finally see net value in the U.S. lifting of sanctions on Iran’s financial and commercial sectors. While the return of Iranian crude to the global market could lead to a modest reduction in oil prices, thereby reducing Putin’s revenue, Russia may be able to head off U.S. secondary sanctions by routing key transactions through Tehran. After all, what would the Biden administration do if Iran allowed Russia to use its major banks and companies to bypass Western sanctions?

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Russia, U.S. Foreign policy